Wokeness Worms Eating Science Academies

J. Scott Turner writes at American Mind The Brainworms Come For Big Science.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

pri_80176924
The parasite leucochloridium paradoxum, shown here infecting a snail, is a flatworm that takes over the brains of gastropods and forces them into self-destructive behaviors. As this essay demonstrates, woke social teaching has been known to do the same with academic departments.

Woke grievance is eating expert inquiry from the inside out.

A large gathering of scientists and engineers was brought together by the National Science Foundation (NSF). We were there to compete for a very large sum of money.

At stake was funding for a “research center,” something akin to national laboratories like Brookhaven Labs or Livermore Labs. Research centers are built around a strategic theme, like nuclear physics, and are intended to provide a venue for scientists nationwide to come together to explore that theme. Research centers are high-stakes competitions, involving tens of millions of dollars doled out over a term of ten years or so. The prizes are big, and the prestige immense. They are intended to go to the best of the best.

If a team is awarded a planning grant, the next step is a “planning meeting,” where the NSF gathers the successful teams together to provide detailed guidance on what might make for a successful proposal. I was on one of those teams, and that is how I came to be in that hotel ballroom.

At the opening session, we were told that proposals would be judged on four “foundational components,” or “pillars,” as they were styled in the PowerPoints. A successful proposal would be strong on all four: weakness in one would cast the proposal into the abyss, we were told, no matter how strong the other pillars might be. At the planning meeting, each pillar was to have a dedicated panel discussion, just to make clear to us what the NSF’s expectations were. Three of the four pillars were conventionally scientific and academic: innovation, training, etc. The remaining pillar was “Diversity and Culture of Inclusion” (DCI).

That was where things took a bizarre turn.

The DCI panel consisted of bureaucrats from the NSF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). Naturally, there were many questions from the floor about what the criteria for a strong DCI pillar would be. We are talking about engineers, remember, whose culture is: “give us ‘the specs’ and we will solve any problem.” The assembled engineers were looking for “the specs” they needed to build that DCI pillar.

I remember the scene. Each team was seated at its own round table on the ballroom floor. The DCI panel was seated on a raised platform, looking down on us, as from thrones on high. 

One engineer at a neighboring table kept trying to pin the DCI panel down on those DCI specs. They kept deflecting the question. We’ll know it when we see it, was the blithe answer, issued with the monotonous imperiousness of the entitled ruler indulging inconvenient questioning from the proles. Engineering is too white and too male, was one panelist’s message to us, and that needed to be corrected. Irony alert: the engineer pressing the point was not white, but an Indian immigrant.

It became clearer with every question that the specs not only would not be laid out: they would in any event change according to inscrutable whim of the ODI bureaucrats. Foolish engineers, one might imagine Jabba chortling, the “specs” are not to help you solve a problem: they are there to keep you off-balance, uncertain, and in my power. It is enough for you to know you depend upon my mercy for funding.

How the Parasite Takes Over

All are familiar with the Left’s “long march” through the institutions. What might not be so well known is just how thorough the conquest has been. Evidence of this sometimes pops up into prominent public view, as in the recent exposure of “critical race theory” training in federal agencies (including places like Sandia National Labs, where one would expect such hokum to be laughed out the door). Such incidents, though quite frequent, are only the tips of a very large iceberg.

In the academic sciences, where I have spent my career, “diversity, inclusion, and equity” (DIE) has become as pervasive as one might expect it to be in any grievance studies department.

How did this happen? More to the point, how could it happen to the supposedly sensible people that scientists are generally thought to be?

The concept of “zombie parasites” provides an apt metaphor for how things got to this point. These are parasites that colonize the brains and nervous systems of their hosts, taking the controls, so to speak, over the host’s behavior. One striking example of a zombie parasite is a worm that infects the brains of snails, which normally crawl around stealthily at night. A snail infected with the parasite crawls out onto a grass stalk during the day, where it is now visible to birds that gobble them up. The parasite then breeds in the bird’s digestive tract and deposits its eggs in the bird’s feces. When uninfected snails eat the feces, the parasite’s life cycle is completed.

DIE has spread into the academic sciences as a kind of zombie parasite. It is not a real worm at work, of course, but a metaphorical “brainworm”—three of them, in fact, that together spread a kind of altered cognitive reality through any institution that is infected by them.

The route of infection usually starts with a “study” that identifies a “problem” that no one knew existed: the overwhelming whiteness of, say, fishery science. Once an unwitting host takes the bait, the next phase of the infection kicks in: all are invited to contemplate with horror the dark future that awaits should fishery scientists not take immediate steps to correct the “problem.” In the final stage of the infection, the brainworm plants its “diversity is our strength” meme in the host’s nervous system. The infected now babble about solving the impending crisis through a crash outreach program to “under-represented” or “marginalized” groups, who, by virtue of their class membership, think differently about fisheries, and so can save the field from stultifying white maleness.

As in those parasitized snails, the DIE brainworm induces a cognitive disconnect in the infected. None of the assertions planted by the DIE zombie parasite have a sound basis in fact or reason. The accusation of too much whiteness usually is based upon a simple observation that the ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation mix in, say, fishery science, departs from the statistical distributions found in the general population. Why this should be, where it is considered at all, is usually buried under a panoply of repetitive charts and diagrams of dubious critical value.

What makes the DIE brainworm a zombie parasite is how it hijacks the host’s behavior to facilitate its spread, to the host’s ultimate detriment. Universities, where future scientists are trained, are a common target. Incubating a future scientist has traditionally involved a very close relationship between a professor and a student (“mentor” and “mentee,” in today’s clumsy parlance).

Fishery scientists, to trot them out again, become fishery scientists because, well, they love fish. They want to devote their lives to getting to know fish better. The same may be said of nearly every scientific endeavor in academia: at the vital core is a love that can verge into obsession. The genius of the academy is that it provides a place where that love can give value to the society that supports it. Disrupt that elemental drive, and you degrade the real social value of the sciences.

This almost primitive love provides a kind of immunity to the DIE brainworm, which makes it a particular target. To spread, the parasite must plant the idea that the familial network of relationships cloaks a hostile and dangerous climate, propped up by cronyism, privilege, racism, sexism, and hostility to the non-binary. The only way to make science “safe” for the marginalized, or excluded, or under-represented, is to disrupt the traditional mentoring family. Students and new faculty who are members of “under-represented” or “marginalized” groups are drawn from their intellectual families into self-referential bubbles of grievance: support groups, safe spaces, counseling services, etc., where the normal stresses of academic life can be transformed into evidence of the hostile climate without.

At some point, earnest administrators, who know nothing about science and understand even less how it works, are brought in to “listen” to the newly aggrieved. At that point, discontent is turned into actionable grievance: committees and study groups are appointed, action plans formulated. Excluded from all this, of course, are the keepers of the academic traditions which, inconveniently for them, have already been condemned in absentia as the problem.

Pressure is brought on these erstwhile traditionalists to conform, to “listen” to other voices, to “check your privilege,” to be “open” to different “perspectives.” If the brainworm has spread far enough to implant a DIE bureaucracy on campus, penalties for non-conformity will be quietly placed in a corner of the room, a visible reminder of the consequences of resistance to the brainworm. Once that happens, the path is open for the entire academic institution to become infected, triggering the next, and most dangerous, stage of the infection.

Follow the Money

Parasites do not simply invade a host: they require fertile ground and food. For the DIE brainworm, the mother’s milk is money. And it is the academic sciences, not the humanities, where the ground is lushest. Compare two sources of federal funds that are often tied to woke ideology on campuses: the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). These are NSF-style agencies that fund academic work in the arts and humanities, and in similar ways. Artists and scholars submit proposals, these are scrutinized by peers, and funds are doled out to the successful proposals.

How much money? The NEA presently enjoys an annual appropriation of about $150 million. For the NEH, it is about $160 million. In contrast, the federal money directed to academic science in 2017 stood at around $40 billion: 250 times more. Over the course of the 50 years of its existence, the NEH has funded a cumulative total of roughly $4.7 billion dollars in grants. The cumulative tally of federal support of academic research over the same time span has been nearly $900 billion: about 200 times more.

It is to the sciences, then, that the DIE brainworm has gone to feed, and there it has spread as if it were an epidemic. Evidence for this can be ferreted out from the NSF’s searchable databases of its grant awards, by searching for keywords such as “under-represented,” “minority,” or “marginalized” in the grant documents. Prior to 2010, no award carried these keywords. The first to do so was in 2010, when the NSF awarded a large research center grant to MIT, which contained within it a significant program of outreach to marginalized groups.

Since that year, NSF expenditures on research grants containing the “woke” keywords have risen exponentially, doubling at a rate of about 50% each year, just as a novel virus would when spreading through a new population. In 2018, the last year for which a complete picture can be discerned, the NSF funded nearly a thousand research grants devoted in whole or part to DIE aims, to the tune of more than $1.3 billion. From 2010 to 2018, a total of more than $4 billion have been awarded to more than 2,200 DIE-oriented grants.

Which is how we get to that scene in the Arlington hotel ballroom, where DIE now holds the trump card in deciding what science is worthy of funding. No matter how stellar the science, the message is clear: gobble up the DIE brainworm, or your funding will dry up, and your career along with it.

Footnote:  The DIE acronym reminded me of this poem by e.e. cummings
nobody loses all the time

i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle

Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
it needlessly
added

my Uncle Sol’s farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when

my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died and so
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner

or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who’d given my Uncle Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scruptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything and
i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol’s coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
my Uncle
Sol

and started a worm farm)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bug Apocalypse Not!

Jon Entine writes again lamenting false alarms by scientists and journalists The Insect Apocalypse That Never Was.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

For the past four years, journalists and environmental bloggers have been churning out alarming stories that insects are vanishing, in the United States and globally. Limited available evidence lends credence to reasonable concerns, not least because insects are crucial components of many ecosystems. But the issue has often been framed in catastrophic terms, with predictions of a near-inevitable and imminent ecological collapse that would break ecosystems, destroy harvests, and trigger widespread starvation. Most of the proposed solutions would require a dramatic retooling of many aspects of modern life, from urbanization to agriculture.

