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The cult of the antivaccine

After a brief foray yesterday into discussing atheism, tone deafness, and the Holocaust (how’s that for an odd combination?), I’m ready to get back to more—shall we say?—conventional topics. One topic that’s been popping up at that other wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery (one of the ones other than Age of Autism) reveals something about the antivaccine movement that I find educational. Specifically, it has to do with how, once a parent has drunk deeply of the antivaccine Kool Aid, she behaves in a rather cult-like manner. I’ll show you what I mean, and the post that best epitomizes this appeared on the not-so Thinking Mom’s Revolution a couple of weeks ago in the form of a post by one of the not-so-Thinking Mom’s (or should I call them the un-Thinking Moms?), MamaMac, entitled You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again.

It’s basically simultaneously a lament over how MamaMac’s friends from her youth don’t understand her anymore now that she’s become a rabid antivaccine activist (obviously she didn’t phrase it that way) and how they aren’t interested in her antivaccine rants (obviously, again, she didn’t phrase it that way, but that’s what she’s saying). Lest you think my interpretation of what she is saying is unfair, let’s take a look right at the first paragraph:

In my town, I don’t fit in anymore. Friends don’t like my updates on Facebook. Some of my friends since childhood don’t understand me anymore. Even some family doesn’t really want to hear much about what I think these days. Moms in my town don’t want to hear what I have to say. They think I’m weird. They feel bad that Nick has autism and they want to hear that he is improving, but they don’t want to hear me talk about how he regressed from vaccine injury. They don’t want to hear my opinion that the HPV vaccine and Flu Shot are unsafe and not worth it, or that neurological and physical regressions can happen with older kids too. They don’t want to know that insurance doesn’t cover the kind of treatment Nick needs. They tell me, “They have a nephew with autism, he’s doing great, he’s seven and doesn’t speak but the family loves him very much, have I heard about Autism Speaks?”

It never occurs to MamaMac that maybe—just maybe—the reason that her friends and family are having a hard time putting up with her is that she’s become a crank. An antivaccine crank, which she most definitely is. True, on rare occasions cranks can turn out to be right, but antivaccine cranks are not one of those cases. Their ability to ignore all the data and studies that disconfirm their single fixed idea that vaccines are evil and caused their children’s autism is truly prodigious. What she is doing by promoting antivaccine views, ranting against the HPV and flu vaccines, and going on and on and on about how she thinks is not “warning” her friends and family about the dangers of vaccines and the One True Way to Salvation (i.e., curing her children of autism and avoiding it in the first place) is to avoid vaccines like the plague. Rather, it’s endangering public health by encouraging people not to vaccinate their children against, well, anything. Why? Because in her world vaccines are evil and cause autism and all manner of problems.

And what’s the cure? To Mama Mac, it’s quackery like “supplements, diet changes, homeopathy, etc., that might be a safer and more effective long term solution for their child’s issues.” The problem, of course, is that none of these are “long term solutions” for anything, much less autism, ADHD, and the plethora of “food or environmental sensitivities” (translation: vaccines plus everything else antivaccinationists distrust). I hadn’t realized that Mama Mac was into homeopathy, either. Now that’s one of the purest of pure quackeries there is. Here’s a hint to her: It’s water!

Simultaneously amusingly and sadly, MamaMac complains that sometimes the people with whom she shares her rants “push back,” telling her science-based information, such as that vaccines are safe (they are), mentioning that herd immunity protects children who can’t be vaccinated, such as a “niece with Leukemia” (I’m not sure why MamaMac capitalized the word leukemia), and saying that they don’t want their children to be going to school with unvaccinated children (a perfectly reasonable position to take, given that unvaccinated children are far more likely to serve as vectors and reservoirs for vaccine-preventable diseases than are unvaccinated children). It seems to be particularly annoying to her that people talk about her behind her back, wondering why she’s latched on to quackery like homeopathy and expressing concern or frustration that she blames vaccines for her child’s autism. It’s unfortunate, but completely understandable, behavior. It’s human nature, and self-righteous cranks like MamaMac lecturing family and friends about the dangers of vaccines are extremely off-putting. They’re annoying as hell to people who know they’re wrong and on the fringe. Only family is likely to stick with such a person, and even then more with a bemused or annoyed tolerance than any sort of respect. After all, nearly every extended family has a crank or someone who borders on being a crank. Such family members are invited to family functions but the family hopes they won’t make a scene or annoy too many people. That is the position that MamaMac has put herself in by her own choice.

It’s nearly cult-like in isolation, as you’ll see in a moment. First, I’d like to show a more recent example of how the not-so-Thinking/un-Thinking Moms demonstrate in a small way the cult-like nature of antivaccine beliefs. This time, the example is a post from a couple of days ago by another not-so-Thinking Mom, Mamacita, entitled 4 Facebook Updates That Annoy This Vaccine-Injury Parent.

While I was reading this post, one thought kept going through my head that goes through my head whenever anyone complains about what’s on Facebook: If you don’t like it, just skip over it and don’t read it. Seriously. It’s that easy. Not to Mamacita. To here, there are four offenses that send her into the stratosphere when she sees them on Facebook. Number one on the list is:

#1 – Posting this status on Facebook: Little Johnny is getting his shots tomorrow.

