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Dec 13 2011

Horrifyingly delusional anti-vaxxers in Australia

Take a look at the ad copy for this evil book by a friend of Meryl Dorey, the anti-vaccination kook.

“Marvellous measles”? “Embrace childhood disease”? This is rank madness. Here is what WHO says about measles:

  • Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
  • In 2008, there were 164 000 measles deaths globally – nearly 450 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.
  • More than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.
  • Measles vaccination resulted in a 78% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2008 worldwide.
  • In 2010, about 85% of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 72% in 2000.

Measles kills children. The reason these loons can babble about measles as if it were a harmless game that strengthens your immune system is that world-wide vaccination campaigns have been so effective in reducing the incidence of the disease, and because children who are healthy and have good nutrition are very likely to survive it. So what Stephanie Messenger and Meryl Dorey propose to do is to put sick, immuno-compromised, and hungry children at far greater risk of death, and make their own spoiled children miserable and contagious for a few days to a week, and also put them at a lesser risk of death, all so they can smugly promote their hare-brained cause.

Something else that irritates me about these people is that often they align themselves with the left — it’s gormless liberals who readily buy into this nonsense. Another scandal developing in Australia is that the Woodford Folk Festival has invited Meryl Dorey to speak. It looks like a big event, and there among the environmentalists and local foods proponents and polynesian and aboriginal singers, is this great stinking turd of a woman advocating infecting small children with awful diseases. This Meryl Dorey:

She has described measles (the disease which has killed more children than any other in the history of the world) as “benign;” she suggested the slogan “Shaken Maybe Syndrome” as a way of implying that Shaken Baby Syndrome does not exist but is always damage caused by vaccines; she provided strong support to a man imprisoned in the US for the murder of a ten-week-old boy, her support being based on the idea that the dreadful injuries to the child had to be the effects of a vaccine, not the actions of a violent man; she is on record as an AIDS denier; she said on television that “whooping cough didn’t kill us thirty years ago and it’s not kill anybody today”. If she isn’t implacably opposed to vaccinations then she hides any other position well.

The festival sounds like fun, but if I were in the region, nothing could persuade me to attend — it’s poisoned through and through by its endorsement of a child-killing monster who will be given a stage to lie from.

(Also on FtB)

85 comments

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  1. 1
    David Marjanović
    she suggested the slogan “Shaken Maybe Syndrome” as a way of implying that Shaken Baby Syndrome does not exist but is always damage caused by vaccines

    Evil.

    Someone please add her to the TV Tropes article “Complete Monster” as a Real Life example. I mean, that article probably has a ban on real-life examples, but you know what I mean.

  2. 2
    raymoscow

    I were in the region, nothing could persuade me to attend

    Not even the chance to hurl rotten tomatoes at this antivaccine idiot? (If only one could!)

  3. 3
    Didaktylos

    As I mentioned on Ophelia’s post on this same subject – measles doesn’t only kill. My mother contracted measles aged 12, and though se recovered, her hearing was permanently damaged. Now, at age 79, she is almost completely deaf.

  4. 4
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    If I had my way, vaccination would be mandatory and government funded with only medical excemption. Parents have no fucking right to decide that their kid can be sick and miserable from something entirely preventable.

    I had the measles (no vaccination here at that time), I hid miserably in my parents’ cupboard. Even if that was the worst case scenario, I’d still vaccinate my kids.

    she said on television that “whooping cough didn’t kill us thirty years ago and it’s not kill anybody today”.

    Does she tell that in the face of those Australian parents who lost their newborns due to whomping cought, babies of a few weeks of age who were too young to be vaccinated?
    Or is she too much a chicken to do that and face those people and their suffering?
    Evil, evil monster indeed.

  5. 5
    holytape

    The next book in the series is “Frank and the Fantastic Shotgun Blast to the Face.” Where children get to learn the difference between buckshot and birdshot.

    Followed by “Susie and the Super Salt Mine.” Where children get to learn about a hard days work.

    A little bit of humor to wash the taste of this book away.

  6. 6
    carollynn

    I’m old enough to have gotten measles when I was 10. I remember some of that awful week. The rest of the time, I was too feverish to remember anything. I missed six weeks of school while recovering and I still have some health issues that can be traced back to that disease. Did I vaccinate my kids? Oh, you betcha I did! Why would anyone want their kids to be sick at all if it can be prevented? That’s just wrong on so many levels.

  7. 7
    chrysstevenson

    Thanks for publicizing this, PZ. The Woodford Folk Festival attracts around 130,000 people to a region which already has low vaccination rates. Last year an outbreak of whooping cough effected 700 locals – mostly children. I’ve just heard that a case of diptheria has been reported in this area recently.

