To my Vax vs. anti-Vax friends

I need help. My Aunt crossed a boundary today. One that pissed me off, because she been posting all the normal garbage the mercola and vacinfo stuff they expect dumb people who no IQ to repeat for them on Facebook and email, but now she’s spouting stuff that will kill my friends. I do not say that lightly that last info graphic was to stop taking Cipro classes of drugs no matter what. Can I get any to somehow get into out discussion and to add good science feedback or if you’ve seen a non-vaccinated child get sick or die? They don’t seem to care that I had.
we had a child die in CF clinic due to pertussis because visitors were contagionS AND GAVE IT TO HER. DISGUSTING. so my Aunt Uncle and niece. They Tend to be warm, giving, lovely, true patriotic Americans. They realtors. But when this stuff comes up, or some right wing crazy spouts hate, they tend to get behind it.

I’m afraid I may have ruined Christmas.

This probably wont help you as it is somewhat NSFW but here is Penn and Teller explaining the cost in life of not vaccinating.

I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you. I’ve fought this to a degree, and had to cut a few people out of my/ my kids life because of it. I’ve got a two year old, so I take this VERY personally.

Problem is that reason does not work on these people. Something like this:

doesn’t sink through for them. Horror stories about people who rely on homeopathy and ‘natural’ remedies, and having their kids suffer through whooping cough don’t dent their shield of ignorance.

I’ve tried getting through to to those few who caught this infection. In the end it didn’t work. So they, and their kids, are no longer welcome around my son.

My worry is for in 3 years though. I’m going to be raising hell when he goes to school if this scourge hasn’t abated. Unless, medically, your kid is unable to get vaccines, fuck you for not.

Sorry this isn’t the answer you wanted jp. but I don’t know what that answer is.

No, I will not read that whooping cough story again. That parent should be charged with child endangerment.

Thankfully, in my circle of associates, this is not something I need to worry a great deal about and our child care facility regulations/benefits strongly disincent anti-vaxers.

I can’t really offer any advice other than firmly and politely telling them they are brain-dead fucking morons who don’t deserve the privilege of raising children, then disconnecting from them. You really don’t need to fight the statistics battle - that info is out there if they care to look for it and I doubt they will listen to you anyway. Any sane person knows anti-vaxers are full of shit.

The antivaxers are so stupid the only thing that can possibly get through to them is the death of one of their children due to a preventable disease. And even then they will probably be so full of their own vile self-apologia they will fail to acknowledge the blame. If one of my friends or relatives adopted this horrifically bad position and stuck to it I would have to cut off all contact with them. IMO asserting these lies about vaccines should justify removal of children to foster homes. I don’t believe the 1st amendment protects this speech either, because it incites harm just like shouting “fire” in a theater.

Folks know that I’m generally a libertarian, but people need to be forced to have their kids vaccinated. It’s a public health issue, and there is no legitimate reason to allow folks to endanger others. There is no useful liberty being preserved there.

I know some anti-vaxxers and their position is that their healthy unvaccinated child will be exposed to these diseases via “shedding” that occurs from the vaccinated children. Basically since the vaccine is dead or mostly-defeated bad thing, then the bad thing will then emanate from that child in fluids and what not and will then infect their children who would have otherwise stayed healthy.

What follows their child getting infected by one of these illnesses (and I imagine it would be no different if the child died) is that they are mad at the parents who vaccinate for getting their child sick.

I told my wife to severely limit contact with these people, and informed her that if any of my children get sick and die from a preventable illness contracted from one of these people that I will personally be visiting them after the funeral and will not be responsible for my actions.

Yep, I fully endorse a bill that lets the parents of kids who are not able to vaccinate (too young) or already vaccinated sue the parents of unvaccinated kids who spread infection. Hospotal bills for start but also millions for any complications (scars from a pox, or complications from mumps, or any heart damage requiring monitoring). Also, agree with arrendeck. My kid is fully vaccinated for his age but you can’t get certain vaccinations until they are older. Infants are fully exposed to preventable diseases. If my kid was hurt or killed by one of these idiot’s kids there would be a reckoning. It will happen eventually if these idiots continue their abberant behavior.

