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Mar 16 2014

When your name is prefixed by “reality star”…your ideas are immediately suspect

From the first sentence, I could tell that the opinions of Kristin Cavallari were garbage.

Experts warned against the dangers of following celebrity advice after reality star Kristin Cavallari acknowledged Thursday that she and husband Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler decided not to vaccinate their children.

When directly asked whether she was opposed to vaccines during an appearance on the Fox Business Network program, The Independents, Cavallari said, “we don’t vaccinate.” The reason? “I’ve read too many books about autism and the studies,” she said.

Also, “Chicago Bears quarterback” does not confer any credibility in matters of medicine on Jay Cutler. These are people that should be laughed at.

But then the article cites a doctor:

Homefirst Health Services, meanwhile — if that’s what Cavallari meant — is a Rolling Meadows-based pediatrics practice that embraces home births and shuns vaccines. Dr. Mayer Eisenstein and his practice were the subject of a 2009 Chicago Tribune investigation that shed light on the use of potentially dangerous alternative autism treatments. On the Homefirst website, Eisenstein maintains that “personal religious convictions, not scientific studies, are the main reasons, upon which to base your vaccination decision.”

Is there no accreditation process for medical clinics? How does one that refuses to carry out basic preventive medicine for “religious” reasons, manage to stay in business without the medical establishment — or at least the insurance companies — stomping on them?

The only sensible words in this article…

Alexander said Cavallari’s comments illustrate the problems with celebrity spokespeople, namely that they often have their facts wrong. “Celebrity status does not indicate scientific expertise,” he said.

27 comments

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  1. 1
    frankb

    I am a Chicago Bears fan for the simple reason that they are the closest NFL team to me. My fairly high opinion of Jay Cutler just went into the dumps.

  2. 2
    twas brillig (stevem)

    The reason? “I’ve read too many books about autism and the studies,” she said.

    And only believing the scare stories [from other 'reality stars'(looking at you Jenny)] and never the [overwhelming majority] ones that say there is no causal link between autism and vaccines. Autism is NOT a disease that can be caused by a drug, nor cured by other drugs. It is a different construction of the brain that occurs during development. It is just a different kind of brain. NOT a Disease. It is just like a POC/whitey saying they won’t vaccinate cuz they don’t want their baby to become a “whitey/poc”.

  3. 3
    Ishikiri

    “I’ve read too many books…”

    Impossible. Anti-vaxxers do not read.

  4. 4
    Al Dente

    I’ve read too many books about preventable diseases killing people. Small pox was not eradicated by eating a good diet or thinking pure thoughts. It was eradicated by vaccination. Polio could be similarly eradicated but hasn’t been for various political and nonsensical reasons.

    Cavallari may have read a lot of books but she’s still ignorant.

  5. 5
    carlie

    Even if vaccines caused autism, deciding to risk your child’s life over the risk of them being autistic is an unspeakably heinous decision.

  6. 6
    blf

    I didn’t know the Dick and Jane learning-to-read books were an anti-vaccine diatribe.

  7. 7
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re @5:

    Even if vaccines caused autism, deciding to risk your child’s life over the risk of them being autistic is an unspeakably heinous decision.

    True. True. QFT
    To which they will just say, “I’ll keep them healthy and away from those icky people with diseases, what’s the harm? It is so easy to just keep away from germs, why precipitate germs with those nasty toxins that will do their own harm? The risk of disease is so loe compared to the ever increasing rsk of AWETISM! Big Pharma just wants to rake in the profits; by causing Autism with expensive Vaxxines!!1!!1!” /snark

    too easy to parody the anti-vaxxers. Every word from them seems so Poe, it’s amazing.

  8. 8
    woozy

    A year or two ago Justin Bieber was on some damn talk show or another and discussed the problems with Obama-care. My and the general public’s response was an astonished “how on earth can anyone think Justin Bieber has *any* knowledgeable insight on the issue?” It was basically laughed at.

    But that’s only because Justin Bieber is a teen idol. Had he been a *grown-up* celebrity such as George Clooney and Meryl Streep we’d think nothing of long interviews of their opinions about things we have utterly no reason to assume they know anything about. It’s really surreal and disturbing if you actually think about it. … So I guess it’s a good thing we never think about it…

  9. 9
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Awhile back, I found myself in the utterly baffling position of defending Justin Bieber.

    Someone (?!) decided that the thing to do was ask him to opine on the relative merits of the American healthcare system and the Canadian one.

    He said that in Canada, getting health care works like this:
    (1) You go to where the provider is.
    (2) You display your government-issued healthcare ID card.
    (3) You get care.

    Michelle Malkin and various other types decided that the thing to do was rip him apart because he’s young and stupid – it couldn’t possibly be that simple.

    Except, of course, that it is that simple.

  10. 10
    AlanMac

    “I’ve read too many books about autism and the studies,” she said.

    Most likely she has read quotes from the books on anti-vaxxer web sites and blogs. I doubt if she has read any books that didn’t include the word “vampire”.

  11. 11
    blf

    Just a (small) warning / counter-example on assuming a professional actor, musician, et al. is automatically unqualified to speak on technical or other matters outside their profession: Hedy Lamarr, (co-)inventor of “of an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, which paved the way for today’s wireless communications and which, upon its invention in 1941, was deemed so vital to national defense that government officials would not allow publication of its details.”

  12. 12
    twas brillig (stevem)

    He [A critic] said that in Canada, getting health care works like this:
    (1) You go to where the provider is.
    (2) You display your government-issued healthcare ID card.
    (3) you get in line and WAIT, wait, wait.
    (3) (∞) You eventually get care.

