What planet do these people live on?

Sometimes you just have to ask what planet antivaxers live on. Take for instance, this post over at the AVN Facebook page, a letter from "CC", which illustrates the archetypal introspection-free hypocrisy and glaring inconsistency of the antivax lobby. Here's the bit I'd like to highlight first:

OK, well, if that's true, that would be a bad thing. After all, the pro-vaccination side in this debate prides itself on rational analysis of the facts and figures, and regularly calls out the antivax side for its emotion-based, gut-feeling mode of thought*

So imagine my surprise when reading on, I started to see appeals to emotion lurching forward from the page like the zombies I'd expected all along

 It's certainly a shitty analogy if it's meant to support an antivax position, but it's also a glaring emotional argument. THINK OF TEH CHILDRENS, it screams, in barely coherent, guilt-trip laden english.

And then just below this

 Another very shitty analogy, couched in emotional language. In fact, the pool analogy is bad because there's a known prophylaxis for pool deaths - solid fencing, education and vigilance - which are actually quite a good analogy for vaccination in and of themselves.

There's a danger - the pool. There's a way of preventing it harming your kids - a fence, some education and some vigilance.

Likewise, there's a danger - harm from transmissible disease - and there's a way of preventing it - vaccination, education and vigilance 

Then, of course, we get the icing on the cake:

 Now there's a textbook piece of emotional argumentation, coupled with strawman descriptions of the pro-vaccine position, and some hyperbole for luck. And so far I've seen not a single piece of research, fact, figure, graph or statistic. Just assertion and emotion.

What was that bit earlier in the letter?

 Oh yeah.


It must be free-for-all day over in opposite world today. And I'll remind you, Meryl Dorey said of this letter

"I had to share this one with you though as I think the writer is not only brilliant in the way she has presented the argument, she also goes right to the heart of why debate on this issue MUST be preserved."

So this is the acme, the pinnacle, if you will, of the antivax argument du jour. We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia. And pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

But what really did it for me was the responses. Unable to grasp what "CC" was attempting to assert about the contrasting styles of argument between the two conflicting camps, AVN acolytes posted the following emotionally-motivated responses, without evident irony (all names left unredacted because idiots need exposure)

So it made you cry, but antivaxers only ever present research, facts and information? Wow, your attachment to concrete data borders on the creepy. I mean, I'm a nerd, but I don't usually cry about research, facts and information

This next one has a person speechless at all the research, facts and information, and another who manages to present research, facts and information (definitely not hyperbole, totally not) about how people think antivaxers are evil or neglectful.

This one has trouble putting her research, facts and information into words without getting too emotional. I never knew cold hard evidence could inspire such responses.

And here's a wait, what? moment:

Wow, Meryl. You can afford to give people jobs now? I thought you'd recently laid off your part-time office staff due to hard times. Did you find some cash under the mattress? Oh, hang on. You don't mean job, you mean job, right? Like as in making Meryl Money on a volunteer basis. It's OK, I see now. Carry on.

Wow. A tear or FIVE? Surely you jest, because if you're really all about research, facts and information, you should be expressing this as "three tears +/- 2 tears" and offering notes on your data collection methodology. I mean, that would be more facty, right? And non-emotional.

And then there's this idiot

Oh, for fuck's sake.

Swimming Pool fences offer a false sense of security? How, exactly? How exactly does that work? This piece of research shows that fencing reduces death by 50% or more, and that 68% of drownings are in pools without isolation fencing. I recommend you read the whole thing, not just take my percentages at face value, but I quote:

 Installation of isolation fencing around outdoor pools, which separates the pool from the remaining yard and house, has been shown in some studies to decrease the number of drownings and near-drownings by more than 50% (Pearn & Nixon, 1977; Milliner et al., 1980; Present, 1987). In Australia, Blum & Shield (2000) found that in the childhood drowning that they studied, no child had gained unaided access to a pool fitted with a fully functional gate and fence that met the Australian standard. A systematic review of studies (Thompson & Rivara, 2000) examining the effectiveness of pool fencing indicated that pool fencing significantly reduced the risk of drowning, with isolation fencing (enclosing the pool only) being superior to perimeter fencing (enclosing the pool and the property). The results of the review are supported by Stevenson et al. (2003). This study, conducted in Australia, found that during a 12-year period 50 children under the age of five drowned in domestic swimming pools and 68% of the drownings occurred in pools that did not have isolation fencing

 Oh, wait, surely I'm cheating by offering research, facts and information? Isn't that what the antivaxers are meant to do?

 I guess that claim doesn't really hold water after all, huh? But the personal attacks bit? Yeah, I do that. Fuck you.


UPDATE: Here's Dorey's blog on the subject. I'm particularly fond of SK's comparison of pro-vaccine text to Adolf Hitler's Nuremberg speeches. Oh, and watch out for the Web Of Trust warning on that site

UPDATE 2: Dorey's call to the flying monkeys has produced some gems. Reasonable Hank pointed me to this glaring footbullet. Oh mercy.


* yes, I know, stretching the term and all that

posted @ Wednesday, February 1, 2012 4:50 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: What planet do these people live on?

Left by Elliot at 2/1/2012 5:16 PM
This article brought a tear to my eye... Not because I found it touching or beautiful... but because of morons contained with in. It made me truly sad....sad...and crying, tears of sad sadness with added sad sauce.

# re: What planet do these people live on?

Left by Deb at 2/1/2012 5:41 PM
Referring to your child as your precious is beautiful? That's one bit of pop culture that whooshed right past them. Along with all the research, facts and information.
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