10 hypocrisies/double standards of the anti-vaccine movement

The anti-vaccine movement is full of all sorts of inaccurate claims, bizarre views, and  distorted facts. This dissociation with reality often causes anti-vax arguments to conflict with one another. Therefore, in this post I am going to describe 10 anti-vax arguments or claims which are either hypocritical or conflict with other anti-vax claims (i.e., they fail to follow the law of non-contradiction). There are plenty of other self-contradictory claims that I could have chosen, but these 10 are ones that I frequently encounter.

Note: Before you accuse me of a straw man fallacy or reductio ad absurdum fallacy, realize that I deliberately worded the claims in a way that illustrates their absurdity. I did not, however, distort their meaning. They are all either claims that anti-vaccers make or positions which logically follow from the arguments against vaccines. Finally, just because you personally do not use the exact variation of the arguments that I am presenting does not mean that they are straw man fallacies. I have personally heard plenty of anti-vaccers use them.

 

1. Only parents know what is best for their children…unless you’re pro-vaccine, then you are a blind sheeple that poisons your children.

anti-vaccine bad arguments. parent instincts, mommy instincts are always rightOne of the most common anti-vaccine tropes is that “only parents know best.” The idea is that being a parent automatically gives you some form of magical knowledge about your child’s medical needs. This notion is clearly absurd. Parental instincts tell you that you shouldn’t let your kid climb into a van with that shady looking stranger, but they can’t inform complex medical decisions, only science can do that. More to the point, however, anti-vaccers completely deny pro-vaccers this luxury of child-induced knowledge. This is a serious contradiction. You see, if becoming a parent truly gives you superb medical knowledge, and if it is true that only parents know what is best for their children, then it logically follows that pro-vaccine parents should know what is best for their children, which means that vaccines should be best for their children, but anti-vaccers clearly think that vaccines are bad for children. You can’t have it both ways. You cannot insist that only parents know what is best for their children and simultaneously claim that the majority of parents are wrong about what is best for their children.

Now, inevitably someone is going to say that parents don’t get any “magical” knowledge, but they still know what is best for their children by virtue of the fact that they know their children better than anyone else does. Again though, knowing your child and understanding the complex science of how the immune system works are two totally different things. Further, this still doesn’t address the problem that pro-vaccine parents also know their children better than anyone else does, yet anti-vaccers think that they are wrong about what is best for their children.

 

 

 

2. Vaccines aren’t well tested, so I use totally untested alternative treatments instead.

anti-vaxxer claimes vaccines haven't been well testedI encounter this one a lot. A parent insists that there isn’t enough testing to support the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, then proceeds to tell me about all the herbs, oils, and other “natural” treatments that they use instead. First, the claim that vaccines haven’t been well tested is a downright lie. Vaccines have been more thoroughly tested than any other pharmaceutical in history, and there are literally thousands of papers on their safety and effectiveness. Second, and more germane, alternative medicines haven’t been well tested. As Tim Minchin eloquently put it, “by definition, alternative medicine has either not been proved to work, or been proved not to work. Do you know what they call ‘alternative medicine’ that’s been proved to work? Medicine.” This situation is utterly mind-boggling to me. Parents reject the most well tested medicine in history in favor of something with little or no testing all while claiming that they are unbiasedly looking at the evidence. My fundamental point here is simple: even if it was true that vaccines hadn’t been well tested (which it isn’t), then to be logically consistent, you must also avoid alternative medicines because they haven’t been well tested.

Now, you may be thinking, “but alternative medicine is natural, so it can’t be dangerous.” First, that’s an appeal to nature fallacy, and is not logically valid. Arsenic, cyanide, cesium, etc. are all natural, but that doesn’t mean that they are good for you. Second, that still doesn’t absolve you of the fact that your reasoning is logically inconsistent. At this point, I often encounter people who say, “but alternative treatments have been tested by hundreds of years of people using them.” First, that is an appeal to antiquity fallacy, and it is not logically valid. Second, there have been plenty of treatments that were used for hundreds of years before we realized that they didn’t work. Leeches are a good example of this (yes, I know leeches are still used in medicine today, but they are not used for the same things that they were used for historically. Now they are used for things like getting blood flowing to a re-attached appendage). Further, many of these ancient treatments were actually dangerous. Using leeches to drain a sick person’s blood, for example, actually makes them worse. Similarly, tobacco was used medicinally for centuries before we realized that it was carcinogenic. In other words, there is utterly no reason to assume that something is safe or effective just because it is “natural” or “ancient.”

Note: Originally, I include plutonium in the list of dangerous natural chemicals, but after several comments from readers, I decided to remove it. It technically is natural, but it is extremely uncommon. So the vast majority of plutonium is actually man-made.

