Last week, I did three posts about the anti-vaccine movement. (What? Only three? Well, last week was slower than usual on the anti-vaccine craziness front. It happens.) Two of them were variations on a theme, namely how the anti-vaccine movement vehemently, desperately does not want to be seen as “anti-vaccine, even though that’s what many of them are. First, I pointed out how the “health freedom” movement is teaming up with the anti-vaccine movement next week in Chicago to hold an anti-vaccine rally in Grant Park as part of its annual autism quackfest known as AutismOne. My second post asked a simple question: Why, if Age of Autism is about doing better for autistic kids rather than being anti-vaccine, do the the bloggers there spend so much time and verbiage ranting about Gardasil, which, even if the vaccine-autism connection were true, couldn’t possibly cause autism because it’s given a decade after the typical first onset of autistic symptoms?

My answer is that it’s always, first and foremost, about the vaccines, not autism.

Every so often, though, the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism provides me with an insight to how the anti-vaccine movement thinks. This time around, Julie Obradovic serves that purpose with a post entitled How to Actually Save the Vaccine Program. My first impression was that, it’s very, very nice of die hard enemies of the vaccine program to give public health officials advice on how to “save it.” In essence, the post is a list of what Ms. Obradovic thinks public health officials should do before the the anti-vaccine movement will listen to them. In doing so, she demonstrates perfectly exactly why it’s virtually impossible to reason with die-hard anti-vaccine loons. She also demonstrates the utter sense of entitlement that so many of them have, a sense that the world must cater to her. First, she assails the “strategy” used by public health officials:

1. Tell the truth. Stop claiming that science has completely resolved this issue. At best, the limited science thus far (done by those with tremendous conflicts of interest) has shown us that with regard to Thimerosal, it might be good for kids and it might be bad for them, and with regard to the MMR, that for the general population, it doesn’t appear to be a problem. That’s hardly the same thing as the sweeping statement that all vaccines in any child, at any time, with any ingredients, in any amount, in any combination don’t cause Autism. Furthermore, Thimerosal is not gone from vaccines, and the trace amount touted as safe is still far too toxic to flush down a toilet. Plus, according to the Material Safety Data Sheet, it should never be combined with aluminum because of how highly reactive it is, and yet, there are multiple vaccines that combine the two right now. Moving the goal posts? More like clearly identifying the end zone.

Of course, it never occurs to Ms. Obradovic that the scientific community has been telling the truth about vaccines. She just refuses to listen. She’s also good at building up straw men of burning man size and then aiming a flamethrower of burning stupid at them, incinerating them and then high fiving her fellow vaccine rejectionists as though she’s actually scored a victory. No one says that “all vaccines in any child at any time” are completely safe. What science says is that there is no good scientific evidence that vaccines given according to the current vaccine schedule cause autism and that there is a lot of evidence that they are not at all correlated. There is also a huge amount of evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Obradovic claims that mixing mercury with aluminum causes problems because of “high reactivity,” betraying such an ignorance of basic chemistry and pharmacology that it is really, really hard not to be snarkier about it than I’ve been.

The rest of the list is rather long; so I’ll cherry pick the ones that were either the most egregious or amused me the most. For example:

2. Acknowledge your lack of objectivity in this matter. By pretending to be unbiased, you lose credibility.

I call a strawman and raise you a “pot, kettle, black.”

The next one actually rather amuses me:

3. Remove Paul Offit as your spokesperson; he is hurting your cause. You have chosen to give a man who has never treated a single child with Autism the authority to speak for your profession on what doesn’t cause it: the very product that has made him rich. You must realize how poorly that sits with the parent community you serve.

I bet the anti-vaccine movement would like it a lot if Dr. Offit gave up, if he refused to do battle with the anti-vaccine movement anymore. He is arguably the single most tenacious and effective combatter of anti-vaccine nonsense there is. Of course the anti-vaccine movement would like to see him removed from the battle!

