A hat-tip to my buddy Abel over at TerraSig for keeping this story alive and inspiring me to chime in. --PalMD
It's no secret that I find the anti-vaccination crowd to be abhorrent. The public's health is the first victim, followed closely by individual patients and parents struggling with individual health decisions. I cannot fault patients for making bad decisions---the anti-vaccination movement has a very effective propaganda arm. Folks like Jenny McCarthy have a large audience and make no secret of their desire to see infectious diseases increase in others:
I do believe sadly it's going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it's their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They're making a product that's s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we'll use it. It shouldn't be polio versus autism.
These folks are so focused on their own quasi-religious delusions that they can no longer properly evaluate reality. That would be fine if they lived in isolated caves away from electronic media. But they don't.
I've also made no secret of my contempt for bad reporting about science and vaccines, and lately I've been pleasantly surprised by some good reporting, including pieces by Matthew Herper
and Amy Wallace
. Amy is now learning something many of us in the blogosphere already knew---antivaccine nuts are a crowd of hate-filled, delusional, immoral freaks who thrive on lies and violent rhetoric. All of us who write about vaccines
get hate mail. Amy has been getting hate-mail and hate-tweets
, and being a good reporter, is writing about it.
Fear and intimidation is the enemy of science. But the anti-vax crowd doesn't care about dialog; since they have no science to support their delusions, all they are left with vitriolic spittle. The anti-vaxxers are fundamentally immoral. They, like many fundamentalists, want us all to suffer for their faith, and heretics and apostates must burn.
Science is amoral, and public health strives for morality. The anti-vaccination movement can claim neither the cold, dispassionate mantle of science, nor the altruistic strivings of medicine. They aren't just good and wrong, they are bad and wrong. Anyone who has ever worked for the public good through promotion of vaccination has suffered their wrath, and many of us wear that wrath as a badge of honor.