 

3. The FDA and the scientific literature are untrustworthy, unless they are reporting the side-effects of vaccines. Then they are irrefutable.

Anyone who has ever debated anti-vaccers knows that they really don’t care about scientific results. They blindly reject any evidence which opposes their position and they consider the FDA, WHO, pharmaceutical companies, scientists, and doctors all to be untrustworthy. There is, however, one exception to this. Anytime that a side effect from vaccines is reported, it is latched onto as irrefutable evidence that vaccines are dangerous. This is extremely inconsistent. You cannot blindly reject everything that a group says except when they say something that you think supports your position. For example, anti-vaxxers routinely say that you cannot believe what “Big Pharma” tells you, but they consider the vaccine package inserts (which are written by Big Pharma) to be irrefutable evidence engraved in stone. That is the worst form of cherry-picking and is a clear sharpshooter fallacy. The logically consistent position is to admit that vaccines do have side effects, but all of the available evidence says that serious side effects are extremely rare, and the health benefits far outweigh the risks (Note: It’s also important to realize that the side effects on the vaccine inserts are all reported side effects, the vast majority of which have not been causally linked to the vaccines. You can read more about what the inserts really mean here).

 

4. We need more studies, but I’m going to ignore any actual studies that you produce.

As explained in #2, one of the rallying cries of the anti-vaccine movement is that there aren’t enough studies on the safety of vaccines. Again, this claim is utterly ridiculous and empirically false. More to the point, this claim is absurdly hypocritical because anti-vaccers don’t actually care about scientific studies. The claim that they don’t vaccinate because there aren’t enough studies is a blatant lie because there are thousands of safety studies. The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough studies, the problem is that anti-vaccers blindly reject the studies.

Consider the following: if tomorrow, a study is published that has a sample size of over 1.2 million children and finds no evidence for any association between autism spectrum disorders and either vaccines or vaccine components, would that convince anti-vaccers that vaccines don’t cause autism? No, it wouldn’t. I know this because the study I described came out in 2014 and anti-vaccers ignore it.What if a study came out which specifically looked for a link between vaccines and autism in children that were at a high risk of autism, would that convince anti-vaccers? No, it wouldn’t. I know this because that study actually came out earlier this year. What if a more general study came out that looked more broadly at the health conditions of vaccinated and unvaccinated children and found that the only difference was that vaccinated children had fewer vaccine-preventable diseases, would that make anti-vaccers change their minds? No, it wouldn’t, because a study that did exactly that was published in 2011, and anti-vaccers ignore it.

I could give countless other examples like this, but hopefully you see my point: despite all their claims of having “done their homework,” anti-vaccers clearly don’t care about the facts because they routinely ignore every study that disagrees with them. So it is downright dishonest to claim that you are an anti-vaccer because there isn’t enough evidence. There is plenty of evidence, you may be willfully ignorant of it, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. (Note: Many of the safety studies were, in fact, conducted by independent scientists with no financial ties to pharmaceutical companies).

 

5. Vaccines are all about money. See it says so on this alternative health website, right here next to the link for their store.

This is a contradiction that I have previously elaborated on (briefly here and in more detail here) so I’ll be terse. The claim that vaccines are all about money is demonstrably false, but I want to focus on the contradiction. You see, the vast majority of popular anti-vaccine sites have stores where they sell you their books and natural alternatives to vaccines. Sites like Natural News and Mercola.com which write articles about how awful vaccines are and how much better the alternative remedies are just happen to sell either the exact remedy they are praising, or a book where you can learn more about it (but they aren’t in it for the money [sarcasm]). Do you see the problem here? The most vocal opponents of vaccines have a clear financial incentive for opposing vaccines. To be clear, I believe in examining the evidence for a view, not the people who hold the view, but my point is that the anti-vaccine argument is a paradox. It is logically inconsistent because the alternative medicine movement is a massive multi-billion dollar industry that profits tremendously from scaring people about vaccines.

 

6. Measles are good for you, but vaccine shedding is bad.

Recently, many anti-vaccers have begun insisting that diseases like measles are actually good for you (even though that claim is demonstrably absurd) because it gives you natural immunity, yet they simultaneously dread “vaccine shedding” and insist that it is one of the most insidious things about vaccines. Vaccine shedding is the notion that a vaccinated person can “shed” the virus and thus infect others. Without going into the details, it is possible to shed the virus in a small subset of vaccines, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the virus will be transmitted. For example, for many vaccines, the virus is shed through the feces, so unless you handle the vaccinated person’s poop, you’ll be fine. Also, the virus is altered for the vaccine, so you don’t get a full infection from it. So someone becoming infected from vaccine shedding is absurdly rare and is just not a serious concern, but for sake of argument, let’s say that it was. We still have another clear contradiction. Anti-vaccers claim that vaccine-preventable diseases are actually good for children, but simultaneously fear vaccine shedding (which would mean getting the disease). If the disease is good, and vaccine shedding gives you the disease, then vaccine shedding should also be good. That is rudimentary logic.