For the love of all that is holy, why do parents post that as their status? Would you ever post, “Hey, I’m getting my annual Pap smear tomorrow.” Or, “Dude, I gotta turn my head and cough tomorrow.”

No, you probably wouldn’t.

So why do parents insist on telling all their Facebook friends that they are willingly letting someone jab their kids with all manner of known neurotoxins? One of my theories is that the people who post that sort of stuff aren’t 100% certain that they should do it. Another theory is that they are subconsciously admitting that they are scared shitless, and in posting that type of status, they are hoping their friends will give them permission to not get the vaccines. Alas, the more depressing theory that’s probably closer to the truth is that they just don’t know enough to know better. They are just going with the flow and following the schedule that has landed so many of us in the middle of this revolution.

If you are someone who posts that message, don’t be surprised if I come along and post a whole bunch of reasons why not to vaccinate. The first one would involve the retelling of Ronan’s story, which you should know by heart already.

Now there’s an obnoxious Facebook friend! Almost everyone has Facebook friends like that, actually. I’m not referring to antivaccine nutters like Mamacita, but to Facebook friends who can’t resist swooping in and grinding their particular personal axe, be it political, social, or whatever, when they see a post they disagree with. I have a few of them. One in particular is an anthropogenic global warming denialist and Libertarian crackpot. Any time I post anything that even comes close to goring his particular political oxen, this guy will inevitably swoop in, complete with the latest links from the right wing crankosphere, and proceed to annoy the hell out of my other Facebook friends and myself. I tried to engage with him for a couple of years and get him at least to accept that there is evidence that counters his viewpoint. I don’t expect to change his mind, but at least to make him realize that things aren’t as black and white as he thinks they are. No go. So now I basically either ignore him or dismissively throw some abuse his way to warn others about engaging, because trying to engage in civil conversation with him is pointless. When he realizes that he can’t lure me in, he usually goes away. Why don’t I unfriend him? Because he’s a longtime friend of a close family member. Well, that alone isn’t enough; my family finds him almost as annoying as I do. The embarrassing truth is probably pride. I know that he would take my unfriending him as an admission of defeat.

Mamacita sounds very much like my Facebook friend, and nobody likes that guy except others who are in the same echo chamber. Very likely the same is true for Mamacita.

In all fairness, I can understand why Mamacita might be upset, as she says she is in item #4, when parents post complaints that their normal child is doing normal kid things. That is entirely normal, I would imagine, for the parents of a special needs child who sees such comments and wants to tell those parents to be thankful they have a normal child. However, most parents of special needs children whom I’ve met also know that no good purpose is served expressing those feelings to those parents. They’re experiencing the normal tribulations of parenthood, and it’s not their fault they have a normal child and their Facebook friend had a difficult special needs child.

Perhaps most dangerous of all is Mamacita’s #3 pet peeve: “Asking this question on my wall: “Hey, Sally just spiked a high fever and is really out of it. She got seven shots yesterday. Should I be worried?” This leads her to write:

I just died a thousand times. Truly, I did. This sort of post is another PTSD trigger with an added, ‘Are you KIDDING me?’ being screamed in my head as I bite my tongue to stifle an ‘I told you so.’

But since I am all about helping people, of course I will walk you through your kid’s adverse vaccine reaction. I will inform you of available detox protocols, and I’ll steer you in the right direction should she need therapy in the future. Later, when you realize how betrayed I felt and how obtuse you were in the face of my son’s living proof of an adverse vaccine reaction, you can apologize for making me want to beat my head against a wall. But first, we get to work to fix your kid.

Because it’s all about the self-righteousness and about being right, coupled with self-pity, not about helping others. So she’ll “steer” such parents towards antivaccine quackery like “detox” protocols.

I started this post saying that the antivaccine movement is cult-like. If you want to see a good expression of that, let’s head on back to MamaMac’s post, where she opines:

Most of them have moved on without me because I don’t fit in anymore. We are not a normal family doing normal family things. I’m not lonely, although I do miss some of these friendships. I have loads of great people in my life that get me, understand what we are going through, and support us as a family. Some of them I actually get to see once in a while other than on the computer. My reactive stance is to fold in like a turtle, to bring the vulnerable bits inside the shell. I want to stop exposing my pain to a harsh audience and lick my wounds in private. So I take my anger back to the autism moms who get it and comfort me well. They tell me they know it sucks, tell me a story from their own experience, and tell me it won’t hurt as much tomorrow.

Which leads her to declare:

I’m not going away. My primary concern is healing my own child and family and taking care of our wounded autism community. My feelings do get hurt. I do get angry. But, I also wouldn’t be able to forgive myself down the road if I hadn’t spoken up. Once you are a mother, you are a bit of a mother to all children. When I sit by a swimming pool, a part of me is always scanning for a child in trouble. Would I be easier to take if I were the kind of mom that closed my eyes and looked away if a child was choking and struggling in the water? It would be far easier for all of us, including me if I just shut the f*ck up. But I’m not going to.

