Thursday, June 14, 2012

The “Anti-Vax” Ten Commandments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, some mouth breather posts an anonymous insult on a post that’s months old. Really, where did this come from, I asked myself?

“Self,” I answered, “Why don’t you back-trace where they came from.”

And lo and behold…David H. Gorski’s hive of droolers and lickspittles.

David didn’t like a comment left on someone’s Facebook page, apparently. Someone posted their own version of the 10 commandments that ridicules the pseudo-skeptics that infest the internet. The post was quite funny, in my opinion, and it was obviously meant to be satirical, something that Mr Gorski was unable to comprehend. Let’s see what he has to say.

"Although I’m interested in skepticism in general, I have a tendency to gravitate towards one particular form of pseudoscience (alternative medicine) and, in particular, a certain kind of that particular form of pseudoscience, namely antivaccine quackery. However, as much as I keep returning to the antivaccine movement, I keep noticing just how much it shares with other forms of science denialism and pseudoscientific thinking. I was reminded of this when one of my readers e-mailed me a link to a Facebook group, Pro-Vax Quacks. I have no idea who’s behind the group, but what I do know is that there’s a doozy of a post there that demonstrates one aspect of denialism that I’ve seen again and again and again, and that’s the desire to label science as a religion. I’ve seen it when creationists try to paint evolutionary biology as a religion. I’ve seen it when Holocaust deniers refer to “Holocaustianity.” And, of course, I’ve seen antivaccinationists do it by referring to “Vaccinianity,” even though I caution them about such terms.”

This is an interesting introduction, yes? And in case you were wondering, that was indeed sarcasm. Really, it’s his typical ego masturbation along with his usual dose of smug. But what’s interesting is his curiosity about why so many people call the belief in vaccination a religion.

”Why are denialists so eager to label the science they hate as a religion? The reason is simple: They can’t win on evidence, and, at some level, I think they know it. More importantly, because they didn’t use science and reason to come to their views on vaccines, as much as they claim they did and delude themselves into believing that they did, they presume that scientists didn’t come to their views on science, be it vaccines, science-based medicine, anthropogenic global warming, evolution, or whatever science is being denied. Besides, it’s much easier to dismiss something if you can convince yourself that it’s just another belief, rather than being rooted in science, reason, and evidence, as the safety and efficacy of vaccines are. So that’s what vaccine denialists do.”

It’s because it’s like faith. No amount of evidence, ever, will change their belief. They constantly and consistently try to force their beliefs on those who want nothing to do with them, and when that person refuses to be bullied, they label them “anti-vaxxer” and then shun them. This is exactly similar to the more fanatical factions of Christianity trying to force their beliefs on others, then calling them heretics when the others refuse to be bullied. Sort of like the Westboro Baptist Church that Mr Gorski carries such an interest in. Like calling to like, maybe? This is demonstrated in the above comment when he claims that parents delude themselves into believing that vaccines are injuring children. Many of these parents don’t just come to this conclusion out of the blue, like Mr Gorski implies.

Anyway, Mr Gorski thought it would be a good idea to come up with his own version.

“I realize it’s a really, really obvious thing to do, but I can’t resist meeting a set of Ten Commandments with a set of Ten Commandments. So, here for you are the Antivaccinationist Ten Commandments:”

Yes, it is obvious. And derivative and unoriginal, too. So, without further adieu, allow me to present to you David H. Gorski’s Ten Commandments.

And my responses to them, of course.

”1. Correlation is the LORD Thy God, who brought you out of the depths of despair and provided you with something to blame for your child’s autism even though it is no one’s fault. Thou shalt have no other gods before it and accept correlation as always being vaccine injury.”

This is a massive strawman here. And I mean big! No one claims that all vaccine injury causes autism. But it’s interesting that when someone says that their child had a vaccine injury, it’s always a coincidence. There is no way possible that a vaccine could actually cause an injury. Oh sure, they say they believe that vaccine injuries occur, but the reality is entirely different. We must go by their actions, not their words.

”2. Thou shalt make unto thee a graven image that is Satan, and that graven image shall be in the shape of a syringe. For vaccines are evil, and any health problem your child has will always be the fault of the vaccine. Always.”

Again, another strawman, as well as a generalization fallacy. Not everyone whom he labels heretic is completely against vaccinations. And, again, I fail to find evidence that all heretics believe that all health problems are caused by vaccines.

