Antivaxxers grow increasingly bolder

December 30, 2011

Over the last year, the anti-vaccination movement has grown more bold in their misinformation campaigns. It began Thanksgiving weekend of 2010, where they tried to advertise their propaganda in AMC movie theaters. This effort was thwarted however in no small part because of SkepChick activist Elyse Anders. Then months later, they succeeded in getting a commercial running on the Time Square CBS Jumbotron. And last month, they succeeded in getting Delta Airlines to air their propaganda on flights.

Each time Elyse Anders used a change.org petition to influence those who have agreed to work with these antivaccine groups and I discussed this during my recent SkeptiCamp talk, which was focused on promoting more skeptical activism in NYC because as great as Elyse has been for NYC, she doesn’t live here and I hate needing her to fight our local battles when we have a sizable skeptical community, many of whom I suspect would be interested in skeptical activism.

Well now the inaccurately named National Vaccine Information Center is back to their old tricks and are currently, as well as during New Years, running another dishonest ad in Times Square on ABC Full Circle’s 5000 square foot TSQ Digital Screen. And the ad is scheduled to run during the New Years celebration. Also, Jenny McCarthy will be part of the televised show and has promised to try to draw attention to the ad.

And again, since there’s no organized NYC skeptical activism…yet (hopefully more on this soon!), New York’s protector, Elyse Anders, is back with another change.org petition. Please sign this petition urging ABC to pull the ad at once.

Yay! Sweet, sweet death!

Now unfortunately, that’s not the only antivaccine news story lately. The antivaccine Australian Vaccination Network is currently promoting a children’s book that teaching kids that measles is awesome. I shit you not. The book is called Melanie’s Marvelous Measles, and it’s written by a woman named Stephanie Messenger. I’m reminded of another children’s author who wrote about measles, Roald Dahl. Though he wasn’t marveling at the disease so much as cursing it for having killed his kid. For more commentary on this sickening book, check out PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson and Reasonable Hank.

The other big news from Australia was that the head of the Australian Vaccination Network, Meryl Dorey was originally scheduled to give a talk at the Woodford Folk Festival about the evils of vaccines. After our friends at the Australian Skeptics campaigned against it, her talk transformed into a panel featuring Dorey and a bunch of actual qualified experts with the know-how to demolish her arguments. But the Australian Skeptics didn’t stop there. They amusingly paid to have an airplane fly over the Festival with a sign reading:  VACCINATION SAVES LIVES.

Bravo Australian Skeptics on a job well done. Now we just need to bring the same level of activism to NYC.

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Anne Dachel okay with everyone else’s kids dying so long as her’s make it out

November 19, 2011
Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

It was inevitable that as soon as the NY Times released its short but devastating review of the latest anti-vaccine propaganda flick, The Greater Good, the folks at Age of Autism wouldn’t take it lying down and mount an assault on the critic.

And sure enough, Anne Dachel delivered in spades with this amusingly hyperbolic screed against a film critic for not liking their shitty movie. Not since The Brown Bunny has there been such a petty, childish response to a bad review.

Just how absurd, fundamentally dishonest, and hyperbolic is Dachel’s response? Look at the title of her piece:

New York Times Reviews The Greater Good Movie Tells Vaccine-Injured Children to Drop Dead

Um, did I miss that part? I read the review and it said nothing…NOTHING of the kind. What film critic Jeannette Catsoulis DID say was that the film was an “…emotionally manipulative, heavily partial look at the purported link between autism and childhood immunization” that “…would much rather wallow in the distress of specific families than engage with the needs of the population at large.”

Catsoulis continues by pointing out that the whole thesis and line of inquiry of the film is entirely “fundamentally flawed”, since “it fails to point out that even were such a link proved definitively, all that matters is that its victims number significantly fewer than those of the diseases vaccinations are designed to prevent.” In other words, the film sets up a total straw man argument by focusing on the wrong questions.

Catsoulis argues the film isn’t as balanced as it pretends to be as it didn’t show the suffering of children who contract the very diseases the vaccines prevent:

“A cost-benefit analysis is completely ignored. Also elided are the mostly forgotten horrors of measles, mumps, chickenpox and polio: instead of lingering at a graveside with grieving parents who believe vaccines killed their baby girl, perhaps the filmmakers could have unearthed some footage of children encased in iron lungs.”

