Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Intellectual Dishonesty

Dear Katie;

You know what bothers me most reading your responses in the comment trails of medical blogs? It's the hypocrisy of your own words.

In Flea's post about the Hemophilus Influenza type b vaccine, you posted a list of meaningless "questions" in the comment-trail-that-will-not-die that you later "answered" yourself, including this:
Is it possible Hib disappeared, rather "almost disappeared," for other reasons?

Yes, anything is possible. [emphasis added]
and yet you then go on to assert in my comment trail:
Hib is pretty much impossible for breastfed children
But Katie; as you yourself have pointed out:
"Anything is possible."
The sad thing is you can't even see how ridiculous you look when you say these things. But congratulations on starting your own blog. You may be an intellectually lazy idiot, but I never said you were a coward.

#1 Dinosaur


At Tue Dec 26, 04:38:00 PM, Anonymous cathy said...

Wow, remind me not to ever piss you off!

A couple things Dr. Dino, with all due respect. First, Katie explained very well her entire problems with vaccines. it is a "Subjective" view based mainly on her experience as a parent.

It has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with a parent who has had an unfortunate occurence. As a patient I have seen how everything she states that happened, most likely did. Because,it was repeated right here in blogland.

She was immediately flamed (or ignored)by physicians who even felt it necessary to call her names such as "Idiot." Most important, she was TOTALLY ignored by Dr. Flea. That is the ultimate insult when you have taken alot of time to post on someones blog and then be totally ignored as though you said nothing. She, on teh other hand, was non abusive in her response and her questions. Atleast in what I have read.

There are two things that will never mix. It is subjective viewpoints vs objectivity. The distance between them is to great.

Second, is your views of vaccines. I recall a back and forth that you and I had that even included various emails where I was the one advocating a certain vaccine and you were totally against it.

Is this just a pick and choose thing with you? Some are good if they fit your views and if they don't then noone should have them?

I am all for vaccines,but I also understand when a parent has had a bad experience with one, that THEY may not be all for them. How does it reinforce what medical professionals should be trying to educate her about, to flame her? Because thats what this is. This is a parent being flamed because her opinion is different from the majority.

At Tue Dec 26, 05:31:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

No, Cathy; this is about a person who says, "Anything is possible" when it suits her purposes (when there's no other way to negate a perfecly reasonable statement) and then asserts that something else is "impossible."

Look again, Cathy. Katie has claimed over and over that her objections have scientific merit, and she has provided links to "supporting information." If all she were saying was that she "wasn't comfortable with vaccines" she wouldn't be getting "flamed."

And yeah, "vaccines" is plural. No, I don't feel the same about all of them, but my opinions are based on science that I have tried to explain (as I thought I was able to do with your concerns, if I recall) whereas this individual is willfully refusing to recognize the inconsistencies of her positions. (ie, refusing to notice when one of her questions has been answered.) (here)

At Wed Dec 27, 08:26:00 AM, Anonymous Wayne said...

Cathy, despite her pretense that her "questions" represented honest inquiry, the twenty-one questions she shotgunned at Flea were certainly suggestive of anti-vax prejudice. Although she does ask about the vaccines and what data he has regarding them and Hib, other "questions" are actually suggestions that the vaccine is worse than the disease. The wording of those "questions" is not bad, so that any one, in isolation, could be a fair inquiry, yet each is calculated to foment doubt in the reader's mind. I suppose that explains why she had the temerity to ask, disingenuously, "Which of my questions were loaded?".

Katie kept up for a while the charade that these are genuine questions. "Rob, since when are questions rants against vaccines?" After being pointed to pubmed, where she might actually read and learn something to pare down that long list of questions a bit, she replied "Nick, I know the answers to my questions." From her own mouth, this is an admission that her "questions" were no such thing, but rhetoric that she pretended was inquiry.

When she finally dropped the pretense and laid out her "answers", one notes that every single answer is uncompromisingly phrase in opposition to Hib vaccination. Note in particular her claims that "It is not 100% safe" and "It is not 100% effective". She is wrong to believe that these answers matter, because despite the fond delusions of overanxious parents, life is never safe. For example, traffic accidents claim lives every day, yet it would not be reasonable to refuse ever to cross a street. It is more reasonable to make a scientific comparison of the benefits and risks of vaccination, bearing in mind the danger that Hib poses to an unvaccinated population. Refusal to vaccinate for fear of a small danger while wishing the greater danger of disease away just doesn't work.

