Respectful Insolence

Antivaccinationists pwned

I love it when someone does something like this, namely pwning an antivaccine video like The Truth About Vaccines:

It’s not perfect, but I love it. Now if only more people would do something similar on YouTube. I’m tired of seeing titles like VACCINES KILL INNOCENT CHILDREN! – Hundreds and More Likely Thousands of Children are Murdered Each Year by Vaccines. Vaccinations Are Part of A Hidden Crime Against Our Children. Vaccines Do NOT Prevent Disease – They Are The Disease.

Hmmm. Maybe Lu could take that one on next…

Comments

  1. #1 sirhcton
    March 14, 2009

    One apparent source for the original slide in “The Truth About Vaccines” referring to vaccines causing “shaken baby syndrome” is the most highly respected and oft cited “Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons” (http://www.jpands.org/jpands0903.htm).

    [Lest anyone doubt, that reference was indeed sarcasm.]

    sirhcton

  2. #2 Amy
    March 14, 2009

    I feel the same way about all the anti-vax Cafe Press shirts and Facebook groups. It’s nice to have the truth represented.

  3. #3 BA
    March 14, 2009

    I will be sending it to a number of parents and parent groups.

  4. #4 Kula
    March 14, 2009

    Someone needs to send it to Dr. Bob too.

  5. #5 gpmtrixie
    March 14, 2009

    < >

    There is a “Vaccines Save Lives” Facebook group. Growing every day.

    This is a great video, but she won’t convince the stalwart anti-vaxers out there. I spent some unproductive time on a mommy “vaccine debate” board. I am not a scientist, but I am a finance person and I tried to explain that the pharma companies have very slim margins on old vaccines, especially compared to non-vaccine drugs, and are not making “billions in profits” from the newer vaccines (RotaTeq and Gardasil). I used the companies’ financial statements, did some math, and proved that their profits for both RotaTeq and Gardasil are way less than $1 billion a year under even the rosiest interpretation of the data. A few weeks later, the same people were spouting the same “billions of profits” line. Like talking to a wall.

    I’m a mother of 3 and this crazy anti-vax stuff worries the crap out of me. I am a little optimistic that the tide seems to be turning to the truth. Keep it up, Orac.

  6. #6 Brian X
    March 14, 2009

    She could totally be GoGreen18′s big sister… like GoGrey24 or something…

  7. #7 dt
    March 14, 2009

    Nice to see something like this, but too long and not punchy enough. Hard core antivaxers won’t even bother watching beyond the first minute, and those just looking at it for information may get a bit bored.
    The ending, on the other hand…….. fantastic.

  8. #8 Knurl
    March 14, 2009

    @gpmtrixie

    Not only what you’ve pointed out, but if millions of people became sick every year from all the diseases that we no longer worry about, wouldn’t the profits realized by the pharmaceutical and medical supplies industries as well as the medical field would be enormous? Wouldn’t it be in their financial interest to stop using vaccines?

  9. #9 cooler
    March 14, 2009

    God she’s so fat and ugly! Don’t you guys have any taste?

  10. #10 gpmtrixie
    March 14, 2009

    @Knurl

    Probably and ditto for the physicians and the hospitals. All the folks who are in on the big “cover-up” and want parents to vaccinate their kids.

    But the anti-vaxers believe that millions of people won’t become sick if our society gets lax on immunizations. It’s all about sanitation, breastfeeding and a healthy lifestyle. They solve all ills in their minds. If they read about a child dying from a VPD, like the recent cases in MN (I think), they immediately question if the child who died was perhaps already sickly or wonder if the medications used to treat the child once s/he got sick caused the death.

  11. #11 Chris
    March 14, 2009

    cooler = troll fail

  12. #12 cooler
    March 14, 2009

    Oink oink! Anyways, the Hannah poling case clearly proves that vaccines can cause Autism. Yeah a mitochondria disorder that causes no symptoms, real believable. Then suddenly poor little Hannah is zapped with several shots and became autistic right after.

    Mitochondria disorder? This was probably the effect of the the Autism, not the cause.

    Sorry guys the courts and the science ruled conclusively that Hannah was poisoned by vaccines.

