The old Skeptical Raptor took a bit of a break to recharge their batteries to tackle all of the pseudoscience that will be coming out in 2020. In lieu of new content, I will be republishing the top 10 most read articles on this blog during 2019. Here’s number 1 – the queen of the false authority of the anti-vaxxers – Tetyana Obukhanych.
One of their favorite pseudoscientists of the anti-vaccine religion is Tetyana Obukhanych, someone who appears to have great credentials. Unfortunately, once you dig below the surface of her claims, there is no credible evidence in support.
One of the most irritating problems I have with the anti-vaccine movement is their over-reliance on false authorities – they overrate publications (often in worthless predatory journals) or commentary from someone who appears to have all of the credentials to be a part of the discussion on vaccines, but really isn’t close to being a real vaccine scientist.
Nevertheless, credentials don’t matter – an “authority” on vaccines must follow the evidence that vaccines are safe and effective unless those “authorities” can provide robust, peer-reviewed, published evidence that vaccines aren’t. Someone like Tetyana Obukhanych almost never does.
For example, Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic, two researchers in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of British Columbia, have, for all intents and purposes, sterling credentials in medicine and science. However, they publish nonsense research (usually filled with the weakest of epidemiology trying to show a population-level correlation between vaccines and adverse events) in low ranked scientific journals.
The old Skeptical Raptor is taking a bit of a break over the next few days to recharge his batteries for all of the pseudoscience that will be coming out in 2020. In lieu of new content, I will be republishing the top 10 most read articles on this blog during 2019. Here’s number 9 – the Big Pharma vaccine profits trope.
The old myth of the huge Big Pharma vaccine profits – it’s the subject of so many memes, tropes, and outright lies from the anti-vaccine religion. These vaccine deniers, who not only lack knowledge of science but also of basic corporate finance, believe that every Big Pharma CEO relies on vaccines for their next bonus check, which they use to buy their new Ferrari to show off to imaginary vaccine-injured children.
I am not naive – public corporations have an obligation to their shareholders and employees to maximize profits. That’s capitalism, I suppose.
But where this trope goes off the rails is when you realize that vaccine profits would be eclipsed by medical industry profits if Big Pharma simply stopped producing vaccines. It’s ironic that the anti-vaxxers claim that Big Pharma’s greed gives us vaccines, but if they were truly greedy they’d be out of the vaccine business.
This article is not going to be as much science as I usually do (just read the recent article on natural immunity) – it’s going to focus on finance and accounting. Yes, I’m finance and accounting geek as much as I am a science aficionado.
One of the things that the anti-vaccine zealots hate is a science-based vaccine forum. They cannot tolerate accurate and unbiased information being disseminated about the settled science of vaccine safety and effectiveness. Rather than have accurate facts being presented to parents, they would much rather do their best to suppress this information to make their cult of lies seem more impressive.
As the title of the program suggests, this vaccine forum was to be a discussion of vaccine mandates, exemptions, and related issues. I had planned to drive from my home to attend the lecture since I thought it would be both interesting and enlightening.
Unfortunately, for safety issues, mostly in the form of “protests” from the science-denying anti-vaxxers, Loma Linda University decided to postpone this important forum until a later date. With the mass murders of people in El Paso and Dayton, at roughly the same time, I’m sure that the university was worried about the somewhat violent tendencies of the anti-vaccine nutjobs played a significant role in the decision process.
I was genuinely worried about violence from the anti-vaxxers towards Professors Reiss and Kim. And against those in the audience who are strongly pro-vaccine, myself included. Although California does have strong anti-gun laws, that doesn’t mean some crackpot from another state could carry a weapon here to do harm to those of us who speak about science. We live amongst some awful human beings who place little value on human life – why else would they want little children to be a risk of horrible vaccine-preventable diseases.
There are literally dozens of Facebook posts from anti-vaxxers who have threatened harm towards Professor Reiss, Dr. Paul Offit, Dr. David Gorski, and many others that have put themselves at the forefront of supporting the science behind vaccine facts. These anti-vaxxers, who have nothing but fear, uncertainty, and doubt to support their pseudoscience need to resort to violent metaphors and hatred, just to make sure others support their cult of bovine fecal material.
If they had real scientific evidence supporting their claims, they would, of course, engage in civil discourse. Well, if they were actually capable of understanding those words.
