A long time ago, Australian evolution denierKen Ham attacked me for an article about a growing whooping cough epidemic in Australia. The epidemic brought out one of the worst anti-vaccine activists in the form of Meryl Dorey, who is the leading mouthpiece for the anti-vaccination lunacy in Australia.
Dorey is no different than any other pseudoscience propagandist, such as the ones found in the anti-evolution crowd (Ken Ham again), climate change denialists, and sasquatch/alien abduction/Loch Ness Monster/crop circle conspiracists. That’s right, there is no difference between creationism, sasquatch, and homeopathy — no science, and many beliefs based on…nothing.
I guess Ken Ham decided that he had to support Meryl Dorey by attacking me. So, let’s take a look at creationism, anti-vaxxers, Australia, and everything else that brought this story together. It’s fun
Anti-vaxxers love their ridiculous strawman arguments against vaccines – recently, it’s comparing vaccine mandates to rape. Yes, you read this right they want you to believe that vaccination is equivalent to rape.
COVID-19 vaccine mandates (actually, any vaccine mandate from before the pandemic) have caused the anti-vaxxers to use all kinds of false equivalence and disgusting imagery in tropes from rape to the Holocaust. Some are even more disgusting, giving us an indication of the filth that encompasses the anti-vaccine world. But comparing vaccine mandates to rape is possibly the most disgusting, though we could argue about that.
The trope that mandated vaccination is rape has been around for a while. And the usual suspects on the pro-science side have done their best to demolish it. The secretive Orac wrote about it – “there’s a disturbing amount of rape imagery, both subtle and not-so-subtle, in the language used by antivaccinationists to describe vaccination.”
I’m actually running out of adjectives and adverbs to describe the activities of anti-vaccine zealots lately. But claiming vaccine mandates are rape is going to test my knowledge of the English language.
It’s hard to keep up with all the warm bovine manure that emanates from the typing fingers of the anti-vaccine religion. Of course, like a zombie, various anti-vaccine myths and tropes keep returning, as if the anti-vaccine crowd thinks we forget about it from year to year. Some of these tropes are merely laughable. Some are disgusting, giving us an indication of the filth that encompasses the anti-vaccine world. But a returning claim that vaccination is rape is one of the foulest and most reprehensible conceits of the anti-vaccine superstition.
Generally, I take one day a week to read all of the Disqus comments on this website. Most of the comments from the anti-vaccine sect are the usual repugnant claims. I’m a Big Pharma Shill. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss is a Big Pharma Shill who apparently owns 97% of one or more pharmaceutical companies. We’re in collusion with the CDC to hide the truth about vaccines. Same ad hominem personal attacks, different day.
While drinking my favorite coffee, I ran across a comment so vile, so heinous, so disgusting that I wasn’t sure that I read it right – vaccination is rape. What?
Apparently, many of the pro-science side have dealt with this claim before – I must be naive because I never heard of it. But I was wrong, the trope that vaccination is rape has been around for awhile. And the usual suspects on the pro-science side have done their best to demolish it. The secretive Orac wrote about it – “there’s a disturbing amount of rape imagery, both subtle and not-so-subtle, in the language used by antivaccinationists to describe vaccination.”
For those of you who don’t follow these shenanigans, a gang of anti-vaccine radicals have been traveling in a bus across America promoting the anti-vaccine fraudumentary, Vaxxed. They push their pseudoscience and vaccine lies to gullible audiences across America. The Vaxxed tour was heading to Australia to promote their unscientific nonsense to the continent down under. Lucky for the citizens of the fine country, Australia blocked anti-vaccine radicals from returning to that country.
One of the most selfish and narcissistic tropes of the antivaccination cult is that “if your child is vaccinated why do you need to worry about mine.” Setting aside the fact that the vaccine denier can make that arrogant statement because most of the community is vaccinated so her children are protected by the herd effect, it ignores the fact that not every child is vaccinated.
Children who are under the age of 3-6 months either have not or just received the DTaP vaccine against whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis), so they are susceptible to adults, teenagers and other children who might be passing along the disease. Moreover, vaccines are not 100% effective (this does not mean that they are 0% effective, just that it’s not perfect), so some people may be vaccinated but still can catch the disease.
But there are also children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, and they are vulnerable to infectious diseases, even the flu. In a recent story, the Brisbane Australia Courier Mail reported about a three year child, Lachlan, who, because of a liver transplant that may leave him immunosuppressed for the rest of his life and unable to get vaccinated, must be protected against those children that might carry diseases that could kill this child. To be clear, because vaccine deniers tend to have no knowledge of real science, this child cannot be vaccinated not because the vaccines would harm him, it’s because his immune system cannot develop the adaptive immune response, so the vaccines are useless.
His parents, Chris and Nelia Hay, must be extraordinarily vigilant in protecting young Lachlan. Another child, whose parents may listen to the reprehensible Meryl Dorey, may not be vaccinated and pass along the “harmless measles,” which could kill Lachlan. Every sniffle. Every rash. Anything seen on another child must make the Hays stiffen with fear.
And when Lachlan heads off to a school, his parents will probably have to choose a school with extraordinarily high vaccination rates. Not that I would actually recommend this, but Mississippi, which doesn’t allow any vaccine exemptions except medical ones, has a nearly 99% vaccination rate. Lachlan would be safe there from the ignorance of antivaccination lunatics.
Society and political entities evolved to protect the individual citizen (OK, it’s not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative). We vaccinate not only to protect the ones we love, but also to protect the ones we don’t know. Vaccines work, and we have scientific evidence supporting. Vaccines are safer than almost any medical intervention out there, and we have evidence supporting that. To not vaccinate is simply wrong.
The process to request that the FTC investigate these individuals is relatively easy. And it’s time to change the discussion about vaccines, and make certain that those individuals who make money from lying about vaccines are blocked from doing so.
About a year ago, Meryl Dorey, Australia’s infamous American-born vaccine denialist and anti-science promoter, and her Australian anti-Vaccine Network (AVN) was ordered to change its misleading name or be shut down. The New South Wales (an Australian state) Office of Fair Trading left an order at the home of AVN president Meryl Dorey yesterday with a letter of action, “labeling the network’s name misleading and a detriment to the community.” Given Dorey’s, and by extension the AVN’s, well known antivaccination stance, this order wasn’t surprising.
The Washington State Department of Health is reporting that, as of July 30 2012, there have been 3,285 cases of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) in the state. This compares to just 253 through the same time period in 2011. If you want to be scared, look at it graphically.
As I discussed a few days ago, Meryl Dorey, the anti-vaccination crackpot, used her vaccine denialist Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) to set up the Real Australian Sceptics in a laughable and amateur attempt to co-opt the word “skepticism” by starting a website that is pure, unadulterated pseudoskepticism. In case you’re wondering, a pseudoskeptic (using the term as defined) refers to those who declare themselves merely “skeptical” of a concept, but in reality would not be convinced by any evidence that might be presented. Global warming “skeptics” are in fact pseudoskeptics who deny the evidence for global warming. Vaccine skeptics are really just pseudoskeptics who deny all of the evidence that shows vaccine’s benefits far exceed the small risks. And that there are no risks of vaccines causing autism. Continue reading “Pseudoskepticism from Australian vaccine denialists”