If you have ever been in a debate with someone who is adamantly pro-vaccine then you know that once the word ‘science’ is thrown out there then the argument is somehow supposed to be over, shut down, because… science. To question science to a pro-vaccine folk is akin to questioning the Bible to a Christian. Because Jesus said. It’s in the Bible. End of story. I am not claiming that science and religion are one in the same, just that the same line of thinking applies. Nevermind that like mainstream politics, much of mainstream science is corrupt. Bought and sold to uphold a cultural narrative. To question any further than what some science has made us believe makes you anti-science, anti-truth, anti-reality…because, science. Which ultimately just makes you an idiot, because, science. Science is seen as the end all be all of intellectual authority. While I think science is a wonderful tool, it is not the only thing I use to form all of my decision making. I use a combination of independent studies (not science that is paid for to come up with a particular result), personal experiences, varied research (not just from one or two sources), and good ‘ole common sense (my favorite, actually) to form my opinions.
Here is the thing, though: I don’t actually believe that people who are pro-vaccine care all that much about science. To spew “science” at anyone who questions vaccine ingredients, side-effects and efficacy has simply become pro-vaccine culture rhetoric. It is starting to hold little weight for me. The reason I say this is because I look at their other parenting choices and it falls short of what science has proven. Of course, not all pro-vaxers. When I write I might make general statements, but I obviously cannot and will not speak for everyone. Here are four reasons why I don’t believe [some] pro-vaccine parents care all that much about science:
- They spank and use punishments such as time-out for discipline.
If you love science and still do one or both of these then we need to catch you up on the latest scientific studies. According to science, spanking and corporal, authoritative punishment leads to more mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, addiction, aggressive behavior, externalizing problems, and many other cognitive development issues. The science is clear that violence begets violence. Children model what they see and receive. I fail to understand why we need science to prove something so obvious, but I am glad it has. Do you feel happy and motivated to do better after someone has just made you feel like garbage? Neither do I. If you love science, read the studies about the detriments of physical and isolating punishment here, here, here and here.
2) They are not breastfeeding per recommendation.
Before I go on, I’ll just repeat, NOT ALL PARENTS. I am well aware that there are pro-vaccine parents who breastfeed. I know some personally. But if you are shouting “science” and giving your baby formula then let’s talk. According to science, thousands of babies lives could be saved every year (823,000 to be exact, according to science) if all women breastfed their babies. Not only that, but it saves mothers’ lives, too, according to science. One ecological study done in Latin America concluded that, “Exclusive breastfeeding of infants aged 0-3 months and partial breast feeding throughout the remainder of infancy could substantially reduce infant mortality in Latin America.” You can read the entire study here. Science also proves that breastfed babies have better overall health than formula fed babies. How’s that for a public health issue? Except for you don’t see anyone trying to mandate breastfeeding for all women and babies. Why do you think that is? *Hint* Look at where the money goes….
3) They still feed their kids fast, processed, junk foods.
Do we really need science to tell us that non food is…food? We do? Well, that’s okay, because we have that. According to science, the frequency of fast-food visits correlates with the likelihood of obesity. I am really hoping I don’t have to prove how obesity negatively affects health, but if you need me to then check out [this] scientific study. What you eat also significantly affects your mental health, according to [this] study. I could probably go on and on and on about how poor diet impacts your health. They don’t say, “you are what you eat,” for nothing.
4) You use Cry-it-Out sleep training method.
It is proven that letting a young baby/child cry themselves to sleep raises cortisol levels and negatively affects the infant’s sense of secure attachment to its mother. One study shows that the children of mothers who did not create a secure attahcment by responding to cries were more aggressive and anxious than children who had mothers that did. According to my.vanderbilt.edu:
“Ainsworth and colleagues concluded that sensitivity on the part of caregivers, which centers on responsiveness to infants’ signals like laughing and crying, is the most important predictor of secure attachment (Siegler et al., 2011). Thus, the first two years, when attachment relationships are formed and when parents often turn to sleep training programs like the Ferber Method, are a critical time for parents to show responsiveness to their crying infants and offer comfort. Unfortunately, the Ferber Method and other training schedules of its kind that instruct parents to avoid responding to their infants’ cues of distress deliberately encourage a lack of parental sensitivity. The insecure attachment that we assert can follow is not merely a theoretical issue, as insecure attachment in infancy predicts a host of later undesirable outcomes. Jacobsen’s and Hofmann’s (1997) longitudinal study suggested that insecure attachment classification significantly predicted lower attention in school, higher insecurity about the self, and lower GPA at age fifteen. Furthermore, Dallaire’s and Weinraub’s (2007) work demonstrated that insecurely attached fifteen-month-olds were more likely to experience anxiety symptoms at 4.5 years than their securely attached peers who had weathered equivalent stressors. Finally, DeMulder, Denham, Schmidt, and Mitchell (2000) found that insecurely attached preschool boys and girls exhibited significantly more anger and aggression outside the home. Parents may gain sleep in the short-term after Ferberizing their infants, but they can expect to lose sleep as their children age and engage in these negative behaviors associated with lack of parental sensitivity.”
My point of this article isn’t to tell you what to do. Of course, I like when parents think outside the status quo and choose to adopt practices that lead to healthier, happier children. In my opinion, that’s our best shot at saving this planet. My point is that we can’t keep pointing at science as a form of confirmation bias. If you are going to point to science and be done with it in the case of vaccines, you have to be willing to look at the science elsewhere, in your other parenting choices.
Besides that, people who choose to forgo vaccines do not do it because they are anti-science. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone would argue that science is great! I love science, for one. This is probably why so many people are chomping at the bit for the science. Where is the science?! Did you know there has never been a scientific study published in any scientific journal using an unvaccinated controlled/placebo group which demonstrates the efficacy, relevance and long-term of any vaccine used in the U.S.? Not one actual controlled/placebo study in any scientific journal showing long-term benefits vs. dangers of vaccination vs. unvaccinated. Furthermore, there has not been one long-term study done on any carcinogenic and reproductive complications that may occur long-term as a result of vaccination (as stated in the manufactures inserts), and thus, no doctor can honestly say your baby will be safe from future cancer or reproductive complications, or that vaccinations are safe or “scientific.” There is so much conflicting “science.” There is so much corrupt “science.” When you point to “science,” you cannot call it pseudo-science when it proves opposite of your claim. This means it isn’t about science afterall. It is about your biases and your fears. I get it. I have my own set of them as well, but please, can we stop calling it “science?”