"This is the best in condensed form written arguement against vaccines I have ever read. Vaccine philosophical exemptions: A moral and ethical imperative. This document as well shows you clear proof as to why there is NO real science behind the term "herd immunity". Herd Immunity is a MYTH! Go ahead and provide some refute to the article, and again regardless of if you admit it, it is fully referenced." ~Lowell HubbsMr. Hubbs then went on to list the following article: Vaccine philosophical exemptions: A moral and ethical imperative, published Friday, February 18, 2011 by Alan Phillips. The full text can be found here.
With that said, let's look at the idiotic editorial that Mr. Hubbs has provided (because contrary to what Mr. Hubbs may think, this is in no way a research study nor is it even a published paper) and discuss some of the glaring flaws in it.
In the first section (I.) Mr. Phillips (who is not a doctor nor a research scientist by the way) claims that "on average, about 90 percent of infectious disease decline preceded vaccines" but he offers no evidence to support his claims. A 90% reduction is quite extreme so one would think he should at least be able to back this up with some hard numbers... but that isn't the anti-vaxer way.
The most comical part of this section is his reference to scurvy - which has nothing to do with vaccines but rather increased knowledge about nutrition. Scuvy is not a infectious disease at all and is caused by a lack of vitamin C, and this is the type of "disease" that Phillips uses to try to suggest vaccines don't work. Not only is that idiotic and off point, but it is intellectually dishonest.
Note to Mr. Hubbs: We are going to be talking about intellectual dishonesty several times, so you should probably look it up now so you understand the concept.
Phillips also mentions scarlet fever and typhoid fever as well as tuberculosis as diseases which have declined even without the useage of vaccines, but he conveniently fails to mention the reason they have declined is because they are easily treated with antibiotics. Scarlet fever was in fact a significant issue until the point penicillin was discovered. Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics as well, although in the late 1800s a vaccine was in fact used commonly and with widespread success until sanitation methods caught up. Only after increased sanitation became the norm did this disease get to the point a vaccine was no longer required, however that doesn't mean the disease has been eradicated because as recently as 2004 and 2005 there was a major outbreak in The Democratic Republic of Congo resulting in over 42,000 cases and over 200 deaths.
Tuberculosis (TB) is yet another example of where Mr. Phillips is being intellectually dishonest. In fact there has been a vaccine for children for TB which has prevented it from being spread from person to person. It stands to reason that if you can prevent a disease from being contracted in the first place, you can prevent it from being spread, so this is a case where a vaccine has greatly reduced the number of people who have ever been infected.
Mr. Phillips attempts to claim there is no such vaccine at all, but that quite simply isn't the case, and TB vaccinations are routinely used in countries where TB is common. Granted there is not an effective vaccine for adults, but there is one for children. It is also worthy to note that there are actually more cases of TB on our planet now that at any point in history, so it is dishonest to suggest the disease has faded away into oblivion. In fact, over two million deaths are attributed to TB each year, and there is growing concern that a newer more advanced vaccine is needed for both children as well as adults.
I'd suggest Mr. Phillips, as well as Mr. Hubbs, consult the following paper for additional factual information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16710326
Phillips then goes on to repeat what Mr. Hubbs has claimed in the past - that polio increased after the polio vaccine was introduced, but does Phillips offer any proof for this claim? No, in fact the only "reference" he can source is the statement made by one Doctor in the 1960s and even that doctor didn't have any facts to support the viewpoint. So let's look at the real numbers (just as we have done before). Polio was first recognized in 1840 and major outbreaks occurred in Europe in the 1880s and soon thereafter in the US where it peaked in the 1950s and 60s. In 1952 there were at least 58,000 cases of polio diagnosed in the US. By 1957 after a mass immunization campaign, there were only around 5,600 cases of polio diagnosed in the US, so I'm not exactly sure how Phillips (or Hubbs) thinks that is actually an increase in the cases of polio. That is over a 90% reduction in less than five years that Mr. Phillips conveniently ignores, but the facts are by 1964 there were less than 125 diagnosed cases of polio in the entire nation, so not only did polio NOT increase after the vaccination was released, but it was practically eradicated. To this day polio vaccines are still given on a regular basis, yet when is the last time you met someone in the modern era who was diagnosed with polio? Exactly my point.
