• Thu, Feb 20 - 3:30 pm ET

Thought Catalog Out-Trolls Itself By Publishing An Anti-Vax Article Calling Your Kids ‘Retarded’

46272865Oh, Thought Catalog – you’re not even amusing anymore. Why such a need to scrape the shallow end of the decency pool to find writers? You’ve really out-trolled yourself today with David Dunning‘s piece, Congratulations You’ve Vaccinated Your Child And Now They’re Retarded. 

Dunning presents the scientifically-debunked argument that vaccinations cause a litany of horrors to young children – and he does so without using science, links or facts. Good job. He somehow scraped his knuckles off the floor long enough to pound on his keyboard and produce this offensive and completely without merit nonsense-article:

You probably didn’t even think twice. Your newborn child had only been on this earth for 5 hours, yet they were in grave danger. The hookers and heroin addicts were getting closer and you could sense them. Your infant needed protection. So, you told the nurse to do it. You breathed a sigh of relief as the needle plunged into their pristine pink flesh. The Hepatitis B virus, aluminum, formaldehyde, and various carrying agents attacked your child’s immature immune system, vital organs and brain. But, you had done it. You were a hero. You had protected them against a virus they had virtually no chance of contracting.

No links. Nothing to support his argument. Nada. So here’s one for you:

According to information provided by the Immunization Action Coalition and the CDC, an estimated 1.25 million people are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus in the United States alone, resulting in an estimated 2,000-4,000 deaths each year.  Surprisingly, 30%-40% of these chronic infections were acquired during childhood.  This fact alone presents a compelling case for vaccinating infants – before they become infected… Parents need to understand that the hepatitis B virus can be spread by infectious blood and body fluids, and not solely through sexual contact. Since only 7 out of 10 infected adults show any signs or symptoms, and infected children under age 5 rarely show any symptoms at all, it is obvious how the infected population can easily, and unknowingly, be transmitting the disease to others.

He then goes on to dribble more nonsense:

Many of you are stuck in your Santa Claus, Jesus, and teddy bear bubbles. Here are some facts. In the 1980’s children were given 23 doses of 7 different vaccines. In the 2010’s, children are being given 69 doses of 16 different vaccines. This is more than triple the number of vaccines received by most of the reading audience. Per the CDC’s website, some of the most common vaccine ingredients are aluminum, formaldehyde, bovine extract, preservatives, and mercury. It is a fact, that it is not scientifically known how the body metabolizes many of these ingredients. Look it up.

We wouldn’t have to look it up if you just provided a link, dummy. Hasn’t anyone explained to you how the Internet works? Here’s one:

As science progresses, children and adults are protected against more and more vaccine-preventable diseases. In the 1920s, there was just one vaccine: smallpox. At that time, hundreds of thousands of children got diphtheria—many of them died from it. By the 1950s there were five vaccines, including one for diphtheria, but still tens of thousands of children got sick from bacterial diseases such as meningitis or pneumonia caused by Hib or pneumococcus. Today we have vaccines for diseases that used to affect children every day. Healthy communities prove that immunizations are working.

Mercury has not been used in vaccinations since 2001. Trace amounts are still used as a preservative in the flu vaccine, “but the amount of mercury in a flu vaccine is five times less than in a tuna sandwich. A baby who breast feeds for six months gets 25 times more mercury than is in a single dose of flu vaccine.” I don’t even know why I am throwing facts at this.

It’s like having accidentally used arsenic instead of salt on your family’s Thanksgiving turkey. Of course, you don’t want to tell anyone. Some of them are going to get sick and die, and the rest are going to want to kick your ass. It’s time to man up. Let’s start talking about the things that matter. Your children should be at the top of that list.

Offensive title. Stupid article. The end.

(photo: memegenerator)

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  • Guest

    Has to be trolling. The comment section on there is magical though.

  • Kay_Sue

    I almost couldn’t fit all this on my meme, but I think it was worth it….