    Its pretty sad that all you guys have to disprove the Thimerosal hypothesis is correlation (mostly from other countries.) Well there is more to science than correlation, and correlations might not detect susceptible populations.

  13. #13 The Gonzo Girl
    March 14, 2009

    YouTube sure is the idiot’s playground, it’s also full of creationist trash, and the annoying smugness of the answer, or “pwnage” videos always looks like schoolyard bullies picking on really easy targets.
    This video’s pretty nice in comparison to all that usual YouTube BS, though..

  14. #14 TomB
    March 14, 2009

    Anyways, the Hannah poling case clearly proves that vaccines can cause Autism. Anyways, the Hannah poling case clearly proves that vaccines can cause Autism.

    A court case “proves” science? Just like all those court cases against Dow Cornings breast implants proved they were dangerous.

    I wonder why they’re back on the market?

    Its pretty sad that all you guys have to disprove the Thimerosal hypothesis is correlation

    And all the scientific studies…

    It’s pretty sad that all you people have to prove anything is anecdotes.

  15. #15 Dedj
    March 14, 2009

    “Sorry guys the courts and the science ruled conclusively that Hannah was poisoned by vaccines.”

    Which no one here disagrees with. Hell, adverse effects are even included in vaccine inserts, published on manufacturer websites and included in medical training.

    “Yeah a mitochondria disorder that causes no symptoms, real believable”

    ? It’s unlikely that a mito disorder would cause no effects, otherwise it wouldn’t be termed a disorder.

    HP’s mito disorder may have manifested in her repeated, severe infections, the ones which caused her to miss her shots in the first place.

    “Hannah poling case clearly proves that vaccines can cause Autism”

    How so? The ruling clearly states ‘enchephalopathy with autism-like symptoms’. No autism mentioned anywhere, except by Kirby and gang.

    “Its pretty sad that all you guys have to disprove the Thimerosal hypothesis is correlation (mostly from other countries.)”

    Yes , damn those multiple, international, peer-reviewed pieces of research by relevantly qualified and experienced experts! If only we had the personal opinion of a semi-retired cardiologist to back us up!

    “and correlations might not detect susceptible populations.”

    Of course, if those susceptible populations don’t exist, or are too small to make a difference , they won’t be detected either.

    Of course, anti-vaxxors claim that there are susceptible populations out there, enough to make up 1 in 96 (or 1 in 150, or 1 in 100) of us – and that’s not including those that are alledged to have asthma, dyslexia or any one of a number of other ‘vaccine-induced’ conditions.

    So the question is this – if tried and tested means of detecting sub-populations cannot detect these sub-groups – despite thier alledged size – what method (empirical, repeatable and falsifiable) can we use to give us enough information about who these groups are?

  16. #16 Joseph
    March 14, 2009

    Anyways, the Hannah poling case clearly proves that vaccines can cause Autism.

    Except it doesn’t clearly prove anything. First, it’s unclear if Hannah Poling meets criteria for autism. Her CARS scores were bordeline. Second, it doesn’t prove that vaccines can trigger regression in mito disorder. There’s no epidemiological evidence of this. Third, the evidence that mito disorder is associated with ASD is poor (no case-control studies).

    Yes, that concession was a boost for your side, and you can’t say the government is biased against you after that. But let’s face it. The concession was based purely on plausibility and a temporal relation that could be coincidental for all we know.

  17. #17 Robster, FCD
    March 14, 2009

    Cooler, Hannah doesn’t have autism. She has a neurological disorder with some of the features of autism, but not enough to diagnose her on the spectrum.

    Furthermore, it is interesting that you go from a immune response to a vaccine directly to thiomersal. You just have to prove again and again that you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Hannah didn’t react to thiomersal, but an immune response overwhelmed her body’s ability to produce the ATP that her brain needed to function. Any immune reaction in her lifetime could have caused this. It just happened to be that the reaction that did it was provoked by a vaccine.

