I’m not anti-vax,
Vaccines don’t stop transmission;
I am misinformed.
Here’s the real problem which gets missed with the focus on anti-vaxxers or non-anti-vaxxers: misinformation and lack of education. People who consider themselves as anti-vaxxers or are considered as anti-vaxxers are the most extreme and specific of examples. As I said before, the concept of an ‘anti-vaxxer’ doesn’t even make sense as a bad idea— the arbitrary focus on vaccines in particular rather than medicine or science as a whole. It is a misdirection.
There is a plague of information being misunderstood then that interpretation repeated, over and over and over again. And a plague of binary thinking— thinking for example that vaccines must 100% stop transmission or make no difference at all, rather than realising the simple truth that vaccines reduce the chance of transmission. This problem occurs with all topics. I’ve seen it in interactions with most people.
Arguments based on false information and false assumptions. That’s all it is. It’s really sad and it’s hard to see how to improve that, because both education and critical thinking are necessary. It is extremely hard or maybe impossible to teach critical thinking to everyone. Historically, more absolute trust was put into the experts and people felt less of a need to have opinions on everything. Communication was more expensive so people were more scrupulous with what they communicated to each other.
Experts aren’t the same as people with absolute authority. Absolute authority is the sort of thing which people really hate and should be scrutinised and which has historically misled people. Science is the best system humanity has come up with for describing reality, for finding the truth. It is extremely democratic. If you could do better than science you could be sure that the person who came up with such a system would overnight become more famous than Einstein. Why? Because such a system would be incredibly valuable.
Yet I know that if you’re not intimately familiar with the process of science, that is an empty statement. Thus the problem. It takes education and understanding to learn what science is and how it works, as with anything else like vaccines. There’s a lack of familiarity with science and people don’t want to explicitly put absolute trust into science, or more generally into critical thinking, though they implicitly do this all the time in daily life, trusting that their house won’t collapse or that a seat belt when worn will help to save their life.
This will be my last post on this topic as now all of my thoughts are summarised!