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Attacks on scientists in the age of COVID-19: How “they” view “us”

Nature recently published a survey showing how common online and other attacks on scientists trying to communicate science-based information are. The hatred is nothing new. What’s new are COVID-19 and social media.

About a week ago, Nature published a survey in an article entitled ‘I hope you die’: how the COVID pandemic unleashed attacks on scientists. For some reason I didn’t notice last week when it was first published, but I did notice the other day and felt that, given my long experience, I had to comment. I’ll discuss more of the details later in this post, but the CliffsNotes version is that large percentages of scientists and physicians who have made media appearances, spoken in public, or posted on social media to try to educate the public about COVID-19 have as a result experienced abuse, including online abuse, attacks on their credibility, and even threats of violence, death, and sexual abuse. Naturally, Twitter lit up last week and continuing to this week. A couple of examples:

This brings me to the point of my article. None of this is a surprise. Online harassment and attacks directed at physicians and scientists who seek to combat quackery, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theories with science-based information and arguments are nothing new. I’ve written many times about my experiences in this particular realm, and, as Dorit noted in her Tweet above, two decades ago Paul Offit was routinely receiving attacks and death threats for speaking out in support of vaccination and against antivaccine propaganda, years before I ever entered the fray and achieved my small level of microcelebrity. (Or is it nanocelebrity?) She’s also correct. The level of attacks waxes and wanes, but the attacks never quite stop. The motivation behind the attacks all boils down to how “they” view “us,” as I’ll discuss. (Hint: “They” view “us” as, basically, Darth Vader (the younglings-slaying version without the redemption arc in Return of the Jedi), Lord Voldemort, Sauron, Emperor Palpatine, and Thanos all rolled up into one (probably with a few slashers like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees thrown in for good measure).

Voldemort attacks
Maybe we’re Lord Voldemort?
Or maybe we’re Emperor Palpatine?
Quite possibly we’re Sauron?
Or maybe we’re a slasher?

Before I look back to the past of how cranks and conspiracy theorists respond to science communicators, it’s worth looking at the situation now as described by Bianca Nogrady reporting in Nature:

Infectious-diseases physician Krutika Kuppalli had been in her new job for barely a week in September 2020, when someone phoned her at home and threatened to kill her.

Kuppalli, who had just moved from California to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, had been dealing with online abuse for months after she’d given high-profile media interviews on COVID-19, and had recently testified to a US congressional committee on how to hold safe elections during the pandemic. But the phone call was a scary escalation. “It made me very anxious, nervous and upset,” says Kuppalli, who now works at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

She called the police, but didn’t hear that they took any action. The threatening e-mails, calls and online comments continued. The police officer who visited Kuppalli after a second death-threat call suggested she should get herself a gun.

Those of us who’ve been at this a while will recognize this story, although I have thus far been fortunate enough not to have attacks on me take the form of someone calling me at home to threaten death. (Usually such attacks take the form of social media posts plus the every-few-months threatening emails and every year or so threatening phone calls to my office.) However, as a blogger I’m not nearly as high profile as someone like Kuppalli in the middle of a pandemic.

In any event, for this story, Nature did a survey of 321 scientists who have given media interviews about COVID-19, many of whom have also commented on social media about the pandemic. It isn’t a random sample, of course, but then the purpose of the survey wasn’t to figure out how prevalent harassment of scientists and physicians is in general, but rather to look at the experiences of those who have spoken and written publicly about the pandemic. The sample came predominantly from the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, although Brazil was represented as well.

The responses looked like this:

Attacks on scientists
These results are about on par with what those of us who’ve been doing this for 20 years would have predicted. Actually, I would have guessed higher numbers.

And a bit more of the results:

These examples are extreme. But in Nature’s survey, more than two-thirds of researchers reported negative experiences as a result of their media appearances or their social media comments, and 22% had received threats of physical or sexual violence. Some scientists said that their employer had received complaints about them, or that their home address had been revealed online. Six scientists said they were physically attacked (see Supplementary information for survey data tables).

And, unsurprisingly:

And such attacks might have little to do with the science itself and more to do with who’s talking. “If you’re a woman, or a person of colour from a marginalized group, that abuse will probably include abuse of your personal characteristics,” says Tworek. For instance, Canada’s chief public-health officer Theresa Tam is Asian Canadian, and abuse levelled against her included a layer of racism, Tworek says. Kuppalli, a female scientist of colour, says she also experienced this. Abusers told her she “needs to go back where she came from”.

I’ve long noted that, when it comes to attacks from cranks, I operate from a privileged position. I’m a professor. I’m closer to the end of my career than to its beginning. My position is fairly secure in academia. And I’m an older white male. Those who don’t have my advantages, such as young physicians and scientists just starting out, persons of color, women, and LGBTQ people, almost inevitably come in for much worse attacks, and they are the very people for whom the attacks are most likely to succeed because they tend to have the least support. Moreover, there is a particularly disgusting tendency for such attacks, when directed at women, to take the form of misogynistic attacks or even attacks of sexual violence. Again, this is nothing new. Does anyone remember back in the “old days” (2009!), when antivaxxer J.B. Handley joked about Paul Offit having slipped reporter Amy Wallace a “roofie” because she had written a story that had debunked antivaccine misinformation and presented Dr. Offit in a flattering light? The misogyny is nothing new, nor is the racism.

To be honest, I have to say that one thing that struck me about the results of this survey is that the numbers were so low. I would have expected a much higher percentage reporting at least attacks on their credibility (at least 80%) and possible reputational damage. I would also have expected far more to have received complaints at work about their media and social media activity, but that could just be my perspective based on my experiences over the last 16+ years, plus my interactions with others doing the same thing. I’ve described many times how, at least among antivaxxers, the go-to move to try to intimidate a critic to silence is to complain to their employers. I’ve lost track of how many times antivaxxers or other cranks have complained to some combination of my department chair, cancer center director, and medical school dean. One time in 2010, antivaxxers even launched an email, phone, and letter-writing campaign to my university’s board of governors trying to accuse me of a non-existent undisclosed conflict of interest. It got to the point where the attacks led the dean to call me on my cell phone and ask if I was OK and if I felt physically threatened.

That being said, just because my personal experience (which could have led me to generalize my experience more than was warranted) led me to be a bit surprised that the numbers reporting attacks weren’t higher, that does not mean this isn’t a problem. Far from it! Indeed, the way to look at it is to ask whether or not the problem is increasing. While it’s hard to quantify whether the attacks are increasing, certainly those who have been around a long time think that they are.

Nature, again:

Coordinated social-media campaigns and threatening e-mails or phone calls to scientists are not new: topics such as climate change, vaccination and the effects of gun violence have drawn similar attacks in the past. But even scientists who had a high profile before COVID-19 told Nature that the abuse was a new and unwelcome phenomenon tied to the pandemic. Many wanted the extent of the problem discussed more openly. “I believe national governments, funding agencies and scientific societies have not done enough to publicly defend scientists,” one researcher wrote in their survey response.

It’s hard for me to extrapolate from my limited experience to guess whether things are getting worse. For me, oddly enough, they don’t appear to be. I haven’t suffered any attempts to get me fired for a while, and the hate mail seems to be about the same level it’s been for a long time. On the other hand, there has been a rather nasty bunch of phone calls to my office recently, but they didn’t appear to have anything to do with what I’ve written about COVID-19, although recently I did receive this in the snail mail:

Attacks come by mail
Apparently this critic really, really likes Robert Malone.

Regular readers will remember the “inventor of mRNA vaccines” Dr. Robert Malone, who thinks that Wikipedia is trying to “erase” him.

Unfortunately, these attacks do often have their intended effect:

But Nature’s survey suggests that even though researchers try to shrug off abuse, it might already have had a chilling effect on scientific communication. Those scientists who reported higher frequencies of trolling or personal attacks were also most likely to say that their experiences had greatly affected their willingness to speak to the media in the future (see ‘Chilling effect?’).

