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Statistician Ioannidis on how COVID wrecked science

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Readers may remember John Ioannidis. His point here is that getting more people involved with science doesn’t always work:

Lack of communalism during the pandemic fueled scandals and conspiracy theories, which were then treated as fact in the name of science by much of the popular press and on social media. The retraction of a highly visible hydroxychloroquine paper from the The Lancet was a startling example: A lack of sharing and openness allowed a top medical journal to publish an article in which 671 hospitals allegedly contributed data that did not exist, and no one noticed this outright fabrication before publication. The New England Journal of Medicine, another top medical journal, managed to publish a similar paper; many scientists continue to heavily cite it long after its retraction.

The hottest public scientific debate of the moment—whether the COVID-19 virus was the product of natural evolution or a laboratory accident—could have been settled easily with a minimal demonstration of communalism (“communism,” actually, in the original Merton vocabulary) from China: Opening the lab books of the Wuhan Institute of Virology would have alleviated concerns immediately. Without such openness about which experiments were done, lab leak theories remain tantalizingly credible.

Personally, I don’t want to consider the lab leak theory—a major blow to scientific investigation—as the dominant explanation yet. However, if full public data-sharing cannot happen even for a question relevant to the deaths of millions and the suffering of billions, what hope is there for scientific transparency and a sharing culture? Whatever the origins of the virus, the refusal to abide by formerly accepted norms has done its own enormous damage.

John P. A. Ioannidis, “How the Pandemic Is Changing the Norms of Science” at Tablet (September 8, 2021)

Some of us find the lab-leak theory quite reasonable. See: Why did the New York Times discredit the lab leak theory? The Times led the way in zealously discrediting the quite reasonable COVID-19 lab leak theory. But what underlay its zeal?

17 Replies to “Statistician Ioannidis on how COVID wrecked science

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Whether the virus escaped from a laboratory or jumped species from another animal to us is irrelevant now. It is now out there in the wild and we have to deal with it.

    I remember decades back, around the time of one of the first Ebola outbreaks, scientists warning that we could expect more novel microbes to appear in the future and they would be more of a threat as our population grew and provided many more hosts for them to infect.

    Gain-of-function research is incredibly risky but, if it enables us to get ahead of the curve and head off another pandemic, maybe it would be worth it.

  2. 2
    BobRyan says:

    Gain of function research should be called what it is. Biological weapons research. Adding functions not found in nature is weaponizing viruses.

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    Turning all the norms of medicine and society upside down is the PURPOSE of this genocide, not an unfortunate accident.

    The planners are demons. They intend to obliterate all structure and logic and science and life.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, the truth is always relevant, as is calibrating who to trust. KF

  5. 5

    @seversky Like all atheists, you have bad judgement. It is very relevant to know what exactly they did to produce the virus, understanding the virus helps to combat it. Knowing what they did, also helps to stop people producing new viruses.

    I think this is very typical of atheists, that you just put up a smart narrative for whatever is convenient for you. As we all do, the mind is just inclined to produce ideas which are convenient for us. But then you lack the emotional depth to check that. You lack the sincerity that comes from praying to God.

    And I guess the whole process of how the virus got produced, was full of these kinds of convenient narratives.

  6. 6

    As a matter of US national security, I believe the US government should operate under the operational assumption that China is developing such biological weapons for future (perhaps present) wartime use. Does the source of the COVID-19 virus, natural or lab leak, contribute to this assumption and further countermeasures?

  7. 7
    ET says:

    seversky:

    Whether the virus escaped from a laboratory or jumped species from another animal to us is irrelevant now.

    Wrong again. How something came to be is very important to how we can address it.

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    <blockquote.the lab leak theory—a major blow to scientific investigation

    Science is ruled by people who think that humanity is an accident from a blind, unintelligent cause, with no purpose. Contemporary science claims evolution created moral norms – so they’re arbitrary. It’s anti-human (reducing human nature to that of apes and chimps).
    The same people take enormous risks with the population on earth, then cover-up or lie about their experiments. It all fits together. It’s an atheistic culture at work.

