Anti-ScienceParentingSkepticism

An Open Letter to Frightened Parents

Dear Parents,

If you have not made the decision to vaccinate your child, I urge you to make that decision now. Immunity from painful, disfiguring, and sometimes even deadly diseases is not a gift you should withhold from your child. Your child is, undoubtedly, the greatest love of your life… a love so great that it was unfathomable until you experienced it. And I know that you want to and need to do everything in your power to protect him or her. Which is precisely why you’re hesitant to vaccinate.

I understand. As parents, we all understand. Vaccines have received almost nothing but bad press over the last few years. Even the good press seems to come with all kinds of asterisks and disclaimers. But let me remind you of something: the press is not concerned with accuracy, they are concerned with readership. Sensationalistic and scary stories grab readers’ attention. It’s why your evening news begins with murders, shots fired, child abductions and fatal car accidents. That’s not to say scary always means untrue, but it should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism… in fact, even the non-scary stuff needs to have an eyebrow raised to it.

I know you don’t think you can trust “Big Pharma”. I’m not going to pretend that medicine has never failed us as or that mistakes have never been made or even that risks are never taken in the interest of profit. Your lack of trust isn’t unjustified. But try to understand that Big Pharma is not a machine of evil men, single men, who were all bred from test tubes and never experienced love or family. “Big Pharma” is an industry, fueled by people who need medicine. And it’s run by people who need medicine. People with families – children, parents, husbands and wives. The investors and shareholders are parents, just like you and me. These are not people segregated from human interaction. They are not out to get you. They are not out to hurt you. It’s not a perfect system. It’s flawed in many ways, but it’s the system we have. And it does more good than harm every day.

When you hear people like Jenny McCarthy saying things like, “If you think about it, it’s all about greed”, ask yourself who she’s talking about. Thousands of people are involved in the approval and distribution of each and every drug. Every one of them stands to be hurt personally and professionally by the failures of those drugs. Yes, profits will be made, but unless/until we are willing to sacrifice the freedoms afforded to us by capitalism, businesses cannot run without profit… for better or worse.

It’s scary to trust a seemingly faceless billion-dollar industry with the health and well-being of your child. You’ve met children with autism. You’ve met their parents. Yet you’ve never met a single person who develops, researches or approves drugs.

It’s easy to sympathize with the anti-vaccine movement when you see these children and you don’t want to make the same mistakes that their parents made. You never want your child to experience that hell. You want your child to smile and say “Mama” and “Daddy”.

The thing is, as convincing as these parents are, and as sincere as they are, their blame is misplaced. It’s hard to look at a friend or relative -  someone you care about deeply, hurting and struggling and knowing how their child was injured – and tell them that perhaps they are making unfounded accusations, that maybe their pain is causing them to place blame where there might not be any. Perhaps they want answers so badly that they’re willing to accept the answers that are given, instead of being able to accept that there may not be any answers at all right now.

It’s all understandable. Having an answer, having a culprit, having someone to direct your rage at, someone to blame, someone to rally against, to point your finger at and say, “How dare you hurt my child!” It feels more right than sitting back, and having to wrap your mind around the fact that this might just be the way your child is. Accepting that there is no answer feels like accepting defeat. There is a hopelessness and helplessness about it. No doubt.

But the fact is that, as much as we all want a better more ethical health care industry for our families, they may not be to blame on this one. And it’s not that researchers haven’t tried to nail the pharmaceutical industry on the vaccine issue. Indeed, they have tried. But when they investigate the claims of the dangers of vaccines, the results are clear: vaccines do not cause autism and getting vaccinated is far safer than not.

I’m sure there’s nothing I can say to defend “Big Pharma” and the government that will convince you to change your mind. But let me make one personal plea to you.

You may think that your decision not to vaccinate is a personal one. That it’s not my business. That it’s between you and your family members because you are the ones affected by the decision and no one else is.

But that’s not the case.

