"Before vaccines, everyone came down with measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox etc. If vaccines work, how could 1% to 6% opt-out rates result in pre-vaccine numbers of people getting these illnesses?"
There's a study out on assessing competency in oneself that I've made reference to before. It applies here nicely. The above statement is so grossly inaccurate and yet the individual making it has no idea, and having read a fair amount of this person's comments over the last six months, this person routinely demonstrates a lack of awareness on how inaccurate the statements she makes are. That's okay; she's in fine company over there. Facts, they don't need 'em. Their intuitive understanding, their beliefs, and their utter convictions prevail.
This is an article (Dunning et al.) that anyone interested in making sure he or she is armed with the self-knowledge that it takes to have a better chance to assess whether we really are competent should read. Absolute convictions are risky things. We fool ourselves in a variety of ways and if we aren't aware of that principle in general, it bites us in the ass on a fairly regular basis. The problem is that we are so sure we're right, we don't feel those nibbles. And we may even go so far as to use any nibbles at our ass that we do feel as proof we must be right. Persecution complex, anyone?
I think what's going on with people in the anti-vaccination movement is incredibly complex and I'm not suggesting I understand all the nuances of what is motivating each individual person who proscribes to the belief that vaccines are deadly and worse than the disease. But I'm pretty clear on a few things:
These parents are hurting and casting about for answers and for cures.
They think they've been hoodwinked.
There are charlatans and crooks attempting to peddle them easy answers and buy-my-product cures.
They think they have the answers now and that anyone who can't see the light as they have is the enemy.
They hold these beliefs with a religious fervor that procludes skepticism.
They consistently overinflate their level of competence.
This last is precisely what happened when the person wrote the above comment quoted. It displays an ignorance of infection rates, an ignorance of percentage rates, and an ignorance of her competency to assess the validity of the statistics and what they mean.
We all make mistakes. Turns out that competent individuals are more able to assess where they might be wrong. They estimate their competence more accurately and do not overinflate it.
An article on this study:
The citation for the article:
Dunning, David; Kerri Johnson, Joyce Ehrlinger and Justin Kruger (2003). "Why people fail to recognize their own incompetence". Current Directions in Psychological Science 12 (3): 83–87. doi:10.1111/1467-8721.01235
Can be downloaded here:
***I know it says comments, but I'm out of writing time. Ya'll feel free to pick some and examine them here. Be nice, though.