    ———-

    sirhcton,

    In playing with the chiropractic quack over the last month, I came across an interesting bit of information. One of the bastards that pushed the shaken baby = vaccine injury claim was a speaker at a chiropractic association conference. Also, Wakefield spoke to the International Chiropractors Association at their “ICA Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics’ Annual Conference on Chiropractic & Pediatrics” meeting in the Bahamas. This was held December 2008, so it was before it became clear that either Wakefield had faked his data, or was the worst researcher ever.

    However, it was after it was known that he had taken money from lawyers to produce his paper, and had a patent on a competing vaccine, two conflicts of interest that he never admitted in his papers, and long after it was known that his results couldn’t be replicated by other researchers, and that his lab didn’t use appropriate PCR controls.

  18. #18 Matthew Cline
    March 14, 2009

    Knurl:

    Not only what you’ve pointed out, but if millions of people became sick every year from all the diseases that we no longer worry about, wouldn’t the profits realized by the pharmaceutical and medical supplies industries as well as the medical field would be enormous? Wouldn’t it be in their financial interest to stop using vaccines?

    Ah, but the hardcore alties would say that that’s proof that vaccines aren’t needed, since if they did indeed prevenet diseases that Big Pharma could make money by treating, then vaccines would be a form of alternative medicine that Big Pharma would be trying to supress.

    cooler:

    God she’s so fat and ugly! Don’t you guys have any taste?

    Jeez, that has to be the weakest form of ad hominem around.

    gpmtrixie:

    If they read about a child dying from a VPD, like the recent cases in MN (I think), they immediately question if the child who died was perhaps already sickly or wonder if the medications used to treat the child once s/he got sick caused the death.

    Or wonder if maybe it’s all just a lie. See here where John Kiely relates how, when he was a child, measles made him so sick the doctor thought he might die of it. Commenter “FORCED ANARCHY” won’t belive him unless he can cough of medical records to prove his anecdote.

    cooler:

    Mitochondria disorder? This was probably the effect of the the Autism, not the cause.

    A vaccine caused the exact same mutation(s) in all the cells in her body? That could only happen if one of the vaccines had a retro-virus that was designed to cause the mitochondrial disorder (though I wouldn’t put it past some anti-vaxxers to beileve that).

  19. #19 Magnus
    March 14, 2009

    “A vaccine caused the exact same mutation(s) in all the cells in her body? That could only happen if one of the vaccines had a retro-virus that was designed to cause the mitochondrial disorder (though I wouldn’t put it past some anti-vaxxers to beileve that).”

    Don’t give them any ideas. ;)

  20. #20 Radioactive afikomen
    March 14, 2009

    VACCINES KILL INNOCENT CHILDREN! – Hundreds and More Likely Thousands of Children are Murdered Each Year by Vaccines. Vaccinations Are Part of A Hidden Crime Against Our Children. Vaccines Do NOT Prevent Disease – They Are The Disease

    Did the poster of that video not know when to stop? Excessively rant-y titles are a sure sign of batshit craziness.

  21. #21 DLC
    March 14, 2009

    Where’s Doctor Horrible when you need him ?

  22. #22 ababa
    March 14, 2009

    gpmtrixie said: I’m a mother of 3 and this crazy anti-vax stuff worries the crap out of me. I am a little optimistic that the tide seems to be turning to the truth. Keep it up, Orac.

    I know what you mean, I’m a regular on a local mommy forum that has a “natural living” area where anti-vaxers congregate. They spout the most amazing nonsense and theories, and sadly enough several mothers have been misled. Any simple question is jumped with doom and gloom and the sub-forum moderators censor anyone that has the gall to correct their nonsense. You have to “support” their decisions after all! Even though it has a direct impact on public health.

    It bothers me alot that these are kids that my children will go to school with in a few years. It’s a shame that some people use the shelter to spout lies. Other than those people it’s a pretty interesting place to talk.

    It’s all good though, because a group of us finally got fed up and collected a bunch of posts. This included a meeting setup to have a “chicken pox party” at a public library last November and strategy to work around a religious exemptions. We forwarded the posts to the health department and a couple of news stations. The forum is now under observation at the admin level (including private messages, where they disperse alot of “information”) by the health department. They say they will step in if they see another threat to public health or an outbreak occurs.

    You can’t convince them of their stupidity. All you can do is try to limit the spread to other parents.

