Science: the New Opiate of the Elites

This past year should have dispelled all doubts that scientism has replaced Protestantism as the dominant religion of America's elite. Those Americans who, in days of yore, would have flocked to Marble Collegiate Church, in their Harvard ties and Sunday Go to Meeting hats, to hear Norman Vincent Peale preach about the power of positive thinking, now just stay at home and listen to the increasingly dismal (and often contradictory) predictions of Dr. Anthony Fauci.

But what's particularly striking is how they speak about science in the most unscientific way. They say things like "TRUST THE SCIENCE!" as if science were a single, static, even sentient thing. It's not.

This point was rather humorously made recently after Neil deGrasse Tyson, the obnoxious archbishop of this new religion, tweeted that "The good thing about Science is that it’s true, whether or not you believe in it." Several respondents pointed out that this is a sentiment which might more properly be applied to God. He even capitalized the 'S' in science.

But the best response came from (of all places) the Twitter account of frozen meat company Steak-umm, which, after mocking Tyson a bit, explained: 

Spot on, and extra points for the "steak" pun.

To extend that point, one of the definitive marks of true science is that its falsifiable. As Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry once wrote:

Science is not the pursuit of capital-T Truth. It's a form of engineering — of trial by error. Scientific knowledge is not "true" knowledge, since it is knowledge about only specific empirical propositions — which is always, at least in theory, subject to further disproof by further experiment.

But contemporary scientism is completely unfalsifiable. No matter how many times the high priests are wrong (or have lied), the faithful are not shaken. We see this constantly in the realm of climate science, as when it turned out that polar bears were not actually nearing extinction, when Cold War-era climate scientists predicted that "entire nations" would be wiped out by rising sea levels by the year 2000, and more recently, when Canada's Ministry of Environment released a report showing that "Arctic sea ice grew 27 percent" in 2020, contrary to all expert predictions.

Have any of these revelations caused them to repent? Not at all! They remain certain that every outcome -- hot weather, cold weather, extreme weather, mild weather -- is the result of climate change, and the only solutions are so-called renewable energy, carbon taxes, and -- my favorite -- "carbon offsets," whereby the wealthy can pony up some cash and then live a more carbon intensive lifestyle than the peasantry.

This last one is a pretty good analogue to the abuse of indulgences which provoked the Reformation. Will something similar happen to the new established church? Perhaps. 'Fauci fatigue' has begun to spread to the general populace. But for our elite, don't hold your breath. Scientism is just too convenient.

It’s Time to Stop Wearing Masks

I refuse to wear a mask. I believe, as many people do—but not enough to make a wrinkle in the vast bubble of mass delusion—that masks are largely ineffective. But the consequences of holding to this belief and appearing in public without a mask can be quite unpleasant.

My experience in the streets and shops of my city will be familiar to those who feel as I do. The masked give me a wide berth. Others stare balefully from the only exposed part of their faces. On occasion I find myself in confrontation with those who believe I am a “spreader” to be mocked, shamed, condemned and threatened.

COVID Rage is all the rage. And I am always astounded by the level of ignorance wedded to self-righteousness among the unvisaged, the tendency to follow the diktats of their political leaders and government appointed medical officers without question, and to accept implicitly the reports of a suborned media apparatus. The lack of common sense and the unwillingness to conduct independent research are truly staggering, if entirely predictable. Instead of herd immunity, we have herd mentality.

Masks are not only unsightly, even grotesque, but they obscure proper articulation—I rarely understand what these people are trying to say—and eliminate all signs of personality. One feels one is trapped inside a particularly lurid Zombie movie.

Become the lie.

More importantly, masks are generally useless. The weave and filter are not resistant to the miniscule COVID virion. Wearing masks has been compared to setting up a chain-link fence to keep out flies. Former naval surgeon Dr. Lee Merritt has done the research.

Viruses are passed by tiny micron particles, she explains, “that sneak out through the mask and around the mask.” As Merritt points out, the popular meme of “viral load,” which masks are said to reduce, is misleading; it takes only one COVID micron and a compromised immune system to trigger the infection. So much for director of the HIV Clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Monica Ghandi’s argument that masks significantly reduce ingestion of viral particles, and that masking can make you “less sick.” A mask is not a silver bullet, it is a blank cartridge.

We might note that the more sophisticated N-95 masks, which are used by medical personnel, provide insecure protection. Medical Life Sciences tells us that the diameter of a COVID particle ranges from 60 to 140 nanometers (nm) and that N-95 masks are non-functional under 100 nm, rendering them only 50 percent effective at best. As the founder of American Frontline Doctors .Simone Gold, states “The facts are not in dispute:  (cloth) masks are completely irrelevant in blocking the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” N-95s bring their own problems, as noted below. (Naturally, she has been roundly attacked by “medical cancel culture”). 

