Paul Offit, M.D., To Speak About The Myths And Realities of Vaccine Science

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

This Tuesday night in Science Center 199, Paul Offit, M.D., will be giving a lecture entitled “The Challenges of Communicating Vaccine Science to the Public.”

Dr. Offit is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He has published over one hundred papers on rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety, and he is the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq. Beyond his work in vaccine research, Dr. Offit has also been involved in vaccine policy, serving as a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Furthermore, he has authored several books for the general public which advocate vaccines and point to the dangers and flawed evidence of the anti-vaccine movement.

The topic of Dr. Offit’s lecture is particularly relevant today. Just this past month, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine be administered to boys and young men. This decision has raised controversy among the public, as parents decide whether or not to vaccinate their sons; in fact, controversy still remains over the administration of the HPV vaccine to girls and young women. Much of the resistance to the vaccine comes from its expense and the fact that the virus it confers immunity to is transmitted sexually. However, controversy regarding the HPV vaccine also stems from a lack of understanding of vaccine science by the general public.

Vaccines are preparations of either killed microorganisms, living but weakened (attenuated) microorganisms, or toxins that have been inactivated. The purpose of administering a vaccine is to evoke an immune response against a particular microorganism or toxin so the immune system can respond quickly and effectively upon exposure to the actual pathogen or toxin. Many of us have probably learned about vaccines through our biology classes in high school or at Swarthmore. Yet the fact remains that many Americans are unaware of what vaccines are, how they work, and how they benefit both the individual and the public. Furthermore, there are still rumors circulating of certain vaccine side-effects that are not supported by rigorous scientific evidence, but are nonetheless believed by many. Perhaps the best known of these is the supposed causal connection between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. This idea was instigated by a now-retracted study, and several other independent studies have not found any evidence to support this association.

The principles underlying vaccines are biological in nature, so how can we educate people without any scientific background on vaccine science? Surely, Dr. Offit’s lecture will give us insights on this. However widespread vaccine education is achieved, it is crucial that people are educated about vaccines in a way that they can fully understand, so that when deciding whether or not to vaccinate themselves or their children, they are making a truly informed decision.

We hope you will join Global Health Forum at 7:00 p.m. on November 15th, in Science Center 199, to learn more about this topic from an esteemed expert in the field.


  1. While this story denies any connection between vaccines and autism,the facts tell us a different story. The truth is, the federal government has recognized the link.

    Medical experts at Health and Human Services conceded the vaccine damage case of Hannah Poling, a young Georgia girl. They agreed that the nine vaccines she received in a single doctor’s visit caused her to regress into autism. CBS News ran this story about Hannah Poling last year: Family to Receive $1.5M+ in First-Ever Vaccine-Autism Court Award.

    Are we to believe that vaccines have nothing to do with autism–unless you’re Hannah Poling?:

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

    • Step 1: Make broad sweeping claims based on the experiences of one case.
      Step 2: …
      Step 3: Profit!

      The chance that one girl was autistic and happened to get the vaccines just prior to the autism manifesting itself is quite high considering that millions upon millions of children get vaccinated every year.

      Oh, and the government doesn’t acknowledge the link between autism and vaccines in your story. Nice try.

    • How fortunate that in fact Dr. Offit reviewed this case in The New England Journal of Medicine. There is no evidence to support that Hannah Poling suffers from vaccine-induced autism. While it is POSSIBLE that she had a preexisting encephalopathy which was aggravated by vaccines, the few studies out there on that subject indicate that vaccines do not aggravate this condition. Further, the parents advocated for the removal of thimerosal from all vaccines as they believed the neurotoxin ethylmercury (not bioaccumulative like methylmercury) which is an ingredient in thimerosal from all vaccines. Well guess what, the federal government mandated its removal and autism rates continued to climb.

      And, even if these vaccines had induced autism, the risk of vaccinating would infinitesimally small compared to the risk of contracting one of these diseases. For many people, these diseases seem historic, but they aren’t. San Diego recently had a measles outbreak when an unvaccinated child travelled to Sweden, contracted the disease, and brought it back to his school filled with parents who rejected vaccinations in favor of homeopathic pseudo-science.

      Vaccines are the single greatest triumph of public health. Our lifespans have increased. Our qualities of life have dramatically improved. Again, even if vaccines caused autism at the rate of 1 in 150, most parents would still choose to vaccinate if we lived in, per se, a world where the threat of a polio epidemic was still present. The threat of a polio epidemic would be present if we weren’t vaccinated.

      • We have fears of being sick regardless of the illness or how serious the illness is. I had measles as a child, and mumps and chickenpox. I am 56 years old. I suffer from fibromyalgia as do millions of others. I wonder if the common link between myself and the millions of others is one of the famous vaccinations of the fifties? They compromise our natural immunities in ways we cannot imagine, there is no guarantee it works or fits. The numbers don’t even add up, how many would we lose to these horrible diseases if there were no vaccines? The numbers we are losing to vaccines outweighs current estimates. Something we once trusted is nothing more than a Frankenstein science, worse than a car salesman or real estate broker. But then maybe this is exactly what they want, some type of control over the masses.

        • With all due respect, Victoria, what you’ve said makes absolutely no sense. You don’t even try to negate the science behind vaccines let alone supply any evidence to back up your claims. What is the point of entering into a debate with absolutely zero evidence? Perhaps because the only scientifically rigorous evidence is against you?

        • I understand your concerns with the increasing number of chronic diseases, however study after study would contradict your false claims.

          I will address your first claim that vaccines overwhelm the immune system. The diseases which we are vaccinated against contain under 200 different proteins. Our immune systems can handle over 100,000. This means that we could receive thousands of shots before our immune systems would be “overwhelmed.” On the contrary, an study from Germany (note not government affiliated) concluded that infants who were vaccinated had fewer infections compared to unimmunized children. Children who aren’t vaccinated are at a much higher risk of contracting the vaccine-preventable diseases which do weaken the immune system. For example, a child who contracts pneumoccocal pneumonia is more likely to have had a recent flu infection. ( (

          Second, I will address your false statement that the number of people we lose to vaccine preventable diseases would be greater than the number of people we would lose if we eradicated vaccines. , unless you’re talking about passages to heaven, there is no rite of passage with many vaccine preventable diseases. Measles actually would kill thousands of children a year, between 3,000 and 5,000. Mumps was a common cause of deafness. Certainly rubella, German measles caused 20,000 cases every year of permanent birth defects. Smallpox killed more people than any other infectious disease. Polio had 60,000 diagnoses at the height of the epidemic in 1952 and 20,000 deaths.
          ( This is an interview with Dr. Offit. (

          So in the face of this mounting evidence. I have trouble subscribing to your claims with their absence of citations.

        • Victoria,
          Fibromyalgia is not caused by a virus, and thus vaccines cannot prevent it. It is a disease of the nervous system, and thus cannot be caused by the immunosuppressants used with vaccines. One is genetically predisposed towards it. God is a more likely culprit.