    Anyone wanting to protest about this can:

    Email the Woodford Folk Festival at [email protected]

    Tweet them at: @woodfordff

    Contact their sponsors:
    Queensland Government @TheQldPremier
    Triple J @triplej
    Brisbane Marketing (Brisbane City Council) @brismarketing
    ABC Sunshine Coast @sunshineabc
    Moreton Bay Regional Council [email protected]

    More sponsor links here: http://ow.ly/7XNq4

    Festival organiser, Bill Hauritz has responded angrily to protests and said he will not pull Dorey from the program. He reckons Dorey has a point because he googled it. More info here: http://ow.ly/7XNxR

  8. 8
    Glen Davidson

    Why have a healthy child if you don’t have to?

    Glen Davidson

  9. 9
    holytape

    This children’s books almost write themselves.

    “Henrietta’s Hilarious HIV”
    “Larry’s Lucky Leprosy”
    “Paul’s Pretty Polio”
    “Samatha’s Super Smallpox.”
    “Brenda’s Beautiful Bubonic Plague”

    Debate with this people is meaningless. Once someone claims that Measles and whooping cough are harmless, he or she is so far off the deep end, that it is best to let them drown. I think the only way to deal with them is to mock them at every turn. At her talks people should start throwing things at her. Granted, nothing that would actually hurt her, but maybe something like ping pong balls. Have 1 ball = 100 deaths due to these preventable diseases. Let’s see her give a talk while dealing with 5,000 ping pong balls.

  10. 10
    subbie

    In this book she’s going to teach children how to heal. In the sequel, she’ll teach them how to play dead.

  11. 11
    shouldbeworking

    “Embrace childhood Disease”? Does this mean she is favour of allowing her child to contract polio as well measles? Perhaps she would be in favour of her child getting rickets as well, anything to make the poor kid stronger.

    I know rickets Is caused by a vitamin D deficient diet or the inability to metabolize Ca, Mg or P, but does she?

  12. 12
    otrame

    These evil monsters. I had a friend whose baby boy spent most of the first three months of his life in a pediatric ICU due to whooping cough caught at the age of 6 weeks. He was on the very edge of death several times and has damaged lungs.

    Liars. Child murderers. I hate few people, but I HATE professional anti-vaxxers and despise their dupes, who not only endanger their own children but others as well.

  13. 13
    mutantdragon

    A children’s book condemning vaccinations is pretty over the top, but I guess I’m not surprised. If you check out the website of the NVIC — our leading anti-vaccination group here in the States — you’ll find it’s just littered with downright insanity; misleading “information” about “toxic chemicals” in vaccines disguised as science and “information” for parents. I’m hoping the anti-vaccine movement will gradually wither away of its own accord, but that may be merely a hope, because although they’re less influential now they’re certainly not losing ground as quickly as I would like.

    Also — “Brenda’s Beautiful Bubonic Plague”, “Samantha’s Super Smallpox” — hilarious, I love it!

  14. 14
    Crow

    This sounds like she’s defending Munchausen’s by proxy as a legitimate parental tool. WTF?

  15. 15
    julietdefarge

    If you are traveling to Virginia and returning home to an infant, you might consider getting a Tdap booster. We’ve had a huge increase in the number of pertussis cases.
    http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/health_news/protecting-infants-against-pertussis

    I’ll bet the “clean coal” folks are delighted to see people blame mercury-related illness on the alleged presence of mercury in vaccines.

    Be especially careful of grandparents who think “modern diseases” like allergies and ADD are bunk. They’ve forgotten what they owe to the medical war on polio and TB.

  16. 16
    Heliantus

    Funny how it is, my blood pressure just went up a bit. This book remember me of another book in the 90′s, my first exposure to these cranks. “Childhood diseases are just a natural process, which strenghten the bond between parents and children”.
    Ugh.

    @ Giliell

    Does she tell that in the face of those Australian parents who lost their newborns due to whomping cought, babies of a few weeks of age who were too young to be vaccinated?

    Yes. Meryl Dorey and her friends dare.

    Orac reported just a case last year on Respectful Insolence.

    I also read the case of the “shacken maybe syndrom”. Pure. Evil.

    Did I mention my blood pressure is going up?

  17. 17
    sunsangnim

    Holytape – “Susie and the Super Salt Mine” sounds like a great children’s book! Kids should also read “How to Clean Toilets for Your Richer Classmates” by Newt Gingrich. If they could just learn the value of manual labor, someday they can be a multimillionaire lobbyist too!

    Was “Frank and the Fantastic Shotgun Blast to the Face” written by Dick Cheney?

  18. 18
    Aquaria

    This woman is dangerous. At some point, people whose kids who have long-term complications or die need to sue these idiots and take everything they have.

    A known long-term complication of measles, SSPE, is nothing to laugh at. One of my classmates developed it something like 7 years after she had measles. One day she was fine. Three months later, she was dead.

    What do they think went on in the 50s and 60s, and even the 70s and 80s? Do they get their history from Leave it to fucking Beaver or the Brady Bunch?

    No–Don’t answer.

  19. 19
    sc_152c73e76908b2ea68182b3dde15f26e

    I’ll wager that measles kills more children than pedophiles. Where are the books that say that guys who need help from neighborhood kids to look for a lost puppy are in fact ‘benign?’

