Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vaccines and Religion…Just Not How you Think

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a discussion with an old friend of mine. He and I were remarking on the similarities between the vaccine zealots (those he calls Vaccine Wackos) and religious extremists.

As you all know, I’ve discussed this observation many times on this site. However, I thought that I would delve further into this observation and reveal how my friend and I came to this conclusion. He and I have been working on this post for several days now, and considering that Gorski has sharted out his usual verbal Montezuma’s Revenge regarding how anti-vaxxers are cultists (and he does a very poor job of trying to compare the two), I felt it was a good time to look at the similarity of vaccine zealots and religious orthodoxy from a sociological standpoint as opposed to Gorski’s biased attempt at pigeon-holing.

So first, let us define what a religion is. In the simplest of terms, a religion is a group of people with similar views and beliefs who develop practices and reverence for the same things. Religion is not really practiced by a single individual (it wouldn’t be a religion if it was), so often, there are hierarchies and followers. Priests and their flocks, if you will.

Now, from this brief description, let’s look and see how that applies to the Vaccinators.

Are they a group of people with similar views and beliefs who develop practices and reverence to the same things? This is a very resounding “Yes,” when it is regarding vaccinations. Do they have a hierarchy? Absolutely! Doctors like Offit and Gorski are considered to be the priests, the gatekeepers of knowledge. What about followers? Yep! This is evident in the congregation of fawning arse-lickers who infest Gorski’s slime-pit, and those who collect together on various social media sites to attack and harass unbelievers.

Now that we’ve established a definition, let’s delve further into their belief structure. Religions are characterized by their beliefs. These beliefs are respected and held sacred by all members of the religion. These beliefs also come with a set of practices and morals that are considered very important to the congregation; if these beliefs, practices, and morals are not followed, then the member is considered to have “sinned.” These beliefs and morals are not up for debate, and they should not be questioned.

For the Vaccinators, their belief is that vaccines are the single most important medical breakthrough in history. It is immoral to deviate, even a little, from the doctrine of the sacred Vaccination Schedule, and getting vaccinated is treated with reverence, a sacrament similar to baptism in the Christian religion. It is your moral obligation to vaccinate your children. You should not show questions or concerns regarding this sacrament, and any deviance from the established dogma will result in cries of anti-vaxxer.

Which leads to our next part of religion; veneration of certain acts and things, and a clear definition of things that are evil or profane. Christianity venerates the death of Christ on the cross, and the cross is a reminder of this veneration. Things that pertain to, or are connected to, good acts that the church venerates are considered sacred. Things that they consider blasphemous, or profane, are considered evil. Those performing these types of acts are shunned, cast out, and scorned by the congregation. Often, they are called cultists, devil worshippers, or athiests.

Now, compare that to Vaccinators. All vaccines are sacred. Getting yourself and your children vaccinated will save you and your children, just like going to church and proclaiming your love for Christ will save your immortal souls. Speaking about vaccine injury, or selectively vaccinating, is blasphemous. Those who do so are shunned, cast out, and scorned by the Vaccinators. Often, they are called cultists, anti-vaxxers, and child killers.

In many churches, only the priest can understand, interpret, and teach about the Bible. Normal people within the church are incapable of understanding the true meaning behind the teachings of Christ, so should consult with their priest whenever they read the Bible. Similarly, Vaccinators believe that Doctors are the only ones capable of reading and understanding studies regarding vaccination and that anyone who reads them on their own and comes to their own conclusions is too stupid to understand the Science.

So, as you can see, Vaccine Wackos are clearly religious zealots, at least from a sociological viewpoint. Their beliefs and behaviours are consistent with religious zealots and their reactions to heretics and blasphemers are just as consistent. Oh, I can hear the Vaccine Wackos now…

“But we have SCIENCE on our side!!!!”

No, you have your biased and imperfect interpretation of science on your side. Science, I might add, that is paid for and controlled by organizations that have a vested interest in the outcome of that science. They never critically evaluate the science that supports their paradigm. Also, notice the religious reverence to Science.

The deification of Science is an abomination, and it should be ridiculed.

So, to test our theory that Vaccine Wackos are just religious zealots, let’s do a little test. My friend and I spent several days perusing the internet, reading comments left on pro-vaccine sites and on religious sites. We’ve compiled a list of comments. Some of them, we’ve left alone, and some we’ve changed only one or two words. See if you can determine which comments below are from Vaccine Wackos, or which are from religious zealots.

1. Your opinions are based on a lack of faith and the garbage you ingest from atheist blogs.

2. You are against God because you plug into atheism and don't have any education in basic religion...a poor substitute for faith.

3. Offit said he was hated. It's a strong sign we are on the right track.

4. You're just another crank blogger who is a satanist.

5. Priests are uniquely qualified to understand the theory behind religion and you are not.

6. That's a common anti-vax lie. Everybody doesn't have different interpretations. How can there be different interpretations? It's right there in the Science.

7. He's reading from a script in an attempt to pander to atheist groups. Why would you ever assume he is spreading "the truth"?

8. You're the ones claiming that there is no God. Show us the proof that there is no God!

9. There are no unanswered questions about God and creation....the questions have all been asked and answered, repeatedly.

10. It is the obligation of pro-science vaccinators everywhere to put the cup of Science to Anti-vaxxer's lips, and cause Anti-vaxxers to drink it. And you will drink it!

11. God has spoken!

12. Jesus has saved humanity!

13. We know this to be true because the Bible says it's true

14. Your baby's salvation is in jeopardy if they are not baptized

15. I don’t have to “prove” anything. You see, I have this wonderful thing called “faith” and with that I have no need of proof.

16. Just calmly and maturely present your side of the argument. Some of my friends are athiests. Doesn't mean I have to delete them from my life. It just means it's my duty to inform them otherwise.

17. Yet you don’t go to church, or only believe certain teachings? You do realize that makes you an atheist, right?

Post your answers in the comments, and we’ll reveal the answers in a few days.