          -son of a woman with CRPS, a condition identical to fibromyalgia, but triggered by trauma to a nerve

        • Victoria,
          You could think about it in this way:

          If we conclude that any event that came before another event must have caused the second event (without performing controlled experiments or thinking about possible reasons for why the causation occurred), then wouldn’t it be just as easy for us to conclude that your fibromyalgia is a result of your having measles and mumps as a child?

          I’m not saying this is true at all, and I’m not trying to minimize your condition in anyway. My point is that the aim of science is to find out the truth behind how the world works; without it, anyone could make whatever claims they wanted that this causes that, and so forth.

          Also, while it is true that many (like you) have survived measles, mumps, etc., there have also been those that have died from it – and in my opinion, being subject to illnesses like this can reduce quality of life.

          • You are right that is an opinion. He or she believes that quality of life decreases when people suffer with preventable illnesses. Fortunately, her opinion is backed by scientific evidence which makes it credible and valid. An opinion that is not backed by evidence should be disregarded because it is completely unsubstantiated.

  2. Safety of vaccines is based on statistical evaluations and involve calculations wherein the minimal risks of serious adverse events are weighed against benefits of vaccination.

    Quote from Robert Catalano’s his book “The Great White Hoax”:
    “If medical statistics were compiled by statisticians who had no interest in the outcome, the drug industry would topple into the dust”.

    • It’s wonderful that the GHF is bringing in a speaker like this. The decreasing rate of vaccination is alarming. I applaud your efforts and (as a non member of GHF) am very excited to attend the lecture on Tuesday.

        • The decreasing rate of vaccination is the public telling you they are tired of the sacrifice. Are you and yours vaccinated?

          • No, the decreasing vaccination is the public demonstrating their ignorance on the benefits of vaccinating and the huge risks of not vaccinating. That’s why education programs and utilizing media outlets both are critical to the public’s health.

            Of course I am vaccinated. I haven’t missed a vaccination. Interesting anecdote, though. I did not receive the Varicella vaccine because it was not released at the time. I did have natural chicken pox which many anti-vaccers argue is better as it produces stronger immunity. However, I then proceeded to contract shingles as a healthy twelve year old which is extremely uncommon. Getting the shingles virus at that age means that immunity to varicella was not strong. That is despite the fact that I contracted a full-blown version of the illness.

          • I am 56, and contracted varicella as a child, decades before the vaccine became available. About six years ago I came down with shingles, which was the most pain I’d ever experienced. Half of my face went limp, and I still have minor nerve damage just under my bottom lip.

  3. Parents aren’t vaccinating or are doing limited vaccinations for their children because they ARE now educated about the dangers of some vaccines on some children. They see a child with autism on every corner -1 in every 58 boys(no ep[idemic 20 years ago), 1 in 10 with asthma, a diabetes epidemic for children, food allergies etc. We are the most vaccinated country in the world and are 44th in infant mortality. Adults alsodon’t live as long as most other Western, industrialized nations. Vaccines studies have all been done by government health agencies and pharma who have a lot to lose if people don’t vaccinate. These studies are not a true indication of the scientific proof of vaccine safety.
    Maurine meleck, SC
    grandmother to 2 vaccine injured boys, one recovered.

    • With a decrease in the number of pirates, there has been an increase in global warming over the same period.
      Therefore, global warming is caused by a lack of pirates.

    • It is definitely true that autism, asthma, allergies, and other autoimmune conditions are on the rise in this country. Indeed, as someone who suffers from severe allergies that I’ve developed over my 21 years of life, I would love there to be a simple answer. Unfortunately for those of us wanting a simple answer, but fortunately for the populations now not dying of epidemics in wealthy countries, vaccines do not cause these problems. Vaccinations are given in a lot of places, and there are a lot of things in the social, medical, and cultural atmosphere of the United States that are unique and could play roles in the etiologies of the diseases mentioned.

      In response to your claim that vaccine studies are unreliable because they have been funded by government health agencies (your point about pharma makes some sense): you’re right, they DO have a lot to lose if people don’t vaccinate–the children of this country. Personally, I’m glad the government has an interest in it’s populations health, though that interest may not always be executed perfectly.

      • Mrs. Darwin, what evidence can you cite that the incidence (not prevalence) of autism has increased significantly over the last 30 years? Are you saying all ASDs have increased, or just autistic disorder?

    • A tenet of scientific methodology is that correlation does not imply causation. Although you may be observing that all of these diseases and disorders (allergies, diabetes, autism, etc.) are increasing at the same time that vaccination rates are increasing, that is not enough to show that one is the cause of the other.

      We need controlled studies in order to establish causation and eliminate as many other possibly hidden variables as we can. It is true that often the kinds of observations you list guide us in our scientific inquiry. However, we cannot draw conclusions from the fact that two things co-occur, or simply because one event follows another.

      As for the idea that government and pharma are conspiring to falsify evidence in support of vaccines – well, I suppose I can’t really prove or disprove that one. However, I do know that scientific studies are subjected to peer-review before they are published, and so I would imagine that a whole lot of people would have to be in on this hoax in order for them to do this good of a job of hiding it.

      • Further, it would be in the pharmaceutical companies’ best interests to not vaccinate. Drugs are a MUCH bigger business than vaccines. Lipid reducing drugs alone have made more money than the entire vaccine industry. Inducing an epidemic and then subsequently treating these conditions with medications would be much more fiscally beneficial. (Offit, Paul. Vaccines and Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction.)

    • I can reference you the articles of meta-analyses on the safety of MMR, if you’d like. These studies have been performed and no credible evidence of significant danger has been found, but the media (especially the British media!) has done a really frighteningly good job at scaring the crap out of parents who want to just do right by their children. As a result, children are now getting the mumps and measles at rates unheard of before the scare.

      The initial studies linking autism to MMR have been discredited a thousand times over. The numbers were cooked, and Wakefield (the main researcher in all this) had a conflicting financial interest. Here’s the Washington Post, which has references:

      Once again, I can find the meta-analyses, too, if you need them.

      All medical procedures have risk. However, practically, the risk in MMR is so small that we can easily deem it “safe.”

      • even better, Wakefield had his license revoked. and is banned from practicing in the UK. and was wiped from the medical register. Not to mention that the paper was retracted several years ago.

      • Absolutely not! Nobody here wants any innocent people to suffer. Absolutely nobody. However, she has presented misinformation for example that studies are only done by the government or large pharmaceutical companies. This is not true. In addition, these pharmaceutical companies do not have a lot to lose by failing with their vaccinations. The government has to give incentives to make vaccines because they make so little and in the long run actually cost pharmaceutical companies. Which makes more, a vaccine that’s given once, or a drug that’s given for a chronic condition every day for over twenty years?

        It troubles me when someone spreads this misinformation because it could lead somebody to not vaccinate their child. They thus put not only their own child at risk, but every child their child comes into contact with.

        • Why are they doing that then? Why are groups trying so hard to discredit something that is intended for good? They obviously see things differently for some reason.

