Sometimes, stupidity IS painful

Ben Goldacre has written about Christine Maggiore, that HIV-AIDS denialist lady who refused to take precautions to prevent her HIV infection being passed on to her children. One kid died at the age of three; Christine herself died the other day at the age of 52. Maggiore's followers insist that AIDS had nothing to do with either death, of course.

Now, I know you might, given this, feel tempted to leap to the conclusion that there might just possibly not be much substance to the many "alternative" theories regarding the causation and curability of AIDS. You might even find yourself tending towards the belief that the current conventional antiretroviral drugs may be in some small way useful.

But there are many, many immensely promising AIDS treatments that the great Conventional Medical Conspiracy won't even allow people to test, lest it become clear to everyone that you can cure AIDS in one night by a simple and entirely natural process.

So stick to your guns, HIV denialists! No-one can prove that you haven't found a cure!

You might like to cut back a bit on the toddler-killing, though. That's not good for your image.

(See also What's The Harm?, which aggregates news stories about woo-woo-related deaths. It has a subcategory for people killed by HIV/AIDS denial, which currently contains only 25 people, which I think is several orders of magnitude too small. This may be because What's The Harm don't know the exact vast number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who may not have much access to any sort of real AIDS treatment, but who only get HIV in the first place because the local woo-woo says you can't catch it if you have sex standing up, or something.)

(The Skeptic's Dictionary has a news archive on the subject of woo-woo risks, too, covering rip-offs and other forms of human misery as well as actual deaths. It's also called What's The Harm?.)

16 Responses to “Sometimes, stupidity IS painful”

  1. TwoHedWlf Says:

    I got all the way to the bottom before realising you must be being sarcastic.:)

  2. Red October Says:

    Oh, good. Then I'm not alone.

  3. frasera Says:

    turns out the latest idiot is jenny mccarthy. sadly shes come out against vaccination:P

  4. Itsacon Says:

    To anyone in doubt on vaccination (on whatever grounds), I heartily recommend this novel.

  5. Stuart Says:

    Morons who don't know how to do anything other than bitch about things they have no understanding of need to shut their damn mouths. Jenny McCarthy is really good at one thing - being the pretty face of idiocy. Just what the world needs, another blonde who can't think beyond the end of her shoes.

    I have nothing but contempt for people who treat all the benefits of society as rights, but immediately go deaf when asked to contribute themselves. Vaccination has nothing to do with their children's welfare, it has everything to do with everyone else's children's welfare. It's great for them that their pox ridden spawn lives whilst the child who is too young to get the vaccination gets ill or dies as a result of their sheer selfish ignorance. If they want to offer their children substandard healthcare, that is their choice - but to subject the rest of us to their precious little disease reservoirs is totally unacceptable.

    Still, the easy way to deal with it would be to make them pay for their convictions. If you taxed or levied them based on their children's vaccination status, I would be willing to bet that 90% of them wouldn't consider it worth it (if it cost them, that is). Whilst intelligence everywhere, stingyness is common as dirt.

  6. Stark Says:

    Another apparent recent death from stupidity would be Jett Travolta's (John Travolta and Kelly Preston's son) unfortunate end due to a seizure in the bath tub. He suffered from Kawasaki Syndrome causing frequent seizures... and his parents took him off of the effective anti-seizure meds he was prescribed due to Scientology. Morons. I feel sorry for the kid, but nothing but contempt for the parents.

  7. Garett Smith Says:

    I didn't realise that the Foo Fighters were Christine Maggiore supporters and AIDS denialists. It really irks me that because somebody has the ability to create popular music or act in a movie / tv series, that somehow qualifies them to be an authority on subjects ranging from the cause of AIDS to the technical safety of importing types of hydrocarbons into California. :/

  8. Gareth Pye Says:

    Two of my favorite African AIDS concepts:
    A) witch doctors who prescribe sex with virgins as the cure for AIDS
    B) The catholic bishop who claims that AIDS is caused by the international companies smearing the virus on condoms. Naturally this is done as apart of the conspiracy to wipe out the African people.

  9. Chazzozz Says:

    @frasera -- I read that novel and it scared me because of the parallels that can be drawn from today's society. It's not hard to imagine a world in the near future that turns out just like in the book.

    As for the nay-sayers against vaccination, I've actually known a family who suffered the consequences of a bad reaction to a vaccine. It was devastating to see how their child ended up for the rest her life. But, that didn't stop me from vaccinating my own children...for I've also seen the consequences of children (several, in fact) who weren't protected and ended up contracting some awful, but very preventable, diseases. I've known far more kids who have been killed or permanently affected by these diseases than the vaccines.

  10. arteitle Says:

    #6 Stark: Kawasaki disease doesn't cause neurological problems like seizures, but epilepsy is sometimes associated with autism, which it's been suggested Jett suffered from.

  11. Stark Says:

    @arteitle - Quite right, Kawasaki is not linked to seizures, my mistake. However, he did have a serious seizure condition and his parents did take him off of anti-seizure meds due to Scientology. So, stupidity kills again.

  12. computersolutions Says:

    @Itsacon -

    There is considerable data that the AID's virus was most probably passed onto humans by the widespread polio vaccinations of the 50's in sub-saharan africa.

    See here - for a good round up on most of those.

  13. Daniel Rutter Says:

    So if any of you guys were considering getting a polio vaccination in the Belgian Congo in 1959, be aware that some people think that would have been a bad idea! Thanks, man!

    (Honestly, where do these people come from? Do they just scan pages for keywords and then weigh in with their irrelevant opinion about AIDS or creationism or Greece-versus-Turkey or whatever? WTF does a shaky theory about contamination of oral vaccines 50 years ago have to do with a book by Ben Elton that's set in the future?)

  14. computersolutions Says:

    Oh, I don't know Dan, maybe I must be a kook eh, because its post about AID's, most of the comments are for / against vaccination, it would be tangentally interesting to the conversation.

    Where does Ben Elton come into it? (ahh 4th comment).

    Did you actually read the links there at the UoW site? Its actually quite a lot less crazy than you'd think.

    Go ahead flame away ;)

  15. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Where does Ben Elton come into it? (ahh 4th comment).

    Yeah... the one you were replying to. Or did you just accidentally type "@Itsacon" at the beginning of your comment?

    Did you actually read the links there at the UoW site?

    I am not an epidemiologist, a virologist, or an expert on AIDS. People who are epidemiologists, virologists and/or experts on AIDS generally consider the African-polio-vaccine transmission theory weak, for several reasons. I am unqualified to judge their assessment of the evidence pro and con; unless I'm going to sink a few months into getting a basic grounding in AIDS epidemiology, there's no point playing "duelling experts" on the Internet when nobody knows much about the argument they're so eager to join.

    And none of this has anything at all to do with the matter at hand. Let's assume that the African polio vaccine was just crawling with SIV or HIV or both - so what? What's that got to do with modern AIDS denialism or the anti-vaccination movement?

  16. computersolutions Says:

    I'm happier with your second reply, as its less knee jerk than the first;

    I've always said to people think before you post, not post before you think.

    I personally thought it was on topic given the subject matter, and the comments.

    Its your blog, not mine. If you feel its off topic, then feel free to delete the post.

    Up to you though.

    I'll still keep reading the blog+dansdata for your caustic wit, and keep commenting when appropriate.

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