Droplets are apparently another matter, being larger than aerosols and thus impeded by masks, whether on the receiving or emitting end. A little common sense tells us that droplets evaporate and the particles hitching a ride on them remain to be breathed in or out. Moreover, a CambridgeCore study concludes that “any mask, no matter how efficient at filtration or how good the seal, will have minimal effect if it is not used in conjunction with other preventative measures, [including] regular hand hygiene.” Since wearers are frequently adjusting their masks, regular hand hygiene is by no means practical or possible. Aerosols or droplets, same difference.

But there is another side to the problem. ScienceDaily, citing a study conducted at the University of New South Wales, indicates that “cloth masks can be dangerous to your health.” This is also true for the much-hyped N-95. Prolonged wearing is likely to cause hypoxia (diminished oxygen supply). The masker breathes in his own CO2, leading in some cases to grogginess and even somnolence—the reason birds in winter conserve energy and warmth and sleep at night by tucking their heads under their wings.

People who drive masked are asking for trouble. People who wear masks for extended periods are at risk. Hypoxia can also lead to a condition of immune cell dysfunction. The immunologic consequences can be critical, causing neurological damage and rendering the individual susceptible to whatever pathogens are lurking in his own system or in the air around him. This alone is a reason not to wear masks—and certainly not for excessive periods. Even the more reliable surgical masks must be changed frequently. (Plastic face shields are no solution since the larger surface area acts a storehouse for the viral molecule.)

Obviously, the pro-and-con controversy over the efficacy of masks is particularly contentious. Political and professional reputations are at stake, especially in journals and institutions with a distinctive leftist bias. Politics will mostly trump science, and the common observer must be scrupulously careful in evaluating evidence.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that trusted data sources like the W.H.O., The New England Journal of Medicine, and The Lancet are profoundly compromised and have been compelled to revise or retract some of their studies and surveys. But it is interesting to note that The Center for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) finds that “despite two decades of pandemic preparedness, there is considerable uncertainty as to the value of wearing masks… assuming 20% asymptomatics and a risk reduction of 40% for wearing masks, 200,000 people would need to wear one to prevent one new infection per week.” 

Timothy Taylor at Conversable Economist points to many random controlled trial studies that “do not find a reason to wear a mask.” Wired magazine is also ambivalent regarding data, stating: “the research literature on mask usage doesn’t provide definitive answers. There are no large-scale clinical trials proving that personal use of masks can prevent pandemic spread; and the ones that look at masks and influenza have produced equivocal results.” 

Such a “large scale clinical trial” has, in fact, just been conducted. A major Danish controlled study involving 6000 participants, the only study of its kind, has been predictably rejected by three medical journals. One of the researchers, Thomas Lars Benfield, states that publication will have to wait until “a journal is brave enough to accept the paper.” The Lancet, among others, won’t touch it, as is to be expected.

Reviewing the travesty, Conservative Review editor Daniel Horowitz wonders “how many other scientific and academic studies covering an array of very consequential policy questions rooted in scientific debate are being censored because they don’t fit the narrative of the political elites?” And indeed, why is NIAID Director Anthony Fauci disinclined to pursue a controlled study on the effectiveness of masks? Of course, like CNN journalist Chris Cuomo and Canada’s Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, Fauci was spotted not wearing a mask in public. Do as I say, not as I do.

Masks work. Just ask Dr. Fauci.

By the same token, Bioengineer Yinon Weiss at The Federalist shows via data comparison and representative graphs of seven European countries and three American states that renewed mask compliance has led to an exponential spike in infection rates, in some case by as much as 1500 percent. Weiss cites major international studies, as well as the U.S. surgeon general and the Centers for Disease Control, revealing the ineffectiveness of commercial masks. Masks, lockdowns and quarantine protocols merely delay the development of herd immunity and are practically guaranteed to prolong the epidemic. Nevertheless, fear not only of the disease but also of punitive measures and of being conspicuous dissenters exposed to social opprobrium are operative factors.

Mask hysteria seems primed to continue. Psychiatrist Dr. Mark McDonald calls the standard response to the virus “a pandemic of hysteria… a delusional psychosis…It is killing us physically, mentally, socially, psychologically.” Masks dehumanize us and make us timid and afraid, vulnerable to the designs of our political masters seeking, as Weiss writes, “to twist the pandemic for political and electoral purposes.”

