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Why trust in “science” is becoming unwise

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Long headlines are a sort of signature at The Daily Mail: “Editor of The Lancet refuses to reveal if he still supports notorious letter he published trashing Chinese lab Covid theory- and claims asking him about it invades his privacy”:

The letter was published in The Lancet last February and was signed by 27 eminent public health experts who described speculation about the origins of the virus from a Wuhan laboratory as ‘rumours’ and ‘misinformation.’…

The letter played a key role in suppressing early debate on the pandemic’s origins, but its credibility has since been questioned after details emerged of the involvement of Peter Daszak, a major financial backer of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIU).

He signed and organised the letter while his group has funnelled US taxpayer dollars to the organisation for carrying out controversial gain-of-function research.  

VIVEK CHAUDHARY and SAM BLANCHARD, “Editor of The Lancet refuses…” at Daily Mail

For more on “gain of function” research, see Heather Zeiger: What Is Gain-of-Function Research and Why Is It Risky? The Wuhan Institute of Virology and the NIH find themselves in a tough spot. To understand why some in the U.S. government and the NIH want to downplay funding of gain-of-function research, we need to understand what exactly it is.

And now, from the “really compromised” department:

Allegations swirl that it was not down to editorial misjudgement, but something more sinister: a desire to appease China for commercial reasons. The Financial Times revealed four years ago that debt-laden Springer Nature, the German group that publishes Nature, was blocking access in China to hundreds of academic articles mentioning subjects deemed sensitive by Beijing such as Hong Kong, Taiwan or Tibet. China is also spending lavishly around the world to win supremacy in science — which includes becoming the biggest national sponsor of open access journals published by both Springer Nature and Elsevier, owner of The Lancet.

One source estimated that 49 sponsorship agreements between Springer Nature and Chinese institutions were worth at least $10m last year. These deals cover the publishing fees authors would normally pay in such journals, so they smooth the path for Chinese authors while creating a dependency culture.

Ian Birrell, “Beijing’s useful idiots” at Unherd

So articles are free if China likes them but not even available if China doesn’t like them?

Anyone remember the March for Science? This stuff will not end well for “Trust the science.”

See also: What will the long-term effect be of science journals playing useful idiots around COVID-19? Some of us have been reflecting on the effect of the COVID-19 panic on the public estimation of science. Here’s an article on the “useful idiot” problem among science journals.

Hat tip: Ken Francis, co-author with Theodore Dalrymple of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

28 Replies to “Why trust in “science” is becoming unwise

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    Oh geewhiz this was something that I posted in the middle of a pandemic while everybody argued with me about the origin of stupid ass space cooties

    I’m glad they’re finally taking this seriously versus me being called a conspiracy theorist over and over again and I don’t know what I’m talking about

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Unfortunately this isn’t special. Most of US/UK industries AND academia have been abjectly serving China for several decades. The new focus is a bit of a false flag.

    Any time media takes a universal fact and focuses on one little incident, pretending it’s unique, I get suspicious.

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    When bureaucrats control science, it is no longer science. It used to be people in the United States were free to pursuit science, which saw an explosion of patents and technology come on the scene. There was almost no regulations to stand in the way of scientific progress. These days, scientists are not free. They must work at a university/college, corporation or government where they have to fight for funds. The greater the bureaucracy, the less innovation there is.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    This is still the same old conspiracy-mongering by the Daily Mail. There is no more evidence, just recycled xenophobic suspicions. But, by all means, examine the safety protocols and standards at the Wuhan laboratory – if the Chinese government will allow it – and also carry out the same checks at all the other facilities around the world that are conducting gain-of-function research. It won’t make any difference to how we manage this pandemic or that most of them are caused by naturally-occurring pathogens, unless you’re so deep into conspiracizing that you believe the Black Death was engineered in some medieval Chinese laboratory.

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    “The motto of the oldest scientific institution is Nullius En Verba: Take no one’s word!”

    Trust The Science! is not only deceptive, it is the exact opposite of the above.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    AaronS1978 says:

    @sev

    So you sound exactly like all of my stereo typical liberal friends who said the same crap months ago and now are silent because they are actually investigating the Wuhan lab Theory and it’s looking like it’s real

    Either you’re ignoring the fact that this is going on and there’s an actual investigation so much so that Facebook is no longer fact checking people who said the coronavirus came from the Wuhan lab or you’re being a troll

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Wow. We do not need any more evidence that COVID-19 traces back to the lab in Wuhan. That part of the case is already solid.

    The point is the lab may also have the key to solving the spread.

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    There is a difference between trusting science and having an unquestioning trust in science. And right now the evidence of a lab-leak is about the same as for voting fraud in the last election. Not that lack of evidence ever stopped a good conspiracy theory. “Evidence? We don’ need no stinkin’ evidence!”

  9. 9
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Dear Mr Seversky

    Is there any evidence that proves beyond possible doubt that that Coronavirus originated in the Wuhan lab?
    If so, please tell us what it is.
    If you cant, consider the issue in a legal setting..

