Home » Culture, Darwinism, Science » Is Michele Bachman giving the “anti-science” story some legs? Her recent comments on vaccine leave many wondering …

Is Michele Bachman giving the “anti-science” story some legs? Her recent comments on vaccine leave many wondering …

Recently US prez hopeful Michele Bachman (who endorses ID) garnered condemnation from many quarters for remarks she made about Gardasil, a vaccination against two types of human papillomavirus (HPV) implicated in cervical cancer:

At the GOP debate Monday night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for issuing a mandate in his state requiring young girls to get the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

She continued the attack Tuesday on the “Today” show, saying she had been approached by a mother who claimed her daughter suffered from mental retardation from complications due to the vaccine.

- Sarah Ann Hughes, “Michele Bachmann’s HPV claims just latest in Gardasil debate” (Washington Post, September 14, 2011)

HPV is a sexually transmitted disease – which has made mandatory vaccination for young girls controversial in some quarters.

What makes her sound anti-science (for real this time –  and her usual detractors jumped on it) is that she defended a question of fact that could only be defended by an expert. Thus she obscured the political issues, the very issues on which she should be an expert: How do various states’ proposals (like Perry’s) address concerns about patients’ rights? Parents rights? Privacy? Civil rights?

Here is what she might have been wiser to say:

I can’t offer you an expert opinion on Gardasil, but I don’t feel it should be compulsory. Ovarian cancer is deadly but it is not an airborne contagion. In which case, I believe people should be free to make up their own minds – with their own health care providers’ input – whether they want this protection.” And then refuse to comment any further, except to restate her point.

A friend of UD writes to say that Minnesotans knew it was just a matter of time before something like this happened (!), and readers can guess how that will impact her chances at the nomination. She might make Veep. Joe Biden has demo’d. that gaffes are okay in that position.

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See also: Hit piece on ID-friendly prez hopeful Bachmann analyzed

Feminists defend ID-friendly Bachmann: “Who has ever called a man ‘The King of Rage?’”
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16 Responses to Is Michele Bachman giving the “anti-science” story some legs? Her recent comments on vaccine leave many wondering …

  1. There’s going to be some fact checking regarding the claim of the vaccine causing retardation.

    It will be bad if the story can’t be verified.

  2. pretty as poison

  3. Based on reports I have read from independent doctors( not the amen corner of the AMA) Gardasil is a very dangerous drug and does not provide the kinds of benefits that would outweigh its deadly risks. I think the science would support Michele Bachman’s arguments much more convincingly than those of her critics.

  4. I submitted a comment, but it was deleted? I’m puzzled as to why.

  5. That’s too bad, woodford. We’ve been undergoing a server upgrade, due to heavy traffic. Lots of stuff just got deleted, including a UD news post on ancient giant crocs fighting it out with titanic snakes. No, really.

    It’s back: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nic-snake/

    We think the worst is over now, so please do just repost, and sorry for the inconvenience.

  6. It wouldn’t surprise people who remember thalidomide, during the Baby Boom, StephenB. That said, Bachmann was unwise to rely on her own assertions, and many think she should have just stuck to the main point: Should the government compel people to avoid risks that are threats only to themselves? It’s a live issue. What about banning bungy jumping? Hang gliding? Eating at fast food counters? All represent generally agreed dangers. On the Gardasil principle, perhaps all should be forbidden?

  7. The bottom line here is Bachmann is only using this because it’s the only chink in Perry’s armor. It’s a desperation move on her part, and that leads me to believe she might be taking it too far. Bachmann will be out of the race soon. Romney will stay in but only because he has a lot of money, not because he has a chance.

    In general the side effects of vaccines have been greatly exaggerated. It’s like a millennial movement. There’s always another new vaccine to rail against when the last one turns out fine, and that’s why the myth survives.

  8. The issue here is not what government forces people to avoid, but rather what if forces them to consume.

    The fact is that the Gardasil vaccine has been associated with deadly blood clots, acute respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and “sudden death due to unknown causes,” incidences that have occurred shortly after its application. It’s one more example of “Big Pharma” making unjustified claims about the efficacy of its drugs and ignoring the risks.

