Covid-19GovernmentHealthHealth fascism

Mark Ashby: A Call to Arms

Mark Ashby is an independent researcher interested in upland and farmland ecology, and evidence synthesis.

Dear readers,

I began reading Hector Drummond Magazine in March this year, which is about the point at which Hector started to publish articles from guest authors. I’ve been extremely impressed by both the variety and quality of the articles published on the site. I’ve also noticed the scientific and philosophical credentials of the contributing authors. There’s Hector himself, who, as an academic, specialised in the philosophy of science and worked in a risk analysis institute. Then there’s the data maestros: Alistair Haimes, Christopher Bowyer, David Clark, Rick Hayward, Robert Watson and Thaddeus Michaels. And let’s not forget Charlie Spedding (former healthcare professional), Dominey Jenner (who should and could be a moral philosopher), Eva Dehlinger (biologist), John Church (good with data and something of a philosopher), Martin Sewell (quantitative researcher), Simon Anthony (former theoretical physicist), Thomas Galen (biologist and data analyst) and Tim James (who also should be a moral philosopher), to name a few. A quick peruse of the comments section also reveals that many readers have a scientific and philosophical bent.

You’re probably wondering why I’m harping on about your scientific and philosophical credentials. Well, it’s because they’ve given me an idea: an idea that has left me brimming with p*** and vinegar. Why don’t we, as a rough and ready group of scientists and philosophers, lay siege to the rot permeating through academia? We could tackle what I call the Big Four, which, in my view, are responsible for the authoritarian, hysterical and wildly damaging COVID-19 policies that have been inflicted upon us since March.

The Big Four

Lack of scientific rigour

I’ve lost count of the number of scientific articles I’ve read that shouldn’t have made it through peer-reviewe.g.1-3. What’s more, I find it utterly depressing that most of these shoddy and unreliable studies remain unchallenged. Furthermore, by remaining unchallenged, such studies could potentially be used to inform policy that directly affects you and me. There are also whole fields in which replication, a crucial part of the scientific method, is low to non-existente.g.4-6. In short, this raises the possibility that academic journals are filled with false knowledge.

Ought-ism

The following scenario will explain what I mean by ought-ism: our study finds that A (e.g. alcohol consumption) has a negative impact on B (e.g. health outcomes); therefore, we conclude that we ought to ban, limit or tax A. Ought-ism is the prevailing attitude in many academic disciplines, but especially public health researche.g.7-9. We must fight back against this pervasive attitude because, if we don’t, then we’ll creep ever closer to Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World in which individualism is dead, and we’re reduced to mere ant-sized cogs whose every action must be for the good of society. As I write, many academics are busying themselves with research that will ultimately be used to legislate against many of the things that make life worth living. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not live in a society dreamed up by puritan academics.

Groupthink

It seems to me that many academic disciplines are plagued by groupthink. As an example, let’s take a look at the following article by a now-infamous public health scientist, Professor Devi Sridhar:

Sridhar, D. (2012). Regulate alcohol for global health. Nature, 482(7385), 302-302.

In the article, Professor Sridhar calls upon the World Health Organisation to produce a binding framework to control alcohol consumption in member states7 – all for the good of society, of course. This article is cited 35 times, but none of the citing articles are critical of regulating alcohol consumption10. In fact, there seems to be a presumption that alcohol consumption should be regulated to varying levels and within varying contexts10.

It has become apparent that our Prime Minister is incapable of thinking for himself and has an unhealthy reverence for scientific experts. Thus, if he were left alone with Professor Sridhar and her colleagues, then new legislation limiting alcohol consumption would swiftly follow (just look at his plans to reduce obesity after his bout of COVID-1911). We desperately need dissenting voices to prevent such groupthink and the political consequences it entails.

