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Breaking News: The Government Wants to Poison Children!

by Brian Dunning, Jul 29 2010

I received this from a listener. She noted the following on the website “” (quite the ironically named website):

They Just Don’t Learn: CDC Votes To Poison Children Again With Two Doses of Vaccines

Parents of children over 6 months and under 9 years beware. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is once again choosing to adopt policies which poison your children with what is now two doses of seasonal flu vaccine this fall.

So she emailed the guy the following:

Editors of,

It is this kind of fear mongering and sensationalism that lead me to unsubscribe. You should be ashamed to publish this. The use of “votes to poison” and “poison your children” is paranoid and unethical. As an educated, thoughtful person, mother and teacher, I feel your newsletter is insulting.

He replied:

Subject: RE: your article

Are we talking about the truth or semantics here? Could you please explain to me what the “big difference” is between deliberately vaccinating children and poisoning children? Anybody who votes to inject any child with known neurotoxins, immunotoxins and sterile chemicals is, in my opinion a criminal and poisoning that child. I’m not using lies to get people to read the article…it is an unequivocal fact that vaccines are poison. If you are debating that with me, please provide your evidence that suggests the opposite.


I deal every day with people like Dave who simply deny science or medicine. Many of them are very much of the “Nothing can convince me” mindset: Dave has, quite obviously, been given all the information about vaccines time and time again; he simply denies it all and believes that his own notions are better founded. He’s probably not malicious and probably does not want children to die from preventable disease. He’s most likely just scientifically illiterate (like most people) and places more emphasis on anecdotal information that supports his ideology than on information that clashes with it.

My sense is that it’s probably futile for my friend to “provide the evidence” that he pretends to be interested in seeing. How, then, do we reach such people, people who are out actively advocating against public health? I put the question to you.

59 Responses to “Breaking News: The Government Wants to Poison Children!”

  1. MadScientist says:

    Personally I choose to call them morons and spend my time education other people about what mindless imbeciles people like Dave are. Some folks are just unteachable.

    • GDrak says:

      I agree with you but unfortunately their ignorance will affect the health of all of us hence we need to keep debunking their claims.

  2. Hm. Sterile is bad now?

  3. Dustin K says:

    There really doesn’t seem to be any reaching of people whose paradigm is so firmly carved in stone. Mere “logic” and “science” are nothing to a person with “belief.” (And I don’t mean that in a merely theistic sense, either.) When someone in Dave’s life dies from a completely preventable childhood disease, like whooping cough, he’ll have the chance to react in one of two most likely scenarios: 1) Realize that immunizations, using (as he rightly points out) “known neurotoxins, immunotoxins and sterile chemicals” to affect a change for the better, are a truly *amazing* scientific advance, and therefor see the tragedy in his fear-mongering, or 2) find some other way to blame Big Pharma in the conspiracy to murder his poor niece (or whomever.) My money’s on choice 2.

    • MadScientist says:

      It rarely ever occurs to those people that vaccines may have saved the child; after all they believe that vaccines are not only ineffective but ‘toxic’ and sold by Big Pharma to fleece suckers of their money and to cause pain and suffering because the evil bosses of Big Pharma enjoy watching children around the world suffer.

  4. This is one of those situations where “evil” and “well intentioned but functionally evil” is a distinction without a difference. I am a huge believer in diplomacy being the tool of choice when possible (i.e. when dealing with rational reasonable people), unfortunately I think this is likely not one of those cases.

    I remember reading somewhere that 7% of the population thinks Elvis is still alive. To me that says that skeptics need to get comfortable with the idea of not reaching everyone, and just do our best to reach the 93% who are willing to work with the same set of facts as the rest of us.

    • Kenneth Polit says:

      Elvis is alive. He shares the apartment over my garage with Bigfoot.

      • Beelzebud says:

        Nonsense. This is the type of anti-science BS we’re supposed to be fighting….

        Besides, everyone knows Elvis is room mates with Jim Morrison, and they live in under the right paw of the Sphinx in Egypt, where they are working on the translations for the book of records!


      • tmac57 says:

        Now THATS the kind of reporting that I have come to rely on, on the internets! Thank you sooooo much, you have changed my life’s mission. “Dear internet, it has come to my attention that….

      • Beelzebud says:

        LOL right on! Where would we be without the “information age”? :)

  5. billgeorge says:

    Brian, we should concede that most of the illiterate peddlers of fear live on the margins and perhaps will never grasp the benefits/risks of medicine or even daily activities – driving, flying, or the risk of strolling down the sidewalk for one’s basic necessities. Let them live in a bubble and ponder that risk!