Now do you see what I mean? MamaMac, realizing that her belief in the cult of antivaccinationism has made it so that she doesn’t fit in with her family and prior friends, has made a new family and friends. Not surprisingly, these people share her beliefs. It’s the normal human mechanism for seeking solace put in the service of a harmful fixed idea that never changes, namely that vaccines cause autism. Having received that “truth” and joined a community of “truth,” these antivaccine parents become antivaccine evangelists, set to go out and preach the gospel of autism biomedical cures for autism and antivaccine pseudoscience as their preferred means of “preventing” autism, the cost to public health be damned.

I wonder if these parents shun members who realize what a mistake they’ve made and turn back to science-based medicine. Actually, I know the answer to that question.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

151 replies on “The cult of the antivaccine”

I wonder if we should report The Thinking Moms’ Revolution to the Rick Ross Institute.

rabid antivaccine activist

Ironically, they do have a vaccine for rabies. I think some French guy figured it out a while back.

(a perfectly reasonable position to take, given that unvaccinated children are far more likely to serve as vectors and reservoirs for vaccine-preventable diseases than are unvaccinated children)

Unless I am missing some subtlety of English language, that I had not met before, I do belive that second “unvaccinated”, right at the end should be “vaccinetade” instead, otherwise there is nothing to compare and contrast there.

Yea, I know it is kinda nitpicky, but it is one of those rare times when I had to read a sentence thrice to be sure I understood the intention, so I though I’ll bring it to our host attention so it can be fixed. Or that someone will teach me something new about English. Either of the two is fne.

FYI:

MacNeil has initiated another blog for our collective ‘delight’ called ” Nurture Parenting” with BFF, Louise Kuo Habakus and Jennifer Margolis ( who wrote “The Business of Baby” – which she , of course, is also cashing in on).

“Mamacita” is Cathy Jameson – also of AoA fame. Several of the TMs are also known by their non-pseudos to us, like Lisa Goes ( the Rev).

An important thing to remember about cults:
they restrict information from the ‘outside’ that might contradict their own glorious message.

Outsiders and their ideas are demonised ( see AoA) but obviously because of the dearth of support for their outlandish positions they must – of necessity- disparage MOST of what the outside world believes.

So we get alt media outlets like Natural News, PRN and these anti-vax dens of iniquity and bad writing. According to Mikey and Gary, the main stream media is worthless, shut off your television, stop reading news and tune in, turn out and drop out of reality with them. Notice Mike’s efforts at producing his own AltPubMed now with ‘earth science and environmental’ ediitions- yes, an Enclyopaedia Woo-tanica.

(continued)

Maybe I should stop answering every Facebook post in “new family pet” with a selection of recipes.

Of course, the not-so-stealthy antivaccinationist Dr. Bob couldn’t resist writing the foreward to this book, which ought to be called “The Thinking Mom’s De-evolution”. If you can stomach his utter arrogance and stupidity (he acts like no other pediatrician understands autism as well as he does and that there aren’t any physician/scientists researching autism) to read his rallying cry to all the gullible he gouges for fortune and fame.

What a f**king putz he is.

When you restrict information by dis-avowing outside sources, you need to explain how these other explanations of reality are amiss- without resorting to simple things like looking at data and evidence. This is where the conspiracy mongering comes in: you need as well to explain why your perfect research/ theory/ idea/ worldview is rejected by most of the human race- including the authorities and experts.
It’s because they are:
all wrong/ bought-and-paid for/ cashing in on profits/ evil.

The other day I learned that present day cult and woo-meister, Gary Null, lifted the basics from an earlier natural health cult- that of Bernarr McFadden ( ne Bernard MacFadden) which centred upon veganism, body building and selling books. ( see wikipedia).

Anti-vaccine ideas also have a long history:
cults like religions have curious ideas about taboo substances in food and medicine.

Mamacita should try Scientology. She’d find a whole bunch of new friends who wouldn’t consider her nuts.

Smith.
1. “Vaccintade” isn’t even a word.
2. Our host is a tolerant man, but his hatred of pedantry is legend.
3. SIWOTI syndrome is treatable. I know. I’ve been there.

I totally wouldn’t fit in at AoA and TMR.

My response to “Should I be concerned about my child?” is “Here is how you can get your child evaluated.”.

I’m obviously in the pocket of Big Early Intervention and Big Medicine and Big Education. I suspect someone keeps intercepting my checks. I wish they’d start a direct deposit program.

Can you blame them, though? These are the same types of people for whom having a genetic predisposition to whatever they blame vaccines of causing is too terrible a thought to bare. They would rather blame the vaccine, the doctor, the soul-less and ethereal “Big Pharma” than accept that something deep within their DNA is “wrong” or, at the very least, “different.” They will turn to whatever is comforting enough and explains to them that it’s not their fault, be it a cult, a club, an organization, or a Facebook page.

Humans have shunned people who are different for no fault of their own, so of course the anti-vaxxers will bend over backwards to not have it be them who are different, or not have it be their fault.

Personally, I welcome my genetic diversity, mutations and all.