    Here is an analogy:

    Where I live, state law (thanks to the government bureacracy called the Center for Disease Control) requires that the municipal water supply be flouridated. Interestingly, there is plenty of science indicating that flouride (at 1 part per million–the “recommended theraputic dose”) is exceedingly toxic, potential harmful on many levels, and serves no useful purpose.

    In the 1950′s a few dentists claimed that it helps prevent tooth decay, Nevertheless, everyone in our city is forced to take this drug every day, and they have nothing to say about it. My guess would be that Perry would support this kind of intrusive behavior by the state and Bachman would not. For that reason, I prefer her approach.

    In that sense, I don’t think anyone, inside our outside of politics, needs to be an “expert” to make the point about big Pharma’s coverup any more than they should be required to be an expert to speak about the Darwinist cover up. I am really surprised to witness all my ID friends supporting these arguments from authority.

  9. See my comments @6.

  10. Some would say that the question isn’t who’s right but whether a politician should act as an authority on something other than politics. Whether it’s possible is not the same thing as whether it’s advisable. She had a much stronger case to hammer, re Perry’s possible ties to big Pharma. It might not turn out to be accurate, but assuming she believes it is, that’s where she – as a politician – should be.

  11. I agree with your emphasis. My view, though, is that there are four elements to this problem, each of which is tied to the other:

    [a] Perry supported the policy of pressuring young girls to be vaccinated with a dangerous drug.

    [b] The drug’s manufacturer seemed more concerned with making money than promoting public health.

    [c] Perry was professionally tied to, and accepted political donations from, this manufacturer.

    [d] A family that suffered life-changing consequences as a result of this associtaion wanted their story told.

    I think it is appropriate for Bachman to associate element [d] with elements [a,b,c] (i.e. the dramatic cost of crony Capitalism). She wasn’t claiming to be an expert; she was simply telling a true story. Facts tell, but stories sell.

    In any case, who has the greater obligation to be an “expert”?

    Is it the man who uses the power of the state to promote a drug, presumably because he knows enough about the subject to force the issue?

    Or is it the woman who challenges the man who used that power?

  12. I don’t disagree with your politics SB, but I always take criticisms of vaccines with a very large grain of salt, because that whole anti-vaccine lobby is politically motivated as you have well demonstrated.

    Just because it’s politically motivated by people who share my politics doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore the irrational influence it has on the science.

  13. In my judgment, the challenge is to analyze the science behind the proposed benefits and the reported side effects of any given vaccine rather than to lump them all in one category.

    If trials show that the benefits of a given vaccine outweigh the costs, it makes sense for the manufaturer to dispense it, to doctor to prescribe it, and the patient to take it.

    If there are no known benefits to the vaccine (Merck has not made its case [its an experiment]), and if it has been shown to be dangerous (and it has), and if the manufacturer is unethical (they are now trying to vaccinate boys with it), and if the state is complicit in forcing consumption (already noted), I don’t know how anyone who knows the facts could defend the policy. To me, Bachman is ahead of the curve on this one.

  14. Here’s a link to safety information regarding Gardasil. Because it’s fairly new, it’s expected that a lot of side effects won’t be known until a later time: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafe.....hived.html

    It’s noteworthy that 94% of the reporting is favorable towards Gardasil and only 6% is unfavorable. Even then, it’s difficult to tell if Gardasil is the primary culprit with the problems that have been reported.

  15. It would be great if we could depend on the Center for Disease Control to provide accurate information inasmuch as they are supposed to be looking out for us. Alas, it seems that CDC spokespersons (and “analysts”) are part of the problem, have become a part of the government/bigPharma cover up.

    Dr. Diane Harper, who developed Gardasil, and the person who likely knows more about the subject than anyone, challenged her own organization’s shameless sales promotion by saying this;

    “Gardasil will have no effect on the rate of cervical cancer in the U.S. HPV, the infection that Gardasil can prevent, is rare, usually heals itself, and testing and treatment in the U.S. are very effective in keeping cervical cancer a rare event. She also said that a girl is more likely to die from an adverse reaction to Gardasil than from cervical cancer.”

  16. I too lost a comment, in my own thread.

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