I’ve heard parents argue that the risk of polio is only 1 in 1500, while autism risk is 1 in 150. That’s a scary statistic. But understand that the only reason the risk of polio is so low is because of vaccines. Each time a person with a healthy immune system chooses not to get vaccinated, it chips away at that number. Each unvaccinated person puts more people at risk.

When you make the decision not to vaccinate, or even just to hold off for a while, you’re not just making that decision for your children and your family. You are making that decision for all of us. Your child’s vaccines don’t just protect them from disease, they protect everyone around them by preventing the spread of disease.

By not vaccinating, you affect everyone you come into contact with. You affect the pregnant woman in line behind you at the grocery store. You affect your elderly relatives. You affect people with HIV and AIDS. You affect people with cancer. You affect newborn babies. You affect the people who cannot receive vaccines. You affect the children whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate them. You affect yourself. You affect your neighbors. You affect every single person you meet every time you meet them and all the people they meet after you. That’s not an exaggeration.

While something like measles may seem like nothing more than an unpleasant childhood illness to your otherwise healthy child, it can be a death sentence for a child with a compromised immune system. What may cost your child a few days off from school, could cost a little girl with leukemia her life. Maybe you don’t know anyone with leukemia, but once that disease is out there, spreading, there’s nothing you personally can do to stop it.

But you can stop it now. You can do your part to make sure these diseases don’t spread. All you have to do is vaccinate. It saves lives.

And you don’t know what fate holds for your children. One day, one of your own children could be one of those with a compromised immune system. If that were to happen, your child’s life could be at the mercy of herd immunity, a protection that is vanishing with this current vaccination hysteria.

I know you want to do the best thing for your child. As a parent, I understand your fear.

When it came time for my son to get his 18 month shots, I suddenly found myself doubting. I am 100% pro vaccination, but I wondered what would happen if I were wrong. And that question kept me up, sickened at the thought that I might hurt my son. But I would not let myself be overcome by fear. The rational part of me packed him up, put him in the car, and drove him to that appointment to get him his MMR. And I don’t regret that decision. And today, three and a half months later, he is still smiling, hugging me and calling me Mama. But even if he weren’t, I would be glad I vaccinated him.

If the statistic that 1 in 150 children scares you, and you still believe that vaccines can be linked to autism, please think of it this way – even if 1 in every 150 children who gets vaccinated becomes autistic, that risk is only 0.667%. That means that 99.333% of the time, autism does not happen. Research has repeatedly debunked the link between vaccines and autism, but even if that research is wrong, the risk is two thirds of a percent.

That’s a risk worth taking.

Please, call your pediatrician or family doctor today and get your child an appointment to be immunized. The world is counting on you.

Sincerely,

Elyse Anders

Elyse

Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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58 Comments

  1. That’s a very good letter Elyse. Powerful. You should see if you can get a group of investors together, and see if any newpapers around the country, hell, why not the world, and perhaps some online news sites will publish it.

    I think it’s a tad too too long though. Really good, but, you know, kind of wordy. ;)

    Personally, I would have left out almost all of the defense of “Big Pharma.” It’s only tangentially relevant; at least, less relevant than the antivaxxing campaign in general.

    And, while I am not a “Big Pharma” conspiracy nut, I have read a number of well researched, peer reviewed, published studies that clearly show “Big Pharma” is simply not as clean as you may like to think it is.

    For example, the makers of thalidomide were still selling it, as of 1996, in South Africa as a headache remedy for pregnant women. They made tens of millions of dollars in pure profit with that. I do not know if that particular research study is published online, but it is certainly available in any college or university library with a good selection of published science and ethics of science research.

  2. “It’s easy to sympathize with the anti-vaccine movement when you see these children and you don’t want to make the same mistakes that their parents made. You never want your child to experience that hell. You want your child to smile and say “Mama” and “Daddy”.”