I had been up so late and was tired so I appreciate the interpretation of my messy post.
El Guapo I had wondered if I was alone in this thought. It is costing us a fortune to treat all these preventable diseases and of course the fact unimmunized individuals carry, pass, and kill others simply makes me want to vomit. I think they should be charged with manslaughter and should be held for civil penalties in court.

They’ve had an endless stream of baloney going on Facebook for years. I ignored it. I bit my tongue, and that is one of the reasons I’d refused to post on Facebook. This last piece of garbage was about fluoride killing everyone and how the top 6 antibiotics on the market should never be used by anyone for any reason… The very antibiotics that pulled me from the edge of death and are critical to every child that has a compromised immune system. I just want to scream at the top of my lungs… They are so selfish. If they want to let their own kids and grandkids die living out in a cave so be it, but they are around thousands in our communities.

The internet has enabled many great things. It lets us all sit here and bullshit about video games, meet interesting people that we’d otherwise never encounter, learn about things that we’d otherwise never know about.

But it also enables idiots to spew their nonsense much further than they otherwise could. What would once have been limited to some crackpot down the street, now flourishes in communities of imbeciles.

She convinced one of my cousins who was raised with sound medical upbringing, to convince her own daughter not to get her newborn children vaccinated. So her influence has sadly grown.

Between politics, religion, anti-Vax stuff, extremism it sure feels like there is a lot more tearing families apart than ever before.


Sadly, idiocy is very easy to believe in unless you have a very solid logical framework ingrained into your skull through education (and I still find myself double checking some thoughts once in a while). This is so for anti-vaxxers, but it´s the same with anti-GMO and other radical ecologists, Trump supporters, conspiracy believers… etc. I believe we, as human beings, are wired to see relationships where they are none, so this is to be expected.

As for your question, jpinard… I´m at a loss for an answer. One of my very best friends is an anti-vaxxer and every time the subject comes up I end up arguing with her. But she would not look at data (not exactly, she would consider ¨data¨ found in an anti-vaxxer book equally valid as data in a peer reviewed paper), so there´s really no end point to that discussion. It pains me thoroughly. And I can´t just shut up about something as basic as this. Lately, we have come to an understanding of never raising the subject ever again (it does help she does not have kids, so her points are rhetorical).

It’s basic science. If it doesn’t hold up so be it. But it does! Test on mice or something in your kitchen if you don’t believe the scientists. But don’t blindly reject the work of Salk and say you know better. Prove it if you like. The consensus is against you.

It’s amazing to me that truly creative people fall for this bullshit. I was friends with a comic artist who I will not name. You would know his work if you read Heavy Metal in the late 70s. He also worked for both Marvel and DC in the 1980s. We fell out of touch at the end of the 1980s. I recently got back in touch with him around 2012. This was via Facebook. Yes, I know. Anyway we eventually started to talk via phone.

Long story short, he had gone through a nasty divorce. I wanted to help him by getting him back into drawing again. I was one of the writers that he worked with in the Heavy Metal days. He was into the idea and so I gave him several ideas for stories that I would write. We would have brainstorm sessions that seemed to be working towards us having our own comic at some point.

Then he started to open up.He told me how his ex-wfe was trying to kill his son because she was vaccinating him. She had the kid. He was fighting to get possession of the kid to stop her evil vax ways. I was just blown away. I tried to explain to him that vaccination was a good thing.

Eventually we had a screaming argument over the phone. Haven’t heard from him since.

I blamed myself at the time. I thought that I might have handled it better. But now all I can think is that I hope his wife still has the kid. Because he was really fucked in the head.

OTOH I lost a good friend. And I miss him.

