Being as involved as I have been refuting antivaccine pseudoscience as I’ve been over the last 12 years, I frequently forget that antivaccine views are not the mainstream. It’s an easy thing to do. If you were to immerse yourself in the antivaccine echo chamber as much as I do, you too would start to think that enormous swaths of the country, if not an outright majority, think that vaccines cause autism, sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, a wide variety of neurological disorders, and basically every autoimmune disease under the sun. I know that that’s not true, but often it doesn’t feel that way. In particular, I’ve been concerned ever since Donald Trump became President, given his long sordid history of antivaccine ramblings, his having met with Andrew Wakefield leading to antivaccinationists thinking that he will be satisfying some of their deepest darkest wishes with respect to the CDC, and his having met with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to discuss (if you believe RFK Jr.) a vaccine safety commission or an autism commission (if you believe the Trump administration. When the President of the United States is an antivaxer, you know we could be in for trouble when it comes to public health.

That’s why it’s good to be periodically reminded that the vast majority of Americans don’t support antivaccine views, as I was by an article by Lena Sun in the Washington Post telling us that Trump’s vaccine views are at odds with those of most Americans, study says. Basically, it’s a news story about a Pew Research Center survey about the benefits of vaccines and school vaccine mandates. It was a Pew Research survey conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,549 adults, ages 18 or older from May 10-June 6, 2016 (before the election) whose results are being published now. It’s mainly about the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine because that’s the vaccine that Andrew Wakefield cast doubt upon and is therefore the most famous and commonly mistrusted vaccine.

First things first, though. Before I get to the support for vaccination, the pedant in me can’t resist mentioning that this study confirms what I’ve been saying all along, that support for vaccines is pretty much even on the left and the right, or, as I like to put it, antivax is the quackery that knows no partisan boundaries:

The new Pew Research Center survey finds Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) hold roughly the same views as Democrats (including leaning Democrats) about the benefits and risks of the MMR vaccine, consistent with a 2015 Pew Research Center survey on this topic. Republicans and Democrats (including those who lean to either party) are about equally likely to support a school-based vaccine requirement. However, political conservatives are slightly more likely than either moderates or liberals to say that parents should be able to decide not to have their children vaccinated, though majorities of all ideology groups support requiring the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine for all children in public schools because of the potential health risk to others.

On the other hand, there is a significant difference in how conservatives and liberals perceive school vaccine mandates:

Conservatives (25%) are a bit more likely than either moderates (15%) or liberals (9%) to say that parents should be able to decide not to have their children vaccinated even if that creates health risks for others. At least seven-in-ten of all three ideology groups say that the MMR vaccine should be required for healthy schoolchildren, however. There are no significant differences in views about this issue by political party in this survey.

Even with a margin of error of 4%, I’m hard pressed to look at figures that show 25% of conservatives believe that parents should be able to decide not to vaccinate their children even if that may create health risks for others while only 9% of liberals do to be a “bit more likely.” That’s almost three times as likely. If these figures are reasonably accurate and generalizable to the population at large, this would definitely explain why otherwise moderate Republicans like Chris Christie would pander to the antivaccine movement during the run-up to the Republican primaries in 2015. It’s why antivaccine dog whistles have become more prominent on the right than on the left. Heck, my very own state senator panders to antivaxers.

OK, I’ve taken this opportunity to indulge my pet peeve and point out yet again that it is a myth that antivaccine quackery is somehow the purview of the left. What else does this study show us? First, most Americans support a school-based vaccine requirement:

An overwhelming majority of Americans (82%) support having a school-based requirement that healthy children be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella. Older adults, ages 65 and older, are especially strong in their support for requiring the MMR vaccine.

Seniors, ages 65 and older, support a school-based requirement for the MMR vaccine by a margin of 90% to 8% who say that parents should be able to decide this. Smaller majorities of younger age groups support a school requirement for the MMR vaccine.

