Willful Ignorance or Sick Scam?

The access to the internet has meant that any poorly, educated dropkick can write about whatever they like;  such as me for example. While it may seem like there is little harm in it, the fact is there is a LOT of harm the misinformation people post on the internet, can do.

The effects of the spread of information can be seen both locally and overseas, such as the measles outbreaks in the US.

Often, it makes me pause to think whether these people are they serious in their belief, or if are they are simply preying on people – unfortunately, it frequently is the former.

This post is going to focus on just one website, for no other reason than at at 2:30am this morning the anonymous @Gardasil_Truth insisted on being wilfully ignorant, which I’ll be honest – pissed me off.

@Gardasil_Truth pushes a website run by @mariangreene04 (@TrthabtGardasil) which is supported by Jeffery Norris. As it stands, WHOIS indicates the website is registered in his name.

Marian, Mistress of Misinformation

Marian is going to be particularly angry at me for posting this; but it’s a point that needs to be made. The people that hold these erroneous beliefs are everyday people – People who make the mistake of thinking someone has posted all their “personal info” for all to see, when what you see above is all that was available. They THINK their information is posted for all to see because they were logged in at the time – Marian will know what I’m talking about.

More often than not, the internets’ anti something-or-other are everyday citizens like Marian Greene. You would unlikely know it (aside from the great big URL on her Facebook profile), but it’s people who like this that think they know what they are talking about, when they so frequently don’t. They don’t know what they don’t know.

It’s the average person walking along in the street, driving in the car next to you, or riding the coin-operated horse, who places themselves at the pinnacle of knowledge and wisdom, proclaiming that they are the only ones that need be convinced, and through their incompetence, ignorance, and arrogance, fail to understand that it is we uneducated dropkicks who know fuck-all about clinical research, which is why it is so important to get over our personal experience and look at the body of evidence – not cherry-pick the bits we want because it confirms our preconceived ideas.

But – to an extent, it’s not their fault. Most hold these erroneous beliefs simply as a result of only being exposed to one side of an issue; where the only information they are aware of is that which is provided to them within their ideological bubble of sycophants – There comes a point however, after years of not just being told they are wrong, but of years of evidence being provided that directly contradict their claims, that we can no longer say, it’s not their fault.

After a point, it is willful ignorance.

It is a desire to cling to their convictions, to hold the fort no matter what – in the face of everything –  They will forsake EVERYTHING to hold on to their last bastion of bullshit belief.

Marian made it clear: she said she had “all the evidence” she needed, that she was convinced, and that’s all that matters.

.. Sorry, but no.

This is not about your belief or opinion, Marian. This is about your sensationalist spin of HPV Vaccines, the implicit suggestion that there is a cover up, and the impact your campaigning has on impeding the health of young women world wide.

This is about your concerted effort to have governments PULL a vaccine off the shelves that can prevent hundreds of thousands of women around the world from getting Cervical Cancer, a vaccine which has had over 35,000,000 dosages issue, and of which only 0.2% reported a reaction.

Any why? Why do you want it pulled? Not because of a high rate of death. Not because of possible contamination of the batches. NO – because of her personal experience.

It is evident, that to Marian, the personal experience of others doesn’t count when they have to endure Cervical Cancer because a HPV Vaccine was no longer available.

By the start of 2010 she had made up her mind to fight against Gardasil, regardless of the facts; or the statistics – which she makes up on a whim. She has no doubt since that moment been provided encouragement and attention from various anti-vaccination nutjobs and groups who have less of a clue than she does about clinical research. See previous post – The Dunning Kruger Effect.

A strong motivation to Help

When presented with the assertion that the stats she uses are incorrect, rather than asking why, or how, she dismisses it as an “opinion”. With a resounding “I know what I know, and you won’t change that” mentality, she is a crusader of the most dangerous type – one that has faith in what she knows because of “personal experience”, rather than because of any statistical information that demonstrates the facts. She is a danger because she doesn’t campaign on what she KNOWS, but what she BELIEVES.

In one of her conversations for instance, @mariangreene04 attempted to tell @ratbagsdotcom that because HPV is a Virus, it could not cause cervical cancer; and as such, Gardisal was not preventing cervical cancer. Perhaps Marian was being particularily lazy when she decided to ignore the fact that HPV 16 & HPV18 leads to 70% of cervical cancer cases.

It’s information this was easily obtainable through a search, which would have lead her to this page and statement:

Persistent HPV infections are now recognized as the cause of essentially all cervical cancers. It was estimated that, in 2010, about 12,000 women in the United States would be diagnosed with this type of cancer and more than 4,000 would die from it. Cervical cancer is diagnosed in nearly half a million women each year worldwide, claiming a quarter of a million lives annually.

Needless to say, the statistics are supported by various lines of evidence on the page.

Nirvana: Just a Band

One of arguments from @Gardisal_Truth was that “100 people have died”. Despite this being factually incorrect, it is of course a logical fallacy – an Appeal to the Perfect Solution. (A Nirvana Fallacy). The argument is one of black and white thinking and can come from an incompetence in understanding complex problems and the interplay between multiple individual elements of a problem.

That sounds resoundingly similar to this situation.

While it’s a virtue to believe that a single death is one too many, we live in reality – not utopia. While not using Gardasil would mean no would die from Gardasil, it would mean many, many more would die from cervical cancer.

By June 21, 2010 the total number of deaths reported to VEARS was 68. Of the 68, only 32 have been confirmed, and of those no unusual pattern or clustering of the deaths were reported that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine.

Additionally, Curtis L. Allen, a spokesman for the CDC, said such reports should not be taken as proof that the vaccine is responsible for an individual case.

“It’s not quite as cut and dried as many people would think it would be,” he said. “VAERS is an early warning system — what it does is, it points you towards dangerous signals. It doesn’t say, ‘OK, this is a cause.'”

When I first questioned @Gardasil_Truth on Twitter about the claims, it’s very likely that I received their PRATT (Points Raised a Thousand Times) treatment.

Like a checklist to be ticked off before ignoring the answer, @Gardasil_Truth listed “facts” about Gadasil, and about the website:

  • Their website is just about “getting the word out”, and
  • “asking that people research Gardasil” before making a decision.

This is interesting, given that their websites’ introduction contains no such statement, nor is there a disclaimer that Marian has no formal qualifications and that medical expertise should be consultated rather than accepting the enduring rants at face value.

A search for “PubMed” on their website revealed one hit. This one: Quantifying the possible cross-reactivity risk of an HPV16 Vaccine

The study looked to quantify the actual and theoretical risks involved. The results stated that side-effects were almost completely unavoidable and concluded that any such HPV16 vaccine be thoroughly tested. DUH.

But ONE? Just ONE?!

ONE PubMed results on a website whose advocates claim they are “getting the word out”, the same people that insinuate that side effects were a secret?!

Even a simple bloody Google search would have given them the data the CDC has on Gardasil; though, I suppose when you’re on a misinformed vendetta, it’s far better to simply espouse laden bullshit than engage in a in-depth attempt at research.

So no, while I don’t think “TruthAboutGardasil” is a scam, what it is, is the crafty work of a concerned mother who lacks a grounded and unbiased knowledge of vaccines, a basic understanding of know to review scientific literature, and who refuses to see the benefits that can come from the HPV Vaccine far out way the risks involved.