Questioning vaccines, nothing but idiots all the way down?

Questioning vaccines, nothing but idiots all the way down?

Intelligent post from Gautam Tejas Ganeshan on the question: Is there an intelligible anti-vaxx position? The article is intellectually meaty, so I’m going to break important parts down in several of my own posts. This is essentially his beginnings upon which he predicates the post.

But if you think that the *main thing* going on is scientifically illiterate people being duped — then, I submit that what’s *really* going on is that *you* have not managed to encounter the position intelligently stated.

Here’s what Gautaum is seeing:

I’m seeing a *lot* of *anti* “anti-vaxx” sentiment lately — particularly online.

I also noticed that recently, in short succession, all of the following prominent online entities publicly changed their policies on “anti-vaxx” content: Pinterest, YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, GoFundMe.

They claimed to be “cracking-down” on the spread of harmful misinformation — all within a few weeks of each other, as I recall. What they did was remove, downregulate, or demonetize content; “blacklist” search terms (i.e. block *any* results for such terms as “vaccine”); and even ban books (!). Online opinion on this — and even reporting — tended to be laudatory and untroubled, as far as I could tell, conveying a sense of “Finally…”, and downplaying accusations of censorship or bias.

In trying to figure out what’s going on in all this, I’m struck by certain important angles on the topic that deserve more sober attention than they are getting. So I thought I’d add a few pieces to the puzzle here.

Caustic criticism of the “anti-vaxx” position is usually of a straw man — i.e. an artificially weak version, easy to ridicule, that doesn’t capture what’s really going on.

My sense is that this is either out of unfamiliarity — i.e. ignorance that there even *is* (or *could be*) an intelligible, articulable position (instead of just “misinformation”); or else the vehemence is a deliberate rhetorical move, justified by self-assurance of having the moral high ground. In some cases the result is that folks apparently feel just fine laying down highly mean-spirited comments.

Read the whole article here: Is there an intelligible anti-vaxx position?