Stupid is as stupid says

Today has been an extremely lulzy day in #StopAVN land. It's been a non-stop festival of fail from the side of the Australian Vaccination Network.

A shining example of the idiocy on show is this comment from an AVN Facebook Fan:

Yep. A-grade stupid there, for several reasons.

First up, very few vaccines now have mercury compounds in them. The childhood schedule in most countries was made mercury-free as (pretty much) a PR exercise quite some time ago now. These days only multi-dose vials of vaccines such as seasonal flu contain mercury - since some kind of preservative is required.

Secondly, there's a failure of basic chemistry. Elemental mercury is poisonous, sure. Many mercury compounds are likewise toxic. But there's no elemental mercury in vaccines - it's bound up in thimerosal (or thiomersal), a mercury compound which is only toxic at high doses.

Thirdly, there's the toxicology problem. In the mind of an antivaxer, the dose is entirely unimportant, unless they want to play their "too many too soon" card. Otherwise, there's no conception of dose-response relationships. The dose, the saying goes, makes the poison. There are safe levels of all kinds of substances which at higher doses are toxic. Even water has toxic effects in sufficient amounts.

In the end, though, the utter, brain-numbing stupidity of Mia Vanhala's comment can be summed up by a simple analogy.

Chlorine was used as a poison gas in World War One.

Chlorine is one of the elements in common table salt

Therefore table salt is a chemical weapon

Yes, it's that stupid. Now, let's just look at some of the inevitable stupidity that this statement will invite in turn. Sodium Chloride, table salt, is contained in vaccines, and antivaxers have been known to list it as a potentially dangerous ingredient. Take for instance, this site, which lists it as isotonic sodium chloride solution. It's listed without comment. If it were my site, I'd have at least noted that this is just saline solution - salt water - but antivaxers rely on the scientific illiteracy of their audience to create fear.

Additionally, antivaxers may object and say that Thimerosal is toxic at the doses contained in vaccines. It's just not. The blog post I just linked notes that to reach an LD50 in an average-ish human, you're looking at ~150,000 doses.

Ah, may say the antivaxers. We're not talking about that kind of toxicity.

Then why even mention toxicity at all? And what other kind is there?

No, what we're looking at here is not a major public health issue surrounding toxic ingredients in vaccines, but a serious issue with toxic doses of stupidity administered by antivax clowns with no grip on science, logic or reality.

However, it does lead to some fantastic comedy.

Such as





But there's more. Macadamia nuts, as farmed by arch-antivax lunatic Meryl Dorey herself, contain significant quantities of Sodium (as found in the lethal nerve gas Sodium Chloride) and potassium as found in our friends the exploding bananas.

Meryl Dorey, inescapably, according to Mia's logic, farms explosive toxic weapons.

But it doesn't end there. While all this was being laughed at in #stopAVN circles, the AVN also posted this article, Popular and Effective Journalist Struck Down By Vaccination, which contains the genius sentence:

He was in a limbo between life and death.  We hoped things would get better when he wittily posted on Facebook of how happy he was he could watch the royal wedding from his hospital room.

Because when I'm doing the limbo between life and death, I can't wait to post a hilariously witty Facebook status update.

Seriously, it's not at all clear yet whether this is an allergic reaction to an ingredient, or a contaminated batch of vaccine, or some other, unrelated cause. There's no certainty anywhere other than in the weird minds of antivaxers. It's clearly a bad thing for the journalist concerned, but the wording, oh my, the wording.

If that's how you tell someone is doing the limbo between life and death, I must be at death's fucking door. Seriously. The only  worse sign would be if I posted something to MySpace.

NURSE! I need 10cc of adrenaline, stat. This man has a severely funny tweet on the brew. And hurry! He could lose his mayorship of the local coffee shop on FourSquare any minute!

Oh the LOLs we've had.

 Thank you, AVN. You've brightened our day.


posted @ Friday, November 18, 2011 6:18 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: Stupid is as stupid says

Left by Daniel Raffaele at 11/18/2011 10:56 PM
This is one of the best blog posts I have ever read in the history of the internet. I am gasping for breath, I'm laughing so hard!

# re: Stupid is as stupid says

Left by CJS at 11/18/2011 11:02 PM
What about dihydrogen monoxide?

Just goes to show if you word it just right, you can sell any rubbish theory to the masses...

# re: Stupid is as stupid says

Left by Andy at 11/19/2011 1:45 AM
From the Cintia Taylor article from which the life-death quote comes...

"The following post is not a journalistic piece, does not fulfill the objectivity criteria defined by my profession nor is it in line with what I would usually write on my blog. But taking the circumstances and the person involved I felt compelled to do so."

# re: Stupid is as stupid says

Left by WendyW at 11/19/2011 9:35 AM

Dihydrogen monoxide was not forgotten in the hilarity that ensued following the vaccines=poison comment. It was noted that sodium chloride, when combined with dihydrogen monoxide, becomes a medium that supports frikken SHARKS - therefore vaccines have SHARKS IN THEM!!1!!

# re: Stupid is as stupid says

Left by Dan Buzzard at 11/19/2011 4:54 PM
Some universities in Perth circulate petitions demanding that the Water Corporation cease putting the Dihydrogen Monoxide into the water supply.

The petitions are started by science students and signed by arts students.
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