  23. #23 CulturalIconography
    March 15, 2009

    I watched “The Truth About Vaccines”–I think what really makes me the angriest is that there are at least a few credulous parents who will be taken in by that crap, and their children will be under- or unimmunized.

    And what’s with the “Shaken Baby Syndrome is caused by vaccines”? I hadn’t heard that piece of nonsense before. Do these people even know what Shaken Baby Syndrome is? I think the lady in the video above is being very generous when she says that the people who make this claim are confusing it with SIDS.

    And as for the idea that God makes children sick so they will be immune? If that God infects little children with awful diseases like measles and whooping cough to “protect” them, what about the kids who die from those diseases? “Oops! My bad!” Makes me proud to be an atheist–I’ll live in the Godless universe, thanks. There’s enough man-made unhappiness in the world without the “help” of a Bronze Age Sky Deity who “moves in mysterious ways.”

  24. #24 Matthew Cline
    March 15, 2009

    And what’s with the “Shaken Baby Syndrome is caused by vaccines”? I hadn’t heard that piece of nonsense before.

    The claim(s) go something like this: a reaction to the vaccines starts the baby dying. The parent, frantic and panicked because the baby is dying, shakes it in an attempt to snap the baby out of it, and the coroner mistakes the damage from the shaking as the cause of death. Anything in the autopsy that can’t be passed off as a panicking parent trying to shake their baby back to life is attributed to:

    1) Direct damage by the vaccine.

    2) Fragile bones caused by dietary deficiencies making them unusually vulnerable to the shaking.

    3) Damage the baby suffered either during birth or in utero which wasn’t noticed until the autopsy.

  25. #25 D Johnston
    March 15, 2009

    @CulturalIconography: If you’re curious about antivaxers and SBS and you have a strong stomach, do a search for Alan Yurko. It’s a disturbing case, but a fascinating one as well – the antivax groups who took up his cause pulled some shenanigans with his background to make him look sympathetic.

  26. #26 Knurl
    March 15, 2009

    ababa

    If it is true that you have done what you say you have done, then you should have a Special Commendation.

    Therefore, by the powers vested in me by None in Particular, it is with great respect and relief that I present you with the first ever Knurl Award for Excellence in Public Heath Responsibility.

    Your efforts will prevent children from suffering, will prevent spreading disease in a public place, and should be thoughtfully considered by all persons.

    Thank you very much,

    Knurl

    P.S. Yes, it’s not really worth anything, but someone should give you something.

  27. #27 Azkyroth
    March 15, 2009

    God she’s so fat and ugly! Don’t you guys have any taste?

    While her appearance is completely irrelevant to this, she looks fine to me aside from the weird grey skin and hair tones. :P

    On the other hand, I can understand that she’s not really your type, cooler. You seem like you’d prefer someone younger…MUCH younger…maybe without much in the way of curve development…MUCH, MUCH younger… *coughs*

  28. #28 Enkidu
    March 15, 2009

    ababa said: “I know what you mean, I’m a regular on a local mommy forum that has a “natural living” area where anti-vaxers congregate. They spout the most amazing nonsense and theories, and sadly enough several mothers have been misled.”

    Ugh, same at the forum I frequent. There is a thread called “Vaccination: Researching the Issue” and they give more weight to youtube videos from wack-a-loons and he said/she said ancedotes than the papers I pull up from pubmed. It’s horribly frustrating.

    http://forum.baby-gaga.com/about335118.html

    And what is this talk about vaccine ingredients “processing through the brain” and causing fevers? Huh?

  29. #29 Rogue Epidemiologist
    March 16, 2009

    @Enkidu
    That link made me facepalm. gahh.

  30. #30 Adam Cuerden
    March 16, 2009

    That was really good – polite, but deconstructing their arguments excellently. I hope she makes more.

  31. #31 Enkidu
    March 16, 2009

    @Rogue

    The best line ever from that link: “Just because I explore avenues that you find to be innaccurate does not mean my research is faulty.”

    WTF is she saying there? That just sums up the anti-vax train of thought right there.

