The case against vaccines is clear, simple and wrong

55574510 - multiple road signs with text: wrong

It is a curious fact, seldom remarked upon, that all diseases purportedly caused by vaccination share certain common characteristics. Chief among these characteristics is that the cause of the disease purportedly caused by vaccuses is presently unknown.

Anti-vaxxers never claim that a particular vaccine causes heart disease, gall bladder disease, bone abnormalities or any of the myriad diseases for which causes are already known. They always insist that vaccines cause autism, vague “damage to the immune system” or unspecified neurologic injury.

The seduction of anti-vax belief

The characteristics of the vaccines themselves may vary (live attenuated, killed), the route of administration may vary (oral, injection), the characteristics of the diseases that they are designed to prevent may vary (everything from smallpox, to polio, to pertussis), but the characteristics of the diseases they supposedly cause are always the same.

Even the purported active agent may vary. The harmful ingredient might be the vaccine itself, the preservative, a contaminant, combinations of vaccines, the list is endless. But the purported harms always idiopathic, are particular dreaded, are typically diagnosed within years of childhood vaccinations, and are perceived to be on the increase.

In “All manner of ills”: The features of serious diseases attributed to vaccination, authors Leask, Chapman and Robbins explain:

The anti-vaccination movement claim many negative consequences from vaccination. High profile controversies have promoted hypotheses that vaccines were responsible for serious and dreaded diseases or disabilities with uncertain causes. Examples include encephalopathy from the pertussis vaccine in the UK in the 1970s and, more recently in the UK, autism from the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and, in France, multiple sclerosis from the hepatitis B vaccine…
Parental anxieties about fearful, mysterious diseases that threaten children foment receptive audiences for such claims. These causal attributions do not rely on the strength of evidence for asserting causal association but share a number of epidemiological and societal features in addition to the uncertain or idiopathic origin of the named diseases…

What are these characteristics?

Idiopathic nature (unknown cause):

Anti-vaccination writings tend to attribute causal connections between vaccination and diseases with idiopathic origin. Autism, asthma, multiple sclerosis, cancers, diabetes and Gulf War Syndrome have all baffled science and draw intense media interest when new claims about their origin arise. Their power comes from the suggestion that danger lurks in the familiar, with the sub-text that vaccines are modern day Trojan horses, promising prevention but disguising hidden threats.

Apparent rise in incidence:

Along with having idiopathic origin, diseases like autism and asthma appear to have increased in incidence in recent decades. Anti-vaccinationists allege this increase coincides with more vaccination.

… [C]onditions like autism lack concrete biochemical or clinical parameters, making them more prone to shifts in diagnostic criteria. The ongoing reappraisal of the diagnostic criteria for the autistic spectrum of disorders over recent decades has led to substantial uncertainty over whether a true increase in incidence exists or whether such diagnostic shifts represent an artifactual increase.

Dreaded outcomes:

Many of the ills attributed to vaccination have lethal, insidious or dreaded consequences. SIDS, autoimmune disorders and developmental disability are a few examples. Such qualitative components of dreaded diseases reduce the acceptability of even minute risks. Anti-vaccine groups or individuals appear to select fearful diseases for attribution to vaccines because of the potential impact of these messages. Dreaded diseases attract news media attention thus increasing the opportunity for the amplifications of the claims…

Temporal relationship to vaccination:

Some of the diseases most often attributed to vaccines become apparent in early childhood when many vaccines are given. In such cases, parents understandably search for an agent of blame, scouring their memories for events shortly before the illness. When parents apply post hoc ergo propter hoc (after therefore because of) reasoning, vaccination can become a compelling causal candidate. Reassurances exonerating vaccines are often met with dismay by those committed to their theory. For parents who may feel guilt, albeit unwarranted, about their child’s problem, vaccination is a graspable external cause…

These features are intuitively appealing to anti-vaxxers because they do not rely on scientific understanding, but appeal to “common sense.” In the words of sociologist Peter Bearman, writing in Just-so Stories: Vaccines, Autism, and the Single-bullet Disorder, anti-vaxxers tell “just so stories,” stories with simple explanations for complex phenomena.

This explains in part why anti-vaxxers are evidence-resistant. It seems not to matter how many studies disprove the purported link between vaccines and diseases like autism. Autism is a dread disease, with unknown and complex causes and an apparently rising incidence. It is far more reassuring to pretend that autism has a simple and easily addressed cause, than to acknowledge that it can strike any child, cannot be prevented and cannot be cured.

These findings have implications for the way in which we as a society address anti-vaxxers. The most straightforward course is to provide more education on vaccination and the science underlying vaccination. When people truly understand immunology, they do not invoke spurious relationships between vaccines and dread diseases.

