Anti-vaxxers in South Africa

I saw a lady on Facebook asking about her school wanting to give human papillomavirus vaccines - should she or shouldn’t she? Lots of posters recommended that she does not. One posted a link to this group:

And this:

Didn’t know these nutters were here as well. I thought it was mainly a European and American thing.

Should we bother, or leave it to Darwin to sort out?

When it comes to specialised knowledge, it is often beyond the means of novices to verify facts for themselves. In such situations the default position should be to defer to the consensus views of experts in that field. It is of course possible that the consensus of experts may occasionally be wrong, but it would be safe to assume that that would be the exception rather than the rule and that it is not up to the novice to identify such instances. In promoting these views it is sound to point out that we are not primarily expressing our own views, but presenting the consensus of professionals in that field.

A frequent hurdle with this approach is the popularity of conspiracy theories. One has to convince the conspiracist that it is extremely unlikely that nearly an entire profession would collude in some conspiracy. It is for instance nearly impossible for “Big Pharma” to mislead or bribe most members of the medical profession. Instances of misconduct may occur, but once again – it is not the norm and not for the novice to identify such instances.

Websites that generally contain the consensus views of the health professions include:

With regards to vaccines, the best advice will be found on such websites rather than on personal blogs of Facebook.

Story of my life. No really, I’m that guy, drawing the actual pictures, having that actual conversation.

Scary, but true. An acquaintance quoted this pro-vax article at the ‘huf science’ as an argument for homeopathy.

(2) Complexity: If people don't understand how something works, they may not adopt it. Vaccines sound like paradoxes: "So you're telling me that you're going to inject potentially lethal bacteria into my blood, and I'm letting you...why?" As much as you want to go into the details of how small doses don't do harm and that vaccines in fact create antibodies that protect you from the disease, people won't get into the minutiae.

Full article here:


Even a broken clock…