  32. #32 ababa
    March 16, 2009

    Thanks Knurl, although I’d like to take credit for it, but in actuality it’s several of us mothers that got together to do this. We were fed up with it and tired of being slapped down anytime we pointed out errors in “information” because we want to protect our own children. We are mad that in this day and age we still have to deal with this medieval, religious cult-ish crap.

    There is one mother that trolls the forum who is on a personal cursade against vaccines. She has a website and everything – yet is probably one of the last people you would want to go to for medical advice. No medical training, paranoid, a big temper and a self admitted tendency to “go redneck” on people that disagree with her. I’d post a link to her website for laughs, but I’d rather not pave the way for more traffic to her nonsense.

    She has several other mothers that suck up to her everytime she posts a link to “information”. Together they jump on any vaccine post and drown out any reason or real information with scare tactics and conspiracy theories, or report it for not being “supportive of their decisions”. They think making more noise makes them more right. It’s very similar to Enkidu’s forum.

    They talk about things like which doctors will not give them a “hard time” about not vaxing and what words to say in order to get a religious exeption for schools, as the aforementioned “chicken pox parties”.

    Most of them seem to have no job or responsibility in life other than combing the Internet and providing advice they aren’t qualified to give. Personal anecdotes and speculation run wild. One in particular has over 16,000 posts in less than 4 years. The rest aren’t far behind. It’s sad. What kind of quality parenting can you do if you spend your whole day reading and writing on a message board?

    Imagine you are a young, new parent doing some poking around based on a few things you have heard. You want to make the best decisions for your child. You ask a question about vaccines and these vultures descend. This is why it is a problem. They are taking advantage of good parents to push their irrational agenda.

    I honestly think that we are going to end up with a local outbreak of Measles or something similar. And while we can’t stop it directly, we are going to make sure the their “advice” is in the right hands so they can be properly thanked.

  33. #33 Orac
    March 16, 2009

    I’d post a link to her website for laughs, but I’d rather not pave the way for more traffic to her nonsense.

    Oh, come on. It’s not as though you’d be sending her friendly traffic. Perhaps a little of the ol’ Insolence could be sent her way…

  34. #34 ababa
    March 16, 2009

    Orac said: Oh, come on. It’s not as though you’d be sending her friendly traffic. Perhaps a little of the ol’ Insolence could be sent her way…

    I selected my words in that sentence you quoted very deliberately …

    A little Google-fu on one of those words plus with the word “vaccine” might net you the results you seek ;)

  35. #35 Rogue Epidemiologist
    March 16, 2009

    @ababa
    The person runs Whale.to???

    /i searched “vaccine+website”

  36. #36 Rogue Epidemiologist
    March 16, 2009

    @Enkidu
    Just because you have Elvis’s death certificate in hand and have visited his grave at Graceland (he’s there, right?), doesn’t invalidate the stuff I just read in Weekly World News. I know he’s working at a truck stop in Saskatchewan.

  37. #37 Michael
    March 16, 2009

    Thanks for the great video. My wife and I are working through this issue at the moment and this just adds more facts to my arsenal.

    One quick comment: Kula above made a comment about “Dr. Bob” presumably Dr. Bob Sears. I am taking notes on his Vaccine Book at this very moment because its organization (discussion of disease, historical incidence, current incidence, ramifications if contracted, discussion of vaccine, etc.) seems the only sensible way to approach the problem if you aren’t prepared to just accept the overwhelming consensus without independent research. Although Dr. Bob is not as screamingly pro-vaccine as some might wish, he does seem to avoid most of the stupid anti-vax pitfalls such as MMR causes autism. In terms of a resource that could be used to bridge the information- and understanding-gap between two sides of the vaccination issue, I haven’t seen a better resource. (I mean that other good sources such as the CDC could be viewed by “vaccine skeptics” as “government misinformation.”)

    Do people agree or am I missing something?

  38. #38 Orac
    March 16, 2009

    You’re missing something:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=333

  39. #39 Prometheus
    March 16, 2009

    I’m assuming that Michael’s “Do you people agree or am I missing something?” was a serious question.

    “Dr. Bob” Sears has based his recommendations on nothing more than his own imagination. He has no basis for saying that his “schedule” is any safer than the vaccination schedule currently recommended by the CDC – he simply made it up.