  20. 20
    VegeBrain

    More evidence that the human race has a species splitting off the main evolutionary branch. I propose this new species be named Homo Ignoramus.

  21. 21
    phere

    Wow, she’s like the Anne Coulter of medicine only more dangerous. Fuck all these guys. I live in California and there is a big anti-vax movement here. People are dying of pertussis, most needlessly. I am highly alarmed that anti-vaxers can lie to get the religious exemptions from vaccinations. You know what? If you don’t want to vax because you think you are smarter than all the scientists and doctors who worked so hard to create these vaccinations then go live in your own fucking bubble. My pediatrician actually told me that. When he first met my infant he was almost pleading with me to get my son vaccinated, I quickly let him know I had every intention of vaccinating. He confirmed that more and more parents are suspicious and he is often unable to convince them to vaccinate. It makes me fucking irate – when my child is old enough to go to public school, how many more parents will use the religious exemption fallacy? This has got to stop now. We are so fucking stupid.

  22. 22
    space cadet

    On the AVN wikipedia page there’s quite a few “we’re pro-choice” and “we’re pro-information” type quotes from Meryl and her associates, along with a “we’re not anti-vaccine, we’re against the Gov’t telling us what to do”.

    Those quotes sound like they could come straight from an ID’ers 10 Easy Steps to Winning Over Dumb Minds book. What next? “Put all the info on the table” and let the children decide if they want to get vaccines?

  23. 23
    peterh

    How the absence of a brain can seem integrally bound to the absence of a heart is beyond me. But I see it happening. *shudder*

  24. 24
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    My parents are anti-vaxxers. They refused to vaccinate my little sister (they hadn’t gone super-Fundy yet, so I luckily got vaccinated). She got measles, gave it to a bunch of kids in her class (all kids of anti-vaxxers) and started a measles outbreak in Washington state.

    They still insist that it did my sister no harm, despite the fact that so many children got sick because of her.

    Oh, also–once, little sister stepped on a nail and had to have a tetanus shot. The doctor’s office only had the combined tenanus/pertussis shot and my stepmom was FURIOUS that the doctor had “immunized” little sister.

    Fucking stupid Fundies.

    P.S. Washington state allows school waivers for “religious belief” and is the highest opt-out state in the nation.

  25. 25
    Rey Fox

    Speechless.

  26. 26
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    On the slightly plus side, the stupid anti-vaxers are going to have to step up to the plate and pay, or rather not receive benefits, if they do not immunise their children in Australia.

    Eligibilty for the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement will require that children are assessed as fully immunised, replacing the Maternity Immunisation Allowance from 1 July 2012.
    http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/

  27. 27
    Sastra

    Something else that irritates me about these people is that often they align themselves with the left — it’s gormless liberals who readily buy into this nonsense.

    Unfortunately, yes. Although there’s plenty of alt med pseudoscience to be found on the conservative right, the anti-authority pro-individualism mindset of the liberal left apparently too easily bleeds into a distrust of science in general — and an elevation of the validity of personal experience. “Think for yourself.” Reject experts: you’re as good as they are because your motivations are ‘purer.’ Anti-vaxxers consider themselves to be brave mavericks bucking a controlling establishment. Science is just part of the conspiracy to prevent people from being free to discover their own truths.

    Anti-vaxx (and the alternative medicine mindset that fosters it) is also strongly connected to the belief that one needs to be in harmony with the environment. It’s the Naturalistic Fallacy on steroids — the steroid being “spirituality.” If you follow what Nature wants for you then Nature will protect you. Somehow, vaccines got classified with things that are “unnatural” despite the fact that they actually do “boost the immune system.”

    It’s storytelling. They’ve got a rosy Golden Age view of human history and a benign Noble Savage slant on anthropology. Folk ways are the best ways and we used to know this once upon a time. Moms have a special instinct when it comes to discovering truths about their children and their children’s health — an instinct Nature gave them and it outweighs the so-called “experts.”

    The facts are trying to get in the way of a good story.

    subbie #10 wrote:

    In this book she’s going to teach children how to heal. In the sequel, she’ll teach them how to play dead.

    Heh. Brilliant.

  28. 28
    raven

    2 oe 3 out of a 1,000 children in the West who get measles will simply die. Around 30 of them will have complications, some serious such as brain damage, blindness, hearing problems and so on.

    In the third world for unknown reasons, the death rate can be much higher, in one epidemic, IIRC, it was well over 1%.

    Antivaxxers kill kids.

  29. 29
    crys

    Fine. Ill play along. vaccines are evil and have terrible side effects and diseases are harmless? So I suppose you’re not vaccinated are you?

    Great. Please dedicate your time and spend a year in a poor country which has high incidences of malaria, tuberculosis, polio, AIDS and all other kinds of wonderful harmless diseases. Don’t get a single vaccine, just go and help out however you can. Go on, put your money where your mouth is, let’s see how well you fare

  30. 30
    raven

    I’ve dealt with a similar group, the HIV/AIDS denialists.

