Reproduced with permission from the neOnbubble Know You Some Science series of student learning guides.
What Is A Vaccine?
The name "vaccine" comes from the latin word vacca meaning "cow". A vaccine is a microscopic, biological crib note written on leather that includes diagrams of a disease along with suggestions for defeating it in glorious intracorpus battle. The vaccine is introduced to the body in any of a number of ways (orally, by injection, osmosis, gentle persuasion, etc.) and the body files the information on the crib note away for later use.
Are Vaccines Good?
Good is a subjective term. Vaccines help your body cheat death or crippling illnesses. If you would rather be alive than dead then you should conclude that they are good.
If you would rather that more people – possibly yourself included – spent their lives in pain, defecating themselves, drooling, and being pushed around in wheelchairs then you should conclude that they are bad. Antivaxxers think that vaccines are bad.
What Is An Antivaxxer?
There are two types of people who can properly be labelled "antivaxxers".
The first type is those who harbour a grudge against the manufacturers of a particular type of carpet cleaner, quite likely as the result of misuse and subsequent trips to hospital emergency rooms. These people, despite their fondness for air pressure-related sexual shenanigans, are at least somewhat scientifically-minded, embracing the use of technology and experimentation in order to facilitate personal pleasure.
The second type of people are not scientifically-minded. These people associate vaccinations with infant death or disability through the tried-and-tested (-and-rejected by fans of the brain) method of putting two and two together and getting three.
Do Vaccinations Cause Autism?
A vaccination caused me to take a day off school once but I can assure you after an extensive search of Wikipedia that a throbbing arm and nausea are not symptoms of autism.
Why Do Some People Associate Vaccinations With Autism?
The brain is very good at pattern-matching, predicting future events based on experience – touch fire, fire make hand go ouch, not touch fire again because fire is ouchy – and this process of observation and deduction is the cornerstone of good science. But it’s not all of good science.
Good science involves repeated tests and predictions to corroborate findings or rule theories out in order that the scientific finding is not one borne of bad luck, good luck, or improper test conditions.
Antivaxxers engage in bad, amateur, scientificish science ("New Improved Sciencique™") which makes sweeping declarations of assurety based on – occasionally – one observation, but more often far fewer than that. These same people, however, are very selective in their pattern-matching; they don’t – for instance – demand an end to beds when somebody dies in one in his or her sleep.
The answer, then, to the question of why do some people associate vaccinations with autism is simply that they’re imbeciles.
What If We Stopped Vaccinations?
Once a certain threshold of the population are immunised against a disease it becomes difficult for that disease to spread among the individuals. Stopping vaccinations reduces that threshold and allows diseases to spread putting money in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry. Without vaccinations we would lose our herd immunity.
What Is Herd Immunity?
There are far more cows on the planet than you realise. Killing them for their tasty meat and the leather they supply for our wonderful fashion industry has caused them to evolve a hatred of mankind. Fortunately, vaccines – which are written on microscopic leather – exude a cow-like pheromone which keeps the bovine species confused as to our evil origins. Without vaccines and the herd immunity they provide it is us who would be worn on a cow’s hooves and served up in delicious McHomoburgers.