          • There are couple of different hypotheses as to why people latch onto the pseudoscientific anti-vaccine movement. First off, there will always be people who deny fact. There are still people who believe the world is flat. They are not rational. Or, like in the case of Andrew Wakefield, there was a conflict of interest that lead him to present a fraudulent case study (was NOT scientific). In the case of the anti-vaccine movement, a few irrational and/or immoral people (Jenny McCarthy, Andrew Wakefield, Kirby, etc.) have grabbed a hold of the media. The media’s interest is in garnering attention whether it is merited or not. A scandal is ideal. They are not concerned with saving lives, they are (this is a generalization of course) concerned with getting money and attention.

            The evidence is overwhelming that vaccines are ubiquitously good for public health and individual health.

          • I can think of two other plausible reasons:

            1) People who present their ideas to the media actually believe what they are saying. For instance, they have heard some very compelling and heart-wrenching story of a 2-year-old displaying signs of autism the day after a vaccination. Although this is not evidence, emotions have a much greater impact on memory than facts, so a story like this can stick with someone and make him/her want to prevent such a sad event. Unfortunately, statistics and facts are what decisions should be based off of, not emotion.

            2) Media outlets actively look for a story that will capture people’s attention. They get money from sponsors based on how many people tune in to their media source, so it is in their best interest to report controversial, interesting stories, even if the ideas are not fully researched or have been shown to be invalid.

          • While it’s true that media coverage of vaccine rejectionism has been credulous in the past, it has been getting better. The old narrative, which was “many parents blame vaccines for autism” has been slowly replaced with “vaccine rejecting parents are jeopardizing public health.” Dr. Offit deserve much of the credit for helping to educate not only the public, but science writers and their editors about the anti-vaccine movement and its consequences.

  4. 1) Correlation does not equal causation. I learned that in fifth grade.
    2) So you’re saying you would rather have polio? Or maybe smallpox?
    3) Let’s think about probability. If thousands of children are vaccinated in the US every day, what are the chances that some children will fall ill after their vaccination? 100 percent. It’s called probability. Some children will also get in car accidents after being vaccinated. It doesn’t mean the vaccine caused it.

        • To ask if I would rather have polio and ask if I would rather have smallpox is suggesting an exaggerated circumstance. My answer is no, but does he really need an answer to such a ridiculous question?

          • This, from the World Health Organization (a branch of the United Nations):

            “In September 2003, amid speculation in northern Nigeria that the polio vaccine was contaminated with contraceptive and infectious agents, immunization activities in endemic states were suspended. Coverage significantly declined in almost all northern Nigerian states, resulting in a resurgence of polio cases with transmission to epidemic levels. Previously polio-free states in southern Nigeria saw the disease’s resurgence, and by the end of 2003 transmission had spread to eight African Region countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo) and to others outside the region. By mid-2005, 18 countries in three WHO regions had reported wild polio virus cases: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Togo (African Region); Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen (Eastern Mediterranean Region); and Indonesia (South-East Asian Region). In addition, five countries had re-established endemic transmission: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

            The Nigerian states that had suspended immunization activities subsequently resumed campaigns in July 200410 in conjunction with other campaigns across west and central Africa. As a result, surveillance data from the first half of 2005 suggest that polio cases were decreasing in Nigeria, and that previously polio-free countries were no longer being directly infected by the Nigeria-derived virus.”

            WHO | An Evaluation of Infant Immunization in Africa: Is a Transformation in Progress?”

  5. Ms. Darwin & All, Like yourselves, I can only make comment here if it is allowed and it was. First, I don’t know that anyone really has a definative answer on what fibromyalgia is unless of course you have it and in that case we could compare notes. As long as there are many doctors, there will be many opinions. Ms. Darwin, I don’t have to negate the science or provide evidence to make a point as no one else has really provided evidence either. There is no proof of safety or effectiveness when it comes to vaccines. The point I made in entering this debate, I can state my opinion just as you have! In the studies I have read about vaccines, there are so many ways to create these feared viruses, i.e. measles, mumps, flu, HIV, etc., people are being controlled with fear and that is a fact. If suddenly these illnesses become pandemic, how do we know it isn’t the Frankenstein science creating the pandemic? Weapons of mass destruction .. that is a fact Ms. Darwin.

    • Victoria, we are in no way restricting your right to comment, nor are the moderators. My earlier comment referred to one of the causes of fibromyalgia, and it is, by definition, chronic pain and a heightened response to pressure. that isn’t up for debate, that’s a medical diagnosis. it is a malfunction of the nervous system. And actually, on the case of vaccines, there aren’t many opinions. Actual licensed doctors do not believe as a whole that such disorders are caused by vaccinations. And then you begin to talk about the creation of viruses. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you’ve never heard of ebola. It’s a homographic virus that quite literally melts you from the inside, and is far more terrifying than anything we can do. As you have no biological training, the complexity of such an organism requires a bit of perspective. We can barely create genes, let alone creatures capable of utterly ignoring the immune system. Evolution has created things much worse than we ever can. On the cheerier side, these disease are impractical as weapons, both because they kill too fast to spread, and because their collection and deployment requires a nonexist amount of trained researchers and facilities.

    • Because there are NUMEROUS responses here that refute everything you just said (read: all the studies that disprove that vaccines are dangerous), I’m not going to waste my time restating them. All I will say is that science is not opinions. Science is the scientific method which is testing hypothesis and either rejecting or failing to reject them. You demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of this basic premise. These studies are not opinions in any way. If you would like to test the hypothesis that the flying spaghetti monster causes all diseases but I guarantee you would reject it.

  6. Create a test of sorts, prior to vaccination, test these poor innocent souls for allergies at least. After all, most are newborn! No parent should be paralized with fear that the vaccination process could kill or mame their children! Shame on our medical professionals, shame on you and your greed. You are not concerned about the well being of this country, you are concerned about your pocketbooks!! Clearly!

    • Oh right because it’s not as though vaccines save MILLIONS of lives around the world.

      If you choose not to vaccinate your child and then your child contracts measles and dies, then you KILLED your child. You decided not to protect your child against something entirely preventable. If your child then goes and infects and kills other children who couldn’t be vaccinated or who have lost immunity, then you killed them too. It might not feel like it, but it’s the fact of statistics.

      Finally, you say that doctors are concerned only with their pocketbooks. Again I remind you that the entire vaccine industry from start to finish is worth less than the one drug Lipitor before generics. There are no patents on vaccines. Merck is the only drug company that makes an MMR vaccine even though every other pharmaceutical company could. This is because they make almost NO money. They would make FARRRRRR more money by infecting everyone and then treating them.

      Unfortunately you have been preyed on by the media. They have tricked you with unscientific anecdotal reports and preying on your fear. The media wants a story, not science. I once used to be an anti-vaccer really. I hated thimerosal and though Gardasil could trigger an autoimmune response. Then I carefully studied the facts and have talked to experts like Dr. Offit.

