Streetwise Professor

December 4, 2021

Fuck (Normal, Politicized, Faucist) “Science®”

Filed under: CoronaCrisis,Economics,Politics,Regulation — cpirrong @ 2:44 pm

One of the most disgusting tropes in the ongoing (and ongoing and ongoing and ongoing) controversy over COVID policy is the resort to ritual incantations of “science.” This is epitomized by Fauci’s recent declaration that “le science c’est moi.” If you disagree with him, you are anti-science, because he represents science.

This is a logical fallacy (appeal to authority) squared: you can’t challenge Fauci’s authority because he is cloaked in the authority of science. Fauci rivals Louis XIV in his grandiosity.

The science fetishists should read about the sociology of science, and in particular Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It is a dense work that makes many penetrating observations, but the crucial concept he identifies is “normal science.” That is, he emphasizes the institutional context of science, and the incentives facing those who identify as scientists, and are widely recognized as such.

The basic idea is that in the aftermath of scientific revolutions, a “paradigm” emerges that represents the conventional wisdom, and that most scientists are working within that paradigm. Moreover, they are heavily invested in it and would suffer a massive loss in their human capital if that paradigm were to be displaced. Thus, even as contradictory evidence accumulates, the science community resists. It does not act as the scientific methodology dictates, that is, by rejecting or revising theories that fail empirical test. Instead, the community attacks the apostates and repeatedly appeals to its authority to thwart attacks on the ruling paradigm even as contrary evidence accumulates. It doubles down on the paradigm whenever contrary evidence emerges.

This is why most scientific revolutions come from rank outsiders. People who are not invested in, and protected by the existing system. People who have little to lose by pointing out that emperor has no clothes.

My favorite example of this is ulcers. An obscure Australian doctor hypothesized that a common bacteria caused ulcers. The response of the scientific community–and the pharmaceutical industry that profited greatly from ulcer medications–was furious. He was ridiculed and marginalized. But eventually, in a triumph of true science, his hypothesis was confirmed by the data, and the normal science hypothesis was displaced.

Thus, rather than genuflecting to the scientific community (which arrogantly identifies itself with Science), one should always treat it with skepticism. Indeed, the more strident the insistence that someone or some group represents Science the more skeptical you should be. Their stridence reveals that they are afraid, very afraid, that their paradigm is under credible assault.

True scientists are open minded. Normal scientists are close minded. Arrogant defensiveness is symptomatic of normal science under credible threat. A reasonable inference to be drawn from haughty invocations of Science in response to questions is that the science is indeed questionable.

The Kuhnian institutional/sociological forces that warp scientific inquiry are made far, far worse when a scientific issue intersects politics. This is especially true given the gargantuan role of government funding of science: the guardians of the paradigm control who gets the grants. And this is especially especially true when there are strong commercial incentives for supporting the paradigm–such as medications that are justified by the paradigm.

All of these factors are at work in COVID. The illness has been hijacked by governments and shadow governments to justify imposition of measures that deprive billions of people basic liberties and to extend the power of those governments far beyond what would have been imaginable even two years ago:

Sadly, it has come to the point where invocations of Science are the hallmark of charlatans and governments and shadow governments that want to control you. This is especially true with respect to COVID “vaccines.” (I use quotation marks because what are being touted as vaccines are very different from traditional vaccines, a fact that is itself suggestive of propaganda and bait-and-switch tactics.).

As I have noted before, the externality argument for these medications is rejected even by government authorities that advocate widespread, and indeed mandatory, vaccination. Even putting that aside, I dare you to name any other medical treatment in the FDA era that would be approved, let alone allowed to remain on the market, in the face of such dubious evidence of efficacy and such widespread indications of serious–and fatal–side effects. (The best proof of the lack of efficacy is the recent official insistence on “boosters.”).

There is no evidence that trade-offs are being evaluated rigorously–scientifically. Indeed, any suggestion that this be done is furiously attacked by government “scientists” and their government funded apparatchiks. This is most glaringly obvious in the case of children. The vast bulk of scientific evidence shows that children and young adults are at little risk of serious illness from COVID, and are not major vectors of spread. So the benefit of vaccinating them is approximately zero. There are plausibly risks of vaccinating them–this is especially true of young adults.

But governments around the world are currently proceeding to force giving children and young adults these shots.

And if you object, on scientific grounds, you are assailed as being an anti-science know nothing.

Science has been perverted in the name of fighting COVID. Sadly, the outcome of this will not be to improve the reputation of science, or to discredit “normal” politicized science: it will be to undermine the authority of true science. Those who proclaim most arrogantly in the name of science–Anthony Fauci most notable among them–are in fact science’s greatest enemies.

