So last week we ended our discussion concerning Kent Hovind and Mary Tocco after briefly talking about the Cutter Incident. Yes, a tragedy occurred but the entire narrative is not as dire as those of Tocco's ilk make it out to be. Plain and simple, Vaccines work!!
As I mentioned previous, hidden within Tocco’s concern about the polio vaccine are a whole boatload of unsubstantiated claims - vaccinations have no role in the eradication of disease, a simplistic denial of germ theory, and she states that polio was renamed (as non-viral meningitis and/or bacterial meningitis as a reaction to the polio vaccine). We will take a brief look at all three claims but it is the third that intrigues me.
Vaccinations have no role in the eradication of disease
My introduction comes courtesy of Bill Maher which I have discussed before [Show notes::I call bullsh*t, if the shoe fits, A more thorough look,,,I call bullsh*t, if the shoe fits (Pt 1), A more thorough look,,,I call bullsh*t, if the shoe fits (Pt 2), A more thorough look,,,I call bullsh*t, if the shoe fits (Pt 3)]. Due to time constraints, I will not re-hash his stance.
My first introduction to Maher’s AV crap December 15, 2005 on Larry King:
MAHER: Not the least. You know my theory about health.Maher continues three years later on Letterman and what I have noted above. The simple truth, Maher is AV.
MAHER: Well, we've talked about it. I'm not into western medicine. That to me is a complete scare tactic. It just shows you, you can...
KING: You mean you don't get a -- you don't get a flu shot?
MAHER: A flu shot is the worst thing you can do.
MAHER: Because it's got -- it's got mercury.
KING: It prevents flu.
MAHER: It doesn't prevent. First of all, that's...
KING: You wouldn't say the Salk vaccine was a bad idea.
MAHER: That's somewhat of a different case, yes.
KING: Polio was eliminated.
MAHER: Yes but, you know, there are many books out that will -- that will -- and I'm not well enough versed on it to talk about it that will indicate that there are other reasons why it was.
And a lot of diseases that have been they say, whoa, this was eliminated because of a vaccine, they find out well no actually the country got toilets and that's what happened.
What this argument boils down to "most vaccine-preventable diseases were on their way to be eradicated just before a specific vaccine to prevent them was introduced, typically because of 'clean water and a healthy diet.' They claim that vaccines didn't save us and that vaccines don't even work."
As Vincent Iannelli points out, "The big problem with this false idea is that most of these diseases began to be eradicated at different times - smallpox, diphtheria, polio, measles, etc. If hygiene and better nutrition were the reasons, wouldn't they all have been eradicated at the same time?"
As Fallacy Man does note concerning this issue, "death rates had declined prior to vaccines, but actual infection rates had not." (Disease rates declined - Clemens et al. 1988, Adgebola et al. 2005; diseases have a nasty habit of returning when vaccine rates drop - Antona et al. 2013; Knol et al. 2013).
As Fallacy Man again notes in a piece that de-constructs the AVer’s stance,
,,,it is important to realize that anti-vaccers are correct that death rates from measles had declined greatly prior to vaccines. This was largely due to improved medical treatments that allowed people with measles to have a higher chance of surviving,,,
The important take away from this,,, deaths may have decreased but actual incidents did not. “What this graph tells us is that the number of people who were surviving measles increased without vaccines, but the number of people who were getting measles had not changed.”
I will leave with one final cite in regards to this topic. The key to this subject I believe lays in the final question:
The decrease in infectious diseases has been multifactorial, due to improved nutrition, improved hygienic (lets hear it for the flush toilet) and understanding the epidemiology of diseases. Knowing how a disease is spread has always been critical in decreasing its spread. Note that none, none, none of the interventions that have decreased the spread of infections in the last 200 years or so have come from naturopathic tradition.
