Whoops

pertussis

Probably the most egregious anti-science bullshit involves the idea that man’s role climate change is a “hoax.” This doesn’t seem terribly sexy to talk about because it has no real immediate personal threat to anyone, but the long-term consequences are real and pretty horrible.

So, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t rate anti-vaxxers up there with climate-change-deniers, but they are still way up on the Stupid Morons Who Don’t Have Any Brains Scale.

And of course, many of the first group are also in the second group.  It seems that once you begin to accept as true things that are quite clearly not true at all, there is almost no limit to the amount of horse manure you will swallow quite happily.

I have no idea where Nicole obtained her figures because she doesn’t tell us. [Personally, I tend to just jettison figures when somebody online tosses them out without reference to anything, but that’s just me, I suppose. I like for my facts to be actually true.]

effectiveness

So, the CDC readily tells us that the vaccine’s effectiveness fades over time. This is true, by the way, of most vaccines.  Think of it like this: the antibodies produced by the vaccines get “old.” They more or less reach their expiration date. That’s why they break the vaccine into several parts and give it over and over again.

pertussisdanger
click image to link to source

Now, I want Nicole to tell the 277 mothers who lost their babies to whooping cough that “fever, crankiness, headache, fatigue, and soreness” are about the same as having whooping cough. Their babies died.

Died.

But I want to focus on the last sentence.

You probably should just boost your immune system instead of compromising it with chemical cocktails.

Let’s take the first part. . . well. . . first.

I am so sick and tired of people who go around telling other people to do this or do that or eat this or take this to “boost your immune system.”

What in the hell does that even mean?

Nicole Naugler is a dog groomer. She washes dog butts for a living. She has a high school education. She gets her information, when she bothers to link to it, from anti-vaxxer sites. What would she know about immune systems?

In the first place, you can’t really “boost” your immune system.

Consider AIDS.  That stands for “acquired immune deficiency syndrome.”  AIDS is caused by a virus that actually does attack the human immune system. This is the reason that AIDS patients are so susceptible to everything.  But note the first word?  “Acquired.”

It didn’t just happen spontaneously.  This immune deficiency thing was “acquired” by getting the virus.

In 1918, during WWI, there was a world-wide outbreak of a very deadly form of influenza.  It killed more people than the war did, somewhere between 20 and 40 million people.

Why was it so deadly?  Flu is bad, and kills a whole lot of people every year, but that version was especially severe. The reason, in part, was the horrible conditions that so many soldiers were living in (crowded, unsanitary).  But another reason was that nobody had any immunity to it.

Remember the stuff I wrote about the various types of flu? If you don’t, go read it now.

The problem seems to be that in the 1918 version, nobody had ever been exposed to any of the proteins on the surface of that particular flu virus, so nearly everyone exposed caught it and nobody had any immunity or even any partial immunity.

The immune system is not “strong” or “weak,” although those are words you hear about it all the time. The immune system either functions or it doesn’t.  If you are susceptible to a disease, like the 1918 flu, it means that you simply don’t have any antibodies on board and your immune system, even if it is functioning beautifully, cannot attack a virus it doesn’t recognize as dangerous.

What the AIDS virus does is destroy the immune system’s ability to do that, to recognize invasive organisms and wipe them out.

What you eat doesn’t have a single thing to do with this.  “Chemicals” don’t have anything to do with this.

Furthermore, there is no reason to “boost” the immune system, even if it were possible, which it isn’t. You don’t want it “boosted.”  You simply want it to work properly: to recognize disease-causing organisms that shouldn’t be there, and say, “Aha, you SOB!” and destroy them and then retire for a nap.

Do you know what an autoimmune disease is?

There are about a dozen main ones.  They are believed to be caused by the same general problem: an immune system that goes rogue, acts like it’s on steroids and starts destroying cells willy-nilly.  Celiac disease, which my mother has, is one. It is basically a genetic disorder. That means that I am at risk for developing it (although having made it to 67 without it, I assume that my risk of getting it now is pretty tiny – my doctor doesn’t consider it an issue).  What I eat or don’t eat has no effect whatever on that risk.  “Chemicals” don’t cause it.  Genes do.

But the important thing here is that autoimmune diseases are what happens when an immune system is “boosted.”  We don’t want that, folks.  We want the system to function normally, but not to go bonkers.

But Nicole tells us that instead of getting a proper vaccine, which provides the immune system with the fucking information it needs to know which organisms it encounters are disease-causing and need to be eradicated, we should just worry about not “compromising” our immune systems with “chemical cocktails.”

This woman tells us that in all seriousness. This woman whose idea of a great treat is a trip to Hardee’s and having chocolate cake made at the bakery and bought as a mark-down for breakfast.  [Disclaimer: I just finished a piece of chocolate cake with chocolate icing. It was delicious. It didn’t do a single thing, pro or con, to my immune system, though.]

hardees2

Here’s the bottom line:  When you read that you should do this or that, or eat this, or don’t eat this, or take this pill or that concoction, because it will “boost your immune system,” run.  Quit reading.  You’re reading advice from a lunatic.

Instead, if you really want to know more about this, read this.

The article echoes much of what you’ll find in more scientific articles but with less scientific jargon. The author has an post-graduate education in science, so is qualified to write about it. And that illustrates the two major things I look for when I’m trying to figure out what is true and what is bullshit.  Here’s another one, from Harvard.

Does the piece I’m reading repeat stuff I can find at other reputable sites?  “Reputable site” does not mean “anti-vaxxersRUS.com.”  Or when I Google, am I finding the same position repeated over and over at bullshit sites?  (Big red flag)

And who is writing?  Who is this person? What is his/her educational background? What does he know, if anything?

UPDATE:

My thanks to a reader who sent me this link.

Here’s the original posting written by the stupid woman.

I warn you, the article will make you angry. I was so angry reading it that I was nearly shaking. It happened long enough ago that reporting the woman to CPS is not feasible – and I’m sure a lot of people did.

People who do this to their children should have their children removed by the state.  Period. And they should never, ever get them back.

This was not about those kids. This was all about Heather being Mother of the Year.  She’s not Mother of the Year, she’s a motherfucking idiot.

Read it, Nicole. I dare you. Read all about how easy it is to take care of whooping cough at home without medical aid.  Read about how it’s just like having a few side effects from a vaccine.  Read about what a stupid idiotic dumbass you are.