Here’s why no one has taken the anti-vax challenge

Portrait anxious young man biting his nails fingers freaking out

I threw down the anti-vax gauntlet yesterday and offered a relatively simple challenge to those who believe passionately that vaccines are dangerous, ineffective or both. It’s been seen by nearly 75,000 people so far and not a single one has taken it, let alone passed it.

I’m not surprised since passing the challenge requires being truly educated about vaccines and anti-vaxxers recognize that they’re not.

When asked to demonstrate their knowledge, anti-vaxxers run and hide.

Let’s look at the challenge again and what we’ve learned from the fact that anti-vaxxers don’t dare take it.

The challenge is both simple and straightforward:

  1. Make a claim
  2. Provide 3 citations from peer review journals to support it
  3. Provide relevant quotes from the papers (not the abstracts)
  4. Situate the studies within the preponderance of the scientific evidence
  5. Explain why your citations take precedence over scientific consensus

What have we learned:

No one objected to the details of the challenge.

Even anti-vaxxers recognize that the requirements — 3 citations from peer review journals, actually reading those citations, comparing those citations to the existing literature and explaining why we ought to believe the offered citations as opposed to the existing literature — are eminently reasonable. No one suggested that the requirements are too stringent or too difficult to accomplish by people who are actually knowledgeable about vaccines.

So what’s the problem? It’s not the ability to provide citations. Anti-vaxxers typically litter their comments with citations.

The apparently insurmountable threshold problem is likely the requirement to READ the citations; that’s the only way to provide relevant quotes from the bodies of these papers.

The truth is that anti-vaxxers don’t read the literature they cite. In many cases they couldn’t understand that literature even if they read it; they lack the basic education required.

So how do they find the relevant citations? They copy them from a professional anti-vaxxer who runs a website or wrote a book. In other words, they don’t know what the scientific literature shows; they are forced to rely on someone to spoon feed them the bite sized pieces of the literature that they are able to swallow. Hence the papers they cite may have titles that seem impressive to anti-vaxxers, but fail to prove their purported claims or ignore their claims altogether.

Even if anti-vaxxers were capable of reading and quoting the relevant papers, they can’t possibly situate them within the bulk of the scientific literature on the topic.

It isn’t merely that they are completely ignorant of the bulk of the scientific literature on a particular claim (e.g. vaccines purportedly cause autism, vaccines purportedly don’t work), although they are ignorant. It’s that they don’t understand that a scientific paper is not in and of itself “proof” of anything.

Science — real science, not the stripped down version of the anti-vaxxer’s imagination — is about placing findings within context. To do that, you have to master the bulk of the literature. It doesn’t mean that you are required to read every paper on the particular area, just that you have an understanding of what is in the most cited papers within that area.

How do you find those papers? If you are truly educated in the topic, you will know them because you’ve read them and seen them cited repeatedly.

If you aren’t educated on the topic, the Science Citation Index will be a useful guide. The SCI reports which later articles have cited any particular earlier article, or have been cited most frequently. The fact that a particular paper has been cited by other scientists the most does not make that paper true. It merely makes it possible for the uninitiated to determine the current consensus of opinion on a particular claim.

The most difficult part of the anti-vax challenge is to explain why your chosen citations take precedence over the consensus understanding.

That requires not simply basic familiarity with the literature on the topic, but a deep understanding of the scientific principles at issue.

Why did I offer the anti-vax challenge?

Because I wanted to illustrate the difference between really being educated and doing your research, as opposed to reading and repeating propaganda written by some anti-vax quack.

Anti-vaxxers like to preen that they are ever so much more educated than the rest of us sheeple, but when asked to demonstrate their knowledge, they run and hide. They recognize their own claims for what they are — nonsense that they can neither quote nor defend.

  • So you take the lack of response as evidence that noone could possibly complete your challenge? You clearly over-estimate yourself. Admittedly, what you are asking would require a fair amount of work and dilligence. Frankly, if I was going to put that much effort into something, I would not waste it on a random blog written by an ideologue who clearly believes the term “vaccine safety issue” is an oxymoron.

    Here is my claim: The first organization to research whether exposure to mercury in vaccines increases the risk from neurodevelopmental disorders was actually the CDC. Dr. Verstraeten led the study in 1999, it found very strong correlations between mercury exposure and many disorders, including autism, language disorders, tics etc. What happened next, and the reason this study was never published, is covered in great detail in the documentary Trace Amounts, you can stream it from their website for about $4.

    So if you are willing to invest 90 minutes of your precious life towards looking into vaccine safety issues, please do.

    Here are some web resources, the summary links to original documents and references. You might find the selected quotes particularly interesting.

    Put Children First Summary
    http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/index2.html

    Selected quotes from Simpsonwood transcripts
    http://www.aapsonline.org/vaccines/cdcfdaexperts.htm

    Dr. Verstraeten, pg. 40: “…we have found statistically
    significant relationships between the exposure and outcomes for these
    different exposures and outcomes. First, for two months of age, an
    unspecified developmental delay, which has its own specific ICD9 code.
    Exposure at three months of age, Tics. Exposure at six months of age, an
    attention deficit disorder. Exposure at one, three and six months of
    age, language and speech delays which are two separate ICD9 codes.
    Exposures at one, three and six months of age, the entire category of
    neurodevelopmental delays, which includes all of these plus a number of
    other disorders.”

    • Nick Sanders
      • Well I guess that settles that eh? That’s quite a random blog there, which itself references nearly exclusively other random blogs by random bloggers.

        The amount of misleading and just plain incorrect information in this blog is stunning, I could write an essay debunking just about every paragraph, it’s one false claim after another. As just one example, thimerosal is NOT required in vaccines, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that the only reason it was ever used was $$. It’s cheaper to use it, so you can have multidose vials which get reused, storage costs are cheaper etc etc. But does this sound like a good rationale for including a neurotoxic ingredient? As another example, this blog claims there is “no real basis” for the documentary’s claim that there is a synergistic toxicity from mercury and testosterone. Really? Why do you believe you can say things that are demonstrably false and still maintain any credibility? Good grief…it takes about 10 seconds to convince oneself that there really is synergistic toxicity between mercury and testosterone, as well as a protective effect from estrogen.