    Irrational fear and lack of understanding of autism is not the only reason why some parents don’t vaccinate. But at the moment, it’s one of the main reasons. Your inaccurate portrayal of the life of an autistic child as “hell” just reinforces that. Autistic children are perfectly able to smile and the vast majority of them, can say or communicate in another way, “Mummy and Daddy.”

    Autism is not caused by vaccines yet many irrational people make out that it is. This however, is no reason to diminish autistic lives.

  3. I’ve got lots of friends and family who are parents now, and I’ve been finding a lot of good messages to share concerning this “controversy.” I’m going to share it on my Facebook, too. Good job, Elyse.

  4. Fantastic post. I think some defense of “Big Pharma” is appropriate because a lot of people do have that in their head…. that vaccines are being used/sold despite the risks, purely for profit. It’s easy to use this belief as a justification not to vaccinate. I’m not denying that there are profits, but clearly that is not the only concern.

  5. Having worked for several of the largest pharma companies as a freelance producer for their sales meeting, I can attest that while profits are very important, easing the suffering of the people using their products is what drives them.

  6. @SicPreFix:

    Well, I’m kind of a wordy bitch. That’s how I roll.

    The defense of Big Pharma is important. It’s a huge part of the anti-vax propaganda. It’s a major selling point for the Jenny brand and the like. They claim the industry doesn’t care how many people they hurt or kill, as long as profits are up, and that’s just ridiculous.

    I didn’t say that the hands of the pharmaceutical industry are clean, but that there are people behind the industry, most of whom want to do good… and are doing good. The people involved in drug making, approving and distributing have a vested interest in keeping drugs safe. They, too, are people who need vaccines and medicine.

    It’s not at all irrelevant to the pro-vax message.

  7. Here Here! This is a great post and I concur totally with your argunment in favor of vaccination. Those of us who can remember days before some of the vaccines remember that illness is not fun. I recall a conversation I had with a friend and his 5-year-old daughter who did not want another vaccination. She said, “I bet when you were a kid you didn’t want a measles shot either”. I told her, “When I was a kid there wasn’t any measles shot.” She showed a puzzled expression and asked, “What did you do?” I replied that you caught the measles and felt really bad for almost two weeks. I did not tell her the really scary stuff how some kids developed heart trouble or died as a complication. I had all the childhood diseases except mumps. That vaccine was released when I was 18, I took it and never had the mumps.
    Almost every parent with pre-school children today is too young to remember childhood illnesses, so they are not concerned about them. They should be. While there is NO solid evidence linking vaccination and autism there is a 100% correlation between lack of vaccination and chances of catching measles, mumps, rubella, etc. Duh!

  8. [quote]Almost every parent with pre-school children today is too young to remember childhood illnesses, so they are not concerned about them[/quote]

    True. I had in succession over a 3 year period from 1955-1957, measles, mumps, chicken pox & rubella. There were no vaccines. All together I lost 4 weeks of school. 1 week each in the 1st & 2d grades and 2 weeks in the 3rd.

  9. When you hear people like Jenny McCarthy saying things like, “If you think about it, it’s all about greed”, ask yourself who she’s talking about.

    The thing that kills me about that is that in no way is Jenny McCarthy motivated by staying in the public eye and maintaining her lifestyle. Nope, not her. When Oprah offered her that new show – which I’m sure comes with a healthy paycheck – she said “No – I don’t need the money or exposure – I’m willing to do this for free because I feel so strongly about it.”

    She’s just like Josh Silver, yep.

  10. Oh, and I have to say I agree with Elyse.

    My brother – a man who is an incredible believer in fair play, justice, and defending those who can’t defend themselves – works for Big Pharma.

    He’s occasionally disillusioned by the incredible corporate nature of it all, but he works for Big Pharma because he wants to help people. His colleagues are all motivated by the same.

    He says for all the bad stuff you hear about big Pharma (for example, even if I can’t get it online, I’d love the reference for your thalidomide study, @SicPreFix), he says there are millions to billions of approved therapies they give away in Africa. It’s just they’ve learned that publicizing it doesn’t help – people are determined to think badly of them, and it’s just tweaked to look bad.

