Anti vaccine magazine (or how stupid people can get)

  • #1
Borek
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Typically I don't post the same in more than one place, I will do it this time:

http://www.pharmafile.com/news/181169/calls-end-uk-anti-vaccine-magazine

British retailers like Tesco and WH Smiths are being urged to drop an anti-vaccine magazine as it could be dangerous for patients.

The ‘What doctors don’t tell you’ magazine claims that vitamin C cures HIV, and suggests that homeopathy could treat cancer. It also states that the cervical cancer vaccine has killed hundreds of girls.

(...)

Many scientists, doctors, patients and medical research charities have begun writing to supermarkets and newsagents, pointing out that the magazine contains dangerous health advice.

Each time I hear about such things I think of the post mortem photography industry that existed at the end of 19th century:

http://io9.com/the-strangest-tradition-of-the-victorian-era-post-mort-472772709

Most of the kids pictured on these photographs died because of one of the childhood diseases, now eradicated by the vaccination.

Hey, you, is that really what you want?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
leroyjenkens
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How many people bought that book "Natural cures they don't want you to know about" or something like that? Millions. It's all about making money. The people who write that magazine know it's BS, they just know there are desperate, ignorant people out there who will buy it. I think the problem isn't with the people who write the magazines, the problem is with the country not educating its citizens well enough. If you hear "vitamin C cures HIV" and you buy into it, without even thinking that all people with HIV consume vitamin C every day, then you're ignorant.
 
  • #3
Tobias Funke
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I think the problem isn't with the people who write the magazines, the problem is with the country not educating its citizens well enough. If you hear "vitamin C cures HIV" and you buy into it, without even thinking that all people with HIV consume vitamin C every day, then you're ignorant.

I agree with this, and the medical community isn't helping itself either. Look at all the hospitals integrating CAM programs into their teaching and practice. A few months ago, I went to an appointment and the waiting room tv was showing Dr. Oz (this wasn't some rinky-dink hospital either).

No wonder people don't know what's real and what's quackery!
 
  • #4
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How many people bought that book "Natural cures they don't want you to know about" or something like that? Millions. It's all about making money. The people who write that magazine know it's BS, they just know there are desperate, ignorant people out there who will buy it. I think the problem isn't with the people who write the magazines, the problem is with the country not educating its citizens well enough. If you hear "vitamin C cures HIV" and you buy into it, without even thinking that all people with HIV consume vitamin C every day, then you're ignorant.
I agree, but those magazines are not really helping to educate ignorant persons.
 
  • #5
Evo
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I don't see how medical misinformation is allowable. Is there no way to govern health and medical advice?
 
  • #6
jhae2.718
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I don't see how medical misinformation is allowable. Is there no way to govern health and medical advice?

Think of it this way: it's a form of natural selection where the ignorant self-select themselves for extinction.
 
  • #7
Borek
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I don't see how medical misinformation is allowable. Is there no way to govern health and medical advice?

Like every crackpot they will accuse you of conspiracy, censorship and so on.
 
  • #8
Ryan_m_b
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I don't see how medical misinformation is allowable. Is there no way to govern health and medical advice?

Unfortunately not though I wish there were.
 
  • #9
Ryan_m_b
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Think of it this way: it's a form of natural selection where the ignorant self-select themselves for extinction.

I hope you're making a bad joke because otherwise this is just sick. The idea that being ignorant if something makes you worthy of injury or death is contemptible. We're all ignorant of the vast majority of accumulated knowledge and if someone is in a position where crackpottery seems like a better answer to their problems then it is the scientific community that has failed. I'm of the opinion that far too many scientists sit back and assume that simply publishing their work is enough. It's not, especially if you work in medicine. You need to engage with the public and with politics to ensure good communication and education.

Lastly vaccines are mostly given to children under consent of their parents so the only people dying would be those who never had the choice anyway. That and people who can't have vaccines and rely on herd immunity.
 
  • #10
Pythagorean
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There's absolutely nothing wrong with ignorance. There's something wrong with denial, dishonesty, wilful ignorance, but not ignorance. It's very self-righteous to look down upon ignorance.
 
  • #11
Evo
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There's absolutely nothing wrong with ignorance. There's something wrong with denial, dishonesty, wilful ignorance, but not ignorance. It's very self-righteous to look down upon ignorance.
I disagree, in the case of vaccines and the doctors, schools and health departments all explaining why vaccines are needed, the parents choose to be ignorant, it's not that the parents do not know the truth, they choose to ignore it.
 
  • #12
Pythagorean
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So then you agree. You probably did not read my post carefully.
 
