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Michael Egnor asks re COVID-19: How much of the science knowledge is fake?

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Look at just a bit of the record:

… after spending $100 billion on pandemic readiness over the past decade, scientists still don’t know if face masks work.

That’s not the only thing they don’t know. The COVID crisis has been remarkable for the number of hairpin turns taken by scientific opinion. Early on, public health experts warned of infection through contact with surfaces. Now that advice is abruptly reversed: “Virus ‘does not spread easily’ from contaminated surfaces or animals, revised CDC website states” (Washington Post).

Goodness gracious. What scientists don’t know is astonishing. Even I’m amazed. …

Rather than handing over the censors’s power to consensus enforcers, there needs to be an accounting for the manifest incompetence of the scientific profession. That is across a broad spectrum of issues. The COVID-19 fiasco is one illustration, the one at the forefront of most people’s minds. But it mustn’t end there.

The same scientific profession that doesn’t know if face masks work, or whether the virus is communicated by surfaces, doesn’t know if materialism explains the mind or if undirected natural selection explains life, either.

Scientists don’t really know any more about the origin of life or about the evolution of biological complexity or about how the brain gives rise to the mind than they know about the effectiveness of face masks. The only difference is that scientists can’t fake knowledge about face masks any longer.

Michael Egnor, “What Scientists Know” at Evolution News and Science Today

Um, yes. A lot of people who want, for whatever reason, to survive and thrive, are going to have a lot of questions hereafter about the thousand shrieking heads of “consensus science.”Before, it wasn’t about anything that mattered so much to us. But, surveying the ruins now…

24 Replies to “Michael Egnor asks re COVID-19: How much of the science knowledge is fake?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Michael Egnor Asks Re COVID-19: How Much Of The Science Knowledge Is Fake?

    And the answer, apparently, is anything that doesn’t conform to Egnor’s religious preconceptions.

    The Obama administration handed over to the incoming Trump administration a National Security Council guidebook titled “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents” – the so-called “pandemic playbook”. This was effectively dumped in the trash. The Trump administration also disbanded the NSC’s Global Health Security and Biodefense unit. They then claimed that the previous administration had handed on little or nothing that could assist preparedness against pandemics.

    It sounds like Egnor would be a suitable candidate for a post in the Trump administration.

  2. 2

    I’m puzzled, Severesky, why a “playbook” would be revered, but the “rule of law” would be trashed? Are you saying that in Obama’s administration, expert opinion has a higher status than legislated decrees? If playbooks are so important, why have a legislature anyway? And what makes a playbook a more sure defense against Coronovirus than 5 months of experienced expert opinion today?

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    Our immune systems have REAL knowledge of how to fight viruses, acquired over a billion years. Before 2020, public health authorities had REAL knowledge, acquired over a hundred years. Everything we’ve done and everything we “”””know””” in 2020 is not just false but intentionally murderously genocidally false. Before 2020, the state of siege was a weapon of war, not a cure for disease. THE SIEGE IS STILL A WEAPON OF WAR. That’s why we’re using it. We’re making war on all humanity.

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    On behalf of my fellow scientists, I want to apologise for us not being omniscient.

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    “On behalf of my fellow scientists…”

    “after spending $100 billion on pandemic readiness over the past decade, scientists still don’t know if face masks work. ”

    I want my money back, Bob O’H.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    Bob O'H says:

    You might want to sue whoever had the job of putting these plans into operation.

  7. 7
    asauber says:

    “whoever had the job of putting these plans into operation”

    Your friends and colleagues in the scientific community?

    Gimme some names. 😉

    Andrew

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    News, facemasks. KF

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    Robert Sheldon @ 2

    I’m puzzled, Severesky, why a “playbook” would be revered, but the “rule of law” would be trashed?

    I’m puzzled, too. Where did I suggest that the “playbook” should be “revered” or that we should trash the “rule of law”?

    Are you saying that in Obama’s administration, expert opinion has a higher status than legislated decrees?

    Doesn’t that depend on context? If you are sick you consult your doctor, if you believe there is an issue which requires legislation to solve you approach legislators. If it is an issue of public health – such as the current pandemic – then we should be drawing on the expertise of both scientific experts and legislators. Scientists do not have the authority to issue executive orders or enact legislation, legislators do not necessarily have the expertise to make informed decisions on medical matters. Both sides need each other and the alarming thing is that it has become – in the minds of some – a question of “sides”.

