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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you feel that your arguments in the vaccine debate get distorted and misrepresented? What have you seen in news media coverage, comment sections, blog posts, etc.? What would you like more open-minded members of "the other side" to know about your position and where you're coming from?

To prevent bickering, please do not target individual MDC posters with your examples.

1. Confusing called-out conflicts of interest with "conspiracy theories." I'm giving it a mention, but I'm not going into detail. It's been discussed ad nauseum here.

2. Accusations of fear. This guy and this guy both portray resistance to the vaccine schedule as fear-based. Dismissing opponents as mere fraidy-cats is a cheap, cheap, cheap tactic to try to makes one's own argument appear rational. But simply trying to appear rational by painting someone as irrational is not an argument but a substitute for an argument.

But then what do they do? They turn around and try to frighten you into vaccinating. The same people who scream about measles being "deadly" in an outbreak with no fatalities? The same ones shouting platitudes about polio being only a plane ride away?

This isn't to say that there's no fear-mongering in the vaccine debate because there's more than enough to go around. But simply trying to make your case by claiming that your opponent--or the entire demographic of your opponents--have a case based on fear is a bad way to go. It's an unfair way of misrepresenting those who've made their decisions thoughtfully. Rather than being a solid argument, it's a cheap way of belittling an opponent.

3. "If you don't trust me about vaccines, how can you trust me with anything else?" This one is just creepy and manipulative and can be found here. Gavin de Becker talks about how abusers will use this tactics on their victims, making them believe that if they're uncomfortable with something, they're the one with the problem.

There's a kissing cousin to this argument, and it's in the article just linked:

I often wonder why a parent who believes vaccines are harmful would want to bring their children to a medical doctor at all. After all, for immunizations to be as malign as their detractors claim, my colleagues and I would have to be staggeringly incompetent, negligent or malicious to keep administering them.
This is called the Fallacy of the Beard, Saunders. Please learn it stop committing it. Somebody can disagree with you about one thing, vaccines, and agree with you about another, like need a cast for a broken arm.

But this is a gross distortion of parents' positions. Should all of those women who refused to line up for hormone replacement therapy stop seeking any kind of medical care whatsoever? Saunders' argument precludes a rather arrogant assumption that doctors are always right about everything.

OK, your turn, MDCers. How have you experienced seeing your position misrepresented?
 

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I feel misrepresented by a few things..I only have a short amount of time..anyone here tried readying 9 children for church? :)

1) Scientifically ignorant

This is ASSuming that non/sel/delay vaxxers are morons. No one takes into account ones personal education; whether it's "proper" education or personal in depth research. I'm actually fairly educated (both ways) in the sciences, as I was on the path to being a nurse practitioner (was going to seek being a OB/ND at some point) when God changed my path. I'm not a moron.

2) The term "ANTI-vaxxer REALLY pisses me off. It's just a continual misrepresentation on purpose to inflame and paint those who choose differently as militant folks who want an end to all vaccination. Ridiculous. I do not believe that following the vaccine schedule is a good choice for most people, but guess what supersedes that view in my mind and heart? The right for all people to choose for themselves.

I am not going to choose what another parents does for their baby. Just like I won't shame a woman for not breastfeeding, despite me knowing 100% it's best, or feeding a child a drive thru menu because they want to be busy people, hey..none of my business, and I don't think we ought to legislate choice out of people or companies who profit from choices people make.

That's all I have time for right now..good topic! :thumb
 

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I'll have a go.

1.) Parents of vaccine injured children are just looking for something/someone to blame.
This is idiotic beyond measure and its origin is probably a PR construct but sadly people will repeat it without really thinking about it. Imagine, a street in NYC with a lot of pedestrian traffic. Every now and then a pedestrian falls to the ground bleeding profusely from the head. There's a chunk of concrete in the vicinity. But we aren't going to look up, because that would be looking for something to blame. :serious:

2.) That if you don't vaccinate you don't care about society. When I hear others say that the reason they vaccinate is for the good of the herd, I call BS. Who is going to put others before their own children? And until they start testing titres regularly it's only speculation that your vaccinated child is doing anything for the herd. I think this is another PR construct that serves to pit parents against parents.

I'm sure there are more.
 

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I've got one:

Vaccine failure is always the fault of people who decline to use the product.

Mumps outbreaks in vaxed kids? There must be someone around who refused the vaccine who is spreading the disease.