  • #13
Evo
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So then you agree. You probably did not read my post carefully.
Yes, I saw where you said "wilfull ignorance", and I'm saying in the case of vaccines, there is no "innocent ignorance", so they all deserve the criticism. I disagree with you that any parent is just "ignorant" of the facts. I don't know why you are nitpicking over someone calling them ignorant.
 
  • #14
Pythagorean
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It really depends on the case. You can't know everyone's situation. My wife spends a lot of time refuting anti-vaccers (she's a lactation consultant so it comes up with clients) and she's required to follow a particular set of ethics that avoids shaming and self-righteousness (they're required to watch videos on it before joining the parent/child resources clinic).

There are actually some people that will listen to good evidence and have been mislead by pseudoscience that looks like science and just didn't have the ability to tell the difference. They're uncommon, but certainly your deterministic statement, "there is no innocent ignorance", is wrong.
 
  • #15
Evo
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They're uncommon, but certainly your deterministic statement, "there is no innocent ignorance", is wrong.
We'll agree to disagree then since these people are given the information and they ignore it in favor of nonsense.
 
  • #16
leroyjenkens
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We'll agree to disagree then since these people are given the information and they ignore it in favor of nonsense.

Sometimes people are ignorant of the truth because their only source of any information about the subject is the objections against it. Another example of that is evolution. Some people may only hear about evolution in church, which is where they'd most likely only hear lies told about it. So their only information about the subject is lies.
 
  • #17
Evo
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Sometimes people are ignorant of the truth because their only source of any information about the subject is the objections against it. Another example of that is evolution. Some people may only hear about evolution in church, which is where they'd most likely only hear lies told about it. So their only information about the subject is lies.
Unless the parents have never been to a doctor and their children are home schooled, and the parents have been shielded from birth from information from the real world would this apply, this is not the case for the majority of these people. The great majority of these people are choosing to believe misinformation that is spread by either stupid or unscrupulous people.
 
  • #18
Ryan_m_b
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Sometimes people are ignorant of the truth because their only source of any information about the subject is the objections against it. Another example of that is evolution. Some people may only hear about evolution in church, which is where they'd most likely only hear lies told about it. So their only information about the subject is lies.

There's also the community aspect which brings huge pressure on people not to believe outside sources. You don't just see this in extreme religious sects or crackpot groups, you find it in many aspects of modern society, so called mens rights activists spring to mind.

None of us here are immune either. You have to be constantly rigorous with yourself to identify bias and it isn't easy. Most people are fine at finding their bias in one area but not in others. I guess what I'm saying is that it would be wrong to characterise all these people as will-fully ignorant, that doesn't excuse them by a long way (it's not an excuse at all) but I think that writing people off as "well the information is there, they just don't read it" is damaging.
 
  • #19
Evo
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But they *do* read it, the problem is that they choose misinformation. This is a growing problem in the US. They see these quacks on popular celebrity tv talk shows and listen to celebrity dimwits giving out misinformation and they believe it. Oprah is the single largest source of medical misinformation in this country. And recently a celebrity crackpot against vaccines was just added to a popular talk show that Barbara Walters hosts. Even if Walters believes in vaccines, being placed on this show gives the crackpot instant validation.

How do you combat that?
 
  • #20
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Even if Walters believes in vaccines
There is no need to believe, there is evidence.

It can be hard to be right, but it is relatively easy to not be wrong - don't believe anything you see somewhere.
If it is important to be right (like the health of you and your children), make sure you are right. I think at that point, willful ignorance is the only way to reject vaccines. Otherwise, you cannot possibly miss the possibility that vaccines might be useful, and further research will show that they are.
 
  • #21
Borek
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I think the main problem is people are misjudging dangers. They don't know how many kids would die because they were not inoculated - mainly because the vaccination programs are successful, so people don't know how dangerous the diseases are. But whenever some kid gets ill because of the vaccination it is a thing that is immediately blown out of proportion by hyenas (oops, sorry, meant journalists), so the overall signal given is that vaccines are bad.

That's why I think those post mortem pictures should be posted everywhere. Just to help people keep the balance.
 
  • #22
AlephZero
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I think the main problem is people are misjudging dangers. They don't know how many kids would die because they were not inoculated - mainly because the vaccination programs are successful, so people don't know how dangerous the diseases are. But whenever some kid gets ill because of the vaccination it is a thing that is immediately blown out of proportion by hyenas (oops, sorry, meant journalists), so the overall signal given is that vaccines are bad.

