Congratulate me; I’m on the Anti-Vax Enemies List!!


You hate me! You really hate me!

I stand before you honored and deeply humbled that you have chosen to recognize my contributions to the world of science advocacy. It’s difficult to imagine a more meaningful affirmation of my body of writing than to find myself named to the Anti-Vax Enemies List.

It is such an honor because it shows that you really fear me, and you should. But this is not my victory alone. There are so many I must thank for without them I would never have reached this glorious day.

I’d like to thank my parents for valuing learning and condemning superstition and conspiracy theories. My parents did not have the luxury of an advanced education (my father was the first in his family to attend college, and he did so at night while he worked full time during the day to provide for his family). My parents showed me that education is the key to successfully avoiding the profound ignorance that is the bedrock of anti-vax advocacy.

I’d like to thank my teachers, from kindergarten on up through college and medical school. They truly gave me the world when they gave me basic knowledge of science, math and logical thinking. So many anti-vaxxers never received that and it is frightfully obvious.

Thank you to my college thesis adviser who let me work in his lab at the Shriner’s Burn Institute in Boston and taught me both how to conduct research and how to read and analyze the scientific literature.

Thank you to my science heroes whose example motivated me and my anti-pseudoscience heroes who showed me how to use the internet and social media to combat the ignorance, conspiracy theories, and unmerited sense of superiority so beloved of anti-vaxxers

My deepest thanks, though, belong the the patients that I had the privilege to care for. Sadly, while saving many lives, I saw first hand how belief in pseudoscience can kill people; ironically it killed people who turned to it because they desperately wanted to live.

And finally, I must thank the anti-vaxxers who created the list of 30,000 individuals who threaten the echo chambers that are critical to the dissemination of the collective paranoia and idiocy of the anti-vax brigade. Anti-vaxxers have created an alternative world of internal legitimacy complete with “experts,” books and products. It is a dark and deadly world deeply threatened by the sunlight of science and rational argument; hence the need for an enemies list in the first place.

Real science values open discussion as a critical component of scientific literacy; quacks, cranks and charlatans are afraid of open discussion and well they should be. When subject to science based, logical open discussion, anti-vax claims wither and anti-vaxxers are exposed as the fools that they are.

I am pleased, proud, and honored by their fear. I am thrilled to be recognized as an Anti-Vax Enemy and I pledge that going forward I will do everything possible to merit that distinction.