        This blog completely misrepresents the Simpsonwood meeting. The transcripts are online…all of them…anyone can go and read them for themselves. Most articles which reference this meeting will use selective quotes because most people don’t have time to read that much. But it doesn’t take that much cherry-picking to come up with some very damning quotes. The end result of the meeting was that the problematic results…the strong correlations between early mercury exposure and a number of neurodevelopmental disorders…including autism…and these are all discussed in the meeting…all these results were to be “embargoed” and not released to anyone.

        As do all pro-vaccine random bloggers who are discussing Simpsonwood, this one very predictably references an article in Forbes by Emily Willingham, one of the shilliest of the pro-vaccine shills. She is not the sharpest tool in the shed…and in her own article there is one sentence which itself completely debunks everything she is saying. But to understand that and recognize it, one has to know the details of the Verstraeten study, and the manipulations which were done to the study to make the effects go away.

        The blog makes very strong use of ad hominem attacks, choosing to go after sources of information rather than actually discussing the information itself. Good strategy, because any honest discussion of this study and you lose.

        What blogs from vaccine apologists like this will always fail to mention is that there is a very large and ever growing body of evidence suggesting that mercury from vaccines is very toxic.

        Summary of Supportive Science Regarding Thimerosal & Vaccines

        https://www.safeminds.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/SM-Science-Summary-v12-08.pdf

        Alkyl Mercury-Induced Toxicity: Multiple Mechanisms of Action
        http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/398_2016_1
        New CDC Research Debunks Agency’s Assertion That Mercury in Vaccines Is Safe
        http://www.ecowatch.com/cdc-mercury-vaccines-kennedy-2226257805.html
        “Methylmercury, the highly-regulated neurotoxin found in fish, and ethylmercury […] are similarly toxic to humans. Methylmercury and ethylmercury share common chemical properties, and both significantly disrupt central nervous system development and function.”
        “Thimerosal is extremely toxic at very low exposures and is more damaging than methylmercury in some studies. For example, ethylmercury is even more destructive to the mitochondria in cells than methylmercury.”
        “The ethylmercury in thimerosal does not leave the body quickly as the CDC once claimed, but is metabolized into highly neurotoxic forms.”

        • Nick Sanders

          Your “source” was a movie. I don’t care big a wall of text you make, you don’t get to complain about my counterpoint being a movie review.

          • I wasn’t complaining that your response was a movie review. I cited a documentary, so posting a review is perfectly reasonable. What I objected to was the very poor quality of the review, the demonstrably false claims made and the mischaracterization of very important issues. Did you even bother to read it before citing it?

          • Nick Sanders

            So, what was false? The FDA warning against chelation for autism? That thimerosal was taken out of the vaccination schedule over a decade ago? That Medical Hypothesis is a shit journal with no validity? Or maybe that the American Academy or Pediatrics has (correctly) pointed out that there ins’t any similarity between mercury poisoning and autism?

        • FallsAngel

          LOL! “Good grief…it takes about 10 seconds to convince oneself that there
          really is synergistic toxicity between mercury and testosterone, as well
          as a protective effect from estrogen.”

          Yes, all you have to do is decide there is. No facts needed whatsoever. We get it Dave.

          • Did you bother to look? Do a simple search on “mercury testosterone synergistic toxicity”. Here is the most direct study of this, I know you won’t accept the source (Boyd Haley), but just an exercise, see if you can possibly refute the science here (direct clinical testing of interactive effects of testosterone and estrogen on mercury toxicity) rather than resorting to ad hominem attacks. Can you do it?

            http://homeoint.ru/pdfs/haley.pdf

          • FallsAngel

            Haley is a charlatan. His company marketed a drug OSR#1, for human consumption; it was described as an “antioxidant” dietary supplement that is known to be a powerful chelator from a family of chelators originally developed to remove heavy metals from soil and acid mine drainage. It was withdrawn from the market because.

          • Answer: No, no I cannot refute the science.

            For your quote, interestingly enough you leave out the very next sentence, which would seem quite germane to this discussion: “But look at the facts.”

            Haley then goes on to discuss one very concrete example which illustrates his point, and then mentions the issue of the ADA ignoring mercury toxicity for decades.

          • shay simmons

            Boyd Haley had quite a neat little hustle going (before the FDA made him stop). He sold a kit that could be used by parents to test their kids for mercury, and a home chelator to perform a detox after his kit conveniently turned up “proof” of mercury poisoning.

          • Interesting that you automatically ascribe self-serving, daemonic motivations to anyone who dares to question vaccine safety, yet the Paul Offits of the world literally make millions while they espouse ridiculous claims and act as vaccine boosters (pun intended), with nary a peep.

            Seriously though, what would be wrong with a chemist who specializes in heavy metal toxicity creating a kit to test for mercury burden in kids, and then developing a chelation treatment whose purpose was to remove mercury from the body?

            A good friend of mine has an autistic son, at my suggestion they had him tested for heavy metal burden and they found very high levels of mercury. He underwent treatments to pull the mercury out of his sytem and his condition improved significantly.

            But I can see your point. We can’t talk about this stuff lest we put the public’s faith in the mass vaccination system in doubt.

          • shay simmons

            nteresting that you automatically ascribe self-serving, daemonic motivations to anyone who dares to question vaccine safety,

            Except, of course, that I didn’t.

          • Nick Sanders

            You know what? When a person saves this many lives, I’m totally okay with them being given a shitload of cash in return.
            https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/988513_881748448561832_2479524700118495652_n.jpg?oh=0b0d5e71c3ed54d8036e1335d2053c4a&oe=58FD5438

          • I actually agree that the rotavirus vaccine was very beneficial…in developing countries. I’m also ok with someone making money from developing something like this. But in the US this vaccine is somewhere between useless and dangerous, and the manner in which it was approved was shall we say…”problematic”.

            But I do have a problem with said vaccine developer writing Op/Ed articles masquerading as scientific articles with the intent to reassure parents that we are not giving too many vaccines to our kids…by arguing that the human infant can withstand the antigenic load of 10,000 vaccines at once.

          • Mike Stevens

            Well the claim that a human could theoretically handle 10,000 different antigenic stimuli at the same time is correct, and backed by the science that Offit pointed out.
            Why do you have a beef with it, is it simply because you ignorantly misconstrue it as other antivaxers do, as a baby with 10,000 syringes pumping toxins into it?