    You don’t really hear much from them these days. The ones who are HIV+ have mostly died. Of AIDS.

    These days HIV is readily treatable, and rather than babbling like loons, the more sensible ones just go to the doctor.

  31. 31
    Matt Penfold

    In the third world for unknown reasons, the death rate can be much higher, in one epidemic, IIRC, it was well over 1%.

    Probably because there would be less access to first class hospitals, and those infected with measles may be undernourished, which can affect the immune response.

  32. 32
    RFW

    The Guardian recently published an article about a young Russian ballerina, Valentina Simukova. It included a short film clip of her dancing the pas de deux from the Nutcracker, just about the only visual evidence of her incredible skill, though her career had really not begun yet.

    The video was in 1966 made when she was 16. She died the next year from measles.

    So much for the harmlessness of measles.

  33. 33
    raven

    she is on record as an AIDS denier;

    Says it all. AIDS denial kills too and quite publicly.

    A century ago, the average lifespan in the USA was 47. It is now 77. Blame vaccines for part of our 30 extra years.

  34. 34
    Quodlibet

    I grew up poor without good or reliable access to medical care, because we couldn’t afford it. (This is back in the days when doctors made house calls…) I did not have all the vaccinations I should have had. I remember vividly suffering through measles, mumps, scarlet fever (not sure there’s a vaccine for that anyway, right?), and chicken pox. Mumps was horrible. (I guess the scarlet fever was from unresolved tonsillitis – I was one of the kids with chronic infection who should have had them out – but there was no money. When I went to college at age 18 and got health insurance, I had them out right away. Huge improvement in my health.)

    I have had three (yes, three) episodes of shingles which is probably related to my chicken pox. Two episodes within the past year. Still hurts.

    My husband and I made sure that our daughter has had ALL her vaccinations. We owe it to her to give her the best health care we can, and ****we owe it to our community, and the world, to stop the spread of preventable diseases.****

    The person – I hestiate to use the word – who is responsible for this dispicable book is ignorant, dangerous and sadistic.

    This sort of thing is what makes atheists angry, I suppose.

  35. 35
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    This sort of thing is what makes atheists angry, I suppose.

    I am sure that there are plenty of atheist anti-vaxxers.

  36. 36
    captainchaos

    PLEASE STOP WITH THE POPUP ADS!!!

    I just clicked on the “”We’ve Already Entered Into Contracts With Meryl Dorey… The Damage Is Already Done.” Woodford Folk Festival” link under “recent posts” and was once again rewarded with a popup ad. Those don’t happen by accident, especially when clicking on a link which is a regular part of the site, not an ad; you must be aware of them. They are exceptionally obnoxious and annoying. Please stop using them.

  37. 37
    PZ Myers

    I hate them, too.

    Are you getting them more than once per day? They’re supposed to be limited.

    If they’re getting out of bounds, I’ll lobby to have them removed altogether…unfortunately Ed Brayton is still trying to pay the bills, so there’s some reluctance to have the deleted altogether.

  38. 38
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Adblockers. Use them.

  39. 39
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    There is, of course, a precedent for “telling lies that get lots of people killed” being a capital offense, but of course people will insist that this is TOTALLY different from shouting fire in a crowded theater and that while she’s a bad person she shouldn’t have to suffer any consequences for her actions…

  40. 40
    raven

    PLEASE STOP WITH THE POPUP ADS!!!

    You could probably fix that from your own computer.

    On my system, the popup is a small, square rectangle in a corner that pops up once every session maybe. I automatically hit close without thinking and have no idea what the ad is for.

    It’s no big deal and I would rather have popups than have Freethoughtblogs, Ed Brayton, and the rest go broke and disappear.

    Blogs aren’t free. It’s going to cost a bit of money to preserve our secular democracy.

    If all that is too much for you, join a xian cult, and learn to say “jesus loves me and hates you”.

  41. 41
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Put all the info on the table” and let the children decide if they want to get vaccines?

    “In our state, we teach kids that vaccines save lives and prevent permanent disfiguring illness AND that vaccines kill people and cause brain damage. We figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

  42. 42
    captainchaos

    I haven’t kept track. It *feels* like more than once a day, but that may just be because of my extraordinary hatred for them.

    I love your blog and this site, and I would gladly put my money where my mouth is and pay you money directly. I see some of the blogs have a donate tab. Why not have one for the site as a whole? I don’t understand the reluctance, it’s not like it’s charity or something.

    This is one of my favourite magazines, and I would like to be able to purchase it outright, instead of sneaking it past the cash register under my coat every time by using ad blockers.