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  1. must watch vid. Not at all about science.

    Comment by Jeffrey Carter — December 4, 2021 @ 6:34 pm

  2. It’s worth mentioning that the Australian scientist who proved that bacteria causes ulcers performed a dangerous human experiment.
    This is illegal – unless the subject is yourself. He drank the bacteria, waited for ulcers to form, then treated himself with antibiotics.
    One could not imagine Fauci doing anything similar to prove a point.

    Comment by Nikolai Vladivostok — December 5, 2021 @ 4:35 am

  3. The corruption of science you describe infecting covid-world, Craig, has been standard practice in consensus climatology for 30 years. I speak as someone who has been quantitatively assessing that rotten branch for 20 years, with publications to show for it. The arrogance and dismissive contempt for disproofs are at full force in that field.

    Thomas Kuhn, however, is wrong about science. From his description, one cannot distinguish the works of Isaac Newton from the philosophical polemics of Thomas Aquinas. Kuhn’s paradigms are no more than fashion statements, new ones replacing old ones as the cultural mood swings. Kuhn’s mistaken view of science as fashion is why postmodernist academics love him so much.

    I’ve overturned about four prevailing bits of conventional wisdom in my field (inorganic biochemistry). Although there was push back – in one case especially — the arrogance and rejection you describe as typical made no appearance. Most of science (even medical science) is like that (excluding much of Psychology and all of Sociology).

    The corrupting factor is Congressional mandates coupled with government money. Politicians inject their biases into the way grants are distributed, and the corruption takes hold. To get politics out of science, one must get the politicians away from science. Keep their bloody hands off of it.

    Regarding Covid and the mRNA injections, it’s become clear that the mRNA drug has killed more Americans than has Covid-alone. The CDC vastly inflated the Covid death rate by requiring that Covid-19 be listed as cause of death in any Covid-associated death. The CDC admits that 94+% of such deaths included an average of four (4!) long-duration life-threatening underlying comorbidities.

    It’s straightforward to factor that in plus the suppression of early ambulatory drug-treatment for Covid-19 patients, to estimate how many Americans have died from Covid-19 alone. That number is about 7800.

    The CDC’s average number of yearly deaths from seasonal influenza alone (1976-2006) is an entirely comparable 6309(+/-)1300. Covid-19 is no more dangerous than the flu.

    The incompetence of the CDC, of Anthony Fauci, and of the entire bloody medical establishment could not be greater.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 5, 2021 @ 12:07 pm

  4. “The Emporer of Scent” is an excellent book that, along with being entertaining and having the feel of a detective story, tells a large, real-life tale about what our SWP details in this post.

    Comment by Richard Whitney — December 5, 2021 @ 1:28 pm

  5. @Pat Frank. Oh I know. All of the aspects that I discussed in this post apply to climate “science” too. It is the epitome of politicized “normal” science corrupted by government money. It is the antithesis of proper science.

    Comment by cpirrong — December 5, 2021 @ 2:08 pm

  6. Here’s a chap who’s not even a scientist, just a GP. Powerful stuff.

    Or maybe now I should say at least he’s a GP and not just a ‘scientist’.

    Comment by dearieme — December 5, 2021 @ 4:24 pm

  7. The list of those not being mandated to take the “vaccine” is telling. No mandates for the Congress and staff. The list goes on.

    I forget, possibly the CDC updated their definition of “vaccine”, possibly then the Bigs at CDC will disclose the number of the “unvaccinated” among their beaucracy?

    Comment by Chris Phillips — December 6, 2021 @ 8:08 am

  8. Good point, CP. I assume that only Congress has the power to mandate it for Congress. Have they explained why they haven’t?

    As for the CDC: isn’t it part of the Executive branch. Why haven’t they been mandated?

    I can think of another concentration of old folks in DC: have the members of Scotus taken the jab?

    Comment by dearieme — December 6, 2021 @ 9:05 am

  9. By law a novel drug or vaccine can only be approved if there is no effective pre-existing treatment. So in order to get their Emergency Use Authorisation the pharma companies had to do a lot of PR and black propaganda to rubbish any alternatives. I wonder what the cost in lives has been in banning simple cheap off patent medications. We know the cost of the vaccines – $1,000 a second! – and the wider economic cost is orders of magnitude greater.
    Waiting for a miracle vaccine – that turns out not to be especially effective – instead of concentrating on a cure has turned out to be possibly the greatest public health policy error anyone of us will see in a lifetime.