Unfortunately, not everyone will respond to scientific information. Given the seductive nature of anti-vax belief, physicians and public health officials should also address the underlying errors of thought that occur among anti-vaxxers. Complex diseases do not have simple causes, just because the incidence of a disease is rising and vaccination has risen does not mean that vaccines cause autism, just because a disease is diagnosed after vaccination does not mean that vaccination caused the disease.

Anti-vaxxers need to heed H.L. Menken’s famous dictum: For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

For the complex problem of autism and similar diseases, vaccination is the answer that is clear, simple … and tragically wrong.

  • Rhybellious

    I apologize in advance if this rant deteriorates into a string of expletives. I’ve posted before about my son being medically complex and special needs. My daughter, now almost two was a 31+ 4 preemie. Vaccination is a big deal in our house. As a result of my son’s intensive needs, we qualify for in home health aides. From the very beginning, it has always been clear that we will not accept a caregiver who is not current on their vaccinations, including flu. Period. Full stop. We had the same caregivers for three years although if one of them was sick or needed the day off the agency was unable to provide a backup due to my “unusual requirements”. (I will digress for a moment to say that I think it’s absolutely crazy that home health care workers are not required to be vaccinated by Washington state.)

    During one of our annual home visits, the manager of the agency informed me that it was very “unfair” of me to refuse a non vaccinated caregiver because vaccination is a “personal choice” and maybe if I “did my research” I would understand it better. This made our difficulties in finding a vaccinated caregiver more clear. Thankfully, I only needed to deal with this woman a couple times a year.

    Our evening caregiver decided to go back to school so they needed to find a replacement. I again informed the agency that we would only accept a caregiver who was current on vaccination (my husband and I have also offered to reimburse caregivers the cost of the vaccination or copay) or willing to get up to date. We were told that they had found a caregiver for us, but she was having trouble finding her vaccination records as she had just moved. I pointed out that she should be able to get these from her doctor. They agreed that she would get the records, but that until she had them she would wear universal precautions (gown,mask and gloves). While I would have preferred that she be contained in a full hazmat suit, I was willing to accept the universal precautions as a temporary measure until we got the records. I gave them a two week window to get me the records.

    Cue the caregiver showing up for her first day. No universal precautions. No vax records. Therefore, no entry into my home. As a result, we have been “fired” from the agency, ironically because they admit they cannot provide safe care for my son….. They have fired us, despite the fact that our day caregiver is fully vaccinated. My son is devastated at the thought of losing a person who has been a part of his life for over three years. Although the letter doesn’t specify that the safety issue is their unwillingness to make an effort to find a vaccinated caregiver, that is the only safety issue.

    What makes me livid about this is that these home health agencies work with a vulnerable population- the elderly and the disabled. The fact that they are not required to be vaccinated is infuriating and the fact that this particular agency manager has the ability to actively risk client health and safety due to her “research” disgusts me.

    • Stephanie Rotherham

      I’m so sorry it’s such a difficulty. What blasted idiots, especially that manager; I hope they haven’t killed someone by now.

      • Rhybellious

        Honestly, this is what scares me the most- The fact that they are working with a vulnerable population. They very easily could kill a client with flu or pertussis especially. When we first began receiving these services I was really surprised by the fact that there are no health related requirements for home care workers other than a negative TB test. You would think that vaccination would be required, not only to protect the clients, but also to protect the caregivers- these are people whose job frequently requires them to be in contact with bodily fluids. The potential for hep b transmission is huge. Another peeve of mine about this agency is that caregivers are given five pairs of gloves each week, per client. I found this out when I found a caregiver washing a set of gloves. Needless to say, I started ordering boxes of gloves so that my caregivers were never in that position again.

        I know that we aren’t the only family that has had significant issues with this agency, but the reality that finding home health care workers who are comfortable working with special needs kids is difficult. The managers know they can get away with extremely unprofessional behavior, because there are not many agencies in our area that do pediatrics and because hiring a caregiver independently is so difficult.

        • Irène Delse

          This is terrible. Can you and the other affected families at least make it public, so as to warn potential victims?

          • Rhybellious

            One of the things that I think has made this particular agency so egregious and arrogant is that where we live there simply aren’t a lot of companies that do pediatric care. I may be able to give them some reviews that bring this up, but I’m pretty wary of going public as far as the paper or something like that is concerned from the standpoint of violating my son’s privacy. It’s one thing to talk in a general way on a public page, but detailed info and his/ our names concerns me, especially given that the anti vaccine crazy is strong in our state.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            If it’s a private company, contact the Better Business Bureau. They promised their carer would come properly protected,and it didn’t happen.

        • Roadstergal

          …fucking hellz.

