Back in November I made a Reddit port to r/nostupidquestions regarding vaccines. That blew up and now months later, I’ve been on NBC, CNN, FOX News, and so many more.

The article written on my family was the top story on the Washington post this past weekend, and I’ve had numerous news sites sharing this story. I was just on GMA as well, but I haven’t watched it yet

You guys seem to have some questions and I’d love to answer them here! I’m still in the middle of this social media fire storm and I have interviews for today lined up, but I’ll make sure to respond to as many comments as I can! So let’s talk Reddit! HERES a picture of me as well

Edit: gonna take a break and let you guys upvote some questions you want me to answer. See you in a few hours!

Edit 2: Wow! this has reached the front page and you guys have some awesome questions! please make sure not to ask a question that has been answered already, and I'll try to answer a few more within the next hour or so before I go to bed.

Edit 3 Thanks for your questions! I'm going to bed and have a busy day tomorrow, so I most likely won't be answering anymore questions. Also if mods want proof of anything, some people are claiming this is a hoax, and that's dumb. I also am in no way trying to capitalize on this story in anyway, so any comments saying otherwise are entirely inaccurate. Lastly, I've answered the most questions I can and I'm seeing a lot of the same questions or "How's the autism?".

Comments: 3091 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

savemejebus08986 karma

Are you disappointed that you will never be able to experience things like measles, polio, or diphtheria?

ethanlindenberger6736 karma

No, no I am not.

edit: spelling is hard

JakeWNL5628 karma

How’s your relationship with your mother after making your decision?

ethanlindenberger10136 karma

My mother and I have a great relationship. Although we are continuing to discuss evidence and our different viewpoints we’ve been able to build a foundation that we still love each other regardless of disagreement.

ebUTA2664 karma

Do you think it's possible to use your moment in the spotlight to craft an appeal to anti-vax parents that is different from what they are used to?

I saw you during the segment on NBC Nightly News, and you very evenly stated that "our best science doesn't support anti-vax claims", which is completely true, but doesn't resonate with the antivax crowd enough.

My question might be becoming a loaded one, but do we need to be talking about dead kids more?

ethanlindenberger3165 karma

So to address this question (which is a great question btw) I’ll talk to you’re three points

1: I think this totally could be used to appeal to the antivaxx crowd. In a way it already has, because people have noticed that I’m not attempting to make people look stupid. There’s an Aspect of this where you can’t deny the overwhelming evidence in support of vaccines, but you don’t need to present that in a way that is super hostile. So I think I’ve done that

2: that statement of “the best science” is honestly already a toned down truth. The science supports vaccines. Legitimate science supports vaccines. Real science. So going anywhere beyond, “our best scientific evidence” is too far at least for me to maintain authenticity

3: yes. Yes we do

XxDayDayxX2044 karma

Does your dad stick by your mom on the anti-vaxx view?

ethanlindenberger2160 karma

To a small degree with kids at a young age, and I disagree with that as well

Edit: spelling

Edit 2: Wow that was a bad answer, I’m sorry guys! My dad believes vaccinating young children, especially with a lot of shots, is bad. After they develop a strong immune system he believes they’re fine and I really question the evidence on that front

_linzertorte_1787 karma

Have you discussed your reasoning for getting vaccinated with your siblings? If so, how have they responded? Do they understand your mom’s reasoning?

ethanlindenberger3404 karma

I have discussed it with my siblings and they each have their own individual thoughts. My sister supports my moms views and my brother is more on my side. He’s expressed a desire to get vaccinated but he’s still doing his own research.

We all understand our mom loves us, but she is misinformed. I disagree with her on almost every level. That’s a weird place to be in but we’ve made it work

JaCoBaLlEn1554 karma

You like soup? What's your favorite?

ethanlindenberger3074 karma

I like cereal. It’s basically milk soup.