The precautionary principle

Since the 1970s, the precautionary principle (PP) has been widely adopted within academia12. I find this slightly ironic given that the PP is poorly defined, self-cancelling, and cannot be objectively applied13-15. Consequently, it’s often applied in a haphazard, subjective and biased manner13-15, which is exemplified by the way it’s been employed during the facemask debate in the UK. For example, I’ve heard people point out that the scientific evidence does not support the use of cloth facemasks to limit the spread of COVID-19, but they then go on to suggest we should wear them just in case it saves one life. Yet, there’s contrary evidence (albeit inconclusive) suggesting that cloth facemasks may increase the spread of respiratory viruses16. And here the problem of self-cancellation raises its ugly head: one precautionary route cancels out another: wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 versus not wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Not to worry, though, the PP is a very flexible tool. Indeed, mask zealots can get around this problem by selecting the precautionary route they like best. Perhaps this is why I’ve never heard anyone call for cloth facemasks to be banned just in case they increase the spread of COVID-19.

I cannot tell you how much I detest the PP and wish for its speedy demise. I’m not saying we should never be cautious, but we need an objective framework to help us decide when a precautionary approach is required. Such a framework must also consider the wider costs and benefits of any precautionary action that is taken. This latter point is particularly important given the current monomaniacal obsession with COVID-19 at the expense of all else.

Ad arma

So, dear readers, consider this a call to arms. Let’s pool our resources, knowledge and experience to fight back against the Big Four. We can start by rebutting scientific studies we deem to be fundamentally flawed. Then, if time and appetite allow, we could also begin to write perspective papers or carry out original research.

We might not always get our work published, and we’ll have to carry out the work for free, but at least we’ll be doing something to pushback against the aspects of academia that have become so detrimental to the institution of science and our everyday lives. I’m tired of sitting idly by while the institution of science rots and our once free society turns into an authoritarian technocracy. If you’re interested in fighting back or have rebuttal suggestions, please contact me using the email below.

The game’s afoot my friends: I do hope you join me.

Yours sincerely,

Mark

Email: mashby@whitebeamecology.com

References

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09959-4
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320718313636
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886920305377?casa_token=QVQMl9-PRIgAAAAA:m6Ze7Ko5_Z0rf1I63c52Nz5K_rjyja6YinhRMf3NO06KGQDhYwLeGWUWLImgiT5x4UeUYmMYfw
  4. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-58388-002
  5. https://academic.oup.com/jamia/article/25/8/963/4970161
  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/joom.1120?casa_token=2M17AH9MOKwAAAAA%3APYfevGYKhCNw1J5KD6sB1YZzE6JX8sxtfgsWBUU-ZEDhbJhiNKQUigqS5egc0vsNsKMFtSdknYcRVrk
  7. https://www.nature.com/articles/482302a
  8. https://www.nature.com/articles/sj.bdj.2016.522/
  9. https://search.proquest.com/openview/b9b10111921a24c82039316fb1eddf23/1/advanced
  10. https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?cites=1748186003523495074&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5&hl=en
  11. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-obesity-strategy-unveiled-as-country-urged-to-lose-weight-to-beat-coronavirus-covid-19-and-protect-the-nhs
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle#cite_note-:4-1
  13. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/risa.13265?casa_token=Ato_n8w_GSYAAAAA%3AOfn-9M3Cg7g37nlWIyZFXsJJwqtrAywzIqtwzAMTvleRD25ZH6sGCyGxOEu8arpCN_O7nU0QBj8M9n0
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17401402/
  15. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13669871003629887
  16. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577

Note: I’ve been out of action for a while due to computer problems. Total PITA fixing it (it’s a complicated audio workstation computer which makes it so much worse).  I will have articles and graphs to go up this week though.

Update: Please support this website by donating via KoFi, subscribing via SubscribeStar or Patreon, or buying my book (see right-hand sidebar for links). Independent media like Hector Drummond Magazine, and my constantly updated Twitter account, cannot survive without your support.