An open vaccine forum, like this one at Loma Linda University, would have provided important information to parents so that they understand why mandatory (not really mandatory) vaccinations are critical to the well-being of not only their own children but all of the children in their communities. Sadly, the anti-vaccine religion cannot abide by accurate information, because it negates their lies.
I am hoping that Loma Linda decides to bring back Professors Reiss and Kim to lead this vaccine forum in a safe manner sometime soon. And I will, once again, ride by horseback from my isolated cabin, where I observe Sasquatch, to attend the discussion. Because I like fact-based information, as opposed to the anti-vaccine, pseudoscience-loving, hate-filled, pro-disease, bogans that make up the anti-vaccine mob.
He wrote in his Dr. Bob’s Daily and published on his Facebook page that measles is only rarely fatal in developed countries and that serious complications are rare. (In the likely event that Dr. Sears decides to delete his misleading comments, it’s archived here permanently.)
And they were irresponsible. In a way that can put people – including children, including his patients – at serious risk. This is not the first time Dr. Bob Sears has made inaccurate claims about a vaccine-preventable disease, but on the background of the current measles outbreaks, the risk from his behavior is more imminent and more obvious. It is appropriate to react. Continue reading “Dr. Robert Sears vaccine info misleads parents about measles”
Each day, I have plans to write about something other than another anti-vaccine myth, like we give our kids too many vaccines. But like Al Pacino said in The Godfather, “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” Now I get pulled into another anti-vaxxer myth.
Unfortunately, my wonderful, well-researched, 15,000-word article about the existence of Sasquatch will have to wait for another day. Yes, it makes me sad.
Seriously, the “too many vaccines” trope pushed by the anti-vaccine religion is one of the most annoying in the discussions about vaccines. Their bogus claim is that we give children too many vaccines too early in life, and that causes all kinds of harm.
Per usual, the anti-vaccine zealots lack any robust scientific evidence supporting their claims, but you know those people – there’s no trope, myth, or meme that they won’t employ, irrespective of evidence, to push lies about vaccines.
The LA Times reported recently that pro-vaccine physicians have been “terrorized into silence” by hate-filled online harassment from anti-vaccine activists. Since they have almost no scientific evidence supporting their anti-vaccine ignorance, the anti-vaxxers must resort to hate speech to try to shout out the facts about vaccines.
I’m sure everyone has run into the type – a science denier who thinks their two hours at Google University makes them as knowledgeable as a real physician or scientist. This arrogance manifests itself in ridiculous discussions with anti-vaccine religious nutjobs who claim to have “done the research,” and who believe their pseudoscientific research is more valuable than real scientific research.
This Google University education from vaccine deniers, really all science deniers, can be frustrating. I frequent a couple of large Facebook groups that try to help on-the-fence anti-vaxxers understand what constitutes evidence and what doesn’t with respect to vaccines. Recently, one of the anti-vaccine true believers kept saying she knew more than a nurse with a public health master’s degree. The arrogant anti-vaxxer kept claiming that she “did her research.”
Hang on. The old dinosaur needs to slam his head on the desk.
In the hierarchy of scientific principles, the scientific consensus – that is, the collective opinion and judgment of scientific experts in a particular field – is an important method to separate real scientific ideas and conclusions from pseudoscience, cargo cult science, and other beliefs.
I often discuss scientific theories which “are large bodies of work that are a culmination or a composite of the products of many contributors over time and are substantiated by vast bodies of converging evidence. They unify and synchronize the scientific community’s view and approach to a particular scientific field.”
A scientific theory is not a wild and arbitrary guess, but it is built upon a foundation of scientific knowledge that itself is based on evidence accumulated from data that resulted from scientific experimentation. A scientific theory is considered to be the highest scientific principle, something that is missed by many science deniers. In addition, a scientific consensus is formed by a similar method – the accumulation of evidence.
I have writtenfrequently about the scientific consensus because it is one of the most powerful pieces of evidence in a discussion about critical scientific issues of our day – evolution, climate change, vaccines, GMOs, and many areas of biomedical knowledge.
This tome has one goal – to clarify our understanding of the scientific consensus, and how we arrive at it. Through this information, maybe we all can see the power of it in determining what is real science and what are policy and cultural debates.