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Friday, May 6, 2011

It Needs to be Said: Trace it Back to the Source

Our bloggers are diverse and encompass the range of  ideologies across the community. Websites like Age of Autism and bloggers who support them have been spreading the inaccurate idea that Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus, called parents who believe vaccines cause autism "total assholes."

Mnookin has responded and clearly shows that he did no such thing. In reading the actual quote, any fair-minded person can see that those individuals who actually read what he said and still twisted it are engaging in strawmen arguments.

Mnookin provides his response:

"At the end of the clip, Fahy asked me how I would communicate with parents like Margulis and Colebrook. Here’s my answer:
Ten children died of pertussis last year [in California]. Nine of them were under six months old [which means they were too young to be fully vaccinated], and to say, you know, ‘Oh this is my, this is something — keep your hands off my baby,’ is something I find so offensive, and I guess what I find most offensive is lack of honesty about the potential repercussions.
If you’re going to say, as they did — I’m clearly not giving advice for how to communicate with them because the way to communicate with them is probably not to say ‘you’re a total asshole,’ but, um, which is what I want to do — if you are going to say, ‘Well, this is my decision,’ you can’t then simultaneously say, ‘And I’m not putting anyone else at risk.’ At least be honest — at least say, ‘This is my decision, and I don’t care if I put other children at risk, and I know [children too young to be immunized are at risk] because it has happened in the last couple of years, that kids may die.’
I find that — I just find it repulsive. Her saying, ‘If you choose to vaccinate your child, that means your child is not at risk’ is also just categorically not true. There’s a child who I write about who was vaccinated against Hib and they only discovered the vaccine was not effective when she was in a coma. She lost all of her motor skills and will need therapy for the rest of her life to deal with that."

I'd like to encourage directory members and readers to always ask questions, demand evidence, and then check up on something for believing it wholesale, to take care before spreading information around before checking its truth.

Thanks.

6 comments:

r.b. said...

I dunno Kim...it's kinda hard to parse that one out...Sounds to me like he is.

"I want to call them assholes, because that's what I think they are, but I won't."

Kinda sounds like he's calling them assholes to me.

KWombles said...

At this point, after the abuse the AoAers have heaped on him, I'd have no problem with that directness if he were to be blunt and say that. I have no problem in being blunt and saying that the bloggers and most of the commenters at AoA are dangerous and unhinged.

Calling parents in general who have concerns about vaccines total assholes is not what he's doing and that's what they're accusing him of.

He's being very specific: people who choose not to vaccinate and insist despite the evidence that this choice can and will harm other people won't harm anyone else is something he finds repulsive.

It'd be just as tacky if the people said they didn't give a crap if their decision harmed someone else (and the AoA people DO that), but it would at least be honest.

He did not call parents who believe autism was caused by vaccines total assholes.

r.b. said...

Acording to an AMA article, http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/07/26/prl10726.htm the deaths could have come from 2 causes.

Parents who witheld vaccines because of fear, or DOCTORS who witheld vaccines because of personal cost to them. That's pretty damning..., when it comes from the AMA itself.


Also: in June of 2010, five children had died, all of them Mexican, and the New York Times attributed it to "lack of information and inoculations in agricultural regions in the state’s Central Valley — home to many Latino farm workers — might be a culprit in the high incidence in that community. And indeed, Fresno County — in the heart of the valley — has the highest number of cases in the state, with 72 reported in May alone." according to Dr. Chavez. Dr. Gilberto Chavez, the deputy director of the department’s Center for Infectious Disease, said health officials had seen a fourfold increase compared with 2009. And the worst may be to come.

If Mr. Mnookin was going to accuse the parents who didn't vaccinate their kids of murder...he could have chosen a better year/place.

r.b. said...

OOPS, poor choice of words...but the implication that people who don't vaccinate their children are putting other people's children at risk of death, is how I read it. I could be wrong.

Corabelle said...

I know this is a sensitive topic, but no one is helping anyone by the back and forth..."your being an A$$hle argument." There is simply not enough information being given to either the Doctors, or the parents of young children for anyone to be able to make an intellegent choice, therefore It falls to the personal beliefs and decisions of the people involved for good or ill. Vaccines may not cause things like Autism, but like any "medicine" they do have risks. (sometimes deadly) That need to be taken into consideration on both sides. and all this back and forth of "vaccines are bad, vaccines are good" isnt getting us anywhere.

r.b. said...

Personally, I think vaccines are good. What I find maddening is the pompousness of the "rationalists" of science. "Look at those idiots over there!" because THEY use their "brain" to figure stuff out and it makes them superior.

They are only using half a brain. I finally figured it out when I surfed for hours on "ratinality"...I could go into Kant, Aristotle...but I really don't "get" that stuff. What I did finally get was a young woman who said women are needed in science because they can bring in intuition. Think of Grace Hopper, Madame Curie, Margaret Mead, and my personal favorite in my advanced age, Polly Matzinger.

The universe doesn't give up it's secrets by rationalizing them into the ground, but in serendipitous understanding.

What causes the battle isn't that the "religionist/wooist/republcans'whatever" won't be rational, but that the rationalists tyrannize intuition. Intuition fights back, and they resent it. It's a never ending circle, and very unproductive. It's not about people, us and them....it's about ideas. And visualizations that come out of nowhere (like a man riding on a beam of light...)

There. I've said my piece.

The village idiot.

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