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Thread: Anti-vaxxers

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Anti-vaxxers

    Anti-vaccination arguments are fatally flawed | Article | The Punch

    I'm absolutely shocked this is a thing. The number of 'conscientious objectors' in Australia has leaped from about 4000 to 30 000 in 10 years and the vaccination rate in the UK has slumped. It's incredible that a bloke like Nossal has been forced to come out and state what would seem to me to be the bleeding obvious.

    I'm not even going to pretend to be unbiased on this, the evidence for vaccination in general speaks for itself. To be very clear, the study this whole hysteria is based upon has been withdrawn from publication from The Lancet because it's been conclusively discredited. Andrew Wakefield wasn't merely wrong, his study was fraudulent and he's no longer able to register as a physician. Everyone still speaking on vaccination in the negative is not speaking in concert with the available science. At all.

    Anyone got a credible alternative viewpoint on this? Because I just don't see one at this point in time.
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 27-11-2012 at 01:28 AM.
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    I can only say this. Our law is very strict about vaccination and every kid has to get prescribed number of "bee stings" to be allowed to attend kindergarden. It is a huge and ugly business and most doctors will eye you as a criminal should you not have your kids vaccinated (by whatever vaccine they are handsomely paid to sell you).
    Still there has been improvement, my parents had no choice whatsoever as in my generation we were often vaccinated without their consent or even knowledge. But our children do not die from things they would have 50 years ago so vaccination is a positive thing in general imo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by flibbertyjibber View Post
    Only a bunch of convicts having been beaten 3-0 and gone 9 tests without a win and won just 1 in 11 against England could go into the home series saying they will win. England will win in Australia again this winter as they are a better side which they have shown this summer. 3-0 doesn't lie girls.

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    You know what they say about a fish rotting from the head down?

    Here's the unedifying tale of ex-PM's missus Cherie Blair and her stance on vaccinations.
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    - As featured in The Independent.

    "The committee discussed the issue of illegal bowling actions, and believed that there are a number of bowlers currently employing suspect actions in international cricket, and that the ICC's reporting and testing procedures are not adequately scrutinising these bowlers."
    - Even the ICC's own official press release thinks things must change


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    Goldacre's a bit of a gun, isn't he?

    Medicine and the Media: MMR: the scare stories are back

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Samuel_Vimes's Avatar
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    Not sure it's ever possible to convince everyone of a causality which can only be inferred through statistics. Humans are not wired that way.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Honestly, I'm not that surprised at a general devaluing of scientific authority in the wider community because there's been a lot of push and pull over the years. Kids get taught less actual science in the classroom (a long-standing problem; my own primary/high schooling was pretty crud and it obviously didn't start there) so it's harder to recognise what science really looks like, the difference between 'a theory' and Theory, weight of evidence, etc. Couple that with media influence and the perception that if you have Google, you can do any job/assignment and you're going to have people doubting from an ignorant perspective.

    Can't over-state the influence of media here. It's why whenever I see a science-like article, I have a look at the quals of the person writing it. If I see anything journalism-related, switch off. My perception is that there are fewer people with real science quals speaking about science in the media but I'm not sure at all. Maybe it's always been the case but even someone with high school science subjects could pick fault in a lot of articles about most topics, let alone someone like myself working professionally in the area.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Samuel_Vimes's Avatar
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    From what I've read about it the arguments aren't substantially different from 1970s and 1980s conspiracy magazines though? Just that it's much easier to reach a wider audience for them today, bung up a youtube video with scary pics of doctors and the right keywords and 10,000 people view it. So imo the scientific illiteracy is already present, it's just that they're not dependent on the printing press any more. And of course we see them more because the conspiracy nuts write their points on every tangentially related comment section they find.

    True, journalists also see them, and occasionally seek them out in an effort for spurious 'balance' - IIRC some anti-vaxxers were quoted and presented as a 'concerned citizen group' with no mention of the mountains of evidence they were denying in a national Swedish paper for balance on the swine flu vaccine. Now the swine flu vaccine turned out not to be very necessary, and seems to have had some pretty nasty side effects, but not in levels that could be determined without a population-scale trial.

    The generic media story of 'something bad happens to this one person' doesn't really fit well with statistical likelihoods either, of course. But I think that reflects how humans work, not the media in itself - we don't think of something in terms of it only having a 100 % chance of harming you or a 0 % chance. So if your kid gets a vaccine and develops autism a month later, bam, there's your causality, regardless of whether 1000s of kids with or without vaccines have been investigated and the chances are the same in both groups.
    Last edited by Samuel_Vimes; 28-11-2012 at 03:33 PM.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    If it wasn't so serious, it'd be laughable that formerly dead and buried stories like vaccination, circumcision are getting new legs. I notice no-one complaining about polio or tetanus vaccines nor an outrage about why no-one needs protection from cholera any more, though.

    I think you're right that's it's hardly new but I doubt it's been so prevalent in this country. Also, that middle-class, educated people seem to be falling over themselves to get on the anti-vax lifeboat may be a new thing. Because they're fairly smart, they can rationalise themselves into an ignorant position and convince others to get in.

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    Yeah, you're probably right there. I just wonder whether it's a visibility thing, that thanks to social media™ people see more of what other people, even those way outside their usual social groups, are thinking these days.

    Also, I think the scientific illiteracy was always there - and, even with good science teaching, is always going to be there because there is an appeal to the nutty just-so stories. There are examples of decent scientists in their own field who know how to apply the scientific method but go off on theories with total lack of evidence when talking about 9/11, say. So even if the media did try to be more evidence-based rather than faux-balanced, we'd still see people spreading home made crap theories.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    Anti-vaccination arguments are fatally flawed | Article | The Punch

    I'm absolutely shocked this is a thing. The number of 'conscientious objectors' in Australia has leaped from about 4000 to 30 000 in 10 years and the vaccination rate in the UK has slumped. It's incredible that a bloke like Nossal has been forced to come out and state what would seem to me to be the bleeding obvious.

    I'm not even going to pretend to be unbiased on this, the evidence for vaccination in general speaks for itself. To be very clear, the study this whole hysteria is based upon has been withdrawn from publication from The Lancet because it's been conclusively discredited. Andrew Wakefield wasn't merely wrong, his study was fraudulent and he's no longer able to register as a physician. Everyone still speaking on vaccination in the negative is not speaking in concert with the available science. At all.

    Anyone got a credible alternative viewpoint on this? Because I just don't see one at this point in time.
    cbf clicking the link but does this have anything to do with the whole "MMR causes autism" nonsense?

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    That's where the scare stems from, yeah. The issue is that study was debunked/withdrawn quite some time ago but the number of 'conscientious objectors' in Australia to other vaccinations has risen by heaps and is on an upward trajectory.

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    Given that you usually get the vaccine after you turn 1, coincidentally round about the same time your kid starts to develop a personality, a bunch of mongo parents probably attributed their kids having autism to getting the vaccine.

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