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Anti-vaccines

Joe Mercola using random nonsense words to push vaccine denialism

The anti-vaccination lunacy is made up of lot of individuals who push the various myths and pseudoscience regarding vaccines onto the planet.  There’s Andy Wakefield, whose original article was withdrawn by the medical journal who published it, and who was stripped of his medical license because he perpetrated a fraud.  Why he’s not sitting in a British prison is beyond my understanding.

Then there’s Jenny McCarthy, an anti-vaccine advocate whose education included posing nude and starring in bad movies.Read More »Joe Mercola using random nonsense words to push vaccine denialism

Pseudoscience loves the Strawman Fallacy

In my recent post about Bill Moyers and the anti-vaccine lunacy, I referred to the Straw Man Fallacy, which I’ve just added to my Logical Fallacy FAQ.  I try to keep my FAQ to a few sentences (and I will add links to more complex descriptions of the fallacies), trying to make it easy to grasp the essence of the particular fallacy.

Read More »Pseudoscience loves the Strawman Fallacy

Vaccination Nation–Bill Moyers takes on the anti-vaccine lunacy

It’s not often that a political blog will show up on a skeptic’s posting, even if it’s written by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, two respected political commentators.  In their article, Vaccination Nation, they strike out against the anti-vaccination crowd, quickly demolishing some of their ridiculous arguments.  I would have missed this article if not for some rantings of an vaccine denialist that will be discussed later.

Read More »Vaccination Nation–Bill Moyers takes on the anti-vaccine lunacy

Vermont Senate passes bill to end philosophical exemptions from vaccinations

The Vermont Senate just passed a bill that will end the so-called “philosophical exemption” from requirements for students to receive vaccines before attending public schools.  This exemption is used by the anti-vaccine lunatics to allow their children to attend schools without having the standard courses of vaccinations.  Of course, these philosophical objections are almost always based on pseudoscientific beliefs rather than evidence.Read More »Vermont Senate passes bill to end philosophical exemptions from vaccinations

Amy Farrah Fowler, I’m so disappointed

I’m a huge fan of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (TBBT), mainly because I’m a lifelong geek, but also because it is one of the better written shows on TV (a low standard indeed).  The four main male characters are researchers at Cal Tech, although, as the show keeps mentioning, three have Ph.D.’s, and one only has a Masters from MIT.  TBBT also amuses me because I was one of those characters, seemingly clueless about the opposite sex, more interested in games and Star Trek than in anything else, and spending hours in a lab doing obscure experiments.  And I dressed that poorly too!  TBBT just reminds me of my life.  And I still love Star Trek (though Enterprise annoyed me).

Read More »Amy Farrah Fowler, I’m so disappointed

Pseudoscience and the anti-vaccine lunacy

We frequently use the term “pseudoscience” to describe the ideology of certain groups:  anti-vaccinationists, evolution deniers (creationists), global warming deniers, and almost anything in the areas of parapsychology, alternative medicine, and sasquatch.  The science denialists (broadly defined as any group who rejects the scientific consensus on any subject without valid scientific support) always seem to be insulted by the word “pseudoscience” as if it’s a pejorative without foundation.Read More »Pseudoscience and the anti-vaccine lunacy

LeRoy neurological illness mystery–update 3–is it conversion disorder?

Since I last wrote about the group of individuals suffering from some neurological issues in LeRoy, NY (outside of Rochester), very little new information has come to light.  The junk science purveyors, such as the Age of Autism, is still trying to insinuate that vaccines have something to do with the “outbreak”, although they provide not one tiny bit of evidence supporting such a belief.

A few individuals still claim it is PANDAS, or Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections, but I am highly skeptical of physicians who self-promote their ideas outside of the standard peer-review process, and that a lot of reviews of the research into PANDAS has come out negative.  As I’ve mentioned before, a recent review of research in PANDAS came to this conclusion: “Despite continued research in the field, the relationship between GAS and specific neuropsychiatric disorders (PANDAS) remains elusive. It is possible that GAS infection may be but one of the many stressors that can exacerbate tic/Tourette’s or OCD in a subset of such patients.”  If there’s not even agreement that PANDAS exists, then a self-serving promotor of this particular diagnosis should be met with a high level of skepticism.  Even researchers who accept PANDAS as a legitimate diagnosis, such as Susan Swedo of the NIMH, are skeptical of such a diagnosis.Read More »LeRoy neurological illness mystery–update 3–is it conversion disorder?

Mercury, autism and the anti-vaccination insanity

Not that it will matter to the anti-vaccination gang, but there’s more evidence that vaccines have nothing to do with autism.  PLoS ONE, an open-access, peer reviewed journal has published A Comparison of Urinary Mercury between Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Control Children by a group of UK and US researchers.  This article is significant because one of the moving hypotheses of the anti-vaccination lunatics is that all that mercury in vaccines (and no, there is no metallic mercury in vaccines) is causing autism in children.  There’s a lot more mercury exposure in all of us by eating too much fish, so this has been dismissed many times.Read More »Mercury, autism and the anti-vaccination insanity

Physicians fire anti-vaccine patients

The Wall Street today published an article, More Doctors ‘Fire’ Vaccine Refusers, by Shirley S. Wang, which discusses how physicians are beginning to refuse to see patients (mostly children) whose parents refuse to have them vaccinated.

❝Pediatricians fed up with parents who refuse to vaccinate their children out of concern it can cause autism or other problems increasingly are “firing” such families from their practices, raising questions about a doctor’s responsibility to these patients.❞Read More »Physicians fire anti-vaccine patients