This next one demonstrates even more powerfully than I ever could why you can’t reason with the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement:

4. Understand that you are under investigation by the parent community for a crime: medical negligence. Understand that no amount of self-investigation will ever be good enough to convince them of your innocence.

Actually, no amount of investigation, period, will convince someone like Ms. Obradovic that vaccines don’t cause autism. It doesn’t matter who does it. It doesn’t matter who funds the research. It doesn’t matter how bulletproof the research is from a scientific standpoint. It won’t convince Ms. Obradovic. It won’t convince J.B. Handley. It won’t convince Jenny McCarthy. It won’t convince any of the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement. The best way to illustrate this, should you ever get into a discussion with a die-hard vaccine rejectionist, is to ask that person to tell you in very specific terms exactly what evidence would make her change her mind and vaccinate her child. Then follow up on the questions. Inevitably, what you’ll find is that no evidence will. Either that, or the level of evidence will be so unrealistically high that science could never provide that level of certainty.

Here’s perhaps the most difficult one to deal with:

6. Reach out to your loudest critics. Rather than dismiss them, recognize these are the parents who listened to what you told them verbatim and are utterly convinced you completely betrayed them and their children. They have nothing left to lose by speaking out until they believe justice has been served. Your campaign will only make them louder.

Actually, been there, done that. What makes Ms. Obradovic think that the public health community hasn’t reached out to its loudest critics? I once criticized a friend for naïveté for proposing exactly the same thing. In doing so, I pointed out several examples of scientists and public health officials doing just what Ms. Obradovic claims that she wants to see. Not only did it not work, but at every turn representatives of the anti-vaccine movement took advantage of the gullibility of those trying to “reach out” to them in order to cause more trouble.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t reach out to parents. Of course we should! Parents who are confused, parents who keep hearing that vaccines cause autism and are afraid, parents who don’t know the science and don’t know whether they can trust their doctors, these are the people we should reach out to. These are the people whom we should treat with respect. The J.B. Handley, Julie Obradovics, Kim Staglianos, and Jenny McCarthys of the world, not so much. The reason is that they have shown themselves over a long period of time to be about as close to unreachable as can be. In essence, through a combination of the arrogance of ignorance and, in some cases, being far more insulting and dismissive of those supporting vaccination than even Orac can (or would want) to be, they have forfeited a reasonable expectation of civility. If you want evidence of just how hypocritical it is of Obradavic to demand “civility,” simply check out the infamous “baby eating incident,” in which AoA badly Photoshopped the heads of Steve Novella, Amy Wallace, Trine Tsouderos, Paul Offit, and Tom Insel into a picture of people sitting down for a Thanksgiving feast of dead baby.

“Civility” like that only deserves contempt.

The rest of Ms. Obradovic’s post is a bunch of the standard talking points: Tell both sides! (“Teach the controversy!”); the “toxin” gambit; repeating the “measles versus autism” false dichotomy; demanding a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” study; and this gem:

It is no longer acceptable to inject heavy metals such as mercury or aluminum into a human being, as we continue to learn just how vulnerable we are to amounts we previously thought harmless. To repeatedly pierce the flesh, bypass the natural immune system the body has created in the nose, mouth and digestive tract, and directly inject more and more chemicals, metals, and viruses into it without studying the life long and/or unintended consequences for having done so is no longer a miracle; it is madness.

No, some of the comments after Obradovic’s post are madness. For example:

