All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others

I’ve always had a stance on Facebook, and I guess real life, that if you say, re-post or basically draw attention to, your own racist, homophobic or sexist views, you got un-friended. But recently, I found myself unsure about what to do with friends who didn’t believe in vaccinations.

At first I thought I’d try and correct them. When they make spurious claims about vaccines causing autism, I would direct them to papers showing that they did not. (I know I’ve only attached one paper, but seeing as it’s the most recent, and the largest I figure it’s a good place to start.) Then they would bombard me with stories about their friend who is a teacher who totally knows that there is more autistic kids because they teach them and the vaccinated kids get all of the diseases because vaccines don’t work.

At which point, I’d originally bow out, knowing that they were unlikely to change their mind, as they ignored science for stories.

And when I looked up #cdcvax on Twitter, my brain just went in to meltdown. I spent the first few minutes in shocked disbelief. And then I got angry. Like really angry. Like ashamed of myself angry. How can people be so stupid? I didn’t allow myself to reply to anything until I’d calmed down as I knew it would be unhelpful, so I went and got a cup of tea.

Then I came back, and asked for evidence that their claims were true. Obviously I got linked to Ginger Taylor’s page of lies, but most didn’t bother replying to me. So, that’s a victory right? One person agreed with me that vaccines don’t cause autism, but the aluminium in them did caused mitochondrial defects, which in turn causes autism, and provided some papers. Now part of my research involves mitochondria, and I’d never heard of them causing autism. Similarly neither had the CDC.

One of which showed that aluminium can damage cells.

In the millimolar range.

Now, I don’t know how much aluminium is in vaccines, but luckily this person included a reference saying 1-8μg. (If you bothered reading that paper you’ll also see how much more aluminium there is in food, cigarettes and basically air.) So, assuming the maximum dose, and the molecular weight of aluminium to be 26.98 to reach a concentration of 10mM you would need 30μL of blood. That’s making some fairly wild (and wrong) assumptions about absorption, and the circulatory system. And apparently babies have 2 litres of blood, so would need 67450 vaccinations worth. Again, with some terrible assumptions.

So I shot them down; I used my logic to win. Although I received nothing in reply, and looking back I never should have expected anything. I had wasted far too much of my time and energy, and now I’ve wasted yours. They don’t understand that dose makes the poison, and I’ve already pointed out that they are unlikely to change their mind, despite evidence proving them wrong. Including ignoring that second reference stating “Al[uminium] may be eliminated effectively via the kidney”, and if your child has kidney problems then you have a bigger issue to deal with than whether or not you’re stupid enough to believe vaccines cause autism.

Which reminds me, if you’re asking yourself what any of this has to do with autism, then congratulations you’re more with it than I was. It was a while later I realised that I had been arguing about literally nothing. I really need to get better at this, and pay more attention to people that are good at this stuff. From now on I should learn to pick my battles, and make sure they aren’t with anonymous strangers on the internet.

Also, delete those idiots. Just like trolls, they’ll die away without attention. Or vaccinations…


Today’s quote is from Douglas Adams.