Apr 012011

We in the pro-health community hold this truth to be self-evident: anti-vaxers know vaccines are evil and no evidence will persuade them otherwise, because they rarely, if ever, care about the science. As evident as that is to us however, we are aware that it is mostly an impression that we get based on the anti-vaxers’ way of debating the issue, things like: how low they set the bar for themselves and how astronomically high they demand the bar for the other side, their general mistrust of anything or anyone that disagrees with them (a.k.a. conspiratorial thinking), their belief that a few Google searches trump years of experience and training. We believe this to be true based on our experience with them, yet we are aware that it is not an easy thing to prove. How can you prove what is going on in someone’s mind?

Which is why, whenever an anti-vaxer gives us solid evidence of their anti-scientific ways, I enjoy it immensely. Case in point, the Australian Anti-Vaccination I mean the Australian Vaccination Network  (Merly Dorey herself perhaps? See update on the bottom), gives us this insight into their frame of mind.

So how does that show that the AVN doesn’t really care about the science?

Simple, because first they say that the small sample size will always be an issue, then they use that to write off the study’s results, then they complain that if the study had shown results they liked, it would have been written off because of its small sample size!

If that isn’t clear enough let’s break down the AVN’s line of thinking into simple steps:

  • We demand vaxed vs. unvaxed study
  • Small sample size will always be an issue with such study
  • Therefore any such study is useless …unless..
  • …it shows vaccines to be evil in which case….
  • …those evil bastards will “laugh it out of existence”
  • we demand a vaxed vs. unvaxed study


UPDATE – It has been brought to my attention that SB is not Meryl Dorey but another administrator at the AVN.


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  18 Responses to “How we know anti-vaxers don’t care about science”

  1. Here’s some science (not anti-vax, just science). 90+ medical journal articles that provide evidence that thimerosal, “the safe mercury”, is harmful: http://www.vaccinationnews.com/evidence-thimerosal-risk

    The issue is not “settled”. There is evidence. No matter how many times it is stated that there is none.

    BTW, according to a recent WebMD report, 2% intend to not vaccinate (http://children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20110329/webmd-survey-safety-biggest-vaccine-worry-parents). That amounts to approximately 450,000 children 0-5 in the United States right now. http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/pop1.asp My guess is that “tiny” amount is adequate for a meaningful study.

  2. Sandy, I have done a percursory review of the first link (I assume the second is more of the same). You list studies on rats, monkeys, seals and some on cell exposure to Hg. Not only don’t all those articles show that thimerosal is harmful, in fact one of them clearly states: “The conclusion is that there are no reliable data indicating that administration of vaccines containing thimerosal is a primary cause of autism.

    Now just to be clear, I don’t care for thimerosal to remain in vaccines, but I don’t care much about it being removed either. What you link to there is the most preliminary kind of science, the one done on rats, and even if those rat studies showed beyond a shadow of a doubt relatively high harmful effects from thimerosal (which they don’t), it doesn’t mean that humans will react the same way.

    We cannot draw conclusions about humans based on studies from animals alone. We can take precautionary measures based on this preliminary science though, which is what was done with the decision to remove thimerosal from almost all childhood vaccines in use today in the US.

    As far as the notvaccinated children go, 2% may be correct. But think about it, a 10,000 study will still only result in 200 unvaccinated children. Anti-vaccine proponents will do just what the AVN did above and say it doesn’t matter because it’s too small. That is unless the results show what they want to hear (such as Wakefields 12 children case studies) and then they won’t care about the size anymore.

    The way to have the conversation is to set the criteria first and then sift through the evidence using the criteria, not to pick and choose which criteria one will ignore and which one will rely on, when convenient.

    • Are you suggesting we start doing experiments on humans? Animal studies are the basis of ethical biological mechanism research and the foundation of biological research period.

      And I believe you don’t have to have the proportions equal in a study to what the proportions are in the population. In fact it’s more important to have close to equal numbers in studies.

      I merely was providing evidence that there ARE studies that show evidence of thimerosal harm. Why would I need to do more? The other side simply says the issue is settled and there is NO evidence. My list demonstrates otherwise.

      As for the conclusion you cited, they also stated the following: “However, one cannot rule out the possibility that the individual gene profile and/or gene-environment interactions may play a role in modulating the response to acquired risk by modifying the individual susceptibility.”

      The issue is NOT settled. There IS plenty of evidence that thimerosal is harmful. I wonder how many more studies there might be if there would not be significant liability were even more evidence to be found.

      • 1- What I am suggesting is that studies in animals are not the end of the process, but the beginning; that they serve a very general purpose and no conclusions about humans can be drawn from studies in animals. At most they are suggestive of a hypothesis, but you seem to treat them as if they are enough to establish something about humans.