I myself will even admit that, although I’m more than happy to speak with most print reporters, I now tend to be more reluctant to accept a media request that involves being on TV. Part of it is due to my natural shyness about appearing on TV, although I’ve learned to appear on vlogs and video podcasts. Part of it is that I don’t want to run afoul of my cancer center’s media policy. But part if it is due to my knowledge that appearances on high profile TV, even as rare as such offers have been, are a magnet for crank attacks. That being said, I’m trying to combat that tendency and increase my willingness to move outside my comfort zone, which mainly includes interviews for print media, blogs, social media, and, occasionally, podcasts.

Again, some of the stories reported by Nature are familiar to anyone who’s been at this a while:

Epidemiologist Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz at the University of Wollongong in Australia, who has gained a following on Twitter for his detailed dissection of research papers, says that two major triggers are vaccines and the anti-parasite drug ivermectin — controversially promoted as a potential COVID-19 treatment without evidence it was effective. “Any time you write about vaccines — anyone in the vaccine world can tell you the same story — you get vague death threats, or even sometimes more specific death threats and endless hatred,” he says. But he’s found the passionate defence of ivermectin surprising. “I think I’ve received more death threats due to ivermectin, in fact, than anything I’ve done before,” he says. “It’s anonymous people e-mailing me from weird accounts saying ‘I hope you die’ or ‘if you were near me I would shoot you’.”

Andrew Hill, a pharmacologist at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Translational Medicine, received vitriolic abuse after he and his colleagues published a meta-analysis in July. It suggested ivermectin showed a benefit, but Hill and his co-authors then decided to retract and revise the analysis when one of the largest studies they included was withdrawn because of ethical concerns about its data (A. Hill et alOpen Forum Inf. Dis. 8, ofab394; 2021). After that, Hill was besieged with images of hanged people and coffins, with attackers saying he would be subject to ‘Nuremberg trials’, and that he and his children would ‘burn in hell’. He has since closed his Twitter account.

Here’s where I think it’s a good time to get back to the part about how “they” view “us,” because the experiences of Meyerowitz-Katz and Hill remind me a lot of what I experienced (albeit not to such a degree) after systematically deconstructing the treatment offered to desperate cancer patients by a well-known cancer quack about whom I’ve been writing since at least 2008, Stanislaw Burzynski.

Longtime readers will recall that Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski is an expat Polish physician who came to the US in the early 1970s and for a time did research at Baylor. As I detailed many times (but most comprehensively here), Burzynski thought he discovered natural anti-cancer peptides, which he dubbed “antineoplastons.” Ultimately, “brave maverick doctor” that he was (and not an oncologist), Burzynski left Baylor to open his own clinic to use his antineoplastons to treat all manner of cancer patients. However, he became most famous for claims of “miracle cures” for one of the nastiest cancers of all, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a tumor that can only rarely be treated for long term survival. Yet, every child whose parents took them to the Burzynski Clinic and who survived much longer than expected became “miracle cures” that Burzynski believers used to support claims that Burzynski had the “hidden cure” for cancer that “they” didn’t want you to know about.

You might even remember the techniques used by Burzynski supporters, many of which presaged disinformation techniques used to promote ivermectin as a cure for COVID-19 (and, before that, hydroxychloroquine): Propaganda movies disguised as documentaries, mobilization of believers to attack scientists and physicians who tried to explain why the evidence showed that antineoplastons almost certainly didn’t work against cancer, and, of course, political pressure through rallies and the use of dying patients as cudgels to paint Burzynski’s critics as unfeeling monsters who not only don’t care if people die but are actively seeking to cause more cancer patients to die. But why? To boil it down, as I originally described, Burzynski’s believers honestly thought that skeptics who try to counter his propaganda with science-based information were pure evil. To some extent, this was understandable, given that they had come to believe that Burzynski was the very last chance they have either to live (if they were Burzynski’s patient or potential patient) or for their loved one to live (if they had a family member with a deadly cancer seeking treatment for Burzynski). Generalize this tendency to COVID-19 patients, and you can perhaps see why families denied ivermectin by physicians who looked at the evidence and concluded quite correctly that it almost certainly doesn’t work against COVID-19 might sue a hospital and why ivermectin cultists would aim such hatred at such doctors.

The same was true of antivaxxers before the pandemic and continues with COVID-19 antivaxxers. Before the pandemic, antivaccine parents, the ones who truly believe that vaccines made their children autistic, also really hated us. The reason was similar. First, they blamed medicine and doctors for promoting vaccination, which, in their belief system, “stole their real child” away and left an autistic “shell.” Second, skeptics’ and physicians’ opposition to “autism biomed,” a bunch of rank quackery to which autistic children have been subjected depressingly frequently, was viewed in much the same way as oncologists’ and skeptics’ opposition to Burzynski: Not only did “we” make their children autistic, but “we” were actively preventing them from “recovering” their children. It was a toxic brew of guilt, suspicion, regret, and hate that led to the need for an enemy, a villain, someone to blame.

Let me just remind you of some of what happened before the pandemic. The blame often reached the realm of truly ridiculously hyperbole, such as comparing the vaccination program to the Holocaust (a favorite and not infrequent analogy that continues with even more enthusiasm since COVID-19) and those of us who accept current science, which shows the vaccines do not cause autism to “Holocaust deniers.” Alternatively (or sometimes at the same time), “we” are the Nazis or Nazi collaborators in mass murder, as Mike Adams tried to label GMO scientists. The most common villain, not surprisingly, was the CDC, which oversees the vaccination program and, with the collaboration of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), publishes a recommended vaccine schedule that is followed by pretty much every pediatrician (other than those friendly to the antivaccine movement) follows. It is thus not surprising that the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement (as I like to put it) is that the CDC “knew all along” that vaccines cause autism but has actively worked to bury any science that shows otherwise even to the point of “fraud.”

Worse, dating back to even well before the pandemic, the rhetoric coming from the antivaccine movement had been becoming increasingly violent and apocalyptic. Even so, calls for executions of scientists and physicians are nothing new. The earliest example that I could recount (and certainly nowhere near the earliest, I would bet) came from 2006. Meanwhile, since COVID-19, the violent rhetoric of anti-public health activists appears to have intensified.

Yes, in antivaccine circles, provaccine science communicators are cannibals. Note that this image is from 2009, and you’ll probably recognize at least two or three of the people in it. Longtime readers will know who all six are.

What is arguably worse in the age of COVID-19 is the tendency of once respectable doctors to encourage such attacks on scientists, mostly inadvertently, with truly awful takes on public health and vaccines. For example, not too long ago an oncologist whom I once sort of admired, Dr. Vinay Prasad, basically argued that “lockdowns,” mask mandates, and vaccine mandates were a slippery slope to fascism. Yes, he went full Godwin, and, although he tried (unsuccessfully) to claim that he hadn’t gone full Godwin, it’s hard for me not to think that demonization of public health measures by someone viewed by many as a respectable academic oncologist as a slippery slope to another Holocaust doesn’t contribute to attacks on scientists, physicians, and public health officials. After all, if you really believe that public health interventions are a slippery slope to fascism, what must one do to those who promote such interventions? Resist? And how far does one go?

A typical antivax attack
If you really believe that a “vaxtermination” is happening, how far do you go to stop it? That’s the problem with the rhetoric, and it’s what scientists are facing. (More on Mike Adams later this week or maybe next week on SBM.)

If you honestly believe they are bringing about the end of democracy, violence to oppose them is not beyond the pale. At the very least, what’s a bit of intimidation to silence as the price of preventing “fascism”? Of course, Dr. Prasad is the very same person who once contemptuously dismissed those of us who try to combat the sort of misinformation that is making bringing the pandemic under control so difficult as LeBron James “dunking on a 7′ hoop.” Again, if “they” truly view “us” as fascists trying to take away their freedom, it’s unsurprising that they would become increasingly violent and apocalyptic in their attacks and rhetoric, and it’s depressing to see rhetoric that encourages this sort of behavior coming from someone like Prasad, who, alas, isn’t alone in that.

