Cashing In on the Anti-Vaccine Scare

Science Denier Hall of Shame would like to thank @Takethatdoctors for bringing this to our attention.

Here we go again.3877757097_07237ecf7a_b

John P. Thomas of Health Impact News has published yet another article on the dangers of vaccine use. It’s titled ‘Dr. Andrew Moulden: Learning to Identify Vaccine Damage’

It starts out like this:

Dr. Andrew Moulden wanted every parent in the world to know about the harmful effects of vaccines. His desire was that everyone would reject the use of vaccines after examining the evidence of the harm they cause.[1]

Read more Cashing In on the Anti-Vaccine Scare

Why Do Conspiracy Theories Exist?

CblEh0QUEAA77EXFirst, let us dispense with the idea that ‘no conspiracies exist’.
Of course they exist. This is part of the darker nature of humans.
We have a tendency to organize ourselves into groups that give us some sort of advantage. Further, if secrecy also contributes to the advantage, that’s all that’s needed… A genuine conspiracy is born.

Fortunately for us, humans are also a species that interprets the word ‘secret’ to mean ‘wait until it makes you look good to others to disclose this information, then blab it to everyone, wait ’til they have kids, then tell them too’.

The probability of any conspiracy remaining secret is inversely proportional to the number of people aware of it. Wasn’t that one of the lines in the theme song to the TV show ‘Dexter’? “Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead”

Now, let’s get into what makes an invented (fictional) conspiracy so attractive.

The primary attractive force of a conspiracy theory is the feeling of superiority it grants the believer. No one can deny that being aware of ‘secret knowledge’ makes one special.

Once an idea has taken hold, confirmation bias (a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions) often leads to an almost religious attachment.

From this point, it’s only a small step to believing that you and a small group are actually the underdog, fighting for the freedoms of humanity.


The surest way to get a good idea of whether or not a conspiracy is afoot is to ask yourself  ‘Who would benefit from such a conspiracy, and how would they benefit?’

If no answer can be found for either or both of these questions, it might be time to put on your skeptic hat.


But how can we tell if it’s a ‘theory’, in the scientific sense, or an ‘I’ve got a theory’ (translation: something I just pulled out of my… um… hat) type of theory?

Analogy time… Let’s look at both a scientific theory and a conspiracy theory as if they were two completed jigsaw puzzles. Standing back and looking at them each, you see that each shows a completed picture. Further, you notice that all the holes are filled; there are no missing puzzle pieces. From these two facts, one might assume that either scenario is as valid as the other.

It’s not until one looks at the individual pieces and the connections between them that the differences become apparent.
In a scientific theory ‘jigsaw puzzle’, each piece, in addition to being true, MUST fit exactly with all other pieces.
In a conspiracy theory ‘jigsaw puzzle’, there is no such rule, and most untrue conspiracy theories suffer from this flaw.
Each puzzle piece does, in fact, hold a small section of the complete picture, and answers a specific objection as to the accuracy of the overall theory, but you’ll notice that most of the pieces have been forced together even when they are not compatible.

What follows is an example from flat earth ‘theory’, since that was a recent topic of interest. The same could be demonstrated using any conspiracy theory.

Puzzle Piece #1
Q: What makes day and night?
A: The sun moves in a circular path over our heads like a spotlight.

Puzzle Piece #2
Q: Why don’t we see the sun at night, then? Since the earth is flat, there would be nothing in the way.
A: Perspective. Things get smaller as they are farther away.

Puzzle Piece #3
Q: Why does the sun look bigger at sunset?
A: Due to the magnification effect of the atmosphere.

From just these three examples, one can see that ‘the puzzle pieces don’t fit together. Answer #2 and Answer #3 are contradictory. Further, Answer #3 makes Answer #1 impossible.
See how the puzzle pieces don’t fit together?
These are the types of discrepancies to look for when deciding if any newly-proposed theory is valid or even possible.

One of the most telling aspects of the supporting arguments for the average conspiracy theory is the following: The arguments focus mainly on dismissing individual holes in the theory.
A scientific theory is the highest order of information produced by the scientific method. It unifies a collection of natural laws, rigorously tested hypotheses and records of experimental results that could have falsified the theory had they shown results other than those predicted by the theory. It must have both explanatory and predictive powers.
A non-scientific conspiracy theory, however, starts with an assertion. This assertion will be triggered by some apparent discontinuity between ‘what we’ve been told’ and ‘what is observed’.
From this point, as a general rule, there are no testable hypotheses. Evidence that would falsify the theory is dismissed as ‘what they want you to think’. There will generally be no body of evidence and experimental results that is both unified and points to the theory as the one explanation above all others.
For the most part, ‘supporting evidence’ will be comprised of refutations of apparent holes in the theory that do not connect to all other refutations. These are referred to as point solutions, because they only address one specific point without regard to other points, objections or observations.
Many of the point solutions are only good for one step from the original objection.

Objection- On a flat earth, there could be no day and night, or, at least you’d still be able to see the sun, even if only dimly and far away.
FE Point Solution- The sun functions as a spotlight pointing directly down at the earth. It moves in a circle above the flat earth.
OK, this makes sense, as far as it goes.