You know Ren, sometimes this sounds like the early childhood tendency to understand people ( including themselves) as being all GOOD, perfect/ all BAD, worthless- it’s black-and-white thinking. Thus,it invokes the need for casting blame for negative events to external sources ( not genes but Pharma- although you have no control over your genes).

Kids usually learn to eventually integrate both positive and negative aspects of a person’s ( or their own) identity- it’s one of the goals of adolescent development along with hypothetical thinking, abstraction, more realistic person perception, self-evaluation, weighing benefits and risks et al.

Later, when you realize how betrayed I felt and how obtuse you were in the face of my son’s living proof of an adverse vaccine reaction, you can apologize for making me want to beat my head against a wall. But first, we get to work to fix your kid.

Woooow. The sheer fu<king nerve of this woman.
“Me me me me blah blah me me”

So- if you’re her “friend” then having your kid vaccinated is a personal betrayal. Should your kid feel unwell then that is all your fault. However, she’s magnanimous enough to “fix” your kid before you prostrate yourself on a fiery bed of broken glass to pay penance for breaching her bubble of selfishness and grandiosity. Again – WOW.

I must be hallucinating this RI post because of my migraine and lack of sleep. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve dreamed one up (the one about flu-fighting dogs was the best one) , so hopefully I’ll wake up soon and discover a post not detailing some of the most bizarrely selfish crap I’ve ever read, in which a GROWN WOMAN outlines how immune-deficient people, adults and kids with cancers, HIV/AIDS, and other problems that leave them vulnerable, are just collateral damage. The belief, clearly expressed, that people like them, like me, are worthless and do not deserve the kind of protection that is so simply achieved by immunisation, because of her warped ideology. That babies too young to be vaccinated aren’t worth caring about, aren’t her problem.

Please let this post be something the drugs made me dream up, because frankly – I don’t like living in a world where adult women feel thoroughly comfortable stating out loud that chronically ill and disabled people’s lives are worthless, unless those people are the children of her fellow cult members. I don’t want to live in a world where nobody understands the meaning of the social contract.*

Sick. And Mac wonders why people avoid her. Mamacita wonders why people dare use their own Facebook to talk about *gasp* themselves, yet apparently believes that their posts are coded messages to her, pleas to her to order them how to live, then bridles when she answers their “questions”. I mean, seriously? She thinks people on Facebook need her permission to do things or not? She needs help. The bubble is cutting off her oxygen supply.

*American RI-ers, know that I love you, but it seems like your countrymen (as a whole) are uniquely predisposed to reject any form of social contract, and to believe that each person is responsible for their immediate family and no-one (and nothing) else. Perhaps it’s because of the strange fear of anything vaguely resembling socialism?

The other factor to consider is that those who have children that are severely affected may have little opportunity to socialize. So they may start out feeling isolated. Add to that feelings of the unfairness of their lot, feeling that they’ve been put upon and saddled with something they neither expected nor wanted. It’s ripe ground to sew the seeds of anger, mistrust, etc. toward external sources. And the simultaneously insular and welcoming (toward similarly minded individuals) nature of anti-vaccine groups makes it all so easy to get sucked in.

Oh, one other thing.

I will walk you through your kid’s adverse vaccine reaction. I will inform you of available detox protocols, and I’ll steer you in the right direction should she need therapy in the future.

Funny. I’d tell them to talk to a doctor. But, y’know, that’s just me being all not-medically-trained and recognizing that medical advice should come from someone trained in medicine.

I wonder myself if she’s one of these hypocrites that got her full shot load and is alive today because of it.

*American RI-ers, know that I love you, but it seems like your countrymen (as a whole) are uniquely predisposed to reject any form of social contract, and to believe that each person is responsible for their immediate family and no-one (and nothing) else. Perhaps it’s because of the strange fear of anything vaguely resembling socialism?

Tell me about it. I have to live among them.

Oh, and clarification: “Socialism” has become an American English idiom for anything remotely bad for the privileged class, the status quo, or seeks to provide benefits for the disadvantaged, thereby implicitly harming the privileged due to zero-sum game assumptions. The term now bears no connotative resemblance to the homophone used in other English-speaking countries, and it is only coincidence that the two sometimes overlap as descriptions of economic policies.

elburto — yeah, that seriously floored me too. Her #3 pet peeve is people asking her for advice when their child has a fever post-vaccination, yet she is “all about helping people”. So devoted is she to helping people, that she will graciously allow them to apologize for troubling her with a question that’s right up her alley. Oh my sweet lord….. That is truly a gigantic ego there.

I’m reminded of a lovely put-down from the Sixth Doctor serial “Revelation of the Daleks.” “It would take a mountain to crush an ego like yours.”

@Bronze Dog – I hear ya. It’s so weird for me, I was brought up in such a way that I feel uncomfortable if someone is in need. I’ll do anything I can to help, even if it means I have to go without.

The “I’ve got mine, screw everyone else” attitude scares and depresses me enough if it’s a personal ethos, but a national one? Yikes.

I guess the whole “Eek, Reds under the bed!” thing never died, huh.