 

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33 thoughts on “Mark Ashby: A Call to Arms

  1. Bit difficult as almost all outlets are so controlled to stop alternative views being published, hence this site for example. The Danish face mask report is a recent example, can’t find a publisher because it doesn’t agree with the official line.
    By the way , you could start by not using the annoying capital letters for covid-19. It was a decision made I believe by the CDC to make it look ‘special’.
    I do agree that PP is especially of great concern when used to control direction and policy.

  2. JimW – For papers that we can’t get into a journal, we could publish them alongside the editors and peer-review comments (latter being anonymised) if we feel it has been rejected for unscientific reasons.

    Also, thanks for letting me know about capitalising covid-19. I just assumed this was the correct way of writing it. I will make sure I drop it from now on.

    And of course, we will publish it within Hector Drummond Magazine if Hector wants it

  3. Perhaps there is another to add to the ‘Big-4’………’cognitive dissonance’.

    They just lie.

    Good luck Mark.

    I’m not a scientist so can’t help you with much…….but I will fight with you on comments pages.

  4. Jingleballix – Thanks for your support. Not a problem if you’re not a scientist. Indeed, if you ever see a study that you think or know to be flawed, send it over.

    And yes, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias is a massive problem – scientists are human after all (and not godlike purveyors of truth, as some people seem to think). This is why we must let scientists with different (and minority) views have their say – debate is one of the primary mechanisms of scientific progress.

  5. Well said, Mark. We all need to speak out against bad science wherever we find it. I spent a long time researching the root cause of all our metabolic diseases because the medication I was dispensing as a Pharmacist was not making people better; it was just treating the symptoms. The consensus about a ‘healthy diet’ was so fixed, unproven and unscientific I called my book Stop Feeding Us Lies. Big corporations can buy the ‘scientific study results’ they want. I think a major problem is that people have become subservient to ‘expert opinion’. They believe what they are told by authority and do not ask if something is really true.
    I do not think a scientific paper, which probably won’t be published, is an effective route. I think we all need to use every media outlet we can find to voice our opinions; to try to win the hearts and minds of ordinary people who are completely fed up but still believe the Government are doing the best thing they can. (A problem with Johnson and Hancock is that they have no scientific background and, therefore, cannot distinguish between good and bad advice.) Finding every avenue we can to point out that, for example, PCR tests cannot distinguish between live virus and dead remnants and ‘cases’ found by these tests are not the same as infections. The rules are absurd: for instance, you can sit in a pub which serves meals but you cannot sit in a pub which only serves drinks – is this a deliberate attempt to shut down ordinary pubs to reduce our alcohol intake ‘for our own good’?
    We can all think of examples which social media and local media might be interested in.
    The Government is pursuing a course which destroys our jobs, businesses and liberties and they are spending billions of our taxes on advertising across all forms of media that it is for our own good. I feel the best response is to appeal to ordinary people with a logical argument that shows how much the Government is getting wrong and build a grass-roots rebellion against it. People are ready and eager to hear an alternative view. I hope we can all chip in with an easy to understand message in the local paper, radio, social media etc. I am working on it.

  6. Charlie Spedding – Thanks Charlie. I agree that writing and trying to publish scientific papers will be ineffective in winning the hearts and minds of the public. However, it will help to show politicians and policymakers that there are other views or interpretations within the ‘science’. It may also bring other academics on board who were either too scared to voice a similar opinion or were persuaded by any arguments made or data presented. I think this has value because it will improve the institution of science (obviously, in my view). But, to get my work out to the general public, I will also publish less academic (i.e. dense and dry) versions of any papers on sites like this (as well as writing to newspapers and ringing radio stations). Anyway, thanks again and please do ping any flawed studies my way. And, perhaps in some instances, we can plan more coordinated media rebuttals of individual studies.