  • It is impossible to save the vaccine industrial complex. Julie Obradovic is brain-washed. (Media Scholar.)
  • “The term ‘vaccine preventable disease’ is a form of propaganda since most vaccines have a high failure rate and do not prevent the disease they were designed to prevent. And ofcourse additionally they can cause a laundry list of unintended side effects.” (Sylvia.)
  • “I am ANTI-vaccine. I wear my “label” proudly. I make no apologies for my stance either. Until someone (anyone) can give me a clear cut answer as to WHY my son was distroyed by something that was supposed to protect him then I will continue to wear that label. Like a badge. Riley has to wear the ‘label’ (his purple heart) of autism (NOT vaccine injured) because mommy was too stupid to question until it was too late. It is my believe that if more people were willing to wear the ANTI-vaccine label and NOT the green vaccine label, that maybe, just maybe , the government and the pharma industry would stand up and FINALLY take notice. You can’t sell a product to people that are 100% against it. They do not make any money from this household.” (Rileysmom.)
  • “Let the vaccine industry go as did the tobacco industry. Smoking used to be a sign of the sophisticated, educated and higher class. Now, it lurks under the surface of society, while everyone knows, universally, that it is bad for you. No amount of honest studying of vaccines could ever result in supporting a system that accepted even the most conservative “schedule.”” (Cynthia Cournover.)
  • “My basic knowledge about vaccines when I stopped them for my daughter was that they contained Mercury and aborted fetal tissue and that was all I needed to know at that time to be thoroughly convinced of their physical and spiritual danger. Now that I have researched this subject fully in the past few years, the amount of scientific evidence is massive in condemning vaccines, I realize how blessed I was in being forewarned about thier dangerous potential. ALTHOUGH my Christian faith was the primary reason that I discontinued vaccines, with what I have learned now, I would be anti-vaccine even if I was an atheist!!! HOWEVER, it is not logical to imagine that vaccines will ever be discontinued until the time when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords establishes his kingdom rulership over mankind.” (Autism Grandma.)
  • “I AM anti-vaccine, and I am not ashamed of that label. I don’t care who knows it or what they think about it. If YOU want to shoot that crap into YOUR body, that is your business. Good luck to you.” (Lisa.)
  • “I don’t think it’s possible to green a vaccine. They are filthy and toxic. I also think folks who believe in an alternate schedule or rolling back to the 1980’s are not facing the issue squarely. Children would still suffer vaccine injury…albeit less severely or in fewer numbers. The issue is….DO VACCINES WORK AND HOW DO THEY WORK? WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES TO THE INDIVIDUAL? I realize that no one wants to be labeled anti-vaccine, but eventually that is what it will come to….better to face it now. I believe the saying is ‘shit or get off the pot.’ I don’t think you can have it both ways…at least not with childhood vaccines. Also, the theory of herd immunity is just that…a theory. Have we ever seen studies that prove this theory? Where are the statistics that the evidence-based medicine crowd demand of us? Show us the proof.” (CT Teacher.)

I wonder if CT Teacher has been hanging around creationist discussion boards. That’s usually where I hear the “just a theory” gambit.

No, it’s not the current vaccination program that it madness. Far from it. Rather, it’s the anti-vaccine movement that is madness. It is madness to try to pursuade parents not to vaccinate based on fears born from fear and ignorance and suckled on pseudoscience and conspiracy mongering. What Obradovic seems to want is for scientists to “destroy the vaccine program in order to save it.” She doesn’t want “dialog,” at least not any meaningful dialog where both sides listen. Her post makes it abundantly clear that she wants to be heard without having to listen in turn. Rather, what she is in essence demanding is complete and unconditional surrender of her “enemy” to the demands of the anti-vaccine movement as a precondition for negotiations. Under such circumstances, it would be madness to give in, because, as Ms. Obradovic has shown us in no uncertain terms that anything less than total capitulation to what she wants is unacceptable! In fact, she goes beyond that by saying at the end of the post that her list is “an incomplete list, but it is a good start.”

“Reaching” out to such people runs the very real risk of giving up more and more ground in a futile hope that a reasonable accommodation can be reached, until one day everything has been given up and there is nothing left. What the anti-vaccine movement wants is nothing less than the utter destruction of the current vaccination program. After all, her leader J.B. Handley himself has said as much! The sad thing is that Ms. Obradovic, for all her spewing of anti-vaccine canards, misinformation, and pseudoscience combined with a sense of utter entitlement, is, compared to the commenters on AoA, about as close to reasonable as anti-vaccinationists come.

And that’s what’s so depressing to me, the thought that someone like Ms. Obradovic is about as close to rational as there is at AoA.

