Anti-Vaxxers Can't Be Reasoned With

How do you talk to a parent who has decided not to vaccinate their child? Some commentators say, "Don't bother."

It's important when writing posts like this to always maintain objectivity. That said, it is objectively dumb not to vaccinate your children. I can't imagine the arduous mental gymnastics one has to go through in order to delude themselves into thinking it's a good idea to swat away humanity's long, long tradition of trying not to die. But alas, we're in the midst of a vaccine scare because people are ill-informed and — well — dumb. Kids all over the country are coming down with illnesses that sound more like afflictions from The Oregon Trail than the year 2015. It's madness.


Kelly Wallace over at CNN has a piece up right now about arguing with anti-vaxxers. She asks: How do you persuade them? Not through reason, that's for sure. Wallace includes plenty of evidence that rational thinking just isn't these folks' forte:

"'The problem is not as simple as just saying let's educate people because I think a lot of these parents have seen the data, have seen the science, and yet they still don't want to vaccinate,' said Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious diseases and public health specialist."

We're talking about obstinance here. Malicious obstinance. And while most folks' instincts (mine included) are to shame anti-vaxxers, that's not necessarily going to make anything better. Wallace spoke to one expert who believes arguing is futile:

"Lori Day, an educational psychologist with over 25 years' experience in the school system, thinks ultimately the only way to get people to vaccinate might be to force the issue. That would be by removing the personal and religious exemptions that allow parents not to vaccinate and still send their children to public and private schools."

The solution here is to not even bother. Anti-vaxxers are posing a legitimate threat to public health. The simple answer is to force them not to be a legitimate threat to public health. And somewhere along the way society needs to get over its odd skepticism of expertise and stop, as Isaac Asimov would say, treating ignorant opinions as if they have equal standing to knowledge based on facts.

Read more at CNN.

Photo credit: gopixa / Shutterstock

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

Videos
  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less