    …but maybe that was a critic of the UK health system ;-(

  13. 13
    woozy

    @8 nand @9. Well, one of us is remembering this differently. Quite likely me. I’m quoting from memory when I claim he was against Obamacare. I could have the memory wrong.

    *googles*

    Yep, I got it wrong the first time I heard it.

    My apologies.

  14. 14
    Terska

    Cutler has type 1 diabetes. A type 1 vaccine is a possible breakthrough in preventing this awful disease. They would be wise to vaccinate their child if a vaccine ever becomes available as its chances of contracting type 1 diabetes are about 5 in 100 with a father that has the disease.

  15. 15
    carlie

    blf – and Mayim Bialik got testy once when an interviewer asked her if she got tired of people confusing her with her Big Bang Theory character and assuming she knows calculus and stuff. Her reply was a frosty “I have a degree in neuroscience, so actually yes, I do know calculus.” But those kinds of things aren’t common.

  16. 16
    blf

    carlie, Thanks, I was not aware of the Mayimn Bialik story.

    I get quite testy about the “you are not an X, so you cannot know anything about Xlogy” sorts of implications (and statements) since they are neither logical and have been used to attack me personally. I work as an engineer, and hence am frequently tarred with the “engineers know nothing about evolution” or “anti-evolutionist, and an engineer as usual”, and variations for other Xs, which generally pisses me off without end.

  17. 17
    timgueguen

    Unfortunately Bialik is also an antivaxxer. As is often the case high intelligence and advanced training in a complicated discipline don’t prevent you from holding dubious beliefs in other fields. Strangely you’d think someone with a neuroscience degree would know better.

  18. 18
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Pffff, the amount of German doctors who believe in woo is frightening.
    If you need to go to the weekend emergency care and the paediatrician on duty wears a “power bracelet”, you can only hope that it’s not serious.

  19. 19
    randay

    Was Cavallari vaccinated as a child? She is thirty something now so does she understand that she should have gotten booster shots every 10 years? Autism may not strike her but tetanus or diptheria could, well no great loss. I doubt that she can understand what a booster is.

    How will she feel if one of her kids gets one of those or polio, and maybe dies? Just for polio, paralytic cases dropped in the U.S. from over 20,000 per year in 1952 to 8-9 in 1980-1994. Center for Disease Control. Anti-vaxxers are at the very least accessories to murder, like those religious families that deny medical care to their children that would save them.

  20. 20
    andrewpang

    Even more disturbing? This isn’t the first time Cavallari proudly put her anti-science views in public. Last year she boasted about not wanting to breastfeed her kid and using goat milk instead. Corret me if I’m wrong in framing that view though. Still no doubt it’s frustrating how the efforts of doctors and scientists is wasted because of these dumbass celebs.

  21. 21
    WhiteHatLurker

    When your name is prefixed by “reality star”…your ideas are immediately suspect

    That sounds somewhat prejudicial. Wait, no, it is prejudice, raw and unapologetic. I agree that the first sentence quoted illustrates a lack of intellect, but it is the “decided not to vaccinate their children” part that shows the lack of good judgement of the speaker. This is exactly the same as the blind acceptance of of value given through an endorsement by an athlete or actor.

    Whether they be biology researchers, beachcombers, quantum physicists, or reality show performers (or engineers), an occupation is not indicative of the value of one’s ideas in other fields – it is the value of those ideas that speak for themselves.

  22. 22
    zetopan

    Actually, it is relatively difficult to find a “reality star” that isn’t involved in some kind of fraud. Pawn Stars, Duck Dynasty, Flipping Vegas, Storage Wars, Container Wars, American Restoration, etc., These are all scripted “Reality Shows” which routinely have fake setups, and the non-actor “stars” are well aware of the fraudulent depictions within the shows. If you haven’t already known this just do a Google search for any of the above with the word “fake” or “fraud” and you will easily find lots of evidence. Some people will do anything for money, and they apparently assume that their success means that they must be right. Given their popularity on TV they often end up endorsing junk products as well, despite the fact that they know absolutely nothing about what they are endorsing. The major problem as I see it is that so much of the media is very willing to promote counterfactual uninformed opinions as though they were just as valid as factually based informed opinions. This has been a historical problem with much of TV. “reality stars” are often no better than TV evangelists, with whom they share many traits.

  23. 23
    woozy

    This isn’t the first time Cavallari proudly put her anti-science views in public. Last year she boasted about not wanting to breastfeed her kid and using goat milk instead.

    WTF?

    You know. As a culture we have got to stop asking celebrities what they think about things. It only encourages them to think their opinions are important.

  24. 24
    knowknot

    # 16 blf.

    I get quite testy about the “you are not an X, so you cannot know anything about Xlogy” sorts of implications (and statements) since they are neither logical and have been used to attack me personally.

    The point here is not related to a problem with “you are not an X, so…”, it’s the problem with “you are an X, so please speak as though your tongue is trying to put out a fire on your teeth.”
    |

    I work as an engineer, and hence am frequently tarred with the (..) “anti-evolutionist, and an engineer as usual”…

    If I’m reading you correctly, I have your tar right here.

  25. 25
    knowknot

    Fame is the new church.
    Has been, at least long enough to be, if not the old church, at least the middle-aged church as well. But we do appear to become more faithful over time.

  26. 26
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Eisenstein maintains that “personal religious convictions, not scientific studies, are the main reasons, upon which to base your vaccination decision.”

    This from a fucking doctor!?

  27. 27
    U Frood

    @9 Well if that’s what Canadian healthcare is like, then he’s right. Obamacare DOES suck.

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