ADDENDUM:

Another crazy comment from a commenter by the ‘nym WILLIE from AoA that reveals the true attitude behind much of the anti-vaccine movement:

To get to the point vaccines are a hoax, a canard, a fraud, a failed scientific experiment, a medical charade with catastrophic consequences whose full apocalypse has yet to be disclosed. Vaccines will ultimately be proven to be responsible for the deaths and sufferings of untold numbers of children and adults from a seemingly myriad of unrelated diseases that all have at their genesis a viral etiology, iatrogenic in nature that will be proven with the identification of the DNA footprinting of the viral genome.
Please do not ever forget that and do not become delusional and think vaccines have some measurable medicinal value as they simply do not. The intent of vaccines was noble (small pox, polio vaccine) however the execution of the vaccine research and subsequent implementation has never arisen to anything more than the level of human experimentation and violation of all ethical codes and principles that make up the blood and backbone of human medical science. The success, efficacy and safety of vaccines been greatly exaggerated and is the result of nothing more than a poorly executed and expensive marketing ploy by pharmaceutical companies who have engaged in incestuous relationships with the government agencies charged with monitoring them. “First do no harm” is the oath and creed that all ethical physicians swore they would work and live by and that has been thwarted perverted and otherwise completely abandoned with the advent of vaccines.

The author of this article clearly means well and has made some points however the bigger picture looms and cast a much greater shadow. Please Do not continue to reach into the vaccine toilette to try to find something good in there, there is nothing good in the vaccine toilette for you or for your family and no matter how many times you reach into this toilette or how far you reach into this toilette you still come up with the same thing that you find in any toilette. So please stay out of this toilette, further stop trying to find a way to share what you think you found in this toilette with others because it is not good for them either and no matter how it is packaged it is still the same thing you find in any toilette.

Wow. Just wow. And this guy claims to be a doctor.

But that’s not all. Here’s another from Suzanne, in response to the accusation by WILLIE that Julie and other AoA denizens are “getting weak” and Julie’s post is evidence of it:

“I am glad that I checked in with you folks as it appears that some of you are getting weak again”

I say: Is the arrogance of that statement lost on you? Good thing you were able to swoop down and set us straight! We always talk about how “they” don’t understand us, how “they call us names and mischaracterize us”. Then some of us turn around and do the same, to members of their own community even! It is one thing to disagree with someone’s opinion, but to accuse people whose opinion is different than yours “getting weak”, that is arrogant. Isn’t it generally considered cult-like behavior to expect everyone in a group to agree 100% on everything, then if someone doesn’t to marginalize them and call them names- and yes, referring to people as “getting weak” is name calling.

Keep thinking Suzanne. Seriously. You’re so very, very close to the truth: AoA and the anti-vaccine movement are a cult. They do attack anyone who strays too far from the anti-vaccine line. Seriously, you’re so close. All you need to do is to take one more step, just one more step, and soon you might find yourself on the road to rationality.

I would also point out that I am most grateful to WILLIE and the other AoA commenters. Whenever someone like Suzanne protests that AoA is not “anti-vaccine” in response to one of my posts, these commenters back up my accusation far more effectively than any evidence I alone can come up with. Thanks, WILLIE and Autism Grandma, for bringing the crazy home and thus helping support my assertions! I knew I could count on you!

Comments

  1. #1 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    chance: “Is that an ad hominem attack that you spent so much time lecturing us on earlier in this thread? Tu quoque much?”

    That’s expected of me much like you expect me to be a homeschooled teenager. You who champion, evidence, “science”,and critical thinking have a higher standard of conduct.

  2. #2 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    missantelope: “Science describes the way the world works, philosophy describes how one wants it to work.”

    Interesting view. HMMM.

    So Dr. Carl Clauberg,Dr. josef mengele,Dr. Herta Oberheuser, and Dr. Karl Brandt were just describing HOW the world works? And as scientists they were immune to their particular philosophy of life as how they see it?