          • Rhybellious

            That is a good summation.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Another peeve of mine about this agency is that caregivers are given
          five pairs of gloves each week, per client. I found this out when I
          found a caregiver washing a set of gloves. Needless to say, I started
          ordering boxes of gloves so that my caregivers were never in that
          position again.

          While that was nice of you, it is wrong.

          A caregiver washing a set of gloves is committing a serious health violation.

          Who is the regulating body for this place? Are they certified by the FDA or HHS? I doubt that is OSHA, but it could be. The company is not adequately equipping their staff with safety equipment.

          Is this in the US?

          This is bad, very bad.

          • Rhybellious

            I had not thought of reporting them to OSHA, that’s a really good point. I am reporting to the state and local health department. We are in Washington state.

          • Daleth

            Are they funded through Medicare or Medicaid? Or through your insurance? Whoever funds them, report to them too.

    • Roadstergal

      Ugh, that gives me all of the RAGE! What a horrible piece of work that asshole manager is. >:(

    • MaineJen

      This was the *manager* of a home healthcare agency? My god. That doesn’t speak well at all of their hiring standards.

    • Anonymous

      God where is this? I would appeal this. They have no right to endanger your child.

      • Rhybellious

        We can make a complaint to the state, but we can’t really appeal it, because in essence they are admitting that they cannot safely take care of my son….. Which is not true as far as our current caregiver during the day and it doesn’t address the reasons why. We are in Washington state and at this point the law does not require those workers to be vaccinated. I am planning on writing to the state health department, but I don’t have a lot of confidence that it will change anything.

    • shay simmons

      At the very least can you complain to the county health department?

    • Charybdis

      I asked my Safety Officer if she had any ideas on who to complain to about your situation. (She had a daughter with CF and knows healthcare and lab safety). She said to contact the State Health Department, not the County Health Department (Google if necessary to find contact info) and find the Home Health contact information. Raise holy hell there about your situation and that it is unacceptable for home health workers to be cavalier and/or ignorant of caring safely for vulnerable populations. She said you would *probably* get better response from the State Health Department because stuff like this puts their Federal Funding in jeopardy.

      I would be inclined to gird my loins and report to Medicare, Medicaid (if applicable), OSHA, State and Federal representatives (Congress and Senate), possibly even a lawyer. Our local news station here has a “viewer advocate” type reporter who gets involved in stories such as this, and in things like “I paid the contractor $5000 for a new roof, but as you can see, I still have a blue tarp over the hole in my roof and I can’t get the contractor to talk to me/return my phone calls and I’ve been fighting them for 10 months”. Does one of your news stations have something similar? I know you probably don’t want to be a pain in the ass and splash your issues all over the public, but if they are doing this to you, they are probably doing it to others as well. Other vulnerable people who are being jeopardized by their inadequate “help” and “health care” and they shouldn’t be able to get away with it.

    • guest

      That makes me so mad for you and your family. Aside from how you should be able to request specific things because they meet the specific needs of the person who needs an aid, it shouldn’t be at all hard for an agency to find a person who is fully vaccinated or willing to catch up on a lapsed TDap or flu shot because the majority of adults in the US *already are* fully vaccinated. Anti-vaxxers are loud, but not anything like a majority. They could pick at random and have at least an 80% chance of meeting your needs.

  • Laura J

    So what do you think, this law proposal…just curious! I know it will be a busy thread.
    http://www.naturalnews.com/055211_vaccine_injuries_California_proposed_law.html

    • Nick Sanders

      I’m not giving Natural News my pageviews, got another source?

      • Stephanie Rotherham

        Ugh, I wish I hadn’t.

        • Roadstergal

          Give me a NaturalNews link to click once, shame on you. I click on a NaturalNews link twice, shame on me…

          • Heidi

            I usually manage to catch myself before I click on Natural News, plus it’s so conspicuously named, you know before you even click on it that it’s a bunch of crap. However, I have accidentally clicked the Center for Food Safety, confusing it with foodsafety.gov where you can read about real safety concerns and recalls and there’s cdc.news, a place I imagine Ron Roy and Diet Dee frequent.

    • Azuran

      Any kind of worthy vaccine reaction would warrant a doctor visits, if you want to make it public, you should make it mandatory for doctors to report any possible vaccine reaction, have those reaction evaluated by specialist and only those that are valid should be made public.
      Reports of such should not be taken from Vaers as it is known that half of the claims are false and it requires no proof.
      I would suggest putting emphasis in talking to your doctor if you think you are having a vaccine reaction. (you are, after all, unlikely to win a legal case without a doctor confirming your reaction)

      As for the vaccine compensation. It depends on how lax they are with their compensation. Do you need a decisive proof, a reasonable proof or just a ‘meh, maybe?’ to get compensated? Who decides who gets compensated, is it a normal judge? a jury of normal people? or a panel of experts on vaccines?