[See also David Gorski, “Vaccines didn’t save us” (a.k.a. “vaccines don’t work”): Intellectual dishonesty at its most naked]
Crislip in support of his argument cites Historical Comparisons of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States. The result of which are very telling,
A greater than 92% decline in cases and a 99% or greater decline in deaths due to diseases prevented by vaccines recommended before 1980 were shown for diphtheria, mumps, pertussis, and tetanus. Endemic transmission of poliovirus and measles and rubella viruses has been eliminated in the United States; smallpox has been eradicated worldwide. Declines were 80% or greater for cases and deaths of most vaccine-preventable diseases targeted since 1980 including hepatitis A, acute hepatitis B, Hib, and varicella. Declines in cases and deaths of invasive S pneumoniae were 34% and 25%, respectively.To drive the point further,
More than half of reported measles cases in recent outbreaks in the U.S. were among unvaccinated individuals — most of whom were intentionally unvaccinated for philosophical, rather than medical, reasons. In a third of the cases, researchers did not have enough information about the person’s vaccination history to tell if they’d been immunized.
A similar pattern held true for individuals who contracted pertussis, or whooping cough, another vaccine-preventable disease that hit its low point in this country in the late 1970s.
While previous studies have examined how anti-vaccination sentiments may contribute to localized outbreaks, Dr. Varun Phadke, a fellow in the division of infectious diseases with the Emory University School of Medicine and an author on the new investigation, told The Huffington Post that this latest investigation is much broader.
“Our study adds to this work by looking at the contribution of vaccine refusal to outbreaks of measles and pertussis in the U.S,” he said. [URL added to original]
And that contribution, Phadke and his colleagues found, is significant.
Simplistic denial of germ theory
The denial of germ theory by itself is a handful:
Who does this sound like?
Similarly, there are still some die-hard germ theory denialists out there who cite Béchamp in much the same way young earth creationists cite the Bible and deny that germs have anything to do with disease whatsoever, claiming instead that microbes appear “because of the terrain” and are an indicator, rather than a cause, of disease (or, as they frequently call it, “dis-ease”). However, most cases of germ theory denialism are of a piece with ID creationism. Like ID promoters who admit that evolution “does” happen, this variety of germ theory denialist accepts that microbes “can” cause disease, but they argue that microbes can only cause disease if the host is already diseased or debilitated. Using such claims, they argue that the “terrain” is by far the most important determinant of whether or not I get sick. As a result, they claim that eating the right diet, doing the right exercises, and taking the right supplements will protect you against disease as well as any vaccine — better, in fact, because supposedly you’re not injecting all those “toxins” from vaccines into your body.
In general, under this topic one could also add a lack of understanding as to how the immune system works (insert Hovind here). The AV claim goes something like this,
An overly simplistic view, "if germs aren’t the primary cause of infectious disease, then vaccination is unnecessary."
One of many replies,
An antigen is a surface recognition protein that is present on the outer membrane of cells (or bacteria walls). Each type of cell has a specific antigen that your body can recognize (this is how your immune system tells the difference between your cells and a foreign cell). So, when you get an infection, your body learns to identify the antigens of the invading cells, and it produces antibodies for those cells. What vaccines do, is present your body with the antigens without actually giving you the infection. That way your body produces the necessary antibodies without you actually getting sick. So, the mechanism that your immune system uses is identical between vaccines and natural immunity. They both produce antibodies in response to antigens.
Now my understanding of immunology is weak at best. In other words I know of no way to break it down simpler than what I have read and come to understand. What I can say is that the denial of germ theory, as we understand it today, undermines the whole of combating disease and illness. Just as evolutionary theory is a bulwark of the biological sciences, so to is germ theory.
Polio was renamed
This whole renaming shtick is what gets me,
On the extreme end of these anti-vaccine beliefs are those who think that many vaccine-preventable diseases were never eradicated at all! They simply believe that doctors and public health experts simply changed the name of the diseases in a big conspiracy to just make it seem like the diseases went away.What becomes even more bizarre, in order for something like this to be possible, all healthcare workers would have to be wrapped up in a global conspiracy of mammoth proportions. Like many a con-theory, it is a house-of-cards that collapses under it own weight. When I say all. I do mean ALL.
