Wayne Rohde is an antivaccine activist, and the founder of the antivaccine group the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota, occasional blogger for the antivaccine conspiracy website Age of Autism, and a rich source of trite, endlessly repeated and falsified (and repeated again) antivaccine tropes. Rohde is an attorney, and has, as far as we can tell, no background in science or research. He is nevertheless an active figure at antivaccine conferences and was in 2019 asked to serve on the new Minnesota state council on autism together with fellow antivaccine conspiracy theorist and health freedom advocate Patti Carroll; that state council was initiated by state senator Jim Abeler, a chiropractor and fellow anti-vaccine activist, who justified the appointment of Rohde and Carroll by invoking the balance fallacy. Rohde himself is an executive for the group Health Choice, which advocates that chronic health conditions in children are caused by “unhealthy choices” including “side effects of vaccine choices.” This is not true.
To people like Rohde, vaccines are to blame for most ills. Here, for instance, is (a discussion of) Rohde trying to connect Harold Ramis’s death to vaccines through desperately bizarre speculation. Then he refers to some garbage studies by Shaw and Tomljenovic, websites that say the opposite of what he says that they say, and vaccine court cases. (Indeed, Rohde has written a book about vaccine courts: The Vaccine Court: The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which seems to be mostly an instance of Badger’s Law). Of course, Rohde is mostly JAQing off. But it was the vaccines. Nothing in what he says has anything to do with facts, truth and evidence, but if you start with an idea, stick to it dogmatically, and don’t care about what is actually the case, you can connect almost anything to it with enough ingenuity.
Of course, Rohde denies being antivaccine; instead, he is – when it suits him – an advocate for health freedom. By claiming to be pro-freedom, he gets to call his opponents “fascists”, or “medical fascists”. He likes that. He also likes questioning the motivations of those who disagree with him.
Diagnosis: crackpot conspiracy theorist. He is quite vocal, however, and seems to have some influence in the antivaccine movement. Dangerous.
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