Ill just say that a lot of truly creative people are often heavily vested in emotion over logic. It seems like your friend is one of those, especially on the vaccination issue. They often see a logical argument as a personal assault and completely close down to any ability to accept that logic as anything but an insult to their intelligence. Thats a hard wall to break down.

Well, part of the libertarian problem is a refusal to acknowledge that there is a duty owed by the individual to the community at large, it’s not just a one-way street. And stopping communicable diseases is pretty high up on the list of community duties, especially with as low a rate of complications as there is.

But also, I’d recommend that the vitriolic method of response is probably not going to be constructive. Bad ideas have a life of their own, and people are susceptible to them by nature, because that’s how humans also pass along useful information, by going with the flow of community knowledge. How many things do we “know” because someone told us that it was so? I’ve seen similar vitriol thrown around at global warming skeptics because they won’t go with what folks deem to be the flow. Yet it’s still something somebody told us was so. A lot of the ills (and body count) of the last 100 years can be attributed to viral ideas like Communism or Fascism.

My point: everybody has their blind spots, and hopefully they won’t have a body count, but we can’t control some forces.

Climate-change deniers and anti-vaccine kooks can’t be convinced by scientific evidence or logic. The world is full of easily manipulated dangerously stupid people. There really is no way to fix that. With family, the only thing to do is just ignore them.

None of my friends are gullible tools so it’s never come up, but anti-intellectualism really is enough for me to break off a friendship.

You’re obviously right, but I think many people ignore, or actively distrust the consensus of ‘scientists.’ They do trust the consensus among their close friends and associates. It’s social media tribalism.

This is one of the most troubling things to me. That there has been this rise of anti-intellectualism, where doubt has been sown not merely in beliefs, but in the very mechanisms by which we can validate those beliefs.

Many politicians these days attack not only positions that they oppose, but they attack science itself as somehow being biased. And as such, truth ends up being reduced to nothing more than an opinion. If you discount rationality, logic, and empirical evidence, then everyone’s opinions become equally valid, and all that matters is who shrieks them the loudest.

But that’s not reality.

There is such a thing as objective truth. And the way we figure out what that truth is, is through science, and rational discourse. And abandonment of those principles, the very principles which lie at the foundation of western civilization, is to embrace a return to the dark ages. It’s an abandonment of literally everything that is good about our civilization. And what is so ironic is that much of this rejection of rationality and science is being pushed by xenophobic bigots, often in conjunction with a fear of other cultures. You have people who, out of a fear of groups like ISIS, embrace the same kind of insanity that ISIS themselves represent.

My hope is that in the long run, these people will eventually just fall by the wayside. There’s a reason why western civilization rose up as it did. Because those fundamental principles of philosophy and science that go back to the ancient Greeks are not merely “one way to do things”. They are THE RIGHT way to do things. Rational discourse and science are the source of all progress. They are the source of everything good in the world today.

Those that reject such things can slow down progress, but ultimately they can’t stop it, because their rejection of such things makes them inherently weaker than those who embrace them. Even now, the temporary success of groups like ISIS depends entirely upon leveraging the innovations of the very culture and society that they claim to embrace. Without things like the internet, ISIS would be a handful of angry dudes in the desert. But certainly a group like ISIS, and the archaic nonsense that forms the foundation of their beliefs, would never be able to create something like the internet. They aren’t able to create anything. Hell, their creative capabilities are behind even the ancient civilizations whose monuments and artifacts ISIS destroys.

Similarly, those who refuse to perform such basic tasks of social responsibility as getting their children vaccinated are mere speedbumps on the road of history. They seem horrific now, because we have to deal with the fallout of their idiocy (and I will not sugarcoat it, or pretend like they merely hold a different opinion. They are in fact idiots, and I have told them such to their face). But through the long view of history, the world will move past them, and they will be regarded along with all of the other dead ends of evolution, and failed social experiments through the ages. You just need to have faith in the ultimate value of things like science, and trust that in the end such virtues will lead to success over those who embrace ignorance.