  7. You do know that they do those tests before, right? And they ask if the child is allergic. The parent is free to request allergy tests if they so wish. And I’m a physicist, not a physician. On the matter of cost, though, you make no sense. To quote the CDC, which is paid entirely through taxes and thus can’t make money off of vaccines, vaccines save an average of $1.00 per illness per person for the patient, because a vaccinated child won’t have to go through expensive medical care later, which causes the doctors to *gasp* make less money! Doctors really aren’t as well paid as they once were, especially pediatricians, and thus don’t have any stake in the vaccines. I’m sorry if you have had a terrible doctor, but that isn’t a reason to libel the whole profession.

      • my industry? there is no industry of science. Hell, I’d love to gut the bastards, we compete for the same funding. I have no stake in vaccines, beyond my own health

    • No, I am not familiar with tests at all. How exactly would a new parent know if there newborn had allergies by the way? I am not a fan of the CDC.

      • There are several different egg allergy tests. One consists of a doctor taking a blood sample and sending it a lab where it is mixed with the allergen and then checked for IgE antibodies which are allergy indicators. Another is a skin tests where one is exposed to a small amount of the extract of egg in the skin. The doctor then looks for irritation that would be indicative of an allergic reaction.

        Why don’t you like the CDC?

        • Incompetent people seem to be making decisions at the CDC, I refer to the recent arrest of a director charged with child molestation. I have not followed the details since the arrest, although I believe she turned herself in. Can’t help but wonder about the rest of the place, can one?

          • That is very upsetting and is a tragedy for that child. However, that has nothing to do with vaccine safety. In addition, she did not work with vaccines, she worked with the terrorism preparedness unit with the CDC. On the other hand, Andrew Wakefield, the man who popularized the anti-vaccine movement, falsified his vaccine/autism related data and nearly killed one of the innocent children in his study that left him with multiple organ failures. He now requires round-the-clock care. I would be much more skeptical of the organization that has corruption directly related to its line of work whereas the CDC does have some horribly corrupt individuals whose transgressions are fortunately not tied with their work.

          • This is a complete list of components of vaccines that may trigger allergic reactions: gelatin, egg protein, rarely yeast, latex from the vial stopper or syringe plungers, neomycin, or thimerosal. All of these components can be allergy-tested with skin and/or blood tests.

            As for effects on the brain, I’m going to give you a very comprehensive list:
            – Aluminum: Breast-fed infants receive nearly twice as much aluminum from breast-milk than they do from vaccines. Formula-fed infants can be as high as 15 times that. Trace amounts of aluminum do not harm the brain.

            – Formaldehyde: Again, vaccines only contain trace amounts. Scientific studies demonstrate that one could handle 600 times that amount of formaldehyde without negative effects. Additionally, formaldehyde is a compound necessary for human metabolic processes. Humans have an average of 5 times the amount of formaldehyde in their bodies than that of all vaccines to which an infant would be exposed.

            -Squalene: This is a natural product in the synthesis of cholesterol. It’s found in our bodies and in many oil-containing foods. It is used to enhance an immune response. As it is a natural product and it has been studied, there are no safety concerns. Finally, it is used only in the anthrax vaccine which is not routinely given.

            -Thimerosal: This is a preservative to help fend off contamination of the vaccine. While it contains mercury it is ethyl mercury which is not bioaccumulative meaning that it does not build up in the body. Numerous studies that I have posted above conclude that it is not harmful. You will find far higher levels of methyl mercury (which does build up in the body) in water and fish. That being said, it has been removed from all vaccines with the exclusion of multi-dose flu vaccine vials.

            Vaccines are very well researched. They are there to save lives and money.

  8. It’s rather amazing a little person like myself can stir such insult from the highly educated .. I’m afraid the information most of you are sharing is not very convincing, at least not to me.

    • I’m sorry that you don’t believe these numerous different studies without conflicts of interest. I’m so disturbed by what you are saying because I used to believe what you said. I am genuinely disturbed that the media is willing to put the general population at risk in an attempt to generate money from this sensational fear. Did you hope to post here and be ignored? I genuinely am interested in saving lives through public health and hope that I can better inform the populace about science.

      • This is one of the most sincere statements I believe you have made here. But then you changed and started the sarcasm etc. Too bad.

  9. I like to believe that there is something that I can say to change people’s minds. I like to think that they will side with logic rather than tangentially correlated anecdotal reports.

  10. And thus we arrive to the depressing truth. While I am a physicist professionally, I am by no means highly educated. I’m a high school student, a junior to be exact. And as none of this will convince you, I’d like to ask you a question. Would you rather two million people die every year from a preventable disease, or not? You see, while we’re free of it, there was once a monster called smallpox. It killed around 70% of the people it infected within 12 days. It no longer exists. Why? Because human tenacity and ingenuity, in the form of science, eradicated it from the earth. Are you seriously advocating the return of such a thing? If vaccines have done nothing, have not been proven to have any effect, then I challenge you, right here and now, as I assume you have stuck by your principles and refused your vaccination, to put yourself to the test. I will do likewise. I have enough faith in science that I am willing to stick a cut hand into a beaker filled with variola cultures, if you will do the same. I hope you join me.

  11. I don’t believe it is the media putting anyone at risk, your reputation is being greatly marred with death, disease, seizures, autism, you name it! It is much more than coincidence. As for what I read, I haven’t mentioned once what my sources are ,, thank you all for your time and comments. What an experience!

    • You’re right, I’d truly would like to see your sources. I for one am certainly open to any new or unseen scientific research because I do believe in science. If new evidence arises, I will look critically at it.

    • In addition you failed to address many of the issues I stated in my post. For example, how you can rightly justify killing innocent children or putting them at a heightened risk of preventable death. But if you have sources that back you up I’m all ears.

    • This is almost like matching wits or something. You think this is what Paul had in mind with regards to educating the public?

      • Absolutely. I am hoping by questioning you like this you realize how important it is to vaccinate. I love having all of my strong opinions challenged so I can make sure they are valid opinions. This is what makes one “educated.” I would think anyone would want to do the same…make sure their opinions are valid?

        • Any chance you could allow us to print and read them? Want to at least share where you found them? It doesn’t make sense why you would hold back life-saving information. Props to all of you out there who are putting out scientifically accurate information.

          • Victoria’s sources most likely include:

            Boyd Haley, Joseph Mercola,, Generation Rescue, SAFEMINDS, and, to name a few.

  12. You do sound confused. As for your comment on killing innocent children, there are children being injured and losing their lives. It is not due to a lack of vaccines, it sounds like it may be due to just the opposite, over vaccination! And again, I don’t have to negate the science or provide evidence to make a point as no one else has provided evidence either. The proof is in the numbers of injuries and deaths, wouldn’t you think? It isn’t coincidence! It is a crap shoot! Lunacy! I hope I’ve used the proper words and spelled this all correctly.

    • This is getting out of hand.

      You started your comments attempting to have a normal, reasonable argument (well, relatively) but when people display statistics and tested hypotheses you resort to ad hominem attacks and childish jibes.

      There is no such thing as “over vaccination”, and the evidence is RIGHT ABOVE YOU. If your immune system could become overwhelmed by vaccine shots, we would all be dead. There are more bacteria living on our skin than cells in our body, and each bacteria has more “harmful” proteins then a vaccine. Sources? Look at what Salk posted when you made this claim earlier.