          • “…and backed by the science that Offit pointed out.”

            Please, tell me, exactly which “science” is this? I’ve read Offit’s Op/Ed, it’s not a scientific article. It does some simple math using wild assumptions…is that the science you’re referring to?

          • Mike Stevens

            Offit based his calculations (which are hardly “wild assumptions”) on what is known about vaccine epitope-specific immune responses in infants.

            The research work is covered here:
            Cohn M, Langman RE. The protecton: the unit of humoral immunity selected by evolution. Immunol Rev.1990;115 :9– 147
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2202659

          • FallsAngel

            You know Dave, I don’t quite “get” you. You list yourself as “Computer Geek”, but you seem to not even know anything about statistics. Just what are your educational credentials.

          • Mike Stevens

            “But in the US this vaccine is somewhere between useless and dangerous”

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3969536/
            The incidence rate of RGE hospitalization in March, the traditional peak of rotavirus activity, ranged from 121 per 10,000 child-years (95% confidence interval (CI): 106, 137) during the prevaccine period to 1 per 10,000 child-years (95% CI: 0, 5) in 2010 [post vaccine] (Figure 3).

            So, you think a 120-fold reduction in hospital admissions is of no consequence, and the vaccine is useless.
            I expected little else from you.

          • FallsAngel

            Pre-vaccine, virtually every child in the US, minus a few outliers, had a SYMPTOMATIC case of rotavirus. I emphasize that b/c some of your lot like to say that antibodies don’t mean the kid was actually sick. There were 410,000 physician visits, 205-272,000 ED visits, and 55-70,000 hospitalizations, per the CDC. There were also 20-60 deaths. Please explain “dangerous”. Rotavirus disease can cause intussesception, remember.

          • poppy72

            I actually agree that the rotavirus vaccine was very beneficial…in
            developing countries. I’m also ok with someone making money from
            developing something like this. But in the US this vaccine is somewhere
            between useless and dangerous, Hi David,the question here is,Why was the Rotavirus vaccine beneficial in developing countries and yet useless and dangerous in the USA?

          • FallsAngel

            Well of course “they” found heavy levels of mercury in this child (who probably was either unvaccinated or vaccinated well after 2001. And then “they” found the treatments cured the child. Yeah, right. If this stuff worked, legitimate practitioners would be doing it. Oh, I forgot. They just have an agenda to keep kids autistic when they could be cured.

            How much did this “treatment” cost?

          • Hell, Doctor’s Data, Inc. is a laboratory in Illinois that exists specifically to provide positive results for heavy metal testing. Not ethical or useful results for genuine diagnostic use, mind you, just positive results that can be used to sell chelation products.

          • FallsAngel

            Figures. I’m not surprised.

          • Yep. Check the acknowledgements of the average bogus chelation study. Chances are, you’ll see them thanked for their help. They also sued Quackwatch for exposing their fraud: http://www.quackwatch.org/14Legal/dd_suit.html

            The latest news on the page is that the lawsuit did not work, they have not prevailed on a single one of their claims, and Quackwatch has not been intimidated.

          • shay simmons

            What is it about my state that attracts such large-bore quacks? Mercola operates here too.

          • Mike Stevens

            Hmmm… An article by an antivaxer with significant conflicts of interest.
            Tell us David, where has this claim been replicated independently?
            Once that is done then there is something to get worked up about, but not before.

        • sabelmouse

          both skepitals, and non science based nonsense are quite literally the worst, most crazily kafkaesque blogs [and groups of regulars] that i’ve come across online.
          every so often i find my way here/there accidentally and just want to bash my head at the will full ignorance and plain stupidity.
          and nasty as well.

          • momofone

            You keep saying this, yet you’re still here.

          • kfunk937

            And not by accident.

            "Well I guess that settles that eh? That's quite a random blog there, which itself references…" — David Foster https://t.co/XfUhDD3DCO— sabel mouse (@sabelmouse) 16 February 2017

          • sabelmouse

            i’m not here/there, i am talking to someone i know about how terrible you are.
            but was fully expecting a barrage of shillin’.

          • Nick Sanders

            Back. That. Shit. Up.

          • sabelmouse

            what? that i know this person? or that the resident group of shills on these 3 sites are the worst?

          • Nick Sanders

            That there are any shills at all.

          • sabelmouse

            shills, or extremely ignorant, possibly very stupid fanatics.

          • Nick Sanders

            Nope, proof or shut the fuck up. You do not get to hurl fucking accusations left and right anymore. You’re getting called on it every single time until you start backing your shit-flinging up with substance or leave.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            *which* 3 sites is s/he talking about? SBM? I probably want to check them out so I can roll in the pretend money.

          • MaineJen

            $$$$$$ way ahead of you $$$$$$$

          • momofone

            We’ll hate to see you go, of course, but anytime you decide to spend your time with more likeminded people, we’ll completely understand.

          • I say this in all honesty. Do you know what a shill is?

          • MaineJen

            $$$$$$$

          • shay simmons

            Sabel owes us all new irony meters.

        • Mike Stevens

          Have you a copy of that last article, David?
          You appreciate it is not “new”, having first appeared last year, and that it is not original research but a meta-review?

          • It is from May 2016, I would characterize that as new.

            Yes, it is a meta-review.

            Are you implying that its conclusions are incorrect because it is 8 months old, or because it is a meta-review?

          • Mike Stevens

            It’s just that you, or your source, called it “new CDC research”, when it is really neither.
            Just pointing it out.

          • Proponent

            David Foster: “Are you implying that its conclusions are incorrect because it is 8 months old, or because it is a meta-review?”

            You mean.. conclusions like the following?

            “The difference in toxicity between MeHg and EtHg is likely the result of the more rapid metabolism and elimination of EtHg than MeHg and the amount of the mercurial form to which significant exposure is most likely to occur (i.e., MeHg exposure from frequent fish consumption vs. very small and widely spaced exposure to EtHg through thimerosal in multi-dose vials of vaccine).”

            (H/t to Disqus user; Doktor Wunderbar.)

    • Jonathan Graham

      it found very strong correlations between mercury exposure and many disorders, including autism, language disorders, tics etc.

      With a confidence interval which is very close to 1.0 in the general case and grew to the size of the flipping moon when you looked at a subsample.

