Biological plausibility — determining causation in vaccine adverse effects
If you read enough of my verbiage around these parts, you know I point to biological plausibility as part of my criticism of claims that vaccines cause whatever adverse event of the day is being pushed. Why do I do this? Because without biological plausibility you cannot find causality.
How many times have you heard tiresome tropes about the HPV vaccine causing this or that? No matter how many times we debunk the nonsense, it persists. One of the critical points I try to make is that the anti-vaxxer must provide me with a biologically plausible mechanism that will lead from the vaccine to an adverse event. In other words, can we establish a reasonable and plausible biological mechanism, without resorting to special pleading and pseudoscience, that can lead one from one action, say receiving a vaccine, to some result, real or imagined/
Biological plausibility is a requirement to establish that correlation means causation. It is almost an essential requirement for one to claim a causal association. But biological plausibility must be consistent with our existing knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine.
How many times has an anti-vaccine zealot tried to convince us that “mercury in vaccines causes autism” but ignores the basic scientific tenets of numerous fields of biomedicine like biochemistry, cell biology, toxicology, immunology, neurology – well, just about every field? Setting aside the fact that there is no “mercury” in vaccines and vaccines are not linked to autism.
Or someone who claims that acupuncture treats a bunch of diseases, yet we cannot find any reasonable biological plausibility between sticking a needle in the arm to treating some medical condition like pain. They tend to ignore that by using their anecdotes as “proof.”
That’s why science is much harder than what is said by the pseudoscience pushers. Establishing plausibility requires a strong knowledge of science to make the case. It’s much more than simply stating that plausibility does exist, you have to use actual real science, published in real scientific journals, to make the case of biological plausibility.Read More »Biological plausibility — determining causation in vaccine adverse effects