Weekly Wrap: Why the Climate Change Debate Is Not Like the Vaccine Debate
The things you have to think about when you get involved in the vaccine safety issue! Lately I’ve been wondering about the state of the global warming debate, prompted by vaccine injury deniers who say ideas like ours are so goofy they are similar to denying that global warming is real.
This week, I was forwarded a release from Voices For Vaccines titled Avoiding False Balance: Vaccines in the Media. It makes the usual Offit-style points about settled science and study after study showing no link between vaccines and autism, etcetera after etcetera, and included this particularly unpleasant complaint:
“Giving scientifically invalid ideas equal weight to established and verifiable scientific facts by including them in the piece without addressing the fact they are false (e.g., allowing an interviewee to say her child’s autism was caused by vaccines without including a correction—by the reporter—that scientific consensus shows this parent's statement is unwarranted based on the evidence).”
So if someone like, say, respected neurologist Jon Poling said that vaccines caused his daughter Hannah to regress into autism in front of his own eyes, as affirmed by the U.S. government, and compensated by $20 million in our taxpayer dollars, it would be the reporter’s duty to say something like, “Correction: Poling’s statement is false, based on the evidence. Hannah did not regress into autism before his own lying eyes and the government was wrong to compensate them for vaccine injury that led to autism.”
What really caught my eye was the claim that the vaccine safety “debate” is just like the climate safety “debate” – i.e., that it doesn’t exist outside of air quotes. To wit:
“For several years, journalists covering the climate change issue saw it as a controversy requiring equal air time for both the climate change scientists and the handful of scientists—most of them funded by oil companies—who felt the climate was not warming. This approach prolonged—and continues to prolong—a period of doubt about climate change. The result of the media’s approach to this issue is that while more than 98% of climate scientists are in agreement that our planet is warming, people in the United States are split on the issue. The result is that we’ve been hindered in addressing pressing issues related to combating climate change and are seeing the very real effects the lag in action caused by this manufactured uncertainty is having.
“Vaccines are a remarkably similar case, in that the scientific consensus on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines is perhaps even more overwhelming.”
Yeah, not true what they said about climate change. According to Slate on April 6, “Americans overwhelmingly agree that global warming is happening. Out of 3,143 total counties in the United States, majorities of just 39 counties disagree. That means nearly 99 percent of all counties in the country ‘believe in’ global warming—with the holdouts confined to deeply conservative places like Limestone County, Alabama, or coal-producing Putnam County, West Virginia. That aligns broadly with a recent 98-1 Senate vote that global warming is real and ‘not a hoax.’ The lone holdout in that vote was Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker.
I think what the mopey dopes at Voices For Vaccines might be talking about is whether climate change is man-made or not. There is more of a split on that, although once again the majority agrees: “A steady 57 percent blame humans for global warming,” Gallup reported last month.
Now if that were the proportion in a presidential election, it would be called a landslide. But still, it shows there are plenty of doubters. Some of them fear for their livelihood, some of them strongly believe they are right, and some are important elected officials – and a lot of them take money from the fossil fuel industry, as Bill Moyers pointed out: “All told, 170 elected representatives in the 114th Congress have taken over $63.8 million from the fossil fuel industry that’s driving the carbon emissions which cause climate change. They deny what over 97 percent of scientists say is happening — current human activity creates the greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat within the atmosphere and cause climate change. And their constituents are paying the price, with Americans across the nation suffering 500 climate-related national disaster declarations since 2011.”
So alert the media, I guess – people have different opinions in a democracy, some of it depending on how an issue affects them personally, and money skews politics in the America of 2015. It’s a conflict of interest, kind of like all the pharmaceutical money pouring into Congress and onto the network news to silence the vaccine-safety debate, and a lot like Voices for Vaccines’ billing itself as a “parent-driven organization supported by scientists, doctors, and public health officials.” Right, and if you go to their Web site and click on About, you’ll see they are an “administrative project” of something called the Task Force for Global Health, and if you go to that Web site and click on About, you’ll see their partners are “non-profit organizations working in developing countries for the benefit of improving global health in local communities.” It’s a hall of mirrors that leads back to vaccine zealotry funded, at some point on upstream tributaries, by vaccine manufacturers and their public health pals. It's dirty money washing through the system.
