You may have thought the popularity of Scopie's Law would have some antivaxxers second guessing whether they wanted their names associated with whale.to due to the obvious implications to their credibility. You may have even thought that rather than siting the website directly, that antivaxxers would instead just copy and paste the data into other less familiar websites.
Well... you would be wrong.
As it turns out, antivaxxers still flock to whale.to on a regular basis, and just today I was directed to a comment thread where none other than anti-vaccination extraordinaire Lowell Hubbs is once again citing whale.to as a reputable source. The following screen cap was taken from a Huffington Post article found here (and one which I recently discussed in a previous blog post).
Mr. Hubbs' comment shows everything that is wrong with the anti-vaccination movement today. No, I'm not talking about his usage of ellipsis which make it appear that he has to take... a... breath... between...each... word. Rather I'm speaking about how when antivaxxers are presented with facts they simply choose to ignore them. When their sources are shown to be lacking, laughable, or just simply absurd they don't seek out more reputable sources but instead they latch on to their nonsense and go into defense mode.
We've seen this same pattern of behavior when it comes to Andy Wakefield. Even though the Wakefield "study" was retracted and Wakefield himself stripped of his medical license, and even though he was found guilty of fraud and manipulation of data, and even though he was shown to have conflicts of interest due to financial connections to competing/alternative vaccines to those which he was attacking - the anti-vaccine movement refuses to distance themselves from this failed relationship even though it is clear to everyone else that it only serves to harm their credibility.
Thus is it really any surprise to not only see Lowell Hubbs citing whale.to in his comments, but even going so far as to claim it is a "great site" containing "real history"? Sadly, anti-vaccinationists don't appear to grasp the concept that a untrustworthy source harms their credibility so they just continue to spew the same nonsense day after day. The fact is, for someone who is on the fence and unsure of vaccinations, these types of tactics only serve to harm the anti-vaccine movement because a person of even moderate intelligence is going to take a look at a website that features flying dolphins, extensive data pertaining to UFOs, and information about government mind-control, and they will be either consumed with laughter, or they will simply assume the anti-vaccine movement is akin to every other group of conspiracy theorists out there such as Bigfoot hunters, 9/11 "truthers", or those idiotic moon-landing conspiracy theorists.
Come to think of it, whale.to might actually be helping to show people how out of touch these anti-vaxxers really are. In that case I can only hope people like Lowell Hubbs continue to reference the website as often as possible - because it seems to be doing a fantastic job of showing the anti-vaccinationists for what they really are... simple conspiracy theorists who have a propensity to believe anything they read on the Internet.