With the latest push by the Skeptics and their supporters to silence the message of the AVN, I thought it might be a good time to share the Editorial I wrote for the latest edition of Living Wisdom magazine (just out). It is important to look at not only what they say, but the manner in which they say it; the actions they take to stifle debate on this issue. While we welcome debate – ask for it openly – those who oppose free choice and freedom of speech do so by personal attacks and vilification.
As a child, I was told that I had an ‘inquiring mind’. I think that was a polite way of saying that I drove everyone around me nuts with constant questions.
My mother tried to get away with answering by saying things like, “Because I said so!” but that just didn’t work with me. “Why?” was my mantra and I wouldn’t stop asking until the answer made sense. It’s just the way I was – and still am.
In school, science was my first love. I went to a specialised school for maths and science and science was always simple for me – at least life sciences. Science just made sense and the beauty of how the world was made – how life was constructed – the underlying genius of biology, captured my imagination in a way that nothing else ever had before.
My teachers drummed the scientific method into my head. And just as there are certain constants in this world of ours:
• The sun will always rise in the East and set in the West;
• Gravity will always hold us to the Earth;
• All life on Earth is carbon based, and so on.
The main rule of science I was taught in school was that everything we accept as true today will need to be tested, retested and verified over and over again. Because science is fluid; it is liquid and malleable and it changes constantly.
To me, that is part of the excitement! The constant inquiry into how and why things work; the tweaking of our knowledge to take into account all the new information we have discovered – fitting that knowledge into our scientific base so we are always growing and always testing and retesting to find out whether what we have based our theorems upon is proven or disproven.
This is why, when I first started to look into the vaccination issue after my first son’s reaction over 20 years ago now, the thing that took me so much by surprise was how little science actually went into the development of this medical procedure which we have been ‘worshiping’ for over 200 years.
From its earliest days at the time of Edward Jenner in the mid to late 1700s to today – vaccination has been treated as if it were handed down to us from the hands of God – infallible, unquestionable and proven to be both safe and effective.
And Jenner’s ‘scientific breakthrough’ of vaccination was nothing like what we call vaccination today. This is because the science evolved and moved on.
To illustrate this change, here is a description of vaccination from the time of Jenner until the beginning of the last century:
“The technology used to control smallpox in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was neither a painless nor a minor intervention. Victorian public vaccinators used a lancet (a surgical instrument) to cut lines into the flesh in a scored pattern. Vaccine matter, also called lymph, would then be smeared into the cuts. While some private practitioners preferred to use calf lymph supplied by the National Vaccine Establishment, the government urged public vaccinators to vaccinate from arm to arm to keep the supply of vaccine flowing in the community. This meant that vaccinators required infants to return eight days after the procedure to allow lymph to be harvested from their blisters, or ‘vesicles’. This matter was then inserted directly into the arms of waiting infants.”1
Nowadays, this would rightly be considered an absolutely barbaric and horrific process to put anyone through – let alone helpless infants – yet in Jenner’s day, this was the pinnacle of ‘science’ and anyone who opposed it was called anti-vaccine and anti-science. Sound familiar?
In science, there are laws and there are theories. The laws are givens – things which have stood the test of time and as of today at least, unless proven otherwise, they are built on bedrock. Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion are an example of this. For hundreds of years, these laws have governed how we work with, see and interact with the world around us.
Apart from the laws (which are only laws until they are broken – remember, science needs to constantly be tried and tested), there are the theories.
Now theories, as you can imagine, are not proven. They are a way of explaining why something behaves the way it does. They are AN explanation – but not necessarily the ONLY explanation.
The problem emerges when a theory is used as the basis for an entire branch of science. In medicine, the theory of vaccination states that if we inject a modified or attenuated (chemically weakened) strain of a virus or bacteria into a person’s body to induce the development of antibodies, they will be immune to that virus or bacteria.
We are taught to believe this in spite of the fact that ‘science’ knows this theory to be incorrect. Still, it clings to it for dear life and brands anyone who even questions the basis of this belief as a medical heretic.
We have known since the 1940s that, though antibodies are part of the immune system, their existence in the bloodstream does not indicate immunity. Instead, it indicates exposure. The following obituary from 2004 describes one of many scientists who disproved the theory that the existence of antibodies mean that you are immune.
“Dr. Merrill W. Chase, an immunologist whose research on white blood cells helped undermine the longstanding belief that antibodies alone protected the body from disease and micro-organisms, died on Jan. 5 at his home in New York City.
