I had an interesting encounter today on a Facebook group “Catholic Science Geeks”. Across several posts, the discussions showed that there were several antivaxxers present. Several people didn’t want to have COVID vaccines because they were nervous about them. That’s a legitimate reaction.
However, several were trying to promote vaccine avoidance because, supposedly, vaccine efficacy is unknown. That’s not true. What is worse is that these so-called “scientists” aren’t persuaded by evidence. That makes their antivaxxer views more of an ideology than anything to do with science. Yet this is a group about science. Supposedly. Unfortunately it became like watching movies or TV shows that mention DNA – they always get so much wrong, and I cringe and yell at them that they’re talking rubbish. Here in the CSG forum, people were doing this in real life.
One of the admins claimed that the COVID vaccines aren’t vaccines, but rather gene therapy. His best reference was a newspaper article that cited legal patent documents that he obviously didn’t understand. He claimed the FDA said they were not vaccines, but instead they were gene therapy. Yes, these are vaccines. The FDA says they’re vaccines. They know what vaccines are, and these fit the definition perfectly. The fact that they involve antigen synthesis mechanisms that are similar to some forms of gene therapy doesn’t suddenly mean they aren’t vaccines. The same admin thinks the vaccines shed. Antivaxxers love the shedding idea. These vaccines don’t shed. Not in the real world.
One person told me that to me they are vaccines, and that’s just my opinion. Nope. They are vaccines. The real world knows they are vaccines. She said my views were “scientism” – which is really just an attempted insult to any real science that the person using the slur doesn’t like. Don’t like the idea of global warming? Call it scientism. Don’t like COVID? Call it scientism. Don’t like vaccines? Call it scientism.
So, I blocked them. The antivaxxer admin naturally booted me from the group. An expected outcome, given I was blocking the admin of a group. I don’t need that sort of toxicity in my life. I block a lot of people. I can understand non-scientists falling for the fake science out there. I don’t understand their absolute insistence on it, which is peculiarly cult-like. When scientists can’t tell fact from fiction within science, and then insist irrationally that the myth is truth, then we’re in trouble.
Catholic forums claiming to be about science or for scientists should not have antivaxxers as admins. When science is replaced with an ideology, as happened here, then those claiming to be scientists are just an embarrassment to the Church.