    Comment by philip — December 7, 2021 @ 7:59 am

  10. @9 philip – effective early treatments for Covid-19 were fully available by December 2020 (citations below). The observational cure-rates (thousands of patients) was about 85%, even including the vulnerable.

    There’s no doubt that hundreds of thousands of Americans died unnecessarily because the CDC and the FDA suppressed early treatment, and because the media censored and vilified anyone who supported those treatments. Anthony Fauci and Rochelle Walenski are responsible for those deaths and belong in jail.

    What they did was (is) not a health policy error. It was a betrayal of health policy.

    T[1] Procter, B.C., et al., Clinical outcomes after early ambulatory multidrug therapy for highrisk
    SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection. Rev Cardiovasc Med, 2020. 21(4): p. 611-614

    [2] Procter, B.C., et al., Early Ambulatory Multidrug Therapy Reduces Hospitalization and
    Death in High-Risk Patients with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). International Journal of
    Innovative Research in Medical Science, 2021. 6(03): p. 219 – 221

    [3] Prodromos, C. and T. Rumschlag, Hydroxychloroquine is effective, and consistently so
    when provided early, for COVID-19: a systematic review. New Microbes New Infect,
    2020. 38(p. 100776

    [4] Gautret, P., et al., Effect of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of
    COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial, an update with an
    intention-to-treat analysis and clinical outcomes. Int J Antimicrob Agents, 2021. 57(1): p.

    [5] Gautret, P., et al., Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19:
    results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial. Int J Antimicrob Agents, 2020.
    56(1): p. 105949

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 7, 2021 @ 1:58 pm

  11. I’m always intrigued by those instances where people from one discipline who couldn’t explain or solve something are given the answer by someone from another wholly unrelated discipline.

    A well-known example is the inability of palaeontologists to understand the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs, which had to be explained to them by geologists. The global distribution of an iridium layer at the 66mya mark implied an enormous asteroid impact, iridium being rare in the earth but common in asteroids.

    Geologists themselves were earlier left looking a bit foolish when the work of a biologist, Darwin, showed that based on how long evolution needed to work, the Earth had to be much older than they thought.

    Astronomers wondered for centuries whether the Pleiades really were physically close together. Maybe they just appeared that way, because they were strung out in a line end-on from Earth. Statisticians rather than astronomers proved the former via probability.

    Yet another is when astronomers, mariners and the like were trying to work out longitude using stars, ships moored ten miles apart firing cannon every hour, and what not. The problem was eventually solved by a watchmaker.

    And Michael Mann’s hockey stick was debunked by a mining engineer.

    To overturn the scientism that has corrupted the establishment we probably need more of the same.

    Comment by Green as Grass — December 9, 2021 @ 8:17 am

  12. @11 — I take your point, GaGlass. Another example was Alfred Wegener’s idea of continental drift. Wegener was an astronomer. Geologists ridiculed his idea for decades, despite the large amount of circumstantial evidence in its favor. The idea is now tectonics and central to geology, proved by the observed pattern of parallel magnetized strips on either side of the ridge near the midline of the Atlantic floor.

    That said, the distance to the Pleiades was found using parallax, not statistics.

    And Steve McIntyre was a mining consultant who had graduated university as number two in mathematics in Canada. He and Ross McKitrick proved Mann’s hockey stick was at best a demonstration of profound incompetence. More than likely, scientific fraud.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 9, 2021 @ 11:13 am

  13. Hmm, but what to do when there are differing bodies of opinion within a discipline? Choose “your” side I guess. Take for instance the reports here in the UK that the vast majority of women who have been hospitalized with Covid over the past few months were unvaccinated. A statistical blip, perchance?

    As for “The vast bulk of scientific evidence shows that..”, have you actually spent time researching this and reading and processing the evidence (given how busy you claim to be?), you know, like someone who is versed in scientific investigation?? ‘Cos if not, well…

    @Grass: Re Harrison, plenty of people had figured out that longitude could be calculated using a suitably accurate timepiece before him. He just so happened to build one.

    Also the Mann’s hockey stick debunking has itself been repeatedly and extensively debunked. But I guess you knew that.

    Comment by David Mercer — December 9, 2021 @ 11:18 am

  14. @13 David “Choose “your” side I guess.” Others are not the reflexive partisan you evidently are, David.

    Here’s a novel idea for you: in the event of a controversy, do independent study and analysis, and come up with an informed conclusion. Pretty radical, hey?