  • Lauren_Alli

    This is horrible. I can admit that I almost fell into the anti-vaxx brigade. Nobody likes vaccines, and the stuff you read about that is in them IS scary. I think so many people are getting sucked into it because you don’t want your decision to vaccinate your child to be the reason they die or suffer a serious side effect. You don’t want something you authorized to hurt them. That’s only human. However, it seems a lot of people are forgetting that choosing NOT to vaccinate is the exact same decision, that can have far more serious consequences. I didn’t want to vaccinate my daughter because it sucks and it’s scary. But the thought of her contracting something like whooping cough or polio or hep B scared me far more. Leaving them unvaccinated is leaving them so vulernable. So, I certainly understand the appeal…but I think it’s best to get out of fantasy land and protect your children and others against those life altering diseases.

    • K.

      Or how about the fantasy that your parental research somehow makes you an immunologist.

    • K.

      Sorry–by “you” i meant the collective “you”–not YOU-you!

    • Lauren_Alli

      Hahah, I know. I do that all the time and then worry someone is going to think I called them an idiot.

    • Guest

      It’s totally understandable why people are so freaked about them. It’s terrifying having two completely opposing viewpoints shoved down your throat. However, this is one parenting issue where I am firmly NOT in the “to each her own” camp. There is no reason for kids to get measles now. None. If you don’t want to vaccinate your kid, I can’t make you, but please keep them FAR away from my baby until she can be immunized.

      This coming from a sibling of an autistic man who was diagnosed in 1994, back when they actually didn’t know if there was a link.

    • Williwaw

      I’m sorry that your brother is autistic and I hope he is happy and your family is living happily, but the so-called link between vaccines and autism has been debunked repeatedly and thoroughly. It is unlikely he became autistic because of the vaccines, or anything else that was under your family control. They simply have not determined a cause yet.

    • Rachel Sea

      Um, I like vaccines.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I like what vaccines do, but getting shots SUCKS.

    • Rachel Sea

      I guess I’ve been lucky, I’ve never had a problem. I think blood pressure cuffs are less comfortable than shots. PAPs (which I just did yesterday) are WAY less comfortable. I’ll take a dozen needles in the arm over those damn swabs that feel like they’re made out of steel wool.

    • guest

      Yes, we’re all very well aware! I just meant that when he was diagnosed was around the time that the initial scare came out. Being reasonable people, we didn’t give it much thought, but that was around the time that a lot of people stopped vaccinating. We did not. My mom works for the most research driven autism treatment provider in our state, and exists in the “I’ll believe anything, as long as you show me accurate, repeatable data” area of thinking. (As do I, but she’s in charge of his health care)

    • Katherine Handcock

      It’s easy to get sucked in, I think, if you’re not very confident in your ability to decipher the wildly contradictory information out there. It’s also easy because we just honestly don’t see how bad these diseases are any more. I remember watching the National Geographic special about Jane Goodall and the chimps at Gombe, and being horrified when polio went through the chimp population. My dad pointed out that this was one of the diseases that I got shots for. I’m pretty sure my 8-year-old mind thought, “Are there any more I can get? Should I get two just in case?”

    • Jem

      I wish we could frame the discussion that way. Not immunizing is choosing to give your child a greater shot at getting deadly diseases. It is choosing to give your child the best chance possible to contract Measles, mumps, Rubella, hepatitis all because you read something someone wrote somewhere on the internet.

      You’re right. no one wants the choice they made to be the reason their child got sick but the choice to NOT immunize is the far riskier one if that is your worry.

    • cheleagh

      Am I just circulating with a completely different crowd? I never hear of unvaccinated children having severe complication with childhood diseases. In fact the opposite. Those that are living well in a healthy environment all seem fine.(?)
      I have noticed however that the parents who vaccinated the first child had problems and didn’t continue with the following children. And yes, you guessed it!(or maybe you didn’t) The follow up kids were all much healthier than the first vaccinated child. I hear this constantly.
      Maybe all these comments and article are streaming in from another planet, cause I’m not seeing all the sick and dying unvaccinated on this one. (third world countries are another issue entirely. Poor living conditions and very little nutritious food)

    • Pappy

      Google “Dana McCaffery”
      That is all.

