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Posts Tagged ‘jenny mccarthy’

My lovely lady done a thing, about vaccines and medically irresponsible idiots and stuff. Go have a read.

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I’ve not been getting enough sleep lately, so I’m going to spend a couple of days shirking my responsibilities and going to bed early. I’ll have something interesting to say again in a little while, hopefully including a review of the Boffoonery show I’m going to tomorrow in support of Bletchley Park.

In the meantime, watch a video that Crispian Jago put together about the Jenny McCarthy body count site:

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This is a great article, which further serves to intimidate me regarding the task of coming up with my own article to summarise my thoughts on the recent anti-vaccination nonsense. It makes the case strongly and succinctly that the people continuing to push a link between vaccines and autism are behaving reprehensibly and irresponsibly, and are not entitled to endanger people’s lives in the way that they’re doing.

The recent news of the deal made between Oprah and Jenny McCarthy highlights how important this still is, and bodes very ill for the future of the death toll associated with this appalling and unscientific movement.

Bleh. It’s bedtime, but I don’t want to leave it on such a depressing note. Play them out, keyboard cat.

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Fred Phelps is a hate-group leader, and a loathsome fucktard. The Westboro Baptist Church, which he founded, regularly pickets military funerals, and seems to take great pleasure in loudly telling pretty much everyone that God hates them, from gays to Catholics (with equally liberal use of the epithet “fags” in either case).

He also regularly beat his thirteen children, and seemed to relish the pain he caused them almost as much as the thought of almost everybody on the planet burning in Hell for eternity. This is according to one of his children, Nate Phelps, who has spent some time attempting to distance himself from the physical abuse, and mentally abusive religious indoctrination, of his childhood, and who has recently begun speaking publicly about his upbringing in the Phelps household. Read about him from someone who saw him speak. I’m going to have to try and hear more from him. It’s a close to unique perspective he’s got.

Oh, and as Ben Goldacre points out: the Daily Mail is campaigning both for and against the cervical cancer jab, at the same time, depending on whether you’re reading the British or Irish edition of their paper. This seems to be the most demonstrably disingenuous, dishonest, irresponsible, cynical approach to journalism it’s possible to imagine. Any kind of consideration of facts, knowledge, or any other basics of journalistic reporting appear to have gone entirely out the window. It’s all just about selling a story, and it’s rather depressing.

I’m sure there was one more thing… but I can’t find it. So have a Jenny McCarthy body count widget instead. 152 dead so far, watch it keep on ticking!

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Dr David Gorski just keeps getting more and more awesome. His latest WIN is a blow-by-blow takedown of the whole Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey interview on Larry King. Man, I can’t even blog a quarter of that much in a whole week, half as intelligently, and I’m not even curing cancer for most of the day.

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I’m not entirely sure what I think about the latest hot talking point in my part of internetland, namely the Jenny McCarthy body count site. Obviously the problem of the recent anti-vaccination craze is a hugely important one to address, and I’m strongly on the side of people like Phil Plait, Steven Novella, and Orac (and Orac, and Orac, and Orac, and…). There are a lot of great posts out there, on numerous blogs by experienced medical doctors intimately familiar with the science of vaccines and well acquainted with the data and literature supporting their effectiveness and safety, who are in a better position to comment knowledgably than a woman examining a single data point and misunderstanding and misinterpreting all kinds of wider study. They do a great job of highlighting the damage that people like Jenny McCarthy are doing, like the drastic increase in measles outbreaks in recent years which certainly wasn’t helped by all the uninformed hysteria evoked when people write books or go on TV shows to tell millions of people that vaccines are scary (and you know measles kills children, right?).

Anyway. (This paragraph should be less link-heavy.) Certainly the cause is worthy, and I think it’s safe to say that, by now, Jenny McCarthy herself has long since plunged from sympathetic-if-misguided parent status, to that of despicably negligent monomaniac with a puzzlingly inconsistent stance on injections of deadly toxins. (Okay, a little less link-heavy.) But something just feels a little off to me about putting her name in big letters right over a tally of how many people have died of vaccine preventable illnesses since she first started publicly spouting her bullshit, even with the acknowledgment that she’s not directly responsible for them all. Is this the best way of making the (very valid) point, in a way that’s likely to be responded to?

It brings one point to the fore – that people are dying of diseases which we know how to prevent. But some articles discussing, accessibly, how we know this, and refuting some of the common accusations made against vaccines which assert that they do more harm than good, might make for a more useful and persuasive resource. I say “accessibly” because there’s not much beyond the body count site’s front page (and the big, flashy, eye-catching, blood-red numbers) beside a tally of their data, and some links to a wall of impenetrable statistics which apparently explains where they got it all. (Maybe it’s not really that impenetrable, and I’m just being a bit dense, as I was never that good with statistics – but when I say that, I mean it in the context of all the other stuff in my Masters in Mathematics degree course, so by most normal standards I am pretty good with statistics. Either way, I’d be reassured by more of a transparent explanation of where these numbers are coming from.)

I can’t help feeling that a site like this is just going to put people on the defensive, who may still have some sort of allegiance or sympathy for McCarthy and her crowd. And it kinda smacks of scare tactics, of the sort we’re always finding abhorrent when it comes from “the other side”, doesn’t it? Except no, this isn’t some manipulative technique to overplay some hypothetical, unproven dangers, to terrorise people into joining our way of doing things because we don’t have any actual arguments. This is about people dying. That’s not scare tactics, that’s just information which ought to be damn well scary.

Hmm. Well, I seem to have run out of thoughts. The site’s only been around for a week, so hopefully it’ll expand creatively in time. And stopjenny.com has a broader collection of links and explanations of the important stuff. Some of the intertubes get it. Hat-tip to the JREF and the BA, among other acronyms.

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