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Anti-vaccination—old religion writ new

Posted in Denialism by Skepdude on August 25, 2008


I’m rather angry.

Strike that.

I’m furious. Indescribably outraged. Disgusted.

The rise of the antivaccination cults is finally affecting public health. If you want details, go and read Orac, or Steve Novella, or some of my other writing. I’m too angry to deal with details today.

Infectious diseases have stalked us across the millennia. Centuries of advances, from sewerage to inoculation to vaccination have saved billions of people from death and disability due to infectious agents. Having a child used to mean joy tempered with fear—fear that one of the “men of death” would come for your child, leaving them scarred, paralyzed, deaf, mentally disabled, or dead.

We’ve been largely liberated from these fears. We are now free to fear obesity. We are free to worry about good schools, the environment, poverty. Infectious diseases aren’t the scourge they once were. Who would wish it otherwise?

There is a cult of infectious disease supporters out there, and they are winning. Before the days of vaccination, we could let ourselves believe that childhood diseases were acts of God, to be accepted as part of a normal life. Perhaps they were even deserved. Disease and death became integral to religious beliefs about sin and its wages.

The language has changed, but the message is the same. Infectious disease prevention is to be feared. It is against the natural order of things. Instead of “vaccines are against God’s will”, it’s now “vaccines are against Nature’s will.” They’re “unnatural”, not “green”. In the old vernacular, interfering with God’s will could lead to “bad things”, like flood, famine, or other divine punishment. In the new language, it leads to “autism”.

It’s the same old song. Anti-vaccination is simply a cult, with cult beliefs that stretch back thousands of years and are tied to a fear of interfering with the “natural order of things”.

If it were just a matter of these cultists endangering their own health it would be a moderate outrage. But their cult of infectious disease promotion is spreading disease. And their leaders are dangerous. In fact, they are more dangerous than a madman with a gun.

The health care community needs to speak up, but more importantly, politicians, preachers, and other leaders need to call these folks out, and show them for what they are…a bizarre, fringe religion who’s goal is the spread of infectious disease. The voices of the cultists must be drowned out by the voices of the rational. Perhaps then we can reverse the damage they have done to public health.



7 Responses

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  1. IG said, on August 25, 2008 at 11:09 PM

    Try watching
    Vaccination is good, it has saved us from many diseases, but that does not mean we vaccinate for anything and everything without even stopping to ask questions… questions about side effects, ingredients, etc. There have been many cases in US, Europe and Japan where Vaccines were recalled completely after years of use. Ask yourself, why?

    Vaccination has becomes more of a business than prevention these days, just like any other medicine. That’s where the problem is.

    Tell me this…
    1. Why did we stop using DTP and moved to DTaP? WHat’s the difference, and why the movement?
    2. Why is a Rubella vaccination is given to a Boy, when a Boy can never be pregnant?
    3. If vaccinations are so safe, why do we have a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program set up by congress?
    4. If vaccinations are so safe, what is ??

  2. Skepdude said, on August 26, 2008 at 2:17 PM

    I think you may be a little confused about this issue. Who ever claimed that we should “vaccinate for anything and everything without even stopping to ask questions… questions about side effects, ingredients, etc.”? I think before vaccines go public there are a whole bunch of people that look at all those things, to make sure the benefits outweigh the risk. I mean how many times do you read in the news that the FDA did not approve this or that drug or vaccine?

    Is the system foolproof? Of course not, recent developments have shown that. Wherever fraud is discovered it must be penalized and the system updated to incorporate measures to prevent it from happening again. But tell me of one system set up by human beings in this planet that is not susceptible to fraud? It is humans that are imperfect, humans that commit fraud and evil, and that we should guard against. Yes, if fraud is discovered let’s fight it to the end. But let’s not make shit up, just because a porn star (yes it is an ad hominem attack) says so.

    I think you’re committing a bit of a straw man here. No one is claiming that vaccines have no side effects. In fact they do, but for a small subset of all people receiving them, but that is so little that the benefits are judged to outweigh this risk.What is not shown though is that vaccines cause autism. That is baloney, the kind of bullshit that Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey have been propagating lately.

    Some effects are too subtle to show up in the short period the vaccine is tested before it goes public, and as far as I know that is the case with any and all drugs. There could be risks associated with long term use. There could be issues that will become evident only when large numbers of people are using the drug or vaccine.

    Stop asking me questions about DTP and DTaP and Rubella and the National Vaccine Injury, because I can’t answer them for you. You will have to go to your doctor to get those answers. The point is that, just as with anything else, there is a risk to using vaccines.No one is denying that. But the risk is so small compared to the benefit (all the billions of lives saved!) that we can’t stop vaccinating children because of that. I mean think of if, there is a possibility that my child (I have a 1 year old daughter) may be lactose intolerant, or be allergic to nuts. Does that mean I should engage in a “green our milk” or “green our peanuts” campaign? Should I go around telling all parents not to give nuts to their kids, because my kid gets really really sick from them? That would be kinda nuts, wouldn’t you think so?

    If you want real answers about vaccines go ask your doctor or pediatrician, stop searching the web for easy answers and conspiracy theories. Go get the real facts and studies and statistics, for yourself if you do not trust your doctor who is more of an expert in the area than any celebrity.

    We live in a world of probabilities, keep that in mind. Nothing is 100% sure, nothing. Even Jenny McCarthy’s stupid claim that vaccines cause autism has a probability of being true, a very very very very very very very small probability but we can never say with 100% certainty that she is wrong. We can say it with 99.9999999% certainty but there’s always that smidgen of uncertainty there.

  3. D. D. said, on December 2, 2008 at 3:28 PM

    I just watched a couple of videos by Dr. Len Horowitz. It is his contention that vaccinations are contaminated with pathogens that can cause a host of bizaare man-created diseases, including aids. I’m not saying that is true or false, but………. What if our government really has researched biological weaponry and has tested it on our citizens? What if aresearch facicility in Africa really is behind the aids epidemic in Africa?

  4. daniel said, on March 17, 2009 at 8:38 PM

    Vaccines may have cured a lot of people, so did medicine before
    becoming the realm of business people …
    Now the profit is on having people sick enough to need the
    doc and the hospital and the test etc etc BUT strong enough to keep working.
    Vaccines have become a multimillion dollar lobbyist moneymaking… I wont take the chance with MY kid..
    When he is older and stronger I will then allow maybe some shots..
    But not the crazy schedule that is recommended now..

  5. John Kelly said, on July 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    You’re an idiot. Vaccines have killed more than they’ve saved by a factor of 10. Ask Jonas Salk who said he gave more people polio than he saved from polio. Then add autism that did not exist before vaccinations – and then add the gamut of auto immune diseases also brought on by vaccines. Add Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Add SV40 if you have a clue what it is. And for the piece de resistance check out how vaccines are made with cervical cancer cells (Henrietta Lacks), chicken embryo’s, monkey kidney tissue culture et al.

  6. John Kelly said, on July 5, 2011 at 3:47 AM

    Skepdude is a disinformation junky. Why don’t you use your real name you coward.

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