      “I don’t have to negate the science or provide evidence to make a point as no one else has provided evidence either.”

      Look at all of the articles people such as Salk have posted, if those do not count at “evidence” then this conversation is over; people who do not accept scientific evidence are not worth debating with, since logic and repeatedly observed results cannot trump blind belief.

      “The proof is in the numbers of injuries and deaths”
      Yeah, show us the numbers and we’ll take you slightly more seriously.

    • You have resorted to ad hominem attacks however I’m going to ignore those and once again try to logically question this argument. Are you actually concerned with my future children’s well-being. If you truly believe that if I were to vaccinate them that I would commit them to a live of pain from the chronic conditions they will get, then why would you hold back evidence that you state you have. Don’t you want my children to lead happy and healthy lives? After all, it’s not them who would be choosing, it would be me. So please, I would love to see the evidence you have.

      You are stating that chronic conditions and deaths have increased as vaccinations have increased. While you haven’t shown me any data to verify this, I’ll assume that it’s true for argument’s sake. The argument about pirates is true, but I will give you several other different examples to help you better understand where I’m coming from.

      1) As the number of TVs per household increases, the life spans of the people living in the house increases. Scientists decided to perform a controlled experiment (the only way to establish a causal relationship) to see if perhaps there were health benefits from TVs. They hypothesized that perhaps something was being emitted from a TV that benefitted one’s health in some way. They studied this and found it to be untrue. They then controlled for income and found that actually it is both household income and national income that contribute to health. There was simply a correlation that households with more personal and national income tend to have more TVs. So more TVs don’t lead to better health. Similarly, a plausible correlation is that as we grow technologically (and thus get more vaccines) we accrue greater national wealth. The wealthier a nation, the older the average age of childbearing is (to a point). Perhaps there is a relationship between the age of egg/sperm cells and autism rates. We would then test this hypothesis to either reject or fail to reject it.

      2) As for a discussion of anecdotal evidence (I cannot remember if I mentioned this before), there is a story of a father who waited in line with his young child to receive the DTaP vaccine for his infant. The line became long and the wait was utterly excruciating for both him and the child. He decided to turn around and get the vaccination later when the line was short. That night his child died of SIDS. Had he gotten his child vaccinated, he would have felt no doubt that the vaccine caused SIDS. It seems logical to our irrational minds that when one thing happens before another that one thing leads to another. Fortunately we have controlled experiments to account for that.

      As the other poster stated, if you are rejecting the scientific studies as not real evidence, then we really cannot try to sort through this any more. Science cannot argue with magic. It just can’t.

      On a lighter note: “What do scientists call alternative medicine that works? Medicine.”

      • I am re-reading this blog carefully and checking links etc. There are a lot of heartbreaking stories out there just as the one you mention here.

        • That’s why I’m so passionate about this. Because of all the upsetting and disturbing stories about innocent kids.

    • Victoria, it’s a cruel world and children have been dying for thousands of years. Just because a child gets a vaccine, and then “later” dies, doesn’t mean the vaccine is the cause. And what does “later” mean? Some VAERS reports are filed eight months after the vaccine was given, which means the injury or death occurred well after the supposed cause.

  13. Victoria, your argument seems to have changed quite a bit in this last post. From most of what you have said, previous to this post where you jump to the claim that vaccines kill people, this is what I understand to be your argument, and that of your movement:

    1. Over-vaccination causes disorders such as autism and fibromyalgia

    2. This is supported by the number of people who have autism and fibromyalgia and the number of people who get vaccinated

    3. The evidence that has been provided to demonstrate the falsity of that claim is not evidence at all (after all, it’s only science, right? It’s not like that is held to any standards, or like scientific research is often carried out by salaried academics who stand to gain very little from the actual conclusions of their studies). Evidence is found by looking at correlations of trends and prevalence, and deciding that they represent a causal relationship (obviously we need more pirates, because this weather is whacked out).

    4. You know at least one person (you) who has survived various illnesses against which we generally vaccinate, indicating that you did not get those vaccinations, and you have fibromyalgia.

    No where in your posts, however, have I seen a claim that vaccines do not protect against the illnesses that they claim to protect against. They do, right? Even if we are disregarding that “falsified” science (because we already know which side of this debate uses that), then as you said, the proof can be found just by looking at the numbers of people and children who died of these illnesses before we vaccinated, versus after.

    So my question is this: if I decide to suspend all belief in science, and believe from your anecdotes, and those provided by the others in your movement, that vaccines cause autism and fibromyalgia, am I then supposed to believe that it would be better for a child to die young than to live with autism? Or that a life with fibromyalgia is worse than no life at all?

        • It certainly does in my opinion. If she can’t follow what I am talking about, maybe she needs to slow down, re-read it.

          • Just a note (a little off topic but still…), the author of the post that you are responding to never chose to affiliate with a specific gender. Making the assumption that the author is female (and then assuming that the author is unintelligent in some way) is little unfortunate.

            In addition, whether or not you think that the question that this author posed does in fact precipitate out of the claims that you have made on this forum does not determine the validity of the question to this debate.

    • Opinions are fine.

      The problem is when your opinion has the potential to negatively affect everyone else. It’s not a stretch to see how some people not getting vaccinated because of their opinions could lead to the spread of disease.

      It took me some time to catch up and read all the comments here, and I’m wondering why you’ve never provided information that supports your opinion. As someone above said, if you truly believed that if any of us were to vaccinate our hypothetical future children we’d be endangering them, and if you really cared about that, you’d tell us what you think is going on and why.

      As it is, every time someone brings up evidence, you fall back on “but it’s my opinion!”

      • Yes Sara, opinions are more than fine, as is yours. If my opinion is negatively affecting you, then you shouldn’t read it. Read their facts, they are the professionals, I am merely the public.

        • Wait, I’m confused.

          Here you commented that you are “merely the public”, while below you told Opinion not to be “so naive to think that your science outweighs the outcry of the public.”

          So do you believe in the power of the public or the power of the “professionals”?

          • Perhaps you didn’t understand why I asked that question. I don’t really care whether you belive in public opinion or research, I care that your arguments are inconsistent to the point of incomprehensibility. I just want you to be clearer so everyone can have a good discussion.

    • The efficacy of vaccination is not an opinion! It’s science! You can think whatever you want but there is no research I have seen yet that would support vaccines causing many of the conditions you have stated. So for that reason, the efficacy and safety of vaccines as I have presented it is fact.

    • If I went to a physics conference claiming that string theory is bogus, my opinion would be dismissed.
      Science is NOT opinion.
      You have a right to form an opinion about a scientific topic like vaccines, but your opinion will be dismissed.

      Do not be so naive to think your “opinion” about vaccines is just as valid as the evidence stated by scientists. This is a common misperception many Americans make; You have freedom to opinion, but this does not equate with validity of opinion unless it is supported by evidence.

      Example: People who say the earth is flat do not have opinions worth considering, since they have no supporting evidence to argue with scientists about.