  7. There is no doubt that something is rotten in the state of science. In his recent book “Science Fictions”, Dr. Stuart Ritchie recounts an experience where he and colleagues attempted to replicate some rather unusual published results. In experiments at 3 separate UK universities, they all failed to replicate those results. They wrote up their observations and submitted the paper to the journal which published the original work. “The editor rejected the paper within a few days, explaining to us that they had a policy of never publishing studies that repeated a previous experiment, whether or not those studies found the same results as the original”.

    Ritchie’s book is unfortunately disappointing, but he does document in extensive detail the depths of the problems with fraud, bias, negligence, and hype in published science.

    What’s to be done? I fear that Science is becoming yet another example of the Reverse Midas Touch which afflicts the Far Left. Anything which the Far Left gets control of — and who would disagree that the Far Left now controls Academia and most of the sources of research funding? — turns to dust in their hands. We will have to wait for the inevitable economic collapse, and try to make sure that the painful lessons we are learning get conveyed to future generations. so that they do not have to fall into the same traps.

  8. Mark A: “We can start by rebutting scientific studies we deem to be fundamentally flawed.”

    I hate to be a downer, but that would be trying to win on the Far Left’s home court — and there is no way they will give up the home court advantage. Think about the Climate Change Scam, which has been repeatedly exposed, even as far back as when it was still the Global Warming Scam. Doughty seekers-after-the-truth like Ross McKitrick have been publishing books that present the evidence with logic & integrity for about 2 decades — and yet we still have politicians falling over themselves to impose carbon taxes and pointless restrictions on us, their “herd”. Today’s prevalence of pointless mask-wearing shows we would have to find a different route to convince a critical mass of the citizenry about the abuses of “science”. Maybe I am a pessimist, but I am not sure there is another route, short of the coming painful demonstration of the inevitable collapse of Far Left-dominated societies.

    Lefties have spent at least 3 generations gaining near-total control over government, education, media, and religion. They are not going to give that up easily. One small part relevant to science is what the denizens of US National Laboratories call “The Revenge of the C Students“. A students go to the National Laboratories, where they hope to do cutting-edge research. C students go to the DC Swamp, where they end up controlling the budgets which determine what topics the A students get funds for researching and what results are deemed fundable.

    The important issue is science used to support public policy, be it banning DDT or imposing Lock Downs. An effective way of improving that kind of science was suggested by the late Michael Crichton in his novel “State of Fear” — a good old fashioned adversarial trial of the relevant science between the proponents and well-funded skeptics. However, why would the Far Left ever agree to arming their opponents?

  9. Gavin Longmuir – No problem with a bit of realism (and part of me agrees with your assessment). But I do think it’s worth a shot. And, if we all banded together, then it wouldn’t take much time on an individual basis to produce a rebuttal paper. If that paper gets rejected for unscientific reasons, then I think it would still be worthwhile as we could publish those reasons on sites like Hector Drummond Magazine. This would show the public how rotten science really is.

  10. Mark, you can produce all the scientific papers you like, but unless a significant portion of the general population (aka sheeple) 1) understand, 2) agree with and 3) care enough about the topic, then the politicians will simply ignore it and the MSM will never give it air time (current distinguished company excepted of course).

    What is required is a leader, someone who can amass support and deliver a strong, simple message. The only person that has come close in recent years is Nigel, though he’s now a bit of a one trick pony. We need a new and genuine conservative leader, to lead a new and genuine conservative party – anything else is just howling into the wind.

  11. Forgive me making an obvious point but ‘ought-ism’ is an unfortunate construction given its proximity to a recognised condition so while the play on words may raise a smile for some, others will find it less felicitous.

  12. “Perhaps this is why I’ve never heard anyone call for cloth facemasks to be banned just in case they increase the spread of COVID-19.”

    I did point out some time ago that there is an almost perfect correlation between the introduction of compulsory facemask wearing in the UK (in certain circumstances) and the subsequent rise in the number of positive cases.

