-John Adams"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
The above quote may have been written in 1770, but it is as true today as it was then. Facts are facts, and no matter how much data we throw at them, no matter how much analysis we examine, no matter how many years we spend on a subject... in the end the facts remain. You cannot debate facts, you cannot change them, you cannot distort them (although many try). The reality is, a fact is always a fact and it is only our understanding of those facts that changes with time.
This is why when Mr. Hubbs claims he has "facts" of vaccines causing autism, or that it is a "fact" that modern medicine is the third or fourth leading cause of death in the US, or that it is a "fact" that there are natural cancer cures that are being suppressed or hidden by "big pharma", it isn't that he is actually able to support these statements with evidence, it is merely that he misunderstands the term "fact".
Unfortunately for Mr. Hubbs, no matter how many times a person may claim to have "facts" and no matter how many times they brag about their knowledge, it doesn't actually change anything. Claims are baseless without supporting evidence, and to date Mr. Hubbs, as well as the rest of the antivaxer community, has never been able to provide one single piece of evidence to support their theory that vaccines cause autism, or that vaccines are even a contributing factor for autism.
Obviously they have tried, but things just haven't worked out for them. First they claimed autism was caused by thimerosal and they attempted to produce data to support that viewpoint. However, in time their data was shown to be faulty, and once thimerosal was removed from vaccines and the rates of autism did not decrease... the antivaxers were left scurrying for another cause. They didn't have the evidence necessary to prove their claims, thus the claims of "fact" were once again proven to have no merit.
Next they claimed it was due to the vaccine schedule itself. Claims of "too many vaccines, too soon" were heard far and wide, yet when studies in other nations were conducted, we found the rates of autism to be merely identical including both nations that have similar vaccine schedules, or nations that have much lower rates of vaccinations. Even within our own borders we discovered some areas of the nation suffer from higher rates of autism while others have much lower rates and yet these areas share the same vaccination rates and schedules. So much for that theory.
So could the antivaxers provide any evidence to support their claims that autism was due to the number of vaccines or due to the schedule itself? No... but that doesn't stop some of them (Mr. Hubbs included) from continuing to cite faulty information about there being no autism in the Amish community. Even after research has shown that many of the Amish are in fact vaccinated and that many do in fact suffer from autism, the antivaxers refuse to face the real facts as they try to invent their own version of reality. However many of them did admit that the Amish story wasn't nearly as solid as they had hoped, so they pinned their hopes on the research of yet another charlatan.
Antivaxers far and wide found their new hero in the form of Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield claimed that the MMR vaccine itself was responsible for autism, and he produced research to support his claims. The effect sent ripples throughout the medical community and soon you had many legitimate doctors and scientists wondering if there could be a valid connection here. Parents stopped vaccinating their children and the rates of Measles and Rubella skyrocketed as a result. There was only one problem... Wakefield was a fraud and his data was based upon faulty assumptions. Not only that, but Wakefield fabricated data, engaged in unethical behavior, ignored the entire concept of a random sample, and falsified patient records to reach the conclusion he had already determined in his own mind.
Once the scientific community got wind of Wakefield's fraud, his 'research' was retracted, his fellow authors retracted their association with him, and he was stripped of his medical license as he and his followers began their cries of it all being a massive conspiracy by the government or big pharma or whatever else. Unfortunately for the Wakefield crowd, none of them had any evidence to support any of their claims, and even Wakefield himself was never able to find a single person on the planet who was able to replicate his research (because fabricated research is rather difficult to replicate). One again the facts get in the way of the anti-vaccination zealotry.
So where do the antivaxers go from here? It seems the latest target is the rather vague term of 'toxins' even though they don't bother to identify what these mystery toxins are nor do they have any scientific evidence to show how they are harmful or the differences between those people who may have these toxins and those that do not. Oddly enough, the same claim of mystery toxins has been used to sell herbal detox supplements, detoxification food pads, colon cleansing products, and numerous other snakeoil treatments for decades. Of course there is never any legitimate science to support these wild claims, but since when has science mattered to an antivaxer or to someone who just wants to make a quick buck.
If we really wish to speak about facts, we need to be honest about the discussion. Facts are not debatable (which explains why none of the silly antivaxer requests to 'debate' vaccines are ever taken seriously), but since there does seem to be so much misinformation and misunderstanding of facts, I doubt this conversation will go away anytime soon.
The fact is, there is no reputable peer-reviewed or replicable science showing vaccines cause or even contribute to autism.
The fact is, Andrew Wakefield has been proven to be a fraud.
The fact is, some Amish do in fact receive vaccinations.
The fact is, the MMR vaccine does not cause autism.
The fact is, thimerosal does not cause autism.
The fact is, real science is not open to debate, and the scientifically supportable facts don't change.
In the end, the antivaxers continue to slide the goal posts in the hopes that one day they will be able to claim victory, but in reality they are no different than a preacher who continually claims to know when the world will end... yet is proven wrong time and time again.
John Adams was right - facts really are stubborn things. They are also incredibly frustrating if you happen to be a vaccine conspiracy theorist with a severe misunderstanding of what a fact really is.