      The fact that you can’t look at that and see “no association” is an impressive act of self-delusion or poor education. Seriously, download R. Do a few test cases. This isn’t rocket science.

    • momofone

      “So if you are willing to invest 90 minutes of your precious life towards looking into vaccine safety issues, please do.”

      You do realize that many people here have spent far more than “90 minutes,” as you say, studying vaccine safety issues (as in conducting research, not collecting websites from the internet that confirm what they already believe), right?

    • Proponent
  • Sara Cbn

    I had chicken pox, mumps, measles and the flu, we all did back then and we all lived. No one died in my town. I have natural immunity, which is more reliable and much safer than shooting thimerosal into my veins.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Is that what passes for “reasoning” in your mind? Prior to vaccination there were no carseats, either and everyone alive today survived, but that doesn’t mean carseats aren’t protective, does it? You need some help with basic logic.

    • Nick Sanders

      Thimerosal was removed from the childhood vaccine schedule over a decade ago. If your information is that out of date, it’s probably not very reliable.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I had the chicken pox. It sucked. While I presumably have immunity now, I’d much prefer to be like my kids, who are immune but have not had to go through the disease.

      Others can address your ignorance about vaccines.

      • Roadstergal

        I survived chicken pox. I’ve survived a lot of things that I would have rather avoided.

      • myrewyn

        I survived chicken pox as well… as a young adult… with a fever so high I can’t remember around a week of the nearly three weeks I was too sick to work. Luckily there’s no lasting damage other than some scarring but I too envy my children for being spared this disease through immunization.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          but only children get it! /sarcasm.
          I survived scarlet fever. Too bad it’s bacterial, because if a vaccine were possible and available I wouldn’t be hearing impaired.

          • swbarnes2

            We can vaccinate against bacteria, like TB and tetanus and pertussis. We just don’t for scarlet fever because it can be effectively treated with antibiotics when caught in the strep throat stage.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Too bad I was the kind of kid who hid symptoms.

    • Toni35

      No. You didn’t all live. Many of you died. They just aren’t around to tell you how stupid you sound.

    • Roadstergal

      Anti-vax bingo!

      -I survived *things that not everyone survived*
      -‘Natural immunity’ lasts longer! *it doesn’t*
      -‘Natural immunity’ is safer! *not by a long shot*
      -Mercury! *not mercury, removed from the childhood vaccination schedule to placate loons like you*
      -IV administration of vaccines! *you really don’t know how this works*

      • These AV folks are, of course, the bestest and brightest of society as reported by… the AV folks.

        I don’t know how that meme got accepted** but it is quite apparent after reading AV blogs and perusing the “experts” in the AV cult that the exact opposite is true.

        **Actually I do know. “Journalists” substituted socio-economic status for intellect and expertise forgetting, for example, that there are thousands of millionaires who throw a ball around every season or who play pretend for a living, etc.

        • Nick Sanders

          Socio-economic status and average college completion status, while handily ignoring how expensive college has become and the sheer disparity income and ethnicity have on the likelihood of getting to go to college in the first place, let alone actually finishing.

    • Azuran

      You lose all credibility the moment you say ‘into my veins’ Vaccines are not injected intra-veinously. And you think you are educated?

    • shay simmons

      “I had chicken pox”

      Congratulations. You have shingles to look forward to.

    • Linden

      I had chicken pox and measles, no mumps. I survived all, but I was miserable. I’m not putting my child through those.
      My mother’s little village had child deaths. It was horrendous, according to my grandmother. Seeing your neighbour’s child die, knowing your child was infected and the same could happen to her…
      So you’ve been lucky. So what?

    • MaineJen

      DERP

      …that’s all I got. I don’t have the spoons for this today.

      • Nick Sanders

        Spoons?

        • It’s from an article about living with disability. Basically, you have so many spoons to get through the day, and doing activities costs spoons. Once you’re out of spoons, you are done; you can’t do anything else for the day. It’s been more widely adopted to talk about mental as well as physical capacity to handle something. So if you’re out of spoons, you just can’t deal with X right now.

        • FallsAngel

          I think she’s talking about spoon-bending, amirite, MaineJen?

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            It’s taken from this article

            https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

            about living with “invisible” disabilities” in the authors case lupus, and how she always had explain to people why she just could not do somethings, some days(if she ran errands she had no energy left to make dinner or even eat for example). It has been adopted by a lot of people as shorthand for just not being able to deal, that particular day.

          • FallsAngel

            I see. Thanks. Leave it to me to come up with something weird.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Wow I haven’t seen that article. Turns out my biggest issue is that I suck at managing my spoons. 🙁

          • Proponent

            I’m so screwed.. all’s I got is butter knives. 😐

          • MaineJen

            …there is no spoon

  • joel3000

    Pro-vaxx challenge!

    Find three safety studies where the vaccine was tested against an inactive control (i.e. saline).

    (That’s not ethical!!! But it’s ethical to possibly injure or kill people because you don’t know the baseline safety of your drug?)

    Find three safety studies where multiple vaccines are given at the same time, and patients are followed for at least 3 years. Bonus points if cognitive abilities are tracked!

    Find 3 vaccine safety studies with subject counts of at least 10000. Given that vaccine can be given to billions of people, small tests do not account for all possible variability. A one in ten thousand issue will affect 100,000 people if it’s given to a billion, not to mention adverse reactions that happen at even lower rates.

    I’ll take my answer off the air… 🙂

    • Who?

      Tell you what-you sign yourself and your children up to be in the study, but it will have to be blinded, so you and they might get the vaccines and you won’t know.

      Ready to do that? No? Thought not.

      Try to be less stupid in future.

    • joel3000

      That doesn’t make any sense. Medical tests are run all the time against an inert control. Vaccines are reputed to have a one in a million adverse reaction rate, if so, what is the harm in doing good science and having a control group?

      • Who?

        I take it that was for me, and was intended as a ‘no’?

        So what you’re saying is, assuming vaccines aren’t safe (which is incorrect, however happy to humour you for the sake of the conversation) you want someone experimented on, just not you or anyone you care about?

        Or would you be happy for yourself, or your child, to be in the vaccinated group?

