On 3 March 2018, Google’s YouTube provided us with some good news, because we all need some these days. YouTube terminated Natural News including their whole library of videos. If you search for Natural News on YouTube, you cannot find it. If someone republished one of Natural News videos, it has disappeared. If you have some blog post with an embedded YouTube video with one of Mike Adams’ rants, it will not be there.
Back in the ancient times of early summer 2020, we noticed a huge uptick in anti-COVID-19 vaccine sentiment online, even though these vaccines were just barely starting clinical trials. And because the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna used new technology, mRNAs, it led to fear and loathing of these vaccines.
I remarked to a friend of mine that if the anti-COVID-19 vaccine forces gained traction, it was going to cause trouble for other vaccines because the goal of the anti-vaccine world wasn’t to block mandates and requirements for just the COVID-19 vaccines, they want to stop all vaccinations.
Unless you believe in unicorns and rainbows, it is crystal clear to me, and many others. Orac recently wrote:
Ever since the anti-vaccine movement rose to previously unattained prominence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, resistance to COVID-19 vaccine mandates (not to mention to all public health mandates to slow the spread of the coronavirus, such as masks and “lockdowns”), and the increasing affinity between anti-vaxxers and fascists, those of us who have been following the anti-vaccine movement have become increasingly concerned that anti-COVID-19 vaccination has been metastasizing to cover all vaccines. Unsurprisingly, it’s been doing exactly that. The endgame of the anti-vaccine movement has always been the elimination of all vaccine mandates of any kind, and increasingly right wing politicians are pushing for laws and policies that bring us closer to such a world.
And guess what? It appears that all of our fears have come to pass.
For example, there are literally thousands of articles, (an example here and was discussed here), that provide overwhelming evidence of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines using real science, real statistics, and real hard work. The antithesis of the fake science, bogus statistics, and 2 hours of Google.
This is the story of Heather Simpson who went from an anti-vaccine influencer, with whom many of us argued, to a strongly pro-vaccine advocate, and dare I say, influencer. Heather, first and foremost, is a mom, and as you will read, that strongly influenced how she viewed vaccines.
Her story, in her own words, is taken from a Facebook post she recently wrote. I am reposting it with her permission. And I just want to thank Heather Simpson for allowing me to republish this and for the strength it took her to write this post.
Along with unscientific claims, logical fallacies, and outright misinformation, we love to use the Dunning-Kruger label to dismiss the anti-vaccine activists’ claims. Many of us throw around Dunning-Kruger so much, that I thought maybe I should dig into it a bit more.
Despite the consistent, robust, and overwhelming evidence presented by the scientific community about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, the epidemic of the Dunning-Kruger effect has become the foundation of the anti-vaccine world, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. To be fair, this is not an issue just with the anti-vaxxers – many others use their Dunning-Kruger bias as a form of science denial of anthropogenic climate change, evolution, GMOs, and many other areas of well-established science.
Let’s take a look at the Dunning-Kruger effect and some research that shows us just how prevalent it is among the anti-vaccine zealots.
A few days ago, some anti-vaxxer on Twitter complained that she didn’t want to be called anti-vaccine. She said it was a personal attack on her. And that she really wasn’t anti-vaccine.
Well, that’s just an incredibly laughable position that is unsupported by anything in reality. These anti-vaccine activists want to appear rational, thoughtful, and scientific, when, in fact, their position is anything but rational, thoughtful, or scientific.
We call someone anti-vaccine because they refuse to accept the vast scientific consensus about every vaccine on the market. No matter how many times we talk about a large, well-analyzed, unbiased study about a vaccine, they ignore it, and then they give preference to anecdotes and false authorities that confirm their pre-ordained conclusions about vaccines.
Now, just to be clear, parents who sit on the fence because they are confused about vaccines are not anti-vaxxers. They aren’t promoting anti-vaccine nonsense, they are trying to find good evidence to support getting vaccinated. I try to target this group lately because they seem to be working in good faith about vaccines. I’ve had numerous people over time that information I’ve prevented has moved them from “vaccine-hesitant” to pro-vaccine. That’s my mitzvah.
I’m going to write about true anti-vaxxers who present bad information about vaccines while complaining that they are being characterized as “anti-vaccine.” They deserve the label, and I’ll show you why.
Gluten-free diets are mostly a quack food fad for 99% of the population, but now we might have a genetically modified wheat that has modified gluten so that it doesn’t induce sensitivity. Scientists have developed some new strains of wheat that will produce a genetically modified gluten that may not trigger a gluten sensitivity.
Let’s wrap our minds around that – genetically modified wheat gluten. I’m sure that won’t be problematic for those who have medically diagnosed issues with gluten. They’re going to be thrilled that they can eat real bread, pizza, or pasta. I’m sure they’re not going to be concerned with any label that says “this product contains GMO gluten.”
On the other hand, I’m certain (but I have no scientific evidence) that the Venn diagrams of those who buy into the nonsense about GMOs also buy into the pseudoscience of gluten. Those people might faint because of the irony of a GMO wheat gluten
Let’s take a look at gluten, the real medical issues of gluten sensitivity, and then what is this new genetically modified gluten in wheat.
The internet is filled with all kinds of nonsense, but one of the more annoying is the issue of mucoid plaques and how they can ruin your life. Colon detoxification or, sometimes, colon cleansing to remove mucoid plaques is one of those strange alternative medicine ideas that hang around without one single bit of evidence supporting it.
Of course, it is time to take a look at this and debunk this junk science. Spoiler alert — it doesn’t do anything except take money from your pocket, like most pseudoscientific scams on the internet.
I just spent several days telling you about logical fallacies, let’s take a look at the argument that the moon is made of cheese. It’s kind of simple, instead of arguing about the evidence, the science denier will try to tell me that I shill for Big Pharma when I discuss the settled science of vaccine safety and effectiveness. Or I shill for Big Agriculture when I say that GMOs are safe or that glyphosate does not cause cancer.
So here is an imaginary (or is it?) conversation between myself and a member of the Moon Denier Society who claims that the moon landings were a hoax and that the moon is made of cheese. Apparently, I am a shill for Big Milk. I’m sure if I wrote that almond milk is bad for the environment, I received significant compensation from Big Milk. Fair disclosure, nope.