    One would have thought even your partisan confidence would have been chastened by the fraudulent papers published in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, that they were forced to retract.

    …have you actually spent time …?


    Comment by Pat Frank — December 9, 2021 @ 2:25 pm

  15. @Pat: Honestly, your responses are so predictable you could actually programme a bot to type them, save you the effort.

    So, taking your advice, I Googled “Covid children vectors” and lo, all manner of results popped up, many suggesting that kids do play a role in spreading the virus, hardly the ‘vast bulk’ of evidence suggesting otherwise. I’d wager that if I’d done the same at my local uni library using their online journal databases I’d have found a similar result.

    Here’s a statement from the WHO’s recent ‘Interim statement on COVID-19 vaccination for children and adolescents’ which kind of some ups my position: “The relative transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 at different ages remains uncertain, largely due to the challenges involved in disentangling the influences of biological, host, virus, variants of concern, and environmental factors”. A somewhat more balanced and equivocal (i.e. scientific) statement, don’t you think, presumably one either discounted or, more likely, not consulted, by our host?

    Comment by David Mercer — December 10, 2021 @ 4:33 am

  16. @15 David — “I Googled “Covid children vectors” and lo…

    And, lo! you critically evaluated their claims. Didn’t you.

    Your ability to parse reliability is fully revealed by providing us a quote from the WHO, of all institutions, as trustworthy and authoritative.

    The experiment with children was done in Sweden, by the way. The conclusion is in. No children passed covid to a teacher. No teacher infected students.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 10, 2021 @ 9:40 am

  17. @ Pat: Err the WHO quote relates to a scoping review published in the BMJ (ref 17). How exactly did you critically evaluate its findings – did you conduct a parallel search and analysis of PubMed, Google Scholar and MedRxiv/bioRxiv to confirm them?? No, thought not.

    Also, where in that NEJM letter does it definitively state (or can one conclude) that no pupil passed Covid to a teacher, or teacher to a pupil? Can’t see that anywhere.

    Comment by David Mercer — December 10, 2021 @ 11:45 am

  18. @17 David, from the NEJM Letter: “As compared with other occupations (excluding health care workers), this [risk ratio] corresponded to sex- and age-adjusted relative risks of 1.10 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.49 to 2.49) among preschool teachers and 0.43 (95% CI, 0.28 to 0.68) among schoolteachers (see the Supplementary Appendix).

    A relative risk ratio of 1.1(+1.4/-0.7) for preschool teachers is statistically indistinguishable from a risk-ratio of 1 (one), while 0.4(+0.3/-0.1) for school teachers shows a statistically significant risk ratio of less than 1 (one).

    These numbers are what one expects if there is no net transmission between school children and teachers.

    You’ll also be relieved to know of R. Wood, et al., (2021) “Sharing a household with children and risk of COVID-19: a study of over 300 000 adults living in healthcare worker households in Scotland” Arch Dis Child

    ►► In our large cohort, adults with young children were at lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and possibly also of developing COVID-19 requiring hospitalisation.

    “►► Adults living with young children were not at increased risk of COVID-19, including during August–October 2020 when nurseries and schools were open for all children.

    Added evidence: L. Heavey et al., “No evidence of secondary transmission of COVID-19 from children attending school in Ireland, 2020”;?crawler=true

    In summary, examination of all Irish paediatric cases of COVID-19 attending school during the pre-symptomatic and symptomatic periods of infection (n = 3) identified no cases of onward transmission to other children or adults within the school and a variety of other settings. These included music lessons (woodwind instruments) and choir practice, both of which are high-risk activities for transmission. Furthermore, no onward transmission from the three identified adult cases to children was identified.

    So, not only is there no evidence of transmission between school children and teachers, but there is some positive evidence that close contact with children improves the risk ratio of adults.
    [my bold throughout]

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 10, 2021 @ 6:02 pm

  19. Readers here who have children might want to carefully read WHO’s description of the effect on children of the standard mitigation strategies — access graciously provided by David Mercer. Thank-you David.

    Reading what follows, my view is that the medical professionals who, with knowing malfeasance, recommended these measures and the politicians who required them, and the teachers and police (we’re just following orders) who enforced them should be horse-whipped out of town.

    Socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic response on children and adolescents

    Despite their lower risk of severe COVID-19 disease, children and adolescents have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 control measures. The most important indirect effects are related to school closures which have disrupted the provision of educational services and increased emotional distress and mental health problems.