        Of course, the alternative is to look at the status quo, and see how vaccinated v unvaccinated children go. We have an unvaccinated child in ICU with tetanus-or aren’t we caring about that now? We see mumps outbreaks in the UK, but what’s a few people dead or badly injured by mumps, right? And those deaths and injuries are right at Wakefield’s door.

      • swbarnes2

        Sure, right after we do the test “Which is safer, brake fluid or no brake fluid?”.

        You will of course be in the ‘no brake fluid’ arm. You will also be in the seatbelt test, but we are going to keep you blinded as to which arm of that you will be in. That’s cool with you?

    • 1)http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(96)12031-6/abstract

      2)http://www.who.int/immunization/sage/report_pneumococcal_polysacc_vaccine_Sept_07_2a.pdf

      3)

      Efficacy of a prophylactic adjuvanted bivalent L1 virus-like-particle vaccine against infection with human papillomavirus types 16 and 18 in young … – PubMed – NCBI

      Sustained efficacy and immunogenicity of the human papillomavirus (HPV)-16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine: analysis of a randomised placebo-controlled … – PubMed – NCBI

      Efficacy of 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine in preventing pneumonia and improving survival in nursing home residents: double blind, randomised and p… – PubMed – NCBI

      Efficacy of nine-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine against pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease in The Gambia: randomised, double-blind,… – PubMed – NCBI

      Efficacy of human papillomavirus type 16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine in Japanese women aged 20 to 25 years: final analysis of a phase 2 double-blind… – PubMed – NCBI

      Immunogenicity, reactogenicity, and safety of human papillomavirus 16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine in Japanese women: interim analysis of a phase II,… – PubMed – NCBI ,Safety, efficacy and effectiveness of cold-adapted, live, attenuated, trivalent, intranasal influenza vaccine in adults and children.

      A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the safety and immunogenicity of live, oral type 4 and type 7 adenovirus vaccines in adults

      Safety and immunogenicity following administration of a live, attenuated monovalent 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine to children and adults in two rando… – PubMed – NCBI

      Efficacy and safety of pentavalent rotavirus vaccine in Japan

      Swiss TPH : Phase II Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study to Evaluate the Safety and Immunogenicity of H1/IC31®, an adjuvanted TB Subunit Vaccine, in HIV-Infected Adults with CD4+ Lymphocyte Counts Greater than 350 cells/mm3

      Efficacy of pentavalent rotavirus vaccine against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in infants in developing countries in Asia: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial Page on thelancet.com

      I would suggest that the Belmont Report may prove instructive reading.

    • Mike Stevens

      “Find 3 vaccine safety studies with subject counts of at least 10000.”

      http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1008553
      Oh no, sorry Joel, that one doesn’t count, since it didn’t look at 10,000 subjects.
      It looked at 90 million subjects.

  • sabelmouse

    when are pvs taking up that ”take the whole childhood schedule adjusted to body weight ”challenge?
    or even post something NOT paid for by pharma

    • Azuran

      Because immune responses are not based on weight. Because infectivity is not based on weight. Someone bigger doesn’t need a bigger number of bacteria or viruses to be infected. Which is the reason everyone gets the same dose (and the same goes for animals, regardless of their weight)
      There is 0 need to give an adult 15 doses to show they are safe in babies. That’s not how any of this works. Asking for such a thing is, once again, a proof of anti-vaxxers stupidity and uneducation.

      • sabelmouse

        yes, vaccinating preemies has proven that getting the same vaccines as full term infants is perfectly ok.

        • Wren

          You missed the entire content of Azuran’s comment.

          • Sonja Henie

            Shocking!

          • sabelmouse

            no i didn’t.

          • Wren

            Sorry. Maybe you didn’t miss it, but just ignored it.

        • Sonja Henie

          Except for Hep B, you are correct! Score one for sabelmouse!

        • Azuran

          you said ‘childhood’ you said nothing about preemies. therefore, my comment is about term babies and over and does not concern preemies.

          • sabelmouse

            your comment regarding vaccine /weight.

          • Azuran

            Which does not in any way mention preemies. So regardless of their safety in preemies, you trying to put preemies into the mix is just a way for you to move the goalpost and try to make yourself right by pretending the argument wasn’t what it was.
            If you have a point to make about preemies, then make your point about preemies, not about children, then add premies later

            My point is: giving 15 doses to an adult is absolutely not needed to prove that vaccines are safe in children, and wouldn’t even prove that they are safe in children.
            Why don’t you try and counter the actually argument and not inventing another one?
            Oh right, you can’t, because your argument is crap and you have nothing to support it.

          • Sonja Henie

            Actually, preemies can be vaccinated at the correct chronological age. Hep B has some special rules about waiting until 1 month of age or hospital discharge, whichever comes first. Rotavirus has some special rules too.
            https://shotofprevention.com/2013/03/05/premature-infants-and-vaccines/

          • Sonja Henie

            ETA: My friend whose baby is in the NICU just got his two month shots today, at 4#12oz. He’s 55 days old.

        • Nick Sanders

          Premies have other issues going on besides low weight.

        • JGC

          One simple question, sabelmouse:
          Do you have any evidence demonstrating that the risks associated with being vaccinated according to the CDC’s recommended childhood vaccination schedule exceed the risks associated with remaining vulnerable to the infectious diseases they protect against? Any actual evidence at all?
          If not, what would be the point of conducting this challenge?

    • Dorit said she would when the money was in an Escrow account.

    • Mike Stevens

      “When are pvs taking up that “take the whole childhood schedule adjusted to body weight” challenge.

      I’ve done better than that, sabel. As have hundreds of millions of others.
      I gave the whole childhood schedule adjusted to body weight to my 3 kids, when they were infants and at their most vulnerable.

      Nothing happened, though my daughter did exhibit one obvious neurolodevelopmental side effect.
      She took her first steps within 24 hours of her MMR vaccine.

      • sabelmouse

        they must be very young then to get anywhere near the modern vaccine schedule.

        • Mike Stevens

          There are millions of kids getting the current schedule.

          • sabelmouse

            an an epidemic of allergies, autoimmune diseases, cancer, autism, anxiety disorders , and so on.

          • Linden

            Show your sources.

          • sabelmouse

            look for yourself.

          • Nick Sanders

            Oh hell no, you don’t get to say “you’re lying” and follow it up by expecting the other person to look it up for you. Proof, rock solid proof, or you’re the liar.

