The woo marches on

The woo marches on

The woo marches on

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Jan. 31 2010 11:25 AM

The woo marches on

While searching my blog archives for something I wrote on UFOs, I stumbled on an old article: Woo shots, about the antivax movement. It was one of the first times I wrote about the antivaxxers on the blog, and the first time I took them on directly:

If these people prevail, we are all at risk. If you’re under the age of, say, 40 do you personally remember anyone getting smallpox, or polio?

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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No? Guess why.

That’ll all end if the antivax people have their way. They must be stopped, and being vocal about critical thinking is the only way to do it.... and when it comes to the important stuff, the really important stuff, I’ll take all the help I can get to make sure the word gets out.

That article was written almost exactly two years ago, and little did I know then that not only would the movement grow stronger, but in the intervening 700 or so days many people -- including babies -- would die due to the words of those who deny vaccinations to their own children. That's despite the 60 or so posts I've written about this, and the efforts of others like Steve Novella, Orac, Joe Albietz, Rachael Dunlop, and so many others. But it's on more than individual blogs now: Daily Kos has a lengthy article up today about antivaxxers, and many other weighty websites and even the mainstream media have taken up the issue. I'm very glad to see it.

When I write about these topics, I get a handful of complaints from readers who think I should stick to astronomy. Well, that's not going to happen. After these past two years I remain as adamant and as impassioned to spread the word that antivaxxers are dangerous, and their ideas kill. I will continue to write about this health danger, and keep you up to date as much as I can on the latest news on this.

People are dying, and it's because of bad thinking. We must stop this, and the first step is to be aware of the problem. I can hope that two years from now I won't have to write about this any more... but I'm a realist, and I know that this will be a problem for a long, long time to come. It's up to us to minimize that time. Bad thinking takes lives, but good thinking can save them.

Think well.