Both sides can get hysterical. The "measles epidemic" in Wales earlier this year amounted to just 1218 cases, and one death (and even that was from pneumonia, not directly from measles). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-23168519

When I was a kid, pretty much everybody got measles before they were old enough for it to mess up their reproductive organs, and nobody talked about "epidemics". I don't have any issues with a mass vaccination program, but hey, it's only measles, not the bubonic plague!
 
  • #23
Evo
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Measles is a very serious disease, my brother almost died from it.

How serious is measles?

Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. In the United States in 2011, 38% of children younger than 5 years old who had measles had to be treated in the hospital.

For some children, measles can lead to pneumonia, a serious lung infection. It can also cause lifelong brain damage, deafness, and even death. One to three out of 1,000 children in the U.S. who get measles will die from the disease, even with the best care. About 150,000 to 175,000 people die from measles each year around the world—mostly in places where children do not get the measles vaccine.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/fs-parents.html
 
  • #24
leroyjenkens
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Unless the parents have never been to a doctor and their children are home schooled, and the parents have been shielded from birth from information from the real world would this apply, this is not the case for the majority of these people. The great majority of these people are choosing to believe misinformation that is spread by either stupid or unscrupulous people.

I don't think you realize how ignorant a lot of people are. I'm sure you could mention the word "vaccine" to a large percentage of the public and they wouldn't even know what it is.
But they *do* read it, the problem is that they choose misinformation.
They don't see it that way. They see it as they're choosing the truth. The fact that it isn't the truth has no bearing on what they perceive.
 
  • #25
OmCheeto
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Typically I don't post the same in more than one place, I will do it this time:

http://www.pharmafile.com/news/181169/calls-end-uk-anti-vaccine-magazine



Each time I hear about such things I think of the post mortem photography industry that existed at the end of 19th century:

http://io9.com/the-strangest-tradition-of-the-victorian-era-post-mort-472772709

Most of the kids pictured on these photographs died because of one of the childhood diseases, now eradicated by the vaccination.

Hey, you, is that really what you want?

Reminds me of the time I contracted Pertussis, aka Whooping Cough.

http://genome.fieldofscience.com/2010/10/whooping-cough-in-california-deaths.html

That was back in 2003.

My brother, to this day, still says; "Remember the time when you thought you had Whooping Cough?"

I call this mindset; "I don't remember such a thing in my lifetime, so, it must not exist".

Unfortunately, bugs have no mindset: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/surv-reporting/cases-by-year.html

year cases
1955 62,786
1956-2011 far fewer cases
2012 48,277

I know it sounds mean, and cruel, but, IMHO, it all depends on whether you are matriarchal(baby's are cute, and shouldn't die), or patriarchal(I can't feed all these babies!), but I'm siding with jhae2.718.

me said:
19,000* children die every day, for no good reason.
Let Darwin decide.

---------------------
ok to delete, infract, and ban,
as I love all of you kids. :)
 
  • #26
D H
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But they *do* read it ...
That's a bit naive, Evo. They don't read it. Remember the first juror to go public after the Zimmerman trial? Her *only* news source was the Today show. These are the people that these anti-vaccine tabloids target. It's much worse than willful ignorance.
 
  • #27
Evo
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That's a bit naive, Evo. They don't read it. Remember the first juror to go public after the Zimmerman trial? Her *only* news source was the Today show. These are the people that these anti-vaccine tabloids target. It's much worse than willful ignorance.
Read it, hear it, same difference. I explained the various ways a parent would have been given accurate information on vaccines in my other posts, unless they are kept away from the real world. When I had my children, I was inundated with information on why to get them vaccinated, including being told by my doctors. And yes, I addressed the rare person that has lived under a rock all of their life.
 
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  • #28
leroyjenkens
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It's true that if you've had children, you've been exposed to more information about things such as vaccines, but that's still narrowing it down to only women who've had children.
And lots of people can be inundated with information and never take it in.
 
  • #29
Drakkith
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*shrug*
All the evidence in the world won't help when you have someone who's simply decided that modern medical science is bullcrap. I believe there is an epidemic of people who simply don't believe in modern science, especially in medicine, and no amount of statistics will convince them that they are wrong.
 
  • #30
Borek
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No idea where I have seen it, but someone suggested that people refusing inoculation of their kids should sign a statement that if something happens, they will pay for the medical expenses from their own pocket.

Which actually goes against a trend of a universal health care.
 
  • #31
Borg
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I would also add that a good number can also hear information and not understand what it means.