Here we have MamaMac, who Robert MacNeil gave her a TV forum to spread her nonsense about her child. Guess what MamaMac, we all saw you and your child on TV and he is not as impaired as you claim he is. Your friends have seen the *treatments* you have subjected your child to, have heard your ignorant-of-science rants and your vile potty-mouthed rants about vaccines and antibiotics which you claim caused Nick’s ASD diagnosis. Is it any wonder then, why your lifelong friends have exited your life in droves?

Listen up, Alison. You did not “cause your child’s disabilities by having him immunized or by dosing him with prescribed antibiotics”…and it is not your mission in life “to cure him”.

http://myvaccineinjuredchild.blogspot.com/

Try to get over yourself and quit your bellyaching, stop dispensing medical advice on your blogs, and clean up your act. If you think we are impressed with your STFU rants, we aren’t. Nor are we impressed with your ghetto talk, “sista”.

@Ren #14:

These are the same types of people for whom having a genetic predisposition to whatever they blame vaccines of causing is too terrible a thought to bare.

I suspect that ‘bare’ is a typo, but strangely it provides an equally good insight as ‘bear’.

Or even a black hole. Certainly, the escape velocity for rationality from her ego has exceeded C.

@Rich #26

“I suspect that ‘bare’ is a typo, but strangely it provides an equally good insight as ‘bear’.”

You know what’s funny? I’ve had a problem with that word since grade school. Seriously, I wrote a report on the Second Amendment, an it is chock-full of red marks where the teacher had to correct me. You think I would have learned by now.

Must be the vaccines.

You know, I have a real problem with anyone who overuses the word “heal” or “healing.” I think it started back in my D&D days when I first noticed that the people in my groups who always chose to play Cleric-types so they could heal people were some of the most emotionally f’ed up people I had ever known. But nowadays, altmed and antivaccine sites are practically dripping with “healing,” and indeed, this has done little to alter my opinion of said word’s users.

As a long time RN, I’ve noted “Heal” & “Healing” insiduously creep into the nursing profession in recent years, supplanting “care for”. Seeking to distance themselves from direct patient care “providers” like MDs, DOs, PAs & ARNPs to somehow become different and “special”, some RNs are drifting into woo like “Healing Touch”.

It’s not just anti-vax nuts. It’s those who have a gospel to share: special diets (gluten-free, vegan, etc.), political views, CAM. They’re “just sharing information!” and then cry “victim!” because they ‘share’ the constant drivel with born-again zeal. Listen up Those With A Message, work on your fucking delivery and stop whining when your annoying chatter results in negative consequences.

Maybe “vaccintade” refers to a cooling lemon drink flavored with vaccine toxins.

The formaldehyde, antifreeze and monkey pus add a delightful tang, no carbonation needed.

@ Melissa G:

Right- there are lots of ‘healers’ ( a/k/a “saviours”) out there in woo-ville.

In related news:(although I haven’t yet listened to it)

today’s Gary Null Show featured Jim Humble, his videographer and MMS for malaria. @ Progressive Radio Network.com ( where listeners can donate money)

Orac, you missed Mamacita’s #2 Complaint about Facebook posts..

“#2 – Posting a picture of your kid in the exam room at a “well-baby” visit

Why not post this? Four words for you: Post. Traumatic. Stress. Disorder. Seriously. It doesn’t take much to bring me back to that bitter, dark time when I held Ronan down to receive his vaccines. Seeing your unsuspecting bundle of joy sitting on the crisp white paper of the exam table sends shivers down my spine.

And, hello! Privacy much? Would you want your mother to share a photo of your time in the stirrups during your Pap? Or while hanging out in your altogether about to be examined? Doubtful.

It’s none of my business, but by publicly sharing a personal picture of that nature on my newsfeed, you make it my business. I will say that more non-autism friends post this sort of “memory” on their wall. I think they shouldn’t. Why post a picture of your child mostly nude and about to be assaulted by a bunch of neurotoxins? Keep your private health care appointments private.”

Gee Mamacita, why didn’t you go after your pals at Age of Autism, when they posted “almost nude” pictures of Alex Spourdalakis on their blog?

Why didn’t you go after Lisa Goes and the other [email protected]@rds who posted those same “almost nude” pictures of Alex Spourdalakis on their Facebook pages?

Why didn’t you go after Wakefield, Tommey and the other publicity whores who posted “almost nude” videos of Alex Spourdalakis on You Tube?

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=alex+spourdalakis&oq=alex+spourdalakis&gs_l=youtube.3..0j0i5.1632.6647.0.7083.17.17.0.0.0.0.211.2273.3j13j1.17.0…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.u1vAJBgQi2U

Cripes I despise every last one of you “Thinking Mom’s”

Lousy, “false balance” reporting in Las Vegas. This time, the anti-vax cultist is a chiropractor, who styles himself a “holistic physician”.

The start of the school year is getting close, which means parents will need to have their children up to date on their immunizations. Some, however, question whether those shots are necessary.

Vaccines have been debated for years in the medical field. While some doctors believe they are vital to a child’s health, other doctors believe in a more natural approach to disease prevention.

