The Men who Speak for Science | Josh Mitteldorf

The scientific community has something that American corporations and politicians want. It’s not technology or research. It’s not understanding or policy guidance. It’s the people’s confidence.

In recent decades, every institution in America has suffered decline in public confidence. The press, the Federal government, religious institutions, banking, corporations, even academia  confidence levels are all in the 30-40% range. But public confidence in science is still over 90%.

Sources: GallupGallupGallupPew

It follows that if you want to market a product or win an election, claiming that “science is on my side” is a powerful selling point. If you want to halt human colonization of the global ecosphere or move people out of their cars into public transportation, the backing of science is natural and maybe even honest. If you have more sinister goals shutting down democracy, dividing a nation so it is politically dysfunctional, destroying small businesses and handing their markets to multinational giants then claiming the imprimatur of science is probably the only way to con hundreds of millions of people into a program so profoundly contrary to their interests.

Look around. You see responsible citizens and good neighbors cooperating to curtail the spread of a deadly virus. But if you blink and look again, you may see the widest, fastest, most successful mass deception in the history of the world.

They’ve come so far because they have money and government and the press on their side. But they could not have captured so many minds without the support of a few people who claim to speak for science. Of course, Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci and Neil Ferguson are not representatives of a scientific consensus. But, curiously, they have not been laughed off the stage. The scientific community has not come together, 8-million strong, with a public statement that “These men do not speak for science.” And years of anemic public education has taught the populace to accept a scientific world view, rather than to trust their own evidence-based thinking.

We the People will not pull out of this nightmare on our own. The public will continue sleepwalking into medical martial law without a strong and credible counter-narrative. There is a powerful need for We the Scientists to come together and override the mountebanks who have hijacked  the mantle of science.

It’s not news that science is subject to political and financial influence. Examples from the past must start with the pharma industry as the most egregious offender; and also FDA diet recommendations, health effects of cell phones, suppression of energy technologies, past suppression of data about asbestos and tobacco and lead.

But never before 2020 have so few people with so little scientific credential claimed to speak for the scientific community as a whole; and never has the public been asked to modify our daily lives and sacrifice our livelihoods on such a scale.

Anecdotal Evidence

Biological weapons are an abomination. No government or research institute has even tried to convince the public that biowarfare research is a good idea, because it would so obviously stir more opposition than support.

After WW II, Nazi bioweapons programs were transplanted to the US, thanks to Operation Paperclip. The story is told in horrifying detail by Stephen Kinzer.

In the wake of international treaties and acts of Congress to outlaw bioweapons research, the US project was re-branded as pandemic preparation and transferred to civilian laboratories. The ruse was that in order to prepare for the next killer pathogen that may soon emerge from the wild, we must create laboratory-modified viruses so we can develop vaccines and treatments for them. The obvious flaw in this logic has been no obstacle to the bureaucratic momentum behind the project.

In 2005, 700 prominent scientists protested to the NIH, calling attention to the masquerade of biological warfare as public health [NYTimes]. Our largest and most prestigious association of scientists, AAAS issued a strong editorial denouncing biowarfare research. Though they did not succeed in halting the program, they created a public relations nightmare for NIH, and after Obama’s election, the NIH program was indeed curtailed, and had to be moved (temporarily) offshore.

The situation is very different in 2020. In April, Newsweek helped alert the public that Dr Fauci’s own NIAID was sponsoring gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, that modified bat Coronaviruses so they could infect humans. President Trump got wind of this, and ordered that  gain-of-function research at NIAID be immediately defunded. I’m confident that scientists as well as the public were overwhelmingly supportive of this sensible, belated gesture.

But that was not the response of record. In short order, a prominent group of (geriatric? bamboozled?) scientists was reported to protest the move. 77 Nobel Laureates Denounce Trump Officials For Pulling Coronavirus Research Grant. And last month, AAAS produced editorials in support of continuing this insanely dangerous program. Even in a year as bizarre as 2020, I never expected to be siding with Donald Trump against the institutions of science. I read and reread the article in  Science  before I was forced to conclude that Trump was wearing the white hat.

