In an article by Lena H. Sun of the Washington post, it is revealed that the majority of anti-vaccination ads are funded by just two organizations. I’m not writing this post to rail against the dangers of anti-vaxxers. The scientific community has been very clear, vaccines do not cause autism. So you don’t need to hear it from me.
What I am here to rail against is advertisers and conspiracy theorists who use the internet to create a false narrative surrounding important issues like vaccines or climate change. Consensus has been reached: climate change is real, vaccines do not cause autism (and who would care even if they did?). So why are there still climate change deniers in the EPA? Why why do we have an anti-vaxxer as a president? Why does “that uncle” still bring up conspiracy theories about the government using vaccines to make our children sick while everyone is trying to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner?
Organizations use the Internet to promote their ridiculous ideas and make it seem like the consensus is not clear. Even though 99% of climate scientists are in agreement that climate change is real, caused by humans and puts our future in danger, you will still hear from the 1% of scientists that have their doubts. Organizations with political incentive (such as fossil fuel companies) will give platform to fringe “scientists” who rail against climate change and make it seem like the consensus is not clear. This keeps the “debate” going as long as possible, which means that we as a society have not been able to fully move on to taking action.
Unfortunately, I do not have a solution to this problem. There is no law against disagreeing with scientific consensus. There is no law against buying advertisements to support anti-climate change or anti-vaxx ideas. But I would caution anyone who uses the internet to be careful about what you read, research the facts, and maybe call out your crazy uncle for spreading misinformation.