I am responding to the Jan. 8 Sentinel editorial, “Sticking Point; For everyone’s sake, including your own, take the COVID vaccine.”

The Sentinel editors doubtless believe they are offering the most helpful advice. However, they are actually promoting a false dilemma fallacy by implying there are only conventional truths (which all should agree with) and dangerous lies (which all should condemn). With this mindset, there is no middle ground, no reasonable basis for disagreement or debate. The Sentinel resorts to ad-hominem attacks and strawman arguments while failing to cite a single scientific study.

Let’s consider The Sentinel’s use of the pejorative “anti-vaxxer” label. This term was invented by the pharmaceutical industry to preemptively dismiss the concerns of parents — and increasingly, doctors — regarding the effects of modern vaccines. The industry would rather you not know that: 1) it has zero liability for injuries from its vaccines; 2) the taxpayer-funded U.S. Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out over $4 billion to date; or 3) we have yet to see a double-blind placebo study of a single childhood vaccine.

They would like you to believe that the ruined lives of children and families have nothing to do with an aggressive schedule that now delivers 70 doses of 16 different vaccines starting day one, well before an infant has a fully developed immune system. They would rather not investigate the real epidemic of nearly 50 percent of U.S. children suffering from at least one chronic disease condition. They’d like to bury the peer-reviewed study showing stunning differences in illness levels between conventionally vaccinated children and those who either delay or avoid vaccination (https://bit.ly/3bzQike). And it’s sacrilege to consider the Pentagon study finding that flu shots increase susceptibility to coronaviruses (https://bit.ly/2LNT3DG).

Now, The Sentinel editors insist you submit to an experimental gene therapy that does not even promise to prevent serious illness, death or viral transmission, one with an adverse event reporting rate 50 times higher than that of flu shots. Yet The Sentinel is telling you, “Don’t question. We know what’s best for you.”

Robust debate is the hallmark of a healthy democratic society. Most of all, decisions affecting our personal health deserve to be fully informed. The outright intolerance of viewpoints that deviate from the establishment line is leading to dangerous levels of censorship and suppression that one would expect to find in totalitarian countries. The Sentinel can and should do better.