Considering the disruptive economic and social trade-offs being demanded by some of those promoting the crisis hypothesis, it’s prudent to separate genuine threats from agenda-driven hyperbole. Are insect declines really threatening to precipitate a catastrophic ecological crisis? And, given the available data, what should a responsible society be doing?

The silver lining around the cloud of gloomy advocacy-focused studies and reporting is that entomologists are doing a deeper dive into the reasons behind the global declines. Goulson’s upcoming media blitz notwithstanding, the most thorough studies to date on insects in North America challenge the catastrophe narrative (although you may not have heard about them as they have been almost ignored by the media), and even offers some reassuring news.

The Moran study, published last August, specifically examined four to 36 years of data on arthropods (insects and other invertebrates) collected from US Long-Term Ecological Research sites located in ecoregions throughout the country. The authors found that: “There is no evidence of precipitous and widespread insect abundance declines in North America akin to those reported from some sites in Europe.”

The robustness of the Moran study data suggests the insect population story is much more complicated—and less dire—than many headlines suggest. If a thorough examination of the data on one continent can lead to such a dramatically different and more hopeful conclusion, broad trends in the vast, highly diverse, and relatively unstudied continents of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Australia cannot be characterized through extrapolation with any assurance.

The overall paucity of data provides an opening for alarmists to speculate, and Goulson and others have taken advantage of that. But why are the data so fragmentary? Moran attributed the lack of corroborating studies supporting the consensus view that insect populations are mostly stable to what he calls “publication bias … more dramatic results are more publishable. Reviewers and journals are more likely to be interested in species that are disappearing than in species that show no change over time,” he wrote in the Washington Post.

It’s a reinforcing feedback loop, with journalists playing a key role in this misinformation cycle. Scientific publications are more likely to publish reports of declining species. Then, when researchers search for data, “declines are what they find.” The media often seize on incomplete or even biased conclusions to build a compelling narrative—an insect apocalypse or insectageddon or zombie-like resurrections of debunked reports of birdpocalypses and beepocalypses.

Background previous post:  Epic Media Science Fail: Fear Not Pollinator Collapse

Jon Entine returns to this topic writing at the Genetic Literacy Project: The world faces ‘pollinator collapse’? How and why the media get the science wrong time and again. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

As I and others have detailed in the Genetic Literacy Project and as other news organizations such as the Washington Post and Slate have outlined, the pollinator-collapse narrative has been relentless and mostly wrong for more than seven years now.

It germinated with Colony Collapse Disorder that began in 2006 and lasted for a few years—a freaky die off of bees that killed almost a quarter of the US honey bee population, but its cause remains unknown. Versions of CCD have been occurring periodically for hundreds of years, according to entomologists.

Today, almost all entomologists are convinced that the ongoing bee health crisis is primarily driven by the nasty Varroa destructor mite. Weakened honey bees, trucked around the country as livestock, face any number of health stressors along with Varroa, including the use of miticides used to control the invasive mite, changing weather and land and the use of some farm chemicals, which may lower the honeybee’s ability to fight off disease.

Still, the ‘bee crisis’ flew under the radar until 2012, when advocacy groups jumped in to provide an apocalyptic narrative after a severe winter led to a sharp, and as it turned out temporary, rise in overwinter bee deaths.

Colony loss numbers jumped in 2006 when CCD hit but have been steady and even improving since.

The alarm bells came with a spin, as advocacy groups blamed a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, which were introduced in the 1990s, well after the Varroa mite invasion infected hives and started the decline. The characterization was apocalyptic, with some activist claiming that neonics were driving honey bees to extinction.

In the lab evaluations, which are not considered state of the art—field evaluations replicate real-world conditions far better—honeybee mortality did increase. But that was also true of all the insecticides tested; after all, they are designed to kill harmful pests. Neonics are actually far safer than the pesticides they replaced, . . . particularly when their impact is observed under field-realistic conditions (i.e., the way farmers would actually apply the pesticide).

As the “science” supporting the bee-pocalypse came under scrutiny, the ‘world pollinator crisis’ narrative began to fray. Not only was it revealed that the initial experiments had severely overdosed the bees, but increasing numbers of high-quality field studies – which test how bees are actually affected under realistic conditions – found that bees can successfully forage on neonic-treated crops without noticeable harm.

Those determined to keep the crisis narrative alive were hardly deterred. Deprived of both facts and science to argue their case, many advocacy groups simply pounded the table by shifting their crisis argument dramatically. For example, in 2016, the Sierra Club (while requesting donations), hyped the honey bee crisis to no end.

But more recently, in 2018, the same organization posted a different message on its blog. Honeybees, the Sierra Club grudgingly acknowledged, were not threatened. Forget honeybees, the Sierra Club said, the problem is now wild bees, or more generally, all insect pollinators, which are facing extinction due to agricultural pesticides of all types (though neonics, they insisted, were especially bad).

So, once again, with neither the facts nor the science to back them up, advocacy groups have pulled a switcheroo and are again pounding the table. As they once claimed with honeybees, they now claim that the loss of wild bees and other insect pollinators imperils our food supply. A popular meme on this topic is the oft-cited statistic, which appears in the recent UN IPBES report on biodiversity, that “more than 75 per cent of global food crop types, including fruits and vegetables and some of the most important cash crops such as coffee, cocoa and almonds, rely on animal pollination.”

There’s a sleight of hand here. Most people (including most journalists) miss or gloss over the important point that this is 75 percent of crop types, or varieties, not 75 percent of all crop production. In fact, 60 percent of agricultural production comes from crops that do not rely on animal pollination, including cereals and root crops. As the GLP noted in its analysis, only about 7 percent of crop output is threatened by pollinator declines—not a welcomed percentage, but far from an apocalypse.

And the word “rely” seems almost purposefully misleading. More accurately, most of these crops receive some marginal boost in yield from pollination. Few actually “rely” on it. A UN IPBES report on pollinators published in 2018 actually breaks this down in a convenient pie graph.

Many of these facts are ignored by advocacy groups sharpening their axes, and they’re generally lost on the “if it bleeds it leads” media, which consistently play up catastrophe scenarios of crashing pollinator communities and food supplies. Unfortunately, many scientists willingly go along. Some are activists themselves; others hope to elevate the significance of their findings to garner media attention and supercharge grant proposals.

As John Adams is alleged to have said, ‘facts are stubborn things.’ We can’t be simultaneously in the midst of a pollinator crisis threatening our ability to grow food and see continually rising yield productivity among those crops most sensitive to pollination.

With these claims of an impending wild bee catastrophe, as in the case of the original honeybee-pocalypse claims, few of the journalists, activists, scientists or biodiversity experts who regularly sound this ecological alarm have reviewed the facts in context. Advocacy groups consistently extrapolate from the declines of a handful of wild bee species (out of the thousands that we know exist), to claim that we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis. But just as with the ‘honey bee-mageddon, we are not.

Those of us who actually care about science and fact, however, might note the irony here: It is precisely the pesticides which the catastrophists are urging us to ban that, along with the many other tools in the modern farmer’s kit, have enabled us grow more of these nutritious foods, at lower prices, than ever before in human history.

Footnote:  Activists have played both sides with their insect warnings Alarmists: Global Warming Destroys Good Bugs and Multiplies Bad Bugs

insect

Summary: These scares always sound plausible, but on closer inspection are simplistic and unrealistic. The above shows that each type of insect has a range of temperatures they can tolerate and allow them to develop. They are stressed and populations decrease when colder than the lower limit and also when hotter than the upper limit. Every species will adapt to changing conditions as they always have. Those at their upper limit will decline, not increase, and their place will be taken by others. Of course, if it gets colder, the opposite occurs. Don’t let them scare you that insects are taking over.

CDC Test for Vaxxed People Comes a Year Too Late

cormasks

Tyler Durden explains at Zero Hedge Caught Red-Handed: CDC Changes Test Thresholds To Virtually Eliminate New COVID Cases Among Vaxx’d.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

New policies will artificially deflate “breakthrough infections” in the vaccinated, while the old rules continue to inflate case numbers in the unvaccinated.

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) is altering its practices of data logging and testing for “Covid19” in order to make it seem the experimental gene-therapy “vaccines” are effective at preventing the alleged disease.

They made no secret of this, announcing the policy changes on their website in late April/early May, (though naturally without admitting the fairly obvious motivation behind the change).

The trick is in their reporting of what they call “breakthrough infections” – that is people who are fully “vaccinated” against Sars-Cov-2 infection, but get infected anyway.

Essentially, Covid19 has long been shown – to those willing to pay attention – to be an entirely created pandemic narrative built on two key factors:

  • False-positive tests. The unreliable PCR test can be manipulated into reporting a high number of false-positives by altering the cycle threshold (CT value)
  • Inflated Case-count. The incredibly broad definition of “Covid case”, used all over the world, lists anyone who receives a positive test as a “Covid19 case”, even if they never experienced any symptoms.

Without these two policies, there would never have been an appreciable pandemic at all, and now the CDC has enacted two policy changes which means they no longer apply to vaccinated people.

Firstly, they are lowering their CT value when testing samples from suspected “breakthrough infections”.

From the CDC’s instructions for state health authorities on handling “possible breakthrough infections” (uploaded to their website in late April):

For cases with a known RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) value, submit only specimens with Ct value ≤28 to CDC for sequencing. (Sequencing is not feasible with higher Ct values.)

Throughout the pandemic, CT values in excess of 35 have been the norm, with labs around the world going into the 40s.

Essentially labs were running as many cycles as necessary to achieve a positive result, despite experts warning that this was pointless (even Fauci himself said anything over 35 cycles is meaningless).

But NOW, and only for fully vaccinated people, the CDC will only accept samples achieved from 28 cycles or fewer. That can only be a deliberate decision in order to decrease the number of “breakthrough infections” being officially recorded.

Secondly, asymptomatic or mild infections will no longer be recorded as “covid cases”.

That’s right. Even if a sample collected at the low CT value of 28 can be sequenced into the virus alleged to cause Covid19, the CDC will no longer be keeping records of breakthrough infections that don’t result in hospitalisation or death.