  13. Mark,
    Whilst I admire your optimism, I feel as others here clearly do. It needs a more radical approach to shake some (most) people from their torpor. Much as I like and approve of Hector’s site, you only have to look at the dearth of posters that actually appear on here, the few names that bother to voice their opinion, as evidence that it’s a very limited market. Clearly I don’t know how many others read it and never post, but I think it’s the same with every other site, sites like Conservative Woman, Tim Worstall etc all have their followers, with the same names of posters (including my own) appearing in a regular and repetitive manner, but they rarely seem able to appeal to that wider audience that needs to be got at and told that there’s another way.
    This is most certainly not meant as criticism of these sites, but they are very limited in their appeal and are usually just a sounding board for those who already believe.

  14. Laurence Hodge – ‘ought-ism’ wasn’t meant to raise a smile. I couldn’t find a word for what I was trying to describe, so I came up with one based on the fact that it is similar to the is-ought problem described by David Hume.

  15. Bloke in Kent & John Wilkinson – I do realise that I’m being optimistic and I accept a more radical approach would be much more successful than my approach. But, at the same time, I think trying to publish academic papers and producing toned down versions for general consumption will do some good (no matter how little). And, for that reason, I’m going to try and give it a go.

    It is also worth mentioning that many of the colleagues I’ve published with thus far do not share my politics or worldview (we don’t talk about this, but I see their twitter posts). Yet, several of them agree with me about the precautionary principle and allowing scientific debate. I believe that they would give any paper I produced a fair hearing.

  16. Jim – Cloth masks could indeed be increasing infection rates. But this is so hard to study in the community as there are so many confounding variables. I think we’re all awaiting the Danish mask study with baited breath!

  17. Look, you all know, deep down, that the only solution here is guns’n’tanks. Forget the Mr Nice Guy approach.
    We could have a quick coup and install Hector as PM and Charlie Spedding at Health. We’ll be back to the old normal in no time.

  18. I’m pretty happy with the evidence for face covering on public transport delaying spread of the virus. I would like to see thorough hand washing made compulsory at transport hubs too ( https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/how-to-curb-a-pandemic-wash-your-hands-airport ) even though there is a small loss of freedom associated.
    My beef is when two policies exist and the outcomes could run either way, and there is no evidence to settle which way it will go. An example is closing pubs at 10pm – could mean more mingling in unregulated environments like private homes, or less mingling if people go home as intended. Another example is council leaders closing public parks in Vale of Glamorgan, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and others in the spring as youths from different households were wrestling, larking, and doing whatever bored youths do. This might have meant less transmission if the kids got a telling off from their parents and stayed home, or more if they formed larger groups crowded into the fewer open spaces left.
    The ‘new normal’ alas is that the people wanting to prohibit are not required to support their case with evidence. Those who want freedom are still regarded as wrong even if the evidence presented is neutral.
    Fortunately public parks remain open this time, but the relevant local authority leaders have not apologised for the previous loss of amenity to people without gardens being bad policy.

  19. Andrew Carey – Why should any of the measures be mandatory given that the infection fatality rate is within a similar range to seasonal influenza (higher in the older and vulnerable, but lower in those under 70 and not vulnerable)?

    Work that shows this has been conducted (independently) by Professor John Ioannidis, Professor Carl Heneghan, Professor Eran Bendavidthe and the CDC (amongst others).

    Our attitude to risk relating to respiratory viruses completely changed within the space of a few months. Never before were we worried about the spread of hidden respiratory killers, such as influenza or other killer viruses and infections that often spread through hospitals (e.g. norovirus). Indeed, many people who go into hospital don’t die for the reasons they went in. Before covid, how many times have people been out and about feeling slightly under the weather with no idea what you have or what they could be spreading? And now they are calling for restrictions of various kinds.

    When I’m old and vulnerable, I will not be hiding from the world and nor will I be asking people to take precautions on my behalf. But perhaps my risk aversion is lower than the average person.