      And on the other hand, I guess to make it fair, we’d have to also put out all the people who get VPD and all the complication they have from those VPD.

    • Irène Delse

      Natural News. ‘Nuff said!

    • Sonja Henie-Spinning Jenny!

      Well it starts out with a lie, that California became the first state to remove religious exemptions. W VA and Mississippi have long had them. I didn’t read much further.

  • Fleur

    I would have so much more respect for the morons who recently graffitied anti-vax slogans all over the front of our local surgery if they could actually spell “vaccine” correctly. Heck, if they could just adopt one spelling and stick to it.

    …actually, no, I’d still think they were morons, but at least they’d be morons who could spell.

  • Kelly

    Just got the baby’s 12 month shots plus her flu shot and was able to get the other two their flu shots since they were there. This has been the earliest that we have been able to get flu shots for the kiddos and I am very happy that I do not have to go to another nurse appointment to get them. Poor baby got five shots and a finger prick all in day. She will probably sleep well for the next 24 hours. Now, my husband and I need to go get ours and we will be set.

    • AA

      If you live in the US, a lot of pharmacy and big box store chains give you rewards for getting a flu shot there (assuming you live in a state where PharmDs can give vax)

      • Kelly

        Oh, they do. I am going to Target because they have a $5 gift card. I just have to go when I have enough time to get it. My oldest is in half-day kindergarten and it takes them a long time to get all the paperwork together to get my a shot.

        • Sonja Henie-Spinning Jenny!

          Also, a lot of those places won’t do little kids. Here, a big grocery chain will only do 9 and up.

          • Kelly

            I figured that out the hard way. Luckily, at the last doctor’s appointment for two of my kids, they already had the flu shot out and so I got all three done. Otherwise, I have to keep calling to find out when they have it and then make a nurses appointment. I can see why it is hard to get little kid’s flu shots and go without. It is a lot easier for adults.

  • MaineJen

    Typo in 1st paragraph: “vaccuses” should be vaccines.

    • Rhybellious

      Vaccuses sounds like it could be defined as “the unscientific reasons giving for refusing vaccines and endangering ones community.”

  • The persistent belief (and it is part of a “belief system”) that vaccines cause [insert medical condition here] is very harmful to those who have, and the parents of those who have [insert medical condition here], for a reason that doesn’t get talked about that often:

    If the family buys into the hype about vaccines, there could be a lot of pain and resentment if the parents think they “caused” the disorder. And with such doubts in their minds, they’re not going to have much trust left in the medical profession.

    If the family understands the science and rejects anti-vax arguments, they still have to deal with judgement and the “concern” of strangers who don’t share their appreciation of the evidence.
    I’m a scientist, and have experience in determining what constitutes good evidence, and what doesn’t. But the rest of my family are caring and well-meaning, yet uneducated. They often regurgitate health scare stories from the D*ily M*il et al, and seem flummoxed when I counter this with evidence-based reasoning. A common factor is their belief that The Establishment is “hiding something” from them (but fortunately they have seen through it!), and this often manifests itself in them blaming other things on illnesses that *just happen*. They look for a cause, even when there isn’t one, or it’s just “bad luck”.
    I think this happens because the poor education they received has left them in a place with few opportunities to improve their lives. They often talk about the system “being against them” (which is true is some ways), and I wonder if turning to “alternative” sources of information gives them a sense of control over their lives?

    • Barzini

      What’s the safe limit for injection of aluminium into a new born baby on it’s first day of life in your opinion?

      • Roadstergal

        Ah, yes. Safe exposure limits are notoriously a matter of opinion. What, in your opinion, is the V1 of that United 747 over at SFO this morning?

        • Barzini

          It’s a genuine question, what is the safe limit for injection of aluminium into a baby on it’s first day of life?

          I presume you know – I don’t

          • Azuran

            No one know, because no half decent human being would inject aluminum into a newborn baby until it dies. You freaking fucktard.
            However, we do know that we have been giving those vaccines to those babies for years and that they have not died from aluminum toxicity.

          • Barzini

            Are you seriously claiming that we don’t know the safe limit for injection of aluminium into babies?

            Seriously? You are actually stating that?

          • Chant de la Mer

            There is a limit, we can’t test what that limit is because doing so would KILL someone. So no we don’t know what the actual limit is because we can’t test to it. We do know that what is being given currently is under the limits because no one is getting sick or dying from the aluminum, but again we don’t know what the absolute upper limit is although we can estimate what that level is.

          • Barzini

            Surely there’s a safety limit?