But what about the next step? Objects hate moving in circles. (See ‘angular momentum‘) If the flat-earther would simply tie a bowling ball to a length of rope and swing it in a circle, this would clearly demonstrate the principle, that is, if the flat-earther was able to remain standing at all.
Then, a new point solution will be created. Perhaps it will be something like ‘There’s an invisible force that holds it to the north pole while it moves.’
The argument in support of the ‘theory’ (note that I did not use the word ‘evidence’) will be a continuous stream of assertions that are either not evidently true or evidently not true.

Science doesn’t work that way.
These are just some of the things to look for if you want to discern if a theory is valid, or if it even qualifies as a theory.

Untrue conspiracy theories can be dangerous. They can cause one to withdraw from the social practices that keep nations together like voting (aaaah, it’s all rigged!) and public discussion of issues (aaaah, they’re all government shills, why bother?)
Worse, some of the more anti-science theories can limit the advancement of the human condition or even push us backward.
Need an example? Read what the Anti-Vaxxers say, then immediately go to Google Image Search and type in the single search term ‘smallpox’. Go ahead.

As always, thanks for reading.


Formaldehyde in Vaccines? Say It Isn’t So!

508px-Formaldehyde-2D.svgInteresting claim, but is it true?

As it turns out, yes. It’s quite true. And we should all be very happy that it is. Formaldehyde is used to deactivate a virus so that it can be used as a vaccine without actually causing the disease in question. The most well-known example is the polio vaccine.

There actually quite a few substances in vaccines that one might not expect.

The following text from the FDA website[1] explains it best.

May 1, 2014

The vast majority of the over one billion doses of vaccines manufactured worldwide each year are given to healthy babies, children and adults. Thus, it is critical that vaccines be demonstrated to be safe and effective. FDA demands that vaccines undergo a rigorous and extensive development program in the laboratory, as well as in animal studies and human clinical trials, to determine their safety and effectiveness. Highly trained FDA scientists and clinicians carefully evaluate all of the information in a marketing application and make a determination whether to license (approve) a vaccine before it can be used in the United States. Prior to licensure, as part of FDA’s evaluation, FDA takes all of the ingredients of a vaccine into account, including the active ingredients as well as other substances. After FDA approves a vaccine, FDA continuously monitors its safety.

Why is aluminum in some vaccines?

Aluminum salts are incorporated into some vaccine formulations as an adjuvant.  An adjuvant is a substance added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response of vaccinated individuals. The aluminum salts in some U.S. licensed vaccines are aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, alum (potassium aluminum sulfate), or mixed aluminum salts. For example: aluminum salts are used in DTaP vaccines, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, and hepatitis B vaccines.

Aluminum adjuvant containing vaccines have a demonstrated safety profile of over six decades of use and have only uncommonly been associated with severe local reactions. Of note, the most common source of exposure to aluminum is from eating food or drinking water.

Are other adjuvants used in FDA-approved vaccines?

Yes. Cervarix, a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus types 16 and 18, includes AS04 in its formulation. AS04 is a combination of aluminum hydroxide and monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL). MPL is a purified fat-like substance.

In addition, one vaccine for the prevention of H5N1 influenza, commonly referred to as avian influenza or “bird flu,” contains the adjuvant AS03, an oil-in-water emulsion. The AS03 adjuvant is made up of the oily compounds, D,L-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and squalene, and an emulsifier, polysorbate 80, which helps ingredients mix together and keep them from separating, and water containing small amounts of salts. The vaccine is not commercially available, but included within the U.S. government’s National Stockpile if public health officials determine it is needed.

How does FDA evaluate adjuvants for safety and efficacy?

When evaluating a vaccine for safety and efficacy, FDA considers adjuvants as a component of the vaccine; they are not licensed separately.

Why are antibiotics in some vaccines?

Certain antibiotics may be used in some vaccine production to help prevent bacterial contamination during manufacturing. As a result, small amounts of antibiotics may be present in some vaccines. Because some antibiotics can cause severe allergic reactions in those children allergic to them (such as hives, swelling at the back of the throat, and low blood pressure), some parents are concerned that antibiotics contained in vaccines might be harmful. However, antibiotics most likely to cause severe allergic reactions (e.g., penicillins, cephalosporins and sulfa drugs) are not used in vaccine production, and therefore are not contained in vaccines.

Examples of antibiotics used during vaccine manufacture include neomycin, polymyxin B, streptomycin and gentamicin. Some antibiotics used in vaccine production are present in the vaccine, either in very small amounts or they are undetectable. For example, antibiotics are used in some production methods for making inactivated influenza virus vaccines. They are used to reduce bacterial growth in eggs during processing steps, because eggs are not sterile products. The antibiotics that are used are reduced to very small or undetectable amounts during subsequent purification steps. The very small amounts of antibiotics contained in vaccines have not been clearly associated with severe allergic reactions.

Why is formaldehyde in some vaccines?

