Skeptical Raptor's Blog hunting pseudoscience in the internet jungle

The Zombie Apocalypse of antivaccine lies–they just won’t die

zombies-vaccinatedThose lies from individuals who push pseudoscience can be likened to zombies. The lies seems to arise out of unscientific, ignorant, and brainless nonsense. The lies keep arising even after scientific skeptics bury them. Of course, the lies are so loud, it really sounds like the groans of the living dead. Oh, and we can’t forget that the goal of these lies is to eat the brains of the innocent people who are trying to understand the real facts about vaccines. Of all of the pseudoscience zombies out there, the vaccine deniers are the worst, because people die from the zombies, much like what happens from vaccine preventable diseases.

There is a particularly annoying and obnoxious vaccine-denying zombie liar who goes by the handle of The PatriotNurse. Now, as you would expect from her name, she is a nurse, but she runs with the anti-government, conspiracy theory loving, pro-gun (and I don’t mean just owning one gun, but having a full armory because of the government and conspiracies) crowd. And she is antivaccination, as you may have guessed. She posted a crazy video on YouTube, which lists out all of the canards and lies of the antivaccine zombies.  

Amusingly, she has disabled comments to this video by stating, “The comments are OFF for many reasons. Foremost is that I refuse to be abused for a contrarian viewpoint that goes against mainstream “Sickcare.” One of the fun things about YouTube is the comments section, where you can cheer for a good music video, or attack someone who posts dumb stuff. But The PatriotNurse refuses to allow her zombie ideas to be shown in the bright light of the day. After watching some of her other videos, I cannot believe someone actually gave her a degree in nursing.

In her vaccine denying, anti-science video, The PatriotNurse uses the standard repertoire of unsupported claims, myths and fairytales that most antivaccinationists use to make their ignorant cases. So, in order of the stupidity of her zombified argument, let me try to chop of its head, and hope the argument doesn’t come back again. Maybe I’m naive about that.

So here are some of the zombies reanimated by The PatriotNurse:

  • The post hoc zombie. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, or post-hoc fallacy, is a Latin phrase which literally means, “after this therefore because of this.” In other words, this zombie claim is that if we show some event follows another even, the first event caused it. You know, like when you wear green socks, then win the lottery. Obviously, it had something to do with the green socks. This is how superstition and myths arise, simply from mistakingly accepting correlation as equivalent, or even superior to, causation. I’m almost certain that a percentage of children break their arms playing in the yard after being vaccinated. Given that there is no causal link between vaccines and broken arms (but I’m sure an antivaccine gangster would make that claim), I don’t think we should put a warning out to the world that vaccines cause broken arms. Moreover, without providing a logical mechanism for the correlation, then causation is far from proven. And many of the claims that vaccines cause this or that are unproven coincidence, hardly causality. But The PatriotNurse must have flunked epidemiology, since she clearly does not understand this point.
  • The anecdotal zombie. This zombie is similar to the post-hoc version, it depends on a confirmation bias, that is, individuals look for evidence that supports their own beliefs or assumptions, ignoring all other evidence, even evidence that contradicts the bias. Of course, the vast majority of children or adults that get vaccinated do not have any serious side effects. Moreover, The PatriotNurse’s claim that she has observed some untoward effect after vaccinations is just anecdote (if not an outright lie). And anecdotes do not equal data.
  • Vaccines cause autism zombie. This zombie has been thoroughly and completely put out of its misery–but it still keeps coming back to life. MrAndy Wakefield‘s paper alleging a connection between MMR and autism has been retracted by the Lancet. Eventually, several co-authors removed their names from the paper in 2004, and finally the article was fully retracted by the journal in 2010.  Finally, Wakefield was found to be a fraud. And to further the zombie metaphor, this lie has problem been debunked and arisen several times a year. 
  • Vaccines contain mercury zombie. This annoying antivaccine zombie keeps reappearing, despite no evidence supporting it. In the past, a mercury-organic compound called thiomersal was used as a preservative in certain vaccines, especially those that were labeled for multiple doses (vaccines vials are often doses of 10). However, thimerosal is not metallic mercury floating in the vial, it is a compound that is bound up in a rather large organic molecule, meaning that the mercury itself is inaccessible to the body and will be excreted. Here’s real science–binding a metal into an organic molecule, organ0metals is the term, is a method by which a pharmaceutical compound can isolate toxic metals from the body, but still derive a benefit from them. Contrast agents used in enhanced radiology exams (like CT’s) contain iodine, also fairly toxic.  The organic molecule protects the patient from the toxic effects, while soon after the exam (usually within 30 minutes), the contrast agent is excreted through the kidneys.  The same with thiomersal.  Ingested mercury, in the form of methyl mercury (found in most fish), is actually absorbed faster, and methyl mercury also disperses to more organ systems because it mimics an essential amino acid, methionone. There are no physiological mechanisms that block the uptake of a small molecule like methyl mercury, so the effect might be worse than thiomersal.. For example, cans of tuna, a typical childhood meal, contains several times more mercury in the form of methyl mercury, which is easily absorbed by the gut and can be dangerous.  Vaccines that contain thiomersal contain about 25µg (or mcg or micrograms) of ethyl mercury.  A 125g (about 4 oz) portion of canned tuna contains about the same amount of the much more dangerous methylmercury form. Oh, one more tiny point–clinical research has shown NO causal association between thiomersal and anything. No evidence. No evidence. No evidence. No evidence. And even more no evidence. Just for effect, more evidence.
  • Vaccines contain mercury–but injected is worse than eating it zombie. This is sister zombie to the one above. The PatriotNurse’s zombification of antivaccine lies mutated into a new form. So, she then provides the world with the myth that ingesting mercury from foods is somehow better than getting it injected. This zombie is no different than the one above, and we have peer-reviewed articles that examine ingestion of mercury and neurological deficits to try to keep this zombie in its grave. 
  • Vaccines contain mercury zombie, Part II. Well, you cannot keep a good zombie down. And The PatriotNurse keeps trying to keep this zombie lie alive. One more time, with passion, vaccines don’t contain mercury, save for some flu vaccines. So, can we finally eliminate this zombie? Let’s sum this up, not only are vaccines not a source of mercury, they never actually were (unless you want to unscientifically convince someone that ethyl mercury has some physiological effect). And there’s no evidence that tiny amounts of mercury (either ethyl or methyl) have any neurological effect. And there’s more mercury (and in a form that actually can harm someone) in fish and typical foods. OK, mercury zombie, are we clear?
  • Vaccines contain aluminum zombie. Let’s rename this the Tour of Periodic Table of Elements zombification. This myth is about aluminum in vaccines, which sounds scary. Frightening. But if we look at it scientifically, the aluminum in vaccines used used as an adjuvant to increase the immune response of the vaccine, a critical method to increase the efficacy of vaccines. It does not harm the immune response, it actually makes the immune response better, and hence improving the protection against a pathogen. The amount of aluminum in vaccines (even if you add them all up) is much less than is ingested from natural food sources, like, wait for it…..breast milk. According to an analysis of physiological sources of aluminum in infants, the authors of the study stated that during the first 6 months of life, infants could receive about 4mg of aluminum from all recommended vaccines. A milligram (mg) is a tiny amount, about the weight of 3 grains of salt. During that same period, babies will also receive about 10mg of aluminum in breast milk, about 40 milligrams in infant formula, or about 120 milligrams in soy-based formula. Other sources of aluminum come from all sorts of food, including flour, cheese, bread, and so on. But one more thing. There is little evidence that aluminum has any effect on neurodevelopment. I’m sure this zombie will arise again. 
  • Vaccines bypass the gut which is our best immune defense system zombie. This is simply not immunology as we know it. But it’s still a zombie claim, that comes to life and chases the living. If this claim were true, of course, we’d never be afflicted by most pathogens, and we wouldn’t need vaccines. It would be a Nobel Prize Winning research if The PatriotNurse actually could show this with real research and real publications. Real science has shown over and over that the adaptive immune response to immunizations requires interaction with the internal organs and blood.
  • Too many vaccinations zombie. The PatriotNurse brings back another zombie when she mentioned another old canard about too many vaccine doses given to infants and toddlers. Apparently, the anti-vaccination zombies need to run from one debunked myth to another one. Paul Offit, much hated by the anti-vaccine gang, has stated that “Vaccines do not overwhelm the immune system. Although the infant immune system is relatively naive, it is immediately capable of generating a vast array of protective responses; even conservative estimates predict the capacity to respond to thousands of vaccines simultaneously”, that “multiple vaccinations do not weaken the immune system,” and that “vaccines represent a minute fraction of what a child’s immune system routinely navigates; the average child is infected with 4–6 viruses per year.” With just some simple math, it’s been shown that infants inhale thousands, if not millions, of new antigens with each breath. Yes, a child could get millions of shots, and other than being painful (and probably increasing the risk of a skin infection by a lot), and the immune system would just yawn. Oh boy, one more antigen to remember, just add it to the millions of others to remember. Again, the veritable lack of scientific knowledge of idiots like The PatriotNurse is laughable.
  • It’s a Big Pharma conspiracy zombie. It’s the best zombie, because it’s really just an imaginary zombie. The PatriotNurse claims that the conspiracy to lie about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines is huge, because it includes the CDC, FDA, major medical journals, physicians, and, of course, the pharmaceutical industry. Of all the logical fallacies, the Appeal to a Grand Conspiracy is one of the most annoying. It is difficult to disprove, because the vaccine conspiracists don’t provide any real evidence for their assertion.  Since extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, their claim lacks even bad evidence. But here’s the thing. There are a few million employees of Big Pharma, the CDC, WHO, FDA, medical journals, physician groups, etc. etc. If there were a huge conspiracy, someone would have outed it years ago. On Facebook. Twitter. A WordPress blog. Somewhere. 