Feel free to go over and straighten out the reporter.

http://www.8newsnow.com/story/22976343/doctors-debate-need-for-child-vaccinations

Why not post this? Four words for you: Post. Traumatic. Stress. Disorder. Self. Pitying. Diva. Tantrum. Seriously. It doesn’t take much to bring me back to that bitter, dark time when I held Ronan down to receive his vaccines. Seeing your unsuspecting bundle of joy sitting on the crisp white paper of the exam table sends shivers down my spine.

Fixed!

lilady,

yeah–like it’s OK to post pictures to the web of the inner lining of your kid’s intestine, removed with the help of a bleach enema. But it’s not OK to say, “here’s my kid getting protected from the diseases you might help spread”.

It’s amazing they let that blog post out. It breaks two themes they try to maintain:

1) “we are winning the hearts and minds of America”

and

2) “being a mommy warrior is empowering”

It is easy to make fun of anti-vaxxers and the rest of the woo believers but I think thinking healthcare providers need to research what leads to one becoming so credulous. My pet theory is that is, at its root, a self-esteem issue. By believing in the anti-vax, homeopathy, naturopathy, or any other nutty idea the believer can feel superior to others by having “special knowledge” others do not possess. If only the world would listen they would then see how right they are, making us all grateful for their superior wisdom.

So many cults, so little time.. ( re my # 35)

I listened to Grand Master Woo ( @ PRN today @ about 30 minutes in until 64)-
Humble describes his brilliant discovery that MMS cures malaria in 4 hours: he tried it on 2 gold miners in Guyana.
*Et voila!*

Through some missionaries and a businessman, he experimented on Africans with malaria – including some prisoners- in Malawi, Kenya and S. Africa. It cured thousands of malaria and hiv/aids ( about 750 of the latter)
almost immediately. The reporter ( Dan Bender) who covers the story said it’s also GREAT for ASDs. Right.

Supposedly, the Red Cross came to Humble and then tested it on 154 subjects in Africa who had malaria and were then cured. Now however, they disavow any relationship with him. Although there are tapes of them @ MMS wiki.

There is OBVIOUSLY a massive cover-up because entrenched interests wouldn’t like it if folks went around curing malaria and hiv/aids- it would cut into their profit margin. MMS was a ‘health drink’ for over 80 years prior to the troubles recently.

Null calls for an investigation.

@palindrom – Well I’m a habitual insomniac thanks to the effects of certain medications wearing off partway through my night. Hilariously, the more delirium-inducing drugs tend to kick in at around the same time, leading to dreams so vivid that I’m convinced they’ve happened.

Now as I haven’t left this room since last March my dreams typically involve stuff I’ve watched (like the episode of Wentworth where all the women broke into spontaneous dance), or things I read.

So the flu-fighting dogs. Ahem. An international team of trained Labradors wearing backpacks full of flu-vax sprays. When they walked into crowds a few wags of the tail dispersed the spray. They were also fitted with motion cameras for some reason!

Orac had blogged about AOAs reaction, they’d made a huge fuss about “ebil big pHarmA” had subverted the age old bond between man and his best friend, and had pledged to wear space-type helmets in public in order to protect themselves from catching teh autisms.

I genuinely believed I’d read it, until I started telling Other Mrs elburto, and realised how stupid it sounded!

@Denice – Bleach as a health drink? I’d love some of whatever he’s smoking.

Obviously not the point of this blog post, but further confirmation — not that I needed it — to stay the hell away from Facebook.

Ren on bare vs bear

You know what’s funny? I’ve had a problem with that word since grade school. Seriously, I wrote a report on the Second Amendment, an it is chock-full of red marks where the teacher had to correct me. You think I would have learned by now. – Must be the vaccines.

Well, you do have to bare your arms for vaccinations.

Well, amongst my Facebook friends, if someone posts an update like “My kid got his shots today” there will be a heap of “Likes” and “well done!” type comments.

Actually, thinking about by FB friends… Ann Dachel keeps asking where the 30, 40 and 50 year old autistic people are. She should try the Society for Creative Anachronism – just about all my FB friends are SCA friends, and an astonishing number of them are on the spectrum.

“It is easy to make fun of anti-vaxxers and the rest of the woo believers but I think thinking healthcare providers need to research what leads to one becoming so credulous. My pet theory is that is, at its root, a self-esteem issue…..”

Perhaps you are steering with good intentions, but you seem to be driving to a suburb of wooville.
Self-esteem bafflegab is another of many dodges to avoid holding people to account for speaking with honesty, acting with respect and practicing sound parenting.
Terribly outmoded bourgeoisie imperialist ethnocentric values those are, or so the enlightened will tell you.

@elburto:
The best I was able to come up with in a dream was the laserdisc of the 1946 film of Winston Churchill’s “Savrola”, starring Ronald Coleman, and made by Pressburger and Powell for Eagle Lion Films. It had been restored and remastered in a very crisp black (really almost blue) and white. The ballroom scene was particularly entertaining, with many famous actors playing cameos against type. Carmen Miranda’s haughty Russian countess, David Niven’s drunken lecherous boor, and John Wayne’s polished heel-clicking diplomat were particularly memorable. Much to my disappointment, the liner notes said that Basil Rathbone’s appearance in the scene had been cut and lost.
I know that I saw it, but try convincing anyone else!

