“Are you a no-vax?”

- It sounds like an accusation.

“Are you trying to evade the question?”

- Before answering, can I tell you a little anecdote?

“All right”.

- Your question reminds me of a journalist interviewing the director of a film, where female characters were definitely not very nice. So, during the interview, she suddenly asked the director: ‘Are you a misogynist?’ Faced with that question, and in an attempt to defend himself, he replied by saying: ‘What are you saying? I love all women!’

“Sorry, but what does it have to do with my question?”

- Now I’ll explain. The director’s answer, understandable considering the nature of the question, betrays a logical error. Because you see, it is not necessary to ‘love all women’ in order not to be a misogynist: it is enough to ‘love some women’. The problem is that the director, knowingly or not, had the premonition that if he answered in a logically correct way, his defense would not be perceived as sufficient. Because it is easy to imagine that the journalist too cultivated the prejudice that ‘not loving all women’ means ‘hating them all’.

“I really don’t understand where you want to go.”

- A bit of patience. The logical error I am talking about is that which consists in believing that the negation of ‘always’ is ‘never’. That is, the ‘negation of something’ is confused with ‘the opposite of something’. It is legitimate to say that black is the opposite of white, but it is completely incorrect to say that a ‘non-black’ object is ‘white’. Do you agree?

“I agree, a ‘non-black’ object could be green, red, gray…”

- Exactly, a ‘non-black’ object is ‘white’ only in a binary world, where only black and white objects exist. But we don’t live in a binary world, right?

“Right, but I still think you’re evading my question.”

- I’ll get to your question. This confusion, between ‘negation’ and ‘opposite’, also manifests itself in the way people interpret the word ‘no-vax’, which expresses precisely a negation. Because you see, when you ask me the question if I am a no-vax, even if I am aware of its correct logical content, I also know that those who ask it usually mistakenly believe that a no-vax is ‘a person who hates all vaccines’. And based on this misconception, there will also be a tendency to think that the only possible answer is to affirm the exact opposite, that is, to ‘love all vaccines’.

“I understand, a bit like the director who responded by saying he loves all women.”

- Which is a very unlikely statement, don’t you think?

“Now I’m confused, what is a no-vax?”

- By definition, a no-vax is not a person who ‘loves all vaccines’, nor a person who ‘hates all vaccines’. A no-vax is a person who is ‘in favor of some vaccines and against others’. In other words, a person who is able to choose according to circumstances, that is, to make evaluations. So, to return to your question, which I in no way wanted to evade, my answer is affirmative: yes, I am a no-vax, that is, I am a person who does not love all vaccines and who does not hate all vaccines. Can I ask you a question in turn?

“I listen to you”.

- Are you in favor of all vaccines, mandatory and non-mandatory, that are placed on the market by pharmaceutical companies? I mean, did you do them all, I mean, really all of them?

“Well, no”.

- Okay, then you’re a no-vax too. Welcome to the club!

Physicist, writer, editor, researcher and self-researcher. For more info: www.massimilianosassolidebianchi.ch