With the bright sunshine outside my window (and our first ever batch of clothes hanging on our clothesline to dry) I wanted to write something positive. I truly did.
But I believe this post has been brewing and burbling up... and needs to be shared.
The anti-vaccination movement reminds me disturbingly of the climate change deniers.
Unless you've been living in a social media black hole (and I'm guessing if you're reading this blog, you haven't) there has been a recent burst in anti-vaccination articles floating around online, on green blogs and on Facebook feeds. It's beyond frustrating and disappointing.
I've thought long and hard about why a group of intelligent and health-conscientious people would completely disregard what scientific evidence is clearly showing and decide to actively distrust all medical professionals on a topic such as vaccines and health.
I think as a "green" movement we've gone a bit too far.
I understand. For the last ten years (and more) we, the green crusaders, have spent time, energy and raised our voices against corporate lies. No really- that sounds melodramatic, except that we've accustomed ourselves to no longer trusting companies to tell us what is "safe" in their products, disappointment in the lack of government action in carbon control and growing feeling that all points of authority have a hidden, corporate agenda.
As a whole medical professionals and Health Sciences are not corporate, corrupt and nor are they in it for the money. Anyone who thinks so has never counted the hours of extra work we (even SLPs) do for our patients- unpaid.
Oh I'm not naive- I do believe that western medicine could be more holistic and not all medical professionals are amazing saints. However, just like I choose to believe information from climatologists over an opinion article, I choose to find the statements and information coming from Health Sciences research and those medical professionals trained in understanding the results and ramifications over crunchy bloggers choosing a "toxic-free" lifestyle.
Up until recently Science has been held aloft, separate. We greenies have scoffed and railed against those choosing to ignore the obvious science behind climate change. It has frustrated us to no end that groups of individuals would be swayed by anti-climate change rhetoric.
But the anti-vaccination movement chooses to ignore the science of what our medical health professionals are telling us. Vaccines are safe, choosing to not vaccinate your child puts our society's (most vulnerable) health at risk with measurable effects of the anti-vaccination movement resulting in increased rates of preventable diseases.
This post isn't about providing links to science-y or opinion articles on the topic. There are plenty already out there and I am not pretending to be an expert in vaccines or disease prevention. What I am sharing is this message: As an environmentally conscious person I *know* critical thinking is essential. Please don't let "critical thinking" devolve into distrust of all.
The questions I would request you ask yourself are the following:
1. Why is climate science more credible than health science?
2. Why would an entire group of medical professionals, trained to understand (as best we can) the intricacies of human health, lie to the very people they have sworn to help?
3. What do medical professionals stand to gain if you vaccinate your children?
4. What is the point of having "experts" in a field (ie medical professionals) if you are going to distrust their every word?
5. Do you honestly feel you can be an expert in all things?
Critical thinking does NOT mean a mass distrust of all things. Critical thinking means knowing what sources are credible and choosing, from an analytical perspective, which voices (ie experts) to believe.
Allowing our cynicism to spill over into all areas of our lives does not equal calm, informed choice making. I choose to trust in those experts who are trained to understand the subtleties and complexities of human health to help me make informed decisions. And that, is critical thinking.