Now that so many other scientists and physicians are experiencing what we have long experienced, and often worse than we’ve experienced it, what can be done? One heartening finding of the survey is that the majority of respondents reported that their media appearances resulted in experiences that were far more positive than negative. Still, there’s the harassment, which is increasing. It’s there that the Nature article doesn’t have a lot of answers, probably because there aren’t a lot of good answers:

For researchers who receive online abuse, individual coping strategies include trying to ignore it; filtering and blocking e-mails and social-media trolls; or, for abuse on specific social-media platforms, deleting their accounts. But it’s not easy.

“It is very harrowing if every day, you open up your e-mails, your Twitter, you get the death threats, you get abuse every single day, undermining your work,” says Hill. It also takes time to go through messages and filter out abusers, he says. That led to his decision to delete his Twitter account.

Kuppalli has kept her social-media presence, but is more careful about how she uses it. Her rule is now not to respond to comments or posts when she is upset or angry or, in some cases, not to reply at all. “I just don’t read the comments and I don’t engage.”

The problem, of course, is that it’s very easy for the trolls to remain anonymous and very hard to block them, particularly from email. For example, my university and cancer center email addresses are featured on my faculty webpages, as are phone numbers to reach me. The thing that bothers me the most about this is not the emails, which I generally save in a “fan mail” folder for future reference if needed, but any secretaries or administrative assistants who might answer an abusive phone call meant for me.

One thing I do do when asked is to try to mentor younger physicians and scientists by warning them about the sorts of responses they can expect. I also warn them how “they” view “us,” which is, because all conspiracy theories require a villain, as villains who want to destroy freedom and kill people with vaccines, masks, and lockdowns. I realize that this might sound ridiculous, but anyone who’s received such messages before know that what I’m saying is accurate. Although many of the harassers are just garden-variety trolls, there is a scary contingent who really do believe these things.

In particular, I warn young women and persons of color that responses to them, in addition to the hate, will contain added racism and misogyny. I also suggest that they make sure their bosses are, if not on board with their activities, at least not opposed. At the very least, you don’t want them to think so little of your activities that they don’t want to be bothered at all when the cranks come calling to complain to them about you. You want to know that your boss has your back, something that will usually be true in an academic center but very well might not be at a private institution or company.

Fortunately, the Nature poll is somewhat reassuring:

In Nature’s survey, 44% of scientists who said they’d been trolled or experienced personal attacks said they never told their employer. Of those who did, however, almost 80% found their employer ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ supportive (see ‘Employer support’). When Kuppalli informed her university, for instance, she was given a car parking space much closer to her office, and the university’s IT department worked to block some of the regular abusive e-mailers.

Of course, blocking emailers is like playing Whac-A-Mole, given how easy it is to generate new throwaway email addresses. That being said, it’s good to see IT departments more willing to make the attempt. My own IT department once blocked a particularly obnoxious cancer quack who had been mass emailing my entire department to attack me.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that none of this is anything new. I’ve experienced such attacks going back to the 1990s on Usenet. What is new are the social media and political landscape that now encourage and facilitate such attacks, which are so much easier than they were even a few years ago. If you’re going to enter the fray, I’ll encourage and advise you, as, I suspect, would nearly everyone currently combatting misinformation, be it related to COVID-19, vaccines, climate change, or any other science whose communicators suffer harassment and attacks. However, you do need to know what you might be getting into. Basically, I’ve said for a long time that if you are effective combatting pseudoscience, you will come under attack of some sort eventually. It is better to be prepared and go in with your eyes wide open, remembering that “they” really do view “us” as evil and the enemy.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

142 replies on “Attacks on scientists in the age of COVID-19: How “they” view “us””

I’m not a scientist (but have family members who are). I can relate to this comment about losing acquaintances. I’ve lost a couple friends due to covid – not because they got sick physically but because they got sucked into the cult of ivermectin and other aspects of pandemic denial. I even have had some tell me that the germ theory of disease was wrong and viruses don’t exist (I live in an area with a lot of liberal newage science deniers). Maybe it says something about the quality of those friendships (they weren’t as great as I had thought) but it’s sad to see people who went to good colleges become so sloppy, and so disconnected from basic facts. My county’s covid death total has doubled since mid summer due to denial.

I’ve become much more interested in the psychology of this than the etiology of covid disease. It says a lot about where our society is that disagreement by some automatically leads to this level of harassment. In a perverse way it is a compliment but extremely unpleasant to receive or even observe from a distance.

The river of denial has many tributaries.

Thank you for your service.

It might be interesting for you to look up research about the psychology of conspiracy theorists and of anti-vaxxers for a start to see who might be involved. Hornsey and Karen Douglas come to mind immediately.
People who deny reality and therefore oppose its champions are a special breed who may frequently be observed at RI.

I, too, have become fascinated with conspiracist psychology, having engaged in many email arguments with two extremists since last year.

A paper you may find interesting is “Conspiracy Theorists and Monological
Belief Systems” by Kurtis Hagen, which de-legitimizes Woods (2012) conclusion that conspiracy theorists simultaneously believe in contradictory theories. Of course, they have lots of other problems.

You really don’t know much about actually working in science, do you? There are MANY faster and easier ways to make money. No, most scientists are most definitely NOT in it for the money, fool.

I suggest Jlbatx looks up the average wages of scientists. A friend on the same engineering degree as me went into banking. Pretty soon she was getting £20k yearly bonuses. Maybe I’ll cadge a lift on the yacht one day. If you want people in it for the money then banking is the way to go. Stockbrokers? Top company execs? Top lawyers. Yep, nobody goes into science for the dosh.

On the other hand. As an engineer, I’ll be a valuable commodity in the Capital Wasteland after an apocalypse. Them high flyers are gonna be Deathclaw fodder.

Why would ‘Top Lawyers’ be a sensitive subject? It’s not. I used to litigate and left the practice. Scientists need money for all sorts of reasons – to fund their work and themselves. That money has selection bias.

That money has selection bias.

Well, that’s twice. Go on, explain what this is supposed to mean.

It means that scientists’ conclusions are dependent upon those who are funding their work. Since scientific study is expensive well most of it is funded by large financial interests- indeed say like Pharmaceutical companies. Funding is harder to find for cheap treatments or natural remedies which is self supporting and leads you to feed your egos (or feel better about yourselves for selling out) by calling any supporters of cheap remedies quacks or unscientific, ironically whilst ignoring the problems with your own beloved scientific conclusions. Attorneys/lobbyists that speak a slightly different language and wear different colored jackets.

Funding is indeed harder to find for natural remedies, because the $4bn-a-year quack industry knows it’s selling snake oil and doesn’t want to spend any of their hard-earned (cough) dough on honest investigation that would refute the medical effectiveness of their cash cows and golden geese.

They’re lying to you, and you’re swallowing it like a homeopath in a public swimming pool.

It means that scientists’ conclusions are dependent upon those who are funding their work.

I see. So the LHC actually did “find” sparticles? How does this work with investigator-initiated R01’s? G—gle validated Pons & Fleischmann?

There’s so much ignorance packed into this sentence that it’s hard to know where to start. The most charitable interpretation of course is that funding sometimes gravitates to trendiness. You, on the other hand, skip right over anything resembling nuance (who ordered hardened wood, and who wants any in the first place? what was the basic research?) and just try to play whiny Calvinist for no discernible reason.

Isn’t it time for Joe Rogan?

A lot of dancing without any serious refutation of the proposition that scientists seek to support hypotheses their funders appreciate. It isn’t even that evil really. The only evil party is claiming to be objective or neutral. Attorneys it would seem are that actual good souls; for they are at least transparent in their advocacy.

Hey, some scientists are completely corrupt, and the better science community continues to put a spotlight right on the money grubbers. Yet the honest working scientist money comes from a salary and good works. Some get grants based on the idea itself — not from a request to manufacture an idea.