From their website:

As of May 1, 2021, CDC transitioned from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause. This shift will help maximize the quality of the data collected on cases of greatest clinical and public health importance. Previous case counts, which were last updated on April 26, 2021, are available for reference only and will not be updated moving forward.

Just like that, being asymptomatic – or having only minor symptoms – will no longer count as a “Covid case” but only if you’ve been vaccinated.

The CDC has put new policies in place which effectively created a tiered system of diagnosis. Meaning, from now on, unvaccinated people will find it much easier to be diagnosed with Covid19 than vaccinated people.

Consider…

  • Person A has not been vaccinated. They test positive for Covid using a PCR test at 40 cycles and, despite having no symptoms, they are officially a “covid case”.
  • Person B has been vaccinated. They test positive at 28 cycles, and spend six weeks bedridden with a high fever. Because they never went into a hospital and didn’t die they are NOT a Covid case.
  • Person C, who was also vaccinated, did die. After weeks in hospital with a high fever and respiratory problems. Only their positive PCR test was 29 cycles, so they’re not officially a Covid case either.

The CDC is demonstrating the beauty of having a “disease” that can appear or disappear depending on how you measure it.

To be clear: If these new policies had been the global approach to “Covid” since December 2019,  there would never have been a pandemic at all.

If you apply them only to the vaccinated, but keep the old rules for the unvaccinated, the only possible result can be that the official records show “Covid” is much more prevalent among the latter than the former.

This is a policy designed to continuously inflate one number, and systematically minimise the other.

What is that if not an obvious and deliberate act of deception?

Background:  Four Myths Drove Covid Madness
Myth: Sars-CV2 is a new virus and we have no defense.
Fact: Sars-CV2 has not been scientifically established as a virus.
Myth: Testing positive for Sars-CV2 makes you a disease case and a spreader.
Fact: PCR tests say nothing about you being ill or infectious.
Myth: Millions of people have died from Covid19.
Fact: Life expectancy is the same before and after Covid19.
Myth: Wearing masks prevents viral infection.
Fact: Evidence shows masks are symbolic, not effective.

Jack Kerwick has written a series of articles at FrontPage Mag over the last year discussing how facts have been overwhelmed by fears, a mythology replacing scientific knowledge and reason. From the beginning this contagion was different, being the first one in an age of 24/7 cable news and rampant social media. So emotion and exaggeration were spread and political leaders pressured to act as protectors, clamping down on social and economic transactions. This post provides a synopsis of what went wrong, based on Kerwick’s recent essay Masks and Stopping COVID. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

What the science – lots of science – really tells us.

In previous essays, I argued for three theses against the prevailing COVID Orthodoxy:

(1)SARS-CoV-2 has never been isolated, purified, and extracted in accordance with the scientific method that has long been in place for isolating, purifying, and extracting other viruses (like bacteriophages and “giant viruses”), and neither has the scientific method been observed with respect to establishing whether this virus is in fact the cause of a disease called “COVID-19.”
Discussion:

Has the existence of “the Virus” been established according to a universally acknowledged set of scientific procedures that must be observed to establish the existence of any and all other viruses?

From the sounds of it, the answer is a resounding no.

Dr. Tom Cowan, Dr. Andrew Kaufman, and Sally Fallon Morell, are among those who have noted in a paper published last year that in demonstrating the existence of a new virus, samples must, firstly, be taken from the blood, phlegm, or other secretions of hundreds of people exhibiting symptoms that are “unique and specific enough to characterize an illness.”

Then, “without mixing these samples with ANY tissue or products that also contain genetic material, the virologist macerates, filters, and ultracentrifuges, i.e. purifies the specimen.” This, the authors explain, is a “common virology technique, done for decades to isolate bacteriophages [viruses that infect bacteria and reproduce within them] and so-called giant viruses [a virus larger than typical bacteria].”

Thirdly, once virologists perform this procedure, they are then able to “demonstrate with electron microscopy thousands of identically sized and shaped particles.” The latter are “the isolated and purified virus.”

Fourthly, upon determining the purity of these particles, virologists are able to examine their “structure, morphology, and chemical composition [.]”

Fifthly, “the genetic makeup” of the particles [the virus] “is characterized by extracting the genetic material directly from” them and “using genetic-sequencing techniques” that have long been in existence.

Finally, an analysis must be conducted to prove that “these uniform particles are exogenous (outside) in origin” as viruses are held to be and not just “the normal breakdown of products of dead and dying tissues.”

The authors conclude: “If we have come this far then we have fully isolated, characterized, genetically-sequenced an exogenous virus particle” .
They add that nowhere in the literature does it show that any of these steps have been taken with respect to SARS-CoV-2.

Neither—and this is crucial—have the scientific steps for determining that SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of a disease, COVID-19, been taken. What are these steps? There really isn’t much to it:

A group of healthy subjects, typically animals, is first exposed to “this isolated, purified virus in the manner in which the disease is thought to be transmitted.”

Subsequently, virologists will wait to determine whether these subjects fall ill with “the same disease, as confirmed by clinical and autopsy findings [.]” If so, “one has now shown that the virus actually causes a disease.” In other words, the “infectivity and transmission of an infectious agent” will have been demonstrated.

Again, according to the authors, nothing like this has been performed to show that
there is a virus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes what has become known as COVID-19.

An ever growing number of citizen journalists in over ten different countries from around the world have, via the Freedom of Information Acts of their respective homes, requested from scores of health agencies an account of the process by which SARS-CoV-2 has been isolated (i.e. separated out from all other stuff). To date, no account has been provided.

(2) The explosion of COVID “cases” is an illusion generated by a combination of two things: (a) the redefining of a “case” from meaning “infection in need of medical attention”—which is how it was defined in the pre-COVID era—to meaning “anyone who is presumed to have, or to have had, COVID and/or anyone who tests positive for COVID” plus (b) an intrinsically limited PCR test that is deliberately run at a number of cycles guaranteed to produce a tsunami of false-positives.

The official case numbers, in other words, are meaningless.

Discussion:

Right from the jump, it’s crucial to take note of the fact that for the first time ever, beginning just last year, “cases” was radically redefined in such a way that would have been unthinkable in just February of 2020 (one month before The Virus Apocalypse engulfed the universe).

For starters, as indicated above, many of these “cases,” per the CDC, included those patients who were labeled as “probable” carriers of the virus. This means that they were diagnosed as “cases” in the absence of any “confirmatory laboratory testing.” And yet they were identified as COVID “cases.”

Moreover, even when testing is figured into it, with respect to no other virus or disease has the CDC ever counted as a “case” a merely positive test. A positive test, in other words, has never been regarded by the medical establishment as sufficient grounds upon which to determine a “case.” Rather, in order for something to count as a “case,” a person had to have been sick and in need of medical attention like, say, hospitalization.

In the COVID era, however, the CDC began accumulating positive PCR test results (about more of which will be said below) from people the vast majority of whom are “asymptomatic,” meaning they feel just fine, and combining them with positive antibodies tests from people who also feel just fine: The final sum, this compound, comprises all “cases.”

Now, as for those PCR tests: There are two problems.

First, as Karry Mullis bluntly remarked: “Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron.” Who was Karry Mullis? He was the inventor of the PCR test. And he won a Nobel Prize in Science for this achievement. What did the late Dr. Mullis mean by his characterization of his own invention?

“PCR is intended to identify substances qualitatively, but by its very nature is unsuited for estimating numbers [of viruses]. Although there is a common misimpression that the viral load tests actually count the number of viruses in the blood, these tests cannot detect free, infectious viruses at all; they can only detect proteins that are believed, in some cases wrongly, to be unique to HIV. The tests can detect genetic sequences of viruses, but not viruses themselves” (emphases added).

Lauitsen explains further:

“What PCR does is to select a genetic sequence and then amplify it enormously. It can accomplish the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack; it can amplify that needle into a haystack. Like an electronically amplified antenna, PCR greatly amplified the signal, but it also greatly amplifies the noise” (emphases added).

What this implies is that given that “the amplification is exponential, the slightest error in measurement, the slightest contamination, can result in errors of many orders of magnitude.”

There is still another problem with the PCR test as it is currently being used that guarantees its utter worthlessness. More exactly, that guarantees that the “case” numbers built upon it are wholly inaccurate and, hence, meaningless.

This past fall, none other than the New York Times noted that possibly as high as 90% of all positive test results are false.

Per the CDC and FDA guidelines, the vast majority of PCR tests are run at a threshold of 40 cycles. Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist from Harvard who is quoted in the Times piece, notes that when PCR tests are run at 35 or more cycles, they “may detect not just live virus but also live fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risks—akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left.”

The French researcher Didier Raoult has shown that when the PCR test is run at 25 cycles, about 70% of samples were genuinely positive—meaning infectious. However, when the test is run at a threshold of 30 cycles, only 20% of samples were infectious. At 35 cycles, but three percent of samples were infectious.

And when the test was run above 35 cycles? Zero samples were infectious.

(3)People are getting sick and dying from all manner of things from which people get sick and die each and every year. Only throughout this past year, these causes of sickness and death have been repackaged as COVID sickness and death.
Discussion:

Think about it: a cough, running nose, sore throat, chills, chest congestion, fever, loss of taste and smell—these are all symptoms of a plethora of things, from the common cold to seasonal influenza and a whole lot else. Particularly since the vast majority of COVID cases are “mild,” it’s with the greatest of ease that any single one of these symptoms or any number of combinations of them can be used as a pretext by which to establish a “COVID case.”

This is not necessarily to say that the symptoms in question are not signs of COVID or the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is claimed to be its cause. It’s only to note that in the absence of scientifically confirming definitively that (a) there is a unique strain of a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, (b) that it is the cause of something called COVID-19, and that, (3) given the scandalously unreliable PCR test, people do in fact have COVID, symptoms that are associated with the latter are more economically, more plausibly explained by way of reference to illnesses that have long been with us.

The Principle of Parsimony—better known since the 14th century as “Ockham’s Razor”—applies: When confronted with two or more explanatory hypotheses, all things being equal, reason dictates that we opt for the one that is simplest.

Since many of the symptoms now being associated with COVID until recently were explained in terms of, say, the flu, and, given the foregoing facts regarding the science—or lack of science—behind the COVID Narrative, it makes better sense to continue explaining those symptoms in terms of the flu.