But for real I guess chicken noodle lmao

Netflixandzzz969 karma

Now that you’re unlikely to die from a preventable disease, what’s your adulting plan/goals?

ethanlindenberger1731 karma

Hoping to pursue a career in ministry and become a published author. Obviously being alive helps with that plan too

laughterxxx892 karma

How are the people around you reacting to your fifteen minutes of fame?

ethanlindenberger1798 karma

Nothing too crazy. I actually have a group chat where my fiends and I share memes on Snapchat, and I shared some memes with my picture in it. They really liked that. I also took a picture at the broadcasting station of me dabbing where I did my Fox interview and they lost it. So part of it has been a joke, like “oh Ethan’s famous but he’s still our stupid meme guy.” In all honesty it’s been great because of that. I’m not a different person now and people see that

ArabianKnight19971062 karma

Dabbing? I see evidence of vaccins making you autistisc! See they are bad for you! /s

ethanlindenberger1101 karma

breadpunk794 karma

Are there any other extreme views your parents had growing up?

ethanlindenberger3165 karma

Extreme? Maybe, depends on what you find extreme. They are both very conservative and hold very conservative views, and because of that we disagree on a lot of political ideas in a way I find extreme. I don’t want to try and bash my parents though and say, “oh yeah they believe [blank] stupid idea, that’s so extreme!” At this point the antivaxx community would see that as further proof this story is just about a rebellious teenager.

k_chaney_9740 karma

What does your mom think about you not having autism?

ethanlindenberger1832 karma

After getting my vaccines? Must be one of the lucky ones

craigishell505 karma

Is your mom vaccinated?

ethanlindenberger693 karma

I’m not fully sure, I haven’t spoken to her parents about the issue. Even if she is most likely that decision was her parents or was before she become misinformed on the issue, so that doesn’t matter to much to our circumstances

liam1463458 karma

What do you think of people like those in r/conspiracy claiming you're some sort of actor doing this for a stunt?

ethanlindenberger770 karma

That’s stupid and not true lol

damnedtolive437 karma

Did the medical staff act any differently/were they surprised?

ethanlindenberger937 karma

I haven’t spoken to any medical staff since this story blew up. But when I went in to get my vaccines they were simply kind of surprised I hadn’t gotten any vaccines for 16 years. And even then on my records I got two shots. So they were almost a little disappointed by that but SUPER happy and supportive I was catching up

gripits385 karma

What was something surprising that you learned when researching "Vaccines vs. Non-Vaccines"?

ethanlindenberger1386 karma

That not everyone should be vaccinated. Immunodeficient people and kids with allergic reactions to vaccines shouldn’t be pushed to get vaccinated. Herd immunity will protect those people. So the idea that the government is FORCING people to get vaccinated even if they have a weak immune system or allergies isn’t even true. That was surprising and reaffirmed to me the importance of getting vaccines as a young adult who is healthy and able to get those vaccines

Edit: clarification

mug2432369 karma

What was your mother's reaction when you got vaccinated? And what made you decided not to believe what your mother told you your whole life?

ethanlindenberger1072 karma

When I told her I was getting vaccinated, she was upset. She was scared and thought I was going to harm myself by getting vaccinated. That thought process makes sense when you REALLY believe vaccines cause brain damage, cause autism, and are a corporate scheme. But the evidence isn’t there, the data supports vaccines on nearly every scientific and logical level. When I presented sources that WERE scientific and reliable like the CDC taking numerous studies and concluding vaccines don’t cause autism, those were dismissed as big pharma governmental schemes. So at that point I knew there was a strong likelihood my mom was deeply misinformed and I’d have to make this decision without her immediate support

quantarion304 karma

Are you gonna try to get your younger brother vaccinated too?

ethanlindenberger446 karma

Totally

birdmommy254 karma

Do you feel that your parents were anti-vaxx because of their conservative political views (i.e. “the government can’t tell me how to raise my child”), a fear of ‘toxins’/‘poisoning’ you, or some other reason?

ethanlindenberger693 karma

That might have a side to it.

