An Attempt to Reason with a Pro-Vaxxer

by Jan 29, 2017Health & Vaccines7 comments

A vaccine under development (John Keith/NIH)

Here's a typical example of an encounter with a pro-vaxxer who dogmatically insists his position is the correct one in defiance of fact and reason.

I recently published a report titled “5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process“, which one of my readers was quite incensed by and sent me this email in reply to:

After reading your vaccine report I suggest that you stick to foreign policy.  You are way out of your depth in terms of scientific understanding and the appropriateness of clinical studies.

Now, the condescending, arrogant tone of this email in conjunction with the fact he didn’t bother to identify even a single error I’d made was a big red flag that this individual could not be reasoned with, but in an effort to do so, I replied:

[T]his criticism lacks substance and meaning. If you think I’ve erred on any point of fact or logic in the report, you are welcome to point out out.

Several days later, he sent me back a copy of my report containing his annotations, along with the comment:

While it is unfortunate that no medicine is 100% safe, society has decided that the benefits of vaccinations outweight the risks and there are clear public health benefits to childhood vaccination programs. Your report clearly shows a philosophical position but also shows that you have no real knowledge of science and scientific process.

So the first thing to note is that to this individual, there is no such thing as individual rights. You do not own your own body. Rather, your body is owned by society, which may do whatever it wants to your body so long as the prevailing opinion is that forcing medical intervention on you against your will has “benefits” for “public health”.

In this guy’s view, those who suffer from vaccine injuries are simply the sacrificial lambs that must be laid on the altar of the vaccine religion in the name of the “greater good”. To this, I replied:

The decision of whether the risks of vaccination outweigh the benefits does not belong to “society”. It belongs to the individual.

Note secondly the suggestions that I am somehow biased and my report contains factual or logical errors. So I looked at his annotations. He hardly made any effort to refute my facts or logic, mostly just dismissed what I wrote while expressing his own beliefs and asserting without argument how wrong I was. But rather than dismissing him, I took two of his more substantive replies to point out the errors in his arguments.

I observe in my report how vaccine manufacturers do “placebo controlled” clinical trials without using a placebo. Instead of some inert substance for the control group, they frequently use another experimental injection, including sometimes other vaccines.

I pointed out how this practice would tend to inflate the “background rate” of any adverse reactions since being given another injection that could possibly cause an adverse event is quite different from being given an inert substance.

His annotated counter-argument was:

A placebo can only be used when there is not a current treatment. New drugs are compared to the current best standard of care – to do otherwise is considered unethical.

Note that he doesn’t address the point I raised about elevating the background rate of adverse events. And to use a control group given a placebo to determine the safety of an experimental vaccine is “unethical”, but using other non-inert substances, including other vaccines containing known neurotoxins like aluminum, is not?

I could tell this was going to be an Alice-In-Wonderland type of discussion, but wishing to make an effort to reason with this guy, I pointed out his logical error:

Comparing new drugs to the current best standard is useful for determining whether the drug meets the FDA’s standards of “efficacy”. It is not useful for determining whether the drug is safe.

On the same subject of how vaccine manufacturers conduct clinical trials, in my report, I write:

Oftentimes, drug companies just give both groups two different experimental injections. (One of them isn’t considered experimental, of course, but that’s just a semantic technicality.) A 2010 review of the most recently published trials showed that in at least several instances, instead of a placebo, another vaccine was used. Other times, the supposed “placebo” contains ingredients like aluminum hydroxide or thimerosal (mercury)—with both aluminum and mercury being known neurotoxins.

He had a response to this, too. Rather than pointing to any factual or logical error on my part, he asserted that I have a “lack of scientific understanding”. To support that assertion, he wrote in his annotation:

Sodium is toxic but sodium chloride is not (to the same extent). Similar for salts of aluminum and mercury.

