Tag: #antivaccine

Epidemiological Podcast S0E2: The Weight of the Evidence

On today's podcast, I talk to you about a recent tragedy in our family and how it helped me understand anti-vaccine parents a little more. Not completely, but just enough to realize that there is very little in the way of a debate that one can have with them. See, When people who don't believe that vaccines save lives tell you that there is no evidence that vaccines are safe, they're either misinformed or lying. On the flip side, when they tell you that there is evidence that vaccines cause autism, they're either misinformed or lying again. There is plenty of evidence for both arguments out there, but only one set of "studies" pass the biological plausibility test (not to say anything about ethics). However, because an injury (perceived or real) to a child triggers such a deep-seeded, primal reaction, it's hard to be logical or reasonable. When parents see autism as death (when it's not), their search for answers becomes chaotic and full of inferences that are misguided. Anti-vaccine people looking to make a buck take advantage of that, and then we're off to the races on trying to stop further harm, encourage critical thinking, and have an actual debate based on facts. In about 33 minutes, I tell you about the different kinds of studies out there, and I explain to you why we cannot do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study like the antivaxxers want, but we've done plenty of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies in an ethical and scientific way.

Non-Biostatistician, Non-Epidemiologist Tries to Complain About Biostats and Epi

Don't you love it when people who don't know better think that they know better, and then they end up making fools of themselves? There is a particularly interesting anti-vaccine man by the name of Brian S. Hooker. He has a doctorate in biochemical engineering, according to his Wikipedia page. Maybe you remember BS Hooker ...

Face It, You Think You Know Better Than Me

There's this person, we'll call her "Ginny,"* who is an ardently anti-vaccine. She has multiple blogs, multiple social media accounts, participates in protests (traveling far and wide, money for the family be damned), and even thinks she leads a political party. Ginny has no medical or scientific training, per se. The closest she's gotten is ...

Thimerosal Is a Salt, and It’s Pretty Safe

I completely understand why chemicals are scary. From the time that we're kids, we're told that there are poisons out there, and that those poisons are chemicals. They usually have really complex-sounding names, names we don't use everyday. So I also understand when people are skeptical of chemicals included or added in food. Remember the ...

Antivaxxers Trumping CDC

I've always been impressed by the cognitive dissonance exhibited by many in the anti-vaccine community. But it wasn't until this election cycle thatI comes to understand exactly what they're doing and why they're doing it. When I see Donald Trump, a sweat stain that just wont come off your favorite country, tell a lie and ...

The Rorschach Test of anti-vaccine beliefs

You have probably heard by now about a documentary spliced together by known anti-vaccine fraud Andrew Wakefield. I write that it was "spliced together" because so much of it is non-linear. There's no introduction, thesis statement, and supporting facts. It's all a hodge podge of talking heads, testimonials, spliced sampling of a recorded conversation of ...

The fear a 12 year old Mexican can raise

I think I've told you this before once or twice, but let me just repeat the story again. When I was a kid, I was always interested in all things having to do with science and technology. Dad was a car mechanic, his two brothers fixed televisions and radios. They learned their respective trades through ...

Another day, another bad anti-vaccine study

Let's say that you think food A caused disease B. To test your theory, you get cases of people who got B and controls of people who did not get B. Then you compare the odds of exposure to A. The ratio between the odds is called the odds ratio, and anything significantly different from ...

That pesky English language

My grandmother told me a story about her and my grandfather that made me laugh. There is a word in Spanish that used to be a slur but has changed a bit. The word is "güey", a derivation of the word "buey" (bull). It used to be used to call someone stupid or a dimwit. ...

Anti-Vaccine Facebook group gets hijacked, and it was beautiful! (Updated)

UPDATED 9/10/15: It seems that the anti-vaccine crowd has heard of this blog post and are now all up in a roar about it. They're going as far as doxxing me on Facebook: Sigh. Will they ever learn? ********* Unlike some of my colleagues, I'm not much for theatricality and deception. (Though I've heard that ...