The situation has grown even more perverse. We seem to have reached a point where government propaganda and coercion are no longer necessary. People have become the servants and enablers of the state, having by and large internalized the official compulsion and are now their own stringent monitors and self-appointed mask police—the final ingredient in the time-tested recipe for totalitarian control. Swallow the lie. Become the lie. Enforce the lie.

Enforce the lie.

At best, mask wearing should be discretionary. If you wish to wear a mask no one can legally prevent you from doing so. But some things are clear. Masks should not be mandated by political authority since (1) the requirement to do so is an infringement of the Charter rights of free citizens living in a democratic state; (2) masks are largely, and perhaps in most cases wholly, ineffective; and (3) they can be demonstrably harmful to one’s health and the health of other people.

Ironically, mask wearing is the real risk, not only delaying or preventing the development of immunity while inducing a false sense of comfort, but also acting as a disease incubator, and a conceivable threat to non-maskers. A highly qualified friend who has diligently studied the virus for the last six months writes: “Mask wearers are becoming an additional potential source of environmental contamination, increasing not only their own but the risk to others.”

I do my best to avoid maskers, although it is difficult considering the numbers.

Fear The Walking D(r)ead

Richard Feynman wrote “science is the belief in the ignorance of experts,” and nothing could demonstrate that point more readily than the public’s growing disaffection with the experts of the public health apparatus --  the WHO, the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Their proscriptions (often conflicting) respecting the handling of Covid-19 were simply not “scientific.” They were, in fact, nothing more than guesses which did not work out. Not that that stopped them from silencing those whose experience, both medical and non-medical, contradicted their guesswork.

Ignoring cost-benefit analysis and utterly discounting the contradictory experience of thousands of medical doctors who were actually treating patients with the dreaded Covid, they’ve wreaked havoc and hardship throughout the world and doubtless contributed to many more deaths than necessary. Unfortunately, much of the media still insist that their actions were based on pure science, and many of our fellow citizens -- driven to neurosis by it all -- have been propagandized to thinking this is akin to the Black Death.

It’s hard to know where to even begin answering this.

What have I done?

Let’s start with masks -- virtue signalers and tyrants alike love them, since they broadcast submission and compliance to the world. Of course, the masked Karens of the world also enjoy hounding the noncompliant. In the beginning of the Covid spread here Dr. Fauci said masks weren’t needed. Later he said they were, and that his earlier statement was based on a fear there would be too few available to medical personnel. In fact, they are useless as presently designed and worn by the general public, as Dan Formosa explains:

A coronavirus virion (particle) is spherical, averaging around 125 nanometers in diameter. Compare that to bacteria’s 1,000-nm size. It’s a grape compared to a grapefruit. A surgical mask whose purpose is to block bacteria will do little to prevent passage of the smaller coronavirus particle. That’s why N95 masks, which block 95% of all airborne particles, are the gold standard in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients. They have a much more selective filter.

But even N95 masks are flawed. Before coronavirus, my team and I investigated whether N95 masks could be a viable alternative to standard surgical masks. Interviews with doctors and nurses at several hospitals at the time revealed that N95 masks were rarely used or supplied. The overwhelming majority of healthcare workers I spoke with had never worn one. They are more expensive than surgical masks, they’re harder to breathe in, and medical workers deemed them unnecessary for most procedures. (Keep in mind that masks protect in both directions. They protect the wearer from airborne particles or splash, and protect the patient from contamination by the surgical staff—the latter is especially important in procedures that require deep incisions.)

I have some, purchased when it was feared after 9/11 we would be hit with an anthrax attack and we were encouraged to get them. Everyone else I see wears masks virtually useless for the purpose of preventing viral infections. Recently released evidence from CDC bears this out. 

A Centers for Disease Control report released in September shows that masks and face coverings are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, even for those people who consistently wear them. A study conducted in the United States in July found that when they compared 154 “case-patients,” who tested positive for COVID-19, to a control group of 160 participants from the same health care facility who were symptomatic but tested negative, over 70 percent of the case-patients were contaminated with the virus and fell ill despite “always” wearing a mask.

“In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public,” the report stated. In addition, over 14 percent of the case-patients said they “often” wore a face covering and were still infected with the virus. The study also demonstrates that under 4 percent of the case-patients became sick with the virus even though they “never” wore a mask or face covering.

With the mask requirements and much else Covid related, another Richard Feynman admonition comes to mind, "If you thought that science was certain -- well, that is just an error on your part."

We're sorry, too.

On to Lockdowns.

The most absurd move was to lock down states and countries in the belief that would stop the spread of Covid-19. 