To that argument, I replied:

[Y]ou are suggesting that the form of mercury contained in vaccines is not toxic. That is false. Ethylmercury, like methylmercury, is a known neurotoxin. I think it is not unreasonable to assume that you must know that, yet deliberately tried to imply otherwise, which is further indicative of why trying to reason with you about this subject would be an exercise in futility.

To these replies of mine, he countered:

A vaccination program requires participation to be effective which is why it is a societal decision and not an individual decision.

On the placebo comment – comparison to the current standard best care is also used to evaluate safety by comparison to something that has been determined to have an acceptable safety profile. The FDA is responsible for evaluating safety and efficacy and accepts this process as scientifically valid. Safety is measured in a relative manner and not as an absolute!!

Toxicity is relative and your assertion that aluminium hydroxide is toxic demonstrates a lack of understanding of bioavailability and toxicity.  The sodium / sodium chloride analogy is perfectly logical and the fact that you don’t see that indicates your lack of understanding of the subject matter.  As to ethyl mercury versus methyl mercury, I am well aware of the relative toxicity and absence of a comment is not ignoring the topic!!  It is well known that ethyl mercury is cleared from the body unlike methyl mercury, which accumulates.  This minimizes any risk.  I understand the topic well enough with 30 years of scientific knowledge and training.  The autism claims for vaccines are not supported by the evidence and anti-vaxxers seem to ignore the fact that Thiomersal has been removed from the majority of vaccines yet autism rates continue to increase.  Obviously there is some potential environmental exposure that has not yet been identified.

Having an anti-industry philosophical agenda and a limited scientific understanding does not constitute a firm foundation for an analysis of the topic.

So, first, he still tries to argue that individuals do not have a right to control what goes into their own bodies.

Second, he employs the logic that since the FDA approves of the aforementioned practice of the vaccine manufacturers of conducting “placebo-controlled” trials without a placebo that therefore this is a scientifically valid practice. This, of course, is a non-sequitur: the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise.

Third, note that he insists that the aluminum in vaccines is not toxic, which is a bald-faced lie. He asserts that the fact I wrote that it is neurotoxic demonstrates my lack of scientific understanding. Well, here’s what one paper in the journal Current Medicinal Chemistry has to say about the toxicity of aluminum in vaccines and the problem with using other aluminum-containing substances as a “placebo” in clinical trials:

The continued use of aluminum adjuvants in various vaccines for children as well as the general public may be of significant concern. In particular, aluminum presented in this form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences. The widely accepted notion of aluminum adjuvant safety does not appear to be firmly established in the scientific literature and, as such, this absence may have lead to an erroneous conclusions regarding the significance of these compounds in the etiologies of many common neurological disorders. Furthermore, the continued use of aluminum-containing placebos in vaccine clinical trials may have lead to an underestimation of the true rate of adverse outcomes associated with aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines.

Do the authors of this paper “lack understanding of bioavailability and toxicity”? We see that what I wrote about the neurotoxicity of aluminum is accurate, while his suggestion that the form in vaccines is not toxic is a bald-faced lie.

With respect to ethylmercury, he seems to acknowledge that it is indeed toxic and therefore does indeed pose a risk, but he asserts that it is “cleared from the body” and does not accumulate, which “minimizes” that risk.

So is what he says true? Well, we can look once more into the medical literature and find, for example, conclusions such as this: “The culmination of the research that examines the effects of Thimerosal [which is used as a preservative in vaccines and comprised largely of ethylmercury] in humans indicates that it is a poison at minute levels with a plethora of deleterious consequences, even at the levels currently administered in vaccines.”

So did the authors of that paper also have a “lack of scientific understanding”?

Here’s another study’s conclusion: “It can be concluded that: a) mercury load in fetuses, neonates, and infants resulting from TCVs [Thimerosal-containing vaccines] remains in blood of neonates and infants at sufficient concentration and for enough time to penetrate the brain and to exert a neurologic impact and a probable influence on neurodevelopment of susceptible infants; b) etHg [ethylmercury] metabolism related to neurodevelopmental delays has been demonstrated experimentally and observed in population studies; c) unlike chronic Hg exposure during pregnancy, neurodevelopmental effects caused by acute (repeated/cumulative) early life exposure to TCV-etHg remain unrecognized; and d) the uncertainty surrounding low-dose toxicity of etHg is challenging but recent evidence indicates that avoiding cumulative insults by alkyl-mercury forms (which include Thimerosal) is warranted.”

