Anti-Vaxxers, Conspiracy Theories & Epistemic Responsibility: Crash Course Philosophy #14

Today we explore what obligations we hold with our personal beliefs. Hank explains epistemic responsibility and the issues it raises with everything from …




  1. They should have the anti-vaxers do a study of all the kids that didn't get vaccinated and see what the rates of autism is in the control group.

  2. Relate this to playing the lottery. You have a .00001% chace of a very large reward. But does that make it smart to invest your time energy and money into that small of a chance for reward?

  3. Anti-Vax is a force option because at the moment of sick the choice was forced. The only difference is that there is a possibility of no sickness, but that is beyond control.

  4. I think that Clifford came up with that rationale just to justify his belief in God and avoid cognitive dissonance. Like proven in the very next minute of the video it gave way for false belief which ends up hurting everyone.

  5. My mom was one of those anti-anti-vaccine people, but I wouldn't have had as many sick days away from school if I had all of the vaccines.

  6. You can choose a ready guide
    In some celestial voice
    If you choose not to decide
    You still have made a choice
    You can choose from phantom fears
    And kindness that can kill
    I will choose a path that’s clear
    I will choose free will.

    Free Will by Rush is an amazing philosophical document!

  7. These philosophers are mind-bogglingly ignorant. Phenomenology dictates you may have an experience that conclusively proves to you, alone, that God exists. God chose to give you, alone, this experience. Thus you are unable to prove it to others. This soundly trumps every premise set forth in the video.

  8. I think anti-vaxers are not the result of belief without evidence since at one point there was in fact 'evidence'. Its probably more of a question of trusting authority figures. Since the 'evidence' to support the idea that vaccines can cause ill effects was 'proven wrong' it doesn't bode well for 'evidence' on the matter in general. Since most people are not scientists who can prove or disprove the concept we have to put faith in people who are. Also it is not just paranoia to say that evidence can be and has at times been manipulated to produce a desired result, and it is also true that the amount of money made in the sale of vaccines is a potential motivation to manipulate the evidence in that way. The fact that flu vaccines are being sold at walmart to people who benifit little if at all from them demonstrates to me that profit is more highly valued than public health in a capitalist model. I would say that there is in fact enough logical evidence to at least question whether it is an actual fact that vaccines do not cause autism or if there is too much money in it to admit that it does. There is nothing at all illogical about any of that and there is also nothing logical about taking it for granted that people in authority will tell the truth. That being said if you take the position that vaccines may cause autism you now have a choice between your child possibly getting polio or possibly being born with autism. Since autism is more a part of american life than polio that seems like the more immediate threat to some people. The logic seems pretty sound to me and no real assumptions are required for it to be considered a possibility. However even if it is true that vaccines can cause autism not taking them can cause an epidemic so it may be a risk that we should take. This resolves the problem without muddling around with flimsy hearsay and sense data, and in a way that should appease the conformation bias of those who just find it distasteful or absurdly paranoid to believe that science can be tampered with in the real world. (Speaking of which, the good of humanity is a pretty good reason to keep such a thing secret.) That is when not getting a vaccine becomes illogical. The unfortunate truth is that although science is meant to be a group of people seeking truth it is a bit utopian to believe that all scientists seek truth over a paycheck and it is simply incorrect to believe that someone saying they have evidence is the same as you yourself having evidence. Descartes is rolling over in his grave right now guys.

  9. You know why? Because the companies that makes the disease statted making them again because ppl are seeing the truth. Why not eat healthy and build ur immuse system naturally.

  10. But a lot of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theories find their own sources of evidence or make them up based on personal experiences and beliefs. This means that their beliefs are so strong that it becomes the truest evidence to them and all counters are false. Is that a violation of epistemic responsibility?

  11. I think you have a moral responsibility to shine a better light on those of us men who have a lot of chest hair and like to keep a button or two unbuttoned on our flashy disco duds. Many of us are egalitarians and believe in total parity of the sexes.

  12. The thing with vaccinating is that there is actual scientific evidence to support that they work and they don’t cause autism (there have been cases of correlation, but that’s not causation), the point being that anti-vaxers choose to ignore the evidence laid before them, which could be deemed immoral. Faith, however, doesn’t have scientific evidence to say that there is no god. Sure, there’s arguments and counter arguments, but there is no solid proof that he doesn’t exist. Sure, there’s no solid proof that he exists, but that’s what faith is all about.

