5/03/2010

Layers of Ignorance and Hostility That Some Really Ought to Be Embarrassed By

Age of Autism and Huffington Post offer the opportunity to rubberneck at depths of ignorance one only imagined possible. I know, I sound like a broken record, but the fact that there's a layer of moderation between the ignorance, nastiness, and often outright stupidity never ceases to amaze me.

Here in no particular order of importance or level of mind-blowing dumbassness are some of the things going on at Huff and AoA today.

Deepak writes:

"A meteor trail vanishes never to be seen again, yet each of us has the power to prevent that from happening when we receive personal glimpses of light."
Sure we do, Deepak. Then he closes with this astrology-like piece of emptiness:
"There are many aspects of the self. Some rush forward eagerly into new, unknown challenges. Others hang behind and resist. This inner conflict has always been present, but now it is trying to resolve itself. That's why these unexpected "things" are cropping up. They reflect your desire to break free of conflict and confusion. With that intention, you are sure to make progress."
Well, but of course, shit happens and your brain connects the dots and if you are woo-ful enough, soon you're in a land of mystical enchantment where the magical happens. Thanks for another completely vacuous post that rivals Lanza's latest:

"You're not an object -- you are your consciousness. You're a unified being, not just your wriggling arm or foot, but part of a larger equation that includes all the colors, sensations and objects you perceive. If you divorce one side of the equation from the other you cease to exist."
 Ummm, if my brain shuts down, I cease to exist. I'm pretty sure you're missing some of the equation and I have to wonder at what exactly you're smoking, ingesting, etc.

On to other forms of ridiculous:

A mother at AoA writes this complete testimonial to utter ignorance of facts:


"Hey PBS why didn't you ask these questions to Paul Offitt:
1. If vaccines are so safe, then why did the rotovirus vaccine that you created kill some children?
2. So you think vaccines are safe, even when they kill some children? Explain that.
3. You state that babies can receive up to 10,000 vaccines at one time. Alright, Paul, roll up your sleeve and take this vaccine cocktail equal to 10,000 shots at one time. Prove it!
4. Is it true that you have never treated anyone who has autism? How, then, can you claim to be an expert on autism?
5. Please explain how making millions of dollars on vaccine patents makes you an ideal, unbiased commentator on vaccine safety?"

Ummm.

1. It didn't. You've read AoA one too many times. It was a different rotavirus vaccine, and it was pulled out of an abundance of caution after a connection was made between the vaccine and intussesception.
2. Vaccines have proven to be far safer than the diseases they protect against.
3. You do understand hypotheticals regarding antigen loads, right? Oh wait, 1, 2, and 4 prove that you are far too lazy to do the actual work of examining claims to assess the accuracy of them.
4. He doesn't claim to be an autism expert. He is an infectious disease expert.
5. He's an expert on infectious disease and vaccines. You know, the kinds of folks who actually do the research and create the lifesaving vaccines. Wow.

And because this continues to sit there on AoA as if it were an entirely acceptable comment, I'm placing it in its entirety here. I don't think, based on having read this particular commenter's posts the last year, that she is  being sarcastic or tongue in cheek, either:

"I finally got to see "Vaccine Wars" on "Frontline today (Sunday).
Very interesting and I am just going to have to accept their bottom line since it was so reasonable and all.
The whole thing comes down to utilitarism, the greater good, herd immunity.

However: I disagree which ones should be sacrficed for the greater good.
What the government health officials do not understand is they are culling out the ones in the herd with the strongest immune systems, all the while protecting those that will not build an immunity quickly (requiring boosters); or those that are not normal and do not have an inborn immunity the first few months after birth--- like the little girl running and hopping down the street that had whooping cough as a baby.
There will be new diseaes that will replace the ones that go extinct. That is just evoulution.
So to protect the human race in the future we need to cull out the weak.
I suggest that we do like the Aztecs - pretend that the sun will not come up in the morning untill we shed enough blood.
If any one else can think of other - better ideas to cull the herd please bring them to the attention of the evil internet. Maybe we can list some ideas used in the past of elimanating people for the greater good.
I know that right now the government is just taking the easy way out and killing a few or maiming a few (1 or more + % of the population) by just giving the vaccine shot in the arm, but in the end the greater good would be served to save that percent and get rid of the other end of this issue." 

Of course, that doesn't hold a candle to some of the things Huff posts on the autism threads, really. There's more nastiness and hate over there than you can shake a stick at. With folks to push back against, the regular AoAers can really let it all hang out and spit out spectacular pieces like this:

"The Vaccine Injury and Death Promoter movement is akin to the Medieval Catholic Church. Either you are for them, 100%, no questions asked, or you are a heretic.

