Apr 09 2014

Not the Ducks! – Sherri Tenpenny and the simple Lie

Well Miri’s off on facebook giving the Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) a piece of her mind.

Basically? DSW invited Jenny McCarthy to speak and that I am afraid is a big no no. But Avi (and by extension, Miri) you say, isn’t a person not entitled to make a living? 

What does shoes have to do with disease?

Yes, they are entitled to make a living. But if the way you make a living comes at the spread of disease and lies without realising the sheer gap of knowledge between science and the quackery you push then we must take an ethical stance and not support you or do events that encourage you UNLESS it is designed to create awareness about medicine.

The anti-vax lobby has started having a physical effect.

So what do shoes have to do with quackery? Nothing, it’s just that Jenny is a bridge. See Jenny is (like it or not) a celebrity. She is famous, how or why she is famous is not important. The fact is she is. People want to see her, people listen to her and people want to meet her. This gives her some credence among people who are unaware of the science behind vaccines. Her celebrity can be leveraged to various causes.

Let’s get this clear, in Jenny McCarthy’s mind she doesn’t see herself as wrong but sees herself as a Bono. Only we find Bono condescending and irritating while he is arguably trying to make the world a better place. Jenny thinks she is.

So when we say “Why do people listen to her”, we often use the fact that she is stupid, blonde or a playboy model never mind the fact that most people don’t realise she is ignorant, blonde doesn’t dictate your understanding of anything and taking your clothes off doesn’t make you stupid. On the contrary, if I could raise money by taking my clothes off (I raise money by keeping my clothes on. People pay me to put more clothes on. I am the world’s first reverse stripper.) I would consider myself intelligent enough to recognise a demand and make a profit out of it.

But that doesn’t mean she is not ignorant and her ignorance is so bad she cannot recognise her ignorance.

But what’s Sherri Tenpenny’s excuse? Sherri is an osteopath who pretends to be a full evidence based doctor. The only thing she seems to have learned from her qualification is manipulation.

Tenpenny’s business strategy is simple. Sow enough fear an misunderstanding to allow her practice to thrive in the ignorance. In order to do this she has to ignore key parts of her own field and scientific understanding in order to push her quackery.

The battle is heating up and the lines are being drawn. The Mainstream Media and the huge money/egos it represents, is getting ugly. IMO, the 100th Monkey is about to show up…and the Vaccine Industry (and the *belief* that systematically injecting poisons, stray viruses, and animal cells into children is good), will soon come tumbling down. Their vitriolic responses speak volumes.

This is an issue because the tide of belief in the anti-vax is turning. Too many people believed Tenpenny and now have to pay the price. We are seeing increasing cases of vaccine preventable diseases and for the first time in many decades we are seeing a rise in these diseases. So to hold the position? Sherri must claim that these cases do not exist. That it’s the media that is out to get her. In that way she does what all quacks do, she throws out the source and decries it as a conspiracy to make her bad. So her followers simply ignore any negative press.

And that’s without the fantastic strawman she created. This shows a consistent lack of understanding of the topic or worse, an understanding of the topic and adherence to the role of quack for profit. See, while her postulation is just bad, I know for a fact that Sherri has ignored her education. Either because she actively doesn’t understand or because she willingly disposed of that viewpoint to make a quack duck, I mean a quick buck.

And it is seen in her description of a vaccine. The injection of poison, stray viruses and animal cells into a child. Never mind the fact that by the definition of “poison” used by the anti-vax movement, your table salt is one. Your food is covered in stray micro-organisms and animal cells are handily destroyed by our immune system. I knew this in high school. Our bodies even destroy cells from other humans, hence the problem of organ transplantation. Yet she thinks a handful of cultured cells would destroy us.

What she shows is a complete lack of understanding of immunology and a drive to ensure other people do not understand it too.

Why the horror and concerned about a cough (pertussis) and a rash (measles/chickenpox/rubella) and so fearful of a FEVER? Public health must become more than simply high vaccination rates and the absence of a short list of a few viral infections. Stay the course. The future health of humanity is at stake.

Pertussis’s other name is Whooping Cough. The whoop comes from gasping for breath.