    The problem lies if/when one of these pseudo-skeptics gain traction and creates a bane on the public – e.g., Jenny McCarthy.

  6. Jonas The Tolerated says:

    Actually, he’s the one that made the original claim that vaccines poison and kill children – if he wants to start a debate, then the burden of proof starts with him. HE needs to provide HIS evidence that vaccines poison and kill children, THEN she presents her side with evidence that they actually prevent illness and save lives, then the debate can commence with rebuttals. I’d be interested to see if this Dave can provide any evidence beyond “I heard that-” or “I read on this (already discredited) website that-“.

  7. Brian The Coyote says:

    No, you’ll never sink the unsinkable ducks. But you can reach a lot of people, but it can be a long road. You can’t just jump in with a lot of hard data, they don’t have the mental toolkit to accomodate that. You have to first engage them on their terms. I’m not being accomodationist here, just saying that since they like anecdotes, give them some anecdotes. Tell them a story to make a point. Then you can start building on that with facts, figures, and the basics of logical and critical thinking.

    None of us are really born skeptics/scientists. Some of us lucky ones were raised that way. Some of us came to it much later in life. But if we all stopped to think about it, I’m sure almost all of us had that, “Hey, I’m a skeptic!” moment not while looking at a Chi-square table, but reading the poetry of Carl Sagan, or the wit of a Feynman, Randi, or Russel? Or what the hell, maybe even the no-bullshit style of Brian Dunning?

    • Max says:

      I was about to suggest giving them anecdotes about healthy kids who died of the flu, but you beat me to it.

      • tmac57 says:

        Yeah, it’s sad, but sometimes reality just has to hit people over the head to get their attention:
        “Evan Frustaglio was a healthy 13-year-old who loved playing minor hockey. But after developing a cough and sore throat on Saturday, he collapsed in his family’s Toronto bathroom and died on Monday morning while his father tried to revive him.
        Toronto Public Health yesterday confirmed that Evan died of the H1N1 virus, and the highly publicized case about such an atypical swine flu victim galvanized parents once skeptical of the H1N1 vaccine to consider getting their children the shot and even prompted the city to launch its public vaccination clinics early.”

        Read more:

  8. Jeremy says:

    You don’t need to do anything. People like this will most likely die early. It might be from a preventable disease. It might be because they died because they didn’t seek medical treatment and instead receive homeopathic or other unfunded “treatment.” Point is, you cannot protect people from themselves, regardless of what the government wants to do. People have the right to be ignorant and cause damage to themselves.

    Our job is not to reach them; it’s to put forth an argument in favor of science and reason so that well-minded individuals make the right decision.

    • MadScientist says:

      I wouldn’t say that it is “most likely” that such people die early. Odds are in their favor that they live long despite their stupid beliefs. They do have to be incredibly unlucky to die of a vaccine preventable disease thanks to the work already done with vaccines. A few exceptions would be diseases like rabies and tetanus, but those are very rare for other reasons.

  9. Shrugger says:

    One look at the website would have convinced me it was a waste of time to even bother with this guy.

    Some of the other headlines:
    – The H1N1 Vaccine Is A Much Greater Risk To Your Health Than The Flu Itself
    – Free Energy Is An Absolute Imperative For The Future Of The Earth And Humanity

    and my personal favorite…
    – Does Reincarnation Influence Your Health?

    and my favorite summary- “World powers have embraced this systematized knowledge and applied it to the gradual deterioration of human health for one purpose – control. ”

    The site could be an awesome parody. It’s sad that it’s not.

    • MadScientist says:

      Hahaha; they’ve obviously watched Dr. Strangelove too many times. Purity Of Essence!

  10. I hate people so, so much.

    A word of advice…for safety reasons, don’t use the diving board in the gene pool.

  11. Andrew says:

    “He’s most likely just scientifically illiterate (like most people) and places more emphasis on anecdotal information that supports his ideology than on information that clashes with it.”

    How did Dave come to his present ideology in the first place? Perhaps answering that question would provide insights into how to convince him that vaccines are beneficial. Or if it’s even possible to do so.

  12. Jason Ellis says:

    Unfortunately, they are true believers and a lost cause; it’s their malignant swill that needs combated. The most productive thing that can be done is have a better message and shout louder. If and when bystanders reach a crossroad to decide which course to take, hopefully the good message is the stronger, more compelling argument, assuming that folks are responsible enough to do due diligence research and make the right decision. We’re easily duped and have a propensity to believing woo and are susceptible to magical thinking, so the deck is stacked against us from the ‘get’.