  20. Mark Ashby asks “Why should any of the measures be mandatory given that the infection fatality rate is within a similar range to seasonal influenza (higher in the older and vulnerable, but lower in those under 70 and not vulnerable)?”
    A number of reasons spring to mind:
    1. Externalities. By passing on any virus when low cost preventatives are available you may be imposing a cost on other people without their consent and for whom compensation is not possible.
    2. The IFR for covid-19 appears to be higher than that of the seasonal flu. If you want to say seasonal flu has a range then covid 19 is near the top of that range
    3. You can ramp up the IFR for covid-19 by spending a lot of time with an infectious person and in an indoor environment. Initial viral dose is best kept low.
    4. Transmission rate is slowed – we would like to get to the break point for community resistance, but it’s better to get there gradually without frightening the horses in charge of the NHS with large surges. Too late for this now, as they’ve already been frightened twice, alas.
    Those are my first thoughts.
    Good news though: Professor Sridhar who has been wrong more often than right in this pandemic has penned an article saying be prepared for 4 more months of this. And have you seen 2nd wave graphs for influenza, there aren’t many, but 2nd wave declines always seem steeper than 1st. We might just be done in 2. have a Happy Christmas sir.

  21. Covid may be worse than your average seasonal flu but it’s pretty similar to a bad flu year. My point is that people who are now so worried about the externalities of covid didn’t care about them during bad flu years. In fact, they probably weren’t aware of bad flu years when they were actually occurring (and when the NHS was actually more overwhelmed than it has been this year). And, it should be up to everyone, vulnerable or not, to decide what risks they are willing to take – this shouldn’t be decided by politicians and civil servants who are scared of their own shadow. If it weren’t for all the scaremongering, 24 hour rolling news, social media and mis-use of PCR testing, then no one would’ve have noticed. Unless of course you think that the lockdowns prevented bodies from pilling up in the streets.

  22. Mark,
    I think you’ve just had a good example of what you’re up against!
    For myself, I’m 74, overweight, asthmatic, eat all the “wrong” food and drink far more than PHE says is “good” for me. I don’t give a flying fuck for what experts tell me and I have no desire to have 40 year old politicians infantilise me by talking down to me or trying to “protect” me.
    I loathe all those who talk down to me or try and treat me as though I was either senile, stupid or brain dead, simply because I’m a certain age. I’m sick of this scam that’s being perpetrated by our bloody useless “government” and I will enact extreme violence on anyone that attempts to tell me that I need protecting, shielding, putting in a bubble, vaccinating, circuit breaking, firebreaking, masking up, sanitizing or any other nonsense that these fools think up.
    Apologies Mark, rant over, but if you can use my sentiments in any positive manner for your proposal, please feel free.

  23. Thanks for including me. I think the challenge is enormous, But happy to be part of any informal network that always seeks truth.

    Think we should also include ‘cancel culture’ as one of the undesirable attributes of Group Think

  24. And as if by magic two examples today. I read a story about how a Danish academic study on masks cannot get published – allegedly because it found out the wrong answer. And at the same time a University of Washington study claiming 130,000 lives will be saved if everyone in the US wears masks. By Feb next year.
    It’s all such nonsense … I mean just by inspection that’s nearly 1500 lives a day saved in the USA, if they all wore masks … but the total daily Covid death rate is only currently half that.

  25. Mark, I applaud your efforts but fear that if MSM and Western governments everywhere managed with some ease to do a hatchet job on the GBD, accompanied by Google and Wiki , then the only thing that will change the direction of travel is the imminent economic turmoil and its consequences; manifested in things like civil unrest and mass disobedience to name a couple. Things which will cause real world problems to the comfortable majority seem to be the only way out of this, with governments trying desperately to create an end game that lets them save face, careers and maybe even legal and civil actions on a huge scale which will surely come down the line if they fail (ref Dr Reiner Fuellmich and his planned class actions, starting with WHO and the German gov and its advisers). I have given up posting anything on social media, as the vast majority are still fully on board with the agenda. I guess I would be if my only source of info was FB and MSM, to be honest. Incidentally, I agree with you that masks are not low-cost measure , for the reason that they seem to me to be central to the whole pretence. Make them voluntary again and the whole edifice would start to crumble as the majority start to lose their fear and start to question every other aspect of the propaganda and coercion exercise.