Another study notes: “Our findings demonstrate that thimerosal at the concentration usually found in vaccines, affects significantly cellular viability.” In other words, even at the supposedly “safe” doses found in vaccines, ethylmercury is toxic to human cells.

Here’s another statement from another paper in the medical literature: “even at concentrations below recommended levels, there is strong evidence that exposure to ethyl mercury, the major component of thimerosal, is associated with the onset of neurological and heart disorders in children.” They conclude: “Thus, continuous exposure to mercury can be dangerous, and current reference values, once considered to be without risk, should be reevaluated and reduced.

Do all the scientists who authored or co-authored these studies also have a “lack of scientific understanding”?

These are just a few examples. There is no shortage of others demonstrating the point I made in my report, but it would be superfluous to list more. Is ethylmercury a known neurotoxin? Yes. Does its use in vaccines present a risk? Yes. These observations are completely uncontroversial.

Recognizing that my attempts to reason with this person were likely to be futile, I replied:

The practice of vaccination entails risk, and hence to force it upon individuals is a violation of their human rights, as well as a violation of fundamental medical ethics including the right to informed consent.

The FDA’s acceptance of something as “scientifically valid” does not make it so. What the FDA allows amounts to scientific fraud.

Your assertion that ethylmercury and aluminum hydroxide are not toxic remains a bald-faced lie.

He wrote back:

I am sorry that you are incapable of reading and of accepting facts!

Your opinions are not facts.

Not getting vaccinated entails risks to society and society has determined that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

Your insult to the FDA has no merit and you are not qualified to determine scientific validity!

I did not deny toxicity of anything –  everything is toxic,  it is just a matter of dose and time of exposure.  I even stated that I am well aware of the relative toxicity. You seem to be unwilling or incapable of understanding that the clearance of ethyl mercury and its low concentration in vaccines means that there is no significant risk of toxicity.

Given your logic, X-rays should be banned because they are ‘toxic’,  but the benefits justify exposure –  up to a limit.

For someone with no scientific or medical background your arrogance is astounding.

So, notice his assertions: (1) I am wrong, and he is right. (2) Individuals do not have the right to control what goes into their own bodies; the state may decide this and force upon them medical interventions against their will. (3) His logic that since the FDA approves of something, therefore it must be scientifically valid is not a non sequitur (my observation that this conclusion doesn’t follow from the premise “has no merit”). (4) He did not deny the toxicity of aluminum or mercury in vaccines, but (5) There is “no significant risk of toxicity” from the ethylmercury in vaccines.

Notice how he tries to have it both ways after I called his bluff. One one hand, for me to simply state that the aluminum in vaccines is toxic demonstrates my supposed ignorance (“your assertion that aluminium hydroxide is toxic demonstrates a lack of understanding of bioavailability and toxicity”); yet after I called him out on that point and he acknowledges that it is toxic, suddenly this acknowledgment no longer constitutes evidence that he lacks scientific understanding about it. It’s a “Heads I win, tails you lose” argument wherein for me to say it is toxic proves how ignorant I am, yet for me to say that his suggestion that it is not toxic is a lie shows I’m being disingenuous by putting words into his mouth. He wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

So let’s examine further his argument that there’s no significant risk of toxicity from the mercury in vaccines. He asserts that ethylmercury is “cleared from the body” quickly and does not accumulate. So is this true? No. In fact, ethylmercury does accumulate in the brain and is even more persistent in the brain than methylmercury (the kind of mercury we’re exposed to from, e.g., fish).

I could have pointed all of this out to him, but what would have been the point? Being in a hurry and with him not actually having pointed out any errors on my part, I replied simply:

Your opinions are equally not facts. And the facts are as I’ve stated them.