The pertussis vaccine is failing? It is because evil anti-vaxers complained (incorrectly, of course) that the previous vaccine (which worked really well: not actually) caused brain damage in some babies and toddlers and FORCED the authorities to switch to a less effective vaccine.

Adults and infants catching measles? Due to the unvaxed kids, not due to stupidity on the part of the vaccine pushers who believed, based on no evidence whatsoever, that a single dose of the vaccine would provide lifelong immunity and that vaccinated mothers wouldn't leave babies unprotected.

No matter what goes wrong, it is always possible to blame it on vaccine refusers. We'll be getting the blame for climate change any day now...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So with a misrepresentation, somebody takes your argument, twists it around, and then spits it back out n a way that doesn't express your message. Or they stuff words into your mouth that were never there in the first place.

Another tactic we saw recently in the California press---take the fringiest people, (2/1000+ protesters at the Democratic Convention in Anaheim who showed up with Nazi signs), and claim or imply that they represent the norm.

Anyone who has a solid argument will find no need to resort to these tactics.
 

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Vaccine failure is always the fault of people who decline to use the product.
VACCINE FAILURE - is never the fault of the vaccine manufacturer.

Vaccine failure is either the fault of the person declining the vaccine OR the person who got the vaccine did not process the immunity properties of the vaccine properly.
 

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That you would prevent or cure autism if you could somehow means you hate all those with autism.

That if you use healthy children as your base demographic wrt stats, you therefore do not care about the unhealthy, or even worse, believe in eugenics.

Citations later - being kicked off the computer!
 

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Yeah, @kathymuggle,

I forgot about the "you people hate autistic kids" recent line, as well as the "I'd rather have autism than a VPD" bologna. Mmkay.

I love those games. I play those with my older kids..It's called "would you rather". We come up with fun things such as, "Would you rather eat a picnic lunch on the floor of a port-o-potty, or would you rather walk through a room filled with spiders up to your knees?"

Wha? Really idiotic way to attempt dismiss vaccine choice. No one get to decide who suffers vaccine injury. Vaccine injury includes many knowns, and many more unknowns. Making it a would you rather game is incredibly dismissive and condescending.
 

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Actually, that one goes much farther--

They are really saying that good parents would RATHER have a child with a developmental disability or chronic disease than a child who had to go through measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.
 

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The first thing below is the thing I say, the second is the position attributed to me (generally to discredit me and/or make it easier to argue against me).

I think a consensus of scientific experts is the best source of information we have about scientific questions = I think scientists are never wrong about anything.

I think questions of science are usually highly complex and difficult and best addressed by scientists whose job it is to do so = I think parents are stupid or uneducated.

I think some injured people erroneously think they have been vaccine-injured = I think no one has ever been vaccine injured.

I think some injured people erroneously think they have been vaccine-injured = I don't care about those people's injuries.

I think vaccines are effective = I think vaccines are 100% effective.

I think vaccination is important = I secretly think people who don't vaccinate should be put in jail.

(These are just examples where I think my arguments have been twisted/misrepresented, not all the bad arguments I see or all the things I find offensive, like being called a sheep or a pharma shill.)
 

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(These are just examples where I think my arguments have been twisted/misrepresented, not all the bad arguments I see or all the things I find offensive, like being called a sheep or a pharma shill.)
I'm curious as to why you felt the need to throw in the above since the intention of the thread outlined in the OP is clearly about misrepresentations. To show superiority and/or victimization? Perhaps you could start a thread for bad arguments, things you find offensive and another for names/labels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm curious as to why you felt the need to throw in the above since the intention of the thread outlined in the OP is clearly about misrepresentations. To show superiority and/or victimization? Perhaps you could start a thread for bad arguments, things you find offensive and another for names/labels.
The way I read it, she was simply trying to illustrate the distinction between any bad argument vs. a specific kind of bad argument, misrepresentation. I actually appreciate the clarification, and most of those examples are bad arguments. Our case for vaccine choice and criticism of the vaccine program is solid enough that there's no need for bad arguments of any kind.
 

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I'm curious as to why you felt the need to throw in the above since the intention of the thread outlined in the OP is clearly about misrepresentations.To show superiority and/or victimization?
Yes, those were the main reasons.

