I haven’t written much about the Vaxxed bus tour, except in the context of how Australia has banned entry of a couple of the anti-vaccine participants from re-entering the country in the future. In case the Vaxxed bus tour isn’t at the top of your daily reading material, it is a gang of anti-vaccine radicals have been traveling in a bus across America promoting the anti-vaccine fraudumentary, Vaxxed.
The movie, directed by the cunning con-man Andrew Wakefield, promises to feature “revealing and emotional interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, parents, and one whistleblower to understand what’s behind the skyrocketing increase of autism diagnoses today.”
This bus tour pushes pseudoscience and vaccine lies to gullible audiences across America. And the Vaxxed bus tour was heading to Australia to promote that unscientific nonsense to the continent down under. But Australia did the aforementioned banning of the participants.
The Vaxxed tour bus has included some of the most unprincipled and shameless anti-vaccine radicals. The fraud, Andrew Wakefield. The loon, Suzanne Humphries. The crackpot, Polly Tommey. All of them making the unscientific claim that vaccines cause autism.
I’ve been following the bus tour, because the protagonist of this story, who has been doing all of the protesting, almost always alone, is Craig Egan, a Facebook friend of mine. Egan is a snarky, funny, intelligent pro-vaccine activist who took it upon himself to follow the Vaxxed bus across the country making sure people knew that Vaxxed is nothing but lies.
Egan has trolled, yes, it is delicious, prolific trolling, the Vaxxed bus tour all over America, starting in his home state of Washington all the way to the East coast. At each stop Egan trolls the bus with simple signs that point out the lies of these hard-core anti-vaccine spinmeisters.
According to that article,
Online, his approach is textbook trolling, which is defined by the Urban Dictionary as posting a “deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.”
That’s exactly what he does, needling staunch, conspiratorial anti-vaccine types to an uncomfortable point of hilarity or harassment, depending on your point of view.
He has a certain skill set, and he’s not shy about using it, employing take-down-style arguments based in science and medicine in a bizarre digital realm that largely seeks to discredit both.
Online, his many foes know him well. He’s routinely referred to as a bully, or worse.
Egan targets those who believe immunizations are responsible for a host of medical conditions, ailments and disabilities, and that there’s a widespread cover-up orchestrated by the government and large pharmaceutical companies to keep the truth hidden.
Specifically, Egan specializes in making online life miserable for the handful of doctors and authors who deal in this junk science.
But Egan also takes the time to speak with parents that may be on the fence about vaccines, helping them understand that the Vaxxed bus tour is nothing but unfettered propaganda from people who stand to profit from this fake controversy.
And then last week, Egan met with Dr. Paul Offit, one of the great scientists of our time, in Philadelphia. Dr. Offit invented the rotavirus vaccine, which has saved thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives across the world. And without a doubt Dr. Offit gets more hatred from the anti-vaccine crackpots than just about anyone.
Of course, Egan gets his fair share of loathing from the anti-vaccine radicals. But Offit receives a special level of hate.
Well, once Dr. Offit met with Craig Egan, you could feel a shift in the time-space continuum. Or maybe it was the mass hysteria of the anti-vaccine world of delusion. If only Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and Orac had joined that meeting, it might have caused the continent to split right down the middle of Philadelphia.
Well, only in the minds of the anti-science world. We real scientists know that won’t happen. But we lack evidence either way.
Egan started a GoFundMe page to support his “World Tour” of trolling the Vaxxed bus tour. He’s wrapping up his tour, but I believe he still needs funding to get himself back home in the Pacific Northwest. And back to his job as an Uber driver.
But I just don’t think Egan should quit trolling. Can he stop by Ken Ham’s Creation Museum and put up signs that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that humans evolved from a common ancestor to all primates? I mean, the Museum is on his way back to the Northwest. And Ken Ham famously supports the anti-vaccine rhetoric of Meryl Dorey, so Egan can also toss in some pro-vaccine trolling. I’m a big supporter of efficiency in trolling.
How about going to EPA headquarters in Washington DC and carry signs that human caused climate change is real?
Or stop off at Monsanto headquarters in Saint Louis, MO and make sure they know GMOs are safe. Oh wait.
I just want to thank Craig Egan for his work in supporting vaccines, which save lives of millions of children across the world every year. But his work should continue. I mean Ken Ham really needs to be trolled.