 

7. You have no right to make health decisions about my child, but I do have the right to make decisions that affect your child’s health.

Anti-vaxxers often like to present themselves as being victimized. They complain that they are being stripped of their parental rights, and they ardently insist that no one but them should have any say in health decisions about their child. The problem is that by not vaccinating, they are putting other people’s children at risk. So on the one hand, they think that decisions about a child’s health are solely the realm of the child’s parents, but on the other hand, they proceed to make decisions that affect the health of other children.

Inevitably, many anti-vaccers reading this are going to say, “well if vaccines actually work then you shouldn’t care whether or not I vaccinate.” If you just thought that, then congratulations, you don’t understand even the basics of how vaccines work. As I explained in more detail here, there are a number of reasons why your child’s vaccine status effects everyone else. First, many people are immunocompromised and cannot receive vaccines. Those people are protected by herd immunity, which is the second key point. Vaccines aren’t perfect. They do not work 100% of the time. They simply give your body a first line of defense that reduces the risk of getting an infection, but they cannot make you truly immune. As I frequently state, if someone with H1N1 sneezes in your face, you are probably going to get the flu even if you are vaccinated. So, the more infected people that you are around, the more likely you are to get sick, but, if lots of people are vaccinated, then the disease has trouble taking hold and you don’t get an outbreak (you can find more details and citations to sources that clearly show that herd immunity works here). As a result of herd immunity, disease rates plummeted following the introduction of vaccines, and today we enjoy low disease rates because of vaccines, but that situation will reverse if enough parents decide not to vaccinate (there are plenty of disease outbreaks that illustrate this). My point is simple, it is disingenuous and selfish to insist that others can’t make health decisions about your child while simultaneously making decisions that put others at risk. Vaccines are a community issue, not a private one.

 

8. I know that vaccines cause autism because I know someone who was vaccinated, then developed autism. The fact that most of the people that I know are vaccinated but did not develop autism is, however, totally irrelevant.

I often pontificate about the problems of using anecdotal evidence, but the “vaccines cause autism” argument is one of the best examples. Despite the fact that numerous studies have shown that vaccines don’t cause autism, I still frequently encounter people who insist that the studies must be wrong because they know someone who was vaccinated, then developed autism. Beyond the glaring post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (i.e., A preceded B, therefore A caused B), the people who use this argument are walking around with blinders on, because they are totally ignoring the fact that in the industrialized world, most people are vaccinated and most people don’t have autism. This is the problem with anecdotal evidence: every time that you say, “well Bob was vaccinated and developed autism,” I can say, “but Bill, Jane, Sarah, etc. were vaccinated and didn’t develop autism.” That is why the anti-vaccine position is inconsistent: it latches onto the anecdotes that support it, and it blindly rejects the anecdotes that refute it (i.e., its a Texas sharpshooter fallacy). This is why carefully controlled studies are so important: they reveal what is truly happening, rather than what our biased minds think is happening, and they consistently show that vaccines do not cause autism.

 

9. I don’t vaccinate because it’s a preventative measure and my children’s immune systems are exactly they way God/nature intended. I do, however, insist that they wash their hands, brush their teeth, wear sunscreen, dress warmly in winter, etc.

There are multiple forms of this argument (depending on your philosophical and religious predilections), but they generally follow one of two general paths. Either the person claims that their child’s immune system is the way that nature intended it and we cannot improve on nature (which is a blatant appeal to nature fallacy), or they claim that the immune system is exactly the way that God intended it and we cannot improve on God’s work (another variant of this simply insists that God will magically protect their children). The problem (or at least the problem that I am going to focus on) is that none of the people who make these claims actually live according to them. For example, washing your hands is really just a preventative measure that reduces the work load for your immune system. It is also totally unnatural and non-intuitive (the medical community scoffed at it when it was first proposed). So, by any reasonable definition, hand washing is an improvement over our natural immune system. If nature/God made the immune system so perfectly, then why do we need to help it out by washing our hands? Similarly, why do we have to wear sunscreen to protect us from the sun. Was God/nature so busy perfecting the immune system that there wasn’t time to perfect the skin? Further, if our bodies are so perfect, and we are so incapable of improving them, then why do anti-vaccine parents insist that their children brush their teeth? Brushing our teeth is nothing more than a preventative measure in which we improve on the body’s natural ability to protect our teeth. Hopefully you see my point here. If you actually think that we cannot improve on nature/God, or that we shouldn’t take preventative measures, then you should not brush your teeth, use sunscreen, wash your hands, etc. If you do any of those things, then you clearly do think that we can improve what nature/God gave us and your reasoning is inconsistent.