    Very interesting.

  3. #3 Lawrence
    May 21, 2010

    Okay Augie – now you’re just being ridiculous. You pick out the worst of the worst (Nazis even) to manipulate the conversation.

    The nature of Science is to explain how the natural world operates, and the scientific method gives us the ability to test our hypotheses and replicate the results, or show us the errors in the original idea, which results in new testing and new ideas.

    Is that to say that the application of “Science” is 100% pure and without bias? Of course not, humans are capable of faulty ideas & individual bias – which is why there is a peer reviewed process that is used to filter out the incorrect ideas (or the morally questionable activities of some).

    in the same vein, scientific thought is always changing, being challenges and evolving as our base of knowledge increases. Unlike philosophies, which cannot be tested (since they reside as abstract notions), Scientific thought does change over time – as new facts are brought to light.

    Through all of this, I still have no idea what your purpose is, other than to throw bombs into this conversation thread – because you’ve made no points what-so-ever, even in light of evidence provided to your questions.

    And lastly, to go back to my first point, the person in any conversation that has to resort to the “Nazi” card, loses.

  4. #4 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    Larry: “And lastly, to go back to my first point, the person in any conversation that has to resort to the “Nazi” card, loses.”

    Not in this case. It made its point.

  5. #5 Vicki
    May 21, 2010

    Lawrence–

    The original form of Godwin’s law is that as an online discussion continues, the probability of someone comparing one of the other participants to Hitler or the Nazis approaches 1, and when that happens, the conversation is effectively over. That the first person making the comparison is usually thought to have lost is secondary.

    Life being like that, there is a Godwin’s Law FAQ; it assumes the reader is posting to Usenet, but is still relevant.

  6. #6 Lawrence
    May 21, 2010

    Thanks Vicki – I knew of the principle, but had never seen the fact. I think we can all agree, at this point (and probably a couple of hundred posts ago) that this conversation is over.

  7. #7 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    It was not a personal comparison as in name calling.

  8. #8 Pablo
    May 21, 2010

    I have heard others mention how it is possible to create killfiles on Firefox for these types of places. Does anyone have instructions on how to do that?

  9. #9 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    Larry,
    I guess you didn’t like my response to the evidence about wakefield and measles? You sounded so excited and certain that you had evidence to the case.

    Pablo, you should do that. If you don’t want to critically reflect on your view then you need to save your ego as a protective mechanism. Denial is one way.

  10. #10 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    May 21, 2010

    @augustine

    I have nothing against antelope, but you’re renewing my faith in my misanthropy.

  11. #11 Lawrence
    May 21, 2010

    At this point, it won’t matter what evidence we provide. You’ve become a broken record – I don’t think any of us have the desire to continue to feed your ego.

  12. #12 Composer99
    May 21, 2010

    Uggie (I’d ask if I could call you Uggie but I don’t care – I just don’t want to sully St. Augustine’s name by associating it with low-grade Internet trolls), great job with the psychological projection (post #408).

  13. #13 Vicki
    May 21, 2010

    Pablo–

    You can do this using the Greasemonkey addon and the killfile user script. Install them in that order. (I added the script a couple of days ago, prompted by this thread.)

  14. #14 Jud
    May 21, 2010

    augustine writes:

    You’re one of the lower minions on here, along with ender. I’m surprised they haven’t already cannabalized you.

    That is retarded. I’ll put a note that you too are also one of the lower minions on here.

    On the hierarchy of intelligence and critical thinking skills on this blog, with Orac being at the top. You are on the bottom rung.

    Dr. Carl Clauberg,Dr. josef mengele,Dr. Herta Oberheuser, and Dr. Karl Brandt….

    Let me leave you with an old quote to consider, augustine. Perhaps you’re familiar with the source?

    “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.”

  15. #15 Kristen
    May 21, 2010

    Jud,

    All I can say is; well played.