Indeed, there is no doubt that a great shell game has been transpiring for a year now as cases of various illnesses have been re-labeled as COVID cases.

For example, over at John Hopkins University, Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s program, used data from the CDC to analyze the effect of COVID-19 deaths in America on all other deaths. Reasonably enough, she had expected to witness a substantial number of excess deaths in 2020, i.e. deaths by all other causes plus the orgy of COVID deaths with which politicians and those in the media had been singularly preoccupied.

She was mistaken. Sorely mistaken. Yanni Gu, a writer for the university’s student newspaper, reports: “Surprisingly, the deaths of older people stayed the same before and after COVID-19.”

This was surprising because COVID (not unlike virtually everything else) overwhelmingly affects elderly people. Thus, “experts expected an increase in the percentage of deaths in older age groups. However, this increase is not seen from the CDC data.” Furthermore, “the percentages of deaths among all age groups remain relatively the same” (emphases added).

Whoa. Briand would soon discover that the plot was just beginning to thicken. What the “data analyzes suggest,” Gu writes, is “that in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States” (emphases added).

There is a perfectly rational, and simple, explanation to account for the unbridgeable chasm between the media-concocted perception of COVID and the reality that Briand discovered:

Deaths from all other causes were being re-classified—misclassified—as death from COVID.  And how did Briand determine this?
For the first time ever, deaths from all other causes—heart diseases, respiratory diseases, influenza, and pneumonia—decreased.

Especially shocking was the realization that heart disease, which has always been the number one killer in America, appeared to have suddenly lost that distinction with the onset of COVID.

Moreover, deaths from all other causes decreased just in proportion to the extent to which COVID deaths increased. “This trend is completely contrary to the pattern observed in all previous years. Interestingly…the total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19.”

Within 24 or so hours of the publication of the article relaying Genevieve Briand’s discoveries, the student paper at John Hopkins University retracted it. They never, however, denied the truth of a single syllable of either Briand’s analysis nor its summary of it. That it was political pressure, and not shoddy scholarship that informed its decision is clear, for the school paper saved its article in a PDF file (to which I link above) for all of the world to read.

Wearing of Masks is Not Supported by Scientific Evidence

In this essay, we will revisit the topic of masks. I’ve already written about the psychological, moral, and social costs of mask-wearing. Here, I will focus specifically on the science—or lack of science—behind it.

Scientists recognize that the RCT—Randomized Control Trial—is the “gold standard” as far as “effectiveness research” is concerned. Drs. Eduardo Hariton and Joseph J. Locasio explain that randomization “reduces bias” while providing “a rigorous tool” by which “to examine cause-effect relationships between an intervention and outcome.” RCTs eliminate the risk of confirmation bias, something that is “not possible with any other study design” (emphases added).

This is critical for our purposes, for the largest study of the effectiveness of mask-wearing by the general public to thwart the transmission of COVID utilized not one, not two, not three, but a staggering 14 randomized control trials.

The study was performed at the University of Hong Kong. What Dr. Jingyi Xiao and her team of researchers there concluded will doubtless be written off as the stuff of “conspiracy theorists” by Mask Nation. So be it. But those on the editorial board of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the widely esteemed journal of none other than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), determined that the findings were worth publishing.

The verdict: Masks are ineffective.

The authors of a review of studies on face masks published last year by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine determined that there is no evidence indicating the effectiveness of cloth masks when it comes to COVID. They lament how the “abandonment of the scientific modus operandi and lack of foresight has left the field [of science] wide open for the play of opinions, radical views and political influence.”

The authors, one an epidemiologist, the other a professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford, do note that all randomized control trials that have been conducted over the last decade or so have demonstrated that “masks alone have no significant effect in interrupting the spread of ILI [Influenza-Like-Illness] or influenza” in neither “the general population…nor in healthcare workers” (emphases added).

We could continue in this same repetitive vein. Readers who are interested in pursuing this topic further can check out this piece of mine from October of last year. I review still other studies there, including remarks from such media-adored “Experts” as Anthony Fauci that dovetail seamlessly with these findings on the essential uselessness of masks with respect to COVID. More research confirming these findings are here, here, here, here, and here. Neither have we yet touched upon the numerous studies showing that countries and states with mask mandates did no better and, in some instances, worse than those places that had no such mandates. Nor have we looked at those studies demonstrating that those who faithfully wore masks were not less likely to contract COVID than those who did not wear masks, with some of these—like this one from the CDC—showing that most people who became infected with COVID wore a mask “always” or “often.”

The science, it should now be obvious, does not support Mask dogma.

cv-2019-2020

 

Growing Gap: Rhetoric vs. Reality

asylum-lunatics

From ancient days of village idiots, communities recognized that some people get caught up into thinking and talking crazy stuff detached from the real world.  And if the behavior resulting from being unhinged endangers other people, it becomes necessary to hold the crazies in an asylum apart from the general population.  So what to make of Biden’s first 100 days?  Systemic Delusion, full of sound and fury, in defiance of the real world.  Later on I will go into some depth on the climate fantasies, but the unhinged rhetoric is generalized and administration-wide.  No one knows whether the principals (Biden, Harris, etc.) actually understand what they are saying.  I am inclined to believe they are only posturing, since those in power behind the throne are emboldened by the advantage of escaping accountability for the results of bad rhetoric and policies.

Examples include calling illegal aliens, not simply “undocumented”, but according to Biden “already Americans.”  Legislation expanding voting access to documented citizens is called “voter suppression.”  Adding four more Supreme Justices is called “unpacking the court.”  A brave policeman who saves two black teenagers from being stabbed by a third is called a “racist.”  Biden and his appointees claim the nation is guilty of “systemic racism” without any apology for their own roles for decades in government.  But the grandest fantasy and hypocrisy are wrapped in the call for climate action.

Climate stool

Climate Rhetoric is a stool composed of three assertions, all of which must stand for the appeal to be compelling. Of course, the topic itself has been shifted from “global warming” (not scary enough) to “climate change” (not urgent enough) to “climate crisis, or chaos or emergency.”  The consensus label is not yet settled, with “global weirding” still in the running.  But we know the issue is the same one posted on Obama’s twitter account, back when POTUS was permitted to tweet: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.”

mc_wh_gas_web20210423124932

The Science Leg:  Man Makes Earth Warmer.

Many people commenting both for and against reducing emissions from burning fossil fuels assume it has been proven that rising GHGs including CO2 cause higher atmospheric temperatures. That premise has been tested and found wanting, as this post describes:  Global Warming Theory and the Tests It Fails.  At least five rigorous analyses of relevant datasets failed to discern surface warming due to rising CO2 concentrations.  While it is true in the laboratory that CO2 is able to absorb and emit infrared radiation (IR), the effect upon the actual planetary climate system has not proven to be substantial rather than negligible.

The temperature records show warming from time to time, but do not distinguish between natural and man-made warming.  For example, consider that all the surface warming since the 1940s can be attributed to three oceanic events.

GMT warming events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby. These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event. The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4. This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C. Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C. Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947. 

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate. On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles. Moreover, the UAH record shows that the effects of the last one are now gone as of January 2021. Updated to March 2021 (UAH baseline is now 1990-2020)

uah-global-1995to202103-1

 Professor Richard Lindzen ended a recent lecture with these words:

I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meterDoubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.

The Impacts Leg: The Warming is Dangerous

The second leg consists of impact studies from billions of research dollars spent uncovering any and all possible negatives from warming, everything from risk of Acne to Zika Virus.  The delusion is double:  Natural fluctuations when increasing are presumed to be negative, and the positive benefits of CO2 concentrations are ignored. 

A recent Climate Report repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims. An example:

It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.

Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.

Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.

But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.

Arctic ice Sept Ave 2020

But: All of these are within the range of past variability.

us-wet-dry-co2rev-1

But: Weather is not more extreme.

But:Wildfires were worse in the past

us-acres-burned-1926-2017

But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.

post-glacial_sea_level

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

high_resolution1

 

The Policy Leg:  Government Can Stop It.

Reality Check 30 yrs. of climate policy

And the third leg is climate initiatives (policies) showing how governments can “fight climate change.”  Some discussion on the wildly improbable notion of powering modern societies with so-called “renewable energy” is provided by Kent Lassman writing at the Washington Examiner Our conversation about the environment is broken. What is the way forward? Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Our government relies on predictive scientific models that are periodically tweaked. With decades of actual data, it is clear the models have consistently over-predicted warming. Yet, these problems are rarely given any cautionary weight in policy deliberations.

We have a half-century of dire environmental predictions that are usually wrong in the same direction. That raises the question of how much science is being undermined by a political agenda. Is the problem models that do not perform or our attachment to the terror of environmental apocalypse?

This fear is the second major problem we must overcome to improve the quality of our policy debate. Fear of carbon dioxide obscures the near-term and very real consequences of radical climate policies that could have consequences worse than those of a warming atmosphere.

Consider the poorest among us. According to the International Energy Agency, Africa will be the most populous region on Earth by 2023. Today there are 600 million Africans without access to electricity and 900 million who lack clean water. Achieving a reliable electricity supply for this population will require a huge investment, about four times pre-pandemic trends, of $120 billion a year, every year through 2040.

That gargantuan figure assumes access to the most readily available forms of energy: fossil fuels. Without such access, lower-income nations will not enjoy improving standards of living, education, and health. Instead, disease and war are their future. Ironically, depriving these people of a carbon economy likely leads to the very apocalyptic conditions we all want to avoid.

Renewable energy can be a crucial piece of a greener energy future, but we need to be realistic about its limits, the costs of production and disposal, and the secondary effects for the communities producing the raw materials necessary, often with child labor.

Last year a Dutch government-sponsored study concluded that the Netherlands’s renewable energy ambitions ALONE would consume a major share of global minerals. Considering that the U.S. consumes 30 times more energy than the Netherlands, the study concluded: “Exponential growth in [global] renewable energy production capacity is not possible with present-day technologies and annual metal production.” The report also determined that meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement would require the global production of some metals to grow at least 12-fold by 2050.