Here’s my thing, being skeptical of any authority is good, especially one with as much power as the government. You have to always ask, “who benefits from this?” If you don’t you could easily be taken advantage of in different ways. But at the same time not everything is a conspiracy theory where everyone’s out to get you. So if you think that logic can be applied to everything purely because it “is the government”, that crosses a line of rationality. The amount of evidence from independent sources and scientific research is separate from big pharmaceutical companies and the government.

Great question, hope that makes sense

Edit: clarification

FacialClaire193 karma

Since you've grown up with an anti-vaxx mom, would you say that there are any misconceptions people have about anti-vaxxers? What is something most people wouldn't know about growing up with anti-vaxx parents?

ethanlindenberger520 karma

That they hate their kids. My mom loves me and my siblings, and that love was used as a tool by the antivaxx community to convince loving parents like her that she’s poisoning her kids and giving them autism. It’s the sources of that information I believe are entirely malicious and downright evil for doing that. So yeah, that’s why I’ve seen at least in my case

Real_meme_farmer183 karma

Are there any tips you can give when arguing with an antivaxx person? Like not evidence but ways to word your argument to make it more convincing?

ethanlindenberger637 karma

I would say it’s not your job to convince people, it’s your job to find the evidence and compare notes. Usually antivaxx material doesn’t hold much water, so finding out what sources come from what, who is funding the research, if the study is peer reviewed and has been replicated, all of that is still important.

The thing people miss is that you’re usually taking to another human. Be nice, be respectful, and continue to affirm the truth. That’s the most genuine and kind thing we can do while not making the situation any less important

GeauxAllDay157 karma

What made you realize that your parents were wrong about this? When did you come to that conclusion?

Alternatively (or additionally)- Why does your mother feel the way she does about vaccines?

ethanlindenberger202 karma

I’ll answer the second part of your question. She was misinformed by numerous sources of debunked information and data that has attempted to prove false ideas such as vaccines causing autism. That false information in her eyes is true, despite being debunked and false. So I hope that answers your question. Some sources could include sites and places such as but not specifically stopmandatoryvaccines.com and various friends/social groups

4_0_4error147 karma

You went your entire life up until know unvaccinated? Have you or any of your siblings gotten sick from preventable illnesses bc if this?

ethanlindenberger330 karma

Some sources have inaccurately said Ive never received a vaccine. Even I thought I never received any vaccines. My mom partially is to blame for that because she’s incorrectly said I’m “unvaccinated”. I received a tetanus and Hep B shot when I was 24 months old. Other than that I never received numerous standard vaccines. And none for 16 years.

Not yet man. And I hope that doesn’t change

Dissociatve135 karma

Are you excited about getting a touch of the tism?

RogueZ1173 karma

I’m sure he’s super excited about It. He can finally post on WSB and 4chan.

ethanlindenberger142 karma

Lol nice

FuzzyMeep7119 karma

Is Die hard a Christmas movie?

ethanlindenberger155 karma

Heck yes

Kaikyrius110 karma

What advice would you give to those who are in the same situation with anti-vaccination parents?

ethanlindenberger277 karma

Be respectful, and even if your parent is illogical or even rude, continue to calmly present your evidence when you get the chance. If they still don’t listen just get vaccinated when you’re old enough and continue to reaffirm you’re doing it for your own sake and for others safety, but you still love your parents

Ken-Popcorn89 karma

How is your mother taking all of this? Congratulations for standing up to ignorance.

ethanlindenberger249 karma

She’s totally supportive of me speaking out against her sources and opinions as long as I maintain love and respect. That’s all she’s asked and that’s all I can continue to do.

And thanks man ❤️

The-Lemons84 karma

Would you blame your mother, if one of your siblings died from a preventable disease?

ethanlindenberger196 karma

I'd try not to, instead I hope I'd blame the misinformation fed to her. The individuals trying to convince loving mothers to not vaccinate so they can make money (which is not an exaggeration that happens often) are to blame for the dead children. As a christian I also think it's important to be loving and forgiving, but with that thought I also hope that God forgives the people who are responsible for spreading lies that have killed thousands of children while judging them for that level of evil greed.