            Surely, there’s a limit as to how many aluminium shots a doctor would give a baby on anyone visit?

            The 5mcg/kg/day limit comes up very frequently

            Here’s one source http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208446/

          • Azuran

            We have vaccine schedules, doctors are following these schedule and we know those are safe.
            Doctors are not giving 20 shots at the same visit, so there is no need to know if 20 shots is dangerous.

          • Barzini

            Awesome logic, so scientific

          • MB

            OMG, this is absurdity. It doesn’t have to be scientific to be common sense. It’s like needing to know how many eggs a person can eat before they explode. “What is the upper limit of human capacity for eggs?” Who cares. Nobody’s eating enough eggs to explode. Why would we stuff a person full of eggs enough to kill them just to find out “how much”. If it’s not killing people, than what the fuck? Who cares?

            I should’ve premised this with the fact that I was literally just watching Cool Hand Luke yesterday. Whatev – Still relevant.

          • Barzini

            OMG you are comparing injecting aluminium into a new born baby with eating eggs

            This is beyond parody – this comment is golden

          • Azuran

            This comment is a reflection of your own stupidity. That’s how stupid you are being.

          • Charybdis

            They. Are. NOT. Injecting. Aluminum. Why. Can’t. You. Grasp. This. Simple. Concept.?

          • Mrs.Katt the Cat
          • Charybdis

            Would you care for a mint?

          • Hmm….intuitively, I figure we can compensate by using the NOAEL levels. But that doesn’t seem right somehow in another way because at some point, yes, you have a stomachache. You just ate like 200 servings of *anything*

          • Azuran

            No one ever died after being injected with aluminum. So it’s not a problem that exist. We don’t NEED to know how much we can safely inject. It would be a totally useless number that would have absolutely no purpose.

          • Barzini

            Ladies and Gentleman: I present you with Azuran – a leading proponent of Science Based Medicine

            Please please tell me you do not work in healthcare

          • Azuran

            Nice way to avoid answering my question. You just have no argument.

          • Chant de la Mer

            Sure there’s a limit, a limit of zero, since doctors don’t give aluminum shots. They give immunizations or medicine via injection.

          • Barzini

            Ah, thanks for clearing that up for me

            I’ll now rest easy as the doctor injects 250mcg of aluminium into my one day old child

          • Azuran

            Which has not been shown to cause any type of harm. But keep being paranoid and hope your baby never needs antibiotic, because they don’t have the safety limit of those on newborn either.

          • Roadstergal

            Have you ever seen a microgram?

          • demodocus

            Can you see a microgram?

          • Nick Sanders

            Well, if it were a microgram of hydrogen at STP, it’s be about a 90th of a mL. So, if your eyesight were really good or you had a decent magnifying glass, maybe?

          • demodocus

            lol, i thought it was something like that

          • Barzini, please find a paperclip.

            Now, please imagine slicing it in a thousand pieces.

            Take 250 of them. How big is that amount?

          • MaineJen
          • Azuran

            Yes I am. Because finding it would require to KILL BABIES.
            Aluminum intoxication is not a problem that exist, so we do not need to know the exact number. only that our current numbers are safe.

          • Barzini

            So there’s no limit on how much aluminum can be injected into a new born baby?

          • Azuran

            seeing as there are no ‘aluminum injection’ no, there is no need for a limit on how much you can inject aluminum. No one is randomly injecting aluminum into babies
            There is, however, a limit to how much aluminum can be into any kind of medical product, including vaccine, and that limit is recognized as safe.

          • Nick Sanders

            That’s not what Azuran said, and you damn well know it.

          • Barzini

            So there is a limit, but we don’t know what it is?

          • MaineJen
          • Azuran

            see, when you really put your mind to it, even you can understand stuff.

          • Barzini

            Do you think knowing this limit would be useful?

          • Azuran

            No it wouldn’t
            All current medication used that contain aluminum have been shown to be safe with the amount they contain.
            Knowing at what exact dose it starts to become toxic would not have any practical use. And the price to obtain this useless number is way ridiculous.

          • Charybdis

            No, what the hell for?

          • Why on earth would knowing the limit of elemental aluminium be at all useful wrt to vaccines?

          • MaineJen
          • Barzini

            Now’s who’s derailing

            I have a genuine question about what the safe aluminum injection limit is for a new born baby

            So far one guy has got back to me, providing a study on premature babies which showed neurological damage at a level some where above 400 mcg

            That’s it, that’s all we have so far

            If you have a problem with me asking this question (even though you don’t know the answer) just ignore me – I won’t be offended

          • Roadstergal

            I gave you a paper that addresses your question directly. It’s not my fault you won’t read it.

            If you don’t want the simple answer – which we’ve often given you – you’re going to have to learn a little about modeling and PK.