An effective climate strategy must be itself sustainable. That requires some measure of humility and an honest evaluation of real-world trade-offs, the linkage between energy use and human welfare, the technological vulnerabilities of alternatives to fossil fuels, and how little we know about the future of something as complex as climate.

That uncertainty demands honesty about the confidence we have, and ought to have, in what we know and can predict. It is a feature, not a bug, of sound climate policy. It should inform understanding of both benefits and costs that flow from any policy choice.

The lives and livelihoods of real people are at stake. We have a responsibility to be clear-eyed and humble about real-world consequences. That means admitting when we are wrong and, equally important, when someone with a different view has a valid point.

ineffective-fight-against-co2-emissions-2

 

Why in Chile Both Covid Vax and Cases up

coronavirus-data-explorer vax apr 19

As the chart above shows Chile has vaccinated about 2/3 of its population, a world leader in that regard.  Some are puzzled how that nation would at the same time have a surge in confirmed Covid cases.  Let’s see how Chile compares on the cases metric in chart below

coronavirus-data-explorer April 19

Chile has seen a rise in cases, though still in the middle of the pack of nations shown.  The screen grab below allows a clearer picture of the Chilean experience.

coronavirus-data-explorer Chile April 19

Thomas Lifson explains what is going on in Chile in his American Thinker article COVID surging in Chile despite high rate of vaccination.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The headline and tone of this article from CNBC are alarming: “Chile has one of the world’s best vaccination rates. COVID is surging there anyway.” One must read 13 paragraphs into the story to begin to solve what looks like a mystery.

Chile’s vaccination campaign against the coronavirus has been one of the world’s quickest and most extensive, but a recent surge in infections has sparked concern beyond its borders.

Almost 40% of the South American country’s total population have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to statistics compiled by Our World in Data, reflecting one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

Chile is an impressive country in many respects. Yet:

The number of daily cases in Chile rose to a record high on April 9, climbing above 9,000 for the first time since the pandemic began and significantly higher than the peak of almost 7,000 recorded last summer.

CNBC’s writer Sam Meredith offers possible explanations:

Health experts say the country’s latest surge in cases has, in part, been driven by more virulent strains of the virus, a relaxation of public health measures, increased mobility and defiance of simple precautions — such as physical distancing and wearing a mask.

These are all Fauci favorites. Live in fear of new strains (and be prepared for masks and lockdowns forever because viruses mutate, you see). For goodness’s sake, isolate from each other, and don’t let herd immunity develop (as it seems to have done in free states like Texas and Florida and in Sweden). And above all, wear your obedience mask and live in a world without smiles.

Oh, yes: Cut yourself off from the rest of the world. Right-wing Chile didn’t, and look what happened:

Chile’s center-right government, led by President Sebastian Pinera, had ordered the closure of the country’s borders from March to November of 2020, albeit with a few exceptions, before the decision was taken to reopen them to international passengers late last year.

Finally, after all these possibilities have been mentioned, we get to what’s really going on:
There have also been questions raised about vaccine efficacy, given Chile’s widespread use of CoronaVac,  the coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Chinese firm Sinovac.

Questions raised, eh?   A few paragraphs later, we learn:

Late-stage data of China’s COVID vaccines remain unpublished, and available data of the CoronaVac vaccine is varied. Brazilian trials found the vaccine to be just over 50% effective, significantly less effective than the likes of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca, while Turkish researchers have reported efficacy as high as 83.5%. (snip)

A study published by the University of Chile earlier this month reported that CoronaVac was 56.5% effective two weeks after the second doses were administered in the country. Crucially, however, they also reported that one dose was only 3% effective.

“This would help to explain why Chile — with one of the world’s most robust vaccine rollouts but 93% of the doses coming from China — has experienced a simultaneous significant expansion in cases, and a much slower decline in hospitalizations and deaths compared to the early rollouts in Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States,” Ian Bremmer, president of risk consultancy Eurasia Group, said in a research note.

Nowhere in the long article, which suggests that “‘comprehensive strategies’ to speed up the rollout of vaccines and stop transmission by using proven public health measures” may be necessary, is there any mention at all of therapeutic approaches using hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin in combination with zinc and vitamins, which has proven highly effective in arresting the development of cases, and even in prophylactically protecting people. Both drugs have been taken by millions of people for many years with very few reported adverse reactions.

Isn’t it curious that this obvious approach is not worth mentioning?

Cogito ergo sum→→Sentio ergo ita est

quote-cogito-ergo-sum-i-think-therefore-i-am-rene-descartes-282482

Historians consider that this René Descartes statement epitomizes the spirit of the Age of Reason.  The 17th century philosopher was looking for an unalterable foundation to build the knowledge, a fixed point from which knowledge could be erected. The quote comes from the Discourse on Method by René Descartes, writing which altered the course of history, ushering in a transformation also known as the Enlightenment.

Sentio ergo ita est

Now we have a new awakening and a shift away from reason and objectivity in favor of emotion and subjectivity.  The effects of this spirit are apparent in the Twitter mobs, legacy media propaganda,  in academic intolerance, and extends into virtue signalling corporate executives.  H/T to Pat Frank for his recent comment summarizing this distubing retreat from rationality.  Excerpt in italics with my bolds.

“In woke “science” there is no falsifiable hypothesis. In its place, we have the official orthodox consensus view.”

These areas of science have succumbed to sociology and culture studies. They not only include Covid and climate change, but extend to gender dysphoria, critical race theory, white supremacy, intersectionality, implicit bias, systemic racism, efficacy of diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI; right-think/quota/prejudice), the root cause of crime, and on and on.

These areas make claims that political extremism and violent riots have leveraged to the status of knowledge. Pseudo-knowledge. Things not true that are accepted widely and hotly.

Their general category is the subjectivist narrative. They assume what should be proved, the assumptions are granted the status of evidence, and all the studies are self-confirmatory.

Equivocal language and the flabby tendentious thinking of critical theorists (academic third-raters, all) makes subjectivist narratives the perfect tool for the political demagogue.

This is where universities are headed. Intolerant, prejudicial mediocrity fiercely overseen by Commisars of right-think.

Overseen because university presidents and boards, and heads of national labs, will be judged by their commitment to right-think. If an unseemly interest in merit undercuts DEI, the Commisar will see to their exit. Today, disemployment; later on, execution.

To this, the halls of science have surrendered.

It seems far too many scientists are just methodological hacks. Unable to distinguish knowledge from pseudo-knowledge, the cultural theorists have effortlessly rolled them over.

Background from previous post Revolution: Sentiment Now Overrules Sense

election-meddling-meghan-markle-all-but-endorses-joe-biden-crossing-political-line-that-is-off

Dominic Green describes the sociopolitical coup in his Spectator article Meghan ’n’ Joe’s empire of the sentiments.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Biden dispenses serotonin the way Barack Obama dispensed drone strikes

If your facts don’t care about my feelings, then my feelings aren’t obliged to care about your facts. The facts in Joe Biden’s energetic, inspiring and exhilarating address to the nation last night were frequently as unsteady as the speaker. But the feelings that Biden expressed were, unlike the previous president who must not be named, unimpeachable.

He knows how it feels, he said with that now-customary surge of anger, as if he’s not fully in control of his frontal cortex. And we know how it feels when someone says they know how we feel. Consider everything fixed: COVID, racism, opioids, deficits, the collapse of the schools, the children at the border. The Therapeute-in-Chief is here, dispensing serotonin the way Barack Obama dispensed drone strikes.

It doesn’t matter whether Biden means what he says, any more that it matters whether Meghan Markle told the truth when she implied that her son was denied a prince’s title because he might have dark skin. It’s the feelings that matter: feelings of security, empathy and contentment, and especially the feeling that Nietzsche correctly foresaw as the root feeling of modern life, resentment.

quote-resentment-is-like-drinking-poison-and-then-hoping-it-will-kill-your-enemies-nelson-mandela-38-6-0685

The result is the rule of sentiment over thought and symbols over reality. The Biden administration didn’t invent the moral and humanitarian disaster at the southern border. But it has produced a new crisis by altering the laws to satisfy sentiment.

It feels cruel to return unaccompanied minors, as the Trump administration did, and to hold them in prison-like conditions, as both the Obama and Trump administrations did. But the fact is, Biden’s policies have fostered a greater cruelty.

Biden has created new incentives for human trafficking and the worse kinds of child exploitation.

The result is a surge in border crossings that even a professional euphemist like secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas calls ‘overwhelming’, and the spectacle of would-be illegal immigrants kneeling at the border while wearing t-shirts reading ‘Biden let us in’.

kid-migrants-913x479-1

This is what Biden gets for taking a knee as a craven genuflection to BLM. This is what he gets for accusing Donald Trump of being a racist and sadist for caging unaccompanied minors — even though Biden was vice president when the cages were built, and even though Biden now presides over a greater influx. And this is what we get: a theater of the sentiments, in which the actors and audience are so jaded that their senses and check books can only be stimulated by that reliable and obscene soap-opera trick, putting children’s lives in the balance.

Asked if the word ‘crisis’ applied, the President’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Psaki, refuses to call it anything at all — because she would feel bad, and we would feel bad, and Biden would look bad, if we called it for what it is. It is easier for the administration to resent the Mexican children for putting us in this moral bind, and resent the Republicans, who aren’t short of their own resentments when it comes to immigration, for making hay with it.

bg031121dapr20210311014503

The fact is that this is a crisis. It reflects the corrupt failure of Washington DC and the cold self-interest of corporations who want cheap labor, unions who don’t want it, and, in the middle, the upper-middle-class donors who dislike foreigners who don’t speak English, but need them to bus their tables, do their lawns and wipe their children’s backsides.

Given the complexities of the facts and the appeal of a flight into sentiment, it’s no wonder that this week the administration and media did direct us to pity the children. Meghan and Harry, that is.

Jennifer Psaki commends Meghan and Harry for the ‘courage’ it took to sit down with Oprah and make unsubstantiated allegations against his family. Their kind of fact-light, sentiment-heavy self-promotion and self-therapy was, Psaki told us, one of the areas that Biden is ‘committed to in the future’.

alg031221dapr20210312044519

Biden’s increasingly vague routines of empathy are the symbolic face and velvet glove of a bureaucracy of the sentiments whose offices run from government to the media.

