I got into one of my occasional internet arguments the other day with friends of a facebook friend. I tend to keep my head down in there most of the time because quite frankly some of the people I know are nuts, as indeed are their friends.
I've not had a proper religion/creation/evolution argument for some time and probably won't ever becuase its pointless, the relgious delusion is so strong they call it faith and thats the end of any debate.
In the same way, the people I was argueing with are equally delusional..ie they hold a view point so dearly that no matter what overwhelming evidence is given to the contrary they refuse to alter their view.
The result is of course that they cling on to tiny factoids or supposed research, almost always only partially true, invent conspiracy theories or become detemined to prove that everyone is out to get them and that anyone who disagrees with them is the one with the closed mind.
These particular people were strong advocates of not vaccinating children, on the basis that it causes, death, disease, is part of a drug company consipracy, is unnessesary in modern times,its not effective, its a money making scheme etc etc..
Personally that got me mad, especially when they started spouting bollocks about people dying from HPV vaccines and MMR and pretty much anything. My cancer was most likely caused by HPV and I can assure you if a vaccine was available when I was younger I most certainly would have had it, and maybe still have most of my jaw today.
like all medicines, "some" people, a very few, will react badly. its one of those strange quirks of our evolution that there is always someone who is immune to some toxin and someone else who is deathly allergic to something simple and everyday, or in the case of vaccines perhaps something complex.. in a million to one situation when you vaccinate 50 million people, you're probably going to get 50 incidents, and perhaps sadly deaths or long term damage. This is the nature of things...More people die from nut allergies than have died from normal vaccination programs. But these people cling to that 50 incidents as proof positive that they're right and everyone else is wrong. They only want to hear "proof" of their viewpoint, and any other is dismissed, regardless of how well reasoned and presented it is, if they can't disprove it (they often try hard but can't) they sneer at it, and resort to "well they would say that wouldn't they..." types of dismissal.
I don't doubt some people have died, from normal vaccinations, certianly some have died from tainted or innappropriate vaccinations, but on the whole vaccinations like any other medical procedures provide great benefits.
So these people, well meaning as they may think they are, are basically delusional. But trying to explain this, is seen as an insult, and of course provides an escalation of insults such that further discussion becomes impossible. So they continue with ther delusions confident that having seen off the naysayer with their superior viewpoint and debating skills (ermm!), while still ignoring the facts presented to them.
I realise now, I know a lot of delusional people, people who think they are right, or have talents they clearly don't, or convince themselves they're not succeeding in life because others are putting obsticles in their way.
kinda sad, I wonder how that happens, when do you stop listening to the voice in your head that says, dude, you're taking shit, now start listening to what other people are telling you and make a rational decision even if it means facing up to being wrong.
Self doubt isn't a weakness, in moderate doses, its what stops us intially being annoying arseholes, and later from becoming delusional!!