Though a correction has been made to the review because apparently the film does show children in iron lungs, it’s quite clear from Catsoulis’ mistake that this is clearly not emphasized and certainly not given equal attention to the very few individual cases of alleged vaccine injuries the film is much more interested in feeding to the public.

But that’s where Anne Dachel’s whiny response takes an odd turn as she leaps many dimensions of logic to argue that it’s not reasonable for health practitioners to place greater importance on protecting the most lives because they should apparently only care about protecting Anne Dachel’s kids:

Phrases like, “needs of the population at large,” “cost-benefits analysis,” and “all that matters is that its victims number significantly fewer than those of the diseases vaccinations are designed to prevent” are really frightening to me. It makes me think of things like “peripheral damage” and “acceptable loss.”

That’s because you’re insane, Anne. The terms you describe come from military strategy, not medical practice. In fact, such behavior is considered highly unethical in medicine and could lead to losing one’s license to practice (ya know, like Dachel’s buddy Wakefield lost his license for his callous disregard for child welfare). Perhaps the single best example demonstrating that medicine doesn’t work that way is with organ donation. Doctors can’t just harvest organs from a terminal patient to save numerous other patients. Hell, if a person drops dead this very minute, doctors can’t just take the organs. The person would have to have volunteered to be an organ donor. So even if the fate of five other terminal patients rests on the organs of one dude who’s already dead, they still must respect that person’s wishes as best as they can. This is not something that is taken lightly. But yes, generally doctors have to play a numbers game and do the best they can to protect the most people. It’s almost like that’s their job or something.

But what this all comes down to is, exactly as the review says, a cost-benefit analysis. Doctors often have to make major life and death decisions, sometimes very quickly. This often means going with what has the best odds of a positive outcome paired with the lowest odds of making things worse. It’s not perfect. Sometimes medical procedures can fail or even make things worse. Nobody knows for sure how it will all turn out in the end. But keep in mind that even seat belts have been responsible for some deaths. So does that mean we should all stop wearing seat belts? No. That’s absurd because when you look at a cost-benefit analysis, it’s clear that seat belts save far more lives than they hurt.

Like seat belts, vaccines aren’t 100% safe. And everyone acknowledges this fact openly. That’s the whole point of Catsoulis’ criticism. Everyone already agrees vaccines CAN cause injuries. The only real point of contention if a legitimate one existed (it doesn’t) would be whether vaccines do more harm than good. And the answer to that question is absolutely not.

Lastly, Dachel exploits a common argument among anti-vaxxers, implying that vaccine requires some sort of child sacrifice. It does not, at least no more than saying automobiles require child sacrifice. The fact is that as long as we drive cars, some people will get killed in car accidents. But that’s not a requirement of society’s continued use of cars. To suggest otherwise is absurd. Same with vaccines though even more so. Cars kill thousands of Americans every year. Vaccines haven’t killed even one for at least the last two. Incidentally, 27 Americans died of lightning strikes in 2010 alone. So consider that while Dachel condemns them damned vaccines.

Meanwhile, millions of lives have been protected from deadly diseases. If looking at those statistics, Anne Dachel wants to side with the viruses at the expense of the human species, she’s welcome to do it but the rest of us sane people are going to mock her mercilessly for her pathologically terrible decision-making skills. Her child is much, much more likely to suffer at the hands of the diseases vaccines can prevent than the vaccines themselves. And if she wants to take her chances by not wearing a seat belt because seat belts too have caused injury or even death, she can do that too.

And how does Dachel defend this idiotic view?

Catsoulis isn’t troubled by the fact that there’s no way to tell WHOSE CHILD IS VULNERABLE. It’s just the chance we all have to take—for the good of the herd I guess.

It makes me afraid that in the end, when “a link [is] proved definitively,” to use the author’s words, we’ll be told that what happened to our kids is justified by the claim that vaccines prevented lots of other kids from getting sick.