The PatriotNurse dragged out every zombie of the antivaccine world that I could imagine. But there is a vaccine to zombified lies–science, evidence, and critical thinking. 

 

If you need to search for scientific information and evidence about vaccines try the Science-based Vaccine Search Engine.

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Comments (37)
  • clifton greene

    since edward jenner demonstrated the use of cowpox vaccine against smallpox in 1796, vaccinations against smallpox were started. despite this, a smallpox epidemic swept england in 1839 and killed 22,081 people.

    In 1853 the Government made smallpox vaccinations compulsory, but the incidence of the disease kept increasing, and in 1872 another epidemic killed 44,840 people, most of whom were vaccinated.

    The compulsory vaccination law was abolished in 1948. Similar disasters occurred in Germany and Japan, but possibly the worst was in the Philippines in 1918 when the US Government forced over three million natives to be vaccinated. Of these, 47,369 came down with smallpox and 16,477 died. In 1919 the program was doubled, and over seven million were vaccinated, of whom 65,180 came down with the disease and 44,408 died. The epidemic was a direct result of the vaccination program. These facts are described by Dr William F. Koch in his book The Survival Factor in Neoplastic and Viral Disease (1961).

    By following the superstitious impulses of Edward Jenner and the ancient tradition of the Gloucestershire dairymaids, the medical profession has lost sight of the vital question, what is the origin of smallpox?

    The faculty of reasoning upon the subject appears to have become almost extinct; in its place there has arisen a demand for obedience to authority. Fashion has usurped the place of scientific thought, and arbitrary Acts of Parliament and the policeman’s truncheon have supplanted logical consistency.

    When the question is asked, “Why does smallpox break out at all?” the twentieth century scientist answers, “Because the populace have not been ‘protected’ against it by vaccination.”

    This reply only begs the question. It presupposes that smallpox is a natural visitation of Providence which may strike anybody at any moment, and that the only way by which this presumed inevitable evil can be met, is to compel every human being in this world to undergo a process of “protection,” which is to render the system “immune” to attack. This is a negative form of reasoning. It leaves unanswered the crucial question, what is the origin of smallpox?

    Why are we to suppose, as was believed in the eighteenth century, that a smallpox attack is the probable lot of every member of the race? Why must everybody be diseased to protect him against disease, especially if that disease is one from which, owing to altered conditions, he is never likely to suffer? Surely, if a disease breaks out there must be a cause for it.

    The Source Of All “Outbreaks”

    Now one fact stands out pre-eminently in every part of the world where smallpox has appeared–namely, it has been invariably associated with unsanitary and unhygienic conditions. From time immemorial it has been called in Austria “The Beggar’s Disease.” It has followed in the wake of filth, poverty, wars, pestilences, famines, and general insanitation, in all ages.

    It accompanied the clash of arms of the American armies in their struggle for independence, and in their Civil and Spanish wars;
    it claimed more victims than the battlefield in the ravages of the Crimea;
    it formed the dark background to the triumphant marches of the German army in 1870;
    it increased tenfold the horrors of the siege of Paris;
    and plagued our warriors at Tel-el-Kebir.

    Even during the late Great War no inconsiderable amount of smallpox occurred amongst all the armies involved wherever conditions of insanitation triumphed over the scrupulous efforts made to circumvent them.

    Smallpox outbreaks and epidemics have invariably been the call of Nature to responsible authorities at home: “Put your house in order”; personal municipal, and civic cleanliness has been her unvarying demand, a demand which was couched in one striking injunction by the prophet of old: “Wash and be clean.”

    Redruth

    I remember 26 years ago there was an outbreak of smallpox at Redruth, in Cornwall. The Press in all parts of the United Kingdom was immediately supplied with exaggerated reports, and scares were created by public vaccinators hundreds of miles away. I went down to investigate the affair on my own account. There were altogether 44 cases; 84 per cent occurred in vaccinated persons.