He shot back:

You are unbelievable.  I think with a PhD and over 30 years of experience I am qualified to understand science,  scientific validity and have knowledge of the subject matter.

Your opinions on scientific matters are worthless and dangerous to public health.

I replied:

Once again your argument is fallacious. It doesn’t follow from the fact you have a PhD that therefore your opinion is the correct one or that therefore what you’ve said is true and logical.

He retorted:

You completely ignore the facts!!  For example, comparative clinical trials are scientifically valid and are much more common than placebo controlled trials – yet you chose not to accept this fact.

You mispresent anything that you don’t agree with – “I think with a PhD and over 30 years of experience I am qualified to understand science,  scientific validity and have knowledge of the subject matter.” Is a perfectly valid statement.

If you have children, don’t get them vaccinated – that is your choice.  I just hope that they don’t get whooping cough or another debilitating disease because their parent suffers from anosognosia.

So, to summarize: (1) He characterizes my insistence that his logic is fallacious (his non sequitur that since the FDA approves of a practice, therefore it is scientifically valid) as “ignoring facts”. (2) He insists that it is “valid” to point out his credentials; yet it remains a logical fallacy to suggest that since he has those credentials and I do not that therefore he must be right and I must be wrong. (3) He seems to accede that whether to vaccinate or not is a matter of individual choice. Progress?

So I replied once more to point out his factual and logical errors:

The fact that a practice may be widespread does not render it valid; that fraud may be common does not mean it isn’t fraud.

Forgive me for mistaking your statement about your PhD for an argument.

I am glad we have finally found a point of agreement: that the decision whether to vaccinate is a matter of individual human rights.

You previously asserted that “there is no significant risk of toxicity” from ethylmercury in vaccines. That is false.

You also said, “Given your logic, X-rays should be banned because they are ‘toxic’”. This is not my logic, but a strawman.

He shot back:

You again demonstrate your ability in selectively reading what you want to see and not what is said plus your ability to deny expert knowledge and facts.

You obviously don’t understand the basic principles of clinical trials, their design and interpretation of results – ever seen a clinical trial design, a case report form, etc?  I have !

Given your clear and willful misunderstanding. Lack of knowledge of the subject matter and philosophical anti-science bent it is pointless to continue to discuss.  You ignored the bulk of the comments on your document which point out the errors and lack of understanding of the subject matter.

Along with that, he sent back comments on my previous response: I had said “The fact that a practice may be widespread does not render it valid; that fraud may be common does not mean it isn’t fraud.” He replied:

The practice of clinical trial design is based upon the consensus view of the medical community and is supported by a sound rationale and statistical validity – it is not fraudulent.  If you and your anti-vaxxer friends feel that it is fraudulent then I suggest that you take legal action against the FDA.

Same logical fallacy I’d already pointed out repeatedly.

I had said, “I am glad we have finally found a point of agreement: that the decision whether to vaccinate is a matter of individual human rights.” Progress? Nope:

Vaccination decisions are a choice not a human right.  If you decide not to vaccinate then you have to privately educate your children and it should be perfectly legal for insurance companies to refuse to cover treatment for debilitating diseases that were preventable by vaccination.

So still insisting individuals do not own their own bodies; their bodies belong to the state.

I had said, “You previously asserted that ‘there is no significant risk of toxicity’ from ethylmercury in vaccines. That is false.” He commented:

False based on what evidence?  There is no significant risk is the consensus view of the medical community based upon an understanding of the science – rather than an emotional outburst from people who are not qualified.

So repeating the same falsehood over and over as though this makes it true.

Note how he makes this as a blanket statement, failing, among other considerations, to acknowledge that while public vaccine policy is a one-size-fits-all approach to disease prevention, some individuals may be genetically susceptible to mercury toxicity.