  16. #16 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    I told myself I would stop at post #400. Oops I’ve gone past. perhaps everyone can help Larry out with his measles death count graph (on another post) that absolutely does not show an increase in deaths. Can someone twist that data for him and show me how unreasonable I am to NOT draw the conclusion that Wakefield is responsible for countless measles deaths?
    Am I looking at the wrong chart?

  17. #17 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    @Jud: Let me leave you with an old quote to consider, augustine. Perhaps you’re familiar with the source?

    “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.”

    Jud, Who is your king?

  18. #18 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    May 21, 2010

    As I said, I have nothing against antelope. I harbor no ill will against animals, as they do what they do for no other reason than to survive.

    But for humans who deny their link to this unbroken thread, who claim a special place for themselves and yet fritter away the remarkable, and probably unique, gift of reason, I hold nothing but contempt.

    They have placed themselves above and apart from the animals, with whom we share common ancestry, that unbroken thread. Yet what truly sets us apart, and requires of us a significant and special responsibility, reason, they decry.

    They hoot at the monolith rather than study it. They howl at the Moon rather than visit it. They worship the Sun rather than harness it. They have made animals, not men, of themselves.

  19. #19 augustine
    May 22, 2010

    Missantelope:

    “From an early point of view, misanthropy was a beast-like state. The received view by Aristotle was that the solitary man was not properly human at all.”

    …”whoesever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” -Francis Bacon

    http://books.google.com/books?id=gHTKzYKrh6wC&pg=PA29#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Thank you for stating your particular metaphysical view of life.

  20. #20 dedicated lurker
    May 22, 2010

    augustine, none of those people were scientists. They were not trying to obtain scientific knowledge and were not using the scientific method. Instead, they tried to use pseudoscientific “experiments” that proved their ideological viewpoint.

    Kind of like Andrew Wakefield.

  21. #21 Scottynuke
    May 22, 2010

    It’s well-established that both Orac and that other place for his “friend” want an unfettered flow of information, so there’s no moderation (except in cases of egregious personal attacks, spamming, etc). However, mindless threadjacking by the clueless chews up far too much space and time on this blog.

    A suggestion — create an permanent RI page where you list “threadjackers” and their pet topics, inability to accept reality, and so on. When they show up in a thread, any regular commenter can simply post the URL to the threadjacker’s entry and suggest people ignore the troll. That way, even the uninitiated can be waved off from engaging the trolls yet again over the same ‘ol drooling unreality.

  22. #22 Lisa
    May 22, 2010

    HOWEVER, it is not logical to imagine that vaccines will ever be discontinued until the time when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords establishes his kingdom rulership over mankind.

    Well, of course it isn’t. When the King of Kings comes all diseases will be abolished. Until then we will need vaccines to prevent those diseases.

  23. #23 augustine
    May 22, 2010

    Lisa: “Until then we will need vaccines to prevent those diseases.”

    Billions don’t need vaccines to prevent “those diseases”. So everyone doesn’t need “those vaccines”.

  24. #24 Sauceress
    May 22, 2010

    Thanks MI Dawn.

    Personally I think this one trick troll’s low categorisation of a poster should be taken as a compliment by said poster.
    It’s been a while since I’ve had a piece of troll.
    For flavour, I’d have to rate this one 1/10. Ostentatious presentation, however once you bite into it, completely tasteless and the texture nauseatingly slimy.

    #402 jack

    Dr. Carl Clauberg,Dr. josef mengele,Dr. Herta Oberheuser, and Dr. Karl Brandt

    augu…no wait…seeing as you’re so keen on the name game thing…I think I’ll call you jack.

    Well jack, I’m sure if I can manage to numb most of my neuronal connections and somehow manage to engage in just the right combination of cognitve dissonant gymnastics, whilst hopping in circles on one foot, I will be able to make the connection between these names, your “socio-political aspect” of Gardasil vacination and “the philosophy and strategy behind the application of a medical technology upon a society.”

    Not in this case. It made its point.

    Your post certainly made my point…that you had/have no idea what you were blathering on about.

    Anyways jack..thanks for playing.