      Do not state your opinion; state facts and statistics.
      You have the right to an opinion, but your opinion is useless in a scientific field unless it is supported by data.

      • Do not be so naive to think that your science outweighs the outcry of the public. And I can state my opinion as long as it is accepted on this blog.

        • You’ve actually highlighted the crux of the problem here. The influence of public outcry and media sensationalism is often greater than that of scientific fact. This is exactly the issue that Dr. Offit’s talks and books are geared towards. Just because the media plays off public fears doesn’t mean that what they report is correct or acceptable.

  14. I was hoping one of you could set my mind at ease, my grandson Ryder is 2 months old, his pediatrician will start encouraging vaccination soon. He was slightly premature at birth so he did not receive the HepB. In my family, fibromyalgia, rhematoid arthritis, ADHD and severe food allergies. In my daughter in laws family, autism, not sure of what else. I was vaccinated in the 50’s, my son in the 80’s. The current schedule is nearly four times what it was in the 80’s. Seems horribly extreme. Not only are autism rates higher, so are SIDS related deaths. Life is too precious not to address a concern like this appropriately. When the list of vaccine related injuries grows, it should be a red flag to someone. I work for law enforcement in the state of Colorado, I have for 22 years. The insult and ridicule from this group is discouraging to say the least. Thank you!

    • I’m definitely understand your concern. These chronic conditions are nothing to scoff at.

      I will start by presenting a study that concludes that vaccines do not overwhelm the immune system of any infants, children, or adults.
      ( (

      I will then point you in the direction of several studies that conclude that there is no link between autism and vaccines or SIDS and vaccines. In fact, SIDS rates decrease with vaccination rates by half.

      I will then remind you that people simply report anything adverse that occurs after a vaccine. That’s actually a very good thing so that we can study the correlations between these reported events and a given vaccine. Then after looking at the correlations, we can perform experiments. Fortunately these experiments and studies conclude that there is no link with these chronic conditions. Vaccines have, however, been linked with a lower rate of these chronic diseases.
      -Steere AC, Sikand VK, Meurice F, et al. Vaccination against Lyme disease with recombinant Borrelia burgdorferi outer-surface lipoprotein A with adjuvant. N Engl J Med 1998;339:209-215.
      -Lathrop SL, Ball R, Haber P, et al. Adverse event reports following vaccination for Lyme disease: December 1998-July 2000. Vaccine 2002;20:1603-1608.
      Ascherio A, Zhang SM, Hernan MA, et al. Hepatitis B vaccination and the risk of multiple sclerosis. N Engl J Med 2001;344:327-332.
      -Confavreux C, Suissa S, Saddier P, et al. Vaccinations and the risk of relapse in multiple sclerosis. N Engl J Med 2001;344:319-326.
      -Moriabadi NF, Niewiesk S, Kruse N, et al. Influenza vaccination in MS: absence of T-cell response against white matter proteins. Neurology 2001;56:938-943.

      Here, I will show you the dangers of not vaccinating your child. I will also state a few. 295,000 deaths around the world caused by pertussis. 450 children a day die from measles. Influenza kills 250,000 to 500,000 people a year. 41,400 have died from influenza in the US from 1979 to 2001. In the US, flu kills at the minimum 3,300. 350,000,000 people around the world have been infected with Hepatitis B in just 2004. 600,000 people a year die from HepB. Cervical cancer is the fifth most deadly kind of cancer in women. Over 250,000 people per year die from cervical cancer. In 1998 in the US, 4,800 women died. This is of course not all statistics about all viruses, but I hope it gives you a sense of how dangerous these infectious diseases really are.

      I will conclude that life is too precious to take a chance with your child’s life. The risks of not vaccinating are huge. By not vaccinating your child you are playing Russian Roulette. In addition, you are putting millions of other children’s lives at risk by not vaccinating. Thus I would fully recommend that you comply with the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule for your grandson.

      • I will review these links carefully as I have just reviewed this blog again. The above lecture was on –

        “The Challenges of Communicating Vaccine Science to the Public.”

        I don’t know that everyone here did a very good job of setting my mind at ease about the myths and realities of vaccine science.

        I personally believe you should try a little harder.

        • I hope you are kidding. Sincerely. Do you know the amount of time I have devoted to make the facts clear? It’s actually embarrassing for me. I should be working on my final papers but instead I’m trying to save your grandchildren’s lives.

          • It will take me a good deal of time to read all the links you have posted. Work on your final papers. I have done a lot of reading over the last month, I will do this as I have time.

    • Victoria, can you substantiate your claim that autism rates are higher? Do you mean more diagnoses? That does not indicate an epidemic, as you seem to claim.

    • Thank you for this statement you made (SALK) – The only time I felt sincerity from any of you.

      I’m sorry that you don’t believe these numerous different studies without conflicts of interest. I’m so disturbed by what you are saying because I used to believe what you said. I am genuinely disturbed that the media is willing to put the general population at risk in an attempt to generate money from this sensational fear. Did you hope to post here and be ignored? I genuinely am interested in saving lives through public health and hope that I can better inform the populace about science.

  15. Salk, I’m in awe of your valiant attempts to convince a poster who is obviously trolling sites to promote anti-vaccine propaganda. I think the information you posted will be valuable to other people who might be less informed about the subject, regardless of where said people may stand on the issue of vaccine safety. That being said, your final papers will not write themselves. Do yourself a favor and acknowledge that this is a fight you/science/reason cannot win (but actually so so so much respect).

    Obviously everything Victoria has posted has offended my sensibilities as an informed person who believes in science; I think I am healthily skeptical and critical of our government and our health officials but vaccines are an area in which I am convinced by the information I’m given. What Victoria calls a “sensational fear” is a justified fear, in fact. Diseases kill people. They disable people for life. I know a lot of people who have survived having all of their childhood vaccinations with no ill effects. I don’t, though, know many people who had smallpox and survived. Claiming that the media is cashing on a sensational fear is, I think, claiming that there is a giant conspiracy between the government, health officials, pharmaceutical companies, and the media in which they all work together to make diseases look scarier than they are so more people get vaccines. I do wish you had been able to attend Dr. Offit’s talk because he addressed many of these issues there. First, as someone posted earlier, vaccines are not nearly as profitable as drugs. Secondly, in order to defend your position I think it would be necessary for you to be able to claim that you think people are at a greater risk by getting vaccinations (risking autism, fibromyalgia, etc.) than by not getting vaccinations and contracting potentially deadly illnesses (which the conditions you’ve associated with vaccines are not, by the way). Are you willing to make that claim?

      • I did not mean you personally should try harder, that was directed towards some of the others making comment. How many do you suppose have been throwing comments at me? I did make note up there you should work on your paper! Hope you saw it!

    • After about three posts I started smelling troll but I realized this is still really valuable information for everyone to have. There are people who think this way who are putting their own, their children’s, and their communities at an unnecessary life-threatening risk. Also it’s a moderately productive form of procrastination.