Never mind that ethylmercury is “an environmental toxin known to deplete glutathione and induce oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.” As this study concludes, “the epidemiological link between environmental mercury exposure and an increased risk of developing autism may be mediated through mitochondrial dysfunction and support the notion that a subset of individuals with autism may be vulnerable to environmental influences with detrimental effects on development through mitochondrial dysfunction.”

Never mind the fact that the US government has acknowledged that vaccines can cause brain damage to children with mitochondrial disorders, insisting on one hand that vaccines are safe while on the other granting broad legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers and compensating families of autistic children due to their developmental regression having been caused by vaccine injury.

Moreover, consider what this guy is saying in light of the fact that the US government doesn’t even have safety standards for the use of ethylmercury and instead just uses its standards for methylmercury because the safety studies for ethylmercury haven’t been done. As this paper notes, the use of Thimerosal in vaccines has “been allowed to bypass government toxicological testing. It must be noted that until today no controlled, randomized study regarding the safety of amalgam or thimerosal exists.”

Here’s another paper from the medical literature noting that “the safety level” of the ethylmercury and aluminum used in vaccines “have never been determined, either for animals or adult humans — much less for fetuses, newborns, infants, and children.”

And never mind that their toxicity is synergistic (their combined toxicity is greater than the sum of their separate effects), which is also not a consideration under existing public vaccine policy.

So, it hasn’t really been studied, yet this guy “knows” that there is “no significant risk” from it! And then he has the chutzpah to call me arrogant! I cannot imagine a more arrogant statement. He has the chutzpah to accuse me of having “opinions on scientific matters” that “are worthless and dangerous to public health”! Such extraordinary hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Moving on, I had pointed out his attempt to falsely attribute to me logic that I did not use: “You also said, ‘Given your logic, X-rays should be banned because they are “toxic”. This is not my logic, but a strawman.’ He replied:

Your logic is that risk should not be accepted.  The conditional word ‘Given’ was used to predicate the statement.

So insisting on falsely attributing to me an argument that I had not made. (I did not argue that no risk can be accepted, which would be a nonsensical position as there are, after all, risks either way when it comes to making a choice about whether to vaccinate.)

I replied:

The problem with all that is I’ve shown you the factual and logical errors in your arguments claiming I’ve made factual and logical errors.

For example, conducting “placebo controlled” clinical trials without a placebo is indeed fraudulent, no matter how many times you try to insist that up is down, freedom is slavery, or any other Orwellian thing.

For another example, you deny this is an issue of human rights. Wrong again. What goes into my body or my child’s body is my choice, and that choice is my right. Forcing or coercing someone to undergo a medical intervention that entails risk without their consent and assist their will is a gross violation of human rights.

It would be superfluous to continue.

He returned:

You do not know what you are talking about!!

Clinical trials do not have to be placebo controlled!!  AS I have explained to you, the approach is to use a comparator to the drug that is being tested.  If there is no current treatment (or no treatment is not dangerous) then a placebo is used.  Where there is a current treatment then this is used as the reference control – not a placebo.

This is a fundamental fact of clinical trials and you seem to be incapable of understanding or accepting this fact.  It is not fraudulent – you just have no expertise or understanding of the subject matter.

Of course, I had not argued that all clinical trials must be placebo-controlled studies. Rather, as I had already observed: “Comparing new drugs to the current best standard is useful for determining whether the drug meets the FDA’s standards of ‘efficacy’. It is not useful for determining whether the drug is safe.” So I simply replied:

You are repeating yourself. I have already shown you the errors in these arguments.

His reply?

You are certainly an obtuse retard with no knowledge of the subject matter that you pontificate on.  Seek psychiatric help!

Personal insult, of course! What else? That’s what people do who prefer to cling to dogmatic beliefs than to have a rational and ingenuous discussion.

Don’t be like this guy and bury your head in the sand. Download my report “5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process”, read it and check the links to the sources I provided so you can verify the accuracy of what I wrote for yourself, and then judge for yourself whether you trust the FDA to watch out for your family’s health!