I think I'll err on the side of inalienable human rights that allow everyone to question biased science and make their own decisions about what they can medically do with their bodies and children's bodies instead of cow-towing to internet bullies.”

Yes, that's right. Somehow or another, people who cite the scientific studies showing no connection between autism and vaccines are the death promoters. Oh, I know, it's just hyperbole. No harm, no foul, and absolute evidence that some people cannot be reasoned with. I saw this comment when it first went up, and I thought, man, only so much pissing in the wind you can do, you know? Once you've ascertained the level of rationality you're dealing with, well, some folks, you're probably better served to slide right on by. Well, I've thought on it, and I've decided that this is extreme enough that it should have gotten called out. So, I've left the comment over there that this was over the top, even for him. And since I know the person still reads me, I'm just going to be flat out blunt (not that I'm usually any other way): you get much angrier, I'd say you'd lose even the least rational of the AoAers, but the truth is they'll just welcome you to their private club. You really sure that's where you want to be? Really, with the folks who think the herd should be culled and planes should be flown places? You need to ask yourself, some day, when your kids are grown and surfing, how are they going to read your trail of comments? What will they think? What legacy you want to leave? Because, really, if this is the legacy you choose, then I think we can both agree that the little clique I described above? That's where you're deciding to be.

Even the regular skeptics over there left this comment alone, almost like a stunned silence of holy crap, he didn't? Did he? Well, yes, he did. And it's one of the biggest problems with group think and self-justification, both, is that the only way left to some folks is all the way over to the deep end. It's dangerous. And comments like these last two, especially, need to be rebutted, need to have somebody willing to step up and say, that's over the line.

There are other comments out there, on some of the autism-related blogs that need that willingness to stand up and say, really? are you sure you wanted to go there?, but we hang back either because we don't want to be a target ourselves or because we're friends with the person and we don't want to muck in it. The last month or so, I've found myself holding back because of these two things, especially as it relates to the last comment I linked to at Huff, for example.

Other places I should have said something and didn't, I will now without links. It's not okay to sexually harass others. And if you continue when they've asked you to stop, then you knew and chose to continue, and that bothers me. That's not okay, and you should make it right.

Now, on the other hand: it's not okay to go onto other people's blogs and cuss them out because they've said something you think is disablist or sexist or racist; outrage or trying to make a spectacular point doesn't give anybody the freedom to have a tantrum and think it will be well-received. I'm not asking , expecting, or requiring you to be polite, but you also don't get to act surprised that your message wasn't well received. You don't want to think you should be in charge of edifying folks, that's fine and dandy, but don't be surprised when they treat your comments like folks treat Lurker's. Freedom of speech means you get to say what you like, but it doesn't indemnify you from getting freedom of speech back. And if you selectively moderate the comments on your blog, you don't get to complain because someone didn't let your comment on their blog. It's their blog and their rules. Okay, fine, you can complain, but it will ring of sour grapes. And I don't think that's what you're intending.
So, what's new with everyone? :-) Discuss!

7 comments:

Nightstorm said...

You know that I find amusing and bit sad.

All the anti-vaxxers are middle class and white. What does that say about the Anti-Vax movement?

kathleen said...

It is beyond sad...bordering on pathetic but I guess that's what you get when you constantly change your story...
No bullying in any form is unacceptable. Should not be tolerated.

kathleen said...

I meant No, bullying...not no bullying..sigh

Squillo said...

"So to protect the human race in the future we need to cull out the weak."

Wait, couldn't the kids with overzealous immune systems--you know, the ones susceptible to the proverbial vaccine injuries--be considered the "weak links" to be culled?

Perhaps we should set autistic kids--and, heck, let's throw in others with autoimmune problems--to drift on ice floes immediately after diagnosis?

David said...

I find comments like the one about "culling" almost refreshing, compared to typical canards of "too many too soon", "toxins", etc. Those making a hardcore eugenics argument are at least following an intellectually consistent and factually informed train of thought.

KWombles said...

David,

Factually informed? Wow. How so? Morally reprehensible, that I see, but I see no facts here, no evidence that the human race needs the weak removed in order to survive. I see a lot of things in her post but it's pretty short on facts and pretty darn full of offense.

Loving My Family said...

Thank you Kim for the refreshingly honest post.
I try to remember, when huffwoo and Age of Stupidity get particularly carried away that although the bloggers over there are loud they do not represent the majority.
(And let us all be thankful for that). I am glad to see some of the over the top comments-they are bound to loose some of their less insane followers that way.
Hugs and laughter