    • cheleagh

      The deaths of children is an experience parents never want. And to put all the measures in place for their safety is the best we can each do.
      Parents usually have the responsibility to make these decisions for their children. How they do it is sometimes a contentious issue. And where the line is drawn to where their choices/responsibilities run out, or are taken from them is another.
      When a parent loses a child it is a very emotional time. And as most know, some of the main questions that enters a grieving parents mind is, “did I do enough, did I do the right things to try to prevent this,” etc., etc.. Though unfounded, guilt is usually the results of these thoughts.
      So from reading some of the sites that you directed me to, there is(not surprisingly)loads of emotional responses.
      Looking at this story empathetically and in a detached manner, i see logic and reason at times being left behind in that wave of emotion.
      And within that same wave of emotion some of M.D.’s actions and questions may have been taken out of context. Remember I just said ‘some.’
      I’m not in M.D.’s head, but there is a possibility that there could have been a little more tact in light of the situation. But again, possibly a lot of distortion in that deserved wave of emotion.
      i remember it being reported that the Dali Llama upon listening to audience members personal stories would sometimes turn to his aides/companions and whisper, “WAY too much emotion.” It is an area that most need to work on more to control it so it doesn’t rule our lives.

      Hoping that what I’ve just written is taken in the same spirit in which I have written it.(with compassion and understanding)

      BTW it is usually forgotten amongst the vitriol thrown at M.D. that she herself lost a young child. So should she not be given the same compassion and understanding awarded to other parents who have had the same experience?

    • Pappy

      In your original comment you stated “I never hear of unvaccinated children having severe complication with childhood diseases.” Well, now you have.

      Apparently you’ve decided to deflect this information by posting tangential and long-winded musings about people’s motivations, emotion, compassion, judgement… The usual buzzwords to avoid confronting the actual reality presented.

      I’ve listened carefully to both sides of the so-called debate and it’s obvious that only one side has factual evidence supporting it. The other is based on a basic misunderstanding of virology, epidimiology and statistics, which is encouraged by fear-mongering opportunists.

      As Voltaire once said “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” Like, for instance, trying to silence people by accusing them of lying about why their child died.

      I, personally, will save my compassion for the many dead and wounded people I see being harmed by the modern deification of the “natural.” If you want to continue posting your stream-of-consciousness speculations, feel free. I can’t be bothered to keep picking through them to find the thread of the original discussion.

    • cheleagh

      Pappy you must have trouble understanding the written word. By your answer you must think I don’t believe it ever happens. It may do, but I have not come across it personally. Doesn’t mean i have deflected the information.
      Anyway we are definitely not on the same page on this issue so no use wasting each others time.
      If like myself, you are onto something that is keeping you disease free, then great. I’ll stick to my plan, because it is definitely working.(others can have the faulty germ theory, it’s of no use to me)

    • cheleagh

      BTW Pappy, my last comment wasn’t meant to be insulting, just straight to the point.
      Also I could view your entire comment on the email notification, but only this(below) on the page here.(?)

      “In your original comment you stated “I never hear of unvaccinated
      children having severe complication with childhood diseases.” Well, now
      you have.”
      Not sure why.

  • K.

    Thought Catalog: a “fun smart creative” digital magazine published out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

    Hipsters are so fucking awesome.

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      From their “About” page:

      “We believe all thinking is relevant and strive for a
      value-neutral editorial policy governed by openness. The more worldviews
      and rhetorical styles on the site, the better. We want to tell all
      sides of the story.”

      All thinking is relevant and equally meritorious of publication! Let’s have an article about how Obama is secretly a Yeti next to one about how the moon landing was faked on our website because WHAT IS TRUTH, REALLY?!

    • K.

      I love you, Aimee Ogden.