That’s not to say that there isn’t somewhat concerning information in this poll. Take a look at these graphs:

PS_2017.02.02_vaccines_0-04

As you can see, the overwhelming majority of adults support school vaccine mandates, but there are disturbing differences in the level of support based on age and whether or not the adults have young children. For example, only 8% of adults 65 and 14% of adults aged 50-64 and older say that parents should be able to decide not to vaccinate their children even if that may create health risks for others, 21% of adults under 50 say this. Even worse, 22% of parents of children age 0-4 years say this, compared to only 15% of parents with no children under 18.

Not surprisingly, adults who have tried alternative medicine are considerably more likely to believe that parents should be able to decide not to vaccinate their children even if that may create health risks:

PS_2017.02.02_vaccines_0-07

Surprisingly, though, the absolute numbers are much smaller than I would have expected, with 13% of adults who have never used alternative medicine anbd 12% of adults who take over-the-counter medication right away when sick answering this way compared to 26% of those who have ever used alternative medicine rather than conventional medicine and 33% of those who never take over-the-counter medication when sick, respectively.

There’s also an unsurprising result in the survey. While 88% of respondents agreed that the benefits of the MMR vaccine outweigh the risks, which is good, there are definite disparities in this belief based on science knowledge. Basically, those with a high knowledge of science accept that the benefits of the MMR outweigh any risks, while those with low science knowledge are far less likely to accept that the benefits of the MMR outweigh the risks:

PS_2017.02.02_vaccines_0-09

On the other hand, contrary to the commonly held stereotype that it is affluent (usually liberal) white people who distrust vaccines the most, the higher the income, the more the trust in the MMR vaccine, with the lowest percentage of people believing that the benefits of the MMR outweigh the risks belonging to the group making less than $30,000 a year. Similarly, in the graph above that looked at how people with young children view the MMR vaccine, you’ll see that significantly fewer African-Americans and Hispanics reported that the benefits of the MMR outweigh the risks.

As the Pew Research survey report puts it:

Reports that affluent communities have lower vaccination rates lead some to speculate that people with higher incomes hold more concerns about the safety of the MMR vaccine. The Pew Research Center survey finds, however, that people with higher family incomes tend to rate the risk of side effects from the MMR vaccine as low. Those with higher family incomes are especially strong in their support for a requirement that all children be required to be vaccinated against MMR in order to attend public schools.

I think I might be able to reconcile these two disparate observations, although I admit that my explanation is speculative, albeit speculative based on my 12+ years of observations. It might well be that affluent parents have a greater tendency to accept the benefits of vaccines and support school vaccine mandates. It may well also be that more education correlates with greater support for the MMR> However, there appears to be a subset of these parents who, highly educated and full of the Dunning-Kruger effect, tend to cluster together into communities that self-reinforce antivaccine views. In other words, there is another factor that, when added to high education and high income, promotes antivaccine views. More importantly, for purposes of promoting antivaccine views and persuading others that vaccines are dangerous, these highly educated, largely white, affluent people are much more talented at using social media and their connections to promote antivaccine pseudoscience than, say lower income people and minorities.

Whether my speculations are on the money or way off, there was another finding that was simultaneously reassuring and concerning:

Public perceptions of medical scientists and their research are broadly positive. Some 55% of Americans perceive strong consensus among medical scientists that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is safe for healthy children. Nearly half of Americans (47%) say that medical scientists understand very well the risks and benefits of the MMR vaccine, 43% say medical scientists understand this fairly well and just one-in-ten (10%) say medical scientists do not understand this at all or not too well.

In fact, medical scientists understand the risks and benefits of the MMR vaccine very well. Still, it is reassuring that only 10% of adults seriously doubt this. This is also reassuring:

Fully 84% of Americans say they have a great deal (24%) or a fair amount (60%) of confidence in medical scientists to act in the public’s best interests. About eight-in-ten or more report at least a fair amount of confidence in medical scientists to act in the public interest across a range of subgroups including gender, age, parents, race and ethnicity, education, political party and ideology and religion.