“…Dr. Chase made his landmark discovery in the early 1940’s while working with Dr. Karl Landsteiner, a Nobel laureate recognized for his work identifying the human blood groups. At the time, experts believed that the body mounted its attacks against pathogens primarily through antibodies circulating in the blood stream, known as humoral immunity.
“But Dr. Chase, working in his laboratory, stumbled upon something that appeared to shatter that widespread tenet. As he tried to immunize a guinea pig against a disease using antibodies he had extracted from a second pig, he found that blood serum did not work as the transfer agent. Not until he used white blood cells did the immunity carry over to the other guinea pig, providing solid evidence that it could not be antibodies alone orchestrating the body’s immune response. Dr. Chase had uncovered the second arm of the immune system, or cell-mediated immunity”. 2
And even the numerous instances where fully vaccinated individuals who have been tested and shown to have very high, supposedly protective levels of serum antibodies to diseases they then contracted, have not been enough to shake the religious fervour of Western medicine in defending the scientifically indefensible.
Measles outbreak in a fully immunized secondary-school population3
An outbreak of measles occurred among adolescents in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the spring of 1985, even though vaccination requirements for school attendance had been thoroughly enforced. Serum samples from 1806 students at two secondary schools were obtained eight days after the onset of the first case. Only 4.1 percent of these students (74 of 1806) lacked detectable antibody to measles according to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and more than 99 percent had records of vaccination with live measles vaccine. Stratified analysis showed that the number of doses of vaccine received was the most important predictor of antibody response. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals of seronegative rates were 0 to 3.3 percent for students who had received two prior doses of vaccine, as compared with 3.6 to 6.8 percent for students who had received only a single dose. After the survey, none of the 1732 seropositive students contracted measles. Fourteen of 74 seronegative students, all of whom had been vaccinated, contracted measles. In addition, three seronegative students seroconverted without experiencing any symptoms. We conclude that outbreaks of measles can occur in secondary schools, even when more than 99 percent of the students have been vaccinated and more than 95 percent are immune.
This fervour is understandable because when one realises that the theory of antibodies equalling immunity is found to be incorrect, many other Western medical practices will also come under question. When you build an entire industry on a house of cards, anything that threatens the foundation has the ability to make the entire structure fall down. When that structure is worth trillions of dollars – quite literally – it’s no wonder anything that threatens it must be stopped.
This is where the laws of scientific method should come in. These laws should control medical science but, thanks to the countless billions of dollars, enormous drug empires, medical reputations and corrupted government regulators, medical researchers have become nothing more than the prostitutes of science.
If Western medicine is a church, the so-called Skeptics are its Jesuits. And just like the priests of the dark ages, the Skeptics go into the community, brand those who are ‘non-believers’ as fit for execution (figuratively, of course) and do whatever they feel is needed to preserve the power and influence of the ‘science’ they so slavishly follow. To the Jesuits, it was perfectly fine to destroy a person in this life in order to save them in the next. After all, converting the non-believers was a worthwhile goal and would, in the end, be for the greater good of all.
Like the Jesuits, the Skeptics look down on those who don’t worship science in the same way they do as barbarians and somehow less than human. Perhaps it is this attitude to others – as lesser beings – that enables them to act in the cold, calculating and often immoral way they do?
But what I find really interesting about this group of individuals (an oxymoron, I know – but they don’t actually BELONG to anything since the Skeptics don’t really have a membership per se – they just support the practices of this organisation) is that when it comes down to it, they aren’t skeptical (or, to use the proper spelling, sceptical) at all.
Scepticism involves having a reasoning mind, questioning everything, never taking facts at face value and treating accepted wisdom with distrust until being shown the proof to your own satisfaction.
These skeptics do none of that. Rather, they seem to spend all their time and vast amounts of energy trying to prevent true scepticism in others.
Why go on about it?
So what?, you may ask yourself. Why even worry about a group that behaves in this way? Just ignore them and get on with what we’re here for – gathering information and research, supporting others who are trying to make an informed choice and protecting our rights.
Well, for 17 years we ignored the skeptics and I for one was quite happy to do so. They sent abusive emails to many of us in the pro-choice movement but we were all quite happy to just delete them as the ravings of dreadfully unhinged minds.
Perhaps they didn’t like being ignored; or perhaps they decided that direct action would get them to where they wanted to be (wherever that is?) quicker.
Whatever the case may be, 12 months ago, almost to the day, the attacks on the AVN and on other organisations started to become vicious.
I will share some of what they have done but to tell you everything would take a book. I am telling you this so that you understand what our position is, how we got here and what the likely outcome will be. For those who subscribe to our email newsletter, you will have seen some of this before.
