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Jan 10 2014

Good story and a good line

Amy Parker grew up with an all natural lifestyle: avoiding processed food and sugars, an active outdoor lifestyle, eating local organic foods, the whole crunchy natural lifestyle. She was also never vaccinated…and remembers her childhood as a succession of flattening diseases. Now she’s all grown up and is very sensibly vaccinating her own kids and eschewing the woo nonsense, and is happier and healthier than ever. It’s a positive story all around.

Oh, and the good line I’m going to have to steal:

If you think your child’s immune system is strong enough to fight off vaccine-preventable diseases, then it’s strong enough to fight off the tiny amounts of dead or weakened pathogens present in any of the vaccines.

21 comments

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  1. 1
    sadunlap

    Love the quote. Only problem is the one Ben Goldacre points out in one of his books: “You can’t reason people out of positions they did not reason themselves into.” The anti-vax movement works on people’s emotions and hysteria with fraud and deceit.

    Still, great quote.

  2. 2
    Rich Woods

    If you think your child’s immune system is strong enough to fight off vaccine-preventable diseases, then it’s strong enough to fight off the tiny amounts of dead or weakened pathogens present in any of the vaccines.

    An excellent argument to be made with people who have some reasoning skills left.

    So, good luck with that.

  3. 3
    gijoel

    It makes me furious when I hear these anti vax numbskulls downplay the seriousness of these dieases. I work as a carer for people for intellectual disabilities, and I can think of about three, or four clients that would have had normal lives if their mothers had been able to the MMR shot before they got pregnant.

    My own cousin had congenital rubella syndrome, and it left her severly disable, partial blind, and almost completely deaf. Along with moderate intellectual impairment that put her at the mercy of the hostel system.

  4. 4
    monad

    The reasoning is indeed the trick. Something I’ve heard said was that vaccines weaken immune systems – not even meaning what happens at the time, but that it atrophies since they’re doing the work for it. If you know what “vaccine” means, you know this makes as much sense as an army getting soft since it does target practice, but apparently not everyone does.

    @gijoel, my sympathies. I had a relative nearly die from a disease they were too young to be vaccinated against, and though they ended up fine, remembering what they suffered through is enough to make me want to hurt people. I don’t know how I could manage hearing some say not to vaccinate if there were still reminders of what happened.

  5. 5
    kreativekaos

    Congrats on Amy vaccinating her children; an important step to prevent childhood, adolescent and adult diseases….. caused by pathogenic organisms.

    But let’s read carefully and be clear—since the post can subtly mislead one into thinking that her healthy choices were meant to impact disease from harmful microbes. The thrust of Amy’s healthful / natural lifestyle choices would be primarily meant to ward off or minimize chances of aquiring metabolic or lifestyle-generated illnesses, not illness generated by infection by pathogenic organisms. Need to be careful swinging that bat of woo.

  6. 6
    sumdum

    I like that metaphor, an army doing target practice. Gonna have to remember it.

  7. 7
    davidrichardson

    I couldn’t resist leaving this comment on the Slate piece, after having read the hate coming from the most recent posters:

    “OK, anti-vaxxers, scientific evidence has no effect on you and neither does personal anecdote … and the rest of us are expected to regard *your* anecdotes as a plan for a healthy population. You must think we’re as deluded as you are!”

    I don’t suppose it’ll do any good, though.

  8. 8
    anne mariehovgaard

    kreativekaos:
    Meant by who? Antivaxxers certainly believe that organic food, homeopathy and all the other “healthy, natural” stuff will protect against all kinds of illness, including those caused by pathogens. Amy still seems to believe that the diet she was brought up on was very healthy in some way, even if most of what she mentions (everything except breastfeeding and cod liver oil) either makes no difference, is impossible (breast milk is a very sugary drink) or is actually very risky (raw milk).

