Skeptics PWN Anti-Vax Scumbag Wakefield at His Own Rally
Posted by mattusmaximus on May 27, 2010
**Update: Check out my follow-up post for more news, photos, and video of this event.
Well, congratulate me folks – I’m now officially part of a squad of skeptical ninjas 🙂
Today, there was an anti-vaccination rally in Chicago, and the king of anti-vax woo & nonsense – Andrew Wakefield himself – showed up. I suppose he decided to hang with his anti-vax homies here in the U.S. seeing as how he’s essentially lost his license to practice medicine in the United Kingdom because of his fraudulent work there.
Anyway, the new skeptical group I’m part of, the Women Thinking Free Foundation (WTFF), caught wind of this wave of woo headed our way (we’re based in Chicago) and we decided, with two days notice, to mobilize and counter protest… and we did! I did not personally attend the counter protest, as I had to teach today, but I and many others were working behind the scenes to help organize it.
The word went out like wildfire across the Internet – via email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and message boards – and we were able to gather a group of about 10 people there. In addition, our WTFF ninjas were able to hand out plenty of pro-vaccine literature to passers-by who might have otherwise thought that Wakefield and his ilk weren’t batcrap crazy. Here are some examples of our handouts we whipped up as part of WTFF’s new “Hug Me, I’m Vaccinated!” campaign…
It went really well. Apparently, a whopping 50-100 anti-vaxxers showed up; ironically, with just a couple of more days of prep & organization, we might have been able to have almost as many pro-science people there. In addition to handing out literature, our skeptical ninjas also took some photos & video, which I will share with you after it is all processed. Until then, I leave you with this little gem…
That’s Wakefield in the middle, unwittingly posing with two of our skeptical ninjas who infiltrated his rally. In fact, the girl is wearing a Surlyramics necklace that says “Hug Me, I’m Vaccinated!” and moments before this snapshot was taken she handed him a note. It said how much of a horrible person he is for spreading anti-vax nonsense and scaring people out of vaccinating their children. She told me that he didn’t look at it & just put it in his pocket, thinking that he got the phone number from some hot young lady. Here is the text of what she wrote:
Dear Andrew Wakefield,
I know that you truly believe that what you are doing is helping people and that the ends justify the means, but I just want you to know that the things you are doing – the actions you have taken in the past have hurt people – killed people. Your work has scared and manipulated parents into not vaccinating their children, putting them and their entire community at risk, all in the name of safety. Children have died because of you. I just want to make sure that you fully understand that.
Message to Wakefield and the anti-vax woosters:
I’m reasonably sure there will be more photos & video to follow. Watch this space for updates.
This whole affair was, in my humble opinion, an outstanding success. In this “Hug Me!” event, we have officially put Wakefield and his ilk on notice that anywhere they go, they’re likely to be confronted by skeptics who are willing to stand up to their nonsense & fear-mongering woo. We at WTFF hope that this event will serve as a template for other skeptical & pro-science groups to follow in monitoring & holding pseudoscientific folk like Wakefield accountable in the court of public opinion.