Logical fallacies Part 1-Anti-vaccination gang’s naturalistic fallacy

In this blog, the term “logical fallacy” is used frequently to illustrate a logical or rational failure of a particular argument. There are several definitions of what constitutes a logical fallacy:

[pullquote]❝A logical fallacy is, roughly speaking, an error of reasoning. When someone adopts a position, or tries to persuade someone else to adopt a position, based on a bad piece of reasoning, they commit a fallacy.❞–Logical Fallacies[/pullquote]

[pullquote]❝An argument that sometimes fools human reasoning, but is not logically valid.❞–Fallacious Argument[/pullquote]

[pullquote]❝In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is usually an improper argumentation in reasoning resulting in a misconception or presumption. By accident or design, fallacies may exploit emotional triggers in the listener or interlocutor (appeal to emotion), or take advantage of social relationships between people (e.g. argument from authority). Fallacious arguments are often structured using rhetorical patterns that obscure any logical argument.❞–Wikipedia[/pullquote]

Logical fallacies are used to win arguments, despite the merits of said argument.  It’s also used to divert the reader (or listener) to a totally irrelevant point, but seems to to be logical.  Fallacies are placed in a few categories to help skeptics broadly categorize the rational failure–the anti-science crowd use the same bad logic across, so the naming the error helps in understanding it.

 The Naturalistic Fallacy

This fallacy is one of the more popular ones used by individuals who are opposed to real science.  Essentially, it is a statement of fact (what is) which then leads to a statement of a value judgement (what ought to be).  You hear it all the time, “humans ate natural foods before the modern era, therefore, natural foods are better.”  Even assuming the first clause is correct, the second clause is nothing but an unsupported statement of what ought to be.

The anti-vaccine lunatics constantly use the naturalistic fallacy to make their points.  In an article about vaccines, by Sayer Ji, published on the website called “greenmedinfo”, the naturalistic fallacy is used to make it appear that vaccines are not natural, are leading to transhumanism and replacing natural immunity with a synthetic one.  The author had the temerity to state:

❝In fact, ever since the adaptive, antigen-specific immune system evolved in early vertebrates 500 million years ago, our bodies have been doing a pretty good job of keeping us alive on this planet without need for synthetic, vaccine-mediated immunity. Indeed,  infectious challenges are necessary for the development of a healthy immune system and in order to prevent autoimmune conditions from emerging as a result of TH2 dominance. In other words, take away these natural infectious challenges, and the immune system can and will turn upon itself; take way these infectious challenges and lasting immunity against tens, if not hundreds of thousands of pathogens we are exposed to throughout our lives, would not be possible.❞

It is a fact that the immune system evolved over the past 500 million years (and good news that the writer is not a creationist too).  But that’s about it for the facts.  In fact, if our immune system were able to inherit immunity to the billions or trillions of antigens it sees over a lifetime, then maybe the author would be right.  And these “infections challenges” kill a lot of people.  Polio kills and maims.  Pneumonia kills.  Measles, chicken pox, and all those other infectious disease have a small to even high rate of mortality.

The Flu Pandemic of  1918 killed over 3% of the world’s population at the time, many of them healthy young adults.  Let me make a logical fallacy of my own.  Does the author, Ji, suggest that by letting a portion of the population die, it’s just a “natural” consequence of “natural” immunity?  Maybe Ji thinks it’s all right to select out those with deficient immune systems in a kind of warped Darwinist point of view?

The fact is that we immunize against 20-30 infectious diseases, as opposed to the trillions of other antigens that are not pathogenic.  These diseases are the ones that bring the highest risk to our children and to humanity.

Let’s go on to some of the other points made by Ji.

A new paper published in the journal Lupus entitled Mechanisms of aluminum adjuvant toxicity and autoimmunity in pediatric populations, points out that as many as 125 antigenic compounds, along with high amounts of aluminum (AI) adjuvants are given to children by the time they are 4 and 6 years old, in some “developed” countries.❞

As  I have previously discussed, the authors of this article, Tomljenovic and Shaw, who are notorious anti-vaccination “researchers” who publish biased articles in low-impact journals, and the amount of aluminum used as an adjuvant is much less than the amount in breast milk or formula.  Again, stating a “fact” with an almost non-sequitor conclusion.

But we’re not done yet.

❝Adequate breastfeeding, in fact, is the most successful strategy in the prevention of morbidity and mortality associated with infectious challenges, and is so distinctively mammalian (i.e. obtaining nourishment and immunity through the mammary glands), that without adequate levels (only 11.3% of infants in the US were exclusively breastfed through the first six months of life (Source: CDC, 2004)) infants become much more readily susceptible to illness.

Let’s be clear, breast-feeding is good for an infant.  But it does not confer immunity to the infant.  Breast milk is a passive immunity, in that antibodies are transferred to the infant against some basic diseases.  However, it is transient and not permanent, in that the immune system does not learn immunity from another immune system (which seems to be what this author thinks).  Smallpox, a disease with a 30% mortality rate (does Ji want 30% of infants to die–I can do this logical fallacy thing pretty well myself), cannot be prevented by any type of immunity from breast milk.  It requires a vaccination.  Good for us that the world eradicated smallpox in 1980 by the exclusive use of vaccinations.

I have saved the best quote for last:

❝The point of no return (if not already traversed) is only around the corner: the mass introduction of DNA and Recombinant Vector Vaccine technology. Vaccines moved through the following stages (a tortured history of failures and massive “collateral damage”): Live Vaccines  > Attenuated Vaccines > Subunit Vaccines > Toxid Vaccines > Conjugate Vaccines, only now reaching towards converting our living tissue into “vaccine-making factories” through the use of DNA and Recombinant Vector Vaccines, which are designed to directly alter cells within the vaccinated person’s body so that they create the antigens normally provided by vaccines themselves.  While not yet in use, clinical trial are now underway to obtain FDA approval. If we do not educate ourselves now and act accordingly, their mass implementation is inevitable, and our very genomes will become the next target of the vaccination/transhumanism agenda.❞

Again, Ji states some disjointed facts (he shows a false evolution of vaccines, when in fact, they are just different forms that work better than others), then concludes that the vaccination is part of the transhumanism agenda.  If making people healthier, living better lives, possibly longer lives is considered transhumanism, then I guess that’s a good ideal.  Vaccines are not a conspiracy.  But I guess Ji lives in a world where he thinks it is.

The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!