("Donors" to TFGH, according to their 2013 annual report, include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CDC, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Novartis, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and something called, rather ominously, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6.)
So the vaccine-autism debate is like the climate change debate only in the fact that one side (exemplified by Voices for Vaccines) has a huge conflict of interest they try to avoid disclosing or claim has nothing to do with their position. What the vaccine-autism debate is really like, as I’ve said many times, is the run-up to the Iraq war where one side -- the one with all the power and access and ability to shape public opinion -- used twisted data to drive its agenda, colluded with private enterprises like Halliburton, and drove us deep into another big muddy from which we have yet to recover and, in fact, may not. (While we're sending drones over Pakistan and building ill will -- Pakistan officials are talking about charging former CIA agents with murder -- the country just signed a $46 billion infrastructure improvement pact with China. We are not winning the future by fighting everyone else in the world.)
Let’s give the last word on VFV's precious "scientific consensus," which must never be questioned, to the late author Michael Crichton, M.D.:
“Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
“There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism
Hah, finally the whole climate change issue-hijack has been ruined for front groups. Their use of it as an analogy to so-called "vaccine-denialism" fails if they can't cast it (climate change science) as a persecuted concept which is misunderstood by the majority of clueless, cognitively biased plebes. Thanks for pointing out that most plebes get it.
I think of climate change as the green lipstick on the front group pig. I don't think the issue itself benefits from being misappropriated for a "debunking" strategy (grubbing credence from an easily demonstrable fact to gain unwarranted authority to dismiss other demonstrable (but even more inconvenient) facts). I didn't see any Skeptics being arrested for protesting Keystone XL along with RFK Jr. at the White House gate.
Posted by: Adriana | April 19, 2015 at 05:16 PM
Since the topic of climate change has been raised here I can't let some of the comments pass unanswered. If the climate is allowed to change just a little more than it already has the environment will become unable to support human life in an ever increasing number of areas of planet earth. Starving people will go on the move, there will be wars (even more) and conflict. Life will become a competitive struggle even in the most affluent places. We autistic people will get kicked to the back of the queue even more than we do at present. People here need to be easily as concerned about climate change as anyone else is.
Posted by: Grace Green | April 19, 2015 at 04:00 PM
Thanks for the Pete Seeger reference, and thanks for always pointing the way to the truth.
Posted by: Denise Anderstrom Douglass | April 19, 2015 at 10:51 AM
Non renewable fossil fuels are not a good, sustainable idea. You could throw out the whole idea of global warming, and there will still be many other scientific findings that would show why it is poisonous to humans and the environment and detrimental to long-term civil society, economic stability, and peace vs war. Global warming is the patsy idea of the day, the fall guy, set up to temporarily and successfully detract from the underlying science that IS known and not easily contested in the public eye. It came along after "scrubbers" in the coal chimneys.
But there is no denying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We spent how much wasted time and money on curing, when it can all be prevented.
It is like mercury in vaccines. Or the danger of live vaccines. How much time and money will be wasted arguing that mercury shouldn't be in vaccines (it shouldn't) and live vaccines are dangerous so lets make some attenuated ones instead (in some cases it's better), but it's all patsy ideology because "cure" will never be as good as prevention. And just like renewable energy is the prevention to environmental poisoning in so many morphed forms that it's nearly impossible to list them all, not vaccinating the general public and instead supporting the immune system in the immunologically weak using all the updated nutritional and all the probiotic science that wasn't available 100 years ago may very well eliminate the countless auto-immune, inflammatory, mystery "illnesses" that have plagued the 20th and early 21st humans.
The issues are mirror images of each other, and in lock step with each other on a historical timeline.
Where does thimerosal come from?
Where does the mercury in thimerosal come from?
I'll keep an open mind if someone can explain the details to me, but until then, I'm going to continue to assume that the mercury in medical products comes from suppliers that are getting mercury to make thimerosal from the coal and mining industries selling their byproducts. (did you know the material in sheet rock can be contaminated with mercury?)
Posted by: Jenny | April 19, 2015 at 09:22 AM
Mother nature can look after herself left alone our kids cant..
