In case you’re wondering where I’ve been (and I’m sure no-one was): apart from grading a few essays, and servicing my growing Twitter addiction, I have done what I regularly swear I won’t and got involved in an argument with the anti-vaccine people.
Now, you would think that the genetics of autism was relatively uncontroversial, but apparently not. The activists who insist vaccines can cause autism are not keen on other theories of autism causation, including genetic ones (no prizes for working out why).
(Again, you can try and guess why they insist this is a Conflict Of Interest, or simply click on over to the Guardian.)
The activists are also offended that the Guardian linked a blog which ridiculed their objections.
Which is where I came in. No, the blog wasn’t mine – it belongs to American surgeon/scientist/hyperactive blogger Orac – but I have been, er, debating a couple of the anti-vaccine activists in the comments under the thread. My first comment is at 5.41 pm, and there are more if you read down (You will probably have to hit “Show all Comments” or “Go to latest comment” )
Two things are perhaps notable.
One is that the activists object to the term “anti-vaccine”. One told me it was “libel-labelling” and “pejorative”. I suggested it was a statement of fact. Readers can probably make up their own minds.
The second is the habit the activists have of decrying “ad hominem” attacks and accusing their critics (like me and Orac) of “playing the man, not the ball”. This is usually accompanied by an insistence that they themselves never do this. I might disagree, as you will see from one of my comments.
Anyway, I know I should leave vaccine-related threads alone. This is partly because the main tactic of the anti-vaccine activists is to outlast you, and then declare victory when you are so bored that you give up. And they are always more obsessed than you are, so you can never win. Hence the resolution to keep clear….
…but… …sometimes keeping clear is difficult.
Which is why the title. The quote is:
“Just when I thought I was out – they pull me back in!”