  9. 9
    scoobie

    >>If you think your child’s immune system is strong enough to fight off vaccine-preventable diseases, then it’s strong enough to fight off the tiny amounts of dead or weakened pathogens present in any of the vaccines.

    I’m not sure this engages with the anti-vaxers’ argument. Aren’t they more concerned about the heavy metals, alien sludge and toxic waste in the vaccines rather than the pathogens?

  10. 10
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re:

    Something I’ve heard said was that vaccines weaken immune systems – not even meaning what happens at the time, but that it atrophies since they’re doing the work for it.

    I’ve heard some anti-vaxxers claim that the immune system is actually poisoned by vaccines (not just atrophizes). That vaccines work by poisoning those virii and consequently our immune system also. Ant-vaxxers say they are really ant-toxin, that big pharma is trying to poison us all, to make us sick, to make us repeating customers. Alternatively, the vaccine overworks our immune system; overloads it, that our vaccine schedule is “too many, too fast” and our immune systems need extra time to recover from each one.
    Ant-vaxxers come in two classes: the fraudsters who see it as a market for their own woo, and people who are just scared. of disease and “magical” shots that doctors only say “Take these and you’ll be fine forever” with no other info about what it is. And most of the scared are simply ignorant of how the immune system works and how vaccines enhance it; so even if the doctor explained more, these anti-vaxxers would still be scared and still anti-chemical.
    Anti-chemicals as the root of anti-vax leads to the whole “organic foods” craze. [organic foods don't have chemicals, right?] Only a few will claim that organic foods will make them able to fight all disease. It is usually, “It has no chemicals, chemicals are bad for you, nochemicals is healthier.” [don't get me started on fear of "chemicals", what is "artificial chemicals"? etc., etc.]

  11. 11
    The Mellow Monkey

    The response from the woo-meisters is that this is a conspiracy.

    No, not that vaccines are a conspiracy (there’s that, too), but that Amy Parker’s story is part of one.

    Because, see, there’s a woman whose name is Amy Parker Fiebelkorn and she is an American working for the CDC. And so, they claim, this Amy Parker is actually that Amy Parker Fiebelkorn pretending to be English for…reasons.

    The anti-vaxxers I know on FB have worked themselves up into a frenzy over this. Rather than considering the woman’s story at all, they’ve used this to further convince themselves of what a bunch of LIES vaccines are because if they weren’t LIES then they wouldn’t need to LIE ABOUT BEING ENGLISH.

    Sigh.

  12. 12
    anne mariehovgaard

    @stevem:

    Ant-vaxxers come in two classes: the fraudsters who see it as a market for their own woo, and people who are just scared. of disease and “magical” shots that doctors only say “Take these and you’ll be fine forever” with no other info about what it is.

    Most of the ones I’ve come across are generally woo-y people who don’t understand how vaccines work and don’t want to, because someone has to stand up to the experts and their Western ideas about “science” and “evidence”, not to mention “logic” and “coherent, non-self-contradictory arguments”. They’ll tell you that vaccines are bad because they weaken your immune system; when you explain that actually, they do the opposite, they’ll say “See? I told you vaccines are bad; they overstimulate your immune system”.

    @scoobie:

    >>If you think your child’s immune system is strong enough to fight off vaccine-preventable diseases, then it’s strong enough to fight off the tiny amounts of dead or weakened pathogens present in any of the vaccines.

    I’m not sure this engages with the anti-vaxers’ argument. Aren’t they more concerned about the heavy metals, alien sludge and toxic waste in the vaccines rather than the pathogens?

    Only (some of) the ones at the fringes of the movement, who actually are afraid of vaccines because someone told them they contained Bad Substance X (mercury! virus! toxins!). The more committed ones are against vaccines, period. Sure, they’ll say they’re concerned about this or that, but if that particular “problem” is solved they just come up with a different reason. Or several contradictory reasons.

  13. 13
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Psychologically, most anti-vax belief boils down to “purity” thinking. Vaccines are “polluting” the body (via [insert mechanism here]). That’s why the rhetoric fluctuates so much and why safety/efficacy arguments don’t work that well against firm anti-vaxxers.