Let’s make a list
1. A supporter of the skeptics filed a complaint with the HCCC (Health Care Complaints Commission of NSW) against both myself and the AVN, making some very outrageous claims. They claimed that ‘denying’ the safety or effectiveness of vaccines should be considered a crime against humanity and they asked that I be legally silenced with a prohibition order so I can no longer speak about health issues.
Since that time, the skeptics have urged their supporters to file complaints against me and other AVN members with the HCCC. From what I understand, dozens of separate complaints have been received – one of the most upsetting was from the parents of Dana McCaffery – the little girl who died last year in NSW from whooping cough.
Dana’s parents have charged me with harassing them. They also said that I had invaded their privacy, perhaps because when their daughter’s death was reported in the newspaper, I rang the public health unit to ask if there had been a laboratory diagnosis of whooping cough.
Despite the fact that I had already replied to the initial complaint made against the AVN and myself with over 30 pages of information and references, the HCCC chose to tack on the McCaffery’s complaint to the ‘charges’ against us and has not allowed me to see what we are accused of.
2. The same person who filed the initial complaint against the AVN and myself with the HCCC, has also filed spurious complaints with the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR), the Department of Fair Trading and various other government departments. Though these complaints are baseless, they have eaten up precious time and resources.
3. A group was set up on Facebook and Twitter called Stop the AVN. Though our organisation is acting within the law, these skeptics feel that they have the right to use any and every means within their power to shut us down. The implications of such an effort are shocking and one has to wonder why there apparently is no legal recourse when such anti-competitive, anti-democratic actions are taken?
4. Members of this group contacted all of our advertisers and asked them to pull their ads from our publication. One of our advertisers, someone who had taken out a full years’ worth of advertising in both the magazine and on our website / enewsletter, pulled her ad out. Her husband said that she had been so terrified by the calls she received, she was unable to sleep for 2 weeks!
5. Another supporter who had made a very generous donation to our recent fund-raising efforts, had his website hacked, received calls from supporters of this group late and night and on the weekends and was threatened with further action if he did not withdraw his support of the AVN.
6. They discovered that another volunteer-run group in Australia, VAIS – the Vaccination Awareness and Information Service, a support group which has been running in Brisbane since 1994, hadn’t registered their business name. These immoral individuals registered that organisation’s name and started a website whose sole purpose was to attack VAIS and the AVN as well as any other organisation which supports vaccination choice.
On this website, they have established something called the Hall of Shame where they have listed the names of people who support free and informed health choice and have asked people not to support their businesses.
They have listed the business details for everyone who is involved in these organisations – even our partner’s private businesses – without any explanation but perhaps so that the harassment can continue with those who love us and support what we do.
7. They have tried to get venues where I am scheduled to present vaccination seminars to cancel and have harassed those who sponsor such events.
8. They continually attribute things I haven’t said to me. Saying that I believe in the Illuminati and Reptilian Aliens are just some of the most blatant examples of this. There are so many more it’s not even funny. They have even gone so far as to follow links on articles I’ve sent to our email list and say that I support what is at that link even when I have sent an article – the links on that page are not under my control.
9. They have sent death threats to me via Facebook and publicly accused me of being a child killer because I advise people to look at both sides before making a decision about vaccination.
10. The McCafferys contacted the ABC to complain about a program I was on regarding the current whooping cough epidemic. Even though I quoted the government’s own statistics and had the information I was discussing peer-reviewed by a doctor who works as a reviewer for such prestigious publications are the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine, the ABC made a finding that the information was not correct. They didn’t say that my statements were incorrect but that the interviewer had mixed up the years we were talking about, quoting 2001 instead of 1991. The McCafferys have taken this information and used it in many public places to state that I had provided the ABC with incorrect information – a statement that is verifiably untrue.
Is this a defence of science?
All of this is supposed to be a way of defending science. But the thing is, science does not need defenders – if science is true and evidence-based – it can easily defend itself.
The science of the skeptics needs defending however because it is not true science – it is a faith-based conglomeration of twisted facts, lies and anger which form an evil perversion of the study of life and the world around us.
In the last week of May, I received a preliminary finding from the HCCC. I have 28 days to respond to this and I will be making a full and scientifically-referenced response to this organisation. (ed note: I have sent my response back to the HCCC – over 60 pages of my writing plus another 50 or so pages of references and further information)
I cannot even begin to guess what the final outcome will be because to my mind, the accusations against myself and the AVN were worse than just spurious. They were hysterical, unscientific and obviously lacking in any facts.
My responses, on the other hand, have been fully referenced, calm and complete in answering every single charge that had been laid against either myself or the AVN.