            If you don’t trust the pilot to know when V1 is, you can’t argue about it without taking quite a lot of flight school.

          • MaineJen

            Lol. Sorry, I stopped taking you seriously when you flat out refused (“didn’t have time”) to read the links that answered your repeated question. I can only conclude that you aren’t here for a rational discussion, so I’m responding in kind. Cheers!

          • Roadstergal

            Read this paper. It will answer your questions.
            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X11015799

          • Barzini

            Could you not just give me the answer?

          • Roadstergal

            The simple answer is ‘way, way, way less than a kid will ever be exposed to by diet and vaccination.’

            But you don’t like the answer.

            So read the paper.

          • Barzini

            The FDA has safe limit of 5mcg per kg per day

            Another poster here linked to a study where premature babies showed signs of neurological harm at a dose some where over 400mcg

            We don’t seem to know the limit at which neurological damage starts to occur in non premature babies

          • Roadstergal

            Read the paper. It will address your questions.

            Why do you focus on aluminum in these conversations, since you don’t vaccinate at all, even with all the vaccines that don’t have Al?

          • Barzini

            I’ll try reading the paper when I have time

            I would really appreciate you summarizing the findings though

          • Roadstergal

            We did summarize the findings. The exposure in vaccination and diet is way below what’s safe.

          • swbarnes2

            I think that you are so dishonest, you won’t even read the paper. So far, you are confirming my hypothesis.

          • Barzini

            you aren’t answering my questions either

          • Roadstergal

            We did. Multiple times and with multiple phraseologies.

            The aluminum burden of vaccines has been shown to be far below what has been demonstrated both directly and via modeling to be safe levels of aluminum exposure.

          • Azuran

            The FDA also says that the level of aluminum in vaccine is totally safe.

          • Nick Sanders
          • 5mcg per kg per day. Vaccines aren’t given every day.

      • MaineJen

        Congratulations on derailing what would have been a thoughtful and interesting conversation. The fact that you seem stuck on this one particular point (which has been answered for you, several times over, on this thread and the other one) tells me that you don’t know enough to ask competent questions, or to understand the answers when they’re given to you. I feel sorry for you, and for your kids. Now please, go away and let the adults talk.

      • shay simmons

        You have brought this up before, and been answered. Are you a slow learner?

      • J.B.

        Bless your heart, sweetie. There are some terms you might want to familiarize yourself with: acute and chronic. Acute = something that will drop you dead or at least make you very sick today, chronic = something that might possibly have an effect over a long period of time.

        Antibiotics can be toxic in too high doses or someone has an allergic reaction. But would you argue against treating a raging bacterial infection in a newborn? I suppose you might if you didn’t care about that newborn.

        When you argue against vaccines, I hear that exact same don’t give a crap for that newborn.

    • Roadstergal

      I thought about this a lot when I read “Voodoo Histories.” The author traced many common conspiracy theories – their history and obvious debunking – but also wanted to try to address the idea of why people believe in a Shadowy Cabal when the reality is not only more in tune with Occam’s Razor, but also gives one much greater insight into the lessons of history.

      One thing he came up with that makes a lot of sense to me is the power of narrative. It’s scary and makes you feel helpless that things Just Happen – that a man can just go buy a gun and shoot the president, that a beautiful and talented actress can have demons that cause her to overdose on drugs. It makes people feel comforted to know there’s a reason – even if the reason is a Shadowy Evil Cabal. He quoted Mamet (not a playwright I’m fond of, but I liked the quoted writings) about people’s desire for Narrative, for a tale of the world that makes it make sense. Your kid doesn’t have severe autism or GBS because bad luck happens sometimes, it’s because of the Evil Cabal of pharmaceutical companies. Your gran doesn’t have AD because we live longer than we ever evolved to live, and neurodegeneration can be cruel, but because of Evil Cabal.

      • Stephanie Rotherham

        Interesting- we all have our own self centered narratives, and are often guilty of the belief in a Just and Fair world. It’s easier to cope with blame than random chance.

  • MichelleJo

    Practically the same criteria could be applied to what alternative medicine claim to fix. The list usually includes their ability to heal or reduce symptoms in conditions where it is hard to gauge improvement, and cure cannot be decisively defined. And if there is improvement, it may well have happened anyway or could be contributed to other factors. Illnesses and conditions like MS, cancer, Chrone’s desease, “menstrual disorders” to name a few. They never claim to heal appendicitis, DVTs, club foot or impacted wisdom teeth. These need urgent or specific intervention, the success of which is immediate and/or obvious. They too, favour conditions that have a broad spectrum and shifting criteria for diagnosis. And thirdly, they claim to cure illnesses that are feared the most, preying on desperate patients who will try anything. The Royal Hospital of Homeopathy in London has a telling sign at the entrance. “This Hospital does not have an Accident and Emergency Department.” And not due to lack of funds..

