“Yes, I’m looking at you, sunshine- with the Ph d from Google U and the post-doc from Whale.to”.

This title is taken from a meme I came across on Facebook one day on why unvaccinated children are dangerous. Obviously, the implication is that because I don’t have the same education and training as a doctor or public health official that I don’t have enough knowledge to question vaccination. It doesn’t matter that I have read numerous medical and science journals, news articles, books on epidemiology, and Vital Statistics reports from the past few decades, because if my conclusion is that vaccination has minimal benefits, I am automatically labelled paranoid, ignorant, irrational and a danger to the public. But let’s look at this from a few other angles too.

If a parent reads a couple of webpages from the CDC and asks her pediatrician if vaccines are safe and then agrees that vaccines have saved humanity, then she is a rational, scientific, well-informed citizen. It doesn’t matter that she really hasn’t done any in-depth research, she is rational, scientific and well-informed simply because she agrees that vaccination is essential.

Now if someone who does happen to be a practicing medical doctor or scientist releases research to the public that shows that vaccines may have  dangerous side effects or should be administered in a different way than the CDC has set forth, he is labelled as a fraud, a quack, and a self-interested charlatan.

And of course, if a doctor or public health official tells us that vaccination has eliminated dangerous diseases and saved millions of lives, she is seen as logical, intelligent and trustworthy.

If one of the big reasons you trust vaccination is because doctors and public health officials assure you it is highly safe and effective, then ask yourself the following questions:

This isn’t about how well-informed people are. When it comes to vaccination, the criteria for being trustworthy is to agree with the herd, not be well-researched. When we accept information based on whether it gives the answer we want, we are heading down a scientific slippery slope. After all, if you don’t believe there could ever be any possible explanation other than the one you currently ascribe to, then there is no room for innovation or progress.

 

 

 

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