          • sabelmouse

            i don’t expect them to do anything. i’m just not letting shills make me jump through hoops.

          • momofone

            You have to fall back on the shill argument because you have nothing of substance to offer, hence the “look for yourself.” You must be hoping the “looker” will find something you haven’t, because if you had it you’d have thrown it out there already.

          • sabelmouse

            sure, you go with that.

          • MaineJen

            Keep going! For every reply you make, we get more shill $$!!!1!!

            *stands back to make room for sabelmouse’s exploding head*

          • sabelmouse

            why would my head explode over something i know?
            but this is one of the reasons i only engage vocationally. that, and the downright stupidity of most shill comment. you here proving my point.

          • Kerlyssa

            vocationally… so you are a paid anti vaccine shill? it’s the friggin internet, if you don’t understand what the big words mean, google them.

          • sabelmouse

            the second hand embarrassment that i get from pro stupidity.

          • Kerlyssa

            well, you work cheap

          • sabelmouse

            meaningless.

          • MaineJen

            $$$$$$$$

          • MaineJen

            1. Are you trying to say “vicariously?” Because that means something totally different.

            2. Pro tip: I’m messing with you

          • sabelmouse

            and even that you do badly.

          • Heidi_storage

            Stupidity? The “shills'” comments tend to use correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, and diction. Moreover, they back up their assertions with credible sources. Finally, none are so deluded as to believe that critical commenters are shills paid by, say, the supplement industry (which is sizeable and in some cases indistinguishable from Big Pharma).

          • sabelmouse

            thanks for the laughs. almost as funny as pewdiepie.
            earlier i was thinking that this feels like talking to the most incredibly stupid group of pros that i ever came ac cross and hey presto, it’s one of those sites. i really must pay more attention to the site i am on.
            it’s quite extraordinary though, the level of ignorance, nasty, and plain stupidity beats any other pro site i’ve been on.

          • shay simmons

            Says the poster with a posting history of nothing but insults and misinformation.

          • momofone

            “earlier i was thinking that this feels like talking to the most incredibly stupid group of pros that i ever came ac cross (sic)”

            Which makes it even more curious that you continue railing against the windmill here.

          • sabelmouse

            not for very much longer.

          • MaineJen

            promises, promises

          • sabelmouse

            don’t any of youse know how the disqus dash works?

          • rosewater1

            Gee, where do you go to sign up for this paid shill thing? Anyone? Damn, I worked 12 hrs Monday, 16 hrs yesterday, and I’m working 12 today…and I could be doing so much better by shilling!

            Downright stupidity, sable? Seriously? You’ve got nothing else to offer but insults?

          • sabelmouse

            and yet you make the effort to come here and post 😉

          • rosewater1

            Check my posting history, sabel. I’m not exactly prolific. I like to give myself a little treat every day and take some time to do something I enjoy, no matter how busy I am. Also, since I work in health care, it’s work related. Always good to know just what sort of idiocy is potentially coming my way. You can report to your anti shill bosses that you’re doing well in that respect.

          • sabelmouse

            me neither.

          • Nick Sanders

            Backing up accusations of other people is not a “hoop”.

          • Linden

            perhaps there is an epidemic of these among the millons of illegal voters for HRC that trump keeps harping on about? Seems about as likely.

          • sabelmouse

            my interest in your country’s ridiculous politics is limited. even though your country is taking the world to hell in a hand cart. but it’s been doing that for decades.

          • Linden

            I’m not from the USA, you dolt.

          • sabelmouse

            lucky for you.

          • Mike Stevens

            You claim I am lying.
            Please provide evidence I am lying, and in order to do so please provide citations to peer reviewed medical publications that vaccines such as Hep B vaccine do not prevent cancers, and that vaccines are the cause of anxiety disorders, allergies autism etc.
            I am waiting.

          • sabelmouse

            hold you’re breath dear.

          • Linden

            Dude, you made this claim 4 months or so ago on this post (downstream), and you have NO evidence whatsoever to back it up. Why the hell should I be busting a gut trying to prove evidence of YOUR lies?

          • shay simmons

            sabelmouse for “I don’t know and can’t find the references.”

          • Mike Stevens

            And none of them have anything to do with vaccines.

            Except vaccines prevent some cancers!

          • sabelmouse

            how easily you lie.

          • MaineJen

            [citation needed]

          • sabelmouse

            have fun researching.

          • shay simmons

            Citations needed. Oh, wait…you never can provide any.

          • sabelmouse

            can’t-won’t, not the same thing. as if they would make a difference.

          • shay simmons

            She jukes.

          • Daleth

            Tens of millions, actually…

          • Mike Stevens

            True, if you count 0-6 yr olds.
            Globally, hundreds of millions are on their own country’s current schedule.
            But in the eyes of the antivaxers that will never be enough to outdo the single example of a child who had problems, will it?
            😉

        • FallsAngel

          I don’t know as much about the UK schedule that Mike’s kids got. The US schedule hasn’t changed *that much* since 1991 when Hib and Hep B were added to the infant schedule. In 1999, OPV was changed to IPV. In 2000 Prevnar was added, in 2006 Rotavirus.

          • sabelmouse

            lol!

          • You just documented your ignorance.

            Here is the 1995 schedule…do you really stand by that statement?

            https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00035471.htm

            They added numerous new vaccines and also added additional booster doses for existing vaccines.

          • Mike Stevens

          • FallsAngel

            No, I think you documented yours. I said “infant” schedule, and it is exactly as I said.

          • Mike Stevens

            David Foster is just documenting his own ignorance.

        • Mike Stevens

          Ask Dorit what vaccines her kids got then…

  • Diet dee

    Of course we cite science papers from other anti Vaxxers. Just like many pro Vaxxers cites papers from the CDC or WHO. Then there is the issue that few anti Vaxxers bother with this echo chamber. Out of a thousand comments think there where 3 anti Vaxxers.

    • Nick Sanders

      The problem isn’t so much citing papers from antivaxxers. It’s that said papers tend to have blatantly crappy methodology or meaningless results.

      As for calling this an echo chamber, that’s rather bull. A consensus of data exists, and the majority of people, here and in general, respect that consensus. That only a slim minority disagree with it does not make an echo chamber, it simply means that there are nowhere near as many of you as there are of us.