  25. #25 augustine
    May 23, 2010

    Socio-political aspect:

    can anyone tell me where in the world gardasil would theoretically be needed the most?

    Can anyone tell me what country buys the most gardasil?

    Can anyone tell me why gardasil is the most expensive vaccine in the history of the world? When it supposedly would be it’s most effective in the poorest countries in the world? Do you think Merck has awareness of this? Do you understand why julie gerberding now works for merck?

    Who will pay for these countries vaccines who theoretically need gardasil the most? Why would they do that? Do you know what altruism is? Do you understand the complexity of proving a negative?

    answer a few of these and I’ll give you the reasons why merck has fooled your little evidence based as>ses.

  26. #26 squirrelelite
    May 23, 2010

    @dedicated lurker-420,

    It is interesting that A. quotes Francis Bacon (who I think is actually quoting from Aristotle) because Francis Bacon was actually very influential in overturning the grip that the Aristotelian concept of deduction from first principles had on learning and science. I couldn’t find my philosphy of science book which starts with a translation of the Novum Organum, so I went to this link:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/francis-bacon/

    Although Bacon wrote in a time when what we in retrospect would consider science was intermixed with alchemy, religion and magic, it was very influential “that Bacon “encouraged detailed and methodical experimentation” (Hesse, loc. cit.); and he did this on account of his new inductive method, which implied the need for negative instances and refuting experiments.”

    I also liked this quote:

    “there is yet a much more important and profound kind of fallacies in the mind of man, which I find not observed or enquired at all, and think good to place here, as that which of all others appertaineth most to rectify judgment: the force whereof is such, as it doth not dazzle or snare the understanding in some particulars, but doth more generally and inwardly infect and corrupt the state thereof. For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence, nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced. For this purpose, let us consider the false appearances that are imposed upon us by the general nature of the mind …” (Bacon, III [1887], 394–5)

    It definitely seems that at least one commenter has had his understanding dazzled or snared so that it is like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture!

  27. #27 Antaeus Feldspar
    May 29, 2010

    I had to stop reading the comments section of this post when I read the comment from Autism Grandma whose “Cristian Faith” stopped her from vaccinating. Even as a Christian myself, I can see why religious zealots like her make the rest of us look like loons in the extreme.

    Rene, I will always believe that this is what the commandment against taking the name of the Lord in vain is prohibiting: people falsely attributing their desires to God, claiming “God doesn’t want me to vaccinate!” when the truth is they can’t be bothered to sort out the truth from the fiction about vaccines and they want some excuse to not try.

  28. #28 Antaeus Feldspar
    May 30, 2010

    The natural remedy for rabies is death. It’s foolproof, if nothing else.

    Actually, there was a remedy that could be used in the pre-vaccine days on a bite from a rabid animal, and it really worked (at least some of the time) if the remedy was taken immediately.

    It involved sprinkling gunpowder on the wound and setting it off.

    I’d rather have the vaccine.

  29. #29 BarbSmith
    November 9, 2010

    Just a lot of shouting with no listening on either side. It’s a parents’ duty and right to question and research medical treatment for their children. Unfortunately, when it comes to vaccines, this is near impossible due to the arrogant stonewalling of the medical community vs. the emotional paranoia of the anti-vaccine crowd. It’s frustrating. Big pharma is corrupt & they corrupt many of those around them. So much so that a report stating only 2/3 of doctors allow drug companies to wine & dine them is apparently an improvment. http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/11/09/doctor-pharma-industry-freebies.html

    This doesn’t mean that they aren’t good people working for the best of humanity within the industry however. But people should be asking questions. I wish there could be meaningful dialogue around this issue but it’s difficult to find. I certainly don’t find it here.

  30. #30 Todd W.
    November 9, 2010

    @BarbSmith

    I wish there could be meaningful dialogue around this issue but it’s difficult to find. I certainly don’t find it here.

    Then you haven’t looked too hard. For starters, you may want to begin with a more recent post, like this one.

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