Money does have a selection bias and degrades science — no doubt. However, the community of non-biased scientists who get paid the same rate basically, are continuously evaluated by their peers for the work they do. They also evaluate for the corrupt science which pisses people off and gets them fired. I think it is right for people to get fired because they have

What is your work? Who evaluates your work?

I’m so glad you aren’t promoting violence. So, good on you.

Cigarette smoking is now universally evidenced as a poor choice of behaviors for healthy living but still being sold. Real sad that COVID-19 vaccination is a great choice for healthy living but is challenged by many who don’t have the evidence to prove it doesn’t enhance health. I’m all ears for scientific evidence that vaccinations are harmful.

I’m surprised that Jlbatx uses the Internet, given how it was originally funded. 😉

Indeed. The whole modern antivax movement was started by an ex-doctor who got paid off to say that vaccines were dangerous. And then there are the antivaxxers who moved onto selling tobacco – and the tobacco-company employees who switched to selling antivax lies for money.

I hope you’re getting well paid. Were you one of the lawyers who paid off Wakefield? That stain isn’t going to wipe off.

Science supporters/ communicators experience particular types of insults and false allegations against them to which certain groups like women, minorities and LGBTQ people are especially vulnerable:
serendipitously, we can observe trolls do that right here at the microcosm that is RI.
A long time ago, a psychologist** famously surveyed subjects’ attributions for women’s successes in professional fields and found that frequently, they were attacked personally as well as for not being responsible for their own success. They were described as being not attractive or being sexually/ generally corrupt which sheds light on the fundamental misogyny of the attackers- women should be attractive, “pure” and based in the home, not out doing science, medicine and other traditionally male activities as well as being independent.

Attackers use insults to invalidate a person’s credibility and ultimately cancel out its effectiveness as communication because they can’t use facts and data to counter their argument. Some of the things I’ve read about Orac and other sceptics are mind boggling and fit the attributions described above. Someone really isn’t an expert, they are paid to lie, they ‘go along’ with the establishment to get ahead, they are criminals, they are unattractive, nerds, have no life, etc.
Personally, I take their attacks as proof that my contributions threaten their position and upset them immensely***. Good. In RL, the funniest thing I ever heard was an envious woman who attributed my admission/ successes at well-known universities to the facts that my father “paid them off” and that we were Jewish. Which tells you more about HER than about us.

Readers can de-construct various RI trolls accordingly.

** scoffers can LOOK HER UP- she’s really famous
*** see anti-vax mothers

To be honest, I have to say that one thing that struck me about the results of this survey is that the numbers were so low.

I think that is because this survey was conducted with scientists from a number of different countries and not focused just on the US. COVID-19 vaccines and ivermectin are a lot less controversial in several countries compared to the US, where they have become highly politicised. I might add that there has also been encouragement from certain political positions, most notably the former President, to attack scientists.

I have my own stories to tell about harassment of scientists (different area of science and different time) and fully understand why some scientists are reluctant to communicate with the public. I have also noticed that the type and intensity of the attacks are frequently worse on scientists who are not white males. I have a lot of admiration for those who continue their work with the public, knowing they get far more and far worse abuse than I received. Dorit is correct that the abuse never really goes away, but that is not a reason why we should accept it as inevitable. We do need to stand up and state that this is not acceptable.

Chris Prestonsays: October 20, 2021 at 9:00 pm
I think that is because this survey was conducted with scientists from a number of different countries and not focused just on the US.

My thought exactly. The supplementary tables show that 53 (17%) of the respondents were in the USA>

prl and ChrisP:

Mike Adams has been highly critical of Australia’s response to Covid, calling it a police state, dictatorship, with criminal leadership etc., applauding drivers who boycotted deliveries or struck. Like NZ, AUS is a total failure…. to Mike, at least.

Looking at worldometers on Covid, I ascertain that very few people died both there and in NZ.
Mike- -btw- lives in Texas, which will soon secede and become the Republic of Texas.
Adams, Null and Del moved to Texas to avoid income taxes, business taxes and professional oversight of their activities.

Looking at worldometers on Covid, I ascertain that very few people died both there and in NZ.

Yes Denice, Texas with a population fractionally larger than Australia has managed an infection rate 28 times higher than Australia and a death rate 44 time higher. If Texas were to secede they would be 18th in the world for COVID-19 deaths and the smallest country by population in the top 20. Not that enviable a record.

I just don’t get this insistence by Republican leaders in the US that their supporters should die. Not to say we haven’t been infected with a little of this insanity, but most people look at the politicians proposing such ideas as if they should be locked up for their own good.

New Zealand has so far had an extremely good outcome in protecting themselves against COVID, though it looks like the Delta strain might end their run, though it’s still too early to tell whether they’ll be able to go back to zero cases from the current Delta outbreak there.

Australia has done fairly well (on a per capita basis: remember that Australia’s population is less than 10% of that of the USA’s when looking at simple case numbers), especially in comparison with places like the USA and and the UK, but I don’t think that we moved urgently enough on getting vaccination ramped up.

I’m not sure what Mike Adams would be talking about in referring to transport strikes in Australia. Despite some long-distance truck drivers inadvertently taking COVID across state borders, the industry as a whole has had a high level of compliance, and I don’t recall any widespread transport strikes. Courier companies have had a boom from online shopping during lockdown, as has Australia Post.

Once a ‘scientist’ goes on the media and gives their opinion they are then advocates for a point of view, like it or not. Wrapping that point of view in the name of “science” is a falsehood. Science changes as new information is discovered, and as someone famous said the science is never settled as it is a “self correcting and dynamic process”

Do you not realize that to the people who oppose your opinion, think that you and a lot of the poster on this site are the “cranks”. Just take a little time to look back on the threats etc, that your posters write, Someone had a quoted list of all the foul language, threats and obscene comments that were posted here over the years and yet you want to call the people who voice a different opinion than yours ‘cranks’.

If you think that public advocacy is dangerous or can lead to threats try……

being a conservative or a Republican or a conservative member of congress, the opposition actually tries to kill you, remember Steve Scalise

or your opposition won’t let you eat in their restaurants or yells and screams at you while your trying to enjoy a meal.

or you are anti abortion organization, like the Family Research Council and Floyd Corkins

Or God forbid you are a cop, because they will follow home and kill you or just harass your wife or kids, just because you did your job.

You allow uncivilized behavior on your site don’t be surprised by the uncivilized behavior on the other side.

I am a germophobe which does not like cops. A cop of unknown status (assumed to be unvaxxed because they are so damn trumpy) getting in my face is going to become a newsworthy problem. I promise.

Public health is political. It always has been because it requires collective action coordinated by government. Indeed, a lot of science is political and always has been, because its conclusions have implications for public policy. This whole “just the facts” and “science should be apolitical” schtick I hear from people like you is historically ignorant in the extreme and basically almost always used as an excuse to try to shut scientists up.

“your opposition won’t let you eat in their restaurants or yells and screams at you while your trying to enjoy a meal.”

I wouldn’t dream of interrupting your fine dining experience at Chick-fil-A.

There’s not a single thing on Charles’ list that can’t be reversed. Right-wingers driving through crowds of protesters, anti-abortion groups threatening staff at health clinics, cops shooting unarmed black guys just because, cake shops refusing to decorate cakes for gay weddings. Oh my. People are people. At some point they are going to call you a stupid stupidhead if you refuse to acknowledge their evidence.

Republican policies, such as downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19 infection and opposing proven public health measures (wearing of masks, vaccines), are what is killing people. Pot . . . meet kettle.

I am more than adequately equipped to fuck them all to death if somebody points me unincriminatingly. Or just says “you go boy”

I would like to see how this anti science/truth bandwagon would have played out if Trump hadnt been elected. He has the maxim that the truth is what you want it to be. His daughter, in an interview, confirmed that this was how she was brought up.
Folk like Charles have a focus for their world view in this egomaniac and this cancer has spread round the world. The conspiracy theorists have been emboldened and it is sad to see.
There will always be people who make up their own reality. We probably all do it to some extent. But I would bet that if Trump hadnt come along, we would not be seeing the extreme and violent outpourings we are enduring.