    The CDC has been accused by the “vaccine skeptics” (also known as the “pro-infectious-disease” group) of having “conflicts of interest” because…. well, I guess because they’re part of “the government” and can’t be trusted.

    “Dr. Bob’s” conflict of interest is at least visible. He makes a tidy sum selling his book and wouldn’t make a dime if he simply said, “Well, the CDC has researched vaccines a heck of a lot more than I have, so their schedule is going to be better than anything I pull out of my nether regions.”

    Think about it. The CDC changes the vaccine recommendations whenever new data warrants it (note that the oral live polio vaccine was recently dropped in favor of the inactivated vaccine). They have little or no incentive to “hide” problems with the current vaccine “schedule” (it’s a recommendation, not a mandate) and every incentive to change it.

    The CDC incurs no “liability” or “shame” by changing its vaccine recommendations; it has done so on numerous occasions. In fact, the nameless, faceless beaurocrats and technocrats in the CDC would be exposed to liability if they hesitated to make needed changes.

    On the other hand, people like Andy Wakefield and Bob Sears make themselves famous by pretending to be “fighting the beaurocracy”. They have either no data to support their “alternative” recommendations (e.g. Bob Sears, Jay Gordon) or have manufactured their data. These people have a great deal of incentive to stick to their story – no matter what the data say – because they’d lose all of that media attention if they ever were to admit, “Sorry folks, I was wrong about that.”

    Folks like Bob Sears also bear no (legal) responsibility for what happens to you or your children if you follow their recommendations. If your child dies of pertussis or is paralyzed by polio, try suing “Dr. Bob” and see how far you get.

    If your child’s paediatrician recommended that you “space out” their vaccinations or skip the MMR jab and it led to a problem, you’d have them by the…. torts.

    There is really no way to “bridge the gap” between the “two sides of the vaccination issue”. It’s not about a difference of opinion, since there are real data involved (on one side, anyway). And it’s not a question of whose data are better or more reliable, since the anti-vaccinationists (and even would-be “middle-of-the-roaders”, like Bob Sears and Jay Gordon) have no data to support their claims.

    If you follow the CDC’s recommendations for vaccination, your child will be at a certain risk (very low) of vaccine-caused complications and at a certain risk of vaccine-preventable disease. Yes, all vaccines have risks – all real medical interventions have risks. And yes, vaccines are not 100% effective – that’s why we need to immunize a large percentage of the population.

    On the other hand, if you follow “Dr. Bob” Sears’ recommendations, your child will be at a higher risk of vaccine-preventable diseases (especially if your neighbours also follow “Dr. Bob’s” advice) and at no lower risk for vaccine complications.

    The risks of vaccine complications are lower than the risks of the diseases they prevent. That has been shown over and over again – even in “Western” countries. Even if “Dr. Bob’s” schedule could decrease the already low vaccine complication rate, the increased risk from vaccine-preventable diseases would wipe out the small decrease in risk.

    And there is – so far – no data at all to suggest that the schedule of “Dr. Bob”, or “Dr. Jay” Gordon or any of the other folks writing and selling their “Just So Stories” about vaccines can reduce the risk of vaccine complications at all.

    So, what are you going to do? Are you going to believe the people who actually look at (and do) the research on vaccine safety or are you going to believe the people making it up as they go along in order to sell you their book?

    By the way, the CDC offers their information for free.

    Prometheus

  40. #40 Michael
    March 17, 2009

    Orac: thanks for the link to Dr. Novella’s post. I don’t know how I missed that.

    Prometheus: I was indeed being serious, so thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    After digesting the additional perspectives, I guess I hold two perspectives. On the one hand, I think Dr. Sears book could still be a useful tool in motivating somebody who has not vaccinated their kids to pursue vaccination. Dr. Sears clearly holds “alternative” ideas which should lower defenses. And I think in all cases he does advocate for CDC recommended vaccines, even if spaced out.

