The worst anti-vaccine arguments

Source: Quartz

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  1. GetReal1 commented on Feb 11

    Trusting decades of science can be asinine:
    For many years scientists/doctors have said that fats are bad for you, now we understand that this fact was based on bad science and researchers are now beginning to say that they might be actually be good for you instead. Just think what removing or replacing certain fats in your diet has done? It has increased rates of cancer and diabetes (likely due to people replacing fats with carbs instead).

    How about your cholesterol levels and heart attacks? You’ve been told that lowering LDL with drugs will make you live longer, however there are hardly any studies that show this to be true. Nowadays researchers are beginning to think that high cholesterol is a sign of inflammation and likely is caused by having too much carbs in your diet. Oops, doesn’t sound like treating LDL is the right solution here.

    W.R.T. vaccinations, I believe that most of them are probably good to have and I have had all recommended ones in the US. But with that in mind you do realize that Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have completely shielded drug companies and doctors in America from product liability and malpractice lawsuits when vaccines injure or kill someone? If they are safe, then why such broad protection of these companies (unknown allergic reactions I understand)? Many vaccines contain Thimerosal, which contains mercury, keep in mind that scientists still can’t agree either whether this is completely safe or not. Until recent years Thimerosal could be found children’s vaccinations but they have since removed it. This is probably a good idea because I wouldn’t want mercury in any way affecting a child’s developing brain (even if it is ethyl-mercury with a shorter half-life). However for an adult, it probably won’t be that bad.

    Scientists are human and they make mistakes too, in test/trial setup, procedure or in just analysis of the data. Take what they say with a grain of salt, look for truth in repeated and sound studies instead. Until scientists become fool-proof, I think that I would like to have some say as to what gets put into my body.

    • DeDude commented on Feb 11

      It is certainly true that scientist and science have gotten things wrong on many items through the years. There are certainly good reasons to request and evaluate the data and analysis that are used by scientists who make a specific conclusion.

      However, the scientific method by far beats the alternative approaches to grasp at reality.

      “Whatever some passionate blow-hard spews out”, or “the rumblings of my gut” have been shown to be no better than a flip of a coin when it comes to finding the truth (some of the blow-hards are actually worse). So with all its limitations the scientific method remains the best way to arrive at the best possible approximation to the truth.

    • VennData commented on Feb 11


      “…For many years scientists/doctors have said that fats are bad for you, now we understand that this fact was based on bad science and researchers are now beginning to say that they might be actually be good for you instead….”

      Therefore extrapolate that ALL science is wrong!

      Not to mention the “That they might be” and no further links.

      GO back to GOP-land with your anti science nonsense. Try using your religious philosophy to build something Get.


    • GetReal1 commented on Feb 11

      Gees, will I have to do all the work of googling this stuff for you. I’ll give you a couple of links to read at your pleasure. There are a lot more out there, in your browser type g-o-o-g-l-e.

      I have a science degree btw, I’m not anti-science, I just anti-bad science. I leave open the possibility that anything can be true or false, or even has shades of gray. I don’t assume that just because you may be a lib-tard that you can’t think for himself. I’m certain you have a brain, I’m sure you can learn to use it.

    • RW commented on Feb 11

      Other than the trivial observation that scientists are human and can make mistakes there was not a single, accurate fact in your screed.

      Thimerosal, that old chestnut? Give me a break: Thimerosal hasn’t been used in vaccines for years, not because it was considered dangerous but because of hysteria about it.

      In plain fact, not one of your paragraphs was worthy of the effort it took to write it much less read and I’m shaking my head at myself that I’m actually responding but perhaps it’s that good old hope thing: That perhaps this person who seems to believe nonsense merely drank too much Kool-Aid yesterday and a little truth could prove antidote.

      Try a little exercise that may do you some good: Try supporting at least one paragraph you wrote with authoritative, peer-reviewed research and post the links here. Maybe start with some contradictions to your belief system and then try to “disprove” them; e.g., 10 Vaccine Myths—Busted; 12 Myths and Facts About Vaccines;
      What are some of the myths – and facts – about vaccination?
      ; Parents’ Guide to Childhood Immunizations FAQ

    • GetReal1 commented on Feb 11

      You are wrong about no vaccines containing Thimerosal as some flu vaccines do (see Yes, recent studies do seem back up that Thimerosal may be safe, but the point was that they were not sure about it in the years before even as people were getting injected. As I mentioned before, I believe vaccines are good and I do get them, but I do (as many others) have a reservation about putting something in my body (or my child’s) where the science about it may not be completely settled upon (and I’m not necessarily talking about Thimerosal either, it was just a point because many conversations about vaccinations revolve around this).