Biden is very old. After him, the gloves will be off and the face will be hardened with more than Botox. We’ll get this decayed form of democracy good and hard, and we’ll be told it should feel good. And that’s a fact.

sentiments over sense

See also Head, Heart and Science

Tom Wolfe tells the story about the Revenge of the Humanities against science and engineering disciplines. Synopsis and link to full essay in post Warmists and Rococo Marxists.

Covid Cult Oppresses Public

img_9993-1

Multiple businesses were vandalized after an anti-curfew protest turned into a riot in Montreal, Quebec Sunday night.  François Legault, the Premier of Quebec, announced Quebec’s Covid-19 curfew will be pushed up from 9:30 PM to 8:00 PM beginning Sunday due to rising Covid cases.

Thy children shall suffer … and other commandments of the Cult of COVID  By Donald S. Siegel, David A. Waldman and Robert M. Sauer at NY Post.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Cult of COVID’s spread has been made possible by an alarmingly powerful public-health establishment and large corporations.

cult-of-covid

For years, we’ve heard that a growing share of Americans don’t identify with any religion. But the past year has witnessed a remarkable religious revival in a nation that was supposed to be fast-secularizing. Only, the religion in question is grim, hopeless, more akin to a cult than true faith — and decidedly imposed from on high.

We’re speaking, of course, of the Cult of COVID, the fastest-growing religion in the United States and across much of the developed world, a religion whose spread has been made possible by an alarmingly powerful public-health establishment and large corporations.

The Cult of COVID has its own clerical elite, its own commandments and even modesty norms. And like any cult, its fanatic adherents shame and silence heretics for defying the public orthodoxy.

The faith’s First Commandment: Thou shalt stay locked down.

For the first time in history, healthy, asymptomatic people of all ages were “quarantined” and placed under virtual house arrest for long stretches.

It’s hard to remember now, since they’ve become a part of our lives, but lockdowns and “reopenings” are an unprecedented imposition on our fundamental rights to work, study, do business, freely associate and worship (God, not the COVID deities).

It’s equally hard to remember, but the COVID clerisy told us the lockdowns would last a few weeks at most, until we “flatten the curves”; we did that, months ago, yet the liturgy of lockdowns goes on.

Then there’s the faith’s Second Commandment: Thou shalt wear a mask.

So essential is this modesty norm that even those who are fully vaccinated continue to wear surgical masks whose effectiveness is questionable at best. We are told that the vaccines are overwhelmingly effective — yet not effective enough, apparently, to disrupt the liturgy of lockdowns or to obviate the mask requirement.

Next commandment: Thy children must suffer.

Like most barbarous cults, the Cult of COVID demands child sacrifice, albeit less overtly bloody than the ancient pagan variety. Pagans practiced child sacrifice in order to appease supernatural beings. Likewise, under the Cult of COVID, the educational development and physical and mental health of our children have been sacrificed on the altar of Absolute Safety, one of the cult’s most capricious and hard-to-appease deities.

The priestly class of epidemiologists, school officials and union leaders — the latter are especially important in the cult’s hierarchy — are tasked with carrying out this dark liturgy. The media supply the chorus with predictions of imminent doom if children and their parents don’t continue to sacrifice their freedom and social and academic development.

Virus Outbreak Senate

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky became emotional at a recent White House coronavirus press briefing — her voice breaking as she warned that the US is facing “impending doom” as COVID-19 cases rise again.

The children of the poor suffer especially for lack of access to affordable, healthy food. All children pay the price by being deprived of real learning and physical activity.

The disregard for kids’ wellbeing may seem callous, but such is the Cult of COVID: Even and especially the president of the United States must pay obeisance to the cult’s supreme hierarchs, teachers-union bosses.

Which brings us to one of the cult’s most central teachings: that you and your family aren’t individuals with rights and liberties.

Instead, you are germ factories, whose movement and social interaction must be severely limited. The media lionize the experts who have imprisoned us. Politicians claim to “follow the science,” when, in reality, they are really following the cult’s edicts, which are impervious to reason and evidence — for example, evidence that children transmit the virus at a much lower rate than do adults, or that outdoor transmission is so negligible as to render wearing masks in the open downright ridiculous.

If you don’t remember choosing to join an irrational cult, well, nor do we. And nor do millions of people across the West now called to participate in its bizarre, cruel and never-ending liturgies. Whatever your religious beliefs, this was one religious revival America didn’t need.

Donald S. Siegel, is a professor of public policy at Arizona State University, where David A. Waldman is a professor of Management. Robert M. Sauer is a professor of economics at the University of London.

 

 

On “Following the Science”

mc_gender_reveal_web20210406120000

This week Tucker Carlson weighed in on Arkansas legislation, the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, which prohibits minors from receiving hormones, puberty blockers, and surgeries related to a gender transition.  In response, Ross Pomeroy claimed in a Real Science article, Tucker Carlson Misrepresents the Science on Transgender Youth.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Carlson’s first misleading assertion was that using hormonal treatments to halt puberty constitutes “chemical castration”. It’s true, some of the same drugs used to help dysphoric youth transition were used in the past to reduce libido and sexual activity in criminals convicted of sex crimes, and this was termed “chemical castration”. When used in adolescents, however, studies have suggested that the drugs are safe, and their effects both well-tolerated and reversible.

Puberty-blocking hormones have actually been used safely for decades to treat precocious puberty, where a child’s body begins changing to that of an adult too soon, before age 8 for girls and age 9 for boys.

Carlson terming the use of these drugs for gender dysphoric youth “chemical castration” was really an attempt to poison the well of the debate.

Tucker’s next question for Hutchinson was prefaced with outright misinformation.

“This is an emerging field. There’s not a lot of research, but the research that exists suggests that depression and the urge to self-harm and commit suicide is a side-effect of taking these hormones. A study in the U.K. showed the overwhelming majority of children on puberty-blocking hormones had the urge to hurt themselves. Why is that responsible medicine to do that to children?” he asked.

To directly resolve Tucker’s ignorance, here are two systematic reviews published late last year which document improved mental health outcomes for gender dysphoric youth given puberty-blockers.

Youth gender dysphoria and transgender medicine are complex issues. That’s why, when discussing them, it’s important to be intellectually humble, deferential to patients, doctors, and parents, and informed and honest about available scientific evidence. Tucker Carlson failed in all of these respects on Tuesday night.

jimbob trans surgery

The is a classic example of social ideology mixed with science.  Pomeroy is right about the complexity of the science, but fails to recognize the ideological bias driving the transgender phenomenon and the corruption of science in the process.  Note he makes no distinction between hormone treatments to delay puberty consistent with birth gender, and use of those agents to reverse the birth gender.  All of this is driven by a “social justice” agenda claiming that equality between men and women depends on making genders all the same, two optional identity choices among dozens of others.  The ramifications of overturning these biological and social realities goes far beyond the destruction of female sports and locker room privacy (serious as those issues are.)  The Arkansas legislation is asserting a traditional set of values and social mores, which science cannot and should not attempt to dictate.  For some clarity on why, see the video below.

For more on science on males and females see On Sexual Brains: Vive La Difference!

Richard Lindzen pointed out the abuse of scientific knowledge at the hands of social elites in his recent talk The Imaginary Climate Crisis: How can we Change the Message?  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

If this weren’t silly enough, we are bombarded with claims that the impacts of this climate change include such things as obesity and the Syrian civil war. The claims of impacts are then circularly claimed to be overwhelming evidence of dangerous climate change. It doesn’t matter that most of these claims are wrong and/or irrelevant. It doesn’t matter that none of these claims can be related to CO2 except via model projections. In almost all cases, even the model projections are non-existent. Somehow, the sheer volume of misinformation seems to overwhelm us. In case, you retain any skepticism, there is John Kerry’s claim that climate (unlike physics and chemistry) is simple enough for any child to understand. Presumably, if you can’t see the existential danger of CO2, you’re a stupid denier.

And, in case this situation isn’t sufficiently bizarre, there is the governmental response. It is entirely analogous to a situation that a colleague, Bruce Everett, described. After your physical, your physician tells you that you may have a fatal disease. He’s not really sure, but he proposes a treatment that will be expensive and painful while offering no prospect of preventing the disease. When you ask why you would ever agree to such a thing, he says he just feels obligated to “do something”. That is precisely what the Paris Accord amounts to. However, the ‘something’ also gives governments the power to control the energy sector and this is something many governments cannot resist. Information is unlikely to change this despite the fact that even the UN’s IPCC acknowledges that their warming claims would only reduce the immensely expanded GDP by about 2-3% by the end of the century – something that is trivially manageable and hardly ‘existential.’

In trying to understand the success of this claim that climate change due to CO2 is an existential threat, I propose to look at an analogous scare: the widespread fear in the US in the early 20th Century of an epidemic of feeblemindedness. I will also return to C.P. Snow’s two-culture description in order to see why the alarmist scenario appeals primarily to the so-called educated elite rather than to the common people.

Details of this situation are in my paper which you can request by email. The major takeaway points are the following:

  1. Elites are always searching for ways to advertise their virtue and assert the authority they believe they are entitled to.
  2. They view science as source of authority rather than a process, and they try to appropriate science, suitably and incorrectly simplified, as the basis for their movement.
  3. Movements need goals, and these goals are generally embedded in legislation.
  4. The effect of legislation long outlasts the alleged science. The Immigration Reduction Act of 1924 remained until 1964.
  5. As long as scientists are rewarded for doing so, they are unlikely to oppose the exploitation of science.