  11. Great article — I want to post it onto Facebook, but the “article snippet” that comes up, which I can’t seem to change, is from one of the comments on the sidebar!!

    Help?

    :(

  12. Excellent article, Elyse! Thanks for expressing these points so eloquently and succinctly. It’d be nice if news media picked up these sorts of articles instead of the sensational, anti-vaccination tripe they tend to come up with.
    @tarrkid: I had the same issue with the snippet in my Facebook posting. Don’t know what’s up with that, but Elyse’s avatar and the link to the article work OK, so I’m going with it.

  13. @sharonf:

    I apologize. I did not mean to offend. This scenario – a child unable to communicate, who cannot enjoy hugs, or express emotion; and the devistation of parents who have never heard their child(ren) tell them that they love them – is the one that people like Jenny are using to scare parents into not vaccinating (and then touting that they can “bring them back” using Jenny -approved treatments).

    I am certainly aware that this is not the case for every child and family affected by autism.

    And though, you are right, autism is something we (those not affected by autism) could all use more education on the subject, no matter how much the subject is un-scaried, any parent believing they can avoid causing their child to become autistic, will do everything they can to avoid it.

    Thank you very much for your input, sharon.

  14. @Chasmosaur:

    I read that study, and several others that dug into the negative behaviour of major phramaceutical corporations, 10-11 years ago when I went back to college.

    I don’t know that I want to go through the effort of trying to find it (or them) again. But if I do, I’ll make sure to post it (or them) here somewhere.

  15. Hi Elyse and thanks for your reply. I wrote, not because I was offended, but because it wasn’t accurate. You are totally right when you point out that the autism=hell trope is a standard of the vaccine blamers and quack-cure lot. I want to see accuracy about the benefits and importance of vaccines but also in the portrayal of autism. It is a serious disability and yes, parents will avoid any actions they can control that might be found to cause it…like prenatal rubella infection which is associated with increased risk of autism. But since it’s mostly genetic there is little we can do except insist on decent standards of science and ethics when studying and discussing autism and autistic people.

  16. I would love to share this on facebook, but for some reason when I use “share” from the google toolbar, the snippet of text I get is the twitter feeds from the sidebar… not so helpful.

  17. @flygrrl:

    Yeah, I don’t know why it does that.

    Right now, you have a couple of options:

    1. Copy the first paragraph or so, then where you see the Twitter feed text, just click on it and past over it.

    2. Click the Twitter feed text and just type in your own summary.

    For the time being, activism is going to have to take more than two mouse clicks. ;)

  18. I am with you on so much of this, so, thank you for outlining the dangers of not vaccinating so very clearly, and for voicing your own fears.

    I have an autistic child, I used to be too scared to vaccinate him (and his siblings) but have been convinced by repeated studies repealing the vaccine/autism link — as well as our own participation in an autism regression study at the MIND Institute — that it is just not true. I am also horrified by the upswing in preventable diseases. I am now a vocal supporter of vaccinations:
    http://www.blogher.com/my-child-has-autism-and-i-vaccinate

    However, I am also with SharonF. Your paragraph:

    “It’s easy to sympathize with the anti-vaccine movement when you see these children and you don’t want to make the same mistakes that their parents made. You never want your child to experience that hell. You want your child to smile and say “Mama” and “Daddy”.”

    Was like a kick to my chest, though I know you didn’t mean any harm. But I didn’t make any mistakes (like SharonF, I believe autism is genetic), we love our son dearly, and we are beyond proud of how hard he works to navigate a world that is not set up to accommodate him:
    http://www.blogher.com/declaration-fierce-mama-bear-love

    While I am the last person to downplay my son’s challenges, I encourage you to read accounts by parents who are their autistic children’s advocates rather than resentful caretakers (links at bottom of this advocacy post):

    http://www.blogher.com/you-may-approach-short-bus

    I do apologize for taking over this space with multiple links. But, you asked for education in your comment above, and, like you, I am on a mission to educate and illuminate.

