Anti-Science Quotable: Pretty much everyone at the GOP debate #vaccines

Unfortunately, the “issue” of vaccines was brought up in the most recent GOP debate on CNN, and as one would suspect, the candidates performed poorly in regards to this subject.

First of all, here at CauseScience, we have posted NUMEROUS times trying to dispel any beliefs that parents should not vaccinate their children. Vaccines work and they are not linked to autism. period.

Second of all, I think journalist Ana Marie Cox from HuffPosts “so That Happened” podcast says it best, “CNN was irresponsible to even bring that up. If you even talk about the vaccine debate you give it credence.” Nailed it.

So what exactly happened at the debate? The Donald has been criticized for his adamant stance that vaccines cause autism, and so debate moderator Jake Tapper asked the other doctors on the debate panel if there was any validity to this. Obviously, we know Trump’s stance is just plain wrong, but I’d like to point out anti-quotable responses from the DOCTORS on the panel: Ben Carson and Rand Paul.

“We have extremely well-documented proof that there’s no autism associated with vaccination, but it is true that we are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time. I think a lot of pediatricians now recognize that and are cutting down on the number and the proximity in which those are done.” ~Ben Carson

“I’m for vaccines, but I’m also for freedom. Even if the science doesn’t say bunching them up is a problem, I ought to be able to spread my vaccines out a little bit, at the very least.” ~Rand Paul

“Vaccines are very important. Certain ones. The ones that would prevent death or crippling. There are others, there are a multitude of vaccines which probably don’t fit in that category, and there should be some discretion in those cases…” ~Ben Carson

At LEAST these doctors agree vaccines are important and not linked to autism. HOWEVER, the timing of vaccines and adhering to a vaccination schedule is INCREDIBLY important. In the New York Times, Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician specializing inin infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia explained, “When you delay vaccines, you increase the period of time in which you are susceptible to those diseases. We are seeing the effects of that. The outbreak we saw this year in Southern California was among parents who had chosen to delay or withheld vaccines for their children.”

Furthermore, WHAT are the “multitude” of other vaccines in which discretion should be used? That’s just not right. I’m sure more issues like these will arise as the election season warms up, but its disheartening to see candidates so eager to appeal to their base that they will completely ignore facts and scientific data (I guess that’s not surprising for politics). Importantly, in this situation, it’s irresponsible for these doctors to make such blatantly false statements regarding vaccines.

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Anti-Science Quotable: Presidential Candidate Rand Paul rebrands himself as Dr. #science

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In case you missed it, SENATOR Rand Paul announced this week that he will run for President in 2016. In response to his announcement, we thought now would be a good time to revisit some of Rand Paul’s anti-science rantings. Check out the numerous CauseScience “Anti-Science Quotable” posts courtesy of Rand Paul. Also be sure to check out this MaddowBlog post highlighting Rand Paul’s rebranding of himself as a DOCTOR. AND don’t forget to check out Dr. Rand Paul’s medical career section on wikipedia. As pointed out on CauseScience before, it appears that Paul is not a board certified physician, and his most recent boarding was through his own made up medical board not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. YIKES!

The more Paul talks about his medical background, the more we’re reminded that whenever medicine and politics have intersected lately, the GOP lawmaker has gotten himself into trouble with nonsense.
For example, Rand Paul’s deeply ridiculous rhetoric about the Ebola virus looks absurd, if not genuinely dangerous, six months after the public-health scare.
His rhetoric about vaccines was arguably even more bizarre. Remember when he said vaccinations and “profound mental disorders” are “temporally related”?
Paul seems to think medical research at the National Institutes of Health is some kind of punch line, worthy of mockery. He’s also been a longtime member of a medical organization, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which has “expressed doubts about the connection between HIV and AIDS and suggested that President Barack Obama may have been elected because he was able to hypnotize voters.”
Given all of this, does the senator really want to cite his work as a doctor as some kind of presidential qualification?

Anti-Science Quotable: Rand Paul bashes NIH funding and fruit fly research

Paul spoke at the American Spectator Annual Gala in Washington (at the 10:03 mark), and commented on how he has tried to point out potential areas where government spending could be reduced.

Paul, Feb. 11: Remember when we were talking about Ebola last year? Everybody was going crazy about Ebola, and they’re like, oh Republicans didn’t spend enough at the NIH. And they didn’t spend enough on infectious disease. Turns out, the budget had been going up for years and years at NIH, the budget had been going up for infectious disease. You know how much they spent on Ebola? One-40th of the budget was being spent on Ebola. But you know what we did discover? They spent a million dollars trying to determine whether male fruit flies like younger female fruit flies. I think we could have polled the audience and saved a million bucks.

Thanks to SciCheck (mentioned in a previous post) and common sense, we can check the facts behind his “claim”.  In brief:

  • Paul claimed the NIH’s budget has been increasing “for years.” That’s not accurate even in raw dollars. And when adjusted for inflation, the budget has actually decreased over the last decade.
  • He also suggested the NIH wasted $1 million on a study of whether male fruit flies prefer older or younger females, and in the process he belittled the impact of basic research using flies — which has yielded dozens of discoveries and even a few Nobel Prizes over the last century.

Check out the full detailed article.  If you think Rand Paul’s claims are legitimate due to his MD, think twice. Simply having a medical degree does not necessarily equate to understanding science and research. Not to mention, there are some issues with his board certification.

I’m constantly shocked at how ignorant elected decision-makers can be about the very topics on which they make policy decisions (for example…).  I don’t think this bodes well for science.

Anti-Science Quotable: Senator Rand Paul spreads misinformation about vaccines #IamTheHerd #ophthalmologist

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I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines. I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. I think they’re a good thing. But I think the parents should have some input. – Senator Rand Paul during a CNN interview

Were these tragic cases based on science?? The worst and most hypocritical was yet to come. Paul sent a followup email to CNN elaborating and slightly backpedaling.

Dr. Paul believes that vaccines have saved lives, and should be administered to children. His children were all vaccinated. He also believes many vaccines should be voluntary and like most medical decisions, between the doctor and the patient, not the government.

As a “doctor”, I would hope that Senator Paul would recognize the weaknesses introduced by voluntary vaccination. What if his children were unable to be vaccinated? Or what about when they were too young to be vaccinated as babies? These children can only be protected by high vaccine rates among people who can get them.