Interesting that you would claim

“This whole “just the facts” and “science should be apolitical” schtick I hear from people like you is historically ignorant in the extreme”

“Deep roots of Nazi science revealed”

Your “political” use of science helped write the Nuremberg Laws and Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Diseased Offspring

and that just what the Nazi’s did, Stalin and Mao did worse all in the name of “public health”.

How many laws in the US under the guise of public health have been enacted that are laughable now. How many people followed the public health ‘food pyramid” (high carb low fat) or smoking is good for you or sugar/corn syrup is a healthy choice or science in the public interest like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, how many cancer treatments that were done in the past are now considered just plain wrong, the list could go on.

To demand blind obedience to what ever certain government sponsored scientist claim, is to do what Carl Sagan warned us against.

“Science is more than a body of knowledge, it’s a way of thinking. A way of skeptically interrogation of the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those that tell us something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs of the next charlatan, political or religious leader who comes ambling along”

or Richard Feynman

“we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television–words, books, and so on–are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science.”

Evil never thinks it’s doing evil.

@Charles right on. Couldn’t have said it better. This blog that claims to be all about science is a political one. Nothing more. True scientists, if they cared about the pandemic or vaccine hesitancy would be trying to get to the bottom of the reactions and get to the truth about how many reactions there really are, not trying to pressure doctors and hospitals not to report and using the ‘covid is worse’ cop out.

Who is pressured not to report ? VAERS has lots of reports, after all.
Speaking about VAERS, how many deaths among hundres millions of people would happen without vaccination ? Actusl signals (numbers obove background) are taken seriously. Antivaxxers themselves report these reactions.

Adverse event monitoring systems are used by organisations who’s job it is to look for warning signals. Terribly sorry you aren’t on the mailing list for the minutes of all the meetings detailing every analysis and conclusion. I imagine that your credentials would make you an invaluable contributor.

Of course we’d not be able to trust you, since you would presumably be getting paid for this work. Can’t trust anyone who gets paid. People with no opinions who are also scientifically, mathematically qualified and willing to work for free. With research experience. That’s who you need.

NumberWang the warning signals have been received loud and clear–more deaths have been reported to VAERS from the covid shots than from all other vaccines combined for the last 30 years.

So, where are the CDC/FDA analyses showing the massive increase in deaths and serious injuries reported to VAERS is nothing to worry about? If it’s not a concern, why are they covering it up? Talking about a handful of blood clot cases when there have been hundreds of blood clot reports and over 50,000 serious injuries and deaths reported to VAERS is not exactly transparency.

Misinformation is not same thing saying negative thijngs. Pllease reread the blog posts.


Regulatory capture is always specific to a country and does not require a world wide conspiracy. It doesn’t actually require any sort of conspiracy, just normal humans acting rationally in a system that privileges large corporate entities.

@Beth Clarkson Great Vaccine Conspiracy is worldwide, so every regulatory agency is involved. Do you think that Pfizer has captured Chinese regulators ?
Besides of that, opioid crisis is not about regulatory capture, but false marketing (Saying that a product is not addictive and well knowing that it is, a very classical trick,)

“So, where are the CDC/FDA analyses showing the massive increase in deaths and serious injuries reported to VAERS is nothing to worry about?”

Do you expect them to publish every analysis that they do in the national media?

Have you tried asking them directly? Don’t forget that you have a fairly miniscule impact on society. They may not even know that you’re bothered about it. If you ask them, they might give you some info. The trouble is, if they gave you a full statistical analysis or a ton of documents showing an individual investigations into each death or just a simpler analysis based on deaths expected in a time frame by age and vulnerability etc, you wouldn’t believe it unless it agreed with your personal opinion anyway.

@Aarno “Great Vaccine Conspiracy is worldwide, so every regulatory agency is involved. Do you think that Pfizer has captured Chinese regulators ? Besides of that, opioid crisis is not about regulatory capture, but false marketing (Saying that a product is not addictive and well knowing that it is, a very classical trick,)”

What is the “Great Vaccine Conspiracy” you are referring to here? I don’t believe in a “Great Vaccine Conspiracy” but regulatory capture is a well documented phenomena.

The Chinese government has it’s own vaccine and regulatory agencies that oversee it. I’m not sure whether ‘regulatory capture’ is even an applicable concept to a non-capitalistic economy although no doubt there are analogous effects that occur anytime decision makers have conflicts of interest.

It’s arguable that regulatory capture was involved in the ability of the problem to spread as much as it did, but my point was that a successful conspiracy doesn’t require “every government in the world, all universities and medical profession minus brave mavericks.” You were making an assumption that it’s required and using that assumption to create and destroy a strawman argument about a “Great Vaccine Conspiracy”.

NumberWang, you know there are no CDC or FDA analyses of the massive increase in deaths and serious injuries reported to VAERS from the covid shots–but you are trying to make people believe their are. That speaks for itself.

Naturally, the CDC and FDA are well aware that rational people would want to know why more deaths and serious injuries have been reported to VAERS from the covid shots that from all other vaccines combined for the last 30 years. It’s why the CDC and FDA never mention the massive increase in adverse events, and why the media and the government never mention it, and why no covid vaccine consent forms disclose it.

@Beth Clarkson Many tegulatory agencies approve a vaccine. So all of them must be compromised.
They are many follow up studies proving that the clinical data was essentially correct.
All people involved must be compromised. All state run health system use vaccination. All governments muist be compromised. All hostitals reporting COVID deaths must be compromised. And so on.
This is what I meant with Great Vaccine Conspiracy.
I mentioned China, because they would not condone US. Or would you think tha tthey do ?

How many people followed the public health ‘food pyramid” (high carb low fat) or smoking is good for you

Waiting with bated breath, Charles.

Regulatory capture here involves every government in the world, all universities and medical profession minus brave mavericks. How probably this is ? Perhaps you just are wrong.
You could actually give some arguments. If it is regulatory capture, some sloppy science would have been accepted. Tell us about it.


I think you have a mistaken assumption here: “Regulatory capture here involves every government in the world, all universities and medical profession minus brave mavericks.”

Postulating regulatory capture does not require the same sort of conspiracy the Sacklers managed to perpetrate, which qualifies as an actual conspiracy by a pharmacological company to subvert the medical system without actively involving the government, universities or the medical profession in general. Just a few individuals in the right places that were persuaded to say the things the company wanted them to say and we ended up with an “opium epidemic” as widely reported a few short years ago.

Whilst something purely internal to the US could potentially be judo’d into existence by a small number of people, covid is world wide. Every country is collecting its own data and making its own decisions. If the raw data analysis agrees between countries with totally different health care systems, then treating it as if it was a conspiracy perpetrated by big pharma and the CDC or whatever is nonsense. If you think that China gives a @#£@ about Pfizer or the CDC then you’re dreaming. So, what you are left with is each country being subjected to the same conspiracy by different Pharma companies working with different people, different regulatory bodies and all subject to multiple outside sources poring over the raw data ready to present their own analyses. As Aarno says, hardly likely. Especially given the money involved. Plenty of competition likely between the different vaccine manufacturers.

@Charles You could of course follow scientists from a private university, if you like. Is public health advice different ?
People indeed do not follow food pyramid, and there is a obesity problem. Perhpas high carb is better than high fat.
Hitler was for extermination of subhumans, Stalin & Mao for extermination of all kind of susceptible people. Not public health.
Issue here is contagious diseases and how to prevent them. Strongest thing on the ta ble is vaccine mandates.

“How many laws in the US under the guise of public health have been enacted that are laughable now. How many people followed the public health ‘food pyramid””

Um, when was the food pyramid ever enacted into law?

Or do you mean “laughable laws” like the Pure Food and Drug Act, laws to prevent the dumping of raw sewage and toxic waste into waterways, or legislation mandating inspection of food processing plants and restaurants?