  9. 9
    Fasteddious says:

    Sev. says, “Whether the virus escaped from a laboratory or jumped species from another animal to us is irrelevant now. It is now out there in the wild ”
    So Sev does not care whether evolution of a new lifeform involves only natural causes, or might include design? Why then does he argue so volubly and constantly on this site for the former?

  10. 10
    zweston says:

    Sev, If it escaped from a lab (or intentionally done) that would have HUGE implications about our government and our foreign ties and the purpose for the research. It appears when things don’t look good for someone’s ideology, they pivot. Of course we want to solve the problem, but the origin (the why, where, how) is equally important. If we find out the origin, maybe we can prevent it from happening again, and put people in jail that have either directly or indirectly murdered millions.

    Independenly of that, Fauci lied on funding gain of function. It’s clear. The highest paid government official who is also not elected should be held accountable.

  11. 11
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Thank you, our Scientific Establishment.
    For killing 5 million people with your stupidity and arrogance, and then lying about it.

    Here’s how stupid and arrogant they are: The top Scientists in the world endorsed this insane research program: They set out to manufacture dangerous new viruses, specifically to make them MORE infectious and MORE lethal. Yet they had no antidote. Any person who became infected would soon be highly infectious to others, but wouldn’t show symptoms for about a week. Yet they did this in a facility located in the middle of a huge city, AND where the employees commuted to work every day.
    Sooner or later the inevitable would happen. And it did, after only a decade or so.

    Here at home, the leading American advocate for this insanity still promotes it> Moreover, he is the President’s top Scientific Advisor and is lauded by Academia and the media, the Science press, and the Scientific societies., after lying brazenly to the public about his involvement.

    A common citizen lacks the ability, time, and resources to independently verify Scientific claims. So the ethical principle that makes Science possible is this:
    The truth must always be told. Even an unintentional falsehood must be ruthlessly sanctioned. When Science lies, the sanctions must be punishment must be overpoweringly severe.

    I ask a question, that is most disturbing to contemplate.
    Why would a reasonable person trust ANYTHING that our Science establishment tells us?

  12. 12
    Querius says:

    If an institution such as a world body of governments or scientists decides that there are too many people on the planet and to save the planet, the population of humans needs to be drastically reduced immediately, would it be evil or good for them to conduct research to find a pathogen that will kill the majority of humans on the planet?

    -Q

  13. 13
    Querius says:

    Tammy Lee Haynes @11,

    Why would a reasonable person trust ANYTHING that our Science establishment tells us?

    I don’t think they would. Regrettably, I can no longer trust anything they tell us about Covid-19.

    -Q

  14. 14
    Belfast says:

    Tammie, I would amend your first line to read, “Thank you, our Scientific Establishment and their Fanboys like Seversky”
    And I would point out that not only were they without a control for the enhanced virus, they had not established a control for the UN-ENHANCED original virus.

  15. 15
    es58 says:

    Uhttps://youtu.be/YeW5sI-R1Qg

    Medical witness :Covid exactly what you’d expect if it was a lab leak

    And this one says it was weapon

    https://youtu.be/pbbJaaMG7Bs it

    And these suggest fauci knew made efforts to cover it up

    [7/2, 11:22 AM] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3F2ZJGipiE
    [7/4, 3:39 PM] https://youtu.be/ovU4e8Cfreg

  16. 16
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Dear Mr. Belfast

    That is a very good point. If the international Public Health Science Establishment had any real interest in Public Health, they would have exterminated the bats, instead of risking Public Health by recklessly capturing them to obtain and enhance bat viruses,

  17. 17
    es58 says:

    Medical witness :Covid exactly what you’d expect if it was a lab leak

    https://youtu.be/YeW5sI-R1Qg

    Medical witness :Covid exactly what you’d expect if it was a lab leak

    Evidence of a significant event in Wuhan *September* 2019; they took down when site info about areas of research
    https://youtu.be/fgAl0uSB9cA
    And this one says it was weapon

    https://youtu.be/pbbJaaMG7Bs it

    And these suggest fauci knew made efforts to cover it up

    [7/2, 11:22 AM] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3F2ZJGipiE
    [7/4, 3:39 PM] https://youtu.be/ovU4e8Cfreg

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