 

10. I’m not anti-vaccine, but I am anti-injecting children with TOXIC chemicals.

This statement is exceedingly disingenuous. First, to be completely pedantic about the semantics, if you are opposing vaccines for any reason, then you are, by definition, anti-vaccine. Nevertheless, I understand that the intent of this comment is that the person in question doesn’t oppose the concept of vaccines, but opposes their current reality. The problem is that the chemicals in vaccines are completely safe in the low doses that are present in the injections, and, in fact, they are necessary to keep the vaccine safe and avoid things like bacterial contamination. Anyone who has honestly and unbiasedly studied vaccines knows that, but the people claiming not to be anti-vaccine have succumbed to the anti-vaccine paranoia rather than actually doing their homework. Further, every time that I have encountered one of these “non anti-vaccine” people and presented them with the evidence that vaccines are safe, they have blindly rejected it. This tells me something very important. Namely, they are, in fact, opposed to the very concept of vaccines because they will not even consider the evidence that says that vaccines are safe (see #4). If you oppose vaccines, use the same faulty arguments that anti-vaccers use, and refuse to accept contrary evidence, then you are in fact anti-vaccine whether you like it or not.

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51 Responses to 10 hypocrisies/double standards of the anti-vaccine movement

  1. Ron J Belin says:

    You’re completely disingenuous ’cause you’re full of shit..you don’t actually believe anyone read that blither, huh.?

    Like

    • antsinpants says:

      can you explain why he’s full of shit?. or are you just full of shit?

      Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      A. I’m not sure that you know what disingenuous means
      B. Where is your evidence that I am wrong?
      C. Please avoid ad hominmen assaults (read the comment rules). If you want to present facts or logical arguments that is fine, but ad hominem assaults are not acceptable (and they make your position look extremely weak and pathetic).
      D. According to my stats, quite a few people read that “blither”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry I believe it, guess you better get another argument.

      Like

  2. Actually most alternative medicine has been extensively tested and found to be either dangerous or ineffective. The “It hasn’t been tested yet – so we don’t know that it doesn’t work” is a defensive fallacy from alt med proponents.

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    • Prof Plum says:

      It’s far simpler than that.

      Some alternative medicines have been tested.

      Those that worked are now called medicine.

      Those that didn’t are called alternative medicine…

      Like

    • Science Prof says:

      Wrong. Most alternative medicines have not been tested.

      Like

      • mkayem says:

        Some alternative medicines have been tested.

        Those that worked are now called medicine.

        Those that didn’t are called alternative medicine…

        Liked by 1 person

      • meh says:

        To be fair, there is this tree bark you can grind up and eat and it helps reduce swelling and pain. We would call it alternative medicine if we didn’t already call it Aspirin. There are a lot of examples of this. It’s hard to have this argument without being certain the context of what you’re talking about

        Liked by 1 person

  3. gary says:

    ^^^ circular reasoning.

    “you’re completely disingenuous because … you’re completely disingenuous.”

    Like

  4. eyegoggles says:

    Brilliant

    Like

  5. Mr. Barker says:

    Lol these all gave me a chuckle.
    all 10 of these can be destroyed with little to no effort.
    You think I give a shit about independent studies when 3 of the doctors who created the damn thing all came out and said that yes, it causes autism and other damaging neurological problems and a 1100 page report from one of these companies confirmed and backed it all up?
    ya, didn’t think so.

    Like

    • Jim kear says:

      Citations, please.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mkayem says:

      care to share the source of this information?

      – or was that 1100 page report (why the hell would I need so many pages for that?!) stolen by aliens or the illuminati perhaps?

      Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Where are your sources?

      Also, these are logical contradictions, not factual ones. It is, for example, logically invalid to say “only parents know best, but anti-vaccer parents don’t know best” regardless of whether or not vaccines are safe. So I’m not sure what you mean by, “destroyed with little to no effort”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Go protest Jade Helm you lunatic.

      Like

    • I’m betting that the 1100-page report ‘Mr. Barker’ refers to is a Glaxo-Smith-Kline report to regulatory authorities on Infanrix Hexa that got onto the net and antivaxers have been circulating for a while now. I’ve got a copy.

      It looks very alarming if you have no idea what you’re looking at. It’s basically just a more detailed version of the list of adverse events listed on the package insert: it doesn’t just say “*someone* who got the vaccine had gait disturbance/unusual swelling/seizures”, but spells out how many cases were reported, what date each was reported and from what country, the age of the individual, what other medication they had taken in the same time period, what is known about the outcome of the incident, etc. But, exactly like the package insert, NOTHING in there says “this was caused by the vaccine”. Our friend’s assertion that the report “confirmed and backed it all up” is at best the result of him not understanding what he read.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Jim kear says:

    Plutonium isn’t natural, but cesium is and its worse.