    If playbooks are so important, why have a legislature anyway? And what makes a playbook a more sure defense against Coronovirus than 5 months of experienced expert opinion today?

    You think a legislature is competent on its own to draft a strategy and tactics for managing a novel viral pandemic? Especially one led by a man who thinks the F-35 fighter is equipped with something like a Romulan cloaking-device?

    And, no, neither the playbook nor the NSC unit were necessarily any better than “5 months of experienced expert opinion” but surely they were resources that could with advantage have been fed into the current medical response.

  10. 10
    chuckdarwin says:

    According to the Evolution News article this comes from, Egnor apparently relied on two sources for information re mask effectiveness, comments by a neuroscientist and a FOX news report. I can’t imagine what a neuroscientist would know about infectious disease transmission, but in the end he gives the (sensible) advice to keep wearing masks. As to FOX news, well, I will just let that one pass as an indicator of Egnor’s ideological bias. Seversky’s comments in this regard cannot be improved on.
    Just as an aside, I wonder if Egnor wears a mask and gloves during surgery? And if so, as I imagine he does, why? Perhaps to prevent the transmission of pathogens?

  11. 11
    asauber says:

    Chuckdarwin,

    So get “scientific” and please link for us the definitive study regarding the efficacy of masks.

    Andrew

  12. 12
    Seversky says:

    Chuckdarwin @ 10

    Just as an aside, I wonder if Egnor wears a mask and gloves during surgery? And if so, as I imagine he does, why? Perhaps to prevent the transmission of pathogens?

    Excellent point. Probably lost on his intended audience.

  13. 13
    asauber says:

    Sev and CD

    “during surgery” vs “at the grocery store or outside at the park”

    You think there is any difference in the two situations?

    Andrew

  14. 14
    Bob O'H says:

    Asauber @ 7 – in the US that would have been the Global Health Security and Biodefense unit.

    It’s not the job of scientists to put pandemic plans into operation, that’s the job of administrations. And, frankly, a good thing too.

  15. 15
    asauber says:

    Bob O’H,

    Is the US its the CDC. Run by MD’s.

    Andrew

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    CD (& attn Sev et al),

    as a surgeon, Egnor would have specific knowledge on masks and linked issues. He is his own first source, so we already have reason to question your talking points.

    On the ACTUAL focal issue of his article, we find: “the science journal BioEssays recently demanded censorship of intelligent design, mandated by the government if Internet search engines resist,” with the additional note on how, “author of the article, biologist Dave Speijer, singled out Evolution News for this treatment.”

    Notice Evolution News set up its own platform and has built up its own audience, as Jawa so often reminds. This is beyond suppressing inconvenient users of social media, it is calling for further censorship of search and by Govt. Classic violations of the natural law freedoms recognised in the relevant US Bill of rights, doubtless through the fake news demonisation talking point.

    Clipping the Abstract:

    Abstract

    Intelligent?design websites misquote to subvert belief in Darwinian evolution. Nowadays, such sites pose as “objective” sources of information. Speaking more generally, spreading misinformation can be linked to climate science denial, vaccination avoidance, and a resurgence of pseudo?scientific racism. Internet regulations to counter these sources of pseudo?science are urgently needed.

    The actual substantial complaint is little more than how dare you quote my admissions against interest.

    In this context, the key point is, that imposition of a power consensus on “Science” and thus on education and policy, is exceedingly dangerous, with advocacy of censorship a strong sign of just how dangerous. he notes on the attitude, “scientists really know what they’re doing and shouldn’t be questioned. Isn’t that right?”

    It is in that context that he ILLUSTRATES how dangerous that Gold Standard fallacy is, by highlighting how “after spending $100 billion on pandemic readiness over the past decade, scientists still don’t know if face masks work.” With other cases of “hairpin turns” in views across the trajectory of the pandemic.

    There is a serious issue on the table, kindly address it seriously.

    KF

  17. 17
    Seversky says:

    Asauber @ 13

    “during surgery” vs “at the grocery store or outside at the park”

    You think there is any difference in the two situations

    The hygiene standards for an operating theater are set rather higher than those for a grocery store?

  18. 18
    ET says:

    As if any surgeon would wear a bandana for a surgical protection mask. Context is important. Our resident evos don’t seem to understand that.

  19. 19
    Seversky says:

    Kairosfocus @ 16

    as a surgeon, Egnor would have specific knowledge on masks and linked issues. He is his own first source, so we already have reason to question your talking points.

