The Anti-Vaccine And Anti-GMO Movements Are Inextricably Linked And Cause Preventable Suffering

May 22, 2017

By Kavin Senapathy

The thoroughly answered question of whether vaccines cause autism isn’t really a question outside of conspiracy-theorist circles. The body of evidence shows that vaccination has eradicated smallpox and vastly reduced suffering and death from other diseases, and that vaccines don’t cause autism, cancer, dementia, or long term health problems, and that any minute risk is vastly outweighed by benefits to individuals and society.

Yet with the backing of prominent leaders like Robert DeNiro and Robert Kennedy Jr., anti-vaccine groups fuel common narratives that keep herd immunity down, directly leading to suffering and death. Now with Donald Trump embracing vaccine skeptics, the anti-vaccine movement has earned a hallowed place on the shelf next to other tinfoil hat clad schools of thought. The question of the safety of genetically engineered crops (GMOs) has been answered just as thoroughly, and the anti-GMO movement deserves its own place on the same shelf, not just for being wrong but for its role in unconscionable suffering.

The most notorious figure in anti-vaccine movement history, Andrew Wakefield—the former gastroenterologist and researcher known for a fraudulent 1998 paper linking the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism—has been thoroughly discredited time and again. Yet the effect of his antics is stubborn, with report after report of doctors and scientists combating outbreaks of preventable disease, suffering, and death in the wake of attack after attack on public confidence in vaccines. That this widespread injustice has endured and thrived is nothing short of tragic.

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5 comments on “The Anti-Vaccine And Anti-GMO Movements Are Inextricably Linked And Cause Preventable Suffering

  • @OP – The Anti-Vaccine And Anti-GMO Movements Are Inextricably Linked And Cause Preventable Suffering

    Unfortunately in both of these cases,the pseudo-science quackery creates a smoke-screen of false information which obscures the rational scientific debates which should be being conducted.

    The are great benefits both real, and potential, from vaccines and GMO, but there are also real negative side effects, which reckless commercial interests wish to obscure and conceal! There are also misleading exaggerated claims about benefits and safety!

    In the case of vaccines, there are some which only give limited protection, or which need improvement, as they only give protection to significantly less than 100% of those inoculated.

    @OP – Both genetic engineering and vaccines have the support of all major scientific bodies around the world, so why is the anti-GMO movement so ubiquitous in food labels, marketing, and social media news feeds when anti-vaccine sentiment is relegated to the fringes?

    Actually vaccines also have proper labelling of products, and the nutty propagandist press, does not seem to need to campaign against this as they do against GMO labelling!

    when anti-vaccine sentiment is relegated to the fringes?

    The anti-vaccine quacks, have nothing to do with vaccine labelling which is provided to inform users!

    Journalist Keith Kloor asked in 2014, “Is it that one form of denial is more socially acceptable than the other?” Nearly three years later it’s abundantly clear that the answer is yes, with the growth of the global non-GMO market showing no signs of slowing.

    Journalist Keith Kloor expressed his scientific ignorance by asking and making up his own wrong answer to his own question!

    And the groups and leaders behind the proliferation of anti-GMO sentiment also embrace and promote the anti-vaccine movement.

    Do they really?
    There may some nutty quacks who embrace both, but that has nothing to do with real GMO or vaccine issues.

    The only real link between the two is “Big-Pharma” and their attempts to mislead the public so as to gain carte-blanch for reckless experimentation and profiteering.

    The most notorious figure in anti-vaccine movement history, Andrew Wakefield—the former gastroenterologist and researcher known for a fraudulent 1998 paper linking the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism—has been thoroughly discredited time and again.

    Yes! ONE fraudulent anti-vax paper about ONE combined vaccine has been thoroughly discredited.
    That has absolutely NOTHING to do with the safety of GMO crops!

    Scientific studies have shown that GMO crops (but not necessarily their methods of cultivation) are AS SAFE AS CONVENTIONALLY BRED CROPS!

    This DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE UNCONDITIONALLY SAFE , because introduced conventional crops can become hazardous to the environment as introduced invasive species, and can carry food safety risks and further environmental risks, from mismanagement or associated chemical treatments.
    Furthermore:- There are some wildly exaggerated claims floating around about unrealistic comparisons of benefits from commercially patented allegedly “wonder products” and traditional breeds!


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  • When plants are genetically engineered to produce sterile seeds, compelling poor peasants to buy their seeds from a company, the situation becomes ethically questionable. And needless to say this objection is completely unrelated to the vaccines controversies.

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  • This author claims to be a crusader for science, but does not appear to have the basic grasp of biology and ecology to cope with GMO, intensive farming, or monopolistic commercial abuses of producers and the environment!

    Kavin Senapathy

    I expose quackery and bust myths on health, food and science.

    I am an author, public speaker and science activist writing about health, medicine, genomics, agriculture and food.
    I’m the co-Executive Director of international pro-science, pro-biotech movement March Against Myths, and co-author of “The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari’s Glass House,” a book discussing popular food misconceptions and why they proliferate in the face of mountains of evidence against them. With a passion for refuting misconceptions popular in the wild internet west, my work has appeared in Gawker and Slate, and I am a regular contributor to Genetic Literacy Project, and evidence-based parenting site, Grounded Parents. I believe that swaying someone from unscientific opinions is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Bad arguments from people enthusiastically pontificating on subjects they don’t understand, and drawing on propagandist source materials, does not advance the public understanding of those subjects!

    Bad arguments from people associated with some good scientific arguments in other subject areas, make the confusion of the public even worse! It is a problem encountered with some Greenpeace enthusiasts who get some things right some of the time!

    She seems to be the unthinking uncritical corporate GMO cheerleader. – The polar opposite, of the anti-GMO and anti-vaxer quacks she is disparaging!

    Anti-vaxers arguments, and naturalistic fallacies about GMO, like YEC creationists’ claims, are the easily attacked, low-hanging fruit, of the deeply flawed pseudo-science worshipping bigoted ignorant!

    Producing a balanced understanding of numerous complex commercial, sustainable agricultural, and environmental issues, demands much more depth of understanding, a wide research, and capability in the relevant subject areas!

    Introduced invasive species are destroying the world’s ecosystems and costing $billions!
    We really don’t need reckless people enthusiastically releasing new ones which are engineered to be herbicide and insect resistant – in some failed crop experiments reminiscent of those in the past!

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  • Anyway – On the vaccine front, progress is being made!

    The German government plans to introduce fines of up to €2,500 (£2,178; $2,806) for parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated.

    Health Minister Hermann Gröhe said it was necessary to tighten the law because of a measles epidemic. He was speaking to the popular daily Bild.

    “Continuing deaths from measles cannot leave anyone indifferent,” he said.

    The government wants kindergartens to report on any parents who fail to show a doctor’s note proving vaccination.

    Failure to do so could mean expulsion of the child from the daycare centre, under the revised law. It is expected to be adopted next month.

    A mother of three died of measles in the city of Essen this week.

    Italy has recorded nearly three times more measles cases so far this year than for all of 2016.

    Last week the Italian government ruled that parents must vaccinate their children against 12 common illnesses before enrolling them at state-run schools.

    Those illnesses include measles, polio, whooping cough and hepatitis B.

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