Why paranoids make the best suckers

My Twitter feed was filled this weekend with anger directed at parents who fail to vaccinate their children. The anger is justified, since these parents have fueled a resurgence of measles and other preventable diseases.

One of many striking aspects is the way that many educated parents buy into junk science, exemplified by false claims that vaccines cause autism. It’s sociologically interesting that so many otherwise well-informed people embrace crazy theories so readily-debunked after a few minutes of web-searching.

I tweeted about it, and got a surprisingly widespread response.

No one factor explains what’s happening. Many intentional non-vaccinators are simply free-riding on the herd immunity they hope is created by other people’s children. Such collective action problems provide the basic case for mandatory vaccination…. Continue reading “Why paranoids make the best suckers”