Anti-Vaxxer Barbara Loe Fisher Quotes FDR!

She’s the awful anti-science woman currently suing Paul Offit, a national hero who was instrumental in the development of the rotovirus vaccine. She recently said something so idiotic I was forced to make a video about it:

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Of all the people in all the world she could choose from, she chose FDR??? The ridiculousness is overwhelming.

  2. This is a brave rebuttal. Personally , I wouldn’t take on Ms. Fischer. There’s something not quite right about her eyes. I’m not saying that she’s actually a shape-shifting, alien, lizard creature, but you can’t be too careful these days.

  3. Being one of the 1954 test cases of Jonas Salk’s vaccine, I can relate to what vaccinations can do. I recall, numerous children of that era with polio, of different incapacitations. Some simply on crutches, some permanetely in wheel chairs while others in what was called an Iron Lung, since the disease prevented them from breathing on their own. After 1955, when the vaccine became readily available, the amount of cases dropped dramatically. Measles was another “killer”back then. If a vaccine had been invented back then, it would have saved thousands of children.

  4. @bluescat48: That’s an important point – people are so used to living without the danger of these kinds of diseases, the vaccine seems irrelevant. Even though the vaccine is the reason we live without the danger in the first place.

    My daughter just got her polio booster last week, along with others necessary for kindergarten preparation. So suck it, Fischer.

  5. This is a nit, but FDR probably didn’t have polio. We can never know for sure, but Guillain-Barré Syndrome fits his symptoms much better. Adult onset and a pattern of ascending paralysis both argue against a polio diagnosis.

  6. @davew: Well, yes. Hindsight is a nice thing to have.

    But at the time, the medical opinion was that he had Polio-related illness.

    Frankly, it’s irrelevant. I cannot agree with every decision he took, but I can say in that FDR was the best President in living memory, and in my opinion quite probably the best President that the USA has had so far.

    Granted, there have been Presidents that don’t exactly give him a run for his money. But still, FDR was a remarkable man. For any anti-vaxxer to quote him is a display of almost equally remarkable ignorance.

  7. @philipstorry: But at the time, the medical opinion was that he had Polio-related illness.

    True enough. And it is still a common perception that FDR had polio and this is enough to make Rebecca’s point valid. On the other hand skeptics are notable for correcting common misconceptions rather than promoting them. I just thought folks would like to know.

  8. I was born in 1950. I have a snapshot memory of almost every child in our small town being lined up for polio vaccine in 1954/5.

    I just can’t get my mind wrapped around people thinking disease & damage & death are a good thing.

  9. @philipstorry:
    You think the guy that almost sparked a constitutional crisis by coercing the Supreme Court, threw his won citizens into prison camps base don their race and most likely prolonged the Great Depression for years with his ham-fisted bumbling is the best president in recent history?

    What would a bad president look like?

  10. “most likely prolonged the Great Depression for years with his ham-fisted bumbling is the best president in recent history?”

    I think this is pretty far from the general concensus. At best, it seems to be a misrepresentation of the debate about FDR’s role in ending the great depression, at worst it’s an example of the rewriting of history by free market activists (see also: how awesome Ronald Reagan was) that I seem to see more and more often on this here internet.

  11. for sure… I have a hard time letting statements like that go unopposed, but I don’t have the economic background or the desire to debate the point.

  12. Rebecca, PLEASE do your next blog entry on the tendency of political extremists to rewrite history to fit their views instead of adjusting their views to fit what history indicates. People like James K need a reality check.

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