10/22/2009

Fired Up Ready to Go, or an examination of comments at AoA: Proof Positive

"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?"

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/10/wired-magazine-and-amy-wallace-drink-paul-offits-kool-aid.html#comments

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're angry.
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:
 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/01/18/MN73840.DTL
 
 
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:
 
http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:HqdMpBN_k0MJ:www.psy.fsu.edu/~ehrlinger/Self_%26_Social_Judgment/DunJohnEhr%26Krug.pdf+Why+people+fail+to+recognize+their+own+incompetence&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgk6aEo7SxwCteyDeSpdHlW8zH18fBkXHSygJ9QHLswvdrsRDqU7WESIBX7ut9DRhteiuYd1ysGYfbo-9azSFdVmRdZ11VylOzqnCQSowDKgjWxqu9UeiqGNObb7tLdyt8YtNKI&sig=AFQjCNH6j1ezqFgbaH3KRyiCGp9WZc35qA
 
 
***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.

7 comments:

Mom26children said...

Oh My Goodness Kim,
Before I found AoA, my husband and myself went about raising 6 children, (5 with autism), and trying to teach them that they had no limits. We made them be accountable for their behaviors and they were (and still are) made to be good students with high marks.
Man, we did not know we were supposed to blame them for all of our inadequacies. We did not realize that we were supposed to wallow in so much self pity that they were supposed to be the reason we did not succeed in life.
We did not realize we could become martyrs...
Damn It !!!
Caitlin is turning 19 in February, do you think it is too late for us ?

Roger Kulp said...

No it isn't.You get a new chance to do things all over again every time your kid has a major regression.Your 19 year old sounds like she is overdue for hers.I had my second major regression when I was 17.

Louise said...

Roger! You is gonna regress yer backside inta my foot!

KWombles said...

Roger,

I believe that most reasonable people would agree that I have allowed a whole lot of latitude with your posts. Well, this one was your swan song. Any future posts will be deleted, period.

Autism is not an intermittently regressive disorder. I don't know what all your problems are, but I am fairly certain of one thing: regardless of them, it really looks like you are a jerk. So short of an oops my bad from you, you're through here.

Mom26children said...

Kim,
Don't ban him on my account....
My children, not one of them regressed...
why?
I never tried to alter them through harsh chemicals maybe?
I never tried to de-yeast them?
I treated them like they matter?

Don't know why...just never happened.

NightStorm The Aspiewolf said...

I never regressed either. I mean some behaviors worsen and but some improved too. I have less 'regressive' meltdowns and I am handling sensory overload.

Not all autists regress.

Clay said...

You'll notice that for the most part, I've totally ignored Roger, and not out of any malice. Unlike with Lurker, I believe what Roger says of himself, and unlike Roger, I understand that whatever his problems are or were caused by, he's strictly a "one of a kind" fella. If he's autistic, he got there some other way than most of us do. Ol' Rog needs to understand that his 'autism' bears no relationship to any others, and that includes 'classic autistic' people I have known.

From what I've seen of him on other blogs, (which I will not name), he seems to have a bad attitude, and has fallen in with a bad crowd. That puts him in an even worse position.