        2- As far as thimerosal is concerned as I said, I don’t care much about it either way. It looks like it is not a necessary component anymore, in which case the cost-benefit analysis may not support a human study anymore. But in general, if we want to know how a given medicine or vaccine will affect humans, then yes I do suggest that it be tested (not experimented, interesting choice of word there) in human subjects.

        3- As far as the sizes of the groups I’ve already handled that concern. See here for my take on it. (http://www.vaccinetimes.com/vaccination-news-on-the-german-study/ )

        4-Now to be clear, the other side (which would be my side I guess) cannot ever say that x compound is “safe”. At most what can be said is that the evidence does not support the hypothesis that “compound X is harmful”. You still have not provided one single study in humans showing that thimerosal is harmful.

        Think about it; you don’t give much weight to the German study of vax. vs. unvax because the sample size was small, yet somehow you are convinced by studies on rats, monkeys and seals! This is what I was talking about when I said standards of evidence need to be set before hand. One such standard may be choosing between animal studies and human studies. Which one ranks higher in your opinion? Didn’t the German study, as a corollary of comparing vax. vs. unvax, also provide evidence on thimerosal in vaccines vs. no thimerosal in vaccines? Don’t you think a study on 94 human children bears more weight than 100 studies on rodents?

      • I don’t understand your fascination with thimerosal Sandy… They haven’t been used in vaccines for over a decade. So why are all the evils attributed to thimerosal still happening? Maybe because the logical fallacies and lies being perpetrated by scientifically illiterate people have no basis in reality?

        Also, take into account that real scientists never said that anything is ever 100% safe. Life is a terminal condition after all. It’s just that vaccines are a much better alternative than the near certain repercussions of catching a disease like polio, smallpox, or what have you.

        Or do you just wish to continue moving goalposts?

  3. Hi Leart, just to clarify, “SB” is Susan Butler, another admin on the AVN page.

    You didn’t mention that anti-vaxers still cling to their poster boy’s paper – sorry, wait they insist it is a “case series” – even though it was only a dozen kids. Isn’t that a small sample size? And what about the Danish study that showed the RR for ASD was actually slightly lower (although i don’t think significantly) in kids who were vaxed – you know, the one in a couple of hundred thousand kids. According to the anti-vaxers that study is no good either, cause the second author was accused of nicking off with 2 million bucks. What’s this got to do with the science? I dunno. I once got a parking fine, so I guess that discredits all my future publications.

    Never mind the blinding hypocrisy that Andy was being paid by lawyers assembling a class action against MMR manufactures, had a patent on a single measles vax once he’d completed his campaign of “let’s split the vax up” and stood to make ~ 72 million pounds PER YEAR from a diagnostic test he wad developing for autistic colitis. Never mind about those things.

  4. Regarding statistics; you want what’s called a representative sample http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_(statistics)

    Your sample must be large enough to be important, and representative of the greater population. You cannot pick and choose how many of each subset you wish to have (i.e equal numbers) if you wish to apply it to the greater population if it’s not representative of that population; that’s bias. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selection_bias

  5. Is not only thimerosal, and even more important issue is the vaccine aluminum adjuvants.

    Mechanisms of aluminum adjuvant toxicity and autoimmunity in pediatric populations http://lup.sagepub.com/content/21/2/223.short http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22235057

    The spectrum of ASIA: ‘Autoimmune (Auto-inflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants http://lup.sagepub.com/content/21/2/118.full

    Autoimmune or auto-inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA):

    Old truths and a new syndrome?

    Pier Luigi Meroni a,b,*

    a Chair and Division of Rheumatology, Istituto G. Pini, Milan, Italy

    b IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy


    Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism? Lucija Tomljenovic, Christopher A. Shaw http://omsj.org/reports/tomljenovic%202011.pdf

    Ann Neurol. 2005 Jan;57(1):67-81. Neuroglial activation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism. Vargas DL, Nascimbene C, Krishnan C, Zimmerman AW, Pardo CA. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15546155

    PLoS ONE: Self-Organized Criticality Theory of Autoimmunity

    Conclusions/Significance Systemic autoimmunity appears to be the inevitable consequence of over-stimulating the host’s immune ‘system’ by repeated immunization with antigen, to the levels that surpass system’s self-organized criticality.


    The Vaccine Damage Science

  6. L. Shaka, you are close-minded. You’ve taken your stance and will defend it regardless of studies contrary to your position, no matter the credentials of the scientists who have performed them. So much for honoring the scientific principle; you would put Galileo Galilei under house arrest.

  7. What is your medical background? How are you able to make these statements when there is so much proof of the toxins in vaccines and the fact that flu shots don’t work.

    • “proof of the toxins in vaccines”

      Please provide the PubMed indexed study by a reputable qualified researcher that an ingredient in the DTaP vaccine is more toxic than tetanospasmin, and the toxins created by the diphtheria and pertussis bacteria. Thank you.

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