Monday, August 11, 2008

Faith kills quietly too: vaccination

As long as we're on the subject of religion making people do bad things, we may as well hit on the religious right's latest target: the HPV vaccine.

Let's be clear, as we are clear that the invasion of Iraq is about oil, that the attack against the HPV vaccine is not about health. At least it's not about medical health. The reason that right wing outfits like the Canada Family Action Coalition hate the HPV vaccine is because they preach purely abstinence. They don't want you teaching sex education to their children. They don't want you teaching accurate information about condoms and birth control pills - not even to your own kids.

They want abstinence. They want all of humanity to simultaneously deny the instincts that drive our existence. Yes, all 6 billion of us should give up sex unless sanctioned by their church.

To this end, they will circulate false information about the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

Right away you know you have a problem because the author of this site claims that Gardasil contains mercury. It does not. Dr. Shiv Chopra is quoted as making unreferenced claims about other vaccines. Dr. Chopra states that the CDC's statistics are all wrong on the flu but no evidence of this is required in order to the CFAC to quote the doctor.

He also makes the spurious claim that Gardasil "has resulted in more than 3,500 adverse events". This is ridiculous. The data being used only demonstrates that certain events happened after the vaccine was taken. This is meaningless without comparison to a placebo controlled group. If you give a vaccine to tens of thousands of people, some of them are going to have headaches the next day - regardless of the vaccine. You can not assume that the vaccine caused the headaches.

There's also this bit, a red flag for quackology:
More than 4,900 U.S. families have filed lawsuits after their children became autistic within days of getting this shot.

The link between vaccination and autism has been thoroughly debunked. It was a waste of time peddled by numerous quacks intent on soaking the families of autistic children for money. There was never any evidence of any link. All that was ever noted was that the symptoms of autism were discovered by parents at the most common age of vaccination. If you see someone trying to link "mercury in vaccines" with autism, ask that person why the autism rates didn't drop when we stopped using mercury and thimerosal in vaccines.

And when people tell you that devotion to religion makes them happy and does them no harm, show them how religious extremists like these - devoted to unrealistic expectations of human sexual behaviour - are preventing people from being protected from a disease that causes cancer. Religious anti-sexual doctrine is leading these people to cherry-pick the data and misuse statistics in order to promote poor science and ignorance.

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1 comment:

A Free Man said...

Hi ther,

Thanks much linking to my post on autism and MMR, glad that you found it useful. I’m wondering if I could ask a favor. I recently moved my blog from the site that you linked to a new, anonymous site. Would you mind terribly changing the link? I’d just like to get people over to the new site. This is the current link:

Thanks again for your link and sorry to trouble you.

All the best,