Time To Be A Dick!

A scant four days ago, I posted my views about Phil Plait’s Don’t Be A Dick talk at TAM 8. The upshot of which was that we need to engage people with civility, but there are times when ridicule is in oder. This, I think, is one of those times.

Today, I posted on Facebook and Twitter that I want to organize a vaccination drive in my area and requesting help to get it organized.

The only response I received so far was from one, Zack Wellington, of Brattleboro, Vermont, who, according to his profile, is looking for free-thinking canines to romp with. It’s too bad that Zack isn’t a free-thinker himself. He seems to have a very serious case of alt-med delusion.

There were three separate comments, each with responses. Let me give you the ensuing tet-a-tet in it’s entirety:

Jay Walker: I want to do vaccine drive in the Omaha, NE but have no idea how to go about it. If you know, send suggestions to jwalker1960@me.com

Zack Wellington: you are protesting vaccines? good boy! 🙂 LIKE

Jay Walker: Um..No.

Zack Wellington: sorry.

Jay Walker: Another reason to vaccinate, as if there weren’t enough already: http://bit.ly/a6eIy2

Zack Wellington: oh. oops. how about reasons NOT to vaccinate. more of those. Like autism, learning disabilities, brain damage…, not to mention contracting the thing you’re trying NOT to get.

Jay Walker: How about all of those things have been proven, time and time again not to be true? How about the thousands of children stricken with polio in the early 20th century and then vaccines came along and polio went away? How about the eradication of small pox and the millions of people who died from it before a vaccine? How about the three infants who died recently in California of whooping cough because the people around them hadn’t been vaccinated?

Zack Wellington: as Richard Bach said, “Argue for you limitations and they are yours.”

Zack Wellington: one of the great things about being “scientific” is that you get to focus on things you don’t want, sometime to the exclusion of all else

Jay Walker: Vaccinating saves lives. Not vaccinating cause avoidable death and suffering. Just ask the World Health Organization. Ask the parents of babies who died from whooping cough in California and Australia. Even if vaccines did have a risk of autism disabilities, which study after study have show they don’t, those small risks are far out weighed by the huge risk of death and disability when you don’t vaccinate.

First off, what the hell does, “Argue for you limitations and they are yours.” and “one of the great things about being “scientific” is that you get to focus on things you don’t want, sometime to the exclusion of all else” have to do with the point I was trying to make? What does that even mean?

How much freaking harm is going to have to be allowed to occur before people wake up to the fact that this anti-vaccination crap is just that, crap?!

People like Zack epitomize the credulous, unthinking, mindless magical thinking that runs rampant in our society. “Modern medicine is bad!”, “Vaccines cause autism!”, “Natural is good!”

I was born in 1960, at 28 weeks. The local hospital had just opened a state of the art NICU with incubators and doctors and nurses who were highly trained in the latest modern medical treatments. I should have died, and if I’d been born anywhere else, I probably would have. But I survived. I survived because modern, science based medicine had provided the tools, theories and training to save me. There was no shaman waving leaves over my head, no Wiccan priestess casting incantations in my direction, no priest with the last rights, just doctors and nurses who spent years in medical school and residency who knew what to do because science and critical thinking taught them how premature babies worked.

Show me one example of a time when an alternative medicine or natural remedy saved someone’s life. I’m not talking about eased their pain, helped them sleep or settled their stomach. I’m talking about treating their heart disease, curing their cancer, saving their freaking lives!

Of course they can’t show me. The trail of alt-med is littered with the bodies of those who sought healing in it’s magical, natural arms only to find out too late that it offered nothing but broken promises and squandered time.

I can show you millions of people who are alive today whose cancers are in remission and whose hearts and arteries have been mended by chemotherapy, radiation treatments, surgery and modern pharmacology, people who now have years more to spend with their loved ones and enjoy the gift of life.

I’ll end with Zack’s favorite quote, according to his Facebook profile:

“He is happy in his work because he is in harmony with his group and his emotions are flowing. He is free.”
~Natural Dog Training, Kevin Behan

You know, I wonder if he would have his free-thinking dogs vaccinated for rabbis or distemper? Somehow I suspect he would.

Have I been enough of a dick? Good!

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2 thoughts on “Time To Be A Dick!

  1. Yup, I think it’s important to get critical when magical thinking does harm, such as being on the anti-vaccination wagon. Good job. I actually don’t think you were being a dick at all! Just pointing out his fallacies and lack of knowledge. I didn’t see any ad hominem attacks.

    Am really enjoying your blog. I’m a noobie in freethinking department so I need a site such as this to get my feet wet. Thanks!

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