It would be a bit nitpicky to hope that more Americans would have a great deal of confidence in medical scientists than a “fair amount,” but I’ll take what I can get. Overall, this survey suggests that, by and large, Americans trust medical scientists on the MMR, that the vast majority of Americans believe that the MMR’s benefits outweigh the risks, and support school vaccine mandates.
There’s even another little tidbit in this survey that finds that 74% of adults say conflicting news reports about disease prevention are understandable because “new research is constantly improving our understanding,” while only 23% of adults say such research “cannot really be trusted because so many studies conflict with each other.” That’s better than I would have expected.

The bottom line is that antivaxers are a minority. The are cranks. They are, for the most part, marginalized, which is as it should be. Unfortunately, they have an outsized influence on reasonable parents who just don’t have the scientific background to recognize their misinformation and pseudoscience for what they are, contributing to vaccine hesitancy. Also, Americans, by and large, trust medical science and MMR vaccine safety. After two weeks in the age of Trump, which followed 12 years of dealing with antivaccine pseudoscience, I find this oddly refreshing. It is a good way to end the week.

Comments

  1. #1 Dorit Reiss
    February 3, 2017

    I would be careful using the terms cranks to refer to parents who don’t vaccinate as opposed to those who promote anti-vaccine misinformation (including those active online). Your micro community matters, after all. I can easily see a parent in a community where not vaccinating is a thing being scared enough by friends and neighbors not to vaccinate. A parent can be perfectly reasonable and still be scared by her network and community.

    it’s still very, very good to have this information. It’s important to remember, as you say, that the vast majority of Americans realize the benefits of vaccines.

  2. #2 Dorit Reiss
    February 3, 2017

    I wonder whether in four years, Trump would have made a difference to the political distribution.

  3. #3 Lawrence
    February 3, 2017

    Oh, look who’s back……and being an unoriginal copycat.

  4. #4 Orac
    February 3, 2017

    Dorit is correct and I’m usually a bit more careful than that (and usually am, as my history shows). So I added a couple of sentences distinguishing antivaccine cranks from the merely vaccine-hesitant.

  5. #5 Orac
    February 3, 2017

    Also, I’ll mention this here as well. Fendlesworth has taken to impersonating regular commenters (like Dorit) now. If the e-mail you use is publicly accessible (e.g., you use a university address to post here), you could potentially be a victim. I think he’s figured out that I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing him in his first benign-seeming comment that he posts in order to get me to approve them, which then lets him comment without moderation, after which he starts trolling. There have been a lot of attempts over the last couple of days, and I’ve denied them all. What bothers me is that it’s certainly possible that one or more of those attempts might have been someone other than Fendlesworth trying to post. I doubt it, but the longer the increased vigilance goes on, the more likely it is that I’ll inadvertently shut out new commenters who aren’t Fendlesworth socks.

    In any case, keep an eye out for posts by regulars that don’t sound like them. Help each other out, in case the person being impersonated doesn’t see the comment impersonating him or her.

  6. #6 vinu arumugham
    February 3, 2017

    Nice article. I think they could have asked the subjects a loaded question, or one that is likely to give positive responses. Do you know what questions were asked specifically?

  7. #7 Anonymous Pseudonym
    In Your Head
    February 3, 2017

    Looking at the survey, I’m not nearly as hopeful as you are Orac. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed are complete and utter morons who value their misconceptions more then the health of those around them. Saying that there are approximately 250,000,000 adults in the US, that means that around 57,500,000 people are disease vectors in the making. That is almost twice the number of Canadians of all ages. That’s far more than the population of your three largest cities, New York city, Los Angeles and Chicago (~13 million total), combined. That is a whole heaping serving of idiocy.
    I’m curious if the clumping effect applies to other groups beyond the affluent and educated. I wonder if the next epidemic will jump from cluster to cluster, and lead to people blaming the government because of it being clustered instead of generalized. It must be 5 o’clock somewhere, and now I need a drink.