      • Wren

        Given the actual rates of vaccination, it’s hard to argue that the anti-vaxers are in the majority, yet I’ve seen them claim that many times.

        A site that promotes scientific evidence would be unlikely to have many anti-vaxers commenting regularly.

    • Azuran

      If this was an echo chamber, you would have been banned 5 minutes after your first post.

    • Charybdis

      This is the same WHO that lactivists quote and reference in the whole “breastfeed for 2 years or more” issue. They LOVE them some WHO when it supports breastfeeding, but they, and others as well, are quick to discount the WHO in the realm of vaccines and preventing VPD’s.

      How do you explain this dichotomy? Infallible when talking about breastfeeding but SO, SO WRONG in the area of vaccines and diseases?

      • Diet dee

        Not much of a dichotomy. We challenge what we disagree with and quickly accept that with we subconsciously agree with. If you are a health nut its easy to find problem with large corporate/ government agencies that coerce medication. Similarly its easy to accept breast feeding from a health nut perspective.

        • Azuran

          And that’s not how science work. You can’t cherry pick the science you ‘agree’ with and consider it ok, and then disregard the science that doesn’t agree with your values and call it flawed.

          • Diet dee

            its something that we all do. And the current scientific understanding of something can be flawed or incomplete.
            scientist adopt their pet theories and hold on to the until the end. Thats why science progresses one funeral at a time.

          • Azuran

            Just because it’s something we all do does not make it ok. It’s important to be able to recognize our own bias and accept that we are wrong when faced with proper evidence against it. If you won’t, then you are just a stubborn baby.

    • Wren

      Quality of the study matters.

      Anti-vaxers generally do at least one of the following when providing citations:
      a) Provide a citation that does not even back up the claim
      b) Provide a “citation” that is not published in peer reviewed literature
      c) Provide Wakefield’s discredited study
      d) Provide a study that has been previously shown to be flawed in multiple ways

  • Madtowngirl

    Slightly OT but related: I’ve been seeing two specific commercials for the HPV vaccine that take a dig at the anti-vaxxer attitude. “I have cervical cancer, did you know there was a vaccine that could have protected me? Mom, dad?” Love it.

    • Charybdis

      I like the one that addresses the boy’s cancer, since boys don’t have a cervix.
      But yeah, they are great ads.

  • Gatita

    OT: Dr. Mercola is speaking in my neighborhood this weekend, ARGH, UGH, HULK SMASH http://gph.is/1Kgrl9Q

  • Steph858

    I posted this on the original article but it got blocked as spam – I think maybe because I edited it a fair few times to correct typos etc. Apologies if it later passes through the filter and this ends up being a double/cross post.

    In the absence of antivaxxers giving us all a good laugh by feebly attempting to step up to Dr. Amy’s challenge, I’ll volunteer to take a turn at being the resident woo to provide lols in lieu. I will hereby use antivaxxer style ‘logic’ to respond to the challenge:

    1. Smoking is NOT addictive.

    2. I could dig up some Tobacco Industry-funded studies from 6 decades ago which support this position, but in keeping with the style of a true pseudoscientist I shall instead rely on anecdotes.

    3.
    – I smoked through college and quit when I grew out of my dumb teenager phase. I had no problems at all quitting – no cravings, no relapses, nothing.

    – I have lots of friends who are social smokers; they smoke 1 or 2 cigarettes a day, maybe 4 or 5 on a Saturday spent down the pub. Their smoking habits have been thus for many years despite rhetoric from anti-smoking PSAs saying they would have graduated to pack-a-day chimneys by now.

    – My sister’s dog-walker’s brother-in-law got hooked on opiate-based painkillers. When he did a cold turkey detox, he was in bed for a week with his withdrawal symptoms. It was like he had really bad flu (proper feel-like-death-warmed-up-for-a-fortnight flu, not the 24 hour strain beloved of those pulling sickies). I’ve never heard of a quitting smoker being bedridden for a week, therefore quitting smoking has NO withdrawal symptoms, therefore smoking is NOT addictive. QED.

    4. Since all good pseudoscientists are up-to-date on the latest developments in Conspiracy Theories, I will take this opportunity to explain that the ‘Scientific Consensus’ was developed as a result of studies funded by the Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) Industry. An addiction is a medical condition; a medical condition requires treatment; the treatment for nicotine addiction is NRT. Therefore the NRT Industry has a vested interest in having smokers who decide to quit believe that smoking is addictive.

    5. Only 2 kinds of people believe that smoking is addictive: whiny relapsed smokers who need an excuse to indulge their habit and NRT Industry reps who want to persuade would-be quitters that they’ll need NRT products to quit. Since the scientific consensus is the result of behind-the-scenes subterfuge conducted by the latter, it should not be believed.

    • Sean Jungian

      Bravo!

  • MB

    This was never really on my radar until I had a baby. And then, I got so mad. How dare these lunatics let their dirty little heathen hippy children roam the earth next to my precious, beloved newborn? It’s enough to keep your kid indoors and tell your qwacky relatives to stay away. My baby gets his vaccinations, but it’s a schedule, you know, so they’re still vulnerable in the early days of birth.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      One of my BILs is currently dating someone who’s neck-deep in the woo. I know one of her sisters slightly. The whole family is all into homebirth and antivaxxing, with a nasty bit of eugenic survivalism in their attitudes, too. Sis has even posted on FB that if her (unvaxxed) kid gives measles to your kid who’s currently on chemo and your kid dies, it sucks, but it’s not her responsibility to keep your kid healthy.
      Nice, huh?
      If BIL marries this girl (they live across the country, haven’t met her yet), they will not be welcome in my home. Period.

  • Megan

    I am completely incapabable of taking the anti-vax challenge, because it’s impossible (because vaccines are awesome). Instead, my whole family at the end of this month, will be taking the vaccine challenge and all get our flu vax together. Will Mommy and Daddy getting shots make it less scary for my 2 year old 6 month old to get theirs? Probably not, but it’s a show of solidarity.

    • demodocus

      Yeah, big brother is going to get his the same time as his little sister gets her 4 months. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to get the flu shots until December

    • Sonja Henie

      “. Will Mommy and Daddy getting shots make it less scary for my 2 year old 6 month old to get theirs?”