      Also, people have may have a concern about how many immunizations are received in total, or potentially the frequency for which they are given to children, see Until we know more, isn’t it good for people to question things?

      You can yack about your Kool-Aid nonsense, but questioning science is good (or what is put out as good science), and when the science is sound it is much better, take it from a science major.

      “I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess.”
      ― Walt Whitman

    • RW commented on Feb 11


      I majored in science and graduated too (biology) with a higher degree following that but so what?

      Skepticism toward science is not “good” per se, it is simply doubt, and even if not grounded in ignorance it is unlikely to be particularly well informed unless the doubter makes a habit of reading primary research papers and has the requisite knowledge to interpret them appropriately.

      Informed skepticism in science is regulated by several factors only one of which is really individual to the scientist — a willingness to question results or ones own assumptions — which is why saying something like “scientists make mistakes” doesn’t mean much: Indeed they do make mistakes but that is why there is an entire social and epistemological system dedicated to wringing out as much error as possible: Peer review, confirmatory experiments, double-blind protocols, etc.

      Vaccine skeptics have none of these factors going for them and, since they are as prone to error as any other human, there is no reason to give their opinions any more weight than anyone elses. There is however very good reason to give their opinion significantly less weight when it is contradicted by multiple, peer reviewed research studies.

      Science is never “settled” as a matter of definition because it is always possible to disprove something in principle. However there is thing called a preponderance of evidence and the numbers of peer-reviewed studies contradicting Anti-Vaxxer contentions are simply legion. So, as a putative student of science, just where do you think you are coming from here?

      NB: As far as your contentions WRT Thimerosal you are indeed correct and I was wrong; it is still present in a few vaccines. The most current list for all vaccines may be found at

      Note tables 1 and 3 in particular. Thimerosal is rare, usually in trace amounts, and there are Thimerosal-free alternatives in virtually every category for the worryworts.

      PS: Love Walt Whitman and citing a poet in a debate about science has a certain caché but I’m skeptical the quote made any point that could aid your argument; your position is really is quite untenable.

    • DeDude commented on Feb 11


      The paper you cite ( does not address the question you claim to investigate. They are comparing outcomes to the number of recommended vaccines not to the number actually “received”. This is a major design flaw in the study because we all know that places like the US has a much lower compliance level with recommended vaccinations than places with universal and free health care. Their excuse that 3 specific vaccines have comparable high compliance rates is pathetic (they need compliance rates for all the recommended vaccines not just 3 cherry-picked vaccines). I am surprised that you select to reference this poorly conducted study when there are lots of high quality studies evaluating the benefits and side-effects of vaccinations.

    • GetReal1 commented on Feb 12

      I will give you that. Looking up studies is a bit time consuming for blog posts, but I do wish that I provided additional references. Anyways, studies can be flawed. That was sort of my point anyways with my post. People must be able to question studies and have the results debated. Calling people names (not that you were doing this) for questioning things does not lend to the debate. I don’t like the idea of things being forced upon people because others think they know better, when in reality no one is quite sure about what they think they know.

      Just to throw this out there for the other comments I had regarding fats, see

      I would really like to see where medicine is in 150 years and see how many ideas still hold true.

    • DeDude commented on Feb 12

      @ GetReal1

      I agree it would be fun to see 150 years from now what revisions we have made to biomedical knowledge. However, we are living and making decisions in todays world. Trying to guess what will be revised is foolish. At any given time we should evaluate the scientific validity of available data and conclusions and then base our decisions on that. Even if individual advice may be revised, you do a lot better on the average by following the advice, than by trying to second guess it without data to back up your guesses. The old diet guidelines you refer to did not do any harm, they simply failed to improve the length of life. At the time it was not recognized that people would substitute one unhealthy diet for another unhealthy diet and not come out any better. So the updated modern advice is to substitute your bad diets for good ones rather than another bad one.

    • rd commented on Feb 11

      Lifetime health studies are really difficult and expensive to do. It is difficult to normalize results due to many of the variables. However, acute diseases, such as measles, smallpox, polio etc., are relatively easy to analyze.

      These communicable diseases were scurges for centuries causing death and long-term debilitation. The overwhelming success of the vaccines is obvious simply by looking at the plunge in cases over the past 50 years (extinction in the case of smallpox). Approximately 450 people in the US died and over 40,000 people were hospitalized each year due to the measles in the 1950s.

      One of the problems with measles care today is that even 65 year old doctors have never seen a measles case if they have practiced in the US. The un-vaccinated people have been riding on the coattails of herd immunity assuming that the risk of not vaccinating is negligible. They are about to find out that is not the case. In so doing, they will be endangering infants, people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients and many of the elderly, as well as the small percentage of people who were vaccinated but it was not fully effective. The correct analogy with respect to driving is not that unvaccinated people are metaphorically driving without seatbelts. Instead they are driving with faulty brakes where they endanger themselves and other people around them.