“3. Thou shalt always take the name of vaccines in vain, because vaccines are evil and detested of God.”

This is just a rehash of the strawman and generalization fallacy mentioned in #2. Apparently, he was incapable of coming up with something more original.

”4. Remember the day of “too many, too soon” and keep it holy, so holy that you give no vaccines ever unless forced to by evil pharmaceutical companies.”

This one had me scratching my head. He’s really reaching here to try to come up with something to post. It’s quite pathetic, actually. But the very fact that people are being forced to receive vaccines made by companies that are well known and documented for lying about the safety of their products seems to not bother him in the least adds further veracity to the religion claim, doesn’t it?

”5. Honor Jenny McCarthy and Joe Mercola, so that pathogenic bacteria may live long in the babies’ bodies the LORD thy God giveth thee, at least until some of them start dropping dead.”

Sure enough, another strawman! It’s been torn apart many times, even on this site, about Ms McCarthy’s claims. Additionally, many parents of children who are vaccine injured were involved with the vaccine/autism debate long before Ms McCarthy lent her voice to them. Not to mention the ad hominem attacks against both she and Dr Mercola.

“6. You shall murder by increasing the number of unvaccinated.”

Nice, David…accusing parents of murder with absolutely no evidence other than you say so. Here’s the best part, though…most of these parents he’s accusing of being anti-vaccine? They’ve vaccinated their children! Until the neurological health outcomes of unvaccinated children are truly investigated, parents are going to continue to fight for their parental rights to refuse medical procedures.

”7. Thou art married to “biomed” quackery forever. Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Again, another strawman and another generalization fallacy. If one believes that a vaccine injured their child, then they must also believe in biomed, according to David. Hard to believe this nut-job is a doctor, isn’t it?

”8. Thou shalt steal denialist tactics and use them to denigrate the evil vaccines.”

I had to do a little research on this one. But once I found it? Well, let’s just say that David owes me a new monitor. Conspiracy theories…this is simply an ad hominem fallacy. Not only that, but he’s mentioned before that there’s likely a conspiracy of parents who are trying to suppress vaccinations. Cherry picking? Oh, my goodness, he’s never done that, has he? False experts? You mean like Max Witznitzer and Eric Fombonne, who were paid to testify against parents in NVICP cases? Logical fallacies…like the ones mentioned in this very article? Attack the opposition? You mean like what happened to the former owner of this site by a truly disgusting little stalker?

”9. Thou shalt bear false witness against vaccines as often and outrageously as possible.”

This shows both the depths of his own idiocy as well as the depths of his own self denial. The implication here is that parents are making up these vaccine injuries. If that doesn’t speak to how loathsome this cretin is, then I don’t know what does.

”10. Thou shalt not covet the real science, because you can never have it as long as you blame vaccines for conditions for which there is no evidence of causation by vaccines.”

And in this very comment right here, he proves the point of the person who wrote the article he’s mocking. Nothing, no matter how compelling, no matter how sound, will ever convince him that vaccines aren’t as safe as the companies that make them claim they are. None of the studies that have shown damage caused by vaccines are good enough for him, and he will never turn a critical eye to the studies that verify his own personal bias. Oh, and let’s not forget about his idea of the real science. The real science, I might add, that has only been done by parties with vested interest in the outcome of the studies.

Then, David further makes a fool of himself by making the following comment about my good friend:

”Also, if his blog is any indication (before today I hadn’t checked it in a while), he’s still rather obsessed with me. Most of his posts appear to be rants directed at me, even the recent ones I hadn’t seen before, although I do note that in his most recent post (from April) he says he realizes he was getting repetitive with his attacks on me and decided to go after Seth Mnookin instead for a change. I must say, I’ve never had anyone start a blog dedicated almost completely to attacks on me before. I don’t know whether to be flattered or appalled.”

First off, Craig hasn’t run this site for almost a year. Secondly, my “rants” against him are actually humourous musings about Gorski’s infinite arrogance and stupidity. And lastly, the blog is not just dedicated to Gorski. However, Gorski’s mumblings are certainly the easiest to pick apart and ridicule because he just gives us so much of it. Sometimes, I don’t even know where to begin. Plus, he just makes it too easy.

So, there you have it, folks. Ten commandments and Eleven logical fallacies.