The concept of anti-vaccine education month was a good one. The problem is that I learned quickly that those propagating the bad information have no interest in education. They are True Believers. They know, really know, the facts and anything that does not match their view is obviously part of the conspiracy.
I found myself spending hours of time replying to several anti-vax activists that don't understand science. They don't want to understand science. To them, science is the stack of lies that oppose the truth- the truth that only they and a cohort of conspiracy-blinded goofballs understand.
How can you bend that? When I come to the table I ask that someone is willing to keep the discussion framed with science. I don't care about anecdotes, opinions, or testimony. I want hard numbers, large trials and appropriate controls. When those experiments are performed, the alleged significance of their claims dissipates.
The anti-vax true believers are like any group where reality does not match what they want to believe. You can compare them to those that see 9-11 as an inside job, those that claim Monsanto is poisoning the food supply with GMO, those that want to teach creationism in schools, those that know there are alien saucers in a government lab. Although the evidence of this stuff is not compelling or reproducible, they believe it, and if you don't, you are part of the conspiracy to suppress it.
And each one of these cases requires a carefully-orchestrated conspiracy involving millions of coordinated scientists and government agents. None of them ever crack. None of them ever breaks ranks on moral grounds. Those that do are allegedly killed (I just got that one yesterday- apparently whistle blowing doctors end up dead with a big MERCK corkscrew in their heads).
The wall of the vocal anti-vaxers took the shine off of anti-anti-vax month pretty fast. As a conspiracy group of true believers they are an impossible nut to crack.
It is much easier to scare than to educate. The anti-vaxers are masters of scare tactics and scientists are not the best educators. When you try to educate and cross that line sincerely one is met with vocal resistance. No wonder scientists and physicians are perceived as arrogant by these people. Who wants to engage them in an intelligent discussion when it can't possibly happen from their misguided retarded platform?
So I'm going to draw to a close anti-vax education month five days early. There are others doing this better than I am anyway. Those like Science Mom, Orac, Steven Novella, and many others know the specifics much better than a plant biologist with a hankerin' for the scientific method.
I'll get back to my normal rants and I've been saving them. Yesterday I went to Wal Mart for the first time in years and had a horrible experience and seeing Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform is like seeing your favorite uncle in a girl scout uniform. Lots of other stuff to comment on.