      No, but Mommy and Daddy should get immunized anyway. I would suggest the two year old go first. Perhaps counter-intuitively, kids do not do better for watching their parents get shots, even if the parent doesn’t flinch. They usually get hysterical, actually.

    • Dinolindor

      I view getting family flu shots together like I view taking my kids (5 and 2 years old) with me to vote – it’s a lesson in civic duty.

    • That’s a great idea. We all get our flu shots but we do it piecemeal – clinics at my office and my husband’s campus, rolled into regular ped visits for the kids. I really like the idea of doing it together for solidarity (I don’t think they really know that mom and dad do it too), and like Dinolindor says below, civic duty. (I’m definitely taking the kids with me when I vote in November too.)

      • Mariana

        I never take my flu shots with my kids because I’m a big coward and hate shots. I don’t scream or cry out, but I shut my eyes very tightly and concentrate on breathing slowly so I don’t pass out from hyperventilation. I also make sure I tell the nurse I’m a big coward and will act ridiculously for the next few moments (just so the nurse doesn’t worry that he or she is hurting me… The shot doesn’t hurt, i just hate it). I’m sure it wouldn’t help my kids much to see me so beside myself because of a shot…
        Now… If you can act as a grown up during shots, then it’s probably a great idea to go with the kids, so they see it’s no big deal after all.m

        • I’m the same way about the dentist. My husband does all kid dentist appointments because I don’t want to pass my ridiculous anxiety along.

          • If I had kids, haircuts would be spouse’s job. I feel the same way about hair appointments that most people do about the dentist.

  • corblimeybot

    Who is this person and what the hell are they talking about?

    • Wren

      Was PubMed accepting posts in 1943? And every study was included in this literature review? Must’ve been LOOOOONG.

    • momofone

      That’s interesting. I don’t know about anyone else, but I didn’t see her post anything other than claims that diet and behavior are the sole contributor to chronic disease. No passages, etc.

      • corblimeybot

        This is the Phd whoever person, then? Pardon me if I missed that information somehow. I’ve never gotten the hang of Disqus.

        • momofone

          I think it is. This is the name she used the first day she commented if I’m not mistaken.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          No, that’s a different person.

        • Heidi

          I think it’s the same person.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            No, that’s someone else.

    • Sean Jungian

      So, uh, how did this comment give rise to the “I’ll only discuss sexism today” discussion-ender?

      • Heidi

        It’s Sexism Tuesday! I’m curious how she goes about her whole day only willing to discuss sexism with anyone? Maybe it’s my introverted ways, but most the time I’m pretty content with leaving it at pleasantries with most people I interact with on a daily basis.

        • Sean Jungian

          I see now that the OP was just continuing an argument she began on a different thread. I guess he or she felt no one was listening to her amazing take-down of Pro-Vaccination Sexist Memes.

    • Azuran

      I see Brooke still has no understanding of satire.

      • Sean Jungian

        “Omg yew guise “Dr.” Amy sez breastfeeding causes the Autismz, can you even??”

      • corblimeybot

        It’s a bit shocking how she consistently misreads satire.

        • Nick Sanders

          Best I can tell, she reads the post title, and on occasion the opening paragraph, then zooms down to comment.

      • Charybdis

        I don’t think Brooke understands much.

    • Nick Sanders

      And then there was the lady who said she’d rather be raped than vaccinated. I cannot fathom that kind of thinking.

      • corblimeybot

        You mean this complete insanity right here, I’m sure!

        • Nick Sanders

          That’s the one. She also posted this utter nonsense:
          https://www.facebook.com/skepticalob/posts/438237763013595

          • Heidi

            WTF?

          • Nick Sanders

            There’s a reason I responded with the Sokal paper.

          • Heidi

            I just realized you and I graduated from the same college.

          • Nick Sanders

            I never actually graduated. I ran out of money before finishing.

          • Heidi

            Ugh, when I see the “equal but different” tripe, I can’t help but be reminded of “separate but equal.”

        • Charybdis

          WTF is “cellular malnutrition”? I mean, I can figure out what it means literally, but what the bloody hell does she mean by it and for 50 years?

        • Kq

          What the whathefuck????

          • corblimeybot

            I know, right? I’ve seen a lot of these anti-vaxxers go off in strange directions, but this one was new to me.

      • Roadstergal

        I’ve been raped. I’ve been vaccinated. They’re a bit different…

        • Sonja Henie

          Wow! I’m sorry for the former. As for the latter, good for you!

          • Roadstergal

            The former seems distressingly common, the latter should be more common!

      • Gatita

        She’s mentally ill. Did you see her post where she describes what happened to her after she was vaccinated? I think she’s legitimately, diagnosably, DSM-listed cuckoo.

        • Sean Jungian

          I got as far as “Lost the ability to digest food for 14 years” and just kind of put it away…

        • Nick Sanders

          No, I didn’t see that one. Link, pretty please?

          • Gatita

            Edit: won’t link properly but screenshot below.

          • Gatita

            Screenshot below. It was a comment replying to herself on the “Would you ingest these chemicals?” post.

          • Nick Sanders
          • Heidi

            I thought people only subjected their poor dogs to the raw primal meat diet crap…but I guess I was wrong.

          • Michael McCarthy

            “Raw meat healed her?”
            If one didn’t read the thread and saw only this comment, it might read a little differently.
            Remember kids, wrap it up!

          • Sonja Henie

            You know what? There was no Tdap in 1998! Story discredited from the get-go.

          • Zen

            Of all the things that didn’t happen…this is the didn’t-happen-iest.

    • Jonathan Graham

      No idea who they are but they are probably talking about this:http://vaccineliberationarmy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Theoretical-Aspects-of-Autism-Causes-A-Review1.pdf

      This is a literature review in the sense that someone read a bunch of studies and tried to summarize it. I’d agree with Amy that this is not science. It’s someones opinion of what various studies say. Contrast this with an SR – systematic review. Where you have a set of clear search criteria, a set of elimination criteria and then an analysis of what remains.

      Why is one science and the other isn’t? One word: Replication

      Assuming that the criteria are clear and published. Anyone could repeat the findings of the SR. However someone could read all the same documents that the author of a literature review did and write an entirely different (or even opposite) article.