Dachel isn’t troubled by the fact that there’s no way to tell WHOSE SEAT BELT WILL FAIL. It’s just the chance we all have to take–for the good of the people who might be hurt if our bodies get thrown from our vehicles during a car crash. Dachel would have people believe it’s a choice between protecting your kid or protecting other people; it’s not. Vaccines protect BOTH the vaccinated and those around them. There’s no need to pick and choose priorities. It’s a fuckin’ win-win situation for everyone. But if she wants to risk everyone’s lives on this appeal to hypothetical future evidence that will confirm her presently unjustifiable speculations–if that’s what she wants to hang her hat on–then I’m going to have to cite my own hypothetical future evidence that she’s certifiably insane. So just remember my warnings when future Anne Dachel is up in the bell tower massacring dozens of people with a shotgun while eating babies, stealing Christmas, and using magic to resurrect Hitler.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 11.5.11

November 5, 2011

1. Anti-vax parents engaging in bioterrorism – If so-called “pox parties” weren’t enough, some parents have begun literally mailing chicken pox infected items for the purpose of infecting other people’s kids. And even worse, some have started mailing items infected with the far more dangerous measles. This would have made a perfect setup for the virus at the end of the recent Planet of the Apes film or for a zombie apocalypse story.

2. More anti-vaxxer propaganda – Just when I thought it was bad enough that the anti-vax propaganda film “The Greater Good” was coming to NYC’s IFC Center for a week beginning November 18, now I learn Barbara Loe Fisher and her band of cranks at the misnamed “National Vaccine Information Center” has a month-long “PSA” spot playing on Delta Airlines flights that suggests washing hands alone is an adequate substitute for a flu vaccine…cause that’s who you most want to go unvaccinated…people traveling from country to country. Argh! Fortunately, the wonderful Elyse Anders over at Skepchick is on the case and has begun a massive petition campaign to persuade Delta to cease this plot to kill us all. Also, she’s provided a handy-dandy list of contacts at Delta Airlines and its video provider.

3. Zombie worms found in fossil

Traces of bizarre, bone-eating ‘zombie’ worms have been found on a 3-million-year-old fossil whale bone from Tuscany in Italy. It is the first time the genus Osedax has been found in the Mediterranean, and suggests Osedax were widespread throughout the world’s oceans 6 million years ago.

BUSTED!

4. Simon Singh vs. fraudulent psychic Sally Morgan’s lawyers:  part 1 and part 2 – You might remember Singh as the UK science journalist who was sued by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) for libel over his calling their chiropractic “bogus” and his subsequent victory in the appeals process. I also recently wrote about Sally Morgan’s being caught wearing an earpiece during her performance. Well, Singh’s suggested she prove her powers are real, so now she’s trying to intimidate the man who beat the BCA in court with lawyers. Boy, did she fuck with the wrong journalist.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 10.27.11

October 27, 2011

1. Skeptical zombies ignored by James Van Praagh – In possibly the best PR stunt the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) has ever come up with, their president, DJ Grothe led an army of zombies on a mission to get self-proclaimed “psychic” James Van Praagh to finally take the JREF’s Million Dollar Psychic Challenge. Not surprisingly, Praagh’s goons kept the zombies from meeting with him but of course that doesn’t matter as this story is getting a lot of press.

2. Church’s bogus AIDS cure causes 3 deaths – Though this is an isolated incident, this is precisely the kind of tragedy that can be expected in a culture that demands unquestioned belief and condemns skepticism.

3. 60 Minutes pisses off anti-vaxxers – As part of their Steve Jobs-centered episode this week, 60 Minutes ran a segment on the remarkable benefits that iPads and other tablet devices have demonstrated for people with autism. And somehow by simply highlighting an important, practical tool in helping autistic people communicate, they’ve pissed off Age of Autism. And bravo to Age of Autism’s commenters for declaring war on Temple Grandin of all people. That takes serious balls. Maybe their next target will be blind nuns, adorable puppies, and AIDS-infected orphans. I’m just shocked Age of Autism didn’t rant about the fact that Pfizer is a major sponsor of the show.

4. ‘Sybil’ admits she never really had multiple personalities – The most famous alleged case of multiple personality syndrome, or what’s now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder was based on lies and manipulations.