  43. 43
    Gregory Greenwood

    She has described measles (the disease which has killed more children than any other in the history of the world) as “benign;” she suggested the slogan “Shaken Maybe Syndrome” as a way of implying that Shaken Baby Syndrome does not exist but is always damage caused by vaccines; she provided strong support to a man imprisoned in the US for the murder of a ten-week-old boy, her support being based on the idea that the dreadful injuries to the child had to be the effects of a vaccine, not the actions of a violent man; she is on record as an AIDS denier; she said on television that “whooping cough didn’t kill us thirty years ago and it’s not kill anybody today”. If she isn’t implacably opposed to vaccinations then she hides any other position well.

    This seems more than mere stupidity to me. I don’t believe that anyone with access to modern technology could be this oblivious in this day and age without being willingly so. Paired with the liklihood that she is directly profiteering from her dangerous lies, I feel that the most likely explanation is that Meryl Dorey is as close as you can get to an outright evil person. The AIDS denial alone puts her on a par with many of the nastiest figures on the Right, but paired with trying to dismiss a particularly brutal form of child abuse to back up her delusional anti-vaxxer blather? And playing down the seriousness of whooping cough, an infamous child killer? This cretin seems to be racing to the bottom, and doing all she can to vicariously kill as many children as possible. If that doesn’t count as evil, I don’t know what does.

  44. 44
    dianne

    little sister stepped on a nail and had to have a tetanus shot. The doctor’s office only had the combined tenanus/pertussis shot and my stepmom was FURIOUS that the doctor had “immunized” little sister.

    At least they did get her a tetanus shot. My step-mother, a retired nurse, has a story she tells about a family who refused all vaccinations for their children-and lived on a farm. Inevitably, one of the children stepped on a nail and got tetanus. He ended up dying alone, unable to be touched or to have light or sound in his room because any sensation set off the spasms and put him in horrific pain. Not something I’d wish on anyone. Well, maybe the parents, but only in my darker moments.

    This happened 30 or 40 years ago and my step-mother still has nightmares. I can’t imagine what the other kids went through losing their brother that way. The “good” news out of all of it is that the other kids got taken away from the parents-who were neglectful in other ways as well, but I can’t think that even that was really a “happy” ending for the story.

  45. 45
    Dabu

    Sounds like Dorey’s buying into the notion that diseases like measles and mumps are somewhat cute and cuddly because they traditionally happen to children. She hawks the idea that catching one of these diseases is just a rite of passage; nothing that a little pluck and spirit can’t overcome.

    It’d be more accurate to call these illnesses childhood predators. In Dorey-land, you don’t take measures to stop a leopard eating your kids. You send your kids out for a wrestle with it instead.

    “Embrace childhood disease”? There are several examples of Australian flora and fauna that Meryl Dorey should embrace.

  46. 46
    Crissa

    Gosh, we need ironically cheerful book for children stricken by random disease, but this is horrible. Even the even director is a scheming fraud. Ugh. Who says that her views are dangerous? I dunno, maybe a majority of doctors and epidemiologists?

  47. 47
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Glen Davidson @ #8

    Why have a healthy child if you don’t have to[...]?

    [have a child at all]

    Finished that for you!

    Holytape, violence is never a good answer. Even if it is violence with ping pong balls. Drastic actions of protest should never amount to any sort of violence.

    I seriously hope that she’s actually done something illegal in creating and promoting this propaganda, because while she ought to be free to say whatever she wants, she ought also to face consequences for misleading people, especially misleading them toward ill health and death.

  48. 48
    triskelethecat

    Ah, lovely Meryl. Yeah, she has claimed that healthy children have no trouble with diseases, homeopathy is all you needs, and baby Dana was just “culled from the herd” (my paraphrase). Because in Meryl’s world, like an infamous troll over at RI has said, diseases don’t kill. Doctors treating the disease (which isn’t really a disease, doncha know) are what kill babies.

  49. 49
    Chris Booth

    RFW @ 32:

    Thank you for the link to the article in the Guardian about the sad demise of the young ballerina Valentina Simukova. I was teary-eyed watching the video, while at the same time goose-bumped to see such dancing in a 16-year-old in 1966. Her death was pretty rough, according to a post in the comments appended to the article. It was three days before they noticed she had not been to ballet class, and was found in bed. She had lain in bed, alone and uncared for for three days. She was hospitalized and died shortly after.

    The comments to that article were enjoyable, too. No trolls! Lots of talk of historic dancers, and some very knowledgeable posters there.

    RFW, you have enriched my life, and tonight when we get home, I will share the story and video with my 17-year-old, who is dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy in her school’s annual Nutcracker tonight! So, thank you again.

    PZ, I love this blog; you and your readers bring a lot to it! Thanks to all.

  50. 50
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    scarlet fever (not sure there’s a vaccine for that anyway, right?)

    Bad news: no vaccination
    Good news: easily treatable with antibiotics
    Bad news: anti-vaxxers don’t give those to their children either.
    Because it’s absolutely benign for a preschooler to be six solid weeks miserable from scarlet fever followed by pneumonia with no treatment except for homeopathy.

  51. 51
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Because it’s absolutely benign for a preschooler to be six solid weeks miserable from scarlet fever followed by pneumonia with no treatment except for homeopathy.

