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Anti-Vax Debate Techniques

It shouldn’t be a surprise that few people want to debate someone who is against vaccines, especially when you become familiar with their typical debate techniques.

Anti-Vax Debate Techniques

Since all arguments against vaccines have been refuted a thousand times, what do these folks do when they get in a situation where they have to talk to someone about vaccines or vaccine-preventable diseases?

At a gathering for the New York Alliance for Vaccine Rights and First Freedoms Community during the recent "alleged" New York City measles outbreak, Larry Palevsky (left) made wide use of many of the anti-vax debate techniques discussed below.
At a gathering for the New York Alliance for Vaccine Rights and First Freedoms Community during the recent “alleged” New York City measles outbreak, Larry Palevsky (left) made wide use of many of the techniques discussed below.

Science isn’t on their side, so they instead have to resort to fallacious debate tactics to try and trick and scare people into believing them, such as:

  1. copypasta – arguments, stories, or links that people save and repeatedly copy and paste into online forums and Facebook groups.
  2. gish gallop – trying to drown or overwhelm someone in arguments, often by posting copypasta.
  3. firehosing – similar to a gish gallop, but occurs “over time and in multiple venues.”
  4. JAQing off – these are the folks who say that they are “just asking questions…”, but aren’t really looking for answers.
  5. cherry picking – when someone chooses to only use information that fits their beliefs (often conveniently packaged in anti-vax binders), ignoring any and all other information that would prove them wrong.
  6. gaslighting – making someone doubt their reality.
  7. scare stories – telling vaccine injury stories are perhaps one of the prime tools that are used to scare parents on the Internet.
  8. vaccine choice – why do some people think that “they” are going to force their kids to be vaccinated without their consent?
  9. false balance – when all opinions are given the same weight, even those that have no facts to back them up or have already been disproven and discredited.
  10. dismissing everyone they disagree with as Big Pharma shills.

Whatever technique they are using, don’t fall for it.

You are not making an informed choice if your decision is based on misinformation and propaganda.

“Well, if you’re going to inform yourself about vaccines, I think anybody who’s truly informed will realize that getting a vaccine is much better than not getting one. If you’re choosing not to vaccinate your child, it’s because you’re getting, frankly, bad information about vaccines.”

Paul Offit, MD

Instead know that vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary.

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