Credulity, autism, and vaccination information…oh, and space aliens, too.

So lately, I’ve noticed a trend.

More and more often, on various unrelated forums I read, it seems that anti-vaccination activism is becoming the trendy topic du jour. Decrying vaccinations as “dangerous” and “unproven” is hot these days; and worse yet, people are now advocating not immunizing children.

I keep seeing the same claims posted again and again on all these different forums…sometimes, word-for-word the same, which suggests that people are copying the information from one place and pasting it into another, without actually doing any research to verify the authenticity of this information.

This points, I think, to the same kind of credulity that lets people believe in the Loch Ness monster and the notion that human beings were created by space aliens from the tenth planet who used us as slaves to mine gold, but at the same time not believe that the world is round. Credulity pisses me off, as long-term readers of this journal will no doubt have noticed.

So I did some legwork. I visited a bunch of anti-vaccination Web sites, and made a list of the claims I’ve seen posted on many of these sites, and then tracked down the truth. I’ve invested, at this point, about seven or eight hours into looking up each of these claims, reading very dry articles, doing Google searches, looking at links, and compiling an assessment of whether the claims are true or false.

As it turns out, not all the claims are false. Some of them are true, though often not true in the way the activists campaigning against vaccination might think. And I found some surprises, too.

Into the abyss…