Posted by: Angus Files | April 19, 2015 at 08:29 AM
I don't think it's good to compare vaccine injury (real)to the idea of "manmade" global warming, of which there is a "consensus" by scientists that man is causing warming just as there is a "consensus" that vaccines are safe for everybody. And in fact, the Al Gore people do not call it global warming lately because the earth has started cooling again, so they switched the terminology to climate change. The earth has gone through warming trends and cooling trends before we were so developed. In fact, we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide that trees and plants use to produce more oxygen. (I'm not saying that we shouldn't be careful with pollution, but our cars run cleaner than they ever have before). We all know that "consensus" by "experts" does not necessarily equal the truth. And freedom of speech is very important.
Posted by: Lori M. | April 19, 2015 at 03:07 AM
I like Crichton's remarks about consensus and science. And of course consensus is often wrong before it's right. The earth revolves around the sun not the other way around. Science advances via fearless observation, it seems to me, and not by throwing statistical epicycles in until corporate interests get the results they want.
Posted by: Carol | April 18, 2015 at 08:12 PM
When I was a kid, nearly every strip shopping center had a doctor running an ulcer clinic. Why? Because the "consensus" was that ulcers were caused by stress and were best treated by a combination of drinking lots of milk and dairy products (to coat the stomach) and therapy for reducing stress.
And then along came a doctor from Australia...who figured out that 85% of ulcers were caused by the h.pylori bacterium and could be cured with a simple round of antibiotics. He was initially laughed at - after all, the "science has spoken". So he made a concoction of h.pylori and gave himself ulcers. Then he cured himself with the antibiotics. It took perhaps 20 years to change the "consensus"...but it turned out that the ONE doctor was right and the "consensus" was wrong.
I hope I live long enough to see the businesses for ABA therapy go away...because docs have finally figured out the causes for autism and ABA is rarely needed anymore. So much for the "consensus".
Posted by: Vicki Hill | April 18, 2015 at 07:14 PM
I know my son was vaccine injured and know the science behind the so called studies are being influenced by the government and big pharma, but I also think the gov't and environmental strong arms are selling this global warming crisis to control the population. I mean, I'm all for clean air and clean water, but not taking over every aspect of peoples lives and setting technology and the comforts of life back 100 years. In other words, the vaccine debate falls on both sides of the aisle. I my opinion.
Posted by: Nan | April 18, 2015 at 05:48 PM
If the climate change debate were like the autism and vaccine debate, global temperatures would be up 10 degrees and the media would be arguing that it is not due to human activity. The government would be funding more studies into sunspot activity as the potential cause and stating there is no proven link between warming and greenhouse emissions.
Posted by: Eric | April 18, 2015 at 05:17 PM
It's so tiresome when people compare vaccine safety advocates (aka "anti-vaxxers") with global warming deniers. They have it backwards. Vaccine injury deniers are like global warming deniers. Both twist science to fit corporate agendas and funding, and care more about profits and cya than about health.
Posted by: Twyla | April 18, 2015 at 04:47 PM
Vaccine injuries are the epitome of reproducible results.
Every month sizeable numbers of parents report similar post-vaccination sequences of adverse events and symptoms of physical damage.
The longer that vaccine injuries go uninvestigated by the CDC, the larger the victim pool -- and the angrier their families become. Unsurprisingly more and more firsthand witnesses logically conclude, in absence of manufacturer warranty responsibility, that vaccine refusal is the safer option.
The denial in the scientific community is disappointing but not surprising, because FOIA'd documents show that CDC policymakers have a grifter's knack for manipulating undesirable research results.
Posted by: nhokkanen | April 18, 2015 at 02:17 PM
Most of the time I'm thinking that whatever agenda drives all the attention on climate change (whatever the reality of the change and the sources of the change), they'd better stop tying the credibility of the two together (climate change and vaccine injury, and sometimes multiple other suspect subjects labelled as "tin-foil hat conspiracy theories") or they might get some of what they deserve. But sometimes I'm afraid some people know human nature better than someone like me possibly can and are not really gambling so much as just playing many of us like a harp and getting most of the rest to dance to their tune.