  16. Salk, thank you so much for your valiant efforts at trying to change the misperceptions of those propagating the anti-vaccine movement. I think the information you have provided here will be useful to others who come upon this thread.

  17. I am not trolling, this is the first time I have ever looked up the term to see what it even means. If what I am posting here is so bothersome, why did your moderator allow it to post? Delete the posts.

    • We have no idea who the moderator is.
      The moderators do not delete posts, that’s completely hypocritical against us being able to post whatever we want in the first place.

      What you are posting here is bothersome, but we are not censoring you, an will not censor you;We are trying to convince you with substantiated data that your current stance on vaccines is dangerous for you, people around you, and the human species in general.

      It seems the reason why people think you are “trolling” is because you are re-stating points you made earlier, even though they have long been refuted by sources that others have cited.

      • Everyone does not see the world in the same colors as you all do, they never will. I am not personally creating a danger for anyone. I suggested that my son and his wife educate themselves on the subject of vaccine. I suggested it strongly and offered to pay for it. I made that suggestion prior to my ever coming across your website. It is difficult for young parents to ignore the information out there with regards to dangers. It is highly probable they know and in our case are related to persons with problems associated with the so mentioned dangers. The studies are not concrete enough for some persons. You are dealing with something that has been controversial for years and trying to educate everyone now is going to be a long, hard battle.

        • Although educating people is often hard, it is a battle worth fighting! I would posit that the primary problem in this debate has been putting opinions on equal footing with impartial scientific studies. This is the culture dominating our political debates and a lot of media out there, and it is damaging.

          Critically thinking means looking at the data and analyzing it as impartially as possible, not ascribing causation to correlation. The worst example I can think of from recently was a recent “news” story that watching television takes years off your life. Wow! That would be bad if it were true (and it certainly sells newspapers)! However, the more obvious explanation is that people who spend more time watching TV are the same people who have other unhealthy habits – or who are unemployed, even. It’s a shame that the curriculum doesn’t typically cover this type of stuff in high school.

  18. It sounds like we can’t make any headway if you won’t acknowledge the validity of science. Science can’t fight magic. It just can’t. I acknowledge that this is a long, hard battle, but it will save lives. We are in the largest measles outbreak since the vaccine emerged due to low vaccination rates which means if things keep going the way they are that infectious diseases will reemerge with a vengeance. Kids shouldn’t have to go through this.

    You are absolutely objectively creating dangers for the rest of the world by presenting people with misinformation about vaccines (such as that the scientific evidence isn’t real). You are putting every child who cannot medically get a vaccine at risk. You are putting children who are too young to be vaccinated at risk. You are putting people who have lost their immunity at risk. Most importantly, you are playing with your grandchildren’s lives because of some sensationalist media. Each person has to learn how to scan through credible and non credible sources. For example, if I saw a headline on that said “Obama is actually a Barbary Pirate” and either lacked citations or the citations came from, say, somebody who lacked credentials, I would ignore it. Studies from major research universities or major research companies with proven track records and respectable citations are far more credible.

    • I completely agree Salk, and while all the back and forth on this article may have violated the law of “DNFTT”, I think it’s still worthwhile.

      Those of us who attended Dr. Offit’s talk will remember that in response to the question “what can we do about this issue as students?” Dr. Offit said that “no venue is too small”, and that you can make a difference by “inserting yourself into the conversation”
      Thanks for doing just that, Salk (and many others, Concerned Physicist, Max, and more, sorry if I missed you!)

  19. I am not starting over with all this. I do not have to acknowledge anything (salk) but will say your last post is rather opinionated and I don’t appreciate any of it.

    • First of all, this is heroic. I admire your commitment to this argument.

      I gotta say though, I think you opened a can of worms with this lady by saying you need a .edu or .gov type thing. There’s no doubt that’s correct but we’ll see what she has to say. Maybe she’ll actually look into your argument and admit you’re right on the basis of the reasons you’ve presented without getting hung up on that.

      Good luck. Keep fighting the good fight.

  20. The link I referenced was one I found interesting (as will a good number of others), I did not create it or contribute anything to it, I happened across it. It does not surprise me that you call some of it or all of it ‘quackery’.

    I am currently reading a book called the Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families & Health Practitioners by Neil Z. Miller & Russel Blaylock. One review of the books is noted –
    “A comprehensive, scientifically-documented MUST READ for every parent, healthcare professional and policymaker who faces the dilemma of compulsory vaccination.” –Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH, Medical Director, Homefirst Health Services

    And then I am referencing the links you posted earlier. As mentioned, I have a good deal of reading to do but the fact of this matter is not about educating me, it is about educating young parents many of which are turning away from .edu and .gov facts.

    And it is not just the young parents turning away that is causing the change you’ve noted – the numbers of illegal immigrants coming into this country are contributing to the overall picture as well.

    What contributes to the problem would be the circumstances that cause the disease in the first place, no?

      • Let’s see:

        “And it is not just the young parents turning away that is causing the change you’ve noted – the numbers of illegal immigrants coming into this country are contributing to the overall picture as well.
        What contributes to the problem would be the circumstances that cause the disease in the first place, no?”

        Hmm. Sure sounds like it. I mean, it’s ambiguous what the relevance of the reference to immigrants is supposed to be, but it doesn’t look good…

        • I am talking about change, changes that are taking place that may be affecting the numbers of groups that are turning away from vaccination. Changes to our population, numbers of persons that may be coming into the country not vaccinated. What more do you need to understand this? Quit trying to make it something that it isn’t.

    • I am just wondering about the source, where do measles come from, but I have found some reading.

      For as much as this group is not impressed with me, I can say the same about most of you.

  21. That is not what I said at all, please re-read. If you have not been part of the post read it all. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, the only way I can make it more clear is by saying it is not only the young parents turning away from vaccination. The last paragraph is a question and has nothing to do with the previous paragraph.

  22. You mentioned outbreaks of illness, you cannot say for sure what is contributing to the outbreaks. You want to blame the unvaccinated when in fact you don’t really know.

  23. You know Salk, you said somewhere above that science can’t argue with magic. So why not give philosophy a shot? Victoria’s tone has taken a turn toward speaking to readers rather than us. So in that spirit, I’d like to try to elucidate the answer to one of her questions above.

    “Why are they doing that then? Why are groups trying so hard to discredit something that is intended for good? They obviously see things differently for some reason.”

    This post is for anyone who wants to understand how Victoria is rationalizing the anti-vaccination propaganda to herself. Because I do grant that it seems rational to her. She’s not lying to us. She’s just in the grip of what we in philosophy call an upside-down epistemology. “Epistemology” is just a fancy word for the study of when it’s ok to believe something. Normally, belief in a scientific conclusion goes something like this:

    1) You observe good evidence in support of the conclusion -> You have strong reasons to accept the conclusion

    2) You observe bad evidence in support of the conclusion -> You have weak reasons to accept the conclusion

    3) You observe good evidence that counters the conclusion -> You have strong reasons to reject the conclusion.

    4) You observe bad evidence that counters the conclusion -> You have weak reasons to reject the conclusion.