      Vaccination, clean drinking water, and sewage treatment are the huge public health success stories of the past 50 years in the developed world. These are the primary drivers of the large increase in average lifespan during that period of time. It is mind-blowing that large groups are voluntarily electing to undo this. Are the same people planning on drinking water from local streams below sewer outlets instead of from their local water authority?

  2. Ponchovilla commented on Feb 11

    I understand the problem when too many people confuse science and medicine with the prize in a box of cracker jacks. Unfortunately, their sum total of scientific knowledge is related to a 7th grade weather class when they were tested on the 4 major cloud types but were only able to describe the monsters they saw in the cloud images. Yet these people vote based on what some politician said when the Supreme Court has ruled on political speech: “This is the most highly guarded form of speech because of its purely expressive nature and importance to a functional republic. Restrictions placed upon core political speech must weather strict scrutiny analysis or they will be struck down” Translated “purely expressive nature” is high speed flying bullshit transported by Pigs that fly.

  3. Low Budget Dave commented on Feb 11

    I had to research the literature myself, because most discussions on the internet ranged from uninformed name-calling to hatred and swearing. When I mentioned that my son had suffered an adverse reaction, I was accused of such despicable acts and motives that I dismissed everything else the accuser said. Everything.

    When my son had his second adverse reaction to vaccines, we had to evaluate whether the protection was worth the risk. We reviewed the available literature, and decided to continue at a careful pace until he was fully vaccinated.

    As far as I can tell, the anti-vax arguments are generally garbage. The disagreement would have been over long ago, except that pro-vax crusaders prefer to insult and scorn parents, rather than to listen and try to address our fears.

    • RW commented on Feb 11

      Rational and commendable: Although far more rare than catching a highly communicable disease like measles, whooping cough or polio there is no question that sometimes a vaccination can initiate a bad response (or fail to fully inoculate) and protecting a child is about as powerful an emotional driver as one can imagine.

      In fact I agree completely with your comments …until the last sentence which I think is empirically false and logically fallacious: You don’t really believe this problem would not exist if some public health proponents had been less rude, do you?

    • Low Budget Dave commented on Feb 11

      I doubt the problem will go away no matter what, but I do know that backing parents into a corner and heaping insults on them is not working. Yesterday “Jezebel” called the anti-vax movement “nothing short of attempted murder”. The day before that, the Toronto Star ran an editorial that “millions of lives” depend on convincing anti-vax parents that they are wrong.

      Murder? Millions? Both statements seem so extreme as to be counter-productive, (and this is just the last two days).

      In my circle of friends, I know dozens of parents of autistic children. Some of them vaccinate, some don’t. (Some of them are so tired of judgment that they won’t give an honest answer, even to their friends.)

      They might be going through some very tough times. People who have read a few articles in Jezebel don’t get to judge them.

    • rd commented on Feb 11

      The benefit of herd immunity is that people with demonstrated problems getting vaccines (your son would be one of them after the first attempt) don’t have to get vaccinated, because it is unlikely that they will come in contact with the disease. Your son’s case is a valid argument for not getting vaccinated and an even stronger argument for general vaccination of everybody around him. If he travels to countries with measles, then the risk factor changes and you would need to reassess vaccines. The measles vaccine has a pretty high effectiveness rate, but some like typhoid fever only have a bout a 50% efficacy at preventing the disease although even failure often means that symptoms are reduced.

      Until alternates were developed, people with egg allergies were co-indicated against getting the flue vaccine. However, if people around them got vaccinated, then their likelihood of getting sick dropped dramatically.

  4. Joe commented on Feb 11

    Effin’ seat belts….. They’ll kill ya…. You’re better off being thrown clear… Don’t get me started on vaccinations….

    Ya got something that can save billions at the cost of something bad happening on rare occasion. Doesn’t have to be autism. Could be ebola from getting sneezed on in the waiting room. Or getting run over by a truck in the hospital parking lot. Hundreds or thousands of bad things will happen out of millions or hundreds of millions of good things. That’s the way the world works. People are willing to play way long odds on the lotteries to win, but aren’t willing to play almost sure things in real life and lose big on way long odds. Like they didn’t sign up for life.

    Save a buncha lives and eliminate a lot of less than lethal very bad stuff for everybody, at a VERY minor risk to you and yours. If you can’t face it any other way, pretend you are a hero facing up to death and destruction incarnate. Instead of just another citizen doing what is right for you and yours and others who have just as much right to live happily ever after as you, taking real life in stride.

    But then in large part, I’m preaching to the choir here. To the rest of the world, GGGrrrrrrrr.

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