    Consider a wrongful death lawsuit against the Chinese on behalf of teh estates of the 600,000 Americans killed by covid. Say it were to be tried in an American court with American legal doctrines, (As we have no relevant treaty with China, such a suit could proceed if the Congress and President agreed.) Let us assume that the only evidence for the plaintiffs is what has been prominently printed in leading newspapers. What would be the verdict?.

    Its a no-brainer. Judgement for the Plaintiffs. The Chinese would be liable for all the covid deaths

    The key is the Doctrine of Spoliation (All things are presumed against he who spoiliates evidence). The doctrine dates from the Romans, and is settled law in most countries. Spoliation is what the Chinese have been doing by their refusing disclosure.

  10. 10
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ ET
    We apparently do because of people like Sev
    Who in many cases willfully ignore very obvious things such as Fauci’s emails involving gain of function research and also the list of other connections that took place involving the Wuhan lab and many other industries that were finger pointed at at the very beginning of all of this crap

    And then the influx of people like Sev came running and screaming conspiracy theory this, conspiracy theory that, ignore it all
    You are all stupid and I am very smart
    I’m gonna go wear my mask in my car

    Turns out that masks were near useless
    And most of those studies that said masks we’re going to save the day were with the small sample sizes and well information from China

    But hey this will just eventually turn go away too, by the way for those that believe there wasn’t voter fraud there’s some big shit happening in Arizona that looks like there was voter fraud

    Same group of idiots came out and said logically that doesn’t make sense but it turns out that there were problems just like how they found 20,000 absentee ballots just recently over and Georgia

    It’s all just conspiracy theories don’t look over here

    And if a scream conspiracy theory loud enough everybody will believe me

  11. 11
    Seversky says:

    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES/9

    Is there any evidence that proves beyond possible doubt that that Coronavirus originated in the Wuhan lab?

    No, not at this time. Which means that even a civil suit, that would be decided on the lesser standard of the preponderance of evidence, would most likely fail. Suspicion alone would not be enough.

    The doctrine of spoliation presumes that there was evidence which was hidden or destroyed instead of being preserved as the defendant was obliged to. To succeed, a plaintiff would have to persuade the court that it was reasonable to assume that such evidence existed in the first place. Again, suspicion alone would not be enough.

  12. 12
    vividbleau says:

    As
    “Trust The Science! is not only deceptive, it is the exact opposite of the above”.

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” Richard Feynman.

    Vivid

  13. 13
    KRock says:

    @ Sev #4

    I love how you smuggled in the …if you think the COVID-19 virus came from the Wuhan lab you’re xenophobic… Unbelievable! Do you work for CNN or MSNBC?!

  14. 14
    AaronS1978 says:

    @13 I know right
    It’s almost like a trained response
    He puts up nothing that would support his point of view. If you put something up that’s supports your point of view then the trained response is predictably it’s a conspiracy theory not that what you have put up was wrong. Then they ignore after conspiracy theory is declared. Finally silence when you were showed to be right (cough masks cough) avoiding the I told you so

    It’s literally what all of them do. It’s creepy because THEY ALL DO IT. And it near identical

  15. 15
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Gain of Function research involves manufacturing of virus that are extremely lethal, extremely infectious, without having an antidote available. It was done in Wuhan China and is done in other labs throughout the world

    The average Joe hearing this for the first time says “They were doing What?

    So what do we do about Gain of Function research?

    The top gurus, including Dr Fauci, have been telling us 1) that such research is badly needed, for reasons that are vague platitudes, 2) that it is safe, with protocols that are robust and peer reviewed by a panel of blah blah blahs, and 3) that any claim that it began in the Wuhan lab is “a fringe theory put out by conspiracy mongers that has been debunked by leading scientists”, to quote the New York Times, January 2020. .

    Regarding No 1 it has been a dry well. After many years they cant point to any accomplishment that benefited the average joe. Number 2 was always false. It was reckless to conduct such research in in populated areas. It was insane to allow staff to commute daily, when the viruses being manufactured could have a 10 day incubation period.. There is a good chance that 3 million people were killed because No 2 was false. No 3 was a lie. It was not a fringe theory, and certainly was not debunked. Most disturbingly, the science establishment throughout the world condoned the telling of the lie.

    Thus scientists, individually and as an establishment are proved to be incompetent, insane and dishonest.. Listening to them would mark us as fools.

    Gain of Function research needs to be stopped immediately. It is noteworthy that none of those Scientists, who we are told to trust, have suggested this obviously needed measure.

  16. 16
    Seversky says:

    AaronS1978/10

    Turns out that masks were near useless

    No, not useless but neither are they an impenetrable barrier. They are better than nothing so it makes sense to use them together with the other hygiene measures like frequent hand-washing and distancing.

    Same group of idiots came out and said logically that doesn’t make sense but it turns out that there were problems just like how they found 20,000 absentee ballots just recently over and Georgia

    Do you believe every claim from Trumpicans? If there are 20,000 absentee ballots that are problematical then by all means take them to court. Let’s see if the claim actually stands up to rigorous scrutiny.

  17. 17
    Seversky says:

    KRock/13

    I love how you smuggled in the …if you think the COVID-19 virus came from the Wuhan lab you’re xenophobic… Unbelievable! Do you work for CNN or MSNBC?!

