Argument from fire extinguisher

Rebecca over at Memoirs of a Skepchick makes an excellent argument against the new HPV vaccine:

Before the invention of the fire extinguisher in 1816, people used sensible fire safety precautions. They did not leave oily rags piled in buckets next to the ashtray. They did not set their farts on fire. And they always kept their curtains far away from heating devices.

After the invention of the fire extinguisher, all hell broke loose. It didn’t take long for games such as “Tie a Lit Sparkler to the Cat” and “Flaming Monopoly” to explode — literally and metaphorically — in popularity all over the country. People were just looking for a license to burn, and they found it in the fire extinguisher.

She even presents a graph to document her “irrefutable” evidence.

Of course, like me, Rebecca doesn’t really believe this line of thinking, but it illustrates the level of ridiculousness of the objections to the HPV vaccine on the grounds that it will increase sexual promiscuity.

Comments

  1. #1 Chris
    June 23, 2006

    You know, it took me a minute to realize that the link was satire. This is because, astonishingly, wingnuts are actually using this argument! Kind of makes me want to curl into the fetal position and weep for our future.

  2. #2 Joseph j7uy5
    June 23, 2006

    It seems obvious that if a person contemplating sexual activity is sophisticated enough to account for the risks that are diminished by the vaccine, he or she also will be sophisticated enough to know about all the risks that are not ameliorated by the vaccine. The notion that this would change people’s sexual behavior is simply ridiculous.

  3. #3 theRidger
    June 24, 2006

    And if you’re afraid your precious little Silver Ring girl will in fact go wild in her teenaged years, why do you have to tell her she got the vaccination in there with all her other school shots? You could give her the shot to protect her from herself (or some evil slobbering rapist) without necessarily “encouraging” her to have sex.

    Not that I advocate it, but the possibility really, imo, undercuts the argument.

  4. #4 firstdonoharm
    June 26, 2006

    It doesn’t disturb anyone that having just obtained FDA approval – it’s already being proposed that this vaccine be made mandatory? There’s is no long-term data on the saftey and efficacy of the HPV vaccine and I for one don’t really embrace the idea of offering up my little girls as guinea pigs for this experiment.

    Oh – and you want me to trust the data from Merck?

  5. #5 Tara C. Smith
    June 26, 2006

    I don’t think it will win approval at this stage to become mandatory, so no, I’m not concerned.

    Regarding long-term safety and efficacy, the vaccines are made according to standard procedures and use adjuvants that have been thoroughly tested and used for many years. The efficacy concerns me much more than any long-term safety issues, but if immunity is seen to wane after time, a booster is an option.

    As far as “trusting” data from Merck, the studies are carried out by consultants, with Merck (and for the divalent vaccine, GSK) footing the bill. If I trust the data these scientists provide for NIH-funded research, why wouldn’t I trust it for pharm-funded research? Publication and release of data often are necessary for IRB approval in the first place (which these studies received).

  6. #6 KeithB
    June 26, 2006

    There is one point that refutes the thesis: For some reason people would put *candles* on their Christmas Trees. While not setting the cat on fire it is pretty close!

  7. #7 Dave S.
    June 26, 2006

    Tara writes:

    Publication and release of data often are necessary for IRB approval in the first place (which these studies received).

    Orac reports that Mark and David Geier, father and son anti-vaccination tag team, have apparently started up their own IRB to oversee their research.

    It’s a most disturbing read.

  8. #8 Lou FCD
    June 26, 2006

    It’s a well crafted argument. I’m just laughing because I expect the nutters won’t see that it’s satire. I can’t wait to hear the “Fire Extinguisher Argument” in public. Maybe a TV commercial, from a political candidate. That would absolutely make my week.

    Also, as an aside, is Flaming Monopoly really all that bad? What if you’re not wearing any clothing that could catch fire? Is it still bad? Have there been any studies?

  9. #9 Miss Cellania
    September 1, 2006

    The same argument was used against The Pill when it was first made available. They said it was a liscence to have sex. Um, actually, the incidence of sexual encounters didn’t change much, but the incidence of shotgun weddings went down.

  10. #10 Russell
    December 1, 2006

    the vaccines are made according to standard procedures and use adjuvants that have been thoroughly tested and used for many years. The efficacy concerns me much more than any long-term safety issues, but if immunity is seen to wane after time, a booster is an option.