5. Atheists doing volunteer work – This is something I want to see more of in atheist groups. This is one of the ways we’ll change people’s negative stereotypes about atheists.

 

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Rethinking autism

October 27, 2011

Dana Commandatore is trying to change the conversation when it comes to autism. Like me, she was largely motivated to activism because of Jenny McCarthy. Below is an awesome talk she gave about the past, present and future of her site Rethinking Autism at the 2011 Autcom Convention.

Also, one cool thing I noticed was that one of her videos she shows during the talk includes actor Armie Hammer, who was phenomenal in last year’s The Social Network. So I’m happy to see him doing his part to help fight pseudoscience.


Do we suspect Age of Autism doesn’t care for Dr. Paul Offit?

October 27, 2011
September 12, 2009-66-NECSS

Image by tr.robinson via Flickr

Dr. Paul Offit has just been appointed to the Institute of Medicine. It’s a great honor and a validation of all his work both as a medical researcher and communicator over the last several years.

And seemingly in honor of this announcement, that wretched hive of scum and villainy known as “Age of Autism” has reposted a bunch of their old screeds against Offit himself that spend little time addressing the actual science and no time pointing out that Offit is not saying anything remotely out of sync with the rest of the international medical community.

For instance, here’s an old piece from January from J.B. “fuck facts” Handley that includes a note saying it’s being reposted because of the Offit announcement.

Handley’s begins with on a very subtle and ambiguous note:

OK, let me be clear: I think Paul Offit is a blowhard liar, a vaccine profiteer and apologist, and every time he opens his mouth he disrespects my son. When the final chapter is finally written on this man-made autism epidemic, I will do everything within my power to ensure that Offit is remembered by history as one of the most sinister, dishonest, well-funded talking heads pharma ever produced, and that his efforts served to afflict so many children with autism who may otherwise have avoided it.

I feel like Handley here is falling into the classic journalist trap of being too objective and balanced, leaving me with no idea what I’m supposed to think of Offit. Okay, enough irony. Right out of the gate, Handley has played his entire hand. He has a deep-seeded hatred for Paul Offit and has no interest whatsoever in any facts that would change his mind. He makes bold accusations against Offit he has no interest in substantiating (and indeed, he never does in this article). Handley calls him a liar but never proves or even comes remotely close to proving Offit has lied about anything (let alone the rest of the international medical community who share Offit’s stance). Handley calls Offit a “vaccine profiteer” because as one of several inventors of a vital, life-saving vaccine, Offit was paid for his work (as he explains himself here. It’s also discussed here)…not unlike anyone else who receives payment for performing a job. Handley calls Offit an apologist because Offit shares the exact same position as every single reputable health organization on Earth and says so publicly. Handley asserts that autism is “man-made” even though there is no legitimate evidence that anyone has ever presented to demonstrate this is true. And finally, Handley declares his intentions to destroy utterly Offit’s reputation and brand him a villain for all time despite the indisputable fact that Offit has easily saved thousands of lives. Of course, I don’t know him personally so for all I know, Paul Offit could be a wife-beating rapist who runs with scissors and steals candy from babies. But if Offit does have any dark secrets, they’d have to be pretty huge to outweigh the enormous good we know for a fact that he’s done.

So Handley has singled Offit out as one of the great villains of history…even though, again, he’s not saying anything different from every reputable health organization on planet Earth. So does that mean that every one of the millions of health officials who agree with Offit are also being paid off by pharma? Just how much money does pharma have? And just how much money is in their bribing experts fund? And after bribing every doctor on Earth, how much money would pharma have to then make in order to break even on this investment, let alone actually profit? Wouldn’t a better business model be to just sell a product that is both safe and effective? Then they wouldn’t have to waste time, money, and energy bribing anyone.  Nah! Too complicated. Must bribe everyone.

There’s not much more to Handley’s “article” beyond the content of that first paragraph. Like a stupid monkey, he just throws feces in random directions hoping something will hit Offit and stick. For instance:

…Offit, a doctor who has never seen a patient with autism, never treated autism, and never published a study about autism, is somehow considered to be an expert on autism.