And yes this is a young kid who was vaccinated. No one ever said vaccines are 100% effective. They aren’t. Neither are bullet proof vests or seatbelts. If 95% effective then out of 100 people contacting a patient with pertussis, 5 will get sick. Now there is a second point, circulating antibodies are activated faster. The disease is milder and has a shorter life cycle  thanks to an already active immune system. Had this young man not been vaccinated, the disease would be a lot more severe.

This is a mild case. Just a cough right?

Measles and Chickenpox are relatively harmless.

Let’s first take Chickenpox. Yes it is relatively harmless. Most people who get it survive and go on to live happy lives. But that’s not the only issue. A few children do get shingles later on in life and a few adults may catch it and have a severe version. A few kids may have permanent issues but considering how widespread it is? It has a relatively low fatality and morbidity rate. However consider this. Nearly 95% of children would have it when young. Each of those  children missed a week or two from school. They needed a babysitter. Usually a parent. Most parents don’t have that many paid days to take off. Many minimum wage and service sector workers would not get paid. The economic cost of 95% of parents taking 2 weeks off is staggering. And that is without the kids who are permanently injured or die.

Now Measles? Measles is deadlier than Chickenpox, but not as deadly per infection. No, the lethal body count of Measles pre-vaccination was around 8 million per year and it wasn’t due to it being deadly but because it was so widespread. Roughly 300 children a year died in the USA because 300,000 children a year used to get the disease. Across the world those numbers added up. Just a rash?  It was one of the biggest killers out there. Outside Malaria and Smallpox? This was a big killer. And still is in many parts of the world. Roughly 120,000  children a year die due to Measles. However this is a far cry from what it used to be pre vaccination.

And finally Rubella? Rubella is not harmless to you but to your baby. It affects foetuses and causes congenital defects. Hence a low mortality rate and morbidity rate of those it affects. Chances are you won’t be harmed by it, problem is your baby will. Sherri’s advice literally ignores the fact that children (particularly infants) die to pertussis and that all the other diseases have major issues from mortality to morbidity.

The few viral infections include polio and smallpox which Sherri flogs as harmless.

Sherri is the opposite side of the coin to Jenny, she is shrewd and has leveraged people like Jenny into cash for herself at the continued cost of those who believe her.


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  1. 1

    It seems that the anti-vax crowd has lost in that it’s clear now that not vaccinating will result in more people getting sick, so now they seem to be arguing the diseases aren’t that big of a deal.

    The problem with that logic is that not getting a disease is better than getting it, no matter how mild, unless the issue is immunity, which is solved by vaccines. So the discussion seems to be shifting into a more ‘you puny weakling who thinks measles is something to avoid!’ – taking risks is being promoted as inherently better than playing it safe and then we get the whole disdain for progress and civilization and things actually being better than they were 100 years ago.

  2. 2
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I had measles, I had chickenpox. The latter on my 21st birthday. Not fun.
    If my cases were the worst possible outcomes I would still vaccinate my kids, because being sick sucks.

  3. 3

    The problem with that logic is that not getting a disease is better than getting it, no matter how mild

    Not quite, Not getting the disease is only better than not getting it, if the side effects of the vaccine are less than the disease. If the flu vaccine were to give 20% of people who get it, cancer, it would not be worth it. Actual data and rational evaluation is what is required here.

  4. 4
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Wait. She said polio — fucking POLIO! — isn’t a big deal?


  5. 5

    As a point of information, in the US, students in osteopathic school (candidates for DO degrees) receive training that is virtually identical to “regular” medical students (MD candidates). Osteopaths go through residency and can join most US medical associations/societies, and have the same licenses that MDs receive.

    However, osteopaths rarely qualify to become specialists, and are slightly more likely than MDs to espouse or originate “alternative theories” as to disease and treatment.

    I suppose what I’m saying is that Dr. Tenpenny should know better, and has no excuse.

  6. 6

    I had chicken pox as a 22 year old. In the summer, no a/c. I’ll spare the gory details, suffice to say that pox sores on one’s gums are decidedly one of the least fun things I have ever experienced and if I’d had access to a vaccine rather than having to contract pox to become immune, knowing what I know now, vax me, baby.

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