Oh where to begin with this one..? Maybe I’ll start with my “redneck” uncle and aunt, who persistently link dubious stuff onto Facebook concerning health. When it comes to the topic of diets and such, I don’t feel a need to comment, since no matter how ridiculous I find the post, it is really none of my business. But when it comes to antivax posts, I really need to control myself in order not to go on a ranting rampage. I would do it, but since I really like them, I don’t want to cause unnecessary friction between us. But it is painfully evident how uneducated and gullible they are.
During a heated discussion on the forums I moderate, I (and several other members) clashed heads with our resident antivaxer. I cannot call it a debate, since his best line of defence was a satirical site and a bunch of testimonials. In order to save face he tried to settle the matter by saying how we should respect each other’s opinion and leave it at that. I just had to put my foot down then and there, and I scolded him for not realizing that opinion does not have any room in this discussion, that it’s a matter of knowledge versus hearsay. Unfortunately that point went straight over his head.
Now, I appreciate the right everyone has to decide about their own bodies, be it food, drugs, fetuses, implants, tattoos or whatever, as long as no one suffers for it. But fact will always trump opinion, so I honestly think that people without the proper understanding cannot refuse to vaccinate their children. It might be callous, but I don’t care if Mike, age 34, goes abroad and gets hepatitis, because he felt that vaccines are bad. I might even do a Nelson, point at him and go “Haahaa!”, because stupidity should hurt. But that a child, who should be protected by its parents, might die of something so easily avoided as measles, whooping cough or, Loki forbid, smallpox, is abominable. Health care is not something that should be left to the uneducated, but to those with the knowledge. Once again it proves my point that source criticism needs to be on every syllabus all around the world.
The silver lining of this whole thing was the hilarious Twitter incident with Jenny McCarthy’s #AskJenny. Some of my faith in humanity was restored when reading through people’s comments. It’s reassuring to know that some people still have some sense in them.