These are all such stale and silly arguments, especially given that Handley doesn’t have a millionth of the medical training and experience Offit has…or, you know, any at all. And Offit doesn’t treat patients because he’s a medical researcher. That’s like condemning a police officer because he doesn’t pick up your garbage in the morning. It’s simply not his fuckin’ job. Moreover, Offit is not considered an expert in autism and he doesn’t even present himself as a vaccine expert (review of his qualifications here). But his resume clearly includes lots of published research on rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety, which seems quite relevant to the conversation Handley seems to want to have about vaccine safety. Still, Offit doesn’t profess to be an expert in autism or vaccines in general. Handley, on the other hand, claims expertise in BOTH, despite no formal education on either, nor any experience.

Handley then goes onto accuse Offit of being a multi-millionaire as if that is some sort of indictment of his character. And this of course comes after years of Handley and his fellow members of the “I hate Paul Offit” club greatly inflating Offit’s earnings from his Rototeq patent by several hundred percent. Further, one gets the impression from Handley that Offit lives in a mansion, is driven around by in a limo, wears a monocle and top hat, and wipes his ass with hundred dollar bills while Offit’s actual lifestyle is rather unremarkable. He lives in an ordinary, reasonably-sized house and drives his own affordable car to his regular, daily job. Additionally, it’s not as though Offit’s wealth came from inheritance or any sorted means; it came from hard work and dedication to co-creating a product that has actually saved many lives. Handley’s claims that Offit’s career was “supported by Merck” (whatever that means) is bogus and has been publicly debunked ages ago.

The piece doesn’t make a single statement about the science; it’s literally just a long hit piece against a man who is simply the most public face of a position held by every reputable health organization on the planet that attempts to dodge that fact to give the false impression that criticism of Handley’s idiotic beliefs begin and end with Offit and the evil pharmaceutical companies. Nonsense. If Handley wants to be taken seriously, he’s got to address the science, not just fling mud at his critics. And if he is just going to mud-sling, he’s got to back up his potentially libelous (and possibly dangerous) accusations with compelling evidence.

Handley isn’t the only one at Age of Autism taking aim at Offit this week with a rerun. Young Jake “everyone who disagrees with me is a shill” Crosby reposted one of his older Offit hit pieces too. It might as well have been written by Handley though since it’s just a retread of the same silly accusations. The only discernible difference is that young Jake has more of a flair with language. For instance, he calls Offit “millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit.” See! Totally different. Now Offit’s really Mr. Burns toiling in his nuclear power plant, trying to figure out how to block out the sun. Of course, Offit doesn’t own a factory and doesn’t even still receive any money off his patented Rototeq vaccine. All he did was design a vaccine with several other researchers and they applied for a patent. That’s it! The man still has a regular job at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. If that’s your idea of a “millionaire industrialist,” then your idea of what that means differs greatly from mine…and that of Merriam Webster. Offit neither owns nor is engaged in the management of an industry. He just fuckin’ patented a vaccine!

Jake also invokes Robert Kennedy’s now thoroughly debunked Simpsonwood lies (see here, here, and here), which Salon later retracted after printing many corrections. To his credit, Jake at least attempts to make scientific points…though they’re all demonstrably wrong and have been shown to be wrong on countless occasions.

But then Jake goes and does the silliest of things. He actually attempts to cite a long list of reputable health organizations that completely disagree with him 100% for support:

These concerns about vaccines causing autism and similar conditions – which do not necessarily point to thimerosal or the MMR specifically as the prime culprits – are clearly serious concerns of leaders in the CDC, FDA, NIH, IOM, AAP, WHO and the vaccine industry. But to Paul Offit, “this is classic for pseudoscience.”

Ouch. Jake, you’ve gone and done the dumbest thing in your whole life. Ya can either rail against this organizations or take their side but you can’t have it both ways, buddy.

