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    • All of this purely anecdotal stuff, all the references to outdated, taken-out-of-context or potentially even forged studies, all the "look up this information that I'm only hinting at but not providing a link" schtick - it is getting a bit old, to be honest.

      I was also tempted to respond to this conversation, @Factotum . Because like you I feel frustrated for the same reasons. Your response captured exactly my feelings about what this discussion has devolved into. Every time Chris patiently responds with facts to a false or misleading statement, his response feels glossed over and five new statements are made with no support to back up the claims.

      There is a wonderful author by the name of Steven Hassan and he writes about cults and fringe groups: he was high up in the leadership of the Moonies and so speaks with authority of the manipulative practices that such groups engage in to maintain compliance and acceptance of the group beliefs.

      One of the biggest challenges in getting someone out of a group is the “vacuum” caused if they leave. If the life they will return to is worse than the group, such as family sexual abuse, they will stay in the group. Similarly, if they leave the group then they have to accept all the harm they caused while in the group. That’s why getting someone to change their anti-vaccine views is so hard: if they decide that they were wrong, then they are also having to admit that they harmed their child by not vaccinating.

      I will continue to follow this conversation because I view it through that lense and find it fascinating. I also find some of the comments made alarming, but that doesn’t reduce my curiosity.