  8. #8 Eric Lund
    February 3, 2017

    Orac@5: Thanks for the heads up. I don’t always follow threads, especially if they are more than a day old, and my e-mail is publicly accessible.

    Once in a while I attempt to parody an alt-med position, but being cognizant of Poe’s Law, I usually indicate that I am attempting a parody.

  9. #9 Eric Lund
    February 3, 2017

    AP@8: The herd immunity thing is cause for concern, but remember that we are dealing with Americans. The canonical number for crazy in the US is 27 percent:

    Obama vs. Alan Keyes. Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgement. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That’s crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27% Crazification Factor in any population.

  10. #10 doug
    February 3, 2017

    So has MJD sunk even lower or is Fuckallworth imperson(?)ating him?

    • #11 Orac
      February 3, 2017

      He’s being impersonated. I just took care of it. His e-mail address is publicly available. So he’s a good target. My bad for not noticing and letting it through.

  11. #12 Panacea
    February 3, 2017

    Well if I start kissing an anti vaxxer’s ass, you’ll know it’s not me 😉

    @vinu: if you go to the Pew Center page (Orac linked it in his post) you can get a PDF of the entire report, which includes a copy of the survey questionnaire. The Pew Center is non-partisan and does a pretty good job with their surveys; they’re considered fairly reliable as polls go. You’re going to have to be pretty convincing if you want to poke holes in the questions.

  12. #13 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    February 3, 2017

    Good article on how the anti-vaccine cult operates.

    These anti-vaccine leaders are luring well-intentioned but naive parents astray by feeding them a diet of lies and half-truths. Instead of helping their autistic children, they end up harming them because the whole belief system of the cult rests on convincing parents that their children are damaged. That autism is a burden, a curse, a judgement from on high against them.

    https://bjforshaw.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/selling-sanctuary-the-poison-of-the-anti-vaccine-cult/

  13. #14 herr doktor bimler
    February 3, 2017

    This is certainly new, what did I miss? The usual Fendlescat?

  14. #15 Orac
    February 3, 2017

    He’s been impersonating regular commenters for whom he can find their e-mail address online.

  15. #16 Lawrence
    February 3, 2017

    Someone obviously has too much time on their hands….

    Any idea on who he really is? Perhaps a regular over at AoA?

    Gerg again?

  16. #17 herr doktor bimler
    February 3, 2017

    Well. I hope he doesn’t see this.

  17. #18 JP
    February 3, 2017

    I can easily see a parent in a community where not vaccinating is a thing being scared enough by friends and neighbors not to vaccinate. A parent can be perfectly reasonable and still be scared by her network and community.

    Indeed, or parents can probably even end up not vaccinating because they’re following their “mommy/daddy intuition,” which, of course, is often wrong. The thought of your tiny baby getting jabbed multiple times with needles is enough to make any parent cringe, I would imagine. Add a little exposure to the anti-vaxx message…

  18. #19 Politicalguineapig
    February 3, 2017

    That can’t be right. It’s like a crazy making thing I heard recently: a business leader was claiming that in recent generations people have become less racist. In my experience, people- especially those my age or younger- are more racist then society was in the 1950s. Heck in the 1950s, it was at least reasonably acceptable to punch nazis and heckle them.

  19. #20 Anonymous Pseudonym
    In Your Head
    February 3, 2017

    And just to be balanced. Canada is not any better statistically for immunization rates. This article from 2015 (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2017/02/02/antivaccinationists-try-to-show-vaccines-are-dirty-but-really-show-that-they-are-amazingly-free-from-contamination/) shows that we are doing better for MMR at 89%, but are sucking hind tit when it comes to chicken-pox at 73% and DTP at 77%. We’re not as stratified by income and education as they are in the USA however. The stupidity is evenly distributed here. I would bet that a slightly higher percentage of non-vaccinations in Canada are coming from the religious morons. I fear that things will only get worse until we do have a serious and lethal epidemic of a disease that can be easily and consistently prevented by vaccines. That’s why, in my opinion, that another 1918 flu epidemic won’t change people’s minds. The influenza hit/miss rate due to seasonal variants is to erratic for people to trust it.