In the same issue, there was a second editorial denouncing Trump for “politicization of science” by permitting research to go forward with plasma from recovered COVID patients as treatment for present patients. This approach to treatment is logical, it has historic precedent, and by all means it should be tested. The only reason I can imagine for suppressing convalescent plasma is that, if it works, it obviates the need for a vaccine, and NIH as well as private investors have billions of dollars sunk in vaccines. I would not dare to make such a charge if I had not seen an even more blatant example of the same phenomenon in the suppression of chloroquine [refrefrefref].I shouldn’t have to say this, but please don’t interpret my position here as any kind of general support for Donald Trump. I believe he is as corrupt and ignorant a president as I have known in my lifetime though GWBush gives him a run for his money. One of the unfathomable turns of politics this year is that so many Democrats have been so enraged by Trump’s ascent to power that even when he does the right thing they leap to oppose him. Look at the Democratic response when he announced withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

COVID-19 and the Perversion of Science

The political response to COVID, in the US and elsewhere, has been not only contrary to well-supported medical science, but contrary to common sense and contrary to past practice. In every respect, the response has been either ineffective or likely to make the situation worse. We started too late for a quarantine program to be effective; then we failed to protect the most vulnerable and failed to quarantine the sickest patients. In fact, we forced nursing homes to take in COVID patients, triggering a predictable tragedy. Ventilators remained the standard of care long after it was reported by front-line doctors that they were killing COVID patients. Healthy, young people are at very low risk for serious complications, and should have been out there earning our herd immunity; instead, they were kept terrified and locked up. The economy and all cultural and religious institutions were closed down, leading to tens of thousands of deaths of despair [video by Glen Greenwald]. Masks and social distancing, the least effective protections, were endlessly promoted while simple, effective protections including vitamin D and zinc were actively disparaged by health authorities. And all the while, the most effective treatment of all, zinc + chloroquine, was criminally suppressed. Now, as deaths from COVID are down to a fraction of their April peak, government and media continue their campaign to terrorize us with a false narrative, while extending lockdowns, school closures, and masking into the indefinite future.

Call for a response by the scientific community

Mosts scientists are curious and open-minded, opinionated but cognizant of others’ opinions, the opposite of polemical. It is not a natural community from which to recruit activists. But the misrepresentation of science in this pandemic has been extreme, and it threatens the future of science and its role in guiding public policy. There have been many scientists who have stood up to counter the COVID narrative. Many more have been censored, their videos taken down from social media. This is a time when we, the scientific community, have been called to come together and call the misleadership of AAAS into account. There is an urgent need for scientists who have been shy about public stands in the past to come forward and speak out.

Over the next week, I will post details of ways in which I have seen science distorted in support of a government and corporate COVID agenda. 

Here are ten messages that are essential pieces of the standard COVID narrative, but which are unfounded in actual science. Stay tuned for a detailed rebuttal of each.

  1. “The origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was one of many random events in nature in which a virus jumps from one species to another.”
  2. “Chloroquine kills patients and is too dangerous to use against COVID”
  3. “The Ferguson model warned us of impending danger in time to take action and dodge a bullet.”
  4. “American deaths from COVID: 200,000 and counting”
  5. “New cases of COVID are expanding now in a dangerous Second Wave”
  6. “Masks and social distancing are keeping the virus in check in our communities”
  7. “Dr Fauci and the CDC are guiding our response to COVID according to the same principles of epidemic management that have protected public health in the past.”
  8. “Asymptomatic carriers are an important vector of disease transmission, which must be isolated if we are to stop the spread of COVID”
  9. “The lower death rates now compared to April are due to protective measures such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and limited travel.”
  10. “With enough resources, pharmaceutical scientists can develop a vaccine in a matter of months, and provide reasonable assurance that it is safe.”

END of Part 1