Makes me sick.

dissenter_the_dragon84 karma

Who are your top 3 favorite rappers dead or alive?

ethanlindenberger151 karma

Nice question!

1: NF. I love his music and even saw him live

2: Eminem. He is just lyrically insane

3: logic. He has good heartfelt lyrics and some fun songs.

In all honesty my music taste constantly change. Some days I’m in a TØP mood, and some days I listen to indie Christian music.

Edit: formatting

EmilyCMay56 karma

What made you seek out conflicting/new information about the issue in the first place?

ethanlindenberger107 karma

the fact that the substantial evidence against vaccines had never been presented to me, and once I came across the genuine data it changed nothing about my moms reasoning

Twitchy4life53 karma

How has the media impacted your life so far with all this coverage? I know it might be a little weird at first sitting in front of a camera, but how Did you cope? Did you approach them first or did they approach you?

ethanlindenberger138 karma

I never approached a single news source. The only one I did was the daily wire because my brother would cry if I spoke to Ben Shapiro, he loves that guy. It’s been a change I’ve had to get used to for sure, but I’m handling it well I think. I love to speak publicly and I think the situation is generating discussion, so all I feel is gratitude.

Of course my phone blowing up is new, the fact I’m having to turn down interviews on a merit of time and mental health is crazy. All of it happening at once is sudden but I’m keeping my head above water

Draethiss40 karma

What influenced you to look into the information yourself? Where was the majority of that information found?

ethanlindenberger69 karma

Sources such as the CDC, WHO, and specific scientific studies cited by them were the majority of where I looked. Historical evidence of vaccines in the case of polio and the dangers of them in the measles story have also been a big place to base my decision from

brodownthrowdown36 karma

How did your mother become an antivaxxer? What led her to think vaccinations are consequently bad? Thank you.

ethanlindenberger82 karma

In her own words she saw both sides and decided against vaccinations as the safest decision for her kids. Because of that we can assume the "evidence" she saw came from debunked studies and false evidence.

There is also an element of emotional appeal from her personal experiences. She claims a friends son developed a stutter a few days after being vaccinated, but the thing is, how many unknown factors are at play there? A huge difference exist between correlation and causation. You determine a correlation by coincidence and similar timing or data parallels. But a causation is determined by extensive studies of real world effects in a study. Because of that her personal experiences don't create concrete evidence, especially when the data goes against that experience.

So to say it in a different way, she probably had friends and social groups influence her, and when she looked into evidence that defended that experience, it created an echo chamber. The opposing sources didn't match up with her personal experiences so it was less convincing. She didn't recognize the difference between correlation and causation

Zer0Summoner30 karma

Hey, congrats on your courage and your decision-making.

Do you have any plans to try to "underground railroad" other kids to vaccination? What would you think about a plan like that?

ethanlindenberger103 karma

Illegally getting kids vaccinated without their parents knowing? I won’t do that. If I can educate those kids or parents with my situation on their legal options and best way to approach the discussion, I’ll do that and continue to do that

EthanF30 karma

Hello Ethan,

This is also Ethan.

Is it nice to meet you?

ethanlindenberger38 karma

Hey me.

I'm glad I've met me as well.

Hope things are going well for us

7ballcraze30 karma

Was your mom in a mlm?

ethanlindenberger63 karma

God I hope not. I don't think so man but the moment I hear something about essential oils I'm gonna hang myself

sammy041529 karma

As a person who is 2 classes away from a bachelors in both biology and chemistry, with an emphasis on biochemistry and interest in both genetics and virology, I would just like to say thank you for being such a level headed 18 year old. You researched on your own using peer reviewed material and used the results to form a logical answer.