In a fair world where decisions are made based on justice and truth, this complaint would have been considered no more than a joke and would never have gone any further than the HCCC’s circular filing cabinet. But in the world we live in – the outcome is still quite up in the air.
It has been a long year since this abuse has started, but it has steeled me for the fights to come and given me hope for the future.
I know it sounds strange to say that these attacks have given me hope. And it almost feels strange too though I have been tossing this idea around for some months.
It’s all due to the many supportive letters I have received from our AVN members. Not one, not 10 but hundreds of you have written in to say that this reactionary activity is a sign of our success.
For almost 17 years, these people mainly ignored us – only sending the occasional abusive email or rabid web page comment. But as the consciousness of Australian parents about this subject started to rise to the point where more and more people were questioning vaccination, it obviously became harder to ignore the AVN.
Perhaps you can say that we are the victims of our own success – and though I never have felt like a victim – the point is that we have been more successful than the government or the medical community ever could have imagined.
Through grass-roots activism (the media certainly cannot take any credit for this!), we have slowly, over the years, gained the trust and respect of a small but growing portion of the Australian population.
The AVN doesn’t take all the credit for this change. There are many other groups and individuals across Australia who have also worked tirelessly to achieve the goal of free and informed vaccination choice.
But the medical community and the government have done so much to advance our cause – without even trying!
How the government and medical community have helped us:
• They have added one of the most dangerous vaccines ever produced – Gardasil – to the vaccination schedule. Even a sleeping population has been shocked awake by the enormous number of serious reactions and deaths caused by this shot.
• They used some pretty serious disease mongering to try and convince us that if we didn’t take the ‘swine flu’ AH1N1 shot, we would all die horrible deaths from this ‘pandemic’. When less than 30% of us complied and we had the mildest flu season in living memory – people started to ask why the government wasted $100 million of our taxpayer dollars on a campaign that was totally unnecessary.
• The WA government in conjunction with the Telethon Institute and two vaccine manufacturers, began an experiment on Western Australian children aged between 6 months and 5 years of age. The experiment was to see how safe and effective the seasonal flu vaccine would be in this age group – a group that had never before been targeted by this shot. The government knew it was an experiment; the Telethon Institute knew it was an experiment; the drug companies certainly knew it was an experiment. The problem was – nobody bothered to tell the parents!
And in a very short time, hundreds of children were hospitalised with serious reactions to this shot. The medical community sat on this information until they were forced – kicking and screaming – to release it.
By the time it became public knowledge, a 2 year old girl in QLD and a 19 year old man in NSW had died shortly after being vaccinated.
Even now, the propaganda machines are working overtime to try and deny that the vaccines had anything to do with these reactions. But wonder of wonders – people are no longer buying that!
• The government learned that the recently introduced rotavirus vaccines were contaminated with 2 pig viruses – one of which was linked with a wasting disease in swine. The US government withdrew one of these shots as a precaution (later re-releasing it even though it was still contaminated) but Australian authorities did not release this information and refused to withdraw the shots – even as a precaution until they were shown to be safe.
Parents who were 100% in favour of vaccinations – who never even questioned whether they worked or were safe and who treated the AVN’s information the same way the skeptics did – with disdain and distrust – are now coming to us in large numbers to become better informed.
We had a sell-out seminar in Western Australia and close to 80% of those attending were not AVN members – they were parents who have been shocked by recent events into looking further at this issue
The AVN IS dangerous
Professor Fiona Stanley, Australian of the Year and Director of the Telethon Institute, has stated on Channel 7 Perth, that the AVN is a dangerous organisation.
And you know what? She is right!
If you are a scientific Jesuit; if you have based your career and your income on maintaining the status quo in regards to Western Medicine; if you will benefit from the sale of drugs and vaccines, the AVN is a very dangerous organisation indeed.
If however you are a caring parent who wants to make the best choice for your child – whatever that choice may be – and who would like to be fully informed on both sides of this issue, then the AVN is here for you.
While ‘science’ would have you believing that though everything else in the world has both negatives and positives, when it comes to vaccination, there is only one side, the AVN will be here to provide the balance to the government’s information. Though in general, our information is more concerned with the risks and ineffectiveness of vaccines, we exist solely to give you the side of this very important debate that the government and medical community have failed to provide.
And while the attack against us goes on unremittingly, we will hold the course and continue because the harder they fight back, the closer to victory we come.
What is victory for the AVN? Will we win when all vaccinations are stopped? No!
Much as the skeptics would like to have you believe that is the case, for us, victory will be when every man, woman and child in Australia and around the world knows all the facts about vaccines and also knows that the choice is for them to make freely and without fear.