      (I used to live in Greenpoint, a stone’s throw from Billyburg, and I teach a lot of millennials. And the majority of them are lovely, lovely students. But man, there is always that one who is just a fucktard and becomes the posterboy for all)

    • TngldBlue

      I read that as “all thinking is irrelevant” and thought, well at least they’re honest.

    • Rachel Sea

      “We’re too stupid to actually edit our publication! We’ll print anything made of words!”

  • Guest

    I’m going to go pop some popcorn and really settle in for this one.

    • SmrtGrl86

      I’ll bring the wine.

    • RayneofCastamere

      The comments are going to be a Ben-Hur level spectacle.

    • Sara610

      Maybe someone will even get run over by a chariot.

    • cheleagh

      A pink and pristine one?
      Hope the horses were immunized.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke


  • SmrtGrl86

    I’ve never physically felt my IQ drop before, that article was a truly painful reading experience. What an idiot. People like that and Facebook drama mongers make me wish I could go back in time and kill the internet before it was born.

  • RayneofCastamere

    Oh noes, I’m on the higher functioning side of the autism spectrum, that means I was RUINED FOR LIFE by vaccines. Why oh why couldn’t I have had polio and measles and smallpox, instead?

    Sure, I’d need an iron lung to breath and my brain would have lesions and I’d essentially be a vegetable in human form, but at least I wouldn’t have this accursed Asperger’s! Woe! Oh woe is me! WOE, I SAY!

    • Allyson_et_al

      Now you’re getting it! God, I want to punch this guy in the throat, and then give him diphtheria.

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      Yeah, I used to teach and I had a number of students on the spectrum, and every time I see NO VACCINES CUZ AUTISM I want to ask that person to explain personally to those students why it would be better for them to be dead from measles or pertussis than to risk being something other than neurotypical. And then I’d like to bash them in the head once or twice with my immunology textbook.

    • RayneofCastamere

      Some parents act like a diagnosis of autism is on level with a diagnosis of cancer. You want an interesting time, compare articles and written experiences of people with autism vs the articles and written experiences of parents of people with autism.

      I know the worried parents generally mean well and are trying to help their children, but some of them seriously need to climb off their cross and actually take the time to know their kid. I’m not saying that Asperger’s or autism is easy for the people with it or their parents, it isn’t, but again, it’s not like it’s some horrific fate like cancer or that the non-neurotypical person can’t live a happy and even “normal” life regardless.

      At any rate, people who think there is any connection between autism and vaccines and then refuse to let their kids get shots because they fear teh ebul autism have more wrong with their heads than I ever will.

      Hell, my mother thinks (or jokes, I can never tell the difference with her) that vaccines caused is responsible for my brother and I being on the spectrum, and she doesn’t regret getting us immunized for a second and is very pro-vaxx.

      At any rate, articles like these are not good for my blood pressure. I HATE being told that I and others like me would be better off dead.

    • cheleagh

      Gawd your over dramatizing it aren’t you?!( re the end bit.)
      In fact most of the comments here are in similar mode.

      My son has Asperger’s. The difference with my assumption of the ’cause’ is that the vaccines may have actually brought on the pre existing weakness that was already there. So I’m half agreeing, but not with the term that everyone persists in using.(’cause’)

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Didn’t you hear? Iron lungs are the new black.

  • Crusty Socks

    This dude’s an attention whore. Seriously?

    “OOOOH buy my book with a controversial title! It must be great!!!”


    • Sara610

      How did this guy manage to get a book published?! I could get an orangutan completely wasted and sit him down in front of a typewriter, and he’d barf out something better than the article linked above.

    • Rachel Sea

      Because any shitmitten can self-publish.

    • Mystik Spiral

      Shitmitten. Word of the fucking day.

  • Lee

    These vaccine opinion articles always get me raging. Especially this one just trying to get a rise out of people Soon enough some parent will go looking for reasons to not vaccinate and read one of these and take it as the gospel. Then they go post all over facebook in some parents group and everyone gets their panties in a bunch about vaccines. Even if the claims of autism were true (and we all know they have been disproved), I would much rather have a child with autism than a dead child.