I've had to put in a lot of time to get an idea of where reality is with vaccine injury and to get just a feel for where reality is with vaccine efficacy and disease risk, and I know I haven't put in that much effort (and expended a comparable level of emotional fortitude that I suspect it will take) with "climate change" so it's hard to feel confident in saying what I think is going on there...and it's also hard to not feel potentially reckless/irresponsible for not seeking to know more, say more...but I'm at my limit today and most days...
I hope that whatever number not already well-versed on the vaccine injury epidemic(s) reading this take seriously to heart or consider for serious investigation this point:
"What the vaccine-autism debate is really like, as I’ve said many times, is the run-up to the Iraq war where one side -- the one with all the power and access and ability to shape public opinion -- used twisted data to drive its agenda, colluded with private enterprises like Halliburton, and drove us deep into another big muddy from which we have yet to recover and, in fact, may not."
Posted by: Jeannette Bishop | April 18, 2015 at 01:45 PM
reporter—that scientific consensus shows this parent's statement is unwarranted based on the evidence).”
I love this: I am going to copy it off and put it on my face book page. Dan really has a talent for putting words on paper. A born Keats for sure!
So if someone like, say, respected neurologist Jon Poling said that vaccines caused his daughter Hannah to regress into autism in front of his own eyes, as affirmed by the U.S. government, and compensated by $20 million in our taxpayer dollars, it would be the reporter’s duty to say something like, “Correction: Poling’s statement is false, based on the evidence. Hannah did not regress into autism before his own lying eyes and the government was wrong to compensate them for vaccine injury that led to autism.
Posted by: Benedetta | April 18, 2015 at 11:39 AM
I know this has been discussed in the blogs on Age of Autism before.
Compare: Contrast The global warming issue vs vaccine injury issue
Global Warming like the vaccines issue has been captured in the education system.
Global warming was put in all the high school science text books intertwining it with every subject in science; kind of like they do evolution. Vaccines; little is said in high school except for a short story of Edward Jenner and Salk. Only in college is the vaccine issue really elaborated on in higher education, by lectures from "Bought" professors.
Which means the hearts and minds of the common citizens has already been won on the vaccine issue, vs they are in the process of trying to win the hearts and minds on the issue of man-made global change.
Both issues involve their own federal agencies CDC and the EPA.
The vaccine issue involves two MORE- other federal agencies as well; the NIH and the FDA.
Compare: Whistle blowers came forth on both issues claiming the heads of these federal agencies had changed data.
Contrast: Whistle blowers came forth quick from the EPA, and Congress dealt with them quick and is still dealing with them vs One whistle blower came forth from the CDC after 60 years, and 8 months later we are still waiting.
THIS IS THE BIG ONE:
Compare: Both issues have one side that claims the problem is man made.
And speaking of sides:
Contrast: The backing of sides are not equal.
The Vaccine issue has all government, education, media, big huge companies against the common citizen - a parent saying they believe their "lying eyes"
Global change; Oil Companies, fossil fuel companies (? and cattlemen with burping farting cattle?) and their guys in the government
Big other companies wanting a piece of the energy pie, and their guys in the government such as the likes of Al Gore trying to get a piece of the energy pie through such schemes as carbon trading.
In the middle are citizens that will pay more to stay warm keep the lights, and travel to get to work.
Pretty bad if they have to pay more to keep warm and are sick and have a sick child in the house as well. And the next generation does not have the mental means to make enough money to stay warm, or buy transportation to get to work.
Here is a question; Since my family sold all their land that had cliffs and caves on it - to the federal agency call the forest service -Does it then kind of belong to the people. If so do you think when it all goes to hell in a hand basket That we might be allowed to - kind of camp and live homeless under some of those cliffs?
Posted by: Benedetta | April 18, 2015 at 11:24 AM
It is clear there is a professional propaganda effort to discredit those who have experienced vaccine damage.
I have seen many of the EXACT same techniques used against lyme patients.
Lumping advocates for the vaccine damaged with tin foil hat, conspiracy theorists, political parties, climate change deniers, and my favorite, upperclass worried well.
Slate, daily kos et all, same techniques, and probably very well paid to do so by those operating the propaganda machine.
Never discussing the issues EVER.