    Like

  7. EG says:

    The conspiracy, paranoid and pseudo religious cult anti vaccination has grown into is astounding.
    I suppose what this proves – quite clearly – is that these people care deeply but caring is not enough. You must have the facts. Beliefs and conjecture are for fairy tales. In the serious business of life and death and of society’s health and wellbeing, facts win, epidemiology trumps ideology – always.
    Baseless accusations and freeloading outliers will not set the social agenda. Science and research is all about discovering truth by building on previous discoveries. Our modern world exists from standing on the shoulders of the giants of centuries of research and just because some people have a sudden panic attack of vertigo does not negate a single thing.
    The results of the paranoia and fear will be measured in preventable deaths.
    It’s tragic, needless and proof that belief and caring is not enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kassie says:

    Thank you. Well written, with no hyperbole, and in a non aggressive manner.

    May I reblog?

    Like

  9. Derek says:

    I’m genuinely interested in your response to this article related to the studies which are carried out and how this impacts on your related arguments: http://www.globalresearch.ca/editor-in-chief-of-worlds-best-known-medical-journal-half-of-all-the-literature-is-false/5451305
    Thanks,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miguel says:

      My $0.02.

      Given that link takes to a conspiracy theory friendly, sensationalist site, fond of half truths and FUD, giving an opinion would require to go to the sources. Without having done that, nonetheless, allow me to make a prediction: more half truths and FUD.

      Like

    • mkayem says:

      even if 50% of all studies were false (and what “false” means needs some discussion), the conclusion reached by the majority of studies on a given topic is still likely to be the correct one.

      Like

      • Derek Hooper says:

        You call your site the logic of science and then make a statement like this???
        Made me laugh.
        You didn’t respond at all to the question – ie the recorded comments of the editor of the Lancet in reference to studies being fraudulent.
        And you state that 50% is a majority?!
        Please, if you are really serious about logic and science and proper debate then respond accordingly.

        Like

        • Fallacy Man says:

          I assume that this comment was meant to be addressed to me since I am the author of this site (to be clear though, my response was the lengthy one below, not the one by mkayem that you actually commented on).

          If that assumption is correct, then I’m not sure what your criticism is. The editors comment was not that 50% of studies are fraudulent, but that they “may simply be untrue.” There are many reasons other than fraudulence that can cause a study to be untrue, which I explained in my original response. Also, realize that he pulled that “perhaps half” figure out of thin air. That is his personal guess, not a hard statistic. I would be very surprised if that number was actually true.

          Regarding the comment that, “you state that 50% is a majority?!” I’m again not sure if you are referring to my comment or mkayem’s. So I will address both of them. I simply commented that most of the scientists that I personally know are very honest. That statement is true regardless of how many total fraudulent papers have been published. If you are referring to mkayem’s comment, he actually has a very valid point. There are lots of topics with only one or two studies on them. Those are the topics where you are most likely to have unchecked errors and perhaps even fraud. This is because science is self correcting. So, if a bad paper is published, and other scientists try to follow up on it, they will usually figure out that the original paper is bad. The problem is that there are so many drugs and topics with only a few publications as well as problems like predatory journals. So, even if 50% of all publications are bad, you still expect to get a good overall result when a topic is repeatedly tested and there is strong agreement among those tests. Autism and vaccines is a great example of this. The original paper saying that vaccines caused autism was fraudulent. It was published by one of the dishonest scientists, but the results of that paper were tested over and over again by lots of other scientists (many of whom are independent), and they all found the same thing: the original study was wrong. So, given that dozens of studies have all found the same thing, we can be very confident that vaccines do not cause autism. So, on this topic, the majority of the studies are probably correct even if 50% of all studies are wrong. To put it another way, it is far more likely that a single isolated study is wrong than it is that 48 out of 50 studies on a single topic are all wrong (note those numbers are arbitrary). So it is entirely possible for 50% of all studies to be wrong, and simultaneously have the majority of papers on well tested topics be correct.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mkayem says:

          Derek, please try to make a better effort at reading what I actually wrote – it makes for a much better discussion. It was fairly short after all.

          Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      Unfortunately there is some truth to that statement (though 50% seems high), but the good news is that the scientific community is aware of it and takes measures to counteract it. In fact, part of the training to become a scientist is learning how to evaluate a paper. The peer-review system is not perfect, bad papers do get through, but it is still fairly effective, and, best of all, you can learn to evaluate the published papers for yourself. So here is a basic outline of some of the things to look for when analyzing a paper (note: people in the anti-science movement tend not to follow these checks, which is why they manage to dredge up papers to “support” their positions).