  • TngldBlue

    This is from his follow up article posted yesterday:
    In my article I did not feel the need to convolute the ideas and issues
    with a list of websites and articles as reference. We should be able to
    first think for ourselves, and then use others perspective as reference
    points and guidance.

    Oh yes, why muddy the waters with actual research and facts? Friends, the better way is to decide for yourself based on what your feels tell you, then gather the like minded round to agree with each other. Cause who needs science?

    • Allyson_et_al

      Right? He’s like the Fox News of science.

    • pixie

      So does that mean I can write my thesis without citing and referencing anyone and just making up all my ideas? Can’t wait to tell my advisor that.

    • TngldBlue

      Well of course, citations & references are only for those that doubt their own genius. If you think it, it is true.

    • Lackadaisical

      Of course. Your supervisor should have the intelligence to think for themselves and find their own supporting evidence. Only those who have been pacified by the government and pharmaceutical companies need such mundane things as facts and proof. Truth just gets in the way of ideas.

    • Jessifer

      And who needs the truth when you have “truthiness”?

  • shel

    I just can’t… even… form…the words…. ugh! I have no problem with parents who want to be informed, but this fear mongering that vaccines are worse than the diseases they prevent, or that it is some how some financial conspiracy (yup, we’re being paid off to hand out all these vaccines, that’s why pediatricians remain one of the lowest paid physicians in the country.)
    It just makes me so angry… especially when you see first hand the little kid miserable with chicken pox, or the baby who stops breathing and turns blue thanks to whooping cough…

  • Mystik Spiral

    If he weren’t clearly so anti-Jesus, you better believe he’d also be claiming that vaccinations contain the souls of aborted babies.

  • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden


    Also all vaccine business aside (because I am 110% done with this guy’s brand of nonsense), he lost me as early as “pristine pink flesh”. 1. Not all babies are pink except maybe in your gross white hipster paradise. 2. Uhh, have you ever seen an actual newborn, dude? Stork bites, blotches, scratches from their little razor-sharp fingernails – not so much pristine before that needle poke.

    • pixie

      A lot of pictures of newborns I’ve seen (and I will admit most of them are white, because most of my friends happen to be white because of where I live) kind of look like squished purple potatoes. Not pink and pristine, or at least not right after being born.

    • Pappy

      One novel I read described newborns as looking “freshly boiled.” To this day, that’s still my favorite description.

    • Rachel Sea

      Enh, most newborns are fairly pink after a few hours. My friend and her husband, who are black, were delayed in taking their daughter home from the hospital because the discharge nurse were sure that the baby was Asian. Both sides were ready to call the cops.

      Regardless, the guy is still a fucking idiot.

    • Katherine Handcock

      That is one of those situations that is awful and miserable as it’s happening, and hilarious to write in the baby book later. I’m betting that will be a family story that’s told for YEARS.

  • ted3553

    this drives me up the frigging wall. As someone who works around science, people spouting off a piece of the fact makes me furious. There are various chemicals and naturally occurring minerals like mercury in many things we ingest, breath and live in. Plants take up metals in soil (and arsenic is one of those) and then we eat plants. The concentration is so small, it is not an issue. This is just a way to get people riled up

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      There’s 0.000025% carbon monoxide in the atmosphere so we should probably all stop breathing to be safe1!!

    • RayneofCastamere

      Come now! We all know dihydrogen monoxide will be the death of us all! And chances are, it’s in your system as we speak! (Comprising about 3/4 of your system, actually.) It was the chemical responsible for the sinking of the Titanic! It’s being pumped into your house as I type! It can kill if inhaled! And Hitler drank it!

      Using big sciencey words and misleading facts are an easy way to get people scared into doing what you want. Why do you think science classes keep getting screwed by politics?

    • Lackadaisical

      It’s addictive too. So addictive that those who start to consume products containing dihydrogen monoxide are never able to wean themselves off of it and kick the habit. The withdrawal symptoms are usually so extreme that they are fatal. Not as addictive as the dioxide gas that is all around our children. It is a government conspiracy to get our children hooked at a young age.