Posted by: greyone | April 18, 2015 at 09:59 AM
Because the same petro chemical companies that pay people to deny climate damage (the word "change" is the false construct) and its devastating physical adverse events on the earth and everything that depends on it are supplying the base ingredients for synthetic pharmaceuticals and vaccine ingredients, some being toxic byproducts of their other industries, and they are therefore the same people denying the devastating physical adverse events from vaccines on humans. Our bodies are just the microclimate example of what those companies are doing to the earth in general.
They really don't want people to make that connection because then they will have lost control of their well-controlled, carefully constructed vertical ,silo markets. Silos with no windows to look sideways, only internal views up and down the inside of their own walls.
Posted by: Jenny | April 18, 2015 at 09:08 AM
Ah yes..... the scientific method. Replicate results to verify hypothesis.
Something replicable occurred to cause Congress to pass Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.....signed by President Reagan. The something was kids and adults getting injured by vaccines.
Further replication of results is observed by hundreds of thousands of parental reports of vaccine injury. Take a well kid to a well baby visit, get a bunch of shots, and observe the child getting sick.
The vaccine injury denialists exist in some type of anti science world where injecting neonates with mercury is somehow OK. The babble about "the good mercury" was short lived- so I guess it really bombed when focus group tested, and when The Atlantic Monthly floated the article lauding "the good mercury."
The vaccine injury Luddites are getting their collective asses handed to them on a platter because vaccine injury is rampant, pervasive, obvious, and undeniable. The replicable science in human and animal models is clear, decisive, and has an 80 year trail in medical literature. It is tragic-comic to watch the sputtering Drs. Pan and Offit dish out critiques of "anti vax" parents because the scientific method clearly shows that vaccines kill and maim some subset of children.
The vaccine schedule in veterinary medicine was ramped down years before vaccine safety concerns cropped up in pediatrics. The veterinarians directly observed, over and over again, that over use of vaccines caused vaccinoisis in dogs, cats, and horses. They formed a hypothesis that over vaccination of animals was causing vaccinosis. The hypothesis was tested, the evidence replicated, and action was taken to fix the problem.
The vaccine injury denialists are being hoist on the petard of their own success. Because they have achieved vaccination rates of over 95% since 1986, vaccine injury has exploded. The hypothesis of vaccine injury in humans is proven by the data set created by mass vaccination. The injuries are real and they are replicated.
The vaccine lobby is in deep doo doo right now. Their actions are driven by desperation. Dr. Pan's justification for his horrendous assault on informed consent becomes ever more convoluted.
Scientific method has shown that live virus vaccines and pertussis vaccine as well will spread to, and infect, healthy populations. Thus, vaccinating kids and sending them to school places all children and adults in the school at risk for developing vaccine strain disease.
Scientific method demonstrates that vaccine failure causes many vaccines to be virtually useless (or worse- the vaccines cause outbreaks, see above)- pertussis, flu, measles, mumps vaccines all have horribly low efficacy. Thus, the risk/reward calculation needs to be adjusted to account for vaccine failure.
The true anti science stance is that vaccines never cause injury- that point has been repeated ad nauseum by Offit.
Posted by: ottoschnaut | April 18, 2015 at 08:47 AM
The view I have on it these days is ,its not Pakistan being bombed by America its whoever is in charge of America bombing Pakistan is to blame ...I am sure the good people of Pakistan don't see it that way but its not Americas war its corporate you give us your oil and let us vaccinate you into oblivion with stealth or we will do it anyway...have a good day at work honey??
Posted by: Angus Files | April 18, 2015 at 07:58 AM
Climate change is happening -because it always has. Without getting into an acrimonius debate about whether or not 'global warming is happening', we need to look at this subject on a long timescale of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years. We also need to look at large scale man made pollution of our atmoshere and oceans, not just concentrating on carbon dioxide, and the effects of widespread deforestation on carbon fixing by plants and animals.
Vaccine damage is quite another matter, and most seems to have happened over only a few decades. Our planet has looked after itself for billions of years, and will still be here long after mankind is extinct. The causes of vaccine damage is an urgent matter. As John states, this is about people.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | April 18, 2015 at 07:46 AM
Some interesting observations but we also need to take account of the problem that with vaccination and its safety people are the subject, and if they are coached in disregarding adverse effects or shunning people who report them, if people are generally intimidated over the issue, it is a way of manipulating the evidence.
Posted by: John Stone | April 18, 2015 at 07:12 AM