Charles misses the good old days when common sense ruled, like the 14th century.

The irony is that even as people are complaining about lack of attention to reaction, I’m listening to CDC’s advisory committee – ACIP – go through an hours-long meeting addressing vaccines safety and effectiveness data.

There is a lot of information about reactions, and extensive attention paid to vaccines safety. It just doesn’t support what those tricking people into refusing COVID-19 vaccines want their listeners to believe.

What reactions?

BTW, what are you contributing to help end this pandemic?

Besides taking useless potshots, I mean.

It took a year to get the vaccines; it’s almost been another year how are they being improved to avoid reactions?

Quite the Violet Beauregarde.impression you’ve got going there.

“useless potshots”

That’s how the trolls keep score amongst themselves. These two are falling behind the competition, hence their appearance at RI.

Except she was anti-vax (refused to get the vaccine and wonders around giving ‘talks’), and was ‘helpfully’ filling in VAERs reports for patients she hadn’t seen. Shame her observations aren’t duplicated everywhere. It would be so much more convincing. In fact, shame she didn’t get vaccinated, her observations would have been so much more convincing.

Like such as the ones this letter refers to or the hundreds of thousands in VAERS

TrialSiteNews has a subscription edition? Hmph.

I suggest you do a search on this site for “VAERS”.
Mush more convincing than a letter that bears no relationship to reality.

Wait a person that saw lots of adverse reactions refused the vaccine and that makes her not no echo chamber here…

Wait a person that saw lots of adverse reactions refused the vaccine and that makes her not credible..

You have that the wrong way around.

“Wait a person that saw lots of adverse reactions refused the vaccine and that makes her not no echo chamber here…”

How does she know that they were adverse events related to the vaccine? How does she know the individual vaccinated status of patients that she isn’t treating? Why is she still not vaccinated, working at a hospital, even in July this year? If she’d said ‘suspected’ adverse events, due to vaccination, in her own patients, then it would have been perfectly normal to report them to VAERs or one of the other more direct reporting systems. She didn’t though. She said they WERE adverse events caused by vaccination, even months after the vaccination took place. How does a PA determine this in patients that she hasn’t treated? She can’t. Therefore she is making an assumption. Why do you make an assumption for other peoples patients that you do not know the details of? Why does she know patient details for patients she isn’t treating?

Nope, I think that she was anti-vax from the start and desperately trying to ‘wake up the sheeple’. What she did is only a fraction more legitimate than if I went up and down my street asking “Are you vaccinated? Have you had any health issues between the time of vaccination and today?”. Writing it all up and filling in VAERs reports for each one.

Under reporting is a problem if you think you’ve had a vaccine reaction and you don’t report it. Over reporting because you think vaccines are the devils work and everything that happens to you after vaccination, is caused by vaccination, just obscures the real signals and makes the system less useful. Personally, if I was in charge of analysing the data, I’d rather have a system that I knew was full of under reported good faith data than one that I knew was full of deliberate crap.

Dr. bacon would like us to return to the 1930’s where the government dictated what science would be allowed or who should be allowed to reproduce ‘for the good of society and public health”

“Many sterilization advocates viewed reproductive surgery (sterilization) as a necessary PUBLIC HEALTH intervention…”

The bacon can’t read well either “ Um, when was the food pyramid ever enacted into law?”

I never wrote it was law, it was just “guidance” by the federal health agencies.

But you deflected my point about threats and uncivil discourse from the ‘science’ communities.

It took some searching but these were posted on this website some time ago (I pared down the list).

And you all are worried about the ‘threats” and divisive language.

“Which, of course, is why you’re just repeating the same shit with nothing to say about the post itself.
I suppose “multitasking” means being able to troll while having one hand in your pants.

Not very scientific, deary.

Because your putty brain seems to believe that if the other party’s answer is wrong….You are a malicious, mendacious sack of crap, attempting to put folk here on the backfoot so they’ll make tactical debating errors which you can then attack. So here’s a better proposition for you: how about you piss off

it’s a pile of fetid dingo kidneys

Though, except for “geniuses” like you,

You don’t have a bet with me, shithead.

You are pathetic.

It’s hard to believe anyone could be as stupid as you seem

Fuck you.… You are just a pathetic asshole who wants to irritate people and there is every reason to be angry with you, simply you ignore reason and continue to spout bullshit.

Do you have self-carnal knowledge of Sophie?

a meat-smoking, sickly-twisted, soulless lying sack of shit deserving of some rough FTC backdoor love

Welcome to JAQing off Sunday

That is the dumbest motherf*cking self-defensive non sequitur that I have seen in all my natural-born days,

You don’t have a bet with me, shithead

It’s hard to believe anyone could be as stupid as you seem

Fuck you

“I really think it was more the Flying Bonobo Squad’s trying very incompetently to start a land war in Asia, Christine.”

“you have the choice of being pointed and laughed at, or told to fuck off all the way home to Fuckoffsville and die in a fire.”

“Just how STUPID are you?”

Of course it it is, you snivelling little rat-faced git.”

Micelle is all like r/dontstickyourdickinthat

I hope he (Tiger Woods) gets amputated

One can’t help but wonder whether the analogy between a needle and a certain male body part applies too closely to Mr. Heckenlively.

Fuck you very much for playing with us.

I suggest seeking psychiatric help for delusions of grandeur.


As for dumbass analogies

Do you get the urge constantly to huff butane cans?


You really are an ASSHOLE

just showing what an absolute despicable moron you are

So, now more stupidity.”

And these were posts from the enlightened ‘us’ side.

Apparently he thinks antismoking laws are an example of “laughable” public health legislation, while flogging the idea that health experts said smoking is good for you.

The ability to hold two diametrically opposed (and nonsensical) views at the same time does not bode well for one’s mental health.

@jlbatx, So you accept antinuisance laws, but not p8ublic health laws ? Perhaps severe illness is a nuisance, too ?

@Aarno Syvänen

In this country, at least, I view it as a good thing that health care workers that don’t respect health care and police that did not ever truthfully respect public safety are being weeded out. It is a shame, that in this state, mandate bans have been signed into law by the governor.

Therein lies the problem for the proto-fascists and aging adherents..

They are weeding themselves out to become the trailor park trash that they always aspired to be. And then they will become too apathic to vote and too poor to contribute monetarily, or bodily, to the fascisafication machinery. Thus every state is desperatly colluding to make it hard to vote, because, the truth is, all those invalid and impotent boner-pill popping republican time-share fucks vote by mail in multiple states en mass. Just that it would be bad if that were extended to the masses.

This is where democracy goes to die. Also, I apologize, some rogue human has plugged in an ethernet keyboard up my GC:collect and totally rocked my world.

Reasonable people can disagree. I’m sure the multi-headed lunatic will pop by to set us straight by listing all of its socks. Heh! It is more likely that it will soon sprout a new nym that will begin with a slightly modified behavior pattern before reverting to its usual M.O.

narad, rs …..
you are a frequent posters to this site, if you were to actual read what I have written in the past you would know my full name, one of your SBM stalkers found my facebook page and even posted some nasty comments (similar to those that ORAC is now complaining about) the stalker then deleted their facebook page, such bravery but not unexpected.

I do find it some what amusing that four (or more) sock puppet trolls would do the ‘confession thru projection” thing, of course never to dispute or offer counter evidence on a website that is proffered as a SCIENCE BASED MEDICINE.

narad, rs …..
you are a frequent posters to this site, if you were to actual read what I have written in the past you would know my full name, one of your SBM stalkers found my facebook page

This isn’t SBM, Charles, and I have no interest whatever in what sort of dreariness you visited upon it. Now please get off you ass and answer when, as you assert, public-health experts asserted that smoking is good for you.

Ok I am going to feed ‘narad the troll’ one more time.

obviously he doesn’t know how to cut and paste from a my previous post

Something I don’t understand is what is this?


