Remember when you were in grade school and you got into an argument with some other kid? Neither of you would present a rational argument. Instead, your argument against the other person consisted of statements like “You’re a poopy head!” or “Your momma is so fat…” You know, things that only petulant children would bring up to try to win an argument.
But you grew up, right? Well, it appears that some of us didn’t.
Person A in this blog post is a regular guy from a state out west who one day decided to stand up against the anti-vax forces on Facebook. He created a Facebook page that mocked an anti-vax Facebook page. His page blew up in popularity. Pretty soon, the anti-vaxers began a campaign against him, accusing him of all sorts of horrible things. They couldn’t defend their anti-vaccine agenda with science or reason, so they attacked Person A in a very personal way.
You see, Person A had a past, like we all do. His past included a divorce and subsequent custody hearings. So some anti-vax jerk decided to dig up court documents and post them on Facebook, accusing Person A of spending all of his time on Facebook instead of taking care of his children. This bothered Person A a bit:
But that’s Person A. Let’s talk about Person B…
Person B is a successful writer from the Northeast who has been widely published in different sorts of media. Like we all do, Person B has a past. A couple of years ago, he wrote a most excellent book that accurately, concisely, factually describes the anti-vaccine forces’ use of fear and ignorance to spread their misinformation. The book is well-researched, and it has all sorts of citations to everything stated in it. Person B even keeps errata on his blog. So what are the anti-vaccine forces to do?
They brought up his past, of course. They harped on his heroin addiction over and over, writing about his addiction and how it somehow disqualifies him from writing about vaccines. And the comments included such “gems” as:
“Just so we are clear… The former heroin addict [redacted] wrote a book and I’m supposed to be impressed? Um, no thanks. I’ll take a Autism Mom former playboy bunny any day of the week!! He’s going to be speaking @ Hospitals?!?! Lock up the medicine cabinets. 😦 How sad.”
How sad indeed that, unable to address the science, the facts, the anti-vaccine advocates rely on attacking a person’s past, as if they were clean of any sin themselves.
And then there’s Person C…
Person C is a researcher who has co-authored several studies on vaccines, particularly the effects of thimerosal on children who receive it as part of their vaccines. These studies, like so many others, have discredited the role that thimerosal was supposed to play in childhood autism. As it happens, Person C appears to have committed fraud with the funds he received for his research.
Note, the research he participated in is not in question. Other researchers have duplicated the work of those studies. The research is sound. It’s credible. What is in question was his use of funds. That’s all. But that doesn’t stop the anti-vaccine groups and individuals from using him as a distraction from the autism-vaccine discussion. Because he was just one of many researchers on these studies, and because these studies discredit their fears, anti-vaccine forces have decided that all of that research is invalid.
So there you have it. If they cannot argue the science, anti-vaccine groups and their members will — among other things — launch all-out attacks against those they dislike. They’ll dig up your past. They’ll rub your past mistakes and indiscretions in your face. And they’ll claim that any crime you commit takes away from the evidence. In short, if you use science and evidence and reason to support your claims, but you have a past, you’re a Poopy Head.