    One-fourth of the cases was located in “Trestrails Row,” consisting of seven houses, each containing only two small low-roofed rooms, and with no water connections. One midden privy, in the most disgusting condition, accommodated the seven houses. One of these hovels was occupied by no fewer than seven persons, all of whom contracted smallpox, and out of the total of seven deaths three occurred in this house.

    Nearly another fourth of the cases was confined to Adelaide Road and Raymond Road, where smallpox first appeared, the houses of which were supplied with uncovered cesspits. Three cases occurred in Falmouth Road, with one death which took place in a house closely hedged in by foul middens, a manure heap, and a piggery.

    Three more cases and one death occurred in the midst of similar unsanitary conditions at Hockin’s Court. Midden privies were the order of the day, and the ultimate disposal of the sewage was primitive to a degree. The smallpox rapidly played itself out, and then the municipality corrected the conditions that had been the cause of the outbreak.

    Gloucester

    I remember, too, the epidemic in Gloucester in 1895-6. I was in and out of the smallpox houses throughout that visitation of nearly 2,000 cases. The echo of it is still heard among the ranks of Jennerian followers, and always with the tragic whisper, “Gloucester was an unvaccinated city!”

    Never in all the history of professional scaremongering was such a determined effort made to boost vaccination, and never a word was uttered as to the shocking insanitary conditions which produced the tragedy. In fact, those conditions were persistently denied by the officials who were responsible for them.

    The smallpox was practically confined to the southern half of the city, where there was no fall for the sewage. The pipes had been hurriedly laid in this new district without concrete base or cemented joints. There was a drought that lasted months; the water supply ran short; flushing of the sewers had to be discontinued, and the sewerage pipes became choked. When, after the epidemic was over, investigation was made, the pipes were found to be broken in all directions; in fact, the whole district of–for the most part–crowded houses, many of them back-to-back with no through ventilation, lay over what was nothing more nor less than a huge cesspit. The outlets for the sewer-gas consisted of street manholes, which belched their poison into the atmosphere.

    I traced the first case of smallpox in every street to the house nearest to a manhole. Wooden stoppers were made to close them down, but they had to be used sparingly lest the sewer-gas should be driven into the houses. Hundreds of the houses were drawing their water supply from shallow wells, liable to contamination by constant leakage into them from house drains; and the sewage-pipes in numerous instances ran under the floors of the houses from the closets at the back to the street in front.

    Some of the houses had their toilets in the back kitchen. In one street of 114 houses the latter were supplied with water declared by the city surveyor to be contaminated with sewage from its source to its delivery, and as it had not force enough to fill the flushing tanks, the toilets were never flushed and always choked, the contents being emptied periodically on to the small garden ground attached. In some of these tiny houses there were seven, nine, and even twelve cases of smallpox.

    A sixth part of the whole epidemic occurred in three streets. In one street the sewage entered the cellars of the houses, and the choked-up street sewer had to be opened up in the midst of the epidemic. Nearly half the houses in this street had smallpox cases.

    Then the epidemic caught on in two disgracefully unsanitary and overcrowded, ill-ventilated elementary schools. Forty-five children were struck down suddenly in one of them and 31 in the other. The patients were removed to what was called an isolation hospital. It was congregation, not isolation. A woman employed in the early part of the epidemic as solitary night nurse told me that the sight and screaming of these poor children at night as they ran about the wards in delirium so completely unnerved her that she was obliged to leave.

    They were allowed no water for their fevered skins, the baths were choked with dirty linen, and never used. The little ones were packed three, four, and even five in a bed; vermin was crawling everywhere; no oil was used for the faces, and the poor children scratched themselves till they bled.

    Of every two taken in to the Stroud Road Hospital one was carried out a corpse; when the mortuary became choked with dead bodies, the bathroom was utilized for this purpose.

    One child lay for two weeks and two days with her eyes scabbed and not a single drop of water was given to relieve her. When one hospital became full, another one was opened which had been used as a cholera hospital many years before.

    It was built on stakes in a rough, boggy field; it had no sewerage connections, nor any drainage whatever, and water had to be carried in water-carts over a quarter of a mile of bog to reach it.

    The panic became fearful, and a wild, despairing cry went up from the plague-stricken city as the destroying angel sped from house to house in these awful slums.

    And what was the answer the terror-stricken inhabitants received from the Guardians of Public Health? Still the same mad reply: “These be thy gods, O Israel!” as they pointed to the vaccine lancets, dripping with their filthy venom; in helplessness and fear they implored the people, in a unanimously signed medical manifesto, to bow down and worship at the shrine.

    At last the rain came. It washed the atmosphere, it flushed the sewers and drains; it filled the vacuoles of sewer gas in the sandy soil, and the epidemic died down.

