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Not Even Wrong - When Homeopaths Attempt Research

Not Even Wrong - When Homeopaths Attempt Research

Posted 3/20/2015

It just feels wrong...It just feels wrong...The phrase "not even wrong" has been attributed to Wolfgang Pauli, one of the great physicists of the early 20th century who, along with Paul Dirac, receives far too little mainstream recognition. When Pauli used it, he was referring to research that was so bad that it did not deserve to be treated as science. It was worse than simply being wrong.

I recently came across some anti-vaccine 'research' conducted by a German homeopath concluding that vaccinated children are generally less healthy than unvaccinated children. Originally started in 2011, an anti-vaccine website picked up on this study and continues it to this day, perpetuating the wrongness.

First, an apology. I am not going to name the homeopath or link to the website in question. I refuse to give them the coverage. Unfortunately, the results of their efforts can already be witnessed in many dark corners of the Internet as anti-vaccine adherents repeat the mantra that vaccines are unhealthy.

I will however link to the real life scientific research which was the jumping off point for the subsequent anti-vaccine study. It was called "Vaccination Status and Health in Children and Adolescents" and reported findings from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS). This "KiGGS study", as I shall call it, was published in 2011 in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, a German medical magazine which I am more than happy to give some coverage!

The KiGGS study asked an important question: do unvaccinated children and adolescents differ from those vaccinated in terms of health? It tried to answer this question by analysing the KiGGS survey data collected between 2003 and 2006 from around 17,000 participants up to the age of 17.

It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that the answer to this question was that the prevalence of allergic diseases (e.g. eczema, asthma etc) and non-specific infections in children and adolescents was not found to depend on vaccination status. In other words, vaccinated children were not less healthy than unvaccinated children.

The study went on to confirm the further obvious truth that the prevalence of vaccine preventable diseases (e.g. measles, whooping cough/pertussis, mumps etc) was lower in the vaccinated children than the unvaccinated children. In other words, unvaccinated children got ill from the diseases vaccines are  supposed to prevent more often than vaccinated children. Hooray! Vaccines work!

The question therefore arises: how did a German homepath take this research and manipulate it to say the complete opposite? Answer: he conducted his own survey and compared the results to the KiGGS data.

This epic failure of a man conducted an online survey of the parents of 8000 unvaccinated children asking whether their children had ever suffered from various illnesses such as asthma, autism or diabetes. The results were largely from US parents of children less than 2 years of age. He then worked out what percentage of those children had suffered from these illnesses and compared it directly with the equivalent percentages derived from the vaccinated children in the KiGGS data. The percentage of illnesses reported in his survey were less than that in the KiGGS data proving, to his mind, that vaccinated children were less healthy than unvaccinated children.

Ignoring the fact that the KiGGS data itself has already shown that this conclusion is false, what else is wrong with this approach? Here are just a few reasons: it was an uncontrolled survey from a unknown population mix surveyed in a different country almost a decade later and covering a different age range. In other words, it is not even wrong.

Vaccines DO NOT CAUSE dyslexiaVaccines DO NOT CAUSE dyslexiaEvidence of the uber-wrongness of the result can be seen in range of illnesses that are attributed to vaccines. Not just allergies but warts and herpes are apparently more common in vaccinated children. Not just autism, but bedwetting and even dyslexia are blamed on vaccines. All on the basis that the parents of a group of largely American 0-2 year old unvaccinated children reported these symptoms less than their vaccinated 0-17 year old German counterparts.

The ability of homeopaths to be wrong is well known, but when they apply their special brand of wrongness to vaccines they are putting lives at risk. It is important to counter and correct statements that are 'not even wrong' so that reasonable people do not get fooled into worrying that vaccines are harmful, that they do not prevent disease, or that the diseases they prevent are harmless.

Say it loud and say it often: vaccines DO NOT CAUSE autism (or dyslexia)!