    OK I think that should be intuitive enough for most people. However, the upside-down epistemology of Victoria looks like this.

    1) You observe good evidence in support of the conclusion -> You read it as evidence of a conspiracy and conflict of interests.

    2) You observe bad evidence in support of the conclusion -> Since good evidence is ruled out as stemming from a conflict of interest, you figure the bad evidence in favor of conclusions is all science really ever has and science is thus, stupid.

    3) You observe good evidence that counters the conclusion -> Well scientists have already done the work of refuting the theory for you thanks to (3) in the normal epistemology so you don’t hear much from people about these cases. This is part of the reason they don’t learn to recognize good evidence in favor of a conclusion. Namely they haven’t experienced the way that science loves to convincingly and humbly refute itself on the basis of good reasons since whatever emerges in place of the old theory will be better. (anti-vaccine propaganda isn’t in this category though)

    4) You observe bad evidence that counters the conclusion -> This is the only kind of evidence you know how to recognize, so you conclude that the conclusion is wrong.

    So yeah, there are probably some details you could add to the upside-down epistemology but that’s the general form. The problem it has right out of hand is that no matter what conspiracy you believe in, the upside-down epistemology will tell you to believe it in the face of whatever evidence comes. In other words the upside-down epistemology does not close in on truth. It closes in on conspiracies, and there is no evidence that it will count against the conspiracy.

  24. “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” –Isaac Asimov

    I’m just going to leave this here.

  25. Victoria states “I don’t have to negate the science or provide evidence to make a point a. . . I can state my opinion just as you have!”

    No, Victoria. Actually, you can’t. You are not able to “state an opinion” without evidence or facts.

    Without facts, you are merely expressing your feelings. Emoting. Decrying. Lamenting.

    Opinion are viewpoints supported by facts and evidence.

    Expression of opinions, rather than feelings, is necessary to engage in a rationale discussion which moves society forward toward a better future.

    Tell your feelings to your diary or go on the Oprah Show. But don’t claim that your expressions of feeling deserve to be given equal footing with thinking people expressing opinions based on facts.

    • anon: I agree with you in your sentiments of anti-Victorianism. However, your statement that one is “not able to ‘state an opinion’ without evidence or facts” is false, considering the accepted definition of the word “opinion.”

      The very first definition of “opinion” offered by the built-in dictionary on my two-year old MacBook Pro is, “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.” Ergo, Victoria is, sadly, correct, when she nonsensically ejaculates, “The point I made in entering this debate, I can state my opinion just as you have!”

      Salk stated earlier: “An opinion that is not backed by evidence should be disregarded because it is completely unsubstantiated.” I don’t disagree with this claim. However, such (unbacked) opinions are still certainly opinions.

      Opinions are not, as anon would have it, “viewpoints supported by facts and evidence.” Rather, as my dictionary helpfully informs me, “When you give your opinion on something, you offer a conclusion or a judgment that, although it may be open to question, seems true or probable to you at the time.” Victoria seems to find her conclusions regarding vaccinations probable. Therefore, through publicizing these conclusions, she offers her opinion.

      Perhaps Victoria’s opinions are also views or beliefs, though it seems unlikely that they could be classified as sentiments or convictions. And perhaps they are also examples of “[e]moting. Decrying. Lamenting” (anon). Regardless of what they really are, I cannot help but agree with anon’s harsh conclusion that “[they do not] deserve to be given equal footing with thinking people expressing opinions based on facts.”

  26. As much as this group may feel they are the only intellects in the world, they/you are not.

    I’ve explained my situation, some of you insult me, call me a troll and so forth (anon).

    If you could leave the insult out and provide education, you would benefit more and so would I.

    This blog has been ongoing for a while, I thought we had worked through some of the communications difficulties..

    • I have a question for you Victoria. Something I’d like you to ponder and get back to me. What evidence WOULD convince you that the anti-vaccination stance is wrong? You’ve mentioned the anecdotes and a few sources that have persuaded you into your anti-vaccination stance so obviously your views are not unmotivated. I’m just wondering what evidence you’d accept as disproving that view?

      Let me put myself on the spot before you respond. If I saw data from an astronomer that showed that Jupiter orbited the Sun faster than Mars, I’d believe that Newton’s theory of gravity was wrong since such an observation would not be consistent with the theory. In that spirt, what experiment would convince you that vaccines are actually not dangerous and the disorders that some individuals develop after receiving vaccination are actually caused by something else?

      • Fingers crossed – I’ve done a lot of reading and posted very little (here) on all I have read.

        Before I answer your question, I would like to finish reading from the links Salk provided above.

    • Victoria,
      If you are upset and displeased with us, then you don’t have to continue replying and commenting on the thread. If you comment, you are bound to get a response…because that’s just the way Swatties are!

        • I think that in venues where people can comment anonymously, you are always bound to get a few rude comments. It’s also true that educated people can be rude (the two are not mutually exclusive, for sure).

          But it seems to me that most of the comments are not insulting, but simply trying to bring out the facts (and yes, I guess that is just my opinion since something can’t be “objectively rude”).

          I’m sorry if you took them as insults.

      • GHF, Who said I was upset or displeased? Let’s just say I am not impressed with your education if you can’t comment without making insult.

        • This comment (and others with similar sentiments) indicated to me that you were:

          “As much as this group may feel they are the only intellects in the world, they/you are not.
          I’ve explained my situation, some of you insult me, call me a troll and so forth (anon).
          If you could leave the insult out and provide education, you would benefit more and so would I.”

    • I’m sure this is just scratching the surface, but the first paper your source cites, Role of Immunogenetics in the Diagnosis of Postvaccinal CNS Pathology,” Massimo Montinari, et al., states the following during the description of its methods:

      “We excluded from the study all patients observed by us whose clinical history was not referable to a vaccination.”

      This is called “cherry-picking” data. By throwing out all the patients whose disease history did not coincide with a vaccination, the correlations will look really good, but they won’t be telling you anything because they picked the data based on conclusions made before collecting it. This is majorly bad science.

      Also, see above explanations of correlation vs. causation. I’m sure others will address some of the other concerns on that website before I get to it, but thanks for revealing a source.

      • It is not my source Max, it is ‘a’ source, one of which Ken was familiar with too, it isn’t hard for people to find, depends on your preferred search engine and how you search the net for things.

  27. GHF – I am not trying to change anyone’s mind about anything. I am trying to sort through a lot of information be it ‘out there’ or here, I am concerned about my tiny grandson as I stated above.

    This is my first blog, so in addition to sorting out fact, opinion, insult etc., I am learning a great deal on communicating i.e. noting my concerns in a proper way so they can be understood in a proper manner, communicating with a diverse age group (as well as one or a two possibly closer to my age).

    I have not discarded the truth or facts being presented to me about vaccination, I want my grandson to be safe and unharmed.

    The decision is not mine to make, it is hard to say how much influence I have on my son and his wife, it is hard to say if they are being influenced by sources other than myself i.e. their pediatrician, family, friends.

    There was a comment made earlier, I will try to find it when I get a chance and re-post .. it sticks in my mind.

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