As another reason (since you're curious), I made the clarification because several of the things in this thread seem to me not really examples of misrepresentations of arguments made by non-vaxxers, but more general examples of bad arguments or unfounded accusations (e.g., assuming non-vaxers are scientifically ignorant, saying that if you don't vaccinate you don't care about society, saying that vaccine failure is always the fault of the people who decline to use the product). Maybe I'm misunderstanding these posts, though, or maybe I misunderstand the scope of the thread; if people want to correct me, that's great.

Anyway, after reading the thread, I had initially planned to post a list that included things like, "Saying pro-vaxxers are pharma shills" and other things. But after thinking about Turquesa's post #5 , I changed the list.
 

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The title of the thread is "Feeling misrepresented?" While the post may go into further detail to arguments being distorted, the basis is the same: How do media, blogs, forum comments misrepresent the stance/view/argument of non/sel/delay vaxers.

It is completely accurate to state that the pro-vaxers characterize non-vaxers as scientifically ignorant...stupid...moron...uneducated.

It is also accurate to say it misrepresents the ideology of non-vaxers to put forth the idea that we hate autistic children, and that we are negligent of the needs of society. The argument follows the bold misrepresentation found widely in headlines and opening posts and comments, from pro vaccine militants.
 

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Yes, those were the main reasons.

As another reason (since you're curious), I made the clarification because several of the things in this thread seem to me not really examples of misrepresentations of arguments made by non-vaxxers, but more general examples of bad arguments or unfounded accusations (e.g., assuming non-vaxers are scientifically ignorant, saying that if you don't vaccinate you don't care about society, saying that vaccine failure is always the fault of the people who decline to use the product). Maybe I'm misunderstanding these posts, though, or maybe I misunderstand the scope of the thread; if people want to correct me, that's great.

Anyway, after reading the thread, I had initially planned to post a list that included things like, "Saying pro-vaxxers are pharma shills" and other things. But after thinking about Turquesa's post #5 , I changed the list.
Let's start with the definition of misrepresent:

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
to describe (someone or something) in a false way especially in order to deceive someone : to give someone a false idea about (something or someone)


If we want to get specific and technical then IMO the OP isn't solely adhering to providing arguments that are misrepresented:

# 1 looks like a misrepresentation- someone points out the conflicts of interest and the opposition claims they are claiming conspiracies.

#2 and #3 don't look like solid misrepresentations to me. #2 is an accusation and #3 really seems more of an illustration of a logical fallacy.

As the parent of a vaccine injured child I get told that I am just looking for something to blame. When in fact, I am looking to help my child and prevent this from happening to others. Misrepresentation of my intentions seems to me to be a misrepresentation of my argument. The intent of the opposition often is to make others think that people are looking for compensation. And in the second example I provided the intent of the opposition is to make others think that non-vaccinating parents are selfish and self-absorbed when that is not a factual representation of the reasons for not vaccinating.

Anyhow...

Turquesa also said this in her OP:

What would you like more open-minded members of "the other side" to know about your position and where you're coming from?
So that kind of opens the door to her #2 and #3 and to all else that has been posted here.
 

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If we want to get specific and technical then IMO the OP isn't solely adhering to providing arguments that are misrepresented . .
So that kind of opens the door to her #2 and #3 and to all else that has been posted here.
Yes, except for pro-vaxxers like me, for whom "the intention of the thread outlined in the OP is clearly about misrepresentations," and any suggestion of anything that doesn't fit squarely within that is made for purposes of appearing superior and victimized.

Other than what appears to be a double standard, I agree with your analysis. The scope of the thread is a bit unclear, and maybe broader than I thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It is completely accurate to state that the pro-vaxers characterize non-vaxers as scientifically ignorant...stupid...moron...uneducated.
Agreed. Stereotyping, ("anti-vaxxers" follow Jenny McCarthy, pro-vaxxers are Sheeple), is one form of misrepresentation. No cause or movement consists of a monolithic population.
 

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Agreed. Stereotyping, ("anti-vaxxers" follow Jenny McCarthy, pro-vaxxers are Sheeple), is one form of misrepresentation. No cause or movement consists of a monolithic population.
Yes, and it seems the militants can't even agree on who this "anti vax movement" consists of, in order to better target/smear them.

Is it hippies? Alt med whacko's? Is it ultra conservative Christian "we all say you can't vax because of God...x,y,z"? Liberals? Morons? Educated? Rich? Poor?
 
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