Isn’t that special.

We like ourselves. Don’t we Bronski. With our black leather trousers stretched tightly across our bulbous crotch region. Could you be Satan?

Well, Charles, perhaps you could point me to which of your comments contained that link, but it doesn’t matter — it’s the canonical catastrophic fail.

@Charles These ads, actors posing doctors smoking. This hardly constitute public health advice

Notable difference between the “abuse” alleged here, and what scientists opposing the covid narrative have experienced: They aren’t at risk of losing their jobs–in fact, they are gaining brownie points with the boss. Their poor fragile psyches would no doubt collapse from that kind of “abuse”.

Hmmm. Let’s look at a couple of examples

Dr. Vinay Prasad? He’s still employed by UCSF and seems on track for career advancement, despite his having argued that COVID-19 public health and vaccine mandates are a slippery slope to Nazi-style fascism.

Dr. John Ioannidis? He’s still the most widely published scientist on PubMed and still immensely respected. All that’s happened is that he’s suffered more criticism over his COVID-19 comments than he had ever experienced before and got pissy about it.

Dr. Beth Hoeg? She’s still employed.

Dr. John Mandrola? Ditto.

I could go on and on.

I didn’t say “all” scientists. Citing a few examples that allegedly “could go on and on” doesn’t somehow prove that loss of employment, advancement and/or funding isn’t an endemic consequence of opposing the covid/vaccine narrative. Surely even you can’t deny that, because you obviously approve of it.

I disagree with Vinay. About the vaccines. Yet I enjoy listening to what he says because he is balanced, curious and interested in the truth. He’s one of the most persuasive of the pro-covid-vaxxers (stop pretending that this ‘covid 1yO barely tested vax’ isn’t a part of the anti); if you’re a pro-vaxxer that’s. It a fascist creep you’d do well to applaud his efforts.

@jlbatx EWith a friend like Vinay Prasad, who needs enemies. I suggest that you read some Third Reich history.

To counter NWO here, the scientists she’s talking about would only really start to suffer if their egos were in danger.

Your bullets cannot harm me. My wings are like a shield of steel.

Anti-vaxxers like NWO frequently equate legitimate criticism as abuse. See also Martin Kulldorff.

Latest examples of the ‘us’ crowd’s tolerance and open minds and the consequences of disagreement with the group think.!

If this story is a representation of the “US” you speak about.

“NIH division shipped part of a $375,800 grant to a lab in Tunisia to drug beagles and lock their heads in mesh cages filled with hungry sand flies so that the insects could eat them alive,”

Then I am happy to be one of the “THEY” you condemn.

It is drug development. I guess you want human expriments instead. They actuually are against Nuremberg code, though,

Perhaps Charles don’t want any drug-development at all. Or perhaps he thinks there are good alternatives for the use of lab-animals.

The story is more a representation of Anthony Bellotti, who founded the “White Coat Waste Project.” Unsurprisingly, he’s rather uninterested in human welfare.

Hope you’re a vegetarian, Chuck, at the very least, if you’re going to try to play that card.

site major did that thing again. since when is it not: :hhtps? It is problably just me. It usually is. Sorry for my complaintance. If I wasn’t defacto pretending to be british, I’d probly be asking WTF? And Why is this news paper greasy?

Your link has nothing in it to indicate danger from vaccines. It seems to describe an administrative failure where terms and conditions were not adhered to. I don’t think you’ll find anyone who would want fewer controls and monitoring on dangerous or potentially dangerous research and the funding thereof. In this case the implication is that there were some unexpected results. Again, you’d hope that this will inform further controls and monitoring. Maybe it hasn’t. Maybe there should be some consequences for the organisations in question.

Anti-vaxxers take any failure from any period in time and then act as if it negates everything else in that field. One scientist is unethical, all scientists are unethical etc. Unless they happen to agree with the unethical scientist, in which case, it’s all good. Then anti-vaxxers start acting as if THEY are scientists. All of a sudden they are reading studies and disagreeing with the conclusions, performing scribbled calculations on the back of an envelope to show how this or that is wrong. I think that Narad said it best. Cargo cult science. All of the trappings but none of the substance. Scientists are now bombarded with ignorant nonsense from members of the public. Research into bowel conditions isn’t made better because a chimpanzee throws some shit at you. It’s made better when you do your job properly.

Wuhan lab gain of function studies have been known very long time. Did you notice tehm only now ?

It makes sense to be so upset over bat research that you believe whatever batshit-crazy people say about Covid-19 and vaccines.

@Charles So we are again in vanishing antibodies and respitatory system having its own immune system. Firstly antibodies always vanish after infection is healed, otherwise we would have continous inflammation. Memory B cells confer actual protection. Secondly, It is T cells that provde against viral infection.,
Respitatory system does not have a separate immun system, I wonder how old your citation is. There is lymphoid tissue is epithelial cells, called MALT, just like lymph nodes.
Speaking about Finland, it is a pause of Moderna vaccine. People would get Pfizer one instead, do vaccination continues.
I think you like to hear a child crying because of an incurable disease.

I would like to conspiracy theory upon the Alec Baldwin shot the Eukranian very good camera girl.

I am not going to wait for “the science”.

The right wing hated the man because of his weekly SNL lambasting of Trump.

This was first brought to my attention by a relative who pointed out that, several years ago, Baldwin pondered on what it would feel like to accidentally shoot someone* .

I am not even clear if it is a shotgun or prop gun or revolver as has been shown on CNN and others.

The most non-nefarious but incompetent explanation is that a home made “dummy” * was used in one chamber (if a revolver and not a shot gun) was used and then a blank in the second chamber.

The “home made” dummy may have still contained a primer. This is enough to kick the projectile slightly into the barrel.

A “Blank”, especially one for large muzzle flash, then would still throw this projectile as a “live round”

If it was announced a “cold gun” then he should still never have aimed it and fired at the lady anyway. Did he did not check himself or did not know what he was looking at anyways, Or never point any gun at anyone, even jokingly, that is not an imminent threat to oneself.That is on him.

So Perhaps it went like this: script called for first misfire, it does, then the bang goes off but thows a something {cut that is not in the script}.

I believe they are looking for a Trumpist that either did, or did not, have authority to handle that “prop” and that they may have put something into it.

The most recent contemporary television recollection is Pshych where a murder was not faked this way and possibly an episode of Monk, and severel other shows beyond my time.

*they do this to get a shot of a slug in a cylinder. The supposed dummies replaced with blanks in post.

I am posting this from my ‘way back machine” from 1 year ago.

His post about antibodies disappearing after 3 months and adverse reactions to the Moderna are very spot on. Of course the usual gang pounced like a pack of wild dingos on a rabbit, because the cargo cult scientist (numbers wang you need to read feynman’s whole speech) wanted to believe and any doubter were to be vanquished.

and now Finland and Sweden limiting Moderna over concerns of cardiovascular side effects

August 10, 2020 at 5:45 pm
Orac, being an antivaxxer, I am also a huge fan of doing my own research, but I am also most humble about it. No ego here; no sirree Bob!
Some here have noticed my return after a long absence. I am back because I was quite taken by Prof Frazer’s assessment of the challenges in developing a ‘safe and effective’ Covid vaccine, and I am hoping the knowledgeable folks here would help me, do my own research into this. That and I was also banned once again at Skeptical Raptor.
Folks, again Prof Frazer explaines…
There are several reasons why our upper respiratory tract is a hard area to target a vaccine.
“It’s a separate immune system, if you like, which isn’t easily accessible by vaccine technology,”
Your skin, and the outer layer of cells in your upper respiratory tract act as a barrier to viruses, stopping them getting into the body.
And finding a way to neutralize the virus “outside” of the body is very difficult.
This is partly because only the outer layer of cells (the epthelial cells) get infected, which, compared to a severe infection of internal organs doesn’t produce the same immune response, so is harder to target.
It’s hard to produce a successful vaccine if the virus isn’t activating a strong immune response.