    Egnor, as a professional surgeon, I’m sure adheres to recommended standards for hygiene in an operating theater. Nonetheless, correct me if I’m wrong, but I doubt he has conducted his own research into the effectiveness of the masks provided for use in that setting.

    On the ACTUAL focal issue of his article, we find: “the science journal BioEssays recently demanded censorship of intelligent design, mandated by the government if Internet search engines resist,” with the additional note on how, “author of the article, biologist Dave Speijer, singled out Evolution News for this treatment.”

    I reject censorship, believing like J S Mill:

    ..the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error.

    As for:

    It is in that context that he ILLUSTRATES how dangerous that Gold Standard fallacy is, by highlighting how “after spending $100 billion on pandemic readiness over the past decade, scientists still don’t know if face masks work.” With other cases of “hairpin turns” in views across the trajectory of the pandemic.

    There is a serious issue on the table, kindly address it seriously.

    No, both you and Egnor are being disingenuous by pairing the $100bn expenditure with face-mask effectiveness. While there is clearly a need for better research into the issue, I doubt if any of that pandemic budget was actually spent on research into the effectiveness of face-masks. If anything, the lack of good evidence into whether face-masks work or not is a further reason to insist on “gold standard” rigor in research.

  20. 20
    ET says:

    Again seversky just says stuff without anything to support it. If no research was done on the use of face masks then the government doesn’t have any place to tell us to wear them. They have no place to say that the masks will make us safe.

    That seversky doesn’t grasp that simple fact is very telling

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, we were all present across the span of this pandemic as the establishment reversed its views on the utility of masks. The question of human transmission was another case. A similar flip flop seems to be happening on hazards of surfaces. However, masks are key as they are a general bit of kit. I can tell, as an asthmatic, that prolonged daily wearing of masks is a strain; sufficiently so to keep me home as much as possible. Just that alone is several percent of the population. Then there is the issue of mask discipline, compared to say what soldiers or police and medical personnel are taught. KF

    PS: I don’t take kindly to gratuitous smearing of my honesty, for cause. I suggest to you there is an obvious point. In a USD 100 bn budget, in the context of the presence of masks, a significant budget should have been there to validate their effectiveness as desk research should have shown there were significant questions. Look, at start of WW2, 80 years ago, big efforts were made to get gas masks to the population. Similarly, I think research on broad spectrum antivirals should long have been well ahead of where it is.

  22. 22
    Fasteddious says:

    Having read several of Egnor’s posts on ENV, while I accept most of what he says, he does sometime overstate his case, and thereby stretches the truth somewhat. For example, I recall him recently denying that bacterial antibiotic resistance is an example of Darwinian evolution. Leaving aside the role of horizontal gene transfer (which may also be a Darwinian mechanism), some antibiotic resistance is surely and clearly driven by Darwin’s mechanism as follows: An antibiotic clamps onto or gains entry into a bacterium through some protein on the bacterium surface. A random mutation in the bacterium damages or changes that protein so that the antibiotic cannot grab hold or does not get in so easily. That bacterium then survives the antibiotic onslaught and goes on to reproduce. Of course, this is the “burn your bridges” method of retreat to stay alive to fight another day. It is also clearly “devolution”, as Behe explains it: damaging a gene (or protein) to improve your outcome.
    All this to say that Egnor should be more careful with his broad brush statements that are usually correct, but sometimes go too far. Like viruses, materialists will latch onto anything questionable, or not quite 100% true, from an ID person, in order to “prove” ID wrong, or at least to dismiss the ID person.

  23. 23
    Seversky says:

    Kairosfocus @ 21

    Sev, we were all present across the span of this pandemic as the establishment reversed its views on the utility of masks. The question of human transmission was another case. A similar flip flop seems to be happening on hazards of surfaces.

    No one is claiming omniscience. We have to assume that responsible people are doing the best they can in changing circumstances. Modifying recommendations for best practice in the light of new data may be called a “flip-flop” but it is also the responsible thing to do

    PS: I don’t take kindly to gratuitous smearing of my honesty, for cause.

    In that case I apologize as that was not my intention.

    In a USD 100 bn budget, in the context of the presence of masks, a significant budget should have been there to validate their effectiveness as desk research should have shown there were significant questions.

    I entirely agree. If people are to be asked to wear masks then we should know whether or not they serve any useful purpose.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, on masks, there was no new gold standard placebo control test data. There was reasonable evidence, much of it there all along. What I think shifted was, recognising that the balance of risks and likely costs was shifting. KF

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