    • RayneofCastamere

      The government even has programs trying to figure out how to get MORE of it to more people. They’re spending millions of YOUR dollars to get mass quantities of the stuff into populated areas.

      There are even programs trying to get more of it into developing countries! What’s next? Advising we shower in the stuff to help prevent disease? Oh wait, THEY’RE ALREADY DOING THAT!

    • Pappy

      The funniest/ most depressing thing about this comment thread is how much it sounds EXACTLY like actual anti-vaxxers. I mean, I know that’s the point, but it’s just eerie to see it in print.

  • Alanna Jorgensen

    I rage squeaked while reading his article and now the cat won’t sit on my lap anymore.

  • Alexandra

    Curious, I love the response about the mercury being less than in a can of tuna, is there a similar stat for the formaldehyde and aluminum? Just because I love to have a stat to throw at someone who says VACCINE AUTISM BLAH to me.

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      Formaldehyde is also produced naturally by the human body and at much higher levels than what’s in a vaccine (you need it to kill the microbes before you inject them into someone, so that they don’t get the disease you’re trying to protect against:


      “Studies have shown that for a newborn of average weight of 6 -8 pounds,
      the amount of formaldehyde in their body is 50-70 times higher than the
      upper amount that they could receive from a single dose of a vaccine or
      from vaccines administered over time”

      Aluminum is there to act as an adjuvant, something that increases your body’s immune response to the actual microbe bits, and it also isn’t comparable to the amount you get in your diet. (same website):

      “Aluminum adjuvant containing vaccines have a demonstrated safety profile
      of over six decades of use and have only uncommonly been associated
      with severe local reactions. Of note, the most common source of exposure
      to aluminum is from eating food or drinking water. “

    • Alexandra

      OOh great facts THANK YOU Aimee!

    • Katherine Handcock

      I usually just tell people that those delicious, healthy pears they want to squish for their baby have formaldehyde in them – I can’t remember exactly how much, but WAY more than is any vaccine. Plus our own bodies naturally produce formaldehyde.

      This is a pretty good, accessible discussion of the scary-sounding vaccine ingredients:


    • Alexandra

      Pears, who knew!? THank you Katherine!

    • Katherine Handcock

      You’re welcome! As the daughter of a chemist, my first question when anyone says something about how X or Y is bad for you is, “In what concentration? What amount are we naturally exposed to?” ;-)

  • rrlo

    The invention of the vaccine was a miracle and one of the greatest scientific achievements. One of the very few things that protect us from infectious diseases and prevent hundreds of thousands of people from being wiped off the planet. I am SO grateful for vaccines and that my son is not in imminent danger from diphtheria or whatever (my dad’s sister died at the age of 1.5 year from diphtheria btw). I don’t understand with all the controversial topics in the world, why anyone would pick on the vaccine issue….

  • http://carrie-murphy.com/ Carrie Murphy
  • Muggle

    My doctor has advised me not to read anything shat out by anti-vaxxers, so I’ll just leave this here so you can guess why.


  • AP

    “You had protected them against a virus they had virtually no chance of contracting.”

    They’re in a hospital. Doctors make mistakes. There’s your risk right there.

    • Surfaces

      Exactly. Tell that to the parents of all the babies who die during the pertussis and measles outbreaks we keep having.

  • SarahJesness

    Personally if I had kids I’d rather they be autistic (or “retarded”, as he so eloquently calls it) than dead, but hey, different strokes for different folks. I’m not a parent so I guess I can’t say.

  • Katherine Handcock

    I wish I believed he was trolling. I really wish I did.

    Thanks, Mommyish. You’ve destroyed my faith in humanity.

    • MaebykittyRN

      I kinda thought “troll” at first, but then I remember that there are people who actually believe that drivel…

  • MaebykittyRN

    I cannot face-palm hard enough over that article. Not enough hands.


  • scooby23

    Wow. Only doge could describe much stupidity.

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