and my wallet is getting empty. Remember, Big Pharma. My address is still the same. I’ll be awaiting my payment. Ahem, it was two in the morning when the rhinoceros sneezed at the wombat. Wink, wink. (God, I hope the password phrase is still the same. I’d hate to be typing this for nothing.)
While Avenue Q makes the claim that the internet is for porn, anyone spending time online knows that the internet is also for online lists, preferably online lists that spread misinformation, disputed “facts,” and outright lies. (Okay, I admit that the internet is used for other things as well, but statistics show that a full 92.6 percent of internet content is made up of porn and misleading Listicles.*) One such online list can be found at Modern Alternative Mama: 12 Mainstream Vaccine Lies You Probably Believe.
Now I do not have the space or the time to properly disembowel this travesty of misinformation, but luck would have it that is exactly what Orac does over at Respectful Insolence. I urge everyone to stop over and read his thorough deconstruction of this dangerous post. The anti-vax movement is anti-science with a body count that needs the light of reason focused on it constantly until it fades back into the shadows. But before you all rush over to Respectful Insolence, I’d like to point out, with Orac’s help, some of the more egregious items on her list.
4. Safe treatments for these diseases don’t exist.
While our medical knowledge 50 or 60 years ago was clearly more limited, we have made great advances now. We’re now able to treat many illnesses with simple, non-invasive means. Vitamin A supplementation is used to prevent complications of measles. Mullein is an herb that’s excellent at treating pertussis (along with vitamin C) and other illnesses. We know so much more now. And alternative medicine often has an answer!
Plus, if you’re concerned about polio, read up on that.
“Alternative medicine often has an answer.” You know, I’m willing to concede that point, as long as she isn’t claiming the answer is correct. Seriously, do you know what alternative medicine that works is called? Medicine. As for mullein to treat pertussis…
That’s pertussis. Not even a bad sounding case, actually, just one I found where the infant lived. Dig around on Youtube for some of the really nasty sounding ones. You really want to treat that in your child with an evidence-free herb and vitamin prescription from an “alternative health” practitioner?
Of course the comment on polio and the provided link should immediately cause anyone with working brain cells to ignore this person.
Here’s Orac’s take on point 4.
This is, of course, utter nonsense. There are not “safe and natural” treatments for serious diseases, as much as naturopaths and useful idiots like Tietje argue otherwise. As for polio, in her article linked to, Tietje basically argues that polio isn’t dangerous and even going so far as to dismiss all those pictures of iron lungs thusly:
As for those iron lungs, they’re outdated medical technology, pure and simple. Doctors today have much more sophisticated machines that they use when someone is struggling to breathe. So, even if the absolute worst did happen — no, we would not see a recurrence of iron lung machines.
Yes, she really said that. To her, just because we now have positive pressure ventilators and long-term tracheostomies for people who can’t breathe on their own, it’s damned deceptive to be showing iron lungs because we don’t use them anymore. Sorry, Kate old bean, but that’s history, and, quite frankly, while being hooked up to a modern ventilator via a tracheostomy is better than being stuck in an iron lung, it’s still plenty bad.
The rest of her article cites nonsense like the claim that lead arsenate pesticides and DDT are the actual reason polio epidemics started occurring more frequently in the 1930s through 1950s. It’s dangerously ignorant misinformation I’ve deconstructed at length before.
Alternative Mama plays the dishonest “those diseases weren’t all that bad” card with point 11.
11. The diseases we vaccinate for are incredibly dangerous
Most of these diseases were normal childhood illnesses and were a very uncomfortable week or two, but were not dangerous for healthy children. Read more about measles, a risk-benefit analysis, and pertussis. It’s not to say that there aren’t a small number of children who were seriously ill or died in the past, but medical knowledge has advanced quite a bit since that time, and we still haven’t answered the question which is truly safer for our children long-term, the vaccines or the illnesses. That’s important.
This is just so face-slappingly bad, and is so related to why I don’t even try to argue with most anti-vaxxers anymore. Actually we have answered the question which is truly safer. It’s the vaccines. Just because the science didn’t confirm Alternative Mama, Jenny McCarthy, and the anti-vax movements pet hypothesis (refuse to give it the credit of a theory) doesn’t mean we don’t have an answer. What, do they claim that we need more tests, more studies? If the data fell the other way, and the research implicated vaccines something tells me these people would be shouting from the rooftops that the science was in, not asking for more studies.
That paragraph she wrote “debunking” point 11 reads simply like the words of someone who, thanks to vaccines, never had to worry about those diseases. Listen to the sound of an infant with pertussis and tell me it’s no big deal. People die of the measles, and as soon as we reach a certain threshold number of cases, people will die again from the disease. Orac’s take:
This is just so wrong it’s not even wrong. Hepatitis B, for instance, is incredibly dangerous. For measles, as I discussed in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak, actually hospitalizes a significant proportion of children who get it, while one in a thousand can develop encephalitis. When tens or hundreds of thousands of children get measles, the number of children who develop encephalitis or die becomes significant. Measles is not benign, and benefits of the measles vaccine actually go beyond preventing measles because measles suppresses the immune system and children die of other diseases at a higher rate in the two years after having the measles. When weighing the risks and benefits, there’s no doubt: Vaccination is far safer than the diseases
That’s all the space I’m going to give this post, but I once again urge you to go read Orac’s complete take down. Far too many progressives buy into the anti-vax movement, and it is a trend that needs to be stopped. It’s the right, with their creationism/intelligent design and climate change denial that are supposed to be the anti-science side. Don’t remain silent while the vaccine preventable body count rises.
*On a somewhat related point, statistics also show that fully 98.1 percent of statistics quoted online are made up while being typed. The more you know….