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Stand up for science-based medicine against anti-vaccine fear mongering in Chicago today

As I’ve pointed out numerous times this week, anti-vaccine loons, led Generation Rescue and a “health freedom” group, have organized an anti-vaccine rally in Grant Park in Chicago from 3 PM to 5 PM CDT. Andrew Wakefield himself will be the keynote speaker, and there will even be some very bad music promoting the anti-vaccine message. The rally, with its wonderfully Orwellian title, The American Rally for Personal Rights, will be pure anti-vaccine activism in support of pseudoscience on display.

Those supporting science-based medicine plan, led by Skepchick Elyse Anders, to be there to promote science over the conspiracy theories and fear mongering that the anti-vaccine movement uses to frighten parents out of vaccinating their children. I realize it’s short notice. I realize that you very likely will be outnumbered, given the combination of short notice and the fact that the anti-vaccine zealots have been organizing and promoting this rally for weeks, if not months. Nonetheless, you’ll be doing me a particular solid if you can show up there. Details are here. There are also going to be satellite rallies in New Jersey, Washington, and New York. They look as though they’ll be much smaller; so, as P.Z. Myers points out, even if a couple of people can go it could have an effect.

Oh, and if you see J.B. Handley, Jenny McCarthy (I don’t know if she’ll be there or not but thought I’d mention her anyway), Andrew Wakefield, Kim Stagliano, or any other prominent anti-vaccine loon with whom I’ve tussled from time to time here and elsewhere, please tap him or her on the shoulder, smile broadly, and tell ‘em Dr. Gorski says hi.

Particularly J.B. Handley, for at least three reasons1,2,3.

Posted in: Neuroscience/Mental Health, Vaccines

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11 thoughts on “Stand up for science-based medicine against anti-vaccine fear mongering in Chicago today

  1. davejm says:

    Good stuff David.

    As an interesting aside, I find it funny how I can never access the quackery sites that you link to in your articles (‘Age of Autism’, for example) on the work PC. The hospital internet filter here categorises them as either ‘Social Networking’ or ‘Entertainment’ sites and doesn’t let me access them; which is apt!

    Not that I’m missing much, and at least my colleagues won’t have to see me fitting with anger and/or howling with laughter; reactions that I’m sure these sites would induce if I were able to read them at work!

    Keep up the good work.

  2. tcw says:

    Why Chicago? Why not stay in Hollywood?

  3. Maz says:

    Nothing in San Francisco!? There are so many pretentious woo-lovers here that I burn to confront on a daily basis!!

  4. Versus says:

    Interesting post at the New Yorker website today about Wakefield et al. I didn’t know about this bit of vaccination-related history from Agatha Christie and the movies:

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2010/05/-michael-specter-on-his.html

  5. SF Mom and Scientist says:

    @Maz – no fooling. I am originally from Chicago and one thing I always say is that people there are more no-nonsense and not as much into that woo-woo stuff as they are here in SF. (This rally is not a reflection of the people of Chicago, although I am curious why they chose this city.)

    Anybody have info on how this went today?

  6. Chris says:

    Here is one report. There may be more soon.

  7. Chris – Regarding you link – I admire people who are standing up and going out and organizing to make things better, but I have to nit-pick the “Hug Me I’m vaccinated” sticker that says receiving vaccines is perfectly safe. It’s not. It’s safer than the alternative.

    Anybody who has read the vaccination information sheet given out when the vaccines are given knows this. Why would they want to undermine their credibility by claiming otherwise?

  8. Chris says:

    You bring up a valid point on that sticker. I noticed that was criticized today on the JREF forum:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=5973162#post5973162

    Sometimes I think their enthusiasm makes them just a little sloppy.

  9. Chris says:

    More about the rally here:
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/05/the-american-rally-for-personal-rights-bit-of-a-damp-squib/

    Plus here:
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/05/the-american-rally-for-personal-rights-bit-of-a-damp-squib/ (comments from people who were there).

    There was one in a local suburban library, I have not found anything about it in the news.

  10. Chris says:

    Aaagh… stupid cut and paste error! The second link is supposed to be: http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/05/reader-rant-preempted-by-andrew-wakefield/

    (need more coffee!)

  11. Well the response of the forum looks like they will try to address the language in future iterations. That’s good to see.

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