The wrong kind of skepticism
If you care at all about the human race, it’s a moral imperative to detest anti-vaxxers. Here is a group of people desperately trying to undermine what is undoubtedly the most important medical revolution in modern history. The introduction of vaccination has saved countless lives, but because the benefit of vaccinations aren’t directly observable, there are still those who refuse to accept their efficacy, with deadly consequences. The latest bunch of assholes is from Australia. Billing themselves as the “Real” Australian Skeptics, their website has only 2 posts so far, both of which testify to their complete lack of understanding regarding the methodology of science:
And just what is the ‘scientific method’. We hear about this a lot but no one ever really categorically defines what binds say medicine with astrophysics. The randomised double-blind placebo controlled trial (RDBPCT) is considered the gold standard of epidemiology but I can’t imagine how such a technique would be of any use in understanding how stars form. But what do I know? I think peer-review is nothing more than a euphemism for appealing to authority and its main purpose is to protect academic guilds from clandestine thoughts. Now that’s ‘otherworldly and alien’ for you.
What do you know indeed. Anyone who thinks the process of peer-review is an appeal to authority has obviously never experienced it. The whole point of peer-review is to allow other experts in your field to critically examine your findings, conclusions, and methodology to detect possible mistakes, misinterpretations, or even outright fraud. As for double blind tests, the reason this is so effective is it prevents human biases from influencing test results. It’s a method meant to prevent the very people attempting to isolate the effect of a drug (or any other substance) from unconsciously affecting the results. It fucking works, and that’s why people love it.
Now you should be starting to get an idea of the extraordinary deception that vaccine ‘science’ requires. When they say no link has been found, you can rest assured that no link was looked for. More than that, they had to cover their eyes in order not to see all the elephants in the room.
To cite only one example of how untrue this statement is (since adding more would make this article far too lengthy), the Canadian Pediatric Society spent millions studying the supposed link between the MMR vaccine and autism, and like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the UK National Health Service, they found none. But with these clowns, it doesn’t matter how rigorous your testing is: they will always find something to criticize that they don’t really understand.
We might also be people who are innumerate (which presumably includes people who think that the double in double blind trial actually means something), or have low cognitive skills. This is quite strange really given that in the Western world, those who question vaccinations are almost invariably among the more educated and better paid, but never mind.
While it’s true many parents who refuse to immunize their children are educated, many (like the author of this article) are scientifically illiterate. Rather than be risk conscious, they are risk averse, convinced the potential harm of vaccination outweighs the benefits. Because we all benefit from high rates of vaccination, herd immunity is often enough to protect these jackasses, although not always. As the “Super Bowl outbreak” demonstrated, it doesn’t take much slack for there to be serious and deadly consequences. As their numbers grow, so too does the chance of an outbreak.
If only their stupidity affected only themselves. Unfortunately, there are those of us who are at risk because of compromised immune systems, like cancer patients, the elderly, and children suffering from certain types of maladies. It’s their carelessness and fear mongering that puts these vulnerable people at risk. Hey Australian skeptics, can you put these assholes in their place, please?