Friday, January 27, 2012

Scopie's Law / Danth's Law

Scopie’s Law States:

“In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing as a credible source loses the argument immediately, and gets you laughed out of the room.”
Anyone who has ever dealt with Lowell Hubbs (or any vaccine conspiracy theorist for that matter) knows they can't resist the temptation to link to as if it is a reputable source of scientific information. I equate this to someone who would cite the website The Onion as a legitimate source of news... which sadly has actually happened.

I must admit I have covered the whole / Scopie's Law issue in the past, but it bears repeating since Mr. Hubbs is still referencing the website on a regular basis.  Keep in mind this is the same website that believes the Harry Potter movies are full of subliminal messages promoting sex, as well as promoting the idea that there is a proven link between vaccines and autism (there is not, and to date there is not one single peer-reviewed study published in any reputable medical journal which has been able to prove such a link exists).

Did I mention they also believe in government mind control and that they can cure Alzheimer's Disease via chelation therapy

Have I also mentioned the most offensive information is their belief that the Holocaust never happened?  Yes... these are the people that Lowell Hubbs and his fellow antivaxers actually treat as trusted sources.  Amazing... yet disgusting. 

Moving right along...

Danth’s Law (also known as Parker’s Law) States:
“If you have to insist that you've won an internet argument, you've probably lost badly.”
So why do I mention Danth's Law you ask?  Well... it seems rather fitting considering the following quotes were recently submitted from Lowell Hubbs:
"YOU LOSE......AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Like I said, you lose every time"

"Like I said you are a loser and you always will be a loser in these matters."

"That makes YOU a loser, quite clearly."

"You are a very sick and in denial loser Costner, and you always were."

"THAT makes YOU a complete loser the likes of that has rarely been seen before, if ever."
"You lose, alias no identity Costner, again and again and again!"

"You lose, again. Any honest person can see that."
Methinks thou dost protest too much indeed. Aside from the fact he doesn't appear to have any originality in his words and he is a bit of a broken record, the saddest part is that Hubbs submitted the bulk of these all within a few days of one another. Apparently he believes if he tells himself something long enough he might actually start to believe it.

Hey... at least someone is convinced.

Mind you none of this has anything to do with the effectiveness of vaccines, but it does show you the sad and pathetic tactics a vaccine conspiracy theorist will go to in order to feel as if they are actually "winning" an argument.  I've witnessed these same tactics from countless antivaxers on numerous website and forums, and it seems the most common character trait all of these people share is their inability to be intellectually honest coupled with a severe misunderstanding of what debate actually is.

Whether it be an inherent reliance upon logical fallacies, a blatant disregard for what is considered fact vs. opinion, a desire to exclude accepted science when it differs from their viewpoints, or a habit of actually rewriting history to suit their own wishes, these antivaxers rarely are able to engage in a civil scientific discussion based upon facts. It just doesn't seem to happen, and logic must be tossed aside like last year's phone book if you wish to entertain the idea of a discussion with one of these people.

Perhaps it doesn't really matter. Antivaxers will always be convinced they are right and everyone else is wrong. They will likely continue to ignore science and they will continue to move the goal posts time and time again. One day they will tell you the MMR vaccine causes autism, but when that theory is proven incorrect they will claim thimerosal causes autism. When thimerosal is removed they will claim the aluminum causes autism, when it is show to not be the case they will claim it is some other ingredient.

When they can't nail down a specific ingredient they will move on to the more generic reference of toxins. When you ask them to specific a particular component they are forced to backtrack and claim it is the number of vaccines. When you point out that autism rates don't fluctuate between those children who are up to date on all the recommended vaccines versus those who are only partially vaccinated they claim it is a combination of any and all vaccines.

When you cite information showing once selection bias is removed, there is no compelling evidence to suggest unvaccinated populations are diagnosed with autism at a lower rate they claim we need more studies and larger studies and more specific studies... all the while continuing to parrot the same tired arguments that vaccines cause autism or some other random neurological disorder even though they have zero scientific evidence to support their views.

This is why the scientific community won't waste time "debating" vaccine conspiracy theorists, because the truth is you cannot debate someone who refuses to abide by the laws of common sense.  If someone refuses to accept fact as fact, and refuses to acknowledge accepted science then there is no valid reason to engage them in a civilized debate, because the debate would like be neither civilized nor a debate. 

The reality is that entertaining a vaccine conspiracy theorist via an honest debate is a futile effort, because vaccine conspiracy theorists attempt to argue based upon misbelief and misunderstanding.  They enter a discussion with firm beliefs that they will admit cannot be swayed by any amount of scientific evidence, and when backed into a corner and pressed with information, they simply change their position and attempt to switch the subject.  If all else fails, they simply state there is some conspiracy at play which explains why they cannot support their opinions with facts or science.

We've seen this many times with Mr. Hubbs.  He jumps from conspiracy to conspiracy with no connection between them, and when asked direct questions his only response seems to be a generic statement that there is "to [sic] much to lose" along with five, 10, or 20 unrelated urls to various conspiracy websites.  As such, it seems the one thing Hubbs seems to be actually good at is declaring himself to be the "winner" in any debate he attempts to enter, even though (as is the case with most of his beliefs) he seems to be the only one that holds that particular viewpoint.

The bottom line is, if someone is convinced the sky is red... you will never convince them that it is blue.  In the case of a vaccine conspiracy theorist they would likely try to redefine the term "red" rather than admit they might have been wrong, and this is why so the antivaxer community will most likely never be taken seriously.

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