Anti-Vaxxers – Please try not to be so evil (simplified)

Anti-Vaxxers – Please try not to be so evil (simplified)

A video of a baby with pertussis struggling to breathe through a coughing fit has been viewed almost 3 million times since it was posted by Australian mother Rebecca Harreman on November 13th, 2015. While many are rallying around the young family, offering support and compassion at this trying time, there are some who are attacking the video and the pertussis vaccine itself as you can see: Read more

Anti-Vaxxers – Please try not to be so evil.

Anti-Vaxxers – Please try not to be so evil.

  • A video of a baby with pertussis struggling to breathe through a coughing fit has been viewed almost 3 million times since it was posted by Australian mother Rebecca Harreman on November 13th, 2015. While many are rallying around the young family, offering support and compassion at this trying time, there are some who are attacking the video and the pertussis vaccine itself as you can see: Read more
Vaccine Fairytales

Vaccine Fairytales

Hello Proponents of the Biomedical Theory of Autism.

You seem to be under the impression that vaccines cause autism, that autism is curable, and that if your child has autism that is just the very worst thing in the entire world.

You are ableist, and you are misinformed. Whether this is by accident of an inferior education system, or the result of sustained, intentional self-delusion I cannot say. The fact that many of you have children, and possibly ones who are on the spectrum, makes me very fearful and very sad.

I want to walk you through a scenario. Read more

Vaccines don’t cause Autism (are we still doing this?)

Vaccines don’t cause Autism (are we still doing this?)

Science Pony gets questions from anti-vaxxers from time to time. When they are relativity free from profanities and suggestions on how she could most effectively suicide she does her best to respond. Here is her most recent request:

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Ah, the old “Autism is caused by vaccines and Big Pharma has been covering it up since 1978” gambit – a classic. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Claim 1: “Since the vaccine manufacturers aren’t liable for any “vaccine injuries” since I think 1978 the number of vaccines has gone up significantly. “

  • Kids do get more vaccines now (and are protected against more vaccine-preventable diseases), however the immune system doesn’t count the number of shots, it counts what is in those shots, immune response triggering antigens, the number of which is thousands fewer than it once was – from 3,000 in just one DTP shot they used to get, to just 315 in all of the vaccines that they get by age two years today.
  • It is these antigens that stimulate the immune system. If you are worried about overstimulating your immune system, then that is what you would look at, not the total number of vaccines.
  • Dr. Offit explains how an infant’s “immune system has the capacity to respond to extremely large numbers of antigens,” and “each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10,000 vaccines at any one time.” Another way to explain it is to say, as Offit subsequently did, that “if 11 vaccines were given to infants at one time, then about 0.1% of the immune system would be ‘used up.'”
  • It is not true that vaccine manufacturers are not liable for vaccine injuries sustained by intended use of their products, however, before someone can try to sue a the drug company directly, they must first file a claim through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (Vaccine Court). A claimant can file a civil lawsuit against a vaccine manufacturer if their claim is denied or if they reject the compensation offered after their claim is approved.

Claim 2: “Every time the number of vaccines goes up so does the rate of autism. Now I know that since there has been studies to show there’s no link what’s up with the autism rate going up?”

  • There are over 100 good quality studies that show no link between autism and vaccines.QpGSrC1441097484
  • No correlation exists whatsoever between autism and increasing antigen number.
  • Over 60% of the increase is autism spectrum diagnoses can be attributed to secondary
    factors like a change in diagnostic criteria.
  • There is a compelling case to be made that autism rates have not actually risen at all.
  • Correlation =/= causation.
  • If it did then the cause of autism quickly becomes obvious:

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3: “Why can’t I find the rate of autism in nonvaxxed children?”

  • Because you are not good at research and should leave it to the professionals.
  • Because the first step in looking for something is opening your eyes.
  • Because you are only interested in confirming your pre-existing bias.

vax-meme-2-300x250I hope this has addressed your queries in a complete and timely manner. If you have any other questions for Science Pony, please feel free to re-submit them. Please remember that if you still put forth the antiquated and illogical idea that autism is caused by vaccines then your science is bad and you should feel bad.

I would also like to take a minute and remind you that autism is not the worst thing that can happen to a child, not by any means. Children die, that is a whole lot worse than being on the spectrum. When they die of vaccine preventable diseases, that is noting short of tragic. Do your part in normalizing autism, and preventing stigmatization for those with the diagnosis by trying not the be such an ableist douchebag.

Cheers and thanks.
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Polio!

Polio!

There had not been a proper science trolling going on 2 days and we were growing restless and wild. Aware of the need for distraction, dear Erik posted a link that he had got from a friend who believes the unfortunate woo that Polio was never really eradicated and is ever present to this day, hiding in plain sight under different names. The resulting thread would go down in history as one of the most entertaining and pointless endeavours that each of them had been a party to. Enjoy.

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Hungry Boy

This was a special day. After almost 2 solid months of lurking in a 20 thousand member anti-vaxxer echo chamber called Vaccine Resistance Movement, Science Pony made a comment on a post and set of a chain reaction that included 12 straight hours of (mostly) civil consensus pushing followed by a full on science troll invasion.

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This was grabbed about 5 hours in, you can see that Science Pony is beginning to lose her Principle of Charity – it could be exhaustion, or maybe hunger, or maybe it is the idiots calling her a slut and making fun of her father’s Polio? It is hard to pinpoint causation, as we are all aware.

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The forum was unusual because it had one administrator for 20 thousand people, and allowed anyone to add anyone without approval. And we did just that. This was the shills when VRM has no moderator watching:

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This led to a call to action and a coordinated science troll invasion. There were 20 -30 shills, working together to create havoc in the forum while the ONE(!) moderator slept. It was legendary.

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Well there you have it. That is our tale for today. VRM changed its open add status and kicked out most of our heroes. We still have a few members in the forum, reporting back and waiting for the next chance to troll for science.

Nosodes. Fake medicine, real danger.

 

“Homeopathy is the air guitar of alternative medicine, going through the motions of medicine, without actually providing medicine”

-Scott Gavura, Science Based Medicine.

images (5)What are nosodes? In order to answer that let’s look at what they are not. They are not medicine. They are not vaccines. They are not an evidence-based treatment for any disease or illness. In that context, they are nothing.

Based on the idea that “like cures like” , nosodes are prepared from the bodily fluids (often feces, blood, and pus) of patients with diseases such as measles, anthrax and tuberculosis. Have no fear, they sound disgusting but are still basically just sugar pills because they are then sterilized and serially diluted, often to the point where no active ingredient remains.  Taking these “medicines” to prevent disease is known as “homeoprophylaxis” and several  homeoprophylaxis programs are promoted as replacements for the current vaccine schedule, claiming to provide immunity from measles, polio, pertussis, mumps, chicken pox, and the like. Homeoprophylaxis proponents often reference a few weak studies to support their claims,none of which were double-blind, randomised, controlled trials and most were published before 1970 and never replicated.

These homeopathic products are still marketed as a natural alternative to vaccines, even though there is not a single health or regulatory agency on the planet that supports this. And why would there be? Nosodes are the rule of homeopathy, not the exception – they do not work on treating anything because they have no active ingredient in them. The entire industry is a lie built on magical thinking  and this is evidence-based. A recent, large scale meta-analysis went so far as to state, “there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.” This is science speak for sorry hippies, but that there “medicine” is totally useless. Read more