    It wasn’t MSNBC or CNN or me that started referring to the COVID-19 virus as the “Chinese virus” or “Kung-flu”.

  18. 18
    AaronS1978 says:

    We will see whether or not it stands up to scrutiny along with a couple other things that keep coming up with The party that seems to be painfully dishonest

    And again the masks hardly did anything it turns out that when diseases like the flu are going down but coronavirus is on the rise it might be because of the fact that it’s actually a contact disease and not spread solely through gross droplets

    And the way people threw their masks away which was anywhere really didn’t help anything in fact they probably caused the spread further

    Astounding how such an important “not important” thing was left strewn all over the streets when they should’ve been “if they were really were working” thrown into hazmat bins

    And as commander Fraud Fauci said “masks are pretty much worthless they’re just there to make other people feel more comfortable”
    Just say this once on 60 minutes he said this over and over again throughout all of his emails to

    Something about physics you know something about the size of .12 µm virus passing through something they can only filter 3 to 1 µm

  19. 19
    Seversky says:

    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES/15

    So what do we do about Gain of Function research?

    Good question.

    1) that such research is badly needed, for reasons that are vague platitudes,

    We have seen in this and other pandemics how quickly these bugs can spread through the human population, far more quickly than we can come up with effective treatments or vaccines. Anything that helps us “get ahead of the curve” could be invaluable because we can be reasonably sure something like this is going to happen again.

    2) that it is safe, with protocols that are robust and peer reviewed by a panel of blah blah blahs,

    Yes, safety is a vitally important issue. You would hope that labs doing this kind of research have the most rigorous safety protocols if for no other reason than that workers there are going to be the first to suffer if something goes wrong. That said, there have been accidents in such facilities, mostly as a result of human error.

    It’s a cost/benefit analysis. Does the risk of an accident outweigh the potential benefits of being able to head off a pandemic before it can take hold?

    3) that any claim that it began in the Wuhan lab is “a fringe theory put out by conspiracy mongers that has been debunked by leading scientists”, to quote the New York Times, January 2020. .

    There is still no evidence it came out of the Wuhan lab, just a lot of xenophobic finger-pointing.

  20. 20
    AaronS1978 says:

    So just google evidence for Covid from wuhan lab

  21. 21
    AaronS1978 says:

    Oh Trumpican = Libtard
    Feels about right if we are going to continue to use these terms

  22. 22
    BobRyan says:

    Gain of function is not about studying a given virus to learn more about it. Gaining is giving additional properties to an existing virus that is not found in nature. The less polite term is biological warfare research. If there is an interest in saving lives, one does not take any virus and alter it to make it something that it is not.

    Norwegian and British scientists studying COVID-19 found evidence that it was developed in a lab with properties that are not found in nature, which means they tried to make a mostly benign virus rather lethal, but fortunately remained 80% COVID. Without comorbidities, such as obesity, the virus remains relatively harmless. Less than 1% of the population die as a result of getting the virus. Big difference between with and from when it comes to death, since many who have it who died of things like cancer should not be included in the numbers, but the CDC has been doing exactly that.

    The following was published at Cambridge. Read it for yourselves and tell me how anyone can conclude two things. COVID-19 was made in a lab and properties not found in nature were added.

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/DBBC0FA6E3763B0067CAAD8F3363E527/S2633289220000083a.pdf/biovacc19_a_candidate_vaccine_for_covid19_sarscov2_developed_from_analysis_of_its_general_method_of_action_for_infectivity.pdf

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, pardon, but there is a little matter of false accusation and/or making invidious associations on your part — see 36 above and 42 below 39 in the Horakova case thread, as just linked — that you need to resolve. KF

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Tammie:

    Is there any evidence that proves beyond possible doubt that that Coronavirus originated in the Wuhan lab?

    Yes, there is. The sequence data confirms it.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    seversky:

    There is still no evidence it came out of the Wuhan lab,

    Your ignorance is not an argument. Your inability to assess evidence is not an argument.

  26. 26
    KRock says:

    Sev @17

    “It wasn’t MSNBC or CNN or me that started referring to the COVID-19 virus as the “Chinese virus” or “Kung-flu”.

    Oh give me a break. The Spanish Flu, the Hong Kong Flu, West Nile Virus, and Zika—all named for places! Just because someone identifies a virus/flu with a place name doesn’t make them xenophobic, nor does suggesting that the COVID-19 virus may have originated from the Wuhan lab, give your head a shake.

    Bill Maher is right, the left is sucking the fun out of everything.

  27. 27
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Dear Mr Severski.

    Thank your for your kind response, which I found to be most valuable.
    I mean, we all need a good laugh

    I especially liked this:
    “There is still no evidence it came out of the Wuhan lab, just a lot of xenophobic finger-pointing.”

    The other parents at my childrens’ Creationist school hadn’t heard that one either, that if you know the difference between proof and evidence, you’re racist.
    Great punch line.

    Best regards
    Tammie Lee Haynes

    PS I hope that you’re not pretending to be an Atheist, hoping to make our many nice Atheist friends look like doofuses

  28. 28

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