Big, fat, overfed trolls

I’ve come to the conclusion that anti-vaccine advocates are not in it for the children. They’re not in it to prevent any harm or avoid any damage to anyone. They’re in it for self-aggrandizement. The more I think about how they act and react to anything having to do with vaccines, the more I am convinced that they just want attention.

Let’s look at the latest “scandal” being pushed by the anti-vaccine groups. They claim that a scientist at CDC has come clean about purported hiding of data and institutional racism. When you point out that the data have always been there and that the analysis by BS Hooker was rife with poor epidemiological and biostatistical methodology, they call you a “pharma whore” and block your comments on their site. Ah, but they allow comments from anyone else that praises their misinformation. They love to be called “mavericks” who oppose the status quo.

That “status quo,” by the way, is vaccine-preventable disease at an all-time low, the world population at an all-time high, the near eradication of polio, the elimination of measles from the Americas, and chickenpox so rare that some young physicians have not seen a case in their entire careers. That’s the status quo they seek to destroy so that their fans can cheer for them and send them donations. The anti-vax crowd often says that we should “follow the money,” but not when the money leads to enormous mansions near Austin, Texas, or unquestioned admissions of rabid antivaxxers into public health programs.

They often accuse reasonable people of being “trolls,” people who comment for the sake of shock or to get a negative reaction out of people. And they do this while calling those reasonable people some pretty nasty names, or even threatening violence. Then they’ll go to science blogs and use trolling techniques to get reactions out of people there. Because we can’t resist calling them out on their BS, or BS Hooker, we respond. We feed the trolls.

One anti-vaccine fanatic who has previously threatened to reveal my identity to the world, which is laughable, recently sent me an article about one Bob Sears, MD. Bob is the kind of physician that, in my most humble and unimportant opinion, doesn’t really act like a physician. The anti-vax nut job was obviously trying to bait me into a discussion, but I’m tired of discussing anything with her, or with any anti-vax activist who sees Wakefield and that whole bunch of walking wastes of space as gods. What’s the point? The trolls are fat enough, so why feed them anymore?

We know that Dr. Bob, like others who should know better, is anti-vaccine. So why should I take the time to cover the story on him in which he is pretty good at burying himself in anti-scientific rhetoric? It gets boring. It’s exhausting. The reasonable people who read this blog will nod their heads. The crazies will froth at the mouth as they write comment after comment that goes to the spam folder or gets held in moderation because of bad language. (I refuse to publish comments with bad language.)

Because the anti-vax crew just wants attention, I’m going to try something new. I’m not going to play their game. My next ten posts will not be about anti-vaccine shenanigans. They will be about other pseudosciences or about vaccines themselves. But nothing about the anti-vaxxers themselves, not for a while. They can go be their own echo chamber in their sad little world.

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7 thoughts on “Big, fat, overfed trolls

  1. Pingback: HIV leads to AIDS, plain and simple | The Poxes Blog

  2. I’ve noticed that when our focus is placed on the idiocy Sears spews on his facebook page, he only gets more likes and more publicity.

  3. Reuben,
    Sometimes I think you should let these trolls comment.
    If only for the entertainment value!

    • I would, except that their stupidity is such that it very unfairly attacks some of my regular commenters. They also seem to be drive-by comments, only one and done. They don’t try over and over to comment.

  4. Reuben:

    Before you even get to “the near eradication of polio, the elimination of measles from the Americas, and chickenpox so rare that some young physicians have not seen a case in their entire careers” there’s the eradication of smallpox, a disease that pre-vaccination killed millions (Wikipedia quotes WHO for 15 million cases and 2 million deaths in 1967) and scarred almost all the survivors, and for which every international traveler had to be vaccinated (or no travel – no country would admit a traveler without a vaccination certificate). Now it’s gone, except for samples stored in a couple of secure storage sites; and it won’t come back, because there’s no animal reservoir.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly. They need us to validate their sense of self importance. We sometimes need to inoculated the public against their anti-vaccine nonsense. Otherwise there is no need to give them any serious consideration.

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