      First, realize that there are many fake journals out there. At a quick glance, they appear to be proper peer-reviewed journals, but on closer inspection, they are actually something quite different. They are what we call “predatory journals.” Some of them are owned, edited, and reviewed by prominent members of the anti-science movement. So, when they say, “this paper showing that vaccines cause autism was peer-reviewed” they mean, “we sent it to other anti-vaccers who agreed with it.” Other predatory journals are simply for profit. They will publish anything if you pay them enough. So step one is becoming familiar with these journals (or inversely just being familiar with good journals) and avoiding the predatory ones. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of predatory journals:
      http://scholarlyoa.com/2015/01/02/bealls-list-of-predatory-publishers-2015/

      Second, even for good journals, reviewers make mistakes. It is, therefore, essential to learn statistics and critically analyze each paper to see if it had a large enough sample size, was properly controlled, used the proper statistics, etc. There have been multiple times when I have ignored an article because the authors failed to analyze their data correctly. For several of those papers, I think that the authors probably did reach the correct conclusion, but I couldn’t trust that they had because their stats were bad (note: learning how to analyze papers this way is a critical skill that is taught in most graduate programs).

      Third, there are sometimes conflicts of interest, but journals always require the researchers to declare those. So, you can see if there were conflicts of interest. Also, a conflict of interest obviously doesn’t automatically discredit the findings, it just means that you should scrutinize them more carefully and look for corroborating evidence elsewhere in the literature. In the case of vaccines, there are plenty of papers that are free of conflicts of interest (more on that here https://thelogicofscience.com/2015/04/18/follow-the-money-the-finances-of-global-warming-vaccines-and-gmos/)

      Fourth, sometimes, even when everything was done correctly, you get a false result just because of chance. This is a statistical fluke that I explained here: https://thelogicofscience.com/2015/04/07/basic-statistics-part-3-the-dangers-of-large-data-sets-a-tale-of-p-values-error-rates-and-bonferroni-corrections/

      The final problem is the most serious. Some scientists are dishonest (as is true of any profession). So yes, there are some scientists who cheat, lie, and falsify data, but those scientists are truly a small minority. I know and have worked with many different scientists and most of them are obsessive with ensuring that their results are as accurate and honest as possible. Most of us even go our of our way to include the limitations of our research in our publications. Further, the great thing about science is that it is self correcting. Suppose that a dishonest scientist falsifies data and publishes a fraudulent result, other scientists will try to build off of that work, which will usually reveal that the original research was flawed.

      So, there are problems with science, but the problems are not insurmountable, and you can learn how to distinguish good research and bad research.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Provax the Magnificent says:

    There is a glaring inaccuracy in this post that simply must be addressed.

    The word “your” in the bold of #1 should be “you’re”.

    Now I can sleep tonight. 😉

    Kudos on absolutely all of the rest of it. Anti-vaxxers are the worst kind of dangerous moron. Second only, perhaps, to a Republican president with nuclear codes.

    Like

  11. someone else says:

    I liked this, but #1 should be “you’re” not “your”.

    Like

  12. Dear Fallacy Man,

    Can you recommend an article or articles that summarize the current research on the side effects and safety of vaccines? Specifically any research on autoimmune diseases would be appreciated. My understanding is that it is very difficult to identify the source of these diseases or to design and fund a long term study that studies the effect of vaccinations on autoimmune diseases?

    There are too many posts focused on why one side or the other is wrong. I am in search of information. I have a masters degree in science and would appreciate actual research as well. Perhaps you’ve already written an article summarizing the latest research with links? If not please do that! I would expect it would include studies that bring into question the safety of vaccines – in other words I trust you will present an unbiased overview of the state of knowledge and those areas in need of further study as it exists today?

    Lastly I am unclear as to the effects of catching measles by shedding versus contracting the disease naturally. I thought only the latter would create lifelong immunity. It is my understanding that women vaccinated against measles do not contract or develop natural immunity and so do not pass that immunity on to the infant in the first year of life through breastfeeding. That coupled with vaccinating children, a treatment that wears off, leaves infants and adults to get the disease and children and teens immune. Children and teens are those most able to tolerate measles and we have shifted the demographic of those who get measles, destroying natural immunity in the process and increasing the risk for infants. Is there any truth to this? I imagine I am summarizing a study that you might be familiar with.

