How to win friends and influence people

Mike Adams, you are doing it wrong! Furthermore, if you are trying to make a compelling argument you need to do it while not making yourself look like a lunatic. Generally, checking your facts, and trying to refrain from ad hominem attacks would be a good start.

You see, the problem is that Adams is trying to defend a position which might have some validity, but he goes about it in entirely the wrong way. Adams is a naturopath and the self styled “health ranger“. Any attempt to browse his website will leave you with your brains having turned to porridge and leaking out of your ears. He buys into everything; conspiracy theories about Big Pharma, anything “natural” is good, “skeptics” are evil, doctors are evil, I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate any further. In short, what we are dealing with here is a very dangerous man who does not seem to realise just how stupid and misguided his claims are. But his words speak louder than mine;

nothing turns an ordinary doctor into a mad man faster than an argument about vaccines. While he may seem to be a reasonable person on all other subjects, once you challenge him on the dangers of over-vaccination of children, all reason gets thrown out the window and he morphs into a raging lunatic of unscientific emotion.

Well, excuse me for pointing out the obvious here but I think perhaps Adams should reflect a little more deeply on this point. Compare, if you will, Adam’s response to an argument about vaccines;

And the public statements made by Dr Steven Novella on Neurologica Blog;

Now – I would not say categorically that “all vaccines are safe and effective (even if they’ve never been tested).” My position is that those vaccines that have been approved have been tested and found to be safe and effective. For many vaccines we have decades of experience with millions of doses – and that is an impressive data set of safety and effectiveness. And of course, any new vaccine has to go through proper testing before it should be recommended. That is the essence of evidence-based and science-based medicine – using scientific evidence to see if treatments are safe and effective before they are recommended – a philosophy Adams does not practice, given the treatments he recommends.

It seems pretty obvious to me who has lost his cool and thrown a temper tantrum. Adams doesn’t even seem to care about the fact that his widespread use of misinformation verges on deliberate intellectual dishonesty. He completely screws up a statistical comparison of a mumps outbreak in which he consistently misinterprets the vaccine failure rate. Adams repeatedly bashes you over the head with this number as if it is some kind of revelation, meanwhile he just reveals how ignorant he is.  The wonderful Skeptico blog lays it out, as plain as day;

I’ll remind you again that 159 children in New Jersey were infected, and that 122 of these (the infamous 77%) were vaccinated.  So, what is the answer to my question, if you are vaccinated, are you more or less likely to get the mumps?  Some elementary arithmetic:

Vaccinated and got the mumps

122 / 1219 = 10%

Unvaccinated and got the mumps

37 / 51 = 73%

Answer – if your child is unvaccinated, he or she is seven times more likely to get the mumps.

So how do we explain the 77% figure?  Easy: more vaccinated children got the mumps because there were more vaccinated children to start with.  24 times more as many, to be precise.  If the vaccine was completely useless and offered zero protection against the mumps, we would expect 24 times the number of infected children to be vaccinated, compared with unvaccinated. (Since both groups would be infected equally, but the vaccinated group is 24 times larger.)  The fact that we only get about three times (77/23) the number of vaccinated children with the disease, demonstrates how effective the vaccine actually is.

Mike Adams, you are spreading a dangerous message which can, and very possibly will lead to the PREVENTABLE deaths of HUNDREDS of children. Your ideology is outdated and not supported by science, you make unverifiable claims, you STILL believe that thimerosal is the boogeyman. Anti-vaccination movements are unbearably misguided. Your ideology is not worth the death of one more infant from a vaccine preventable disease. Shut up and start trying to actually help prevent deaths and illness by spreading a message supported by the facts.

Vaccines save lives!

Measles

Mumps

Rubella

Whooping Cough

Chicken Pox

Small Pox

Diptheria

Polio

Invasive H. flu

Cervical Cancer

The list is too long. Caring Parents take advice from misguided idiots like Adams and the result is all too tragic. The image below is of baby Dana McCaffery who died at four weeks of age from a vaccine preventable disease. How could this happen? Because people like Adams are more concerned with their ideology than with the lives of other people’s children.

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18 responses to “How to win friends and influence people

  1. Howdy! I found this article via Google when a friend mistook NaturalNews for an actual news site and was frightened by one of Mike Adams’s articles, this time about the E. Coli outbreak in Europe being “deliberately engineered”. It really helped me explain to her that Mike Adams is in fact a fearmonger who works only for his own self interests (such as selling his sensationalist books) and rhetoric, not for truth and reason. I plan to make a data visualization of this example of misreading statistical data for my web design portfolio, and I will link back to this. Thank you for your clear and helpful analysis!

  2. Pingback: Hi Ho Silver! Health Ranger, Please Go Away! « Skeptologic·

  3. Thanks for your support guys, this is one of those cases where we actually have to speak out. Mike Adams is not just an upset fruitcake somewhere in cyberspace. It is NOT ok for him to carry on the way he does. Every single one of us needs to repeat the message here. We probably won’t have much effect on his dedicated followers, but there are plenty people out there who we might help. It would be a big mistake to dismiss this guy as harmless or laughable.

  4. Thanks for a great post highlighting the dangerous advice that Mike Adams gives.

    From my observations, it seems he has gone even more extreme since he threw his toys out of the pram after his disqualification from the Shorty Awards, beginning with his post about “What Skeptics Believe”. He might want to put down the Goji juice and have a good hard look at what he is preaching.

    Since as you point out, the results are the death of children.

  5. Nice post. Mike would be a laughable fruitcake if, as you say, the results of his misguided efforts didn’t have the potential for such harm.

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