    Don’t forget the permanent heart damage!

  52. 52
    philbear

    Penelope’s Pragmatic Polio

  53. 53
    Chris Booth

    Stevarious @ # 51:

    Oh, you silly Atheist-Skeptic! The heart is the organ of love! It can’t be damaged! [high-pitched bemused AntiVax titter]

    <3 <3 <3 !!!!11!!!

  54. 54
    evilDoug

    I’m a little surprised at the surprise. The crap from anti-vaxxers is so deep it is risky to go out without your wellies.

    I gather many of the commenters here don’t read Respectful Insolence on ScienceBlogs. Orac certainly can’t be accused of being brief, so his writing isn’t for those who want a one-minute read. If you want to keep up with mock medicine, it is great. He rips into anti-vaxxers frequently. He has two classes of regular commenters – knowledgable, rational people and complete and very persistent idiots (anything about vaccines will bring out one many people call “Thingy” – I think of her as Thick Cubed). RI is now the only blog left on SB that keeps me going there regularly. I do recommend RI.

  55. 55
    dartigen...

    Part of me is unconcerned about antivaxxers. Let them die nightmarish deaths from diseases.

    But the problem is, they tend to spread them around.
    I have permanent scarring on my shoulders and face from chickenpox. One or two of the scars on my face have disappeared over the years, but there’s one right in the middle of my forehead that’s too deep to go away. The scarring on my shoulders is too deep to remove without cosmetic surgery. At school there was a point in the year where almost everyone in Year 1 and 2 was off with chickenpox, save for a handful who’d already caught it. I only caught it once; my Mum had it four times before she finally developed immunity – and now she gets shingles like nobody’s business when she’s stressed out.
    If the vaccine had existed, I probably wouldn’t have left Mum alone until she got it for me.
    I took so much time off from school because of the flu that I failed a year and had to repeat it. I know people who’ve lost their jobs or failed university courses because of the flu before the vaccine was available, and I can’t see any reason not to get it now that it is.
    I’ve been getting flu shots for the last three years and only had the flu once in all that time. I’m now making the effort to catch up on some other missed vaccines since a family friend came back from holidays with hepatitis.

    But the good news is, they’ll start missing out on Family Tax Benefits (as of next year IIRC; that’s $2,100 all up per child they’ll be losing out on) and most schools will refuse enrollments if you can’t produce proof of vaccination – but IIRC unless you can prove that your child is so disabled s/he cannot possibly ever go to school, you’ll start getting fines until you do get them enrolled at a recognized primary school. (And I hear now even some playgroups and childcare centers will refuse unvaccinated children. I know my brother had to produce proof that my niece had been vaccinated to get her a placement in a childcare center; they wouldn’t accept her until he got off his butt and got her four-year shots.)

    @50 Ye gods! I can’t even imagine six weeks off of school. Hell, one week off in some subjects is enough to put you on a collision course with a big fat F. While I know that in primary schools they tend to just pass students along anyway, in high school it’s not funny.

    @PZ – popup ads are considered a bit of a menace on the Internet though…maybe you could make the case that they’re annoying people into not visiting the site? There’s lots of space on the sidebars for ads if ad revenue is an issue. (Project Wonderful is one group I know who does banner and sidebar ads if you want to really look into it; they seem to do pretty well and keep their ads pretty tasteful, although I think they mainly provide adspace for webcomics.)

  56. 56
    John Morales

    [OT]

    dartigen, if you’re at home and seeing pop-ups (or even ads!) but you don’t wish to, you’re incompetent.

    If you’re at work, well… why not just be glad you can use their resources to read this site. :)

  57. 57
    dianne

    Because it’s absolutely benign for a preschooler to be six solid weeks miserable from scarlet fever followed by pneumonia with no treatment except for homeopathy.

    Not to mention that scarlet fever is strep with a particularly nasty gene inserted. And untreated strep can cause an immune reaction that leads to rheumatic fever and later rheumatic heart disease. Several of my great aunts died of RHD. It’s not as ugly as tetanus but it’s not pretty either.

  58. 58
    ambulocetacean

    chrysstevenson #7

    Thanks for the links. I’ve tweeted at the ABC and Triple J and emailed all the other sponsors and the festival organiser. I hope plenty of others feel compelled to do the same =)

  59. 59
    Heliantus

    @ Dartigen

    Part of me is unconcerned about antivaxxers. Let them die nightmarish deaths from diseases.

    There is a minor flaw in your reasoning: antivaxxers are primarily against vaccinating their children.
    Themselves, they either got most vaccines or diseases during their own childhood. A few may even concede the need for the tetanus vaccine, but only for adults.
    The ones most likely to suffer from the antivaxxers are not themselves, but the people around them, starting with their children.

  60. 60
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I see pop-ups at work, every three hours or so, with Windows 7 and IE8. At home, with Firefox and adblock, no pop-ups.