They believe that these diseases, like polio, are still here - just with different names...
Like most con-nutters, AVers share some commonalities:
1] I've done my research - they confuse one-sided, cherry picked, information gathering as research. Tocco is a prime example as she touts her 30+ years at Google U as experience in the fields of immunology, virology, bacteriology, vaccines, and epidemiology. "They now think they are experts in highly complex fields of biomedical science."
Why should I respect a group of people who cannot provide one single peer-reviewed paper published in a real journal that shows a significant issue with vaccines? They tend to mine news or research for anything that slightly supports their beliefs, while ignoring everything else that does not. They ignore all new research that’s supported by other researchers, that’s repeated by a wide variety of research groups, and then added into meta-reviews by respected groups,,,
It is my favorite question to ask and I do use it!!
3] The Dunning-Kruger effect - "There is nothing as arrogant as the antivaccinationist belief that their opinion is somehow more important than the vast weight of 99.99% of physicians, healthcare workers, researchers, scientists, public health officers, and just about anyone with a vested interest in the good health of community."
You have heard me state on many occasions that I am NOT an expert. In areas of uncertainty I will seek out those with proper qualifications to fact-check my work. Not so, with the AV crowd, they are full of themselves (and I am talking your die-hards here, not those on the fence - people like Hovind, Tocco, Maher, McCarthy, etc.)
SR notes more commonalities, but I think you get my drift. These are three I experience most often. As I mentioned last week, my segments or postings are the means to an end. The path I took to get to my reasoning point. I share in hopes of showing others what I found helpful. In a way a means to "edumacate" others in a simple fashion but yet give solid resources of how I got there.
If my science is wrong, or my understanding flawed, I would hope someone smarter than I would straighten my path - with solid resources!!
I think Gorski sums up well the whole of the AV sentiment,
I realize that I’m citing anecdotal evidence (which is usually a no-no on SBM), but forgive me a movment[sic] as I lapse into an expression of opinion. It is my perception that many skeptics who are hardcore rational when it comes to issues like evolution, paranormal phenomena, and other areas of pseudoscience all too often tend not to understand the important of science-based medicine–or even what science-based medicine is. Moreover, there does seem to me to be a strain of sympathy for the anti-vaccine movement among skeptics. I’ve seen it myself. For example, when I’ve been to meetings with skeptics, namely people who actually belong to skeptical organizations like the Center For Inquiry or who attend meetings like The Amazing Meeting, when it comes to vaccines, pharma, and medicine, I am continually discouraged by how many “skeptics” actually buy into at least some medical pseudoscience. Indeed, recently I have gotten into discussions with a skeptic about vaccines, and I was surprised at how she actually thought there was something to the claimed link between vaccines and autism and how her doubts could not be easily assuaged. Meanwhile, a lot of skeptics I’ve encountered, although they don’t buy the claims of “alternative” medicine or the anti-vaccine movement, appear to be “shruggies,” in that they don’t much care about them either or see why we at SBM get so worked up about them.
All background images from https://duckduckgo.com/?q=background+images&t=ffnt&ia=images
Some other Hovind videos concerning his AV stance you may be interested in watching. He seems to have vaccine BS throughout his videos so one can always search in that manner as well. I did not realize he was so AV!!
Depopulation Through Vaccines And Chemtrails (Part 1-3)First intro to Tocco and her anti-vaxx BS. Hovind I follow because of his SovCit BS and of course creation BS
Tocco's YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/MaryTocco1/feed
On Mary Tocco, ie. why she is bad news,,,
- http://totaldrek.blogspot.com/2008/03/not-my-best-decision-ever.html This individual sat through an entire Tocco video,,,,sigh