Thursday, January 2, 2014

What Are The Hallmarks of the "Anti-Vaccine" Ideology?

What defines someone as anti-vaccinist? There's no one, agreed-upon definition.

Robert Todd Carroll at the excellent Skeptics Dictionary has a long, discursive entry on some of the aspects of being against vaccination, in the entry Anti-Vaccine Movement. He notes at least two prongs:
  1. Those who "deny a causal connection between vaccines and the eradication or significant reduction of diseases like smallpox, polio, measles, and rubella."  (The "vaccines didn't save us" myth.)
  2. Those who believe that receipt of vaccines cause disease. One example is the cadre who continue to believe that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine can cause autism. 
David Gorski, MD, writing at another excellent resource, Science-Based Medicine, published  What does “anti-vaccine” really mean? on November 1, 2010, in which he discusses the various nuances in the anti-vaccine community.  he has a simple litmus test: rather reliable way of differentiating fear from real anti-vaccine views is to ask a simple question: Which vaccines do you think that, barring medical contraindications, children should receive? If the answer is “none,” then I’m pretty much done. I know I’m almost certainly dealing with an anti-vaccinationist. 
 Gorski goes on to draw a distinction between the vaccine-hesitant (those who have fears about vaccine safety and efficacy) from more committed vaccine-refusers and denialists.  The latter category of people have some hallmarks in their thinking:
  • Denying that they are anti-vaccine ("No, I'm pro-safe vaccine", while denying that there are any vaccines that are both safe and necessary.)
  • Generally relying on logical fallacies.
  • Frequent use of the  Nirvana fallacy, "wherein if something is not perfect it is claimed to be utterly worthless." (The flu vaccine is often dismissed with this fallacy.)
  • Intense reliance on "false cause" reasoning (formally, "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy.)
  • Attributing harms to the vaccine that the "scientific data definitely don’t support as being reasonable or legitimate." (This is Carroll's point #2.)
  • Distortion of the scientific evidence, especially using cherry picking of the scientific evidence
  • Exaggeration of the risks of vaccines relative to the risks of suffering a vaccine-preventable disease.
  • Prizing anecdotal evidence over more careful science ("Thousands of parents who saw their children suffer vaccine injury can't be wrong")
  • Reliance on conspiracy theories to explain away inconstancies
  • Reliance upon aggression (attacks on character) and silencing (shouting down, deleting comments) rather than engaging in honest exchanges of views. 
To summarize, I think we can safely say a person or organization is anti-vaccine if he or she exhibits at least three of the following points.
  1. Claiming that all vaccines are unsafe and ineffective
  2. Claiming better sanitation and nutrition account for the 20th century decline in vaccine-preventable diseases
  3. Claiming that vaccines cause diseases and conditions such as autism, asthma, SIDS, or shaken baby syndrome
  4. Claiming that anecdotal evidence is superior to scientific evidence; rejecting science and epidemiology
  5. Cherry picking and misrepresenting the evidence
  6. Using  logical fallacies without shame in arguing
  7. Conspiracy mongering
  8. Silencing criticism (especially by deleting onlin material), rather than responding to it
  9. (If in business) Profiting from the sale of products and services that spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about vaccines, or products and services that are said to be superior to vaccines and conventional medicine in preventing disease


  1. (Dr.) Paul Offit- The Real Truth (otherwise better known as,"Dr. Proffit")

    Tolerance Lost Vol 1/3 - 1of16 - Moulden (6 hrs of video) This at one time was all in a 2 DVD set which Dr Moulden had available. At his 2009 seminar in Sioux falls SD, he gave away multiple sets of those DVDs.

    Have You or Your Children Been Damaged by Vaccines? (This is one of the best articles I have read)

    You Can’t Find the Truth About Vaccines by Burying Your Head in (Vested Interests in Vaccines) Peer-Reviewed Studies

    NEJM editor: “No longer possible to believe much of clinical research published”

    Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Marcia Angell is the author of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It. But more to the point, she’s also the former Editor-in-Chief at the New England Journal of Medicine, arguably one of the most respected medical journals on earth. But after reading her article in the New York Review of Books called Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption, one wonders if any medical journal on earth is worth anybody’s respect anymore.

    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

    Read more:

    Find the REAL vaccine injury and harm studies, right on these site pages.

  2. A very accurate assessment of the real situation with the pro-vaccine movement and with their in paid and in denial vaccine shills.

    1. They believe there is an anti-vaccine movement.
    2. Anyone who disagrees with them is an idiot.
    3. They falsely blame Dr. Wakefield for everything.
    4. They just don’t get it.
    5. They repeatedly distort or exaggerate the facts.
    6. They pretend to be the gatekeepers of science.
    7. They fail to acknowledge the context of the controversy.
    8. They over-simplify the problem
    9. They have no hypothesis.
    10. They have an excuse for everything.
    11. They fail to recognize their tactics aren’t working.

    VACCINES AND AUTISM – WHAT DO EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES REALLY TELL US? A real and independent analysis of all the claimed to and said top studies. This analysis shows you exactly why they are all nothing but paid off and corrupt junk science.

    We have 16 studies already that clearly state that vaccines do not cause autism.”
    -- Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two

    “16 studies have shown no causal association between vaccines and autism, and these
    studies carry weight in the scientific industry.”
    -- Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Today Show Medical Editor

    “The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine
    doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.”
    -- Dr. Paul Offit, “Autism’s False Prophets”