  26. John Wilkinson: Hear, hear! If people want to stay locked away from the world, then that is up to them. But, the rest of us who want to get on with life should be free to do so (no matter how old or how ‘vulnerable’). Unless we are criminals, the government has no right to restrict who we see, how many times we can go out and for how long, and where we can go. We should be free to decide for ourselves the level of risk this virus poses to our own health. And, to those who say that such acts are selfish because we may infect other people or take up a hospital bed, well, all I can say is that you felt the same about flu before March 2020. Back in March, I was angry about this. Now, I’m fuming. Your sentiments are shared and have driven me to challenge this madness any way I can.

    John Church: Thanks for offering your support – It is very much appreciated! I will take a look at the University of Washington mask study. Could you provide a link in case I can’t track it down? And yes, it appears that the Danish mask study has been rejected by several of the prominent medical journals. Peer-review is not the gold-standard people assume it to be (including some very naïve scientists). I wrote a thorough and evidence-based critique of a significant study conducted by a large (and well-funded) environmental research group. One of the peer-reviewers chosen by the journal was an author from the study we were criticising, which should not have happened. However, It did get published. But there are numerous examples of rejection for non-scientific reasons and yet more examples of published articles that should never have made it through peer-review.

    Clacksrambler: Yes, I agree entirely that masks should be voluntary. While I have no desire to wear one and do not like seeing people wearing them, I would never stop people from deciding to cover their face. Many people wear a mask because they are not singled out from the crowd. If all the measures were voluntary, we would not be where we are: a situation that seems only likely to end with, as you say, civil unrest and mass disobedience.

  27. Mark A: “Your sentiments are shared and have driven me to challenge this madness any way I can.”

    You and me both, brother! Still, we have to be smart about how to challenge the insanity.

    UK’s Office of National Statistics says that the dreaded Covid-19 was (coincidentally) only the 19th most common cause of death in England in September, accounting for less than 2% of the nearly 40,000 people who died in England that month. Of course, England has it much worse than Wales, where the dreaded Covid-19 was merely the 24th most common cause of death.
    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/monthlymortalityanalysisenglandandwales/september2020

    The evidence is clear that the dreaded Covid-19 requires no more stringent measures to control than are appropriate for the 18 (in the case of Wales, 23) more common causes of death. But the evidence is also clear that the great majority of our fellow citizens are going along with the scam — surrendering their freedom, dutifully (if ineffectively) wearing masks, and obeying senseless rules which apply to us but not to our Political Overlords. To make things worse, there is no reason for this Covid Scam ever to end, even as the death rate drops ever closer to zero.

    There is a strong analogy with the Climate Change Scam, which had to change its name from the Anthropogenic Global Warming Scam because of the lack of evidence of global warming. Again, the evidence is clear, and yet the entire Western Political Class wholeheartedly supports the scam.

    The bottom line is that the facts don’t matter.

    That is why we need to think of a different approach than trying to get honest data published in scientific journals. It has not worked over the last 20 years to put an end to the Climate Change Scam, it is not likely to work for the Covid Scam. Sadly, the most productive use of our time that I can think of now is to be analogous to the Irish monasteries during the Dark Ages. We can try to preserve scientific knowledge and common sense for a future generation while our current Political Class foolishly destroys present-day Western society (to the great benefit of China’s rulers).