I do have a question that I dont has been asked yet- do you have any idea what you want to do when you're older? You seem like you would fare well in the science field

Edit: ah saw that someone did ask. Follow up question then- what are you interested in writing about?

ethanlindenberger18 karma

I technically already wrote a book called "10,000 words of silence" which is about changing youth groups and making youth ministry more effective. If you look on my Facebook profile you'll see that I had been doing public post asking people to vote on book cover designs and stuff like that months before anything from this story took place. Even then people are claiming this whole story is just a PR stunt on my part to advertise that, and if you're not stupid it's obvious that's not true. I haven't spoken about it on a single interview both live and by phone. Nothing. So if this was to advertise that I just lost potentially thousands of dollars.

I've been quiet about that because I know people will claim I'm using this story to capitalize on that project/book. And they already are. But that's an example of what I want to write about and I have a lot more I'd love to talk about including political discussions

Keyra1329 karma

Have you been encountering more people with anti-vax/conspiracy beliefs because of this? Did you grow up around a lot of people with those beliefs? What did you learn in school about vaccines/virology?

Also go you dude. You're handling this well.

ethanlindenberger45 karma

Totally. My Facebook is a hornets nest of Antivaxx arguments like being pro vaccine and pro life are mutually exclusive because certain vaccines stem from studies on aborted fetal cells.

And no, I didn't. I learned in school that vaccines are a dead/weak form of a disease to develop immunity.

And thanks man!

Mrmojorisincg26 karma

I’m not trying to be an asshole so if this question comes off that way I’m very sorry. But this relates to one of my biggest issues with antivaxxing.

I see you have a good relationship with your mother, but does it bother you that she was willing to risk your life to prevent an irrational fear of you being autistic? A drastically less harmful condition?

ethanlindenberger40 karma

It bothers me people took the love for her kids and lied to her so much that she truly believes she’s helping her children. At this point if she disagrees further I’ll try to keep that in mind, you know?

DogAteMyWookie25 karma

Are you autistic yet? Do you feel any different? Can I blame vaccinations for my poor life choices? 👍

ethanlindenberger33 karma

No, no, and no?

nomau23 karma

They even put an article about it in the print version of my local newspaper in Switzerland. It's kinda funny and sad that an 18 year old kid makes international news because he got vaccinated.

How much shit does your mom get because of your sudden fame?

ethanlindenberger14 karma

You serious? If so DM me a picture of it please, that’s insane.

And probably a lot I’m not sure

Rittz42019 karma

In my state, I would never have been able to go to school without being vaccinated. How did your parents deal with your schooling?

ethanlindenberger22 karma

Look at a map of state law on exemptions from vaccines. Most either have personal reasons, religious reasons, or both. Only like 7 states deny either of those as a legitimate reason not to vaccinate your schooled kids

ethanlindenberger52 karma

Back when I was 16 I worked for a friend in helping his social media for a book he was publishing. All I did was set up his Instagram and share the news he was getting ready to publish a book. I didn’t even make that much money doing it honestly

In terms of my two FB accounts? If you believe that’s proof of anything beyond me being an idiot because I forgot my password I don’t even know what to say. My old account was made like 7 years ago and I forgot my password. On my phone it would automatically log me in when I launched the app, so when I realized, “if I get logged out I’m done for”, I made a new one. That’s why I made the post on that profile saying I was making a new account.

So yeah, people are stupid

Edit: spelling

Spartanfred10413 karma

How are you going to take this momentum forward to have people start vaccination. How will you bring anti-vaxxers around?

ethanlindenberger23 karma

Just to show that a kids can see the evidence, make a logical choice and disagree with their parents, all while still loving and respecting them. That’s hard, and if people can see that option and see people like me support them I hope it causes them to stand up for proper science, medicine, and health!

ethanlindenberger10 karma

Just look at the evidence and do the best you can to explain it to them or to ask for their take. If they don’t listen do it behind their back if you can legally, but that’s an absolute last resort. If you can, also sit down and just say, “hey you guys are really against vaccines. My friends said like they don’t cause autism and one of them even showed me this CDC article. Like is this true or?” And boom. Now you seem way less hostile with the same information in hand. I hope that helps and best of luck!