Since I'm a big fan of real sources, here is some more reading material for Phillips and Hubbs (although at this point I'm not sure either of them can actually understand complex subjects or interpret scientific data):
Wow - all those glaring errors and that was just within part I of IX of Phillips hack-job article (that is part 1 of 9 for you Mr. Hubbs since I'm fairly certain you probably won't understand the concept of Roman Numerals). I'm not sure I have the time to analyze every sentence here in great detail, but I think you get the point.
In part II Phillips tries to suggest the risk-benefit assessment of vaccines isn't feasible, but it takes about 15 seconds to prove that wrong via numerous studies in pubmed.
Case in point:
Obviously there are hundreds more studies which prove vaccines are safe and effective - in fact my very first search using terms such as efficacy, vaccine, and placebo control trial brought up over 560 different studies to choose from. Therefore to suggest we don't have the data to prove the effectiveness of vaccines or that we don't know enough to determine if the risk outweighs the benefit is simply (once again) intellectually dishonest. So how many studies do we have which show that vaccines cause more harm to humans than the benefits they offer or how many studies do we have that show vaccines cause autism? Zero. The science speaks for itself, which is probably why Phillips likes to avoid speaking about it.
I'm actually starting to wonder if the antivaxers out there know how to actually do any research whatsoever or if they understand the scientific method, because it seems that they have the process backwards. A typical antivaxer actually decides what outcome they wish to reach (that vaccines are bad) and then they backtrack into that position by cherry-picking data, referencing blogs and websites and articles while ignoring real science and facts. Unfortunately that isn't how things work in the real world, and science will always prevail over opinion and quackery.
This is why we have a scientific process which begins with defining a question, gathering information, forming a hypothesis (after the information is gathered... not before), performing experiments, analyzing the data from those experiements, interpreting the data from those experiments, drawing conclusions, publishing the results of the experiments, and then retesting to ensure the results can be replicated (which is often done by others to ensure the results are able to be replicated). You don't get to decide what the findings should be and then try to find ways to ensure the findings are valid, and you surely don't get to run around making claims that haven't undergone the rigors of the scientific process.
In part III, Phillips claims that "the belief that unvaccinated persons pose a risk of harm to others is without merit". He goes on to say that "if vaccines work, then of course unvaccinated persons pose no risk to vaccinated persons at all" which just goes to show you that Phillips, and once again Mr. Hubbs, don't understand the concept of herd immunity whatsoever. The reality is not everyone can get vaccines due to the reasons we have discussed in the past, so we can never have a population which is 100% vaccinated even if everyone was willing to voluntarily receive such vaccinations. Those people who are unable to receive such vaccines are the very people at the highest risk, and those are the people we as responsible humans need to protect.
Phillips takes the typical antivaxer stance and tries to point out cases where there were outbreaks of diseases in "vaccinated populations", but again he misunderstands the data he tries to reference. First, most if not all of these outbreaks can be traced back to unvaccinated people within the greater population who in turn spread the disease to others, and the vast majority of those infected are unvaccinated persons - that isn't even in dispute. In many cases the disease can be traced back to someone who traveled to an area with lower rates of vaccination, contracted the disease, and then returned to the area they originated from where they will then spread the disease around. Yes in some cases a small number of those who have received vaccines will become infected, but that is due to mutations in the disease and various strains. When such mutations are realized, scientists will work on newer and improved vaccines to combat them in the future, but when you boil it down we probably wouldn't have these mutations and various strains if those people healthy enough to receive vaccines would in fact do so, thus preventing the disease in the first place.