    I also can’t bear to read more negative stereotypes about autism when we autism parents already have so many battles to fight.

    If you know someone whose child has autism, the best thing you can do is hook them up with the local special needs community, and help them start getting evidence-based services. Here’s my version:

    http://www.squidalicious.com/2008/08/to-any-parent-who-thinks-their-child.html

    But thanks, again, for sounding another alarm about the dangers of not vaccinating. You are doing good work, you are making the world a better and safer place for all of our children.

  19. @shannonrosa:

    First, thank you for all the links.

    Second, what I was saying was not that vaccinating (or anything parents have done) has been a mistake… I was speaking from sympathy of the fear of vaccinating. When a parent has another parent TELLING them that vaccines caused their child’s autism, it creates fear. If I believed that my friend’s child became autistic after getting vaccinated, I would not want to “make that mistake.”

    I wasn’t implying that “making that mistake” was a real and true mistake at all… but rather one that anti-vax parents believe is being made. A mistake that some parents believe they made.

    My message to parents is – this is what you’re seeing, this is what you’re hearing, this is what you’re afraid of, this is a mistake you’re not willing to make. But I’m also saying that it’s NOT a mistake – that the real mistake is believing that vaccination is the cause of these problems.

    I hope that makes sense.

  20. OK, now that I’m done with my two-click activism ;) I can actually comment on this post (and thanks Elyse; I didn’t realize I could actually replace link text on FB)… I think you really eloquently summed up my own feelings on/understanding of the topic, and at my own peril I have shared your post on Facebook. I’m not winning any friends over here with my Evil Pro-Western Medicine stance. One friend commented about how we should have choices. I pointed out that I may want the “choice” to drive on the left side of the road, but that people would probably be hurt in the process… the choice argument drives me up the wall because if everyone is going to live in a happy land where we all have the choice to vaccinate or not, according to our whims, herd immunity goes out the window and suddenly that poor immuno-compromised kid DOESN’T have a choice. If you choose not to vax, fine, but then I think my public school should CHOOSE not to admit your kids. Why is that such a crazy idea? Choices have consequences. Yes, we are free to choose, but we have to live with the cost-benefit consequenses of that particular choice. No one gets off scott-free. Sorry, end of rant. I’ve just been dealing with a lot of friends-doling-out-woo-on-their-kids lately and I’m sick of feeling like the bad guy (gal, mommy, whatever).

  21. @flygrrl: Don’t feel too alone, I did the same thing. While most of my friends gave me the thumbs up “likes this” comment, one (pregnant) friend re-posted it and asked for opinions. She’s getting “too many too soon” and “personal choice” and “there’s mercury in them thar shots!” rhetoric from a couple people, but I have been saving links from Phil Plait and Steven Novella and Orac (etc. etc. etc.) so I have some fighting words -including, that it’s not really a personal choice when it puts people’s lives at risk and affects everyone around you.
    Sighhh… I’m almost reluctant to go on there and see what has happened since I went to bed.

  22. Autism isn’t the only reason some parents don’t vaccinate.

    Unvaccinated children do not spontaneously combust into diseases, nor are they born carrying the diseases for which they haven’t been vaccinated.

    Serious question/request: where are the studies/articles/reports about unvaccinated kids’ mortality? That’s a potentially more effective argument to a caring parent than “They won’t get autism, ok! Geez!”

  23. It’s always a good idea to look at all the arguments.

    I quoted the link as there are citations of a few studies into MMR/Autism connection. One such paper is as follows:

    Stephen T. Schultz. Acetaminophen (paracetamol) use, measles-mumps-rubella vaccination, and autistic disorder
    Autism, Vol. 12, No. 3, 293-307 (2008) http://aut.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/12/3/293
    DOI: 10.1177/1362361307089518 © 2008 The National Autistic Society, SAGE Publications

    Not Batshit, Elyse. Science.

