Debunking Denialism

Fighting pseudoscience and quackery with reason and evidence.

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Anti-Vaccine Propaganda at The Sovereign Independent

Have you ever heard of an online paper called “The Sovereign Independent”? According to their about page, they strive to “provide critical news, information and education which the mainstream media often refuse to print regarding the direction Ireland, the UK and the wider world is heading and the increasing loss of sovereignty and independence spreading across the globe”. Right now, high-pitched sirens and alarms should be going off in your head and your baloney kit should be activated. A cursory sifting of their website shows that they focus mainly on spreading conspiracy theories about the New World Order, which includes falling deep into anti-vaccine advocacy.

A reader sent me a link to an article by S. Edmonson at The Sovereign Independent called ALL the Vaccines Are Contaminated – Every Last One of Them. It is a fairly standard piece, claiming that vaccines cause autism, that the government is using forced vaccinations to sterilize the population and so on, but it has been pasted around the internet a couple of thousands of times, so I decided it merited a detailed debunking. Not because there is any merit to their claims, but because pseudoscience and denialism must be steadfastly resisted. It is too much text for a point-by-point refutation, so I will concentrate on writing short and concise responses to the main points, but retaining a useful reference list.

Vaccines do not cause autism

—> Even if the rates of autism correlated with increase in number of vaccinations, this does not mean that vaccines cause autism as correlation does not imply causation.

—> About a dozen scientific studies show that the vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella does not cause autism (Afzal et. al. 2006; Dales et. al. 2001; Davis et. al. 2001; DeStefano et. al. 2004; DeStefano et. al. 1999; D’Souza et. al. 2006; Farrington et. al. 2001 etc. see reference list for more).

—> About a half a dozen scientific studies show that the preservative thimerosal does not cause autism (Andrews et. al. 2004; Fombonne et. al. 2006; Heron et. al 2004; Hviid et. al. 2003; Madsen et. al. 2003 etc. see reference list for more).

—> Detailed reviews published by Institute of Medicine shows that neither the MMR vaccine nor thimerosal cause autism, that hepatitis B vaccine does not cause myelinating neurological disorders, that vaccines do not cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and they conclude that “few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines” (see reference list for all relevant publications).

Vaccines do not overwhelm the immune system.

—> The immune system of a child does not get overwhelmed by many vaccines. This is because the immunological challenges in all vaccines currently administrated are negligible (about 150) compared with the immunological challenges from a single bacteria (about 2000). A newborn baby is exposed to literally billions of bacteria at the moment of birth (Gerber and Offit, 2009; Offit et. al. 2002; Smith & Woods, 2010). Read more of this post

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