The Sciences

Antivaxxers make me sick

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitApr 24, 2009 5:19 PM


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OK, so out of some masochistic need to destroy any will to live I have left, I decided to see what else the Huffington Post has to say about autism and vaccinations. Given the incredibly inaccurate and misleading article penned by Jim Carrey, and knowing that leading antivaxxers David Kirby and RFK Jr. also write for HuffPo, I was expecting to see things I wouldn't be terribly happy about. But I had no idea. This article was just posted supporting Jenny McCarthy and her campaign, which, if successful, will bring back measles and polio to our children. Read it if you dare. It was so transparently antiscience that I had to know who wrote it, and what do I see? "Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald". Oh great, I thought. A doctor. So what's her specialty? Why, click her bio! It says she's "a licensed acupuncturist, certified clinical nutritionist, and a homeopath. She has a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine." kaBLAM! Yup. When I read that my brain asploded^*. I am embarrassed I ever wrote anything for HuffPo, which is now a cesspool of misleading misinformation. Funny though; I still get people asking me "What's the harm in believing in things that aren't real?" What's the harm? Polio. Smallpox. Pertussis. Mumps. Measles (with possibility of encephalitis and permanent brain damage). Hib. Death. Death. That's the harm. The antivax movement, the people who promote homeopathic water, the people who want you to poke you with needles... they are peddling nonsense that doesn't work. And worse, when they convince someone that their fantasy is correct and the entire scientific and medical establishment is wrong, that person will be denied treatment that may actually do some good. These folks may honestly care about others, and may be honestly trying to help. I'm sure that's the case for Fitzgerald, who seems sincere. But sincerity doesn't make you right. And in the case of the antivaxxers it can make you -- and everyone else -- sick. Very sick indeed.

^*I keep wondering how you get a doctorate in homeopathy. Maybe the less you study the more powerful your learning is. Or you could grind up the people who passed the exams the year before, mix one molecule of them with water, and drink up!

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