Take the red pill:


And then go out there and help educate others with this information that the government and mainstream media would prefer you remain in the dark about. And don’t let those who prefer to take the blue pill bully and intimidate you into silence. Recognize when others are blowing smoke, and don’t let them insult our intelligence. People are waking up. Join this struggle for human rights in the face of a powerful corrupt establishment that cares more for sustaining existing policies and making profits than ensuring the health of our children.

Did you find value in this content? If so and you have the means, please consider supporting my independent journalism.

About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

My writings empower readers with the knowledge they need to see through state propaganda intended to manufacture their consent for criminal government policies.

By recognizing when we are being lied to and why, we can fight effectively for liberty, peace, and justice, in order to create a better world for ourselves, our children, and future generations of humanity.

Please join my growing community of readers!


Download my free report 5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process.

Download my free report 5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process.

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  1. Andrew Kinsella

    Your correspondent showed virtually all of the signs of a pseudoskeptic. Good work in keeping him going until he resorted to abuse.

  2. Andrew Kinsella

    You will find this article useful in supporting your arguments:

    Simpsonwood Conference Center – Georgia
    the clock back 16 years, we find ourselves with government officials, a
    representative of the American Academy of Pediatrics and pharmaceutical
    executives at a hastily convened ad hoc (illegal) meeting at Simpsonwood
    Conference Center (Georgia) on the weekend of June 7 & 8, 2000, to
    discuss evidence of vaccine harm uncovered by CDC researcher Tom
    Verstraeten, MD.

    After two days of discussion and investigation into the findings that mercury
    in vaccines, specifically the preservative Thimerosal, was injuring the
    brains of children receiving vaccines they all agreed to keep the
    evidence uncovered by Dr. Verstraeten, linking Thimerosal containing
    vaccines to brain damage in children, from Congress, from the Secretary
    of HHS and from “let’s say out of less responsible hands.”

    Now that particular item is something that should be easily checkable.

  3. Leslie

    Bravo! I think I may have tangled with the same individual. The escalation of exasperation is hilarious. I’ve had Pro-Pharma shills resort to flagging my comments for removal when they reach that point. Why do I believe he’s a shill & not a PhD…the fact that he brutalized the spelling of Thimerosal as Thiomersal.

    Dr. John Ioannidis has proven the fraud perpetrated in these “peer reviewed” studies:

    “He’s what’s known as a meta-researcher, and he’s become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies…is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed. His work has been widely accepted by the medical community…Given this exposure, and the fact that his work broadly targets everyone else’s work in medicine, as well as everything that physicians do and all the health advice we get, Ioannidis may be one of the most influential scientists alive. Yet for all his influence, he worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to change—or even to publicly admitting that there’s a problem.”

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Yes, I’m familiar with Ioannidis’s work exposing the massive fraud in the medial literature.

  4. R.H.

    Your correspondent’s arguments sounds very familiar. There was a YouTube member I recently entangled with who utilized the same arguments and logic. We were communicating in the comments section of the film Trace Amounts. He tenaciously—and often rudely—replied to me and anyone else who entered the conversation. The only reason I stopped receiving replies from him was because the video was flagged/removed for copyright issues. (The user who posted it did not own it.)

    Are you familiar with the the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)? Here is an article about how they are credited with being instrumental in the removal of the film Vaxxed from the Tribeca Film Festival:

    According to the article, the IAC is “…a listserv group email list of more than 100 prominent individuals and science research bodies” It also states, “Through the listserv, conference calls were quickly organized among top scientists across the country to discuss how to respond to the news that what was seen as a scurrilous and misleading film was to be given a high-profile airing.”

    I would not be surprised if your correspondent is an IAC member….

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      I’m not familiar with the IAC. I doubt the person in question whom I debated was such. My impression is he was just a regular guy heavily indoctrinated into the vaccine religion.

  5. theotheronetoknow

    They get to test 2 drugs at the same time instead of actually using a real placebo. However, that isn’t a true test of the drugs safety.


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