Christine the public servant wrote,

Ann Dachel keeps asking where the 30, 40 and 50 year old autistic people are. She should

1. Check out group homes for older adults
2. Check out model-anything clubs, but especially model train clubs.

I thought “vaccintade” was a portmanteau of “vaccine” and “Kool-Aid”. As in, “They’re really drinking the vaccintade over there at AoA!”

Maybe it was the mention of Jonestown that sent my mind in that direction.,

Yup, Liz Ditz, I am in complete agreement with point #2. Any group where obsessing over obscure detail is celebrated rather than rejected is very welcoming of people on the spectrum.
I don’t have much experience with #1, but I know they’re around. Well meaning but misguided people, or politicians looking to save money, try to get them closed down, but fortunately they haven’t succeeded.

elburto, I just read your comment at #44, and I think it would make an awesome short story. Seriously. Write it up and send it in to a magazine.

Anne Dachel is full of herself and full of it…when she claims she never saw an autistic child when she was growing up.

Dachel is approximately my age (Elburto and Autismum know…but they’ll never tell), and her son John is 28 years old. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age eight…just at the time when the DSM IV defined Asperger Syndrome. (So much for Anne and her colleagues’ claims that diagnostic substitution has little or no effect on autism prevalence)

Anne talks about her humble beginnings in the anti-vaccine movement. Follow her link to her “The Really Big Lie About Autism” article and the “comments” that article evoked, that appeared in a local newspaper, before she joined AoA:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2007/07/anne-dachel-jus.html

So what’s the deal with Anne’s son? Is he self-sufficient and gainfully employed…his Asperger Syndrome doesn’t seem to affect his ability to drive his own car and to have his own Facebook page. He has provided “technical support” when Anne interviewed and videotaped the newest anti-vaccine crank doctor in AoA’s stable.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/08/dr-toni-bark-on-autism.html

I was about to shut my clap trap, embarassed enough about Palindrome, in very humbling way piercing my pedntic post, pointing “vaccintade” typo, but it seems to have run away… So sure, from now in it is a word. Let us have it describe the way antivaxx side sees SBM proponents as cult (see Greg’s Vaccine Autism Denial Disroder, or some such). We all took deep of “vaccintade”.

Also – I usually am not pedantic, being all too aware of all the silly mistakes I made (and keep making) while writing on the internet. I just pointed the one back at #3 cause it actually gave me some trouble in understanding the sentence… So no SIWOTI treating bleach enemas for me, please.

@ The Smith of Lie: Don’t worry about the pedantic remark and such; you’re among friends here. 🙂

(True Story) For the longest time, I assumed that Orac was using a speech recognition app to write his very long articles…he doesn’t. Amazing huh, that in spite of his two day jobs, he is able to produce some awesome articles?

elburto,

The “I’ve got mine, screw everyone else” attitude scares and depresses me enough if it’s a personal ethos, but a national one? Yikes.

I think that’s a bit over the top. I know very few people like that, and the history of Americans with community projects, charitable donations, and volunteerism directly contradicts that. Indeed, there is also significant history of philanthropy on a big scale (e.g. the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).

It would not strike me as unexpected that there are different views on what the nature of the social contract should be. Reasonable people should be able to differ on the details.

@ Spectator:

I think that you have something there:
people like Alison MacNeil, Cathy Jameson and Lisa Goes ( amongst MANY others) are tolerated and even given public platforms ( e.g. television and newspaper interveiws) because people would not want to impinge upon either their
1. freedom of personal expression
2. or their parental rights.

Alternative medicine gained in popularity as the counter-culture rose when it became fashionable to question authority-
believe me, I’m almost as far left as you can be politically but really, there are experts and authorities who understand complex fields better than the majority of the population.
Anyone can pontificate about any subject regardless of their background, doesn’t mean that they make sense or say anything of value.

We can’t attribute how people behave purely to self-esteem issues-
perhaps that’s easier to say that than being honest and venturing a guess that some anti-vax parents ( and other altie cultists) may have trouble diffferentiating reality from fantasy. I’m not saying that they’re mentally ill or truly delusional but that they selectively attend to information that reinforces their beliefs
whilst disregarding that which runs contrary to their mind set. Utilising conspiracy theories frequently to explicate reality is not a good sign.

There’s another distrubing element to the Moms phenom:
many of these women are making a career out of their martyrdom : several regulars at AoA and TMR have books, websites and/ or speak publicly. Others are paid for their work on the web or have enterprises based upon the ideas promulgated there. ( MacNeil, Stagliano, Taylor, Larsen, Habakus).
Some give advice via the net for free as well.
Oh joy.

Matt — I’d be curious how you manage to diagnose people you’ve presumably never seen over the internet. I know no mental health professional who would do that. But perhaps you know something I don’t?

@Mephistopheles O’Brien, thank you. My experience is the same. I’ve been on the fringes of various disasters, and our communities have always leapt to assist. After the OKC bombing, one of my friends was rescued by a co-worker and a total stranger who ran in off the street to do what he could — she never even got his name. I have lots more stories like that.