    When unable to attend school and in social isolation, children are more prone to maltreatment and sexual violence, adolescent pregnancy, and child marriage, all of which increase the probability of missing further education and of poor pregnancy outcomes. A range of follow-on effects of school closures occur.

    These include disruption in physical activity and routines and loss of access to a wide range of school-provided services such as school meals, health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and services targeted to children with special needs such as learning support, speech therapy and social skills training.

    Children not attending school face enhanced risks of cyberbullying from other children, and the potential for predatory behavior from adults related to spending more time online. Longer-term, prolonged school closures lead to education loss and exacerbation of pre-existing inequalities and marginalization of learning.

    It is estimated that 24 million children are at risk of not returning to school owing to the pandemic(18); those affected have been estimated to incur a US$10 trillion loss in lifetime earnings(19).

    At societal level, economic devastation wrought by COVID-19 may take years to overcome, exacerbating economic inequalities, poverty, unemployment, household financial insecurity, food insecurity, and malnutrition, all of which negatively impact children, often disproportionately.

    Routine immunization services have also been negatively affected as a result of the pandemic response, thereby exacerbating the potential resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus, yellow fever, HPV, and others(20).

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 10, 2021 @ 6:45 pm

  20. @ Pat: I can play that game too – selective quotes from a couple of your references:

    The present study had some limitations. We lacked data on household transmission of Covid-19 from schoolchildren, and the 95% confidence intervals for our results are wide.
    This study is limited by small numbers of cases. Not all age ranges are represented since all children are older than 10  years.
    Only symptomatic contacts were tested, and so asymptomatic secondary cases were not captured.
    While this study, based on small numbers, provides limited evidence in relation to COVID-19 transmission in the school setting

    Also, these were both pre-Delta so all bets are off on their findings.

    Where’s your refutation of the BMJ article referred to in the WHO report? I want to see your workings.

    Comment by David Mercer — December 11, 2021 @ 4:54 am

  21. @20 David — the study was limited by the small number of cases among “1,951,905 children in Sweden.”

    Do you see the power of that, David? nearly 2 million school children, but tiny number of cases. Surely even you can understand that.

    It appears you didn’t read the BMJ (ref. [17]) study that you cited so eagerly, David.

    Here’s their money statement: “Studies analysing school transmission showed children as not a driver of transmission. Prevalence of COVID-19 IgG antibody in children <15 years was lower than the general population in the Spanish study.

    "Conclusions: Children are not transmitters to a greater extent than adults.

    Further from that paper: “Two of the included studies analysing school contacts found an extremely low level of transmission at school.15 18 Moreover, other very recent published reviews show also the low role of children as a factor of transmission in general.25 26 (my bold)”

    You didn’t even read the paper before touting it, did you David. It doesn’t support your case at all.

    Just as Ludvigsson, Rose and Heavey didn’t support your case; the last two of which you coyly forgot to remember.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 11, 2021 @ 1:16 pm

  22. @ Pat Frank

    The actual approximate distance to the Pleiades was the later question. The original conundrum, before that, was whether they were really physically adjacent, or only looked like they were from our perspective. Most of the constellations wouldn’t look like they do seen from any other star. This question wasn’t resolvable using 19th century methods of observation. Statisticians instead worked that the odds against an apparent cluster not actually being one were so remote it couldn’t happen. The Pleiades were subsequently proven to be an actual cluster observationally.

    I found this out at a lecture at the Royal Greenwich Observatory a few years ago. Unfortunately they didn’t name the statisticians.

    @ David

    I’d be surprised if the Hockey Stick has been counter-debunked, simply because of Stephen Schneider’s maxim that climate scientists must choose between being honest and being effective. That is, he was enjoining them to lie for the cause. Climate science as a discipline resembles a badly-run police investigation, where the objective is not to find out what happened, but to fit up the designated patsy.

    Comment by Green as Grass — December 13, 2021 @ 2:55 pm

  23. @22 Green as Grass – I take your point. However, statistics provide inductive inferences, not demonstrations. Whatever the statisticians’ probabilistic statements, they didn’t demonstrate anything physical about the Pleiades.

    By the way, you’re right and David is wrong. Mann’s hockey stick has never been undebunked. It remains forever a monument to incompetence; and that’s being charitable.

    The fact that others have used alternative tendentious methods to produce their own contrived hockey sticks, most often exploiting data from one tree at Yamal, does not in any way rescue Mann’s hockey stick. It was a crock and it remains a crock.

    You’re right about Stephen Schneider, as well. As well-trained as he was, it is difficult to understand how he went so very badly astray.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 13, 2021 @ 4:18 pm

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