    Our work is cut out for us.

  13. Dax says:

    Sometimes, when I’m confronted with burning stupidity, I just give up on humanity. That’s when I take the elevator down to my secret laboratory and work on my evil schemes, like an actual poisonous “vaccine” and that particle accelerator I’ve been working on… the one that can actually create a planet-eating black hole.

    But seriously, those people you should either ignore or ridicule… you will not be able to use reason and scientific evidence to convince them of anything. It will just make you give up on humanity as a whole.

  14. LovleAnjel says:

    I actually think your best friend did the best thing possible: she unsubscribed, told them why, then told other people about it.

  15. DCurmudgeon says:

    A woman in my office, who insists on calling herself a “real mommy” will not have her child vaccinated. However, she constantly uses anti-BACTERIAL soap and wipes to keep her hands and every surface clean. Never mind that she has been informed of the difference between viral and bacterial infections. When she had the flu, she insisted on a prescription for anti-biotics. When her physician refused, she changed doctors. These people, who accept a fact even if it hits them upside the head, will be responsible for the downfall of humans as vaccination rates are reduced and the diseases that are now controlled come back with a vengance. Meanwhile, the bacteria they are so afraid of will decome drug resistant. When I told this “real mommy” about the naturally occuring bacteria in her gut I could feel her disgust as she wanted to know how to rid herself of these (beneficial) organisems.

    • Max says:

      The last time I looked into triclosan, it was said to kill viruses, and there was little evidence of bacteria becoming resistant to it. I was skeptical, and now it looks like there’s more risk than benefit, and the FDA is reviewing it.

      • tmac57 says:

        Max, you gotta quit lookin’ at stuff.Every time you do it makes something change! ; )

    • Kenneth Polit says:

      This “real mommy” must be a disciple of Jenny McCarthy. She calls herself a real mommy because she “knew” that her son got autism from his vaccine. Vaccines don’t cause autism, but apparently fake tits cause stupidity.

  16. Chris Howard says:

    This is why I see education in logic and reason as limited. The psychology of belief (how we attain them etc) is the real underlying subject, and in my opinion, should be the focus.
    Just about everyone has their “sacred cow” that logic and reason, evidence to the contrary, just won’t shake.
    Personal biases, are the main problem. Most people will use logic and reason, and, in fact are capable of using the two reasonably well, when they are arguing for something that is not a personal cherished belief.

    Albert Ellis pegged it, when he said that we’re logical and illogical, often in the same breath. We are emotional, that’s not good or bad, it just is.
    In fact, there probably is a correlation between how emotional one is, to the level of how cherished a belief?

    I guess, what I’m trying to say is that what we must do is teach the concept of not falling in love with ones theories, falsifiability and the like. A quest for truth, with the understanding that knowledge is provisional, rather than dogma. Perhaps, a vow of humility, mindful sublimation of out of control egos?

    Again, this will be difficult in a culture that has rising levels of narcissism, high self-esteem and lives by the postmodernist mantra of everyone is entitled to their own opinion/facts, evidence to the contrary be damned.

  17. Chris says:

    I’ve seen that name before. Hmmm, where? Oh, wait here it is! It Dr. Mark Crislip answering his idiotic Nine Questions.

  18. John Greg says:

    So, here’s a thought. Taking the wise words of Phil Plait and Daniel Loxton as presented in the skepticblog piece “The Reasonableness of Weird Things ” (, how would one then approach someone like this Dave fella, who it seems, by general agreement, to be utterly impervious to reasoned discussion and provided evidence?

    Batter up? Or carry on with the relentless attempts at reason? Or is there some middle ground I cannot see?

    • MadScientist says:

      I don’t recall either Daniel nor Phil ever claiming that everyone could be edumacated or that you should be nice to everyone no matter what. In fact Phil gets pretty nasty with the anti-vaxxers.

      • John Greg says:

        You know, you are probably right — obliquely. I mean, I am probably mixing not-quite-related contexts: apples and oranges, as it were.

    • Personally, I think he should have his testicles tied with razor wire and fed to lobsters. I’m a little too forgiving sometimes.

  19. Jim Shaver says:

    “How, then, do we reach such people, people who are out actively advocating against public health? I put the question to you.”

