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.


Risks and rewards

If I told you that you had a better chance of surviving a car accident while wearing a seat belt, and I backed it up with solid evidence – including a movie of crash test dummies – the reasonable person in you would agree with me, right? Besides, it makes sense that you’d survive because you’re not being tossed around the inside of your car or out your window like a rag doll. There would be no controversy, right?


There was a time in this silly country of ours when a large portion of the population opposed using seat belts. It wasn’t that they had some death wish or anything. The issue was that they were fed a set of outright lies about using seat belts by people who didn’t like seat belts. We’ll call those opponents “anti-belters”.

The anti-belters were opposed to seat belts because of one main thing: government mandates. They saw the government requiring seat belts in cars and people to wear them as an erosion of their rights and of the free market.

Sound familiar?

It should sound familiar because there is one huge troll in the anti-vax circles who – ironically enough – makes circular arguments against vaccines based on his anti-government ideas. He writes for several anti-vax blogs and his own that, of course, big pharma has paid-off the government to have the government mandate vaccines for schools. The troll argues that vaccines shouldn’t be a requirement to go to school but then rails against schools and other forms of collectivism in the same breath. You’re probably asking yourself, much like I am, what the (expletive deleted)? Right?

The reason the government mandated the use of seat belts is because seat belts save lives. Save lives, and you get more people to live and grow old and work and pay taxes and become productive citizens who improve the lives of others. Reduce the number of fatal car accidents and you get affordable car insurance that protects our free market economy by making it affordable to not go broke if you crash into someone and can’t work or you’re at fault and must pay.

It wasn’t a bad thing or a plot of any kind to have seat belts just like it’s not a plot or a bad thing to get enough people vaccinated so that those who cannot can grow up and grow old. I mean, Jesus Christ, why would anyone want smallpox-like plagues to come to us again for, what, a free market economy? A freedom to die for a stupid reason?

Look at me, I’m all worked up in a bar in Boise as I write this on my phone. (Expletive deleted) anti-vaxing troll. Get a (expletive deleted) clue!

Waiter, give me something stronger!