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      As noted at Lourdes, there are glasses and crutches that have been tossed away, but no artificial limbs….

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Re: Temporal relationship to vaccination

    I’ve mentioned before how this is really a thorn in the side of anti-vaxxers, and reveals their true colors.

    Recall that the initial concerns about the MMR vaccine were actually semi-legit, at least in terms of the association, because of the temporal relationship. Kids get MMR shots and then develop symptoms. While there are lots of possible explanations, the MMR vaccine was among them.

    So it was investigated. And investigated more. And more. And it was found that there is not a relationship.

    In an honest world, that would have been good. But anti-vaxxers aren’t honest. Remember, to them it’s not about finding the causes of autism, it’s about the vaccine. So if it’s not MMR, it must be some other vaccine.

    But why? Remember, the only reason to suspect MMR was the temporal association. But the other vaccines DON’T HAVE the temporal association, so why suspect them? For anti-vaxxers, it has to be vaccines, regardless of whether there is any reason to suspect them.

  • Nick Sanders

    In the second sentence, you wrote “vaccuses” instead of “vaccines”.

    Good article, though.

  • Mel

    If refusing vaccinations actually reduced autism risk, that should be easy enough to show by looking at the risk of autism among non-vaccinating families compared to vaccinating families.

    Of course, it would have to be a HUGE reduction in risk to make up for the fact that there seems to be a genetic component since the non-identical twin risk of ASD when their twin is affected is 0-30% compared to 36%-95% for identical twins.

    I also wonder how many of the anti-vaxx parents can conceptualize that the increase in number of diagnosed cases of autism may very well be an artifact of better awareness of ASD at the societal level. My husband’s family has a fairly robust number of individuals (25% based on my rough estimate) who have a diagnosis of high-functioning autism or act just like so-and-so who does have a diagnosis. Did this simply crop up in the last generation? According to our neighbors, nope. It’s always been chalked up to being a family personality quirk; this family had more “odd” or “high-strung” people than most.

    • Sue

      Regarding the disproven autism link, it’s also worth understand the extent of Wakefield’s malpractice:

      http://briandeer.com/solved/slapp-amended-declaration.pdf

    • Dr Kitty

      A family was *convinced* that the emergency CS caused their eldest child’s autism.
      So second child was a hospital VBAC.
      Second child diagnosed with autism, worse than first child.
      Must be vaccines.
      Third child, unmedicated hospital VBAC, extended breast feeding, no vaccines.
      Third child diagnosed with multiple food allergies and ASD.
      Must be hospital birth and CIO.
      Fourth child HBAC, no vaccines, EBF, full on AP.
      Guess what fourth child is now exhibiting signs of?
      You guessed it, and it was picked up early because being worn/ held/ slept beside makes this kid very unhappy.

      Clearly, this couple just make neurologically atypical kids, largely, I suspect, because the parents are somewhat atypical themselves (although not diagnosed).
      However, their current theory is that the mother’s vaccines “injured” the kids.

      • J.B.

        Hah. With my spectrum adjacent kid, family members have blamed themselves for her genetics. It comes from all sides, trust me!

      • Azuran

        I like how they blame the c-section itself, and not whatever caused them to need the c-section.

        • Guest

          Like macrosomia from ASD.

      • Roadstergal

        “However, their current theory is that the mother’s vaccines “injured” the kids.”

        Orac’s rule – it’s ALWAYS the vaccines. :p

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Is this Kim Stagliano?

      • sdsures

        What if the parents were just deep in the woo?

  • Gatita

    The post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning is something I’ve been thinking about recently after watching old videos of our son. He has various developmental challenges and may be on the autism spectrum (depends on which specialist we speak with). When he was very young we didn’t know anything was going on but in retrospect and with a lot more info and experience under our belts, his quirks leap out at us from those old videos. If we’d known what to look for we would’ve see weird things going on pretty much from birth. That’s why I’m don’t believe it when parents claim their kids went from normal to autistic overnight after the shots. More likely the kid was exhibiting autistic traits all along but the parents didn’t catch on until they became too obvious to overlook.

    • Wren

      My nephew is on the spectrum. He is an only child. My sister and brother-in-law spent a long time claiming he was perfectly normal until X or Y, but honestly the rest of the family saw a pretty big difference between my nephew and my son (who is 6 months older) from early on. I can see how she didn’t see them so much though, especially as he was her first.