For how this played out with coronavirus contagion see On Following the Science

cb050820dapr20200508014509

Footnote: 

Religious creeds are a great obstacle to any full sympathy between the outlook of the scientist and the outlook which religion is so often supposed to require … The spirit of seeking which animates us refuses to regard any kind of creed as its goal. It would be a shock to come across a university where it was the practice of the students to recite adherence to Newton’s laws of motion, to Maxwell’s equations and to the electromagnetic theory of light. We should not deplore it the less if our own pet theory happened to be included, or if the list were brought up to date every few years. We should say that the students cannot possibly realise the intention of scientific training if they are taught to look on these results as things to be recited and subscribed to. Science may fall short of its ideal, and although the peril scarcely takes this extreme form, it is not always easy, particularly in popular science, to maintain our stand against creed and dogma.
― Arthur Stanley Eddington

See Also: 

Data, Facts and Information

Three Wise Men Talking Climate

Head, Heart and Science

Post-Truth Climatism

How Science Is Losing Its Humanity

 

Four Myths Drove Covid Madness

cormasks

Myth: Sars-CV2 is a new virus and we have no defense.
Fact: Sars-CV2 has not been scientifically established as a virus.
Myth: Testing positive for Sars-CV2 makes you a disease case and a spreader.
Fact: PCR tests say nothing about you being ill or infectious.
Myth: Millions of people have died from Covid19.
Fact: Life expectancy is the same before and after Covid19.
Myth: Wearing masks prevents viral infection.
Fact: Evidence shows masks are symbolic, not effective.

Jack Kerwick has written a series of articles at FrontPage Mag over the last year discussing how facts have been overwhelmed by fears, a mythology replacing scientific knowledge and reason. From the beginning this contagion was different, being the first one in an age of 24/7 cable news and rampant social media. So emotion and exaggeration were spread and political leaders pressured to act as protectors, clamping down on social and economic transactions. This post provides a synopsis of what went wrong, based on Kerwick’s recent essay Masks and Stopping COVID. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

What the science – lots of science – really tells us.

In previous essays, I argued for three theses against the prevailing COVID Orthodoxy:

(1)SARS-CoV-2 has never been isolated, purified, and extracted in accordance with the scientific method that has long been in place for isolating, purifying, and extracting other viruses (like bacteriophages and “giant viruses”), and neither has the scientific method been observed with respect to establishing whether this virus is in fact the cause of a disease called “COVID-19.”
Discussion:

Has the existence of “the Virus” been established according to a universally acknowledged set of scientific procedures that must be observed to establish the existence of any and all other viruses?

From the sounds of it, the answer is a resounding no.

Dr. Tom Cowan, Dr. Andrew Kaufman, and Sally Fallon Morell, are among those who have noted in a paper published last year that in demonstrating the existence of a new virus, samples must, firstly, be taken from the blood, phlegm, or other secretions of hundreds of people exhibiting symptoms that are “unique and specific enough to characterize an illness.”

Then, “without mixing these samples with ANY tissue or products that also contain genetic material, the virologist macerates, filters, and ultracentrifuges, i.e. purifies the specimen.” This, the authors explain, is a “common virology technique, done for decades to isolate bacteriophages [viruses that infect bacteria and reproduce within them] and so-called giant viruses [a virus larger than typical bacteria].”

Thirdly, once virologists perform this procedure, they are then able to “demonstrate with electron microscopy thousands of identically sized and shaped particles.” The latter are “the isolated and purified virus.”

Fourthly, upon determining the purity of these particles, virologists are able to examine their “structure, morphology, and chemical composition [.]”

Fifthly, “the genetic makeup” of the particles [the virus] “is characterized by extracting the genetic material directly from” them and “using genetic-sequencing techniques” that have long been in existence.

Finally, an analysis must be conducted to prove that “these uniform particles are exogenous (outside) in origin” as viruses are held to be and not just “the normal breakdown of products of dead and dying tissues.”

The authors conclude: “If we have come this far then we have fully isolated, characterized, genetically-sequenced an exogenous virus particle” .
They add that nowhere in the literature does it show that any of these steps have been taken with respect to SARS-CoV-2.

Neither—and this is crucial—have the scientific steps for determining that SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of a disease, COVID-19, been taken. What are these steps? There really isn’t much to it:

A group of healthy subjects, typically animals, is first exposed to “this isolated, purified virus in the manner in which the disease is thought to be transmitted.”

Subsequently, virologists will wait to determine whether these subjects fall ill with “the same disease, as confirmed by clinical and autopsy findings [.]” If so, “one has now shown that the virus actually causes a disease.” In other words, the “infectivity and transmission of an infectious agent” will have been demonstrated.

Again, according to the authors, nothing like this has been performed to show that
there is a virus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes what has become known as COVID-19.

An ever growing number of citizen journalists in over ten different countries from around the world have, via the Freedom of Information Acts of their respective homes, requested from scores of health agencies an account of the process by which SARS-CoV-2 has been isolated (i.e. separated out from all other stuff). To date, no account has been provided.

(2) The explosion of COVID “cases” is an illusion generated by a combination of two things: (a) the redefining of a “case” from meaning “infection in need of medical attention”—which is how it was defined in the pre-COVID era—to meaning “anyone who is presumed to have, or to have had, COVID and/or anyone who tests positive for COVID” plus (b) an intrinsically limited PCR test that is deliberately run at a number of cycles guaranteed to produce a tsunami of false-positives.

The official case numbers, in other words, are meaningless.

Discussion:

Right from the jump, it’s crucial to take note of the fact that for the first time ever, beginning just last year, “cases” was radically redefined in such a way that would have been unthinkable in just February of 2020 (one month before The Virus Apocalypse engulfed the universe).

For starters, as indicated above, many of these “cases,” per the CDC, included those patients who were labeled as “probable” carriers of the virus. This means that they were diagnosed as “cases” in the absence of any “confirmatory laboratory testing.” And yet they were identified as COVID “cases.”

Moreover, even when testing is figured into it, with respect to no other virus or disease has the CDC ever counted as a “case” a merely positive test. A positive test, in other words, has never been regarded by the medical establishment as sufficient grounds upon which to determine a “case.” Rather, in order for something to count as a “case,” a person had to have been sick and in need of medical attention like, say, hospitalization.

In the COVID era, however, the CDC began accumulating positive PCR test results (about more of which will be said below) from people the vast majority of whom are “asymptomatic,” meaning they feel just fine, and combining them with positive antibodies tests from people who also feel just fine: The final sum, this compound, comprises all “cases.”

Now, as for those PCR tests: There are two problems.

First, as Karry Mullis bluntly remarked: “Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron.” Who was Karry Mullis? He was the inventor of the PCR test. And he won a Nobel Prize in Science for this achievement. What did the late Dr. Mullis mean by his characterization of his own invention?

“PCR is intended to identify substances qualitatively, but by its very nature is unsuited for estimating numbers [of viruses]. Although there is a common misimpression that the viral load tests actually count the number of viruses in the blood, these tests cannot detect free, infectious viruses at all; they can only detect proteins that are believed, in some cases wrongly, to be unique to HIV. The tests can detect genetic sequences of viruses, but not viruses themselves” (emphases added).

Lauitsen explains further:

“What PCR does is to select a genetic sequence and then amplify it enormously. It can accomplish the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack; it can amplify that needle into a haystack. Like an electronically amplified antenna, PCR greatly amplified the signal, but it also greatly amplifies the noise” (emphases added).

What this implies is that given that “the amplification is exponential, the slightest error in measurement, the slightest contamination, can result in errors of many orders of magnitude.”

There is still another problem with the PCR test as it is currently being used that guarantees its utter worthlessness. More exactly, that guarantees that the “case” numbers built upon it are wholly inaccurate and, hence, meaningless.

This past fall, none other than the New York Times noted that possibly as high as 90% of all positive test results are false.

Per the CDC and FDA guidelines, the vast majority of PCR tests are run at a threshold of 40 cycles. Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist from Harvard who is quoted in the Times piece, notes that when PCR tests are run at 35 or more cycles, they “may detect not just live virus but also live fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risks—akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left.”

The French researcher Didier Raoult has shown that when the PCR test is run at 25 cycles, about 70% of samples were genuinely positive—meaning infectious. However, when the test is run at a threshold of 30 cycles, only 20% of samples were infectious. At 35 cycles, but three percent of samples were infectious.

And when the test was run above 35 cycles? Zero samples were infectious.

(3)People are getting sick and dying from all manner of things from which people get sick and die each and every year. Only throughout this past year, these causes of sickness and death have been repackaged as COVID sickness and death.
Discussion:

Think about it: a cough, running nose, sore throat, chills, chest congestion, fever, loss of taste and smell—these are all symptoms of a plethora of things, from the common cold to seasonal influenza and a whole lot else. Particularly since the vast majority of COVID cases are “mild,” it’s with the greatest of ease that any single one of these symptoms or any number of combinations of them can be used as a pretext by which to establish a “COVID case.”

This is not necessarily to say that the symptoms in question are not signs of COVID or the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is claimed to be its cause. It’s only to note that in the absence of scientifically confirming definitively that (a) there is a unique strain of a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, (b) that it is the cause of something called COVID-19, and that, (3) given the scandalously unreliable PCR test, people do in fact have COVID, symptoms that are associated with the latter are more economically, more plausibly explained by way of reference to illnesses that have long been with us.

The Principle of Parsimony—better known since the 14th century as “Ockham’s Razor”—applies: When confronted with two or more explanatory hypotheses, all things being equal, reason dictates that we opt for the one that is simplest.

Since many of the symptoms now being associated with COVID until recently were explained in terms of, say, the flu, and, given the foregoing facts regarding the science—or lack of science—behind the COVID Narrative, it makes better sense to continue explaining those symptoms in terms of the flu.

Indeed, there is no doubt that a great shell game has been transpiring for a year now as cases of various illnesses have been re-labeled as COVID cases.

For example, over at John Hopkins University, Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s program, used data from the CDC to analyze the effect of COVID-19 deaths in America on all other deaths. Reasonably enough, she had expected to witness a substantial number of excess deaths in 2020, i.e. deaths by all other causes plus the orgy of COVID deaths with which politicians and those in the media had been singularly preoccupied.

She was mistaken. Sorely mistaken. Yanni Gu, a writer for the university’s student newspaper, reports: “Surprisingly, the deaths of older people stayed the same before and after COVID-19.”

This was surprising because COVID (not unlike virtually everything else) overwhelmingly affects elderly people. Thus, “experts expected an increase in the percentage of deaths in older age groups. However, this increase is not seen from the CDC data.” Furthermore, “the percentages of deaths among all age groups remain relatively the same” (emphases added).

Whoa. Briand would soon discover that the plot was just beginning to thicken. What the “data analyzes suggest,” Gu writes, is “that in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States” (emphases added).