Mr. Phillips also inaccurately tries to tie the number of swine flu vaccinated people in an area to the number of swine flu deaths, but this is a classic case of intellectual dishonesty in that he purposefully is attempting to manipulate the data to his liking. Yes it is true that the US vaccinated more than other nations, but that doesn't automatically suggest such vaccinations actually creates swine flu or puts people at risk. Instead, the reality is the US vaccinated more because we had the highest rates of infection before the vaccines were even available. This is a classic case of cause and effect, although in Phillips' case he seems to believe effect comes before cause. It is unfortunate he has such as misunderstanding of science, and even more unfortunate that the ignorant souls who will read his article without the ability to question the information due to their lack of understanding of complex subject matter and sub-par cognigtive abilities.
What bothers me most about Phillips however is that he makes very bold statements which he not only doesn't have sources to support, but that he couldn't support even if he wished. Case in point, he claims the data he writes about "strongly suggest that the swine flu immunization campaigns may actually have been counterproductive" but he has no studies or peer-reviewed science to support that statement and it is entirely based upon a misunderstanding of how vaccines are a response to disease rather than disease being a response to vaccines. The studies I cited above will clearly show the effectiveness of vaccines in double-blind clinical trials, but Phillips conveniently (dishonestly?) ignores them.
I'm not going to bother to do the objective analysis any further because it is more than obvious that Mr. Hubbs is incapable of doing so himself, and I don't feel like being a teacher (nor do I wish to take the time to write a 15 page paper outlining all of the flaws in Phillips' original 6 page article). However you can clearly see that even with a few minutes of time and an open mind, you can find countless flaws in Phillips' line of thinking and numerous faults in his conclusions.
The other issue at work here is the simply misunderstanding from Mr. Hubbs of the terms "proof" and the phrase "fully referenced". First of all, Phillips provides no such proof for his claims, nor is he able to provide any science which proves his basic premise that vaccines offer more risk than benefit. Second, this is nothing more than an opinion piece and not a research study nor does it even attempt to act as one, so the idea of "fully referenced" is downright silly.
Mr. Hubbs obviously doesn't understand that having footnotes on an article doesn't mean it is "fully referenced" because as I have shown above Phillips isn't able to provide sources for his most bold of statements (and when I say the most bold, I'm referring to some of the statements that Phillips himself has chosen to emphasize with underlining and/or Capital letters). Not only is this a totally unscientific and poorly drafted editorial (I'm not even sure this piece does the term 'article' justice), but unfortunately for Mr. Hubbs and the other antivaxers out there, it is not fully sourced whatsoever.
Take a gander at some of the footnotes on the article and you will soon see what I mean. Phillips references fellow antivaxer websites and blogs as his "sources" on more than one occasion. He also lists several footnotes without supporting data or any reference to a publication where the data could be verified, and he even goes to far as to reference whale.to not once, but twice! If this is the idea of a "fully referenced" article, then clearly Mr. Hubbs is more ignorant, and more disengaged from reality than I had previously thought.
Ok - so the editorial / article / hack piece or whatever you wish to call it is clearly horribly written, totally unsupported, and full of factual errors and shoddy understanding of the issues. It is obviously produced knowing full well it relies upon intellectual dishonesty and manipulation of data and source material, and it hasn't given us a single piece of provable information which suggests vaccines are harmful or that the benefits don't outweigh the risks by a large margin. So that much is settled, but who exactly is the man who wrote it, and why would Mr. Hubbs reference him?
As is the case with most antivaxers, Phillips isn't a research scientist or a doctor. He isn't even a chiropractor and has never spent any time in a lab or participated in any research studies published in medical journals. Truth be told, Phillips is actually a lawyer, and the more you read about him, the more unsettling it becomes that he is trying to act as an expert of some type of the issues of vaccinations. It is so comical in fact, that I've had to devote an entire post to it because the more I read, the more humorous it became and I just couldn't fit it all here (as this post is already longer than it should be). Thus I'll be releasing another post in upcoming days that will provide full detail about Alan Phillips and his professional credentials - or lack thereof.
The primary point here is obvious: Mr. Hubbs still does not understand science nor does he have the brain power to interpret data that is put before his very eyes. Sad but true.