    • Dinolindor

      I’ve been thinking about this recently, too, because my daughter is in the middle of getting evaluated for autism. She doesn’t have any of the same symptoms that clued us into our son’s diagnosis, and so I was very skeptical when his doctor suggested our daughter be evaluated too. Yet, now that we’ve had EI do an evaluation and are halfway through the psychologist’s I am much less skeptical of the idea that she could be on the spectrum as well. And here I was an outspoken person on the “it’s called a spectrum for a reason” wagon – I got totally fooled as well because my daughter is showing completely different signs than my son ever did! They’re so night and day on everything that we assumed that it was because he’s on the spectrum and she’s neurotypical, but most likely that’s not why at all. And to boot, it wasn’t until after she turned 1 year and we noticed she wasn’t speaking or else losing the few words she had, that we thought she should be evaluated for something. If I had different leanings, I can absolutely see how easily it would be to say “it was the MMR!” or whatever else, versus we couldn’t access this information until certain milestones were met or missed.

      • sdsures

        Has anyone ever been “de-diagnosed” with autism? As in, the diagnosis was retracted for lack of evidence?

        • Wren

          I thought Jenny McCarthy’s son was, but maybe I imagined that.

          • Dinolindor

            I believe he was re-diagnosed with something different, but I’m not sure.

        • Dinolindor

          Based on the packet of information I was given yesterday when my daughter was formally diagnosed as on the spectrum, apparently yes. I think it was cased in language that suggests it’s more about the person having adequate coping mechanisms to interact with the world in expected ways or something, rather than a “cure” from autism. The claim was from Autism Speaks, and I dunno, I distrust that organization. (Can anyone with more knowledge of them give me their opinion of the organization?)

        • Squillo

          IIRC, there have been studies in which kids previously diagnosed were re-evaluated years later and “lost” the diagnosis–in other words, were largely indistinguishable from their typically developing peers on measures used to diagnosed ASDs.

    • Roadstergal

      Wasn’t that actually demonstrated for one of the Omnibus cases? The family said their daughter was neurotypical until the vaccines, but early home videos showed evidence of ASD behaviors…

      Also, I’ve mentioned it before, but anti-vaxxers won’t be happy until vaccines _actively prevent_ everything that is diagnosed in children around the time vaccines are given.

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    “Anti-vaxxers never claim that a particular vaccine causes heart disease, gall bladder disease, bone abnormalities or any of the myriad diseases for which causes are already known. They always insist that vaccines cause autism, vague “damage to the immune system” or unspecified neurologic injury.”

    Hardly surprising since they also deny the permanent and myriad injuries caused by viruses and bacteria that vaccines prevent.

  • sdsures

    Great article.

    Question: why is it “neurologic problems” that AVs seem to focus on as being “caused by vaccines”?

    • Irène Delse

      Because disorders that threaten one’s ability to think, talk, walk and do various everyday acts is more frightening than just the possibility of death? You only die once, but you can be impaired for life with damage to the brain.

      • sdsures

        Somehow, I manage.

    • Azuran

      probably because there are a lot of grey area in neurology and surrounding the causes of many neurological diseases. So it’s easier to peddle their crap there.

    • Sue

      Two main reasons, in my view.

      First, parents struggling with developmental or behavioural issues in their kids are very vulnerable. They have parenting stress, uncertainty about diagnosis, and feel threatened by the idea that conditions like autism might be genetic – as if it is their fault for having “passed it on”. This, in the context of scientific uncertainty about cause. There is a strong temptation to be “validated” by having an external locus of blame, especially if feeling disempowered. It is fashionable for that locus of blame to be wealthy drug manufacturers or powerful professionals.

      Second, Wakefield has given fuel to the fire. You can read the extent of his malpractice here:
      http://briandeer.com/solved/slapp-amended-declaration.pdf
      He has cleverly re-marketed himself as a martyr to the cause.

      • sdsures

        Oh, can we burn him at the stake, then? Pleeeeease?

        • Charybdis

          I’ll bring the pitchforks, you bring the torches!

    • Amy M

      Maybe some of it is that caring for a neurologically disabled child (depending on severity of course) can be very expensive—maybe some of these parents are looking to sue someone who has money so they can afford treatment.

      Plus, there are a lot of people who can’t handle : “We don’t know yet” as an answer. All those intelligent design people for example—“science hasn’t found the answer yet” isn’t acceptable, so they fill in the blank with “God did it.” In the case of sick children, “the vaccines did it.” It’s easier to control fear and function day to day, if you can pin the fear to something that is concrete and easy to avoid.

      • sdsures

        I’ve heard of some parents suing their OBs because their child was found to have cerebral palsy. (My parents weren’t that silly; good for them!)

      • sdsures

        How CP affects a child sometimes cannot be known until the child develops more. ie how are his muscles functioning? Balance? etc when he walks.