    Oh sure, Brian. You take on all the easy questions and leave the truly hard ones to us! ;)

  20. Max says:

    If you really do intend to provide evidence to these people, first ask what kind of evidence they’d accept. Chances are, they won’t accept any study funded by corporations or by government. Then, ask for the primary evidence that vaccines are poison. If it’s a published study, point out if it’s funded by trial lawyers or by government. If it’s anecdotal evidence, then you can provide anecdotal evidence that the flu can be deadly.

    • Patrick says:

      Very good points.

    • If it’s not on, they won’t accept it.

      • Chris Howard says:

        Thank you Jose,
        That’s exactly my point, too. The hallmark of open mindedness is the ability to abmit one is wrong, when presented with new, more compelling evidence. Many of these people are true believers, we cannot change their minds because they have emotional involvenment, that clouds their better judgement, and closes thier minds.

        The people we may be able to reach are those in the general public that aren’t “true believers” and are actually looking for the best evidence, as opposed to furthering a position.

  21. Dan Kennan says:

    No point in continuing the conversation. But I would tell him that my children will not be going over to play with his, as they are unprotected…no point talking about herd immunity, he’s not capable of understanding.

    I have a friend who realized that a lot of these people were in his area, and went to talk to the local health dept and school administration to make sure they were being vigilant about checking records of immunizations. They sent out extra notices to schools and did see an uptick in the number of kids who had to get vaccinated before entering school.

  22. Majority of One says:

    Since he probably responds to anectodal evidence, he needs to speak with my grandmother. 91 years young, she loves to wax nostalgic about the bad old days. She could tell him all about childhood friends dying or being severely maimed by small pox. She could entertain him with tails of millions of people dying of the flu. Or, she could talk about the personal experience of one of her children being stricken with scarlet fever.

    The problem with the antivaxers, as I see it, is that we’re all too healthy now. They don’t see the gains made by medicine first hand any more. They’ve bought in to the MONEY IS EVIL routine and all doctors and pharmaceutical companies are just out for a quick buck not realizing that big pharma and doctors makes more money off us if we live a nice long life. Oh the irony.

    • MadScientist says:

      Yep, and although vaccine preventable diseases are still rampant elsewhere in the world, it’s just not news so you never see those horrible images of disfigured and dying children (and adults). Gee, we don’t even see too many photos of those various starving Africans either (except perhaps for Starvin’ Marvin, but I can rarely tolerate South Park). We had a few photos of Somalia when we invaded, but except for hearing about Somali pirates we never see the starving dying disease-stricken people – we just all pretend they don’t exist.

  23. I personally know someone who suffers the physical effects of polio. This person is in their mid 20’s who arrived as a child from an East Asian region as a refugee. I think we should send this idiot to developing nations that are working to eliminate ailments that we, in the Western world, have generally been fortunate enough to forget, just so he can see what future may lay ahead if he has his way with vaccines.

    We don’t need a plutonium powered Delorean with a flux capacitor to visit the 40’s and 50’s. We can just opt out of vaccinating and BOOM, we’re back.

    Hello? McFly?

    • tmac57 says:

      He probably would rationalize your friend’s case as a necessary price for the population as a whole “learning” how to “resist naturally” these dread diseases ala Meryl Dorey.

  24. FatCow says:

    The reality is that you can’t convince people like that. They are the bad guys. You have to focus on the person who maybe believes in a few conspiracies, or isn’t sure about getting his or her child vaccinated.

    Once they get so wrapped up in their ideas that they start a website, it has become their identity. He’s Anti-Vaccine Crusader Guy, that’s his thing. Just like how I’m Rollerblading in Short-Shorts Guy.

    You’re never going to convince a guy to change his whole identity by reasoning with him using science or the fact that maybe not everyone wants to look at his delicious unrestrained package swaying from side to side.

    You can pry my short-shorts out of my cold dead hands!

  25. Bob Carroll says:

    Ben Goldacre notes that “toxin” is classic pseudoscience terminology. Dave is right about vaccines containing toxins, and he probably knows that there are toxins in the water he drinks and the food he eats. He probably knows that his body, like yours and mine, houses many toxins. He probably knows that the dose is what matters when dealing with toxins, and that the small amounts of toxins we all ingest every day aren’t catastrophic. And there really is no way to argue with someone who assumes that some people some of the time are so sensitive to some toxins that all people all of the time ought to avoid anything with any toxin. Dave is wearing his belief armor and it can’t be penetrated, but pointing out a few facts in a public forum might help by informing others who aren’t impenetrable.

  26. jackd says:

    You don’t engage the Daves of the world one-on-one. There’s no point. He’s got a great deal of investment in his position and you aren’t going to get him to move a bit. The only time you bother with him at all is when you have an audience. Then you should manage your replies to him in such a way as to appeal to the audience, which is a tricky and difficult thing.