In the evidence she cites for the last of her "questions", again she doesn't get it, unless she's just hoping to trick any reader who doesn't understand. She seems to think it fair to compare reported cases of disease in a largely vaccinated population to reported adverse events in that same population and, when finding that the two numbers are comparable, to claim that the vaccine is more harmful than the disease. However, if we were all to follow her advice and reject the vaccine entirely, we surely wouldn't see the same 1,870 cases a year for long. As has been said before, vaccines are victims of their own success. Katie can use numbers like these to claim the vaccine is worse precisely because the vaccine is doing its job, reducing the incidence of Hib.

Despite the implications of the antivaxers that physicians are either cruel or negligent in recommending (supposedly harmful) vaccines to their patients, most doctors really do care about the health of their patients and the public. That is why some of them would flame someone like Katie, who is deliberately weakening public confidence in the vaccine schedule and, when others listen to her, increasing the risk of disease. A scare against the MMR jab in the UK succeeded in producing a record outbreak of measles, which in April claimed the life of a boy whose was the first UK measles death in 14 years. Katie's opinions are not only "different from the majority", but inconsistent with science, selectively crafted to distort the truth, and downright dangerous.

Meanwhile, Flea seems to be somewhat of a busy man, what with his pediatric practice. I'm glad that he's taking the time to tell us about diseases whose dangers risk being forgotten in the furor about their vaccines. I'd certainly understand it if he doesn't have the time to respond to everyone who feels like playing twenty-one biased questions.

At Wed Dec 27, 11:42:00 AM, Blogger Cathy said...

Dr. Dino and Wayne, Thank you for taking the time to further explain this to me.

First and foremost I am certainly not against vaccines. That would never happen, no matter how many Katie's of the world there are. I initially did think her questions were geniune. Maybe I missed some of her further posts. I will go back and read more (130 comments makes it easy to miss some)and also visit her blog.

I personally have experienced, in my family, the effects of polio before vaccines were used against it. I know these illnesses are real and are horrible.

If the questions had been geniune, then it seemed odd that just because she was asking for information she would get treated so badly.

Also, I think Fleas post about vaccines has been some of the best I have read. I was only making those remarks in reference to, if he is going to open these cans then he should also respond to some of the questions, and comments he receives about them. I wanted to read his arguments against what she had said.

I am truly sorry if I jumped to conclusions. I am off to do more reading...:)

At Wed Dec 27, 08:41:00 PM, Blogger Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

Wow, I had no idea that the vaccination issue was so hotly debated. I worked in ER's for years and came across a few parents who had not allowed their children to be vaccinated, but I never got into any discussions about the issue. (I keep quiet about kid stuff anyway, because my sister has trained me to keep silent on those matters---she says that since I'm not a parent, I couldn't possibly "understand" about that stuff...)

At Wed Dec 27, 10:37:00 PM, Blogger Shinga said...

Yes, I would be tempted to say that the money you expended on the charm school lessons was wasted but I do not think it is reasonable to expect that a blog author can respond to 21 questions. Nor is it likely that the time, resources and effort would be worth it when somebody is so obviously pre-primed with their own answers.

I'm horrified that frequently, when one Googles a question about vaccination, it is the anti-vax view that turns up in the first few links. I think that it is important that Flea's series and similar posts should be given as many links as possible in order to improve the search engine rankings.

Regards - Shinga

PS - I'm british, I loathe incivility, but the faux naif approach of such Gatling Gun questions does make me see red.

At Thu Dec 28, 07:50:00 AM, Anonymous scalpel said...

"PS - I'm british, I loathe incivility, but the faux naif approach of such Gatling Gun questions does make me see red."

That's one of the best sentences I have ever read.

At Thu Dec 28, 03:57:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

Scalpel: I agree with you 200%!

At Fri Dec 29, 10:44:00 PM, Anonymous Nikeroo said...

Youch!! Out with the angry vibes and in with the happy ones pls guys! I know it's probably productive banter frightens me! :-(

Happy New Year to all regardless of your stance on vaccines!

At Sat Dec 30, 12:25:00 PM, Blogger Shinga said...

Who knew?

Regards - Shinga

At Wed Jan 10, 03:33:00 PM, Blogger Northwoods Baby said...

Shinga, fwiw, Google seems to search out negatives first. Do a search on anything controversial and you may notice this. I'm not sure why it's set up this way. Food for flaming, I suppose. 'tho I do notice Wikipedia is starting to take top place. Googlebombs away!



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