  20. #21 Narad
    February 3, 2017

    Any idea on who he really is?

    Travis Schwochert of Wisconsin.

    Perhaps a regular over at AoA?

    He didn’t seem to get enough attention to suit himself when he was posting as me over there.

  21. #22 Young CC Prof
    February 3, 2017

    90% of those who remember all three disease are in favor of the mandate, compared to 77% of those who remember none of them. People need to listen to their grandparents more, I guess!

    The number opposed sounds like a lot, but keep in mind, it’s opposition to the MANDATE, not to the vaccine itself. A certain percentage of people will want to jump off a bridge the minute the government tells them not to.

  22. #23 Jake Crosby
    February 3, 2017

    Polls have taught us so much this past year, especially that Hillary Clinton would be president.

    Oh wait…

  23. #24 NJK
    United States
    February 3, 2017

    Another reason that anti-vaccine actions skews more to the affluent parents, may be that they have more resources to go shopping around for an anti-vaccine doctor.

  24. #25 Lawrence
    February 3, 2017

    And yet the vast majority of people in the US get vaccinated….kind of blows your theory out of the water, Jake.

  25. #26 Orac
    February 3, 2017

    Indeed, even the vast majority of Trump voters.

  26. #27 Orac
    February 3, 2017

    As for the polls, they were actually pretty accurate in that they predicted the popular vote margin pretty well, with Clinton winning by nearly 3 million votes, or 2.1%. Trump’s trifecta of carrying three key battleground states that he wasn’t expected to win (and, then, by a very small margin, particularly here in Michigan), victories that gave him the Electoral College victory, is something that would have been hard for any poll to predict, as more than a little luck was involved.

  27. #28 Eric Lund
    February 3, 2017

    People need to listen to their grandparents more, I guess!

    The problem is that most people don’t realize this until it’s too late. The concept is captured in this memorable exchange from Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy:

    ARTHUR: It’s times like this I wish I’d listened to my mother.
    FORD: Why, what did she say?
    ARTHUR: I don’t know, I wasn’t listening!

  28. #29 Kiiri
    February 3, 2017

    I don’t get to post often but if I started going anti-vax you know it isn’t the real me. 🙂 I’m ashamed of your education Jake, since I thought you went for an MPH. Surely you took basic statistics. Polls all have a margin of error. The election polls all had Orange Thinskin polling in the margin of error in many places. They weren’t wrong. Most of the pollsters (and the majority of voters given HRC 2.9 million popular vote win) didn’t want to believe that their fellow countrymen could possibly be that stupid. A narrow electoral college victory (due to a very small number of mid-western voters) and a massive popular vote lost do not a popular president with any kind of mandate make. Vive la resistance.

  29. #30 herr doktor bimler
    February 3, 2017

    Beware of fake Bimler above at #14, #17. Accept no imitations.

  30. #31 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    February 3, 2017

    Go away Fendlesworth.

  31. #32 herr doktor bimler
    February 3, 2017

    Blow me Julian.

  32. #33 herr doktor bimler
    February 3, 2017

    Orac will have to sort out which is the real Spock bimler. I have a beard so I may be the evil version.

  33. #34 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    February 3, 2017

    Somebody is about to learn about something called an I.P. Address.

  34. #35 Narad
    February 3, 2017

    His home base was previously CIDR 66.206.48.0/20, Marquette–Adams Telephone Cooperative. If he’s still using their netblocks, our gracious host could always contact abuse@maqs.net, +1-608-586-4111.

