You are viewing an obsolete version of the DU website which is no longer supported by the Administrators. Visit The New DU.
Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Science-Based Medicine: What does “anti-vaccine” really mean? [View All]

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Health Donate to DU
HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-11 11:23 PM
Original message
Science-Based Medicine: What does “anti-vaccine” really mean?
Advertisements [?]
Edited on Sat Jan-29-11 11:29 PM by HuckleB


Before I try to define “anti-vaccine” in more detail, I should take a moment to point out that, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in nearly six years blogging about vaccines and the pseudoscience used to attack them, it’s that no one — well, almost no one — considers himself “anti-vaccine.” This is very easily verifiable in the outraged reaction elicited from people like J.B. Handley (who simultaneously gloats about the decline in confidence in vaccines among parents), Jenny McCarthy, and Dr. Jay Gordon when they are described as “anti-vaccine. Jenny McCarthy, for instance, will reliably retort, “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine.’ I’m pro-safe vaccine.” An alternative response is, “What I really am is ‘anti-toxins’ in the vaccines.” Meanwhile, Dr. Gordon will say the same thing while simultaneously saying that he doesn’t give a lot of vaccines and foolishly admitting in the comments of a blog post that some parents have actually had to persuade him to vaccinate “reluctantly.”

The rule that those holding anti-vaccine views will rarely admit that they are anti-vaccine is a good one, although there are exceptions. It is not uncommon to find in the comments of anti-vaccine propaganda blogs like Age of Autism and anti-vaccine mailing lists comments proclaiming explicit anti-vaccine views loud and proud, with declarations that “I am anti-vaccine.” This dichotomy has at times caused problems for the more P.R.-savvy members of the anti-vaccine movement, as demonstrated two years ago at Jenny McCarthy’s “Green Our Vaccines” rally, where images of vaccines as toxic waste and weapons of mass destruction were commonplace. Even so, the “Green Our Vaccines” slogan and coopting the “vaccine safety” mantle have been very effective for the anti-vaccine movement. In particular, Barbara Loe Fisher has successfully portrayed her National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) as being a “vaccine safety watchdog” group looking out for parents’ rights, this despite hosting an online memorial for vaccine victims and a deceptive and disingenuous vaccine ingredient calculator.


Distinguishing true anti-vaccine rhetoric from cluelessness is not always easy. To help, I’ll recap the eight characteristics I’ve just discussed:

1. Claiming to be “pro-safe vaccine” while being unrelentingly critical about vaccines
2. The “vaccines don’t work” gambit
3. The “vaccines are dangerous” gambit
4. Preferring anecdotes over science and epidemiology
5. Cherry picking and misrepresenting the evidence
6. The copious use of logical fallacies in arguing
7. Conspiracy mongering
8. Trying to silence criticism, rather than responding to it

Someone who is anti-vaccine will almost certainly use at least three or four of these techniques. The cranks at Age of Autism use all eight and then some. Indeed, when these eight techniques fail to suffice, they make up more.



This piece shows the phenomenon quite well. It can be observed all over the Internet, and it seems like a wise thing to be observant about the ways that those who oppose vaccines attempt to fool others into their beliefs.