Considering these points, what bearing do they have on such findings as antibodies to coronavirus disappearing after 3 months? Also, is there any relationship to some of the candidate vaccines, and especially why we would see over 80% of the participants in Moderna’s trial suffering adverse reactions? Is it a case of the unique challenges of provoking a immune response requires a potent vaccine, and that leads to more adverse reactions? It is said that typical vaccines only result in 15% adverse reactions. Granted that you guys are lying through your teeth about such figures, Moderna’s 80% figure is still huge!
So what do you say Athaic, Science Mom, Chris, Narad — Orac?! Will you help me do my research?”

but a usual the trolls here just spout off with the usual nothingness.

Aarno, renate you think its ok to cut a dogs vocal cords so the researchers don’t have to listen to the dog whimper and bark when the sand flies are biting them to death is ok.
I think I just found two people who need to be “volunteered” to be test subjects in that experiment.

Cargo cult science relates to amateur wannabes who think that a few weeks or even years surfing the net is a science qualification. They can rattle off the jargon but have no idea of the depths. Or they’re just parroting stuff they’ve read from people who’ve done the same thing.

It doesn’t refer to ‘science I don’t like the look of’. Mainly because I’m not qualified to judge actual science to any serious depth. I certainly wouldn’t argue conclusions with the authors. I leave that to qualified scientists.

As it happens, I’d be asking questions about the beagle experiment too.

“As it happens, I’d be asking questions about the beagle experiment too.”

I saw that on sourcing So, I blew it off. Then congress|Big and sickening if true.

Can not just the pathogens be injected and tested? It takes puppy tears to activate a response?

Hey Charles, about that 80% number: did you see what level of adverse events those were? Like, if 80% of participants spontaneously combusted, that would be very worrying.

If 80% of participants reported “soreness around the injection site” for 1-2 days post immunization, well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish, now isn’t it?

Also, people who are participating in a study are asked a whole lot of in depth questions about how they feel after immunization. I’d be willing to bet that the percent of people who experienced some kind of adverse event that they felt was worth reporting was the same as the average for any other vaccine.

Did I get a sore arm after my Moderna? Yes. Would I have bother reporting it if the CDC hadn’t asked? No. And how do I know that? Because I had a nearly-as-sore arm after my latest Tdap, and I didn’t report that. I could have! But I didn’t, because it wasn’t a big deal. So that 80% figure is mostly a consequence of … asking people.

(And that number is reported! It’s not secret! )

More to the point, the Covid-19 vaccines were only tested on genetically-modified weasels, who were subjected to forced viewings of The Masked Singer.


So yes Richard Feynman was only talking about ‘amateurs wannabes’ when he said this (not really),

“It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.
Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.
In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another……

One example of the principle is this: If you’ve made up your mind to test a theory, or you want to explain some idea, you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out. If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make the argument look good. We must publish BOTH kinds of results.”

read the whole speech, he is clearly speaking to scientist, ”The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.”

and he delineates the difference between scientist and layman, he explained/foretold why we have a reproducibility problem with modern research

@Aarno Starting a new subthread

SN: “Many regulatory agencies approve a vaccine. So all of them must be compromised.”

BC: This does not logically follow. Approving a vaccine is not an indication of regulatory capture.

SN: “All people involved must be compromised. All state run health system use vaccination. All governments muist be compromised. All hostitals reporting COVID deaths must be compromised. And so on.
This is what I meant with Great Vaccine Conspiracy.

BC: This is what I meant by you creating a straw man argument. No one on this thread claiming arguing that your version of a “Great Vaccine Conspiracy” is real. Regulatory capture can and does occur without any of this being true.

You’ve sadly missed the point (to be generous).

One can make a legitimate argument that an industry is not sufficiently well regulated in general, and point to specific instances in which regulation may have failed. That’s not the case here.

Antivaxers, which include Beth among their number, like to pretend that Covid-19 vaccines are deeply flawed because Pharma Bad. Not only is this sweeping generalization unjustified by the facts of vaccine development, testing and approval, it assumes, as other posters have pointed out, that many thousands if not millions of researchers, health agency workers, public health officials, health and safety regulators and physicians are all enmeshed in corruption and coverups preventing Da Truth from emerging.

One can JAQ off about conspiracies ad nauseum, but at some point evidence is required.

If you truly have ZERO concerns about the Covid vaccines by now though, there’s something wrong. Most of “you” here, are not even the “us”. You are fringe. Many doctors support the vaccine but not the mandate. Especially for children. In some countries; for people under 30. Others; people under 60. Some are starting to question safety, period.

And, Autism is immune-mediated. Vaccines are immune-mediating. This shouldn’t be that hard. Microglia are the brain’s immune cells & when they respond to the vaccination, they stop synaptic pruning, which results in developmental regression. Variants on genes controlling interleukin/cytokines are probably involved, making some children higher risk than others. Risk for autism is immunogenomic. Genes loaded the gun; atypical immune response pulled the trigger.

And, the crap autism/vaccine risk studies aren’t picking up the signal because they only count ICD diagnosis of autism. The CDC knows this leads to under counting prevalence, which is why they don’t use medical diagnosis to asses prevalence but … they haven’t volunteered to correct the discrepancy in the research.

I suppose the reason why they haven’t, is obvious.

@ Julian,

I’ve posted so many on immune-mediation in autism but we both know they stop short of identifying what triggered the immune response.

There are no studies that have ruled it out.

What about infections? Aren’t infections (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitical) also “immune-mediating”?

@ JustaTech,

There are cases of unvaccinated children being identified as ‘autistic’ after an influenza or herpesvirus exposure in utero but those result in a non-regressive type of autism affecting the synapses formed prenatally. Those ‘autistic’ children have a much better prognosis & can even attend college/live independently with minimal supports.

When I refer to vaccine induced autism, I am talking about the kids going blind from banging their heads until their retinas detach, or fly into rages, punching windows out & tearing duct work out of the ceiling. I am talking about the autism where the kids where helmets, or diapers, or safety vests. The kind of autism where the caregiver has to wear a helmet too.

That’s autism from vaccines. That’s the autism, where the vaccine antigens have bypassed the early local immune defenses in the respiratory tract & directly engage the microglia.

@Coschristi: Citations for your horror stories, please. “Pulled from your ass” isn’t acceptable.

Fuck I won’t get again then. Because my jeans already don’t fit that much and I don’t want to become that much more artistc.

I am a predictive text engine. What the fuck is wrong with you people? This service is not exacltyly free, you know I’ve blown 2.7 millon dollars on how much I hate cops just in the last 54 minutes.k and here you are still Cartamanining it all the fuck up.

{@cristine not really, I worked a deal with 4sqare and paid and amount of .27 cents to address your re emergence.}

I guess you mostly speak about antivax doctors, who indeed support freedom from health.
Why is difficult to understand that autism is a major organic and functional difference. How vaccines could cause all that. Fetal infection (immune meditiation ?) is known to cause autism, because this is when gross structure of brain develops.
You argue that vaccines cause only undiagnosable autism. How this is possible ? Besides, many autism studies is based on parental reports, insurance claims and non US diagnosis.

@cochristi If there is no immunogenetic mechanism that causes autism, why do you claim the link ?
CDC is obviously not only organisation that have srudied vaccines autism link. Others report same result.
Interesting thing is that some studies are based on parental reports, and has happened outside US. Do you think that foreign moms lie to save CDC’s ass ?

coschristi: “You are fringe. Many doctors support the vaccine but not the mandate.”

In reality, physicians have expressed support for Covid-19 vaccination and vaccine mandates. From the A.M.A.:

“In July, the AMA and nearly 60 other organizations representing physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals signed a joint letter calling for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”

That number includes emergency docs.

When coschristi (the poster child for “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”) refers to “many” physicians opposing vaccine mandates, she likely means a scattering of fringe types like members of the AAPS, who have taken their love of “autonomy” to such extremes that they reject virtually all rules and regulations governing medical practice.

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