  13. non argument about agnosticism. You can believe in 'something' beyond death or motivating life, but not knowing whether it is a god or gods or a goddess or a different god or spirits or reincarnation or or or.

  14. I believe in vaccinations (I was vaccinated, so were my kids). When I heard the argument that vaccines were linked to autism, I thought "Well, we should look into that.". But many in the pro-vax community blindly said anti-vaxxers were just stupid without even wanting to investigate the claim. Then it turned out the reports of links to autism were highly suspect (some said 'fraudulent'). Okay, case closed, right? Vaccines win.
    Problem: Something that came out that no one seemed to pick up on was the pharmaceutical companies who refused to hand over the list of ingredients in the mandatory vaccines. That's what I find unacceptable. I do think vaccines should be mandatory. But I don't think you can mandate an injection, then tell people they have no right to know what's in it. Coke has a right to keep its formula a secret, because you don't have to drink it. Pharmaceutical companies should have to waive that right when they accept a government contract to forcibly inject their product into your veins. Remove the choice, remove the secrets. Seems fair to me…

  15. What is "sufficient evidence"? What do we really know or understand? We learn and manipulate words and concepts, but how do they relate to "objective reality"? As for me, I believe (and ultimately doesn't it all come down to belief?) in a Creator God who is so far superior to us that we could not know Him without His revelation, and even then there are limits to what we can understand. I believe His Self-revelation is in the Bible, the Word of God. Among other things I very much like this written by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesian church: "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3: 17-19) Paul understood that knowledge is framed in words and ideas and so is perforce limited, and he indicates that there is something accessible that is not, i.e. experiential knowledge of the love of God in and through Jesus Christ. Read the Bible, people. Anything that does not accord with it is vain and idle speculation. "Repent and believe the gospel." (Jesus, Mark 1: 15)

  16. Oh, this is a fun one. The existence of morality is unprovable, and therefore immoral to believe in, according to this theory. But if there is no morality, how can it be immoral to believe in it? If everything is relative, what about relativity itself? If relativity is relative, doesn't that necessitate that some things aren't relative? If there are no absolutes, the lack of absolutes is not absolute, meaning there must be at least a few absolutes.

  17. I'm not an atheist but I'm a little annoyed when philosophical conversations end up at god/religion when it doesn't really need to.

  18. I don't see a lot of difference between the examples of forced and not forced option. Forced is: Go out or go not out. 2 options. Why is peanutbutter, ham and none not just a three-options decision?

  19. What about spiritual evidence? I don't understand why I have prove god exists to have that belief. When god himself proves he exists to me. And i have alot of spiritual evidence within myself.

  20. this was all rather cursory. the debate on epistemic responsibility and virtue epistemology is a fair sight more developed than either of those thinkers :/

  21. Conspiracy theorists do believe what they do because they have no evidence. It’s because they have evidence that they believe is more legitimate than that of mainstream media. They believe they are like the people that claimed sugar was the cause of metabolic issues in the 70s when mainstream media said it was trans fat.

  22. Our information is suppressed, diluted and manipulated. The student doesn't trust the teacher any more because of this, so in turn we search for alternate information, there's some awesome stuff And some ridicules stuff out there! And for the vaccines, the evidence surely can't count when it only comes from those that gain finacialy from it, does it? I mean, there not gunna say there bad even if they are!

  23. You talk about the paper that was discredited but are you aware that when Dr. Smith got his medical license back the judges said that the paper should never have been retracted and that Andrew Wakefield and dr. Smith should never have had the license taken away to begin with… why don't you talk about the whole story????? Why do you just talk about the first half…. There is so much more to it!!!

  24. @CrashCourse The more I learn about philosophy the less confident I am in my own beliefs. I am not willing to accept the ani antvax argument on anyones word. How many people in the comments have done any original research on the topic? how many have done "any" research on the topic. It seems to me that the argument on both sides is mostly based on an appeal to authority fallacy. I think (as aspiring philosophers) we should all be a little less certain of our views and not just jump on the bandwagon of whatever side we take.

  25. Here's a question, if your child is vaccinated why would you be worried about them being around unvaccinated children?

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