    On the other hand, I do agree that I was repeatedly put off with some of his fence sitting. The issue of thimerisol and autism was one annoying case, although in an email he said he was going to rewrite the section in light of recent information which came out about Dr. Wakefield. There were too many references to things which “might” cause some harm despite lack of evidence or which some parents are concerned about. For my tastes, I would have preferred an analysis of the data and a more declarative, evidence-based statement on many topics.

    I think the view on this blog and others is that he would have better served the world sticking to the mainstream science, even if he lost an opportunity to get a small (or large) number of non-vaccinating parents off the fence. I guess it depends whether or not his book actually changes minds in favor of vaccination (which is how I hope to use it) or just reinforces minds already made up.

    T

  41. #41 Melody
    March 17, 2009

    “But the anti-vaxers believe that millions of people won’t become sick if our society gets lax on immunizations. It’s all about sanitation, breastfeeding and a healthy lifestyle. They solve all ills in their minds.”

    My dad and me were talking about this just last night, how it puts the blame on people when they get sick. (Never mind people born with genetic disorders…tell these things to someone born with Marfan’s or EDS or any of a number of genetic disorders that they just need to “eat right and get some sun” -even when someone can’t metabolize an amino acid, it’s not usually that simple, as they often need to supplement, as with tyrosine and PKU…someone was spouting this nonsense once and I asked them something like “So please, do tell me, how do I ‘naturally’ treat/cure my seizures? With sunshine? The drugs work swimmingly, thank you.” Then they said something like: “Well, it’s obviously not doing you very much good.” Er…so dramatic reduction / almost no seizures and very little migraine activity isn’t good?)

    BTW, I am pretty sure that the link was to CureZone or NaturalNews or something. This particular poster, if I am remembering correctly, is also quite antivaccine and anti-fluoride. It is tiring, but at least there are some others who stand up for science and evidence, and they generally put links in their posts, which shows all the research they do. A lot of times I just don’t have the brain space and energy (ha, bet that some quack has used that phrase to sell something, somewhere) to go looking for information I have read hundreds of times over to back up what I am saying to someone I know will never listen just because I know that other people will be reading, that could benefit from seeing some ACTUAL useful data, and information.

    Even for diseases that we often associate with lifestyle choices and being often preventable by things like diet, exercise, and not smoking or drinking too much alcohol, almost always (if not always; I am not a doctor or medical student yet) there is another way to get them. And yes, we should all get plenty of sunshine, I am all for that, but be careful also not to get burned and get skin cancer, which does run in my family.

    This mentality, that you just have to do the right things and all your ills are prevented, reminds me of a recent (gosh, I can’t even believe it’s a) controversy on campus about whether the police (who are actual police who worked on the county police department) should get an assault rifle and training in the event of an active shooter. And some people, maybe even a lot (they sure made it seem that way, can’t tell for sure though), were in an uproar about it and made ridiculous claims like “they’ll use the assault rifle for crowd control on students” (and when called upon to name an example in the United States when students were fired upon by campus police, keeping in mind that Kent State was the National Guard and not the campus police who fired on them, and the even more absurd claim that essentially boiled down to “we just need more counseling!”

    And all the time, when asked, “OK, so what’s YOUR plan of how to stop an active shooter, once they’ve already started killing, knowing that counseling won’t fix everything?” Predictably enough, never a response, other than “but it costs money, and some people are even struggling to stay in school, etc.”

    It’s the same thing, rehashed, replayed, in different issues, different people. I would not be surprised if half or more of the people who got swayed by this stuff would get swayed by antivaxers or other quackery that follows a similar pattern. Now, I strongly suspect that the whole opposition thing got started due to a dislike and distrust of authority that, while typically present at some levels in people in my age group, seems particularly strong in a subset of the student population here who seem very anti-authority for their own purposes, even to the abandonment of reason. (Such as, even if I was a user of illegal drugs and wrote large anarchist messages on the walls and would throw things at a police car during a concert, I would still be in favor of it, as their possession of the assault rife for active shooter situation wouldn’t have any bearing on this hypothetical student – even if caught doing all three of these things, while the punishments could be quite severe, they’re not going to point an assault rifle at you and shoot. Besides, if they had wanted to shoot a student in these scenarios, an assault rifle would hardly be the appropriate choice – again, another lack of reasoning, but then again, I’m not taking any illegal mind-altering substances. ;-)

  42. #42 Prometheus
    March 17, 2009

    Melody has an interesting point:

    “…how it puts the blame on people when they get sick.”

