05 February 2014


Because you're free to be a moron.

"WE'RE JUST ASKING QUESTIONS!!!!" is the familiar territory-marker of the anti-vaccine team. And asking questions is good. Asking questions is useful. But when those questions have been answered pretty convincingly by science and commonsense (For example "Do vaccines cause autism?"), asking them over and over and over again has little point, and is, frankly, irritating.

Many anti-vaccine campaigners like the ever-mouthy but increasingly unpopular Meryl Dorey cry about how their freedom is being quashed because their innocent questions are being ignored or covered up or marked as "dangerous to society". In fact, their questions are being ignored, because they're old and repetitive and nobody wants to answer them after already answering them so many times (incidentally, the answers to some of these old, repetitive, irritating questions are dealt with neatly here and here).

By contrast, there are some extremely sensible questions floating around on this topic, for example, "Why isn't there a poem about this?"

“We’re only asking questions!” says the anti-vaccine crowd,
“And to stop us doing that negates our freedom!”
In fact questions are essential and must always be allowed;
‘Cause as far as finding out stuff goes, we need ‘em.

Every person ever living, bent with age or quick with youth,
Has asked questions. Why? And where? And how? And what?
There’s no question that most questions bring us closer to the truth,
We’re much better off by asking them than not.

When a question has been answered, and the evidence is weighed,
We incorporate it into what we know.
Answered questions are the bedrock upon which more learning’s laid;
From whence ‘upward’ is the only way to go.

Sometimes answers are surprising, undesirable or weird,
Though the rationale behind them is quite strong.
Just because an answer’s something that you doubted, loathed or feared,
Then that doesn’t, in most cases, make it wrong.

If the questions you’re “just asking” have been answered oft before,
And supporting proof is plentiful and plain,
Then you still have every human right to ask them evermore;
But I’m free to think you’re stubborn and insane.

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