  61. 61
    evilDoug

    I generally hate looking at everything in terms of economics, but antivax can have severe economic impact on health care systems. Diseases like measles now bring swift and rigorous containment response in hospitals. The response can be very expensive in dollars and peoplepower, and interfere with the ability of the hospital to do other important tasks.
    ~~~
    I’m not too concerned about pop-up ads in this sort of environment, since I feel reasonably sure they aren’t going to be malicious, even if they are dumb. I have been known to reboot, rather than click “close” on some pop-ups I’ve seen, just because they give the impression of posing great risk if I interact with them in any way (though usually I will just kill the browser process).

    Unfortunately, some web sites generate pop-ups as part of their normal operation, so keeping my blocker at kill-’em-all level becomes a much bigger annoyance than closing the occasional benign pop-up ad.

    If the pop-ups failed to close immediately and generated “are you sure you want to navigate away” boxes, I would simply quit reading FTB until the ads were permanently removed.

  62. 62
    redartifice

    The good news is that Dorey is not getting away scot-free – THe AVN has come under some pretty intense scrutiny from the media, including some fairly mainstream sources.

  63. 63
    Heliantus

    I just noticed that on my display of the blog, one of the ads is for the HPV / Cervarix vaccine.
    It has a little thumbnail at the bottom, which, upon rollover, displays a lengthy message about the purpose of the vaccine and its known limitations, including the possibility for adverse reactions.
    I’m impressed. Someone did his/her best to address as precisely and shortly as possible the main points of concern for the fence-sitters.
    I wish I could save it for the next time I meet an antivax troll blurting out the old strawman “you are saying that vaccines are 100% efficient and sure”.

  64. 64
    Ingdigo Jump

    dartigen, if you’re at home and seeing pop-ups (or even ads!) but you don’t wish to, you’re incompetent.

    If you’re at work, well… why not just be glad you can use their resources to read this site. :)

    And for those on a phone?

  65. 65
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Ing:

    And for those on a phone?

    We’re screwed. The pop-up blocker for the ‘Droid doesn’t work worth a shit.

    dartigen:

    Part of me is unconcerned about antivaxxers. Let them die nightmarish deaths from diseases.

    But the problem is, they tend to spread them around.

    They won’t die. They’re safe. But people like me and their own children are at an increased risk– an unacceptable increased risk.

    That being said, I’m glad it’s only a part of you that wants to leave the anti-vaxxers to their own devices and you realize how dangerous they are.

  66. 66
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    @24

    If I ever meet your parents, remind me to smack them. As a Washingtonian and a parent I’m doubly horrified. I recall there was a measles outbreak when I was in high school and a local girl reportedly died. (This, however, could be rumor or faulty memory- but the outbreak did happen, late 80′s.) The “religious exemption” is bullshit on so many levels. There is something to be said about the sense of personal liberty shared by people in the PNW- but this is one of those shitty fallouts from when they allow idiots to make public health decisions.

    My daughter with DS has mild, periodic neutropenia, and while there is no evidence it causes her to get infections more easily I hate the idea of chancing it. She got a very mild case of chickenpox despite receiving the Varicella vaccine, but my other two children were unaffected. So the vaccine worked. What happens, though, when some selfish anti-vaccer’s child exposes my kid to a more serious disease? Will she potentially still get sick because her immune system isn’t as developed, and get it more severely?

    I hate people.

  67. 67
    DLC

    I’d like to ask Ms Dorey what she would think about meeting the parents of a child that died because one of her True Believers sent their measles-bearing child to school and that child came in contact with an immuno-compromised child who then of measles, the so-called happy disease. Oh and while we’re at it, could someone invent something that would give Ms Dorey the same symptoms as a child with a communicable disease that could be prevented with a simple vaccination ? Yeah, a simple little shot, versus weeks of misery. Stupid, stupid woman. If it were just you and your family, I wouldn’t care, but you actively spread your brand of idiocy to anyone who’ll listen.

  68. 68
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Does she tell that in the face of those Australian parents who lost their newborns due to whomping cought, babies of a few weeks of age who were too young to be vaccinated?
    Or is she too much a chicken to do that and face those people and their suffering?

    She pretty much did – delusional tool that she is – after the tragic death of Dana McCaffery to pertussis.
    Phil at BA has covered it all really well, including the TV show that first started lifting the rocks that these cockroaches live under.
    No doubt the local aussie skeptics and the ‘Stop The AVN’ group will be boring it right up the sponsers and organisers about this.
    Although that organiser, Bill Hauritz, makes himself sound like a prototypical doofus.

  69. 69
    DLC

    Edit : “. . . who then died of measles . . .”

  70. 70
    alisonmeyer

    Well, let’s see, my Dad has been legally blind his entire life because he got pertussis when he was only a few months old – but that’s more than 30 years ago,and he didn’t die, so I suppose that doesn’t count. I got mumps despite being vaccinated, and spent a couple of weeks quarantined – second grade, no human contact until I wasn’t contagious. I don’t remember how sick I felt, but I sure do remember that.