“From time to time, rumors circulate that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative once used in several vaccines (and still used in some flu vaccine), could contribute to ASDs. However, valid scientific studies have shown there is no link. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), the CDC, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) agree that science does not support a link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism.” –American Academy of Pediatrics

“The author concludes that recent studies have found no association between MMR vaccination and autism. The frequent embryologic neuroanatomic abnormalities found in children with autism lessen the likelihood that MMR immunization is a major risk factor. The Immunization Safety Review Committee of the Institute of Medicine and a special American Academy of Pediatrics panel have concluded that evidence does not support MMR immunization as a risk factor for autism.”

RICHARD SADOVSKY, M.D., American Academy of Family Physicians 

“On May 18th, 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its eighth and final report from its Immunization Safety Review Committee.  Based on a thorough review of clinical and epidemiological studies, neither the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal nor the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine are associated with autism, says the new report. Furthermore, the hypotheses regarding how the MMR vaccine and thimerosal could trigger autism lack supporting evidence and are theoretical only. Further research to find the cause of autism should be directed toward other lines of inquiry that are supported by current knowledge and evidence and offer more promise for providing an answer, said the committee that wrote the report.  The American Medical Association (AMA) lauds the process that went into the creation of this scientific report and applauds the IOM and the CDC for their strong efforts in continuing to ensure the safety of the vaccines that are administered in the United States through post-market surveillance and studies such as this.”

American Medical Association

“Prior to its introduction in the 1930’s, data were available in several animal species and humans providing evidence for its safety and effectiveness as a preservative (Powell and Jamieson 1931). Since then, thimerosal has been the subject of several studies (see Bibliography) and has a long record of safe and effective use preventing bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines, with no ill effects established other than minor local reactions at the site of injection.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
“Some people believe increased exposure to thimerosal (from the addition of important new vaccines recommended for children) explains the higher prevalence in recent years. However, evidence from several studies examining trends in vaccine use and changes in autism frequency does not support such an association. Furthermore, a scientific review* by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that “the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.” CDC supports the IOM conclusion.” –Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“There is much debate regarding the correlation of childhood vaccines and the occurrence of autism in children. The weight of currently available scientific evidence does not support the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism. We recognize there is considerable public interest in this issue.”

U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Resources

“The committee concludes that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. The committee also concludes that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. The committee further finds that potential biological mechanisms for vaccine-induced autism that have been generated to date are theoretical only.” –http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3793/4705/20155.aspx”>Institute of Medicine (2004)

Finally, he ironically calls Offit “Nick Nailer,” the tobacco lobbyist in the film Thank You For Smoking. What amuses me about this is not only the fact that a lobbyist is an actual profession, so Offit can be definitively shown to not be a lobbyist, but that I constantly point out the fact that anti-vaxxers constantly work out of Nick Nailer’s playbook such as when they try to change the discussion to one about so-called “vaccine choice.” It’s as if it were directly lifted from the ice cream gambit scene in that film:

It’s a shame. So many words from J.B. and Jake, and nothing to show for it either than what can be summed up completely with, “Oh yeah!”

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Soderbergh’s ‘Contagion’ condemns anti-vaccine internet conspiracy theorists

September 20, 2011
Actor Jude Law at the 2007 Toronto Internation...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been meaning to write about the recently released Soderbergh film, “Contagion” for about a week now. The film is quite good though it certainly has it’s flaws, such as a scene where a man with an infected disease is told by an infectious disease expert to get off a bus immediately instead of insisting neither he nor anyone else get off the bus so it could be quarantined or various scenes where the same expert needs to teach the Minnesota Center for Disease Control the most basic information about their job.

But otherwise, the film mostly proved to be a strong film that was both pro-science and uncompromisingly anti-pseudoscience with Jude Law playing an amalgam of anti-vaccine cranks that are quite familiar. It’s the panic and hysteria Law’s character helps create which gives the film it’s title far more than the actual disease itself. In an interview, Law said that he read a lot of crank sites and built his performance around numerous figures, opting not to name any names. Of course, I know their names. I’ve been in the same room with several of them. Law seems to be channeling Mike Adams, Joseph Mercola, Andrew Wakefield, and Dan Olmsted, among several others. Law’s character is the closest the film has to a real villain.

I hope more people will go out and see this film. Rarely do such strong skeptical films where science is the hero get made in Hollywood.

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