As with any piece, if one chooses to take one small bite, one can attack the piece easily. However, if one chooses to attack this piece as a whole, it would be difficult to support one's attack.
Refresh | 0 Recommendations Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
  -Science-Based Medicine: What does “anti-vaccine” really mean? HuckleB  Jan-29-11 11:23 PM   #0 
  - "8. Trying to silence criticism, rather than responding to it"  lumberjack_jeff   Jan-29-11 11:37 PM   #1 
  - So conspiracy theories are worthy of the health forum?  HuckleB   Jan-29-11 11:38 PM   #2 
  - You didn't address the question. Is that a good example of "trying to silence criticism?" n/t  lumberjack_jeff   Jan-29-11 11:46 PM   #3 
     - That question is valid only if baseless conspiracy theories can be considered valid criticism.  HuckleB   Jan-29-11 11:47 PM   #4 
  - LOL  mhatrw   Jan-30-11 01:13 AM   #6 
  - So pushing conspiracies and destroying any ability to actually discuss health issues is funny.  HuckleB   Jan-30-11 05:36 AM   #8 
     - It's funny when complete hypocrites get completely exposed. n/t  mhatrw   Jan-30-11 09:53 AM   #10 
        - No, you have that wrong again  Confusious   Jan-30-11 05:13 PM   #14 
        - Science is no different than any other religion, don't you know?  HuckleB   Feb-02-11 02:46 PM   #45 
        - That may be true.  HuckleB   Jan-31-11 12:33 AM   #25 
        - +1  K8-EEE   Feb-03-11 11:49 PM   #51 
           - .  HuckleB   Feb-08-11 01:52 PM   #52 
  - You have to use more then one. nt  Confusious   Jan-30-11 03:00 AM   #7 
  - +1  BuddhaGirl   Jan-30-11 10:35 AM   #11 
  - The annals of "I'm not anti-vaccine," part 4 (End of 2010 edition)  HuckleB   Jan-30-11 12:03 AM   #5 
  - recommend  xchrom   Jan-30-11 06:26 AM   #9 
  - Thank you.  HuckleB   Feb-01-11 04:17 PM   #43 
  - "Science" these days is rarely  Hydra   Jan-30-11 10:47 AM   #12 
  - Ever take chemistry?  Confusious   Jan-30-11 04:48 PM   #13 
  - You are completely misinformed.  mhatrw   Jan-30-11 06:01 PM   #15 
  - Didn't we have this discussion a few days ago?  Confusious   Jan-30-11 08:19 PM   #19 
     - +1,000,000,000,000!!!  HuckleB   Jan-31-11 12:35 AM   #27 
     - What the hell is the article you cited supposed to prove?  mhatrw   Jan-31-11 01:25 PM   #34 
     - Done been proved  Confusious   Jan-31-11 08:36 PM   #40 
     - The Authority, Labeling and Projection  Dan Burdick   Jul-16-11 08:48 PM   #53 
        - Uh huh...  laconicsax   Jul-16-11 09:31 PM   #54 
        - Oh my goodness.  HuckleB   Jul-20-11 10:16 AM   #61 
  - Poster above covered Thiomersal degradation well enough  Hydra   Jan-30-11 06:25 PM   #16 
     - Did I say that?  Confusious   Jan-30-11 08:15 PM   #18 
        - I didn't have to "try again"  Hydra   Jan-30-11 08:51 PM   #21 
           - No, it's not.  Confusious   Jan-30-11 08:56 PM   #22 
           - Wrong, which is one of the hundreds of reasons why the accepted line  Hydra   Jan-30-11 09:25 PM   #24 
              - Well, considering all the things science has done,  Confusious   Jan-31-11 01:08 PM   #33 
                 - *laughs*  Hydra   Jan-31-11 02:00 PM   #36 
                    - Science made corexit  Confusious   Jan-31-11 08:20 PM   #39 
           - We haven't suspended injecting mercury in our kids. We've just moved ethyl mercury  mhatrw   Jan-31-11 01:32 PM   #35 
              - Thank god I don't have kids  Hydra   Jan-31-11 05:46 PM   #37 
              - delete, no need for me to just snark here and there. My apologies.  uppityperson   Jul-18-11 08:45 PM   #59 
              - Did someone say something?  Confusious   Jan-31-11 08:17 PM   #38 
                 - Did someone say something?  mhatrw   Jan-31-11 10:12 PM   #41 
                 - Well, you should know devoid of substance.  Confusious   Feb-01-11 10:46 PM   #44 
                 - +1  HuckleB   Feb-01-11 01:29 PM   #42 
  - ""Science": Mercury is NOT toxic when we say it isn't." True. When science has proven  uppityperson   Jul-18-11 08:49 PM   #60 
  - The reason people claim they're NOT anti-vaccine is because it's true.  mzmolly   Jan-30-11 07:17 PM   #17 
  - Deleted sub-thread  Name removed   Jan-30-11 08:29 PM   #20 
  - That is the funniest response I could have imagined.  HuckleB   Jan-31-11 12:36 AM   #28 
  - Sincere Communication on Medicine and the Propagandosphere  Dan Burdick   Jul-18-11 04:11 PM   #58 
     - Thanks for the herbalism propaganda.  HuckleB   Jul-20-11 10:18 AM   #62 
  - Last ? Why is it that people who are sensitive to "slurs" use their own? "Anti-vaccine" is a slur.  mzmolly   Jan-30-11 09:03 PM   #23 
  - Nice try.  HuckleB   Jan-31-11 12:35 AM   #26 
  - Are you suggesting that I am part of a "conspiracy" to end  mzmolly   Jan-31-11 01:24 AM   #29 
     - As usual, you discuss selective actions on your part.  HuckleB   Jan-31-11 09:07 AM   #31 
  - It's not a slur when it's a fact.  Odin2005   Jul-17-11 06:46 PM   #57 
  - If you've asked to be banned, why post at all?  semillama   Jul-20-11 10:25 AM   #63 
  - "Anti-vaccine?" ... "It's like Karl Rove is writing the playbook for these people." ~ David Kirby  mzmolly   Jan-31-11 07:53 AM   #30 
  - Thank you for helping to make my case.  HuckleB   Jan-31-11 09:09 AM   #32 
  - He also has a history of making bigoted and insensitive remarks about autistic people.  Odin2005   Jul-17-11 06:45 PM   #56 
  - Kirby is a lying con-man. FUCK HIM.  Odin2005   Jul-17-11 06:44 PM   #55 
  - Full disclosure  Sgent   Feb-02-11 05:55 PM   #46 
  - And...?  HuckleB   Feb-02-11 06:11 PM   #47 
     - I never saw it mentioned  Sgent   Feb-02-11 06:15 PM   #48 
        - Why?  HuckleB   Feb-02-11 06:16 PM   #49 
        - Deleted message  Name removed   Feb-03-11 07:44 PM   #50 
  - Don't forget "moving the goalposts."  Warpy   Jul-21-11 12:37 AM   #64 

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Health Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC