False equivalence and the failure of the media

The media, those bunch of tools who claim to report what’s going on the world, pretty much suck.  In their effort to remain “fair and balanced”, they offer even speaking time to groups who are just plain fucking stupid.  For instance, The Bad Astronomer has pointed out that Dateline gave equal time to both the pro-vaccine group and the pro-disease group, even tho the antivaxxers are fucking stupid.

Now, I’m not gonna go and point out how ignorant it is not to vaccinate.  If you’re dumb enough to deny your kids the same life-saving vaccines that you yourself received when you were a kid, go for it.  Darwin says let ’em die.  Odds are they got a bunch of your stupid genes and will end up either propagating your dumbosity or will end up giving whopping cough to my newborn where it can easily be fatal.  No, today I’m going to mention two types of logical fallacies, false dichotomy and false equivalence.

These are actually pretty simple.  A false dichotomy is when you present two sides as being the only possible solutions.  For instance, the moon is either made of green cheese or yellow cheese.  You’ve left no room for any other possibility, such as the moon is made of, you know, rock and regolith.  There aren’t just two sides to anything, there are probably hundreds if not thousands.  Of course, the only side that matters is the one with evidence. The pro-disease group has no evidence whereas vaccines have shit-tons of clinical studies showing efficacy.

False equivalence is when you present two sides as equally likely, such as it is equally likely that the moon is made of rock or that the moon is made of cheese.  Unfortunately, not all points are equally likely to occur.  It is not equally likely that the moon is rock or that the moon is cheese; one of those is clearly way beyond being wrong.  The media, when they try to show balance, create a false equivalence.  It is not equally likely that vaccines work or they don’t work.  Just because there are two sides doesn’t mean that one of them isn’t simply fucking wrong.

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Quick update, before anyone accuses me of ad hominem when I refer to pro-disease groups as fucking stupid.  That is NOT an ad hominem.  I’m not saying that they’re wrong because they are fucking stupid, I am saying they are wrong because evidence contradicts their assertions…conclusively.  They continue to believe that vaccines cause autism, despite evidence to the contrary, which is why I say they are fucking stupid.  Order matters people.

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