  35. #36 Narad
    February 3, 2017

    ^ G-d, I hate that autolinking.

  36. #37 Narad
    February 3, 2017

    Heh. I did have the sense to save a copy of your Disqustink comments before you deleted the account, Travis.

  37. #38 sullenbode
    February 3, 2017

    as more than a little luck was involved.

    Because voting apparatus is like a slot machine.

  38. #39 Eric Lund
    February 3, 2017

    A narrow electoral college victory (due to a very small number of mid-western voters) and a massive popular vote lost do not a popular president with any kind of mandate make.

    You must be new to this universe. Any Republican win, no matter how narrow or technical, is viewed as a mandate. Any Democratic win, no matter how convincing, is not a mandate. At least, that’s how the Republican Party and the so-called mainstream media view it. The Republican Party has had this view since at least the Carter presidency (I’m too young to have been aware of politics before Carter’s election), and the media had adopted that view by the time Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.

    A Democrat arguing that the world was flat would be correctly viewed as a nut. If a Republican were to argue that the world was flat, the New York Times headline would be along the lines of, “Opinions Differ Regarding Shape of Earth”.

    Please continue to push back on Trump, but don’t assume that media coverage will be friendly.

  39. #40 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2017

    @ kiiri:

    ‘Orange Thinskin’! Very good.

    People who study statistics know about these things. Or they SHOULD.

    Unfortunately. a few days before the election I kept seeing numbers that upset me: Silver’s website showing shifting numbers and odd changes in the Midwest states. What really bothered me was a shift to higher odds FOR DJT- around 30% overall, when a week previously, it had been lower consistently.
    Then, I saw a wonk I watch on television texting furiously.

    A few things happened that, coinciding, gave him the election.

    It was by no means a massive blowout in his favour.

    Other measures will show that he hasn’t HUGE support :
    – lower support figures than Obama had leaving
    – protests for more than a day
    – more support for the protestors’ ideas ( 60%- MSNBC) than his own
    – constant comment from his team on television clarifying things
    – international commentary that shows worry

    I predict that we’ll have lots of fun following his exploits
    ( I’m not sure whether I’m being sarcastic or serious)

  40. #41 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2017

    @ Eric Lund:

    I do see some hopeful signs of pushback against DJT.

    There has been criticism of his antics at least on liberal channels. Also many jokes and snarks distinctly not on his behalf.

  41. #42 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2017

    @ PGP:

    I think that racism was not as openly discussed in earlier eras:
    people just did it.

    Unfortunately, even as little as 10-15 years ago, a common travel guide noted cautionary tales for ‘interracial’ couples and gay people in various southern areas.

    People are more vocal these days. Doesn’t mean that they acted in that manner. Also some may be reacting AGAINST changes that worked against racism.

  42. #43 Narad
    February 3, 2017

    Oddly enough, Travis is also commenter “Lao_Tzu” at my.proana.com.

  43. #44 Lawrence
    February 3, 2017

    Well, it has been a while since we had a White House that was this “leaky.” And now more than a few GOP Congressmen are pushing back on the Mexican Border Wall (too pricey).

    Trump doesn’t understand that he is no longer a CEO – he’s an employee with 310 Million bosses.*

    *okay I realize this hasn’t been the case for a long time, but does reflect the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

  44. #45 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2017

    @Lawrence:

    I understand that it has often been difficult getting through to congress via phone lines these past three weeks. People are calling.

  45. #46 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2017

    Actually, after looking at those ‘ benefits outweigh risks’ graphs, I venture that most people who looked at anti-vax websites’ articles would feel as I do-
    although those who write/ read those articles regularly would never guess that that is true.
    e.g. they get upset that the Times doesn’t love Polly Tommey

  46. #47 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    February 3, 2017

    I don’t think that was real PGP, Denice.

    Sure it was misanthropic, and shows a lack of knowledge of recent history. But it says something nice about us baby boomers, and there’s the then/than mix up, something I’ve never seen her do.

