An open letter to so-called “science” bloggers Darcy, Ben and Grant

no vaccination neededIt really amazes me how much spare time some people have on their hands to waste on useless activities. I’m a wife, a mother, a full-time student from home, I have a household to run and I’m the Chairperson of the Immunisation Awareness Society. My goal in life is to help families to make an informed choice on vaccination. The little spare time I have left in my day, I spend helping families whose children have been harmed by vaccinations, as well as attending to other IAS-related things.

So when I saw the 20 page document (http://www.mediafire.com/view/?hgzev62g9n947xq) that Darcy Cowan sent to the Charities Commission on 25 July 2011 attempted to get us de-registered, I was not angry or resentful, but rather jealous. Where does anyone these days find the time to write a 20 page document about a harmless organisation whose only mission is to help families in New Zealand during one of the toughest decisions they will ever make?

So yes, I’m slightly jealous of all Darcy’s spare time. I certainly know what I would be doing if it were me that had that much spare time. I would spend it watching my incredibly beautiful (un-vaccinated) son digging in the dirt and playing on the beach, instead of having to sit in front of the computer and comment on a letter sent to the Charities Commission by someone with too much time on his hands.

You see, the IAS is run by a handful of volunteers who all believe that vaccination should never be forced on any person. Everyone on the committee has a combination of part/full time jobs/families/children to look after/studies/life in general which take up a lot of our time. Despite this, each of us still manages to find time to volunteer for this amazing organisation because we are so passionate about our freedom to be allowed to choose what we put in our bodies.

When people like Darcy Cowan, Ben Wiseman (http://www.ias.org.nz/natural-immunity/conspiracy-theorist-pseudoscientific-nonsense/) and Grant Jacobs (http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/02/24/ias-talks-about-vaccination/) decide that they would like to use some of their spare time to try and make life a bit harder for us, I can’t help but speculate about the type of person that would go to that much effort to try and stop an organisation who voluntarily gives its time to help families all over New Zealand.

In case you missed the recent article in the Dominion Post regarding the IAS’s loss of charitable status, here it is: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/7916140/Charity-group-deregistered-for-lobbying and here is the Charities Commission’s document on its decision: http://www.charities.govt.nz/assets/docs/registration/deregistration/Immunisation-Awareness-Society-Incorporated.pdf.

Perhaps Darcy thinks that this means he “won” (http://sciblogs.co.nz/skepticon/2012/11/07/anti-vaccine-charity-no-more) and Ben sent the IAS an email to say “I’m glad I wrote in about you – ’twas for great justice.” Little do they know that they have actually done the IAS a huge favour, because we are no longer constrained by the rules imposed on us by the Charities Commission. As Darcy writes himself “There are innumerable groups out there that I don’t agree with but you get that in a wide and varied world. In the case of the IAS though the speech they engage in is effectively publicly subsidised via the tax exemption, this should mean that they are constrained in what they can say.” Thank you, Darcy, for freeing us of the constraints in what we can say.

What Darcie does not realise, however, is that we actually share a common goal. On his website, he states that “I’m not interested in telling people what they should think, merely to show them that there is another side to things that they may have, until now, not really thought about and taken at face value.” Well Darcy, at least the IAS agrees with you 100% on this one thing – our sole mission is to provide people with information which they may not have thought about and for them to make up their own minds on the topic of vaccination. At least we are honest in our mission, whereas you only pay lip service to not being interested in telling people what they should think. If this was truly your mission, then you would not have spent countless hours writing letters to the Charities Commission to get us de-registered. It seems you DO want to tell people what to think, because if you didn’t, you would not find us a threat. As it stands, we’re obviously a threat to your way of seeing things, hence you felt the need to try to silence us.

In case you didn’t know, the IAS will be celebrating its 25th birthday next year. There have been many people like Darcy, Ben and Grant over this past quarter of a century who have tried to silence the IAS. Fortunately, truth will always prevail and it will take a bit more than some so-called “science” bloggers – with too much time on their hands – to stop the IAS from helping families to make an informed choice on vaccination.

- Eugenie Kruger

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