Flappybird118 karma

Did you get autism?

ethanlindenberger26 karma

My brothers been claiming I'm autistic for years, so it depends on who you ask

arcanum71237 karma

Have you asked your mum why she would rather you have deadly diseases than autism? If so, what was her response?

ethanlindenberger6 karma

She doesn't believe they prevent diseases, so she'd never see it that way.

justsomefatwhiteguy3 karma

[deleted]

ethanlindenberger17 karma

No, I worked for friend when he was self publishing a book. My “official” title was social media strategist. We worked out of his basement and I set up his Instagram page. That’s it

findiz972 karma

How many other people your age do you know that aren't vaccinated?

ethanlindenberger1 karma

Online? A lot have contacted me. In person? Basically nobody. Almost all my friends as far as I understand have been vaccinated/are vaccinated

Faesun2 karma

which vaccines have you had so far? are there any you're still waiting to get?

ethanlindenberger3 karma

I got tetanus, Hep A, Hep B, Influenza, and HPV.

I’m getting polio, chicken pox, HPV 2, and MMR

hokimaki2 karma

Have you ever caught a disease people normally would be vaccinated against?

ethanlindenberger2 karma

No, I’m super lucky. I haven’t got chicken pox or measles

Agent_Miami2 karma

Are mysteriously autistic now?

Jk but congrats

My real question is how long have you been feeling your vaccine beliefs

ethanlindenberger5 karma

I’ve felt vaccines are scientifically proven to be a medical miracle in our hands that can stop preventable diseases for about two years now. I’ve been doing that research for longer but I landed on that truth about, yeah, 2 years ago.

SirStumps2 karma

Is your dad also antivax?

ethanlindenberger4 karma

In a way. He’s against vaccines for young children but pro vaccine for older kids. That’s still not an accurately based view, but he’s open to discussion and really laid back.

He’s also been so supportive this whole time, I love him and even if he hasn’t got a lot of media attention he’s still a great dad. ❤️

YepYepYepYepYepDIY1 karma

How do you feel about all of this publicity?

ethanlindenberger7 karma

It’s super weird. I love that I’m able to publicly share the importance of vaccines and a teenagers role in this debate, a kids role in trying to correct a parents misconception. But at the same time I’m not a doctor, I’m not a politician. There are people a lot smarter than me who could be educating people. Part of me is torn between that, feeling like I don’t deserve this publicity, and feeling like my story is important regardless. I don’t know if that even makes any sense honestly

But I’ve been fine. I’ve made great friends though this and people have been so supportive. I wouldn’t change my choice to get vaccinated or to pursue this public story.

nathomharkmadmen1 karma

So, how often do you get called Nathan by other people?

ethanlindenberger1 karma

Not often.

This question confuses me. I will say I have people constantly say I look like Keith from buzzfeed

Taser-Face1 karma

Now that you have allowed yourself to have immunities to various deadly/crippling afflictions, do you, somewhere inside, cast any blame for your mom, who decided to roll the dice with your life?

ethanlindenberger1 karma

In a way I do and don’t. I blame the information and biased sources that have gotten her to this point. Is she responsible for rooting out truthful information? Yes. Does not vaccinating your kids have serious implications? Yes. So I hold her responsible in small way, kind of “at this point if you deny the truth and my siblings suffer for it you are at least somewhat responsible.” That decision, even out of love, is dangerous.

DoucheMacGoo0 karma

How did your mom/parents react to you self educating and taking your health in your hands?

ethanlindenberger1 karma

Answered this question a couple times If you want a better answer. But after they understood where I was coming from they were supportive but disagreed

Sir_Wemblesworth0 karma

What would you say to other kids who are in the same situation but hesitant to go against the wishes of their parent?

ethanlindenberger1 karma

Answered above if you want to see my answer! :)