    But just in case I’m wrong – PGP, you have to remember that racism wasn’t just an idea or a custom in the 50’s, it was the law. Rosa Parks wasn’t kicked off the bus, she was arrested and put in jail.

  47. #48 Gilbert
    February 3, 2017

    I don’t think that was real PGP, Denice.

    Paranoia much? If only there were some kind of test…

  48. #49 Eric Lund
    February 3, 2017

    I think that to the extent that the current generation is less racist than previous generations, I think it’s because it’s less white than the previous generations. There are certainly racist individuals in every generation but that tribalism is something that you’ve got to be carefully taught:

    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made
    And people whose skin is a different shade
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    What’s changed since my childhood is that the Trump campaign brought this racism back into the open. There was a period of time when using most of the common racial slurs was Simply Not Done in polite society. But the attitudes never went away. One possibly apocryphal story I heard during the 2008 campaign was of somebody canvassing in Pennsyltucky and, upon asking the white couple in one house who they were voting for, got the reply, “We’re voting for the n****r.” Trump replaced the dog whistles with klaxons and thereby made it acceptable once again to be overtly racist.

  49. #50 herr doktor bimler
    February 3, 2017

    Paranoia much? If only there were some kind of test…

    The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over. But it can’t. Not without your help. But you’re not helping.

  50. #51 Gilbert
    February 3, 2017

    Voight-Kampff was highly subjective and prone to false assertions depending on the operator — Today, we just have people pee on a strip to see if it turns blue or not.

  51. #52 Politicalguineapig
    February 3, 2017

    Johnny: No, that was me. I was in a hurry, and didn’t check my comment as carefully as I thought.
    I understand that discrimination was legal back in the ’50s, but I still think that my generation and the one below it (a lot of the youngsters) are a lot more racist than people growing up in the ’80s were.
    And at least in the ’50s, the John Birch Society/nazism wasn’t mainstream, like it is now.

    Eric Lund: Trump replaced the dog whistles with klaxons and thereby made it acceptable once again to be overtly racist.

    And everything else ‘ist’ too.

  52. #53 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    February 3, 2017

    I’ve never seen a turtle. But I know what you mean. (Not exactly true – I’ll occasionally find a box turtle in the yard, and keep it over the winter.)

    It seems that both PGP and me were both wrong today.

    The JBS was more of a 60’s thing as I remember, and Nazis weren’t really a thing back then, because we’d killed them all. But we had the KKK, and they’d advertise rallies out in the open in downtown storefronts. I know, because I’ve seen them.

    Nobody other than a few skinheads will claim to be a Nazi, but the Klan was mainstream. Look magazine mainstream –
    http://www.shorpy.com/node/16684

    And not just in the south, here’s California in 1964
    http://www.shorpy.com/node/21164

    So, no, I don’t believe we’ve gone back to how it was back in the day. Yes, the election of Orange Thinskin (I am so stealing that) has emboldened a lot of the less tolerant to come out from under a rock. But despite what you and friend Eric believe, it’s nothing like it was back in the day when I was a kid. Worse than yesterday, maybe, but not worse than several days before.

  53. #54 Eric Lund
    February 4, 2017

    The John Birch Society was founded, IIRC, in the 1950s. Among the founders was the father of Charles and David Koch. They were rabidly anti-Communist, but were regarded as too extreme to be accepted in polite society back then. Somewhere along the line (not sure if it was the 1980s or 1990s) the Republican Party brought them into the mainstream

    I’m too young to remember the 1950s and 1960s firsthand. Not that the 1970s and 1980s were free of racism, but the KKK were not so prominent, at least in areas I was aware of, and when Klan wizard David Duke ran for Governor of Louisiana, enough people were horrified at the prospect that they elected a former governor with known ethical issues (“Vote for the crook–it’s important”) instead.