My favorite anecdotal story about this is a conversation that I had with my sister when we were in out 20's. She used to buy and read tabloids like the National Enquirer from the checkout counter at the store. I would constantly tell her that they were full of trash and that only stupid people believed what they wrote. One day she she showed me a story in one that stated that 25% of their readers had a high school education. She interpreted this to mean that the rest had college degrees and therefore the readers of the tabloid were smart people. It took me days to get her to understand that people with college degrees also had a high school education and therefore 75% of the readers did not complete high school.
 
  • #32
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No idea where I have seen it, but someone suggested that people refusing inoculation of their kids should sign a statement that if something happens, they will pay for the medical expenses from their own pocket.

Which actually goes against a trend of a universal health care.
I think this would just lead to more prayers instead of proper medical care. And there is no realistic way to charge parents for temporary or permanent health issues or even death of their children.
 
  • #33
BobG
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I think the main problem is people are misjudging dangers. They don't know how many kids would die because they were not inoculated - mainly because the vaccination programs are successful, so people don't know how dangerous the diseases are. But whenever some kid gets ill because of the vaccination it is a thing that is immediately blown out of proportion by hyenas (oops, sorry, meant journalists), so the overall signal given is that vaccines are bad.

That's why I think those post mortem pictures should be posted everywhere. Just to help people keep the balance.

Yes, which is why willful ignorance isn't as easy a claim to make as some would like to believe. Bad calculations of probabilities is pretty much the norm for humans.

The chances of not getting a disease would be x^n, with x being the probability of each person you come into contact with currently not being capable of transmitting that disease and n being the number of interactions a person have (not the number of people a person interacts with - each interaction with the same person still counts as a separate interacton since that person obviously doesn't have a disease such as rubella 100% of his life). "x" is very close to, but less than 100%. "n" is very large.

And in spite of n being very large, there were still a significant minority of people (close to 10%?) who managed to escape catching rubella while they were children. And given that complications could be more severe as an adult (especially an adult pregnant female), being in that 10% wasn't necessarily considered as being lucky.

If a vaccination program is successful, then x, the probability of a person being able to not transmit a disease, gets so close to 100% that the risk of complications from the vaccine exceed the chance of complications from a disease that becomes almost impossible to get.

Provided the probability of a person being able to transmit the disease stays constant!

Unfortunately, your vaccine program turns into a dynamic and circular game of prisoners' dilemma. Once the risk of the vaccine exceeds the risk of the disease, then the best choice for 100% of the "prisoners" is to turn down the vaccine, which raises the probability of being exposed to the disease, which makes the best choice for 100% of the "prisoners" being to get the vaccine, which lowers the probability of being exposed, etc.

And, speaking of rubella, (rubella statistics and WHO rubella statistics), the average number of cases in the US has declined to less than 5 per year, with about 75% being adults that were not innoculated. Obviously, when you look at the WHO statistics, the need for rubella vaccination is still there in the US, even with the chances of exposure in the US being so low. But it's perfectly understandable how a "selfish" person (a person that's only evaluating the risk of their own child at this particular time) in the US could look at the US statistics and feel the risk of the rubella vaccination probably outweighs the risk of actually catching the disease.

That doesn't mean the optimal solution for all time is to always get the vaccine. How many people get small pox vaccinations today?
 
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  • #34
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There should be a Nash equilibrium somewhere, probably at very high vaccination rates. Due to the long timescales and non-rational humans, I think it is better to go with high(er) vaccination rates.
The other (and better) equilibrium is a dead desease, of course, see smallpox and rinderpest.
 
  • #35
OmCheeto
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I think this would just lead to more prayers instead of proper medical care.
That reminds me of a Tourette laced post I made on Facebook one day. How did that go?

Cleaned up Om said:
So your kid was sick, and you prayed, and your kid died. hmmm...... If your house caught fire, would you pray the flames away, or would you call the fire department? You'd call the fire department, wouldn't you. Take your children to the doctor, you two faced hypocrites.

mfb said:
And there is no realistic way to charge parents for temporary or permanent health issues or even death of their children.

We do here in the states. Just google: homicide conviction prayer

And although there are states that have laws that would seem to prevent this:
Wisconsin is among 17 states that allow religious defenses against felony charges of crimes against children...

Sometimes the courts step in:

The Neumanns contended that their convictions were unconstitutional because of the state's law that allows residents to pursue "treatment through prayer."
...
But the [Wisconsin] Supreme Court disagreed in a 6-1 ruling, upholding the Neumanns' sentences...
ref


I would also add that a good number can also hear information and not understand what it means.

My favorite anecdotal story about this is a conversation that I had with my sister...

We may be siblings.
 

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