    My parents had plenty of stories of people they knew who had died or been permanently harmed from (now) vaccine-preventable illness. If there are people still around who can say first-hand what these diseases did before there were vaccines, how can people even get away with calling them benign? Blows my mind.

  71. 71
    jaychamings

    Luckily, she will not go unchallenged at the festival:
    http://theconversation.edu.au/meryl-dorey-at-woodford-folk-festival-a-hazard-to-your-childs-health-4678
    Scroll down to the comments.

  72. 72
    andrewpang

    Dorey got a tough interview on Australian radio earlier this year. PZ posted it at http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/01/i_have_a_new_hero.php

  73. 73
    exazonk

    Unbelievable that the AVN can sprout this nonsense! Their wikipedia page says:

    The Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), formerly known as the Vaccination Awareness Network, is an Australian anti-vaccination lobby group[2] registered in New South Wales. It is dedicated to the idea that one’s health can be maintained without the use of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. The organisation has lobbied against a variety of vaccination-related programs, downplayed the danger of childhood diseases such as measles and pertussis, championed the cause of alleged vaccination victims, and promoted the use of alternative medicine such as homeopathy and chiropractic.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Vaccination_Network

  74. 74
    csue

    “alternative medicine such as homeopathy and chiropractic”

    Does that work on anthrax? Quick! Tell the military!

  75. 75
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    This guy is saying she should be allowed to speak because FREE SPEECH!!! And because doctors are mean and uncaring and bad communicators. (I disagree, obvs.)
    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2011/12/14/why-meryl-dorey-should-stay-on-the-woodford-festival-program/

  76. 76
    feralboy12

    Also — “Brenda’s Beautiful Bubonic Plague”, “Samantha’s Super Smallpox” — hilarious, I love it!

    Don’t forget the Dr. Seuss classics:
    Horton Calls The W.H.O.
    And To Think That I Caught It On Mulberry Street
    Green Eggs and HTLV-I Associated Myolopathy
    The Cat In The Hat Comes Back And Gives You Ringworm

  77. 77
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Pox in Socks

  78. 78
    ursaminor1972

    As someone who nearly died of measles at the age of three, it always makes my blood boil when I read anti-vaxer bullshit like this.
    A friend of mine was on the anti-vaccine train for a time but luckily common sense was victorious in the end.

  79. 79
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Ye gods! I can’t even imagine six weeks off of school.

    Well, the little boy in question started school one year late. He is, ironically, one of the most allergy-stricken kids I know, despite of not having had all those things that anti-vaxxers believe cause allergies. Having been seriously sick several times without adequate treatment* surely hasn’t helped him.

    Currently, those of us who do imunise their kids and themselves are protecting those kids to an extend, too, but we’ve seen what can happen over the last years when rates drop too low: measles and whomping cough return, harming and killing mostly those who have a real reason for not being vaccinated, like little Dana McCaffery, or the daughter od a friend of mine who contracted measles this year one week before she was due her first shot. Fortunately the little girl is OK.

    * Don’t get me wrong, kids get sick. And it is actually important for the imune system to get some “training”. But that’s going to happen with the regular cold they catch anyway. And it is bad to use antibiotics very time they drip goo from their noses. But that still means that letting a kid suffer unnecessary with no benefit whatsoever is child abuse.

  80. 80
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    In a striking parallel to leading creationists, I often wonder how many of these high profile anti-vaxers actually believe their bullshit. Publically changing their minds based on the overwhelming evidence would end what has become their source of income – none of the ill-informed victims would continue to listen to the apostate, and whilst the rest of us might congratulate them on finally acknowledging the blindingly obvious, we wouldn’t buy their books (at least, not in the bulk of their previous sales).

  81. 81
    Jerry

    Ms. Dorey of the anti-vaccination group AVN is a co-author of a book purporting to show the ‘hidden truth’ (publisher’s phrase, not mine) about vaccination. The book did not have any reviews on Amazon.com, which lamentable oversight has since been corrected. In general, more reviews are better than none or just one. Ms. Messenger’s book is not listed on Amazon, or else it too would have received a review.

  82. 82
    Ingdigo Jump

    Is anyone else a little troubled by how the Overton Window seems to be shifting in Anti-Vax away from Wakefeilds original bullshit into a religion worshiping disease?

  83. 83
    stephenrice

    I think it’s not a particularly left or right political issue. The left seems to tend to do the “people are entitled to their views” angle and the right seems to do the “government doesn’t get to put needles in me” angle. There’s something to appeal to your sensibilities in antivax no matter what you believe.

  84. 84
    chrysstevenson

    There’s an article about this issue in the major Queensland daily, the Courier-Mail, today – and a poll.

    You know what to do: http://ow.ly/7ZJ6U

  85. 85
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    There’s an article about this issue in the major Queensland daily, the Courier-Mail, today – and a poll.

    *picks teeth with e-tootpick after voting*

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