  27. OneHappyAtheist says:

    Last time I checked, flu vaccinations were optional; I’ve never had any of my children (the oldest is 9) vaccinated against the flu.

    Poison. Hah.

  28. Soulvei says:

    Personally, I was raised as one of the anti-health care ‘vaccines are Satan’ types until just a few short weeks ago when I became interested in researching the scientifically proven evidence behind certain forms of alternative health care. Finding very few proven studies and all too much anecdotal evidence, I quit the naturopathic approach to my health cold turkey. The only way to get to people like me who are firmly rooted in their beliefs is to present them with solid scientific facts and let them take it from there. Luckily, my brain is not made of mush and I was able to discern fact from fiction.. I hope the same is true for the rest who are stuck believing that medical science is out to get us.

    • Alex says:

      Same here. I bought into a ton of conspiratorial thinking for a long time, until I started looking behind the curtain.

      Hard to say what turned me around, though sites like this one, the Skeptic’s Dictionary, Steven Novella’s blog, etc., definitely played a big role.

      Alas, there is some hope for humanity – those conspiracy theories just can’t stand on their own in the light of day, and eventually, the truth breaks through.

  29. Allison says:

    I think in the community of people who don’t vaccinate their children, there are two categories (I’m grossly oversimplifying, of course). First, you have the folks that write the kind of article you bring up, and I think they are next to impossible to reach. Some people have an idea so fixed in their minds that they aren’t going to be responsive to a rational evidence-based argument. They will just counter it with an irrational evidence-based argument they believe to be of the same quality as the scientific one. The other category, however, is the people who just want to take care of their kids, and they don’t know what to believe. These parents might not have a strong background in science, or just don’t have the time to examine and synthesize all the available evidence. These people are susceptible to believing a highly vocal (but mistaken) advocate of a clearly untrue idea. These are the people we need to reach. I do it, as best I can, by giving a full overview of the available scientific literature, including studies with conclusions that support both sides of the argument. I try to do this in as unbiased way as I can, and most importantly, I never ever stoop to making personal attacks on the advocates of non-scientific ideas. No one is going to be convinced by me calling mr. vaccines kill people a moron. Just my two cents.

  30. Allison says:

    oops, I meant “They will just counter it with an irrational NON-evidence-based argument they believe to be of the same quality as the scientific one. “

  31. Øyvind W says:

    For the outsiders, simple explaining goes a long way. Such as saying that “sure, the vaccine contains toxins, but what matters is the dosage, not the chemical — I mean, sea food contains far more mercury than the vaccine*, yet strangely Jenny McCarthy hasn’t uttered a word on it and there’s no autism epidemic in New Orleans or other sea food-hungry cities.” Or you could point out that apple seeds contain cyanide. Explain how anecdotes prove nothing, because you have to look at the whole picture (you could use anything as an example, from seat belts to stairs). Things like that.

    I think the best way to combat these people, and the solution is fitting considering we’re discussing vaccines, is to prevent them from springing up in the first place. Inoculate the populace with critical thinking skills, and far fewer of them will end up like the guy with that web site.

  32. Al Morrison says:

    I dunno, Brian: I surfed the Prevent Disease.COM website and it does seem there is more going on than mere scientific illiteracy. The H1N1 flu page, for instance, reads like an anti-vax, alt-med, gov’t conspiracy handbook.

    We have: (1)”PharmaMedia to Squelch EU Council’s Secret Investigation into H1N1 Vaccine Fraud,” (2) “Teenage Girl Left Blind and Disabled by Antiviral Tamiflu Treatment,”
    (3) “International Hearings Begin On “Falsified” Swine Flu Pandemic,” (4) “Doctors poisoned by Medical-Media Monopoly,” (5) Secret Egg Programs For Swine Flu Vaccines Are Like Military Labs.” I did not edit these. They are the first 5 articles as they appear in the H1N1 Archive section.

    On every page there is an ad for “Soul Coaching,” skin treatment, and a recession-proof gym business. This stuff is crisp, clean, and well-planned. No illiteracy here. They want your cash and your mind.

  33. jeshua says:

    Well, technically, he’s right. Vaccines are poison, as is coumadin and ethnanol. That doesn’t mean someone who takes them in the proper dose is going to die from taking them. I don’t take coumadin, but i’m not giving up on vaccines or ethanol because they are technically poisons. You can die from water poisoning if you drink too much!!