    Thank you in advance

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    • Fallacy Man says:

      Hi, the difficulty in finding reviews on vaccines is that there are so many different vaccines for so many different diseases, as well as so many side effects that get attributed to vaccines (rightly or wrongly). This can make it hard to find a review for anything other than a very focused topic. For example, a general review of the safety of vaccines would have to be a massive book, because there are so many studies. Even within autoimmune disorders, there is a lot of literature, so the reviews tend to focus on specific vaccines, rather than vaccines as a whole. For example, here is a review on the HPV vaccines and autoimmune diseases, and a review of the H1N1 vaccine and autoimmune disorders, but I don’t know of a recent review that looks at vaccines and autoimmune disorders more generally (note: both of these papers are behind a paywall, but I have access to them through my university, so while I cannot post them and make them generally available, I can send them to individuals, so if you send me a facebook message with your email, I can send them to you).
      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40264-013-0039-5
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X12013436

      Really though, your best bet for properly understanding the current state of the literature is just to get on Google Scholar or Pub Med ad start working your way through it. It’s tedious, but you’ll get more out of it, and it avoids you having to rely on someone else’s explanation of the studies, so I always encourage people to work through the primary literature themselves. Having said that, here are two studies that I am aware of which looked at autoimmune disorders after vaccines. Both found some, but couldn’t find a constant pattern that indicated that the vaccines were the cause (note: I’m a little bit concerned about the methodology of the first one, I’m not convinced that it is incorrect, but the way that they sampled their controls gives me some concern, so proceed cautiously on that one).
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02467.x/full
      http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5906.short

      Unfortunately, I don’t have a post that reviews all of the data for vaccine safety generally, because, as I said, it’s just too broad. So I have some posts that hit particular vaccines or particular side effects, but a general review would be a book, not a blog post.

      Regarding vaccine shedding, its actually not at all clear that you could actually get measles from vaccine shedding (despite what the anti-vaccers say). There are a few scattered reports here and there, but in most cases is not clear what is going on, and even if it does occur, it is extremely rare, and you would only get a mild form measles because the virus is weakened for the vaccine. Given that low rate of occurrence, I don’t think we really know anything about how long the immunity would last from a vaccine shedding induced infection. Having said that, it is important to note that natural immunity often isn’t lifelong either, and acquiring an infection naturally can have lots of negative consequences beyond the infection itself (I explained this in more detail and with citations here: https://thelogicofscience.com/2015/05/10/vaccines-dont-give-lifelong-immunity-but-they-are-still-better-than-natural-immunity/).

      Regarding breast milk, I don’t know of any study showing that only anti-bodies from a natural infection get passed to the infant (though it’s always possible that I’m wrong on that), but just thinking through how the immune system works and how antibodies get passed to infants, I can’t think of any good reason why that would be the case. The actual anti-bodies that your body makes are the same regardless of whether they were induced by a vaccine or an actual infection, and they are both produced by the same organs and circulate though the body identically, so I have trouble imagining that there would be any difference (again, if anyone knows of a study that says otherwise, please point it out to me). Conversely, there are several studies which have suggested that mother’s who receive vaccines while they are pregnant actually pass higher antibody counts onto their children (which makes sense since the antibody counts should be highest shortly after the vaccination). The research on that is admittedly limited at the moment, but you can find a review here: http://www.pfizerpro.com.co/sites/g/files/g10013506/f/publicaciones/2014_32_16_Breast%20feeding%20after%20maternal%20immunisation%20during%20pregnancy%20.PDF

      Sorry that that ended up being so long, but did I answer all of your questions?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m rather disgusted by the implication that growing up like me = a fate worse than easily preventable encephalitis (sp), pneumonia and death.

    (and that’s if vaccines did cause autism, which they don’t)