    The councilors who put up at the next municipal contest were one and all indignantly swept away at the polls by the enraged voters, and anti-vaccinationists took their place; a new sewerage system was laid throughout the whole smallpox district at a cost of some £30,000; 20,000 sanitary defects in the houses were rectified, and no smallpox has occurred since, although nearly 90 per cent, of the population is unvaccinated. But even in that awful epidemic, smallpox picked out the vaccinated for attack; two-thirds of the sufferers had been “protected” by the filthy superstitious rite.

    Sheffield And Other Cases

    I remember Sheffield and its epidemic in 1887-8. No less than 98 per cent of the population had been vaccinated; it was the best vaccinated town in the kingdom the public vaccinators had reaped a richer harvest of bonuses for “successful vaccination” than those of any other town, and yet they had 7,000 cases of smallpox.

    It originated and clung to an unsanitary area of 175 acres covered with cesspits–which was called The Croft. The medical profession helplessly cried “vaccinate” and “re-vaccinate”–as if the pubic had not already had enough of it. At last the floodgates of heaven were mercifully opened, and the bountiful rains suddenly accomplished what 56,000 vaccinations had failed to effect.

    I went to Middlesbrough in the great epidemic of 1898. I visited every smallpox hospital ward, and investigated the conditions of the houses, and their environment, from whence the smallpox came. As everybody knows, the houses at that time had been run up at an enormous rate, much too fast for the sanitary officials to keep pace with them.

    The part where the smallpox raged was situated chiefly over a swamp where it was difficult to find foundations for the houses; many of them were raised on piles driven through the soil.

    The only method of house sanitation in all that district was that of pails in the backyards. But whatever else had been neglected, vaccination had been sedulously attended to–the inhabitants were vaccinated up to 98.4 per cent, of the population.

    Nevertheless the vaccinated and re-vaccinated hospital officials fell before the disease side by side with the vaccinated and re-vaccinated inhabitants. Nine hospital ward-maids, one trained nurse, one medical man and three policemen fell victims to the disease.

    Outraged Nature laughed outright at the Jennerian fetish and declared in plain and unmistaken language that if smallpox was to be prevented the conditions which caused it must be remedied. Poisoning human bodies with the products of a foul eruption on a cow’s udder could only add fuel to the fire by reducing the vital resisting powers of the sufferers.

    I call to mind the case of one adult male I interviewed in one of the smallpox hospital wards at that time. He was vaccinated in infancy, had smallpox when eight years old, and was subsequently re-vaccinated three times. That man died of smallpox. I took a particular interest in that case, and was staggered to find when the official report was published that, owing to his having had the eruption so badly as to cover his vaccination marks, he was actually declared to be “unvaccinated”!

    I have visited Glasgow in two of its smallpox epidemics. The slums in which they occurred; the overcrowded and unsanitary condition of the tenements told, the same tale as elsewhere. Nothing but sweeping away, the rookeries, where smallpox invariably, takes hold, can ever save those parts of the city from periodical visitations. Space forbids further reminiscences but it is the same story everywhere. Go back to the records of Old London and we find insanitation and smallpox keeping company throughout.

    The Lesson Of The Public Health Act

    Before the passing of the Public Health Act of l875 in this country, every succeeding epidemic of smallpox was worse than its predecessor in spite of more and more compulsory vaccination; but with less and less vaccination and more and more sanitation smallpox has become a comparative curiosity. It is only in unsanitary quarters it can gain a hold.

    Sir Edwin-Chadwick, the veteran sanitarian, has well said: Smallpox, typhus, and other fevers occur in common conditions of foul air, stagnant putrefaction, bad house drainage, sewers of deposit, excrement sodden sites, filthy street surfaces, impure water, and overcrowding, and the entire removal of such conditions is the effectual preventive of diseases of those species, whether in ordinary or extraordinary visitations.

    When will the medical profession arouse itself to ask the question: “What is the origin of smallpox?”

    When will a Ministry of Health cease to bring discredit upon itself by the advocacy of a disgusting fetish that has proved, itself a failure as a preventive of the disease in every part of the world in which it has been adopted for the last century and a quarter? When will a British Government that boasts of its progress and civilisation cease to ally itself with a filthy, uncivilised, unscientific practice that has done nothing but spread disease and death amongst the populace for generation and which is opposed to the common-sense views of the majority of thinking men and women in the realm?

    • http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php Skeptical Raptor

      Thank you for your boring spam filled with misinformation, lies and ignorance.

      Smallpox is gone today because of vaccines that advanced far beyond what was available in the 1800’s. Ignorance is simply bliss for people like you.

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