Three weeks ago, I promoted a virtual screening of the documentary Virulent: The Vaccine War. There was also going to be a virtual Q&A with Dr. Steven Novella of Science-Based Medicine, director/editor/producer Tjardus Greidanus, and a certain person well-known to readers of this blog. As regular readers know, there was a family health emergency resulting in my current blog hiatus and also delaying the virtual Q&A. Fortunately, by last Sunday, the situation had stabilized sufficiently and settled down enough that this certain person felt able to do the Q&A, just a week later than it had originally been scheduled.
The discussion was wide-ranging and all about the antivaccine movement. Check it out either at this link or on this embedded version:
Virulent: The Vaccine War – Q&A with Drs. Steven Novella & David Gorski from Tjardus Greidanus on Vimeo.
As for when Orac plans to return, let’s just say that it should be…soon. There’s one post from a not-so-secret other blog that can be repurposed for here, and then hopefully by this time next week I will be back to something close to normal.
In the meantime, enjoy this video.
28 replies on ““Virulent: The Vaccine War” Q&A with Dr. Novella and a familiar face”
Curious. Where did the funding for the film come from?
Producers are soliciting donations. You shoul really lisen people with diffrent opinions.
I suppose johnlabarge is suggesting that it is funded by Big Pharma. That is the answer he wants to hear and the only answer he wants to accept.
It’s curious how John prefers non-scientific support for his opinions…
What does that mean? And what does it have to do with who funded the film?
Nice Darlek, obviously a fellow fan of cheaply made 1970’s BBC SF shows.
Thanks for the Q&A, most informative.
I hope your family situation is improving and wish you and your family all the best.
I second that.
Thank you for doing this, and I join with my wishes to improvement in your family situation.
I’m glad that Drs DG and SN discuss psychological and sociological aspects of anti-vax: adaption, protection, the illusion of control/ knowledge, tendency to see the “invisible hand” of agency, ego gratification, not based on lack of intelligence or on mental illness, the concept of narrative and rejection of reality for a “nice story”. The need for understanding how anti-vax works.
Lately, I’ve looked at stories from anti-vax/ altie leaders and followers for significant themes to alert sceptics to likely confabulation and have accumulated what I believe to be distinguishing marks ( just a starting point):
— great exaggeration. A child was very advanced, not average, The injury was devastating. Doctors were heartless and cruel
— the researcher/ parent was totally devoted and morally superior, selfless.
— the altie cure/ treatment worked nearly 100%, QUICKLY
— grand collusion between the government, industry and the media- the fix was in
— the movement is starting to win, more experts are jumping on the bandwagon
— good vs evil. Saviours abound
If you look at this amongst other stories people tell/ tell themselves, you may see a trend towards fable-like simplicity or folktales: good will triumph over evil and unlikely heroes will arise, usually in a charming manner. Someone from a humble background will defeat the powers-that-be. Hidden knowledge is discovered by simple parents, not researchers and powerful experts whose power will be obliterated in a flash. A righteous leader will rule justly and honestly, serving the people well. While I certainly don’t accept archetypes as an inborn phenomenon, I recognise that patterns revealed in stories have a powerful effect on belief. Sceptics have to battle** against anti-vax tales that lead people away from reality, especially when the facts are not “nice stories” but complicated, hard to tolerate, real life.
** oh wait, I shouldn’t say it that way
This strikes me as extremely insightful, and deeply humane, as well as beautifully stated. Kudos.
Thank you for your kind words.
I hear/ read many anti-vaxxers/ alt med proselytisers, leaders and followers, over time but these themes stick out most. I realise that people use stories to encourage themselves along difficult paths in life but also that they can be a means of manipulation by leaders to achieve their own goals and feed their egos.
Variations of the hero theme are most obvious: an unlikely person opposes Great Evil, exposing its vicissitudes and overturns the World Order. An obscure scientist finds the Root Cause opposing the Establishment. A brave mother fights the Powers of the World to save her child from Evil/ Death. A messiah emerges from a small town.
Thus we have Frodo/ Luke Skywalker, many Galilei/ Einsteins, Persephone and Jesus/ Mohammed.
People seek order and meaning, glazing over the chaotic world so there is always a market for fine stories to organise experience. A researcher in perception showed subjects an array of dots – just round figures that moved around a video screen randomly – and found that they often attributed those actions agency: a dot “chased” another, a dot attacked another etc.
In short, alt med leaders/ anti-vaxxers can use these templates to get followers to support them, knowing that people are vulnerable. Some political/ media operatives work against public health through planting stories as they attempt to dismantle laws, perhaps even dissolving government itself eventually.
Wishing your family members speedy recovery!
The visual during the discussion was sad and creepy. A woman being ignored by three men, Hitler books on the shelf in the background, predator-like skeleton head on a lower shelf. Although, David Gorski was entertaining and informative with his many facial expressions and recollections.
Why was the woman ignored?
A two part video and a baseball cap. You saw what you wanted to see. It didn’t seem nearly as creepy as hallucinations.
Ignored? She was only in the first five minutes or something. It looked like she dropped off unless you were watching something else.
Orac, I like your stein.
Thanks. Personally, I’m surprised that people fixated on my skull-shaped beer beer glass from Treasure Island in Las Vegas; I had rather expected comments on my Dalek cookie jar, which remains a treasured possession.😂
A cookie jar? I saw the Dalek, but thought it was just a model.
It is a Darlek cookie jar. It’s one of my prized possessions.
Nothing quite like a single minded killing machine to protect your cookies.
She wasn’t “ignored.” She was behind the scenes running everything, except for briefly, when she was up front. I was somewhat sensitive to the criticism that this was a “manel,” but we did the best we could.
As for the “Hitler books,” regular readers—other than you, apparently—know that I’ve been a huge WWII buff since I was a teenager. So, yes, I have historian Ian Kershaw’s two-volume biography of Hitler on my bookshelf, along with a number of other books on WWII, including books about the fall of Berlin, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1944, the bombing campaign against Japan and Germany, D-Day, Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific, the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, etc. I also have a few books on WWI on my shelf as well.
I don’t know how well it showed up, but if you look directly behind me and above my head, you’ll see Brynn Tannehill’s book American Fascism (which I read a few months ago), as well as historian Richard Overy’s recent book Blood and Ruins, which argues that WWII was the last imperial war (and which I haven’t read yet). Then there are several of Mick Herron’s Slough House spy novels, which I find immensely entertaining and am working my way through as I watch the Apple TV+ series Slow Horses (which I also highly recommend, as Gary Oldman is just fantastic starring as Jackson Lamb). The rest of my bookshelf houses a whole bunch of SF and fantasy books that I own and have read, some yellowing titles dating back to when I was a teenager in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
So what was your point, other than trying to imply that I was some sort of Hitler lover or something because I have a biography of Hitler on my bookshelf?
Thanks for the clarification. After watching the video I had guessed that she was doing something like that.
You would need lots of references to combat all the holocaust denials.
Have you listened to Rachel Maddow’s new series?
I’ll have to watch Slow Horses.
Gary Oldman was great in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy!
In case anyone is interested, here is the link.
Oldman is great in Slow Horses too.
Yes, he most definitely is, and Jackson Lamb is a very different character from George Smiley.
“Hitler books”, “skeleton head”, and wokescolding? That’s some next level critique.
Not just wokescolding but feminist wokescolding!
As if feminists would want MJD supporting their side.