    Signed,

    an adult on the spectrum.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 1. Parents know best, particularly vaccine injured parents, and parents who already have a vaccine injured child, or worse, an urn containing the remains of a child killed by lethal vaccine injection.
    2. As a pharmacist I can assure you that not only are vaccines not well tested, the studies that come out are often sponsored by the vaccine manufacturers and biased toward the safety of the vaccines. Contradictory studies that show the dangers of vaccine products, links to illness, such as MS triggered by the hepatitis b vaccine in France, are largely ignored in the USA. No system exists to monitor people post vaccine procedure in the USA. We only have a voluntary vaccine injury reporting system that experts claim contains less than 10% of actual vaccine injury victims.
    3. Anyone who disputes pro vaccine people realize quickly that they base their decisions upon biased studies. The WHO discredited itself when it denied antifertility vaccines given to Kenyan women disguised as tetanus shots. http://www.infowars.com/a-mass-sterilization-exercise-kenyan-doctors-find-anti-fertility-agent-in-un-tetanus-vaccine/
    4. Pro vaccine advocates ignore studies that show the dangers of vaccines. Autism is only one of many concerns with vaccines. ASIA, autoimmune syndrome induced by adjuvants is another very real mechanism of vaccine injury. We need a post vaccine monitoring system that will follow every person given a vaccine for all health effects for at least 5 years post vaccine procedure. Only then will we see patterns of vaccine injury and start to identify those who are most at risk of these very dangerous drugs.
    5. Vaccines are not only about the money, but also about population control. Since vaccine manufacturers are held liable from being sued when their products cause injury and death, they have no incentive to make vaccines that are safe, effective, or uncontaminated. Imagine a company that can make a product with no ability to be sued. That’s just bad business, and terrible policy.
    6. Natural immunity from wild type virus is superior to vaccines. Measles vaccines are ineffective. How long do they last, if one gets immunity at all? A week? A month? A year? Years ago my parents were assured that a vaccine would prevent a child from getting an illness. Yet, by age 22 yrs, practicing pharmacy in CT, all staff had to have measles titers drawn. Most staff had no measles immunity despite being fully vaccinated. Look at the outbreaks in those vaccinated. If a product doesn’t work, the answer is not to take more. It doesn’t even make sense, to take more of something that doesn’t work in the first place! Giving a child a measles vaccine delays the risk of measles until a later time. Natural immunity is usually lifelong, unlike vaccines. Pro vaccine folks act like vaccines are magic potion that will prevent the illness, but that is inaccurate.
    7. Vaccines can an do harm people. First do no harm. Dr. Schuchat of the CDC said that at least 10% of adults in the USA have no measles immunity because the vaccines wane. As I mentioned above, vaccines are ineffective and last only a short time. Some have no immunity ever despite being vaccinated. Logic would therefore indicate that there is no appreciable HERD. A few kids getting a measles shot that may or may not last even a few years does not make a HERD. Why take the risk at all? Vaccines cause autoimmune and neurological damage. It is never acceptable to sacrifice a healthy neurological system for temporary, if any, protection against a germ that one may never encounter.
    8. As a pharmacist, we are taught that an effect following a drug/vaccine must always be considered to be caused by that drug/vaccine unless proven otherwise. It is how pharmacy works, like it or not. If only 1 person is suspected to have an effect after a drug/vaccine it is idiosyncratic. When more than 2 people are suspected of having a similar effect after a drug/vaccine it is called an adverse reaction to that drug/vaccine unless proven otherwise, without a shadow of doubt. Until we have a system to monitor health effects following vaccine procedure for all persons for at least 5 years, we will not find patterns of injury. We are doing society a big disservice by not monitoring those post vaccine procedure.
    9. Comparing people washing hands to injecting vaccines into a human being is like comparing apples to oranges. Hand washing and teeth brushing doesn’t alter one’s immune system, nor does it adversely affect the neurological system. Natural selection has merit. Some will die, possibly, from infectious diseases. However some are already dying from vaccines. We are shifting natural selection to kill those who may otherwise be healthy, with vaccines. Vaccine procedure should always be optional for a healthy human being.
    10. As a pharmacist, I too believed that vaccines were safe. Until the hepatitis b vaccine triggered MS in me, as a mandatory vaccine to continue on in podiatry school. There are researchers working on the vaccine injury mechanism called ASIA, autoimmune syndrome induced by adjuvants. Never take for granted that a product is safe simply because it is available and approved in the USA. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24238833

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  15. Jon says:

    Just read the vaccine insert,which lists terrible effects, INCLUDING Death……AUTISM / LOBOTOMIZING kids… know that they pay out billions to vaccine injured kids, that autism has gone from 1 in 10,000 in 1970 to 1 in 50 today, Amish DON’T VACCINATE and they have zero autism.

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    • Fallacy Man says:

      1. The inserts show any potential side effects, not actual side effects. In other words, any ailment that occurs following a vaccine gets included in the insert regardless of whether or not the vaccine actually caused it. Also, you are ignoring the logical contradiction that I explained the post.
      http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/vaccine-package-inserts-debunking-myths/

      2. Similarly to my first point, the system is a no fault one. In other words, you do not have to prove that the vaccine caused the problem in order to get the money, you just have to report the problem. The fact that an ailment follows a vaccines does not prove that the vaccine was responsible (that is a logical fallacy known as post hoc ergo propter hoc). It is cheaper for the companies to simply settle rather than fighting a legal battle. Finally, the peer-reviewed studies show that vaccines are safe, and they are really the only evidence that matters.

      3. The “rise” in autism is due to a change in diagnosis, not an actual increase (http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1919642). Further, even if it was an actual increase, claiming that it is caused by vaccines is a correlation fallacy. In fact, the “rise” correlates more closely with an increase in organic food production than an increase in vaccines.

      4. Actually, many Amish communities do vaccinate (for goodness sake spend 30 seconds on google before believing something). More importantly, numerous massive studies have found that unvaccinated children and vaccinated children have the same autism rates. For example, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X14006367

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  16. Don Rogers says:

    I am rather curious… did the author of the post receive monetary compensation for his valuable time spent on these questions and comments?

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