  24. Elyse, you were quick to respond with your “batshit” dismissal, but couldn’t or wouldn’t answer my question about unvaxed kids’ mortality rates. Your melodramaric “you AFFECT people” paragraph appealed to those who wouldn’t ask that you PROVE how.

    Saying that a VACCINATED child is at risk to one who is not only makes sense if you believe we all are born infected with these diseases, and need to be fixed by inoculations. And having two members of my immediate family with compromised immune systems, I’m particularly sensitive to the issue of what ACTUALLY places them at risk.

    Batshit crazy is believing, sans research, that a newborn needs a Hepatitis B vaccine that will expire in efficacy before he’s 10, when it’s spread by IV drug use and unsafe sex, primarily. Where’d the surplus of the vaccine come from? And why was it decided to suddenly use it on babies? You’ve done that research, right?

    All these yes-men & women here sadden me. Dismissing those of us who don’t accept all vaccines as insane and dangerous is an embarrassment to those of us who arrived here believing they’d find intelligent thought and discussion, and instead get unresearched babble and insults instead of facts. What are you gonna call me for not praising you? I’m waiting.

  25. @angel347: Umm inoculations do not fix an existing problem. They prevent them.

    and your sentence is backward “Saying that a VACCINATED child is at risk to one who is not only makes sense if you believe we all are born infected with these diseases”

    And “And having two members of my immediate family with compromised immune systems, I’m particularly sensitive to the issue of what ACTUALLY places them at risk.” is a bit of a non sequitur

    I don’t know about you but I tend to trust medical science over a nose picking playboy model…oh and that’s an ad hom.

  26. Of the information I have looked at so far, it seems that the uncertainty as to the actual cause/elevation of autism is contained within the following hypotheses:

    – Thimerosal alone causes autism;
    – MMR vaccine causes autism;
    – Thimerosal and MMR vaccine, acting in concert, result in autism.

    Taking into account the sources / funding bodies pertinent of any studies, I would be skeptical of any definite conclusion put forward.

    Paul.

  27. “..that’s why I’m a skeptic”

    As a light de-rail.. Why the claim on your website that accupuncture functions purely by placebo? There have been studies into its effectivelness, with positive results.

    Astin JA, Marie A, Pelletier KR, Hansen E, Haskell WL. A review of the incorporation of complementary and alternative medicine by mainstream physicians. Arch Intern Med 1998;158:2303-2310.

    Kleinhenz J, et al. Randomised clinical trial comparing the effects of acupuncture and a newly designed placebo needle n rotator cuff tendonitis. Pain 1999;83:235-241.

    Bowman L. Research quantifies value of acupuncture. Nando Media/Scripps Howard News Service, December 2, 1999.
    Susman E. Bran scans show acupuncture dulls pain. Excite News, December 1, 1999

  28. It’s interesting to note the citation that you included, stating ‘no conclusive studies’, regarding the effectiveness of accupunture.
    Article found here:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?page_id=253

    Management:

    Steve Novella, MD: [email protected]

    David Gorski, MD, PhD: [email protected]

    The contributers to the articles:

    Mark Crislip, MD: [email protected]

    Harriet Hall, MD: [email protected]

    Val Jones, MD: [email protected]

    Tim Kreider: [email protected]

    David Kroll, PhD: [email protected]

    Peter Lipson, MD: [email protected]
    John Snyder MD: [email protected]

    All MDs.

    Both sides of these arguments need to be evaluated. Not just one side, with obvious motivation, leading back to the billions invested in the pharmaceutical industry.

    Citing merely ONE side of the argument on a so-called ‘skeptic’ website is dishonest, and also makes a mockery of the true meaning of ‘skeptic’.