@ Denice Walter:

“There’s another distrubing element to the Moms phenom:
many of these women are making a career out of their martyrdom : several regulars at AoA and TMR have books, websites and/ or speak publicly. Others are paid for their work on the web or have enterprises based upon the ideas promulgated there. ( MacNeil, Stagliano, Taylor, Larsen, Habakus).”

If you are referring to Jennifer Larson, I don’t believe she derives any income from her work with AoA and its affiliates. In fact, she is a wealthy businesswoman, who financially supports these groups. She was one of Wakefield’s “field operatives” for the “Somali Project” at Andy’s “Strategic Autism Initiative” and her IT business Vibrant Technology is thriving:

http://www.vibrant.com/

The Canary Party of Minnesota is located in Larson’s Building at 6031 Culligan Way, Minnetonka, Minnesota:

http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/campfin/PCFDetail/PCF41056.html

J. B. Handley, Mark Blaxill, Jennifer Larson and other wealthy businessmen provided financial funding for the others associated with AoA, TMR, Canary Party and their affiliates.

@Spectator @Denice Walter
Good comments. As a nurse I think it is important we investigate why so many people are attracted to woo. I am always tempted to just see them as ignorant or dumb but it clear that they are consciously rejecting reason for woo. I hope that if we understood what leads to these behaviors then maybe we could find ways to preempt the problem, or come up with strategies that may be more effective in leading people back to reason.

Don’t forget that reasonable people are the minority but are the ones who advance science and improve lives. This line of research could be a way to improve lives by reducing the influence of woo on otherwise smart people.

@ Denice Walter: I don’t think Larson derives much income from her Holland Center operation. 🙂

Elburto, I don’t blame you for being alarmed at “I’ve got mine, fu¢k you” as a national ethos. I frequently despair myself.

The perception you’ve gotten is a political artifact, I think. The radical Libertarians (the IGMFU guys) have, with the help of the Jeebus-droolers, taken over one of our two political parties completely, and because of gerrymandering at the state level, they’ve permanently hijacked the House of Representatives. (Democratic congressional candidates got many more votes in the last election, but that translated into a large Republican majority.)

That, coupled with the fact that 40 out of 100 Senators, representing 10% of the population, can prevent any legislation from being passed, and you see why things are the way they are. The mainstream media of course goes right along, so the impression people get of America is set in stone.

As others have said upthread, most Americans are not like this, but barring violent revolution, I’m damned if I know what can be dome about it. The Rethugs are doing their best in the states that they control to make sure only those who’ve “got theirs” will be able to vote, so democratic remedies are right out.

You don’t need to defriend someone on FB; you can just hide their updates from your newsfeed (hover over their image, hover over the Friends button, and then uncheck Show in News Feed).

Although when I did see an anti-vax comment on my FB feed, I did argue back with links to Ben Goldacre and the Dana McCaffrey memorial site. I didn’t think I’d change the original poster’s mind, but maybe there were some onlookers on the fence and maybe it would make a difference. Maybe.

You know, I know some of those Jebus-droolers and Rethugs. That would include my co-workers who took time off (unpaid) from work to go help clean up the tornado debris in Norman for total strangers. And the people who deluged the bloodbanks after the OKC bombing, to the point that they told us they were only taking O-negative blood because they couldn’t handle all the people wanting to donate. And it would include my friends J and A who have devoted their lives to running a private charity helping people recover from disasters and making sure every single person in every single group home in our State gets a nice Christmas present. And the people who flooded Moore with so much help that the Red Cross told J that they didn’t need any more.

But they’re just Jebus-droolers and Rethugs and Not Our Kind Dear so we can all revile them with a clear conscience because it’s not liked they’re, you know, people.

LW, I can only assume you have no idea what’s going on politically in this country. My characterization of the current Republican party is accurate. Anyone who meets the description of your friends has no business belonging to or voting for such a party, but especially in the Neoconfederate states, it’s a purely tribal loyalty.

Anyone who feels as your friends do should be doing their absolute best to vote out these miscreants, but the red on the map just keeps getting redder and redder. Assuming they’re not black, or poor, they should be able to vote in 2014, so here’s the most philanthropic gesture they could possibly make: vote to get the Sociopathic Party out of office at every level, and get the government out of the religion business.

@LW – speaking as someone married to a Jebus-drooling Rethug, thank you.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, people.

I understand now – it’s OK to call people names because you disagree with their politics and believe their legislative tactics get in the way of policies that you would approve of.

You won’t catch me defending a politician of any stripe, but I believe a great many people referred to above as Rethugs believe quite sincerely that they are working to improve the general welfare and will refuse to STFU for that reason. I don’t necessarily agree with what they’re trying to do, or necessarily oppose what they oppose, but name calling (despite its long tradition in politics) likely will not provide a better outcome for you.

Well, you know, even if they weren’t Rethugs they’d still be Jebus-droolers, subhumans beneath the contempt of enlightened übermenschen such as yourself.

And just my associating with my Jebus-drooling neighbors, co-workers, and family members, and regarding them as human beings worthy of respect, obviously makes me ignorant.

This is why I don’t go to Pharyngula. I always hate it when this naked bigoted hatred pollutes this site too.

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