Antivaccine nonsense Autism Medicine Quackery

Vox Day: Mindlessly parroting antivaccination myths again

I tell ya, I get sick for a few days, and the antivaccination cranks come out of the woodwork. This time around, it’s über-crank Vox Day entering the fray (or, as I like to call him Vox “hey, it worked for Hitler” Day). We’ve seen him in action before. Be it using the example of Nazi Germany as a reason why we could, if we so desired, round up all the illegal immigrants in the country and eject them, labeling women as “fascists” who shouldn’t have the right to vote, or falling hook, line, and sinker for an evidence-free antivaccination claim, when it comes to an inflated opinion of his own knowledge and understanding, coupled with the arrogant belief in his ability to apply them to the real world, no one turn the Crank-O-Meter up to 11 quite as easily as ol’ Vox, so much so that he’s even been too much of a crank for WorldNet Daily.

That’s saying a lot.

This time around, he’s unhappy at some recent articles pointing out that parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated are a danger to public health, and in attacking such sentiments he lays down some serious, neuron-apoptosing stupid bombs that reveal just how ignorant he is about vaccines. The proximal target of his wrath is Megan McCardle, who told it like it is about the antivaccination movement, and, consistent with his usual misogyny, Vox can’t resist starting out with a sexist insult and then launching into a brain-fryingly dumb rant:

But your health isn’t at risk if you’ve been vaccinated, right? What a loathsomely liberal fascist little cow! I truly don’t know understand why Instapundit likes McArdle so much, she never writes anything even remotely intelligent and regularly coughs up hairballs of asininity like this.

What a moron. Talk about “coughing up a hairball of asisinity”! Apparently, Vox labors under the delusion that vaccinations are 100% effective. They are not. They range from very effective (polio, MMR, etc.) to moderately effective (flu vaccines). That means that just because you’ve been vaccinated doesn’t guarantee that you’re immune from vaccine-preventable diseases. Chances are that you are, but if a vaccine is, say, 90% effective, that means that stil means that 10% of the vaccinated population is not or is only partially immune. He also seems blissfully unaware of the concept of herd immunity or that there are people out there who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons.

The toxic stupid, it truly does burn.

The rest of his little tirade is nothing more than a panoply of antivaccination talking points, some of them so dumb that the smarter antivaccinationists cringe when they see another antivaccinationist use them. For example:

If the vaccine industry wasn’t hiding so much information about the children being harmed by vaccines, if Congress wasn’t indemnifying both the industry and the medical personnel who inject vaccines into non-consenting children, if millions of dollars weren’t being paid out by VAERS, if there weren’t very good medical reasons to avoid going along with the insane U.S. vaccination schedule, she still wouldn’t have a point.

I bet Vox can’t name a single “very good medical reason” to avoid going along with the U.S. vaccination schedule. As for all this information supposedly being “hidden” about children being “harmed” by vaccines, perhaps Vox could tell us who, specifically, is hiding this information. Whoever it is, they sure aren’t doing a very good job, are they? I mean, the Autism Omnibus case is sure secret, isn’t it? So is the Hannah Poling case. Cranks like Vox are sure having trouble publicizing their antivaccination viewpoints far and wide, aren’t they?

But if you really want to see what Vox’s Libertarianism is about, read no further:

Her health is not my concern. Or anyone else’s. At all. End of story. If she wants to live in a cave so that no one can ever infect her with anything, she is free to do so. Life lived in contact with others implies risk. Deal with it. McArdle’s claim to be a libertarian is as ludicrous as Bill Maher’s; vaccinated or not, she has no more right to the public roads than an unvaccinated Amish child. Ironically, she is also an advocate bringing in more disease-ridden third-worlders to use those very public goods and services that she wishes to deny bad citizens she deems insufficiently injected with foreign substances.

Nice. Pure “screw ’em all” selfishness with some gratuitous (and racist) imagery of illegal immigrants as disease-carrying freeloaders. A more concise encapsulation of Vox’s brand of politics I’ve yet to encounter.

Not content with that, Vox goes on to parrot a couple of common antivaccination myths. Myth number one:

And there is no more evidence that vaccines are safe than there is that they cause autism, since the vaccine industry has resolutely resisted proper double-blind scientific studies into the safety of its products in favor of population surveys and metastudies of those surveys.

There is abundant evidence that vaccines are safe. As for “randomized, double-blind” studies, what on earth is he talking about? The only way to do such studies would be highly unethical in that it would necessitate leaving one experimental group unprotected from common childhood diseases. The appeal to “randomized, double-blind” studies is there merely to make it look as though Vox knows what he is talking about. He doesn’t. Sometimes in medicine it is not possible or ethical to do such studies; in such cases, the bulk of other forms of evidence can be used, and that bulk supports the efficacy and safety of vaccines. Evidence-based medicine does not absolutely require randomized, double-blind studies, and a preponderance of epidemiological studies can equal that of the hallowed double-blind randomizd trial.

Here’s myth two:

But pumping infants full of toxins that have never been tested in combination with each other, 19 shots in the first six months, isn’t just asking for trouble, it’s demanding it.

Oh, no! The dreaded toxin gambit! That’s one of the oldest and dumbest antivaccination canards out there, so much so that Jenny McCarthy thinks it’s the height of argumentation against vaccines. (Of course, I always did suspect that, deep down, Vox was no more knowledgeable than Jenny.) Did it ever occur to Vox that vaccines aren’t tested in isolation? New vaccines are tested in infants who are getting all the other recommended vaccines; other recommended vaccines are not withheld. True, not every possible combination is or can be tested, for the simple reason that it’s logistically not practical, but that’s not what Vox and other antivaccinationists are interested in anyway. What they are interested in, when they bring up this “combination” gambit, is in proposing so many roadblocks in the way of approving vaccines that vaccines are never approved.

The bottom line is that, his protestations otherwise, Vox has revealed himself to be an antivaccinationist. No surprise there. If ever there was an example of crank magnetism, it’s Vox.

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]

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