    This is – I think – a critical part of the “alternative” medicine / “optimal wellness” thinking.

    If all (or most) illness is caused by personal choices, such as eating the “wrong” foods or not taking the “right” supplements, then all (or most) illness is preventable – again, by making the “right” choices and avoiding the “wrong” choices. This has two immediate consequences:

    [1] People who are currently “well” can pat themselves on the back for their “healthy choices”. Their current good health (or “optimum wellness”) is entirely due to their hard work and sacrifices (after all, the “right” food choices usually aren’t steak and cheesecake).

    [2] People who are currently “ill” have only themselves (or the “toxins” in our environment) to blame. If they had only eaten the right foods and avoided all of those nasty “chemicals”, they would be in a state of “optimal wellness” right now.

    The psychological benefit – to the “currently well” group – is that it gives them the illusion of having complete control over their health. In their fantasy world, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and even aging (for example) are the result of improper diet and using products made with “chemicals”; it can’t happen to them, since they are making all of the “right” choices.

    Of course, this “world-view” completely ignores the genetic component of disease, since that is something out of a person’s control; you can’t change your genetic predisposition to heart disease, cancer or diabetes by eating “right”. This isn’t to say that diet has no impact on the expression of these genetic predispositions, but it can’t change their existence.

    It also completely ignores random chance. While they may admit that car crashes and the like are random events that affect health, they ignore the fact that cancer and other diseases are also random events. A mutation, a chromosomal deletion, a chance encounter with a virus or a random transposition can lead to birth defects, cancer and many, many other things.

    The fact is that genes and random chance play a large role in whether you are “well” or “ill” and what diseases you are prone to develop. A “good” diet may help reduce the impact of “bad” genes or “bad” luck, but it won’t make them go away.

    It can be very disconcerting to realise that the random assortment of genes prior to your conception has such a profound influence over your lifetime health. It is also discnoncerting to realise that a completely random event – like a viral infection – can lead to a medical catastrophe such as cancer or diabetes.

    It would be much more comforting to think that we have total control over our health through our choices.

    But it just isn’t true.

    Prometheus

  43. #43 Diane
    March 17, 2009

    I think that alties also believe that a mythical “ultimate wellness” exists–a state so exalted that very few people can achieve it. There are lots of smug folk who eat right, take umpteen supplements, exercise and all that, and I wonder if they consider themselves to have actually achieved their ultimate health. My guess is no. They’ll admit to some “failing”: whether it be a rare treat (with sugar!) or negative thoughts or some such thing.

  44. #44 Mu
    March 17, 2009

    Of course there is a state of ultimate wellness: A leather recliner, a glass of 20 year old Laphroigh, a Monte Christo #3 and bowl of Lindor truffles.

  45. #45 Diane
    March 17, 2009

    lol!

  46. #46 Prometheus
    March 17, 2009

    Since the “alties” go in for anecdotes so much, I have two for them to contemplate.

    I had two uncles (married into the family, so no direct genetic relation to me) who had very disparate life trajectories:

    Uncle #1 was very careful about what he ate and drank. He eschewed alcohol apart from an occasional glass of wine, ate moderately and limited his intake of “red meat” – in his later years, he was a vegetarian. He watched his weight and was an avid runner. His cholesterol was always within the optimal range and his blood pressure was the envy of his family. He died of a massive coronary thrombosis in his mid-sixties.

    Uncle #2 led what used to be called a “dissolute” life. He drank to excess, smoked, rarely exercised (apart from a vigorous game of darts) and was quite fond of pub food, which was his main source of nutrition after my aunt divorced him. He ate trans fats, “red meat” and loads of preservatives and other “chemicals”. He died in his sleep at the age of 92.

    If I were a “believer” in anecdotal “data” – as so many of the “alties” are – I would conclude from my “family narrative” that the key to a long, healthy life was to eat and drink whatever I wanted.

    This may be true.

    Prometheus

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