  29. @pauljg1974

    Do you not have standards for evidence? Or do you just believe any study despite poor methodologies or lack of peer review? Or do you just ignore all studies and evidence that contradict your paranoid view of the world?

    And why do you think that because MDs have their name on something related to their field of study that is suspicious? I guess only people who don’t dedicate years of study to learning about the human body and advancing medicine should be trusted…like Jenny McCarthy, right?

  30. @pauljg1974

    I’m sure there have been studies with positive results but there have been far more studies indicating that “real” acupuncture is no more effective then sham acupuncture.

    Hell even just pricking (heh I said prick heh) the skin with toothpicks had an increased effect at relieving pain. (I’d give a reference to this but I’m sure you’d just dismiss it if it came from a science website)

    Placebo does not = real treatment of a real condition. At best it seems to provide an slight analgesic effect.

    As for the list of MD that run and contribute to SBM blog. What’s your point? See LinzeeBinzee’s comment.

    As for your dig at my pathetic little blog, I’ll just let that move slide.

  31. Those of you joining this debate because Jenny McCarthy was a weak enough adversary to withstand your ad hominems and poor research, at least find out why others were in the fight long before her. I bet you chop off the tips of your son’s penises because the bible told you to, too, eh?

  32. @angel347:

    No vaccine works 100% of the time on 100% of people. They work with varying degrees of efficiency. So if you get a vaccine that is say, 90% effective, you can still catch that disease from someone who becomes infected, and you can still pass it on… so the people around you must also be vaccinated.

    There are plenty of places online where you can go to find information about diseases and safety, this post was not meant to replace those as a source of information. I’m sorry you feel I’ve wasted your time by expressing my thoughts on the matter… but I have a feeling you didn’t come here to get your mind changed.

  33. @angel347: I know why they were in the fight a long time ago. It’s because they were misinformed and clinging to a false premise. At least then their numbers were small enough not to cause many problems because the herd immunity was still adequate to offset non-vaxers.

    Now they have a bigger, louder mouth to champion their cause and more and more parents are being scared into thinking there is an autism vaccine link.

    And your circumcision reference is just another non sequitur.

    Elyse is right though. You didn’t come here to get your mind changed.

  34. Uh, did anyone come here to get their mind changed? I hoped the debate would be more sound, because an atheist friend suggested I check out the site. I like hearing other perspectives, and hoped my fellow freethinkers (ha!) would have a more intelligent take on the topic, regardless of their stance. Personal attacks and labeling anything you can’t otherwise address a non sequitur is what passes for intelligent discussion here. I’m more than happy to agree that I don’t belong. Carry on!

  35. @LinzeeBinzee:

    “Do you not have standards for evidence? ”

    Did you read the links I quoted?

    “Or do you just believe any study despite poor methodologies or lack of peer review?”

    You mean, peer-reviewed medical journals, such as ‘Archives of Internal Medicine’? Featuring on a uk NHS site?

    http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/05May/Pages/Acupuncturerelievesbackpain.aspx

    “Or do you just ignore all studies and evidence that contradict your paranoid view of the world?”

    Works both ways, doesn’t it. The papers I quoted have been subjected to peer review. I just seem to be looking at all the information, which is more that can be said for others, such as Malfeitor.

    I have now pointed you to sources that provide insight into accupunture techniques that have been scientifically proven.

    “And why do you think that because MDs have their name on something related to their field of study that is suspicious?

    1. Because of the claim of the above authors of null evidence supporting the effectiveness of accupunture. This claim is incorrect.

    2. Pharmaceutical industry – Billions $$ invested.

    Natural opposition of the mainstream health industry to alternative therapies.

    “I guess only people who don’t dedicate years of study to learning about the human body and advancing medicine should be trusted…like Jenny McCarthy, right?”

    You mean, like the Chinese have, in developing techniques that the west still don’t fully understand, because of the differing underlying paradigms? Techniques which have been proven to be effective in peer reviewed studies?

    I’m interested in both sides.

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