    Racism is definitely a more acute problem today than it was 30 years ago. And there is a large overlap between the vocally racist faction and the gun nuts. Among my worries is that we will start to see pogroms such as what happened in Tulsa in 1921.

  54. #55 Denice Walter
    February 4, 2017

    More woo from Trumpians:

    His pick for Secretary of Education doesn’t know much about education or much about the brain either:
    she’s invested money bigly in Neurocore ( see website) which provides ‘brain re-training’ for people with various problems including ADHD, ASDs et a ( NYT) and remains un-divested when I looked last. It has locations in Michigan and Florida.
    also they host a spiffy recipe site about eating fish to cure ‘mood disorders’ ( MSNBC)

    So why isn’t she smarter and perkier ?

  55. #56 Politicalguineapig
    February 4, 2017

    Eric Lund: Among my worries is that we will start to see pogroms such as what happened in Tulsa in 1921.

    I think we’ll see more Dylan Roofs, unfortunately.

  56. #57 Eric Lund
    February 4, 2017

    Denice@57: Betsy DeVos is among the Trump cabinet nominees I consider anti-competent (along with Sessions and Price, among others). She’s a major player in the charter school movement, which is (I’m being generous here) 5% good intentions and 95% grift. Which means she’s pretty much guaranteed to do the wrong thing. I distinguish that from an incompetent cabinet secretary, who might occasionally by accident do the right thing–I’d take an incompetent Secretary of Education over the anti-competent DeVos.

  57. #58 Joseph Hertzlinger
    Planet Earth (for now)
    February 5, 2017

    What percentage of each ideological group wants to ban vaccines entirely?

  58. #59 genevieve reilly
    United States
    February 27, 2017

    If vaccinated people are protected so completely by vaccinations, then why are non-vaccinated people such a medical threat to them? Let each group choose their own poisons,. Government should not punish non-vaccinated people by refusing to educate their children, demanding they be fired from work (even in non-medical oriented jobs), or refusing to treat their medical ailments. Lawyer-politicians should not be practicing medicine using vaguely worded opinion polls.

  59. #60 Julian Frost
    Gauteng North
    February 28, 2017

    @genevieve reilly:

    If vaccinated people are protected so completely by vaccinations, then why are non-vaccinated people such a medical threat to them?

    What about those who are immunosuppressed and those too young to be vaccinated? Non-vaccinated people are a threat to them.

    Government should not punish non-vaccinated people by refusing to educate their children…

    Non-vaccinated children put the immunosuppressed and those too young to be vaccinated at risk. It’s not about punishing those who refuse to be vaccinated, it’s about protecting everybody.

    …demanding they be fired from work (even in non-medical oriented jobs)…

    Provide evidence that this is happening.

    …or refusing to treat their medical ailments.

    Provide evidence that this is happening.

  60. #61 Chris
    February 28, 2017

    genevieve reilly: “If vaccinated people are protected so completely by vaccinations, then why are non-vaccinated people such a medical threat to them?”

    Please tell us your proven way to protect babies under the age of one from both measles and chicken pox. Provide verifiable scientific evidence that it actually works.

    “Government should not punish non-vaccinated people by refusing to educate their children, …”

    No, no, no… you don’t realize this is actually an opportunity! You can use this exclusion as a way to create a super special private school for all those special children who by some weird genetic quirk can be harmed more by a vaccine with a weakened pathogen… but are okay dokay with a full fledged infection from the wild pathogen.

    Just create a new parochial school for the Sensitive Snowflakes Against Public Health Regulations.

    And to prove how strong your students are, make sure that the restrooms are just outhouses without any facilities to wash their hands, and all safe food handling rules are ignored in the cafeteria. Because worrying about cross contamination is for sissies. Students with strong immune systems laugh at both salmonella and norovirus!

    “Lawyer-politicians should not be practicing medicine …”

    Could you please talk to Robert Kennedy, Jr about this? Seriously, he seems to stuck in a fifteen year time bubble.

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