Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vaccine Philosophical Exemptions: An Anti-Vaxer Guide of Nonsense

If you have been keeping up with some of Lowell Hubbs' comments on previous blog posts about Herd Immunity, you may have seen the following comment he recently added:
"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 Hubbs 
Mr. 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:

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 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.


  1. That is the most twisted analysis anyone could ever put to information like you were given. Intellectual dishonesty is your expertise, Costner! To reference that article in total would take endless pages of references, none of which obvioulsy you would find acceptable, and nothing would be enough. The article can be backed with the true historical information as well. To include infformation on exactly how the real polio numbers were covered up, after vaccine was available.

    If you are going to cherry pick what articles and information are acceptable to you. If you are going to cherry pick what sources of scientific reference are acceptable to you. If you are going to accept only what supports the CDC safe and effective mantra. If you are going to deny the public any consideration in honesty of any source of information that doesn’t support that same false CDC, actually baseless and unscientific mantra. If you are going to personally attack every doctor, source, and person who has researched the unbiased facts, and put them forth. If your main goal is to silence any dissent as to the reality of modern medicine and vaccinations. The fact that modern medicine is the third leading cause of death in the US, is something you denied in light of overwhelming evidence that in fact it is true. How can the pharma and so called vaccine science then be non debatable? And how many children and adults will have to continue to needlessly suffer, due to your intended and attempted silencing the truth mission?

  2. I have a mission too, and clearly you know what that is. If it were within my power I would rock that system to its foundation and core .We need to go back 100 years and take all the money and powers that be influence from that picture. Why do we need to do that? Because modern medicine was built on a false premise and foundation to begin with. The truth was known when that most revelant debate existed between Becamp and Pasteur. But the medical books today, for obvious reasons have removed that part of our history. Money could not be made on anything less than a false germ theory, and thus meaning pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Not the true mean to natural health; that cant not make huge sums of money.
    We need to remove all the false authority and false authority with now to much to lose, that controlled all the information. It will only get much worse left unchecked. As you know there is nothing that will stop this mission of truth, by whatever means I may have. Falsely believing that the science can not be debated, is like saying there is no right to freedom of speech in the U.S. If you have and had your way, there certainly would be none but your own, and no information but your own allowed.

    As to your analysis here regarding the article; as said, it is a much larger picture than that. The proof of what Alan Phillips referred to, I sure you indeed is fact, as again all you do is cherry pick what you want to find to twist in your adress of it, and yet ignore the real facts. How could you, you dont even know the real facts, nor care to. Not once did you refer to all the vaccine and herd immunity failures referenced to in that article. How about the refute of your previous blog article, provided right in the article itself at the bottom of it. You avoided that like the plague. You are a true disinformer!

  3. I hear a lot of talk about "coverups", "real facts", and "true historical information" but funny how none of it ever comes with solid evidence to support it. No pubmed studies, no double blind clinical studies - just more references to anti-vaxer websites and opinion. That is why you and your ilk are commonly referred to as vaccine conspiracy theorists - because you are full of theories but short on science.

    I showed Phillips' article for what it was... a poorly constructed editorial that relied upon "sources" such as a personal blog and If that is the best he can offer (and the best you can cite as the best article available), then you have a long way to go.

    By the way Mr. Hubbs, I have never tried to silence anyone. I merely show how the information put forth by these quacks is driven by dishonesty, ignorance, and profit rather than fact, science, and truth. I'm not suppressing their message - I'm only revealing the truth they attempt to ignore.

    Come up with a new gimmick, or don't bother posting again. You are a waste of my time.

  4. I should probably add that you didn't even take the time to read the articles I cited before posting your response - and I know this because the time between this blog post and your comments is far too short to allow you to even read the summaries muchless attempt to read and comprehend the science behind them.

    This tells us you don't want to know the truth - you already have your anti-vaccine stance and no amount of science and facts will change that. Find a new messenger... you clearly suck at this. Consider your "mission" a dismal failure.

  5. Hubbs thinks that Phillips piece was fully referenced? Thats hilarious.

    If Phillips can't be bothered to actually provide legit sources for his claims and uses in his footnotes (that in itself is simply amazing) then he has no credibility to speak on the issue and isn't scientifically knowledgeable enough to understand the subject matter.

    Guess he has something in common with Lowell Hubbs.

  6. When Hubbsy talks about "modern medicine" and the cover-ups, and the Rockefellers...if you recall in one of the Argus Leader posts, Lowell claims he knew about the cover ups because of his kin (an aunt or grandma). He also told me that all this information to support his claims was factual and had been published.

    Okay...where is this information Lowell? That's right, you told me to research it...but also informed me that it no longer existed. Of course there was some conspiracy...

    1. Sound familiar? Something is "factual" and cannot be refuted, according to Hubbsy, but there is nothing to support it.

    2. He actually posted that I should read it...yet, it doesn't exist. It didn't register with him that he was asking me to do something that wasn't even possible!

  7. I suppose in Mr. Hubbs world, secondhand knowledge passed from a relative verbally qualifies as "factual information" which "cannot possibly be refuted".

    The guy trusts random bloggers, people who claim to be doctors but don't hold any license to practice medicine, late night infomercial pitchmen, former Playboy Playmates, and people who have gained their vaccine knowledge via managing the office of a chiropractic clinic... so is it really that big of a stretch to think he would trust some random family member who likely shares his desire to believe in conspiracy theories?

  8. And Costner I am only attempting to reveal the truth that YOU attempt to ignore! Your posts are nothing more than more twisted denial. Your analysis article in itself provided no referenced attempt at verification nor proof for a large part of what you claim to and state. It is largely opinion, and you know it. So lets try and not be so hypocritical. You only accept the information that supports your view and mock anything that does not. The whole picture of vaccines is much larger than you nor anyone could put forth in a one page blog article. Especially when that opinion piece is as always, hell bent on denial. Your commentary is sort of like some hateful rant by criminal mind that states, we didn't damage the children; there is no proof vaccines do more harm than good, and you can't prove it to be fact. Well, the facts do prove it, however you refuse to face those facts, and never will. And in fact I did go through your information, and there will likely be more coming on that in my own blog when I get the time. Unlike you who can sit and write what you do as seemingly as part of your employment, I don't have that luxury. Our blog? Who is our? You and ten pediatricians that can't get seem to get one up?

  9. And SDealer! I do NOT have a clue what you are talking about. Perhaps it was someone who posted in my name, and there was plenty of that going on. I have never made any such statement. I have never stated anything such as you posted. Just more twisted nonsense, as always.

  10. Sorry Mr. Hubbs, but articles from pubmed are not opinion. Once again your comments show you haven't taken the time to actually read the supporting evidence which tells me you don't have any interest in learning what vaccines are really about.

    Instead, you are just looking and digging and searching for anything which you feel could support your wild conspiracy theories surrounding vaccines, but unfortunately the reality and the science don't support those viewpoints.

    As to your other childish comments, that is just more evidence that you cannot act like an adult and when the evidence is too much for you to ignore, you fall back to the only thing you know... crass comments and hate-filled rhetoric. Unfortunately for you, such statements have no bearing on science, so you still lose.


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