  28. @Mark
    All your points are valid. However, before fixing any of them the Big Tech & MSM censorship, no platforming and cancel culture must be overcome

    As “The Great Barrington Declaration” showed, if contrary views are silenced they can not gain support. Same with Truth and NY Post Hunter & Joe Biden lies exposure

    @BiK

    the politicians will simply ignore it and the MSM will never give it air time

    Spot on. See TV News virtual silence on Saturday’s Freedom Rally in London again and nationwide Rolling Thunder a couple of years ago

    Media silence too when Biden blurts out truth

    “We have put together the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRZEs9BRGK4

    The most honest thing he’s said throughout his entire campaign

    imo best TV News is TalkRadio and Sky News Aus
    eg
    TR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DswQI5H5e_4
    SkyA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lty9Zbmr0Gg

    Solution? Don’t read and move on. Spread links/truth far & wide on blogs, forums, email, twatter etc. Copy Left & Zealots

    Delers

    …If this is the new normal which we must all learn to accept then I say: “No. This is not a game I´m playing.” Not only do I refuse to play but also, increasingly, I find myself viewing with contempt those who are playing along with this strange, constrictive array of rules being arbitrarily imposed on us because I see their compliance as a form of collaboration – which is one step away from endorsement

    Apart from being injurious to your own health, claustrophobic, unsanitary, sinister, unconducive to communication, alienating, atomising – and quite incapable of doing the one damned thing they´re supposed to do: stop anyone getting Coronavirus – masks are a symbol of collective surrender to oppression. They´re a sign that the enemy has won

    We do it not because we want to but because we feel we have to because it´s our moral duty. If you know masks are wrong – and you most of you do – then you should think of it as your moral duty not to wear one too.”
    https://lockdownsceptics.org/mask-non-compliance-is-a-moral-duty/

    I refuse to wear a muzzle and to date nobody has challenged. My mother and brother hate them but “don’t want to be embarrassed” and criticise me for being a Rebel. Wife is a dentist and mostly complies in fear of GDC not plod

  29. @John W
    I managed to sway many on Arrse to vote leave using Evidence Based Debate
    Arrse has a huge audience and a good place to spread Evidence Based Debate/Truth if you can handle the vehement believers. For me, Brexit was a cause worth fighting hard for

    Key is to call out diversion, rabbit-holing and “what you’re saying is”

    @Andrew Carey
    SARS-CoV-2 IFR is ~0.13%, similar to most ‘Flu etc

    WHO recently admitted, then buried, statement that SARS-CoV-2 no worse than annual ‘Flu

  30. Mark, I wasn’t aware of the “precautionary principle” but I have been referring to the current situation as the “Elfin Safety Tyranny” as it appears to me be the inevitable conclusion of a trend that has prevailed in all western democracies over the last few years. A seemingly globally coordinated lowest common denominator response, and a response that defies the data that has been readily available since The Diamond Princess docked, can in my mind only be comprehended by such an explanation.

    I don’t believe that such an ideology has ever been faced before. Contend it we must, but it may prove a Quixotic battle.

  31. @Andy
    Precautionary principle is what EU and bedwetters use: nothing permitted until proved it does no harm ever

    Extended to older products too: We will ban as it might kill a wasp, you must prove it won’t

    Teachers using it: fact there has been no <11 transmission of C-19 worldwide doesn't mean it can't happen. We want proof it won't happen

    Related to Policy based evidence making

  32. It seems to me that the forces of darkness, in their press conferences, and segments on the BBC are on the defensive. The thoughts they make a point of rubbishing are sometimes in a thin disguise the very content of scientific articles I have read that pull the rug out from under what they have just announced — about the immune system, about the tricky world of statistics, and the filthy world of the data available to statistical inference. About Sweden.

    This cheers me up. It’s like reading/listening-to/watching self-deluding rants by people who know in their souls they are losing the argument. And feel sick in their stomachs.

    How to get rid of them? Their problem is really to save face. They are troubled people. Don’t be unkind; sooner or later they’ll slither away into darkness and obscurity

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