Formaldehyde has a long history of safe use in the manufacture of certain viral and bacterial vaccines. It is used to inactivate viruses so that they don’t cause disease (e.g., polio virus used to make polio vaccine) and to detoxify bacterial toxins, such as the toxin used to make diphtheria vaccine. Formaldehyde is diluted during the vaccine manufacturing process, but residual quantities of formaldehyde may be found in some current vaccines. The amount of formaldehyde present in some vaccines is so small compared to the concentration that occurs naturally in the body that it does not pose a safety concern.

Formaldehyde is also produced naturally in the human body as a part of normal functions of the body to produce energy and build the basic materials needed for important life processes. This includes making amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins that the body needs.

Formaldehyde is also found in the environment and is present in different ways. It is used in building materials, as a preservative in labs and to produce many household products.

The body continuously processes formaldehyde, both from what it makes on its own and from what it has been exposed to in the environment. When the body breaks down formaldehyde, it does not distinguish between formaldehyde from vaccines and that which is naturally produced or environmental. The amount of formaldehyde in a person’s body depends on their weight; babies have lower amounts than adults. Studies have shown that for a newborn of average weight of 6 – 8 pounds, the amount of formaldehyde in their body is 50-70 times higher than the upper amount that they could receive from a single dose of a vaccine or from vaccines administered over time.

Excessive exposure to formaldehyde may cause cancer, but the latest research has shown that the highest risk is from the air when formaldehyde is inhaled from breathing, and occurs more frequently in people who routinely use formaldehyde in their jobs. There is no evidence linking cancer to infrequent exposure to tiny amounts of formaldehyde via injection as occurs with vaccines.

Why are sugars, amino acids, and proteins added to some vaccines?

These substances may be added as stabilizers. They help protect the vaccine from adverse conditions such as the freeze-drying process, for those vaccines that are freeze dried. Stabilizers added to vaccines include: sugars such as sucrose and lactose, amino acids such as glycine or the monosodium salt of glutamic acid and proteins such as human serum albumin or gelatin. Sugars, amino acids and proteins are not unique to vaccines and are encountered in everyday life in the diet and are components that are in the body naturally.

Why are there preservatives in some vaccines?

Preservatives are added to some vaccine formulations to prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi that may be introduced into the vaccine during its use, e.g., repeated puncture of a multi-dose vaccine vial with a needle.

Why is fetal calf/bovine serum in some vaccines?

In the manufacture of viral vaccines, the virus may be grown in cells. These cells need a source of nutrition, which in some instances may be provided by fetal bovine serum.


[1] Common Ingredients in U.S. Licensed Vaccines

The Origins of the Vaccine-Autism Link Myth

Image result for measlesParents are, in increasing numbers, refusing to have their children immunized against some truly horrible but preventable diseases. Vaccines can also be used in the treatment of illnesses that are already manifest. This RECENT TRAGEDY is what comes of not doing so.

The usual reason is that ‘a friend of a friend’ said that there is a proven link between certain vaccinations and autism.

One would think that such a momentous decision would be based on a mountain of research by top scientific and medical minds.

But, it isn’t.

It’s based, primarily, on ‘social buzz’ and distorted hearsay on the topic that has its origins in just one deeply flawed, and apparently fraudulent, paper on a 1998 study of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine by Andrew Wakefield and twelve of his associates.

The paper was published by The Lancet, a British medical journal which has since retracted the study.

This retraction did little good, however. The initial publication was noticed by the media and spread to the masses. True or not, it became ‘common knowledge’ that vaccines cause autism.

Let’s look at some of the flaws and hints at unethical and unscientific practices in the original paper.

  • Sample size: 12 children. 12.
  • The children in question were specifically selected for the study. No random sampling was used to make the group representative of the public at large.
  • The paper reported that the onset of cognitive disorders began a few days after vaccination. Hospital records kept during the study period indicate that this is untrue.
  • The parents of several of the children had reported cognitive difficulties prior to the vaccine.
  • 10 of Wakefield’s 12 associates withdrew their support for the study shortly after it was published, stating “no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism”.

But what about fraud?

“An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.”[1]

Wakefield et al. were guilty of deliberate fraud (they picked and chose data that suited their case; they falsified facts). The British Medical Journal has published a series of articles on the exposure of the fraud, which appears to have taken place for financial gain.[2]

The former doctor was stripped of his license in 2010 by the U.K.’s General Medical Council for ethical violations and failure to disclose potentially competing financial interests.[3] (Being funded by attorneys intending to sue vaccine producers and holding a patent on a competing vaccine to MMR)[3]

There is no justification whatsoever for risking health based on a grass-roots movement that has, at its heart, a fraudulent claim.

It should be noted that the credit for bringing all this to light actually goes to investigative reporters. One such person is Brian Deer.[4] The New York Times said in an editorial on the affair: “Now the British Medical Journal has taken the extraordinary step of publishing a lengthy report by Brian Deer, the British investigative journalist who first brought the paper’s flaws to light – and has put its own reputation on the line by endorsing his findings.”[5]


[1] CNN: Retracted autism study an ‘elaborate fraud,’ British journal finds

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[2] The MMR vaccine and autism: Sensation, refutation, retraction, and fraud )


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[4] Brian Deer, Exposed: Andrew Wakefield and the MMR-autism fraud )

[5] New York Times: Autism Fraud )