To glimpse inside the mind of someone who’s firmly against vaccinations,
here at this book:
Melanie’s Marvellous Measles
Melanie’s Marvellous Measles
The story follows a girl named Tina,
who’s never been vaccinated before.
After finding out her friend Melanie has measles,
mom tells Tina to play with Melanie.
Why? Because contracting measles is good for you.
Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned.
And Tina somehow dodges one of the world’s most contagious viruses.
Instead, some vaccinated kid ends up catching the disease.
Therefore, the moral of the story is that vaccines don’t work
and measles are good for you.
You can take the time to read the reviews yourself.
Anyway, why it’s easy to write these people off as stupid?
That isn’t always the case.
In some regions, parents with higher levels of education,
eg: college graduates, were actually more likely to refuse vaccinations.
So, why then do people fear vaccines?
Basically it boils down to be biased.
Maybe they’ve had a bad experience in the past,
or perhaps they’re just the type to believe in conspiracy theories.
Either way, from then on, they only really take in confirming evidence.
In fact, there’s probably no chance you’d be able to convert them.
This is pretty annoying,
given the fact that they’re putting everyone’s health at risk.
So, what can anti-vaxxers possibly be good for?
Well, firstly consider the idea, that their level of bias isn’t too far off from our own.
If we were to honestly evaluate ourselves,
we’d find similar levels of bias in different areas of life.
Only when much better at spotting other people’s biases,
then we are at spotting our own.
For example, when 661 people were asked,
how biased they were in comparison to the regular American?
Only one admitted to be more biased than average.
Now it might be a stretch to see that our level of bias
is equal to anti-vaxxers, but it does get close.
Let’s take a moment to focus on our own personal beliefs.
For instance, gay rights.
Up until the early 90s,
homosexuality was classified as a mental illness
by the World Health Organization.
Nowadays the majority of people will agree
that being gay isn’t a disease of the mind.
But what if I now showed you five studies
which all concluded that
homosexuality is actually linked to mental illness?
How would you respond?
Well, one study did exactly this.
Researchers gave participants studies
which either confirmed or
disconfirmed their views on homosexuality.
When faced with disconfirming evidence,
not surprisingly, participants didn’t change their opinion.
Instead, they just concluded that
science can’t be used in this particular case.
Perhaps the studies are biased,
or maybe mental illnesses aren’t something you can measure.
This is fair enough.
However, the study then asked those people
whether science can answer more general questions,
eg: whether spanking a child is effective
or whether a psychic sixth sense exists.
Those who previously had been challenged by science
were now more likely to conclude that
scientific evidence was useless not just in the case of homosexuality,
but for all these general cases too.
Now, while the effect isn’t nearly as strong,
this denial of science sounds similar to the case of anti-vaxxers, right?
And here’s a more extreme example.
Participants were shown the exact same news clip
about a Israel versus Palestine conflict and
asked whether it was biased.
Those who were pro-Israel said
the media was being too harsh on Israel.
They claimed that for every one good mention of Israel,
there was 3.5 bad mentions.
Yet the pro-Palestinians saw the complete opposite.
They said the media was being too lenient towards Israel,
claiming that each bad mention of Israel was
actually balanced out by 1.5 good mentions.
This massive distortion of evidence once again parallels the case with anti-vaxxers,
both sides are exposed to the same information,
and both come out of it with wildly opposing views.
Now, imagine getting into examples involving politics.
These personal beliefs would only hold stronger biases,
such that regardless of whether you’re left or right wing,
it’s going to be hard to stay impartial during arguments,
so ultimately as much as we’d like to think we’re rational,
we all suffer from the same biases as anti-vaxxers.
This isn’t to say we’re just as biased as them.
然而 如果说反疫苗者有什么好处的话 那只有一件
However, if there’s only one thing anti-vaxxers are good for,
it’s to remind us what could happen
if we don’t pause to reflect on our own biases.