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Robert Tamayo

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Holding the Popular Opinion Does Not Make You Smart

For the past year, I've interacted with people in real life who claim anti-vaxxers are unintelligent, science-denying troglodytes. Years and years ago, my old roommate showed me a book that claimed sunscreen was causing cancer, not the sun. I mocked the book's author and said such a claim was ridiculous. Obviously, we all knew that the sun causes cancer and sunscreen prevented it. Then, just last year, an article came out where a sunscreen company was sued and had to recall their sunscreen because it was found that its ingredients were known to cause cancer! Wow! I was such a fool back then to dismiss the idea outright. 

This is the problem with the vax-pushers. The thought never even crossed their minds that a person smarter or wiser than them might hold opinions that they neither understand nor agree with. If someone doesn't agree with them, then they must be lesser somehow. It takes a great deal of humanity to understand that there are people who cannot take the vaccines for religious, medical, or personal reasons. Dismissing them outright accomplishes nothing.

Even more odd is the belief that calling someone "stupid" might be enough to persuade them to join their club. Maybe "trusting science" is some sign of intelligence to them. Maybe they feel like they, too, were once "stupid" but are now "enlightened." This seems like an argumentum ad hominem, but it's more like an argumentum per invitationem -- an argument by invitation to the club of intelligence. "You don't want to be stupid, do you? Join our club, then we'll know you're smart like us."

If these vax-pushers truly cared about humanity, they would treat their fellow knuckle-draggers not with contempt and malice, but with compassion and patience. Instead, they berate them and wish for their deaths, vowing to stomp on their graves and mock their misfortune. Why would someone do that if they truly believed the other person wasn't capable of knowing any better?
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