There is a perfectly rational, and simple, explanation to account for the unbridgeable chasm between the media-concocted perception of COVID and the reality that Briand discovered:

Deaths from all other causes were being re-classified—misclassified—as death from COVID.  And how did Briand determine this?
For the first time ever, deaths from all other causes—heart diseases, respiratory diseases, influenza, and pneumonia—decreased.

Especially shocking was the realization that heart disease, which has always been the number one killer in America, appeared to have suddenly lost that distinction with the onset of COVID.

Moreover, deaths from all other causes decreased just in proportion to the extent to which COVID deaths increased. “This trend is completely contrary to the pattern observed in all previous years. Interestingly…the total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19.”

Within 24 or so hours of the publication of the article relaying Genevieve Briand’s discoveries, the student paper at John Hopkins University retracted it. They never, however, denied the truth of a single syllable of either Briand’s analysis nor its summary of it. That it was political pressure, and not shoddy scholarship that informed its decision is clear, for the school paper saved its article in a PDF file (to which I link above) for all of the world to read.

Wearing of Masks is Not Supported by Scientific Evidence

In this essay, we will revisit the topic of masks. I’ve already written about the psychological, moral, and social costs of mask-wearing. Here, I will focus specifically on the science—or lack of science—behind it.

Scientists recognize that the RCT—Randomized Control Trial—is the “gold standard” as far as “effectiveness research” is concerned. Drs. Eduardo Hariton and Joseph J. Locasio explain that randomization “reduces bias” while providing “a rigorous tool” by which “to examine cause-effect relationships between an intervention and outcome.” RCTs eliminate the risk of confirmation bias, something that is “not possible with any other study design” (emphases added).

This is critical for our purposes, for the largest study of the effectiveness of mask-wearing by the general public to thwart the transmission of COVID utilized not one, not two, not three, but a staggering 14 randomized control trials.

The study was performed at the University of Hong Kong. What Dr. Jingyi Xiao and her team of researchers there concluded will doubtless be written off as the stuff of “conspiracy theorists” by Mask Nation. So be it. But those on the editorial board of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the widely esteemed journal of none other than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), determined that the findings were worth publishing.

The verdict: Masks are ineffective.

The authors of a review of studies on face masks published last year by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine determined that there is no evidence indicating the effectiveness of cloth masks when it comes to COVID. They lament how the “abandonment of the scientific modus operandi and lack of foresight has left the field [of science] wide open for the play of opinions, radical views and political influence.”

The authors, one an epidemiologist, the other a professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford, do note that all randomized control trials that have been conducted over the last decade or so have demonstrated that “masks alone have no significant effect in interrupting the spread of ILI [Influenza-Like-Illness] or influenza” in neither “the general population…nor in healthcare workers” (emphases added).

We could continue in this same repetitive vein. Readers who are interested in pursuing this topic further can check out this piece of mine from October of last year. I review still other studies there, including remarks from such media-adored “Experts” as Anthony Fauci that dovetail seamlessly with these findings on the essential uselessness of masks with respect to COVID. More research confirming these findings are here, here, here, here, and here. Neither have we yet touched upon the numerous studies showing that countries and states with mask mandates did no better and, in some instances, worse than those places that had no such mandates. Nor have we looked at those studies demonstrating that those who faithfully wore masks were not less likely to contract COVID than those who did not wear masks, with some of these—like this one from the CDC—showing that most people who became infected with COVID wore a mask “always” or “often.”

The science, it should now be obvious, does not support Mask dogma.

cv-2019-2020

 

Medical Ideology Made Covid Worse

Pillars Needed Missing

Love of Theory is the Root of all Evil — Statistician Matthew Briggs

During the pandemic anti-viral treatments were dismissed and their usage cancelled by medical bureaucrats. The rise of “evidence-based medicine” was a major advance in medical science by putting the focus on patient outcomes as the measure of a treatment’s success. Yet during this pandemic in modern western nations, the experiences and observations of primary care physicians and their patients were set aside deliberately in favor of ideology favoring Big Pharma solutions over more available, inexpensive and proven treatment protocols. Pierre Kory suffered directly from this biased, authoritarian discrimination and writes about it in his Real Clear Politics article Censorship Kills: The Shunning of a COVID Therapeutic. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Doctors fighting COVID-19 should be supported by their profession and their government, not suppressed. Yet today physicians are smothered under a wave of censorship. With coronavirus variants and vaccine hesitancy threatening a prolonged pandemic, the National Institutes of Health and the broader U.S. medical establishment should free doctors to treat this terrible disease with effective medicines.

For centuries, doctors have addressed emerging health threats by prescribing existing drugs for new uses, observing the results, and communicating to their peers and the public what seems to work. In a pandemic, precious time and lives can be lost by an insistence on excessive data and review. But in the current crisis, many in positions of authority have done just that, stubbornly refusing to allow any repurposed treatments.

This departure from traditional medical practice risks catastrophe. When doctors on the front lines try to bring awareness of and use such medicines, they get silenced. 

I’ve experienced such censorship firsthand. Early in the pandemic, my research led me to testify in the Senate that corticosteroids were life-saving against COVID-19, when all national and international health care agencies recommended against them. My recommendations were criticized, ignored and resisted such that I felt forced to resign my faculty position. Only later did a large study from Oxford University find they were indeed life-saving. Overnight, they became the standard of care worldwide. More recently, we identified through dozens of trials that the drug ivermectin leads to large reductions in transmission, mortality, and time to clinical recovery. After testifying to this fact in a second Senate appearance — the video of which was removed by YouTube after garnering over 8 million views — I was forced to leave another position. 

I was delighted when our paper on ivermectin passed a rigorous peer review and was accepted by Frontiers in Pharmacology. The abstract was viewed over 102,000 times by people hungry for answers. Six weeks later, the journal suddenly rejected the paper, based on an unnamed “external expert” who stated that “our conclusions were unsupported,” contradicting the four senior, expert peer reviewers who had earlier accepted them. I can’t help but interpret this in context as censorship. 

The science shows that ivermectin works. Over 40 randomized trials and observational studies from around the world attest to its efficacy against the novel coronavirus. Meta-analyses by four separate research groups, including ours, found an average reduction in mortality of between 68%-75%. And 10 of 13 randomized controlled trials found statistically significant reductions in time to viral clearance, an effect not associated with any other COVID-19 therapeutic. Furthermore, ivermectin has an unparalleled safety record and low cost, which should negate any fears or resistance to immediate adoption. 

Our manuscript conclusions were further supported by the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) Panel. Following the World Health Organization Handbook of Guideline Development, it voted to strongly recommend the use of ivermectin in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, and opined that further placebo controlled trials are unlikely to be ethical. 

Even prior to the BIRD Panel recommendations, many countries have approved the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 or formally incorporated it into national treatment guidelines. Several have gone further and initiated large-scale importation and distribution efforts. In the last month alone, such European Union members as Bulgaria and Slovakia have approved its use nationwide. India, Egypt, Peru, Zimbabwe, and Bolivia are distributing it in many regions and observing rapid decreases in excess deaths. Increasing numbers of regional health authorities have advocated for or adopted it across Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa. And it is now the standard of care in Mexico City, one of the world’s largest cities. 

It’s time to stop the foot-dragging. People are dying. The responsible physicians of this country, and their patients, need to be able to rely on their government institutions to quickly identify effective treatments, rather than waiting for pristine, massive Phase III trials before acting. At minimum, the NIH should immediately recommend ivermectin for treating and preventing COVID-19, and then work with professional associations, institutions, and the media to publicize its use.

If it doesn’t, the organization will lose credibility as a public institution charged with acting in the national interest — and doctors will ignore its guidance in the future. 

My story is not unique. Physicians across the country are fighting a pernicious campaign to denigrate all potential treatments not first championed by the authorities, and others have faced retaliation for speaking up. Sadly, too many of our institutions are using the pandemic as a pretext to centralize control over the practice of medicine, persecuting and canceling doctors who follow their clinical judgment and expertise. 

Actually “following the science” means listening to practitioners and considering the entirety and diversity of clinical studies. That’s exactly what my colleagues and I have done. We won’t be cowed. We will speak up for our patients and do what’s right.

Pierre Kory, MD, is president and chief medical officer of the Front-Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance.

Post Script: Evidence from Comparing France and India

20210307-ive-hcq-france-india

We learn that 30 million Indians have been cured by ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine,

Does there still exist in France a single journalist able to move away from the clandestine restaurant of BFM to look at what is happening outside the ring road? 

India has conquered the disease with hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, uses a traditional vaccine, exports experimental vaccines for these idiotic Westerners 

India is the first country in the world for the production of drug molecule, but it is also a developing country. Populated by 1.4 billion inhabitants, it still has 90 million over 60 years also exposed to covid. It is the second country in the world for no number of cases. India followed the Raoult and Borody protocol to the letter …

The rate of reproduction of the virus continues to decline and the country (India) which has known at least 11 million declared cases has reached the threshold of collective immunity.

There are 1,230 deaths per million inhabitants over 65 (six times less than in France). If we had listened to Raoult and followed the Indian model, today we would have 500 cases of covid per day and 75,000 fewer deaths …

Additionally, About those Covid death statistics:

From The Center Square, Illinois:  Coroner questions Illinois’ COVID-19 death tally, seeks statewide audit.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

But a county coroner is calling for a full audit after reviewing some of the deaths in his county.

“My concern is, I’ve reviewed several cases, (of 100 cases) about ten of them here in Monroe County, that the state has deemed COVID-related deaths and none of them have had underlying conditions or contributing factors to COVID,” Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill said. “So my concern is no matter when the person was tested positive, the state is automatically giving them a death classification as related to COVID.”

He said one case in January was an accidental drug overdose, but the decedent had tested positive for COVID-19 in October.

“Don’t automatically put a statistic out there of a (COVID) death when it hasn’t been confirmed what the cause is,” Hill said.

Hill questioned if the motivation to rush reporting of COVID-19 deaths without a full audit was about money.

“The only assumption I can make is the hope the state is seeking some federal money coming down the system for all the numbers of deaths we’ve had due to COVID-19,” Hill said. “That’s the only thing that I can assume. Why else would you want to inflate numbers especially related to COVID.”