  14. 14
    Trebuchet

    The few comments I read on that story made my head hurt. I do like her description of the woo set as “crunchy”. Reminds me of a long-past co-worker who another co-worker described as “a real granola”.

  15. 15
    Kolyin

    As someone already noted, you’ll eventually see antivaxers claiming that the author of this piece works for the CDC. Their evidence is that a woman named Amy with the maiden name Parker is listed as a CDC employee. But the author’s byline identifies her as a music teacher living “on the Fylde coast of England,” where of course there aren’t any CDC offices. Sure enough, she’s listed on the staff of a music school in Blackpool (a town on the Fylde peninsula): http://www.blackpoolmusicacademy.com/aboutus.htm

  16. 16
    playonwords

    Latest one I’ve heard the anti-vaccine crowd use is that peanut oil in vaccines causes peanut allergies.

    Best refutation I’ve come across is this site http://www.allergyuk.org/peanut-and-tree-nut-allergy/peanut-and-tree-nut-allergy ; other searches are confused by the fluffy woo-woo whargarble.

  17. 17
    Sastra

    Esteleth #30 wrote:

    Psychologically, most anti-vax belief boils down to “purity” thinking.

    Yes, along with the Naturalist Fallacy — which the “crunchy granola” set turns into a spiritual practice. We are not meant to become sick; the body is supposed to work harmoniously with Nature and experience total wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Anything artificially manufactured is thus impure and will effect our energy fields, throwing off our intended balance with Nature.

    Unfortunately, my own altie friends include thoughts and beliefs in with the diet, exercise, and energy woo. The mind-body connection goes in just that direction. So if you do everything “right” and STILL get sick, then it’s probably something wrong in your Mind. You could be holding on to resentment, you could be feeling guilty, you could be doubting your Spiritual Nature, you could be having a negative attitude or exposing yourself to those who do — perform an intense psychological search and discover the impurity. Then work on getting rid of your mental toxins. That’s what made you ill. You’ll feel better when you do.

    Of course, as long as you stay sick you will probably be able to discern some “negative thinking” going on. When and if you get better, it correlates with a better attitude. Reverse the causal chain there and confirm the New Thought ideology “for yourself.”

  18. 18
    Ichthyic

    Psychologically, most anti-vax belief boils down to “purity” thinking. Vaccines are “polluting” the body (via [insert mechanism here]).

    yup, just posted on this today.

    https://www.facebook.com/Ichthyic/posts/10151923020359998?stream_ref=10

  19. 19
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @scoobie #9

    I’m not sure this engages with the anti-vaxers’ argument. Aren’t they more concerned about the heavy metals, alien sludge and toxic waste in the vaccines rather than the pathogens?

    Depends which flavour of anti-vaxxer you are talking about. There are many. Some believe certain vaccines cause autism, some believe they contain toxins and heavy metals, some eschew vaccines as “not natural”, some don’t understand how the immune system works and think injecting you with pathogens will automatically make you ill, some even believe the government use them as a covert way to inject the population with mind control drugs. Almost all their theories prove the old adage, “A little learning is a dangerous thing”.

    Most anti-vaxxers pick and choose a few of the prevalent theories, add ice and a dash of logical fallcy, and shake them up into a cocktail of irrationality; to be served on the rocks in a tin-foil hat.

  20. 20
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    All hail Borkquote, acolyte of Tpyos!

    First paragraph of my #19 was supposed to be a blockquote. Not sure what happened there; normally the messed-up html shows up as text. meh.

  21. 21
    Kelly Coleman

    Yeah, that’s not at all the same woman, Amy Parker Fiebelkorn. It just so happens to be her evil maternal twin. Nope nope, not at all her… https://www.facebook.com/amy.parkerfiebelkorn?fref=browse_search. Killing the credibility now much?????

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