Formerly respectable academics John Ioannidis and Vinay Prasad published a complaint about “obsessive criticism” on social media. Hilarity ensued, and many irony meters were reduced to sparking, smoking, sputtering ruin.
John Ioannidis’ “science Kardashian” article is the bad science that keeps demonstrating why we should have no superheroes in science. Ideology can warp any of us.
I have been critical about John Ioannidis over a number of his statements about the COVID-19 pandemic. Now he’s done it again, producing a poor-quality paper whose unwritten assumptions suggest that the Carl Sagan effect, in which scientists are penalized professionally by their peers for becoming popular science communicators, still holds considerable sway in science and medicine.
John Ioannidis is one of the most published and influential scientists in the world, someone whose skewering of bad medical research we at SBM have frequently lauded over the years. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Since then, Prof. Ioannidis has been publishing dubious studies that minimize the dangers of the coronavirus, shown up in the media to decry “lockdowns,” and, most recently, “punched down”, attacking a graduate student for having criticized him. What happened? Did Prof. Ioannidis change, or was he always like this and I just didn’t see it? Either way, he’s a cautionary tale of how even science watchdogs can fall prey to hubris.
John Ioannidis has used a satirical bibliometrics index to portray Great Barrington Declaration signatories, who argue for a “natural herd immunity” approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the underdogs mobbed by “science Kardashians.” Why?