Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Countering antivaxxers

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitJuly 23, 2008 9:01 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Antivaxxers are a major public health threat. These are misguided people -- generally good-hearted but still mistaken -- who think that vaccinations can cause autism in children. This is despite a raft full of evidence showing no connection whatsoever. Basically, antivaxxers resort to anecdotes, misinterpreting data, and an appeal to emotions to make their case. They also have a lot of support by celebrities, sadly. Jenny McCarthy is a vocal antivaxxer, and she's roped her boyfriend, Jim Carrey, into this as well. They had a big fund raiser for their nonsense recently, and I have to bite my tongue very strenuously to avoid an ad hominem here, but I'll say that Britney Spears and Charlie Sheen attended. On the other hand, I was very pleased to see the video below at The SkeptTick's site. It shows actor Amanda Peet talking about this topic for Cookie magazine (a parenting mag), and it's very effective. She obviously loves her child, and makes a strong case that we need to be more active in fighting antivaccination nonsense. I love Ms. Peet; after being attacked by antivaxxers for her comments she held her ground. You need to read what she wrote. It's awesome to behold. You can search the blog here for more info on the tactics used by the antivaccination crowd. Another resource is the great blog Respectful Insolence, where Orac keeps up with them as well. Have no doubt: the antivaxxers mean well -- many have autistic children themselves, and as a parent I feel for them very much -- but if they are successful then many, many children will die of totally preventable diseases. And we're already seeing a comeback of measles due to drops in vaccination rates. This is no far-flung future; the terrible consequences of antiscience nonsense are happening now.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In