President Trump never urged more than a temporary lockdown in order to manage scarce resources, such as ventilators, and protect health workers from an illness the experts warned would otherwise overwhelm existing health services. State governors and other countries, however, made these restrictions long term and only recently did the WHO advise against this -- long after irreparable economic was wreaked harm around the world.

WHO envoy Dr. David Nabarro said such restrictive measures should only be treated as a last resort, the British magazine the Spectator reported in a video interview. “We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Nabarro said. “The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.” Nabarro said tight restrictions cause significant harm, particularly on the global economy. “Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.

Social Distancing.

Public health services are demanding we close non-essential businesses and keep six feet apart at all times. On what basis? None that I can see. Michael Thau cites some scientific studies that refute any basis for these commands, and maintain that there is no “solid basis for ANY social distancing measures.”

We have cases where the viruses traveled across oceans, infecting people in Antarctica while they were in their 17th week of isolation; and those aboard an Argentinian naval ship “after 35 days at sea which had been preceded by 14 days of isolation for everyone on board.” This make-believe perimeter was set at the same time most U.S. jurisdictions kept only megastores open which to my (and Thau's) mind only increased the possibility of viral transmission. In smaller neighborhood shops it would seem there would be fewer opportunities to come in contact with the virus.

And then to seal our belief that the CDC social distancing dictates were partisan-inspired bunk, they simply abandoned them for mass social protests. No social distancing there!

Not the Black Death.

Why are so little of these conflicting reports making it to public attention? Thau reminds us that Harvey Risch, a professor epidemiology at Yale University with a distinguished career in the field, has accused Dr. Fauci of lying about the effectiveness of hydroxychlorquine and influencing the suppression of its use because he, and others in the public health bureaucracy, are “in bed with other forces that are causing them to make decisions that are not based on the science and are killing Americans.”

I know you remember President Trump early on suggesting that this drug , long used safely to treat other ailments like Lupus, might be effective in combating Covid. Maybe you even remember the claim by Dr. Fauci that it was proven ineffective. Actually, it wasn't established to be so at all. Physicians (hundreds in the U.S. and thousands worldwide) were using it successfully when administered along with zinc and azithromycin. The public was led astray by Dr. Fauci who appeared to rely on trials where the HCL was not administered within the 5-7 days after symptoms first appeared (the effective window) or where it was administered alone without the rest of the drugs necessary for the cocktail.

Interesting that the media ignores not only the work of Dr. Risch and the hundreds of doctors with extensive hands-on experience, but also Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist Michael Levitt. These people describe Fauci’s lockdown advice as a “mass casualty incident.”  There is now a large-scale pushback on Fauci’s policies known as The Great Barrington Declaration. It was authored and signed earlier this month by Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard; Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Oxford epidemiologist and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford Medical school. More than 13,000 medical professionals have also signed it, along with more than 176,000 members of the public by mid-September -- and the number keeps growing. They call for an end of the lockdowns; removing quarantines from all but the sick; isolation only of the vulnerable and allowing the young and healthy to proceed with caution.

Does the quackery at the top and the suppression of empirical evidence remind you of the global warming/climate change saga? It does me.

It all makes sense now.

Meanwhile, publications like the Washington Post have started to take a sick pleasure in highlighting the Covid neuroses which they themselves have inspired with their coverage.

Because the demographics of those terrorized by the virus and fearful of re-opening the country and returning to normal would appear at first glance to be the very same people who watch CNN, MSNBC and read the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times.

There are, however, signs that this Fauci-engendered nightmare may soon be over. New York Times science reporter, Donald G. McNeil Jr., reports that treatments are improving every day, and vaccine development is moving along much faster than was previously expected, both helped along by the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed. Moreover, economists are predicting a rapid recovery.

The press will have to find something else to keep the populace in a state of full-blown hysteria when that happens. In the meantime it is probably a good idea for healthy people to do some common sense stuff, such as avoiding crowds, washing your hands more frequently, and taking dietary supplements (especially zinc and Vitamins C and D). But don't pay attention to Dr. Fauci. Listen to the president instead, specifically the phrase which drove so many leftists insane: "Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life."

And for heaven's sake, calm down.

Covid Hysteria: Worse Than a Crime, a Blunder

With parts of America and Europe still in lockdown, was the massive overreaction to the Wuhan Flu, aka Nursing Home Disease a crime or a blunder? As a French official during the time of Napoleon said of the execution of Louis Antoine du Bourbon, "C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute." Which is to say, were the loss of civil liberties and the massive economic destruction of the unconstitutional lockdowns simply malicious and punitive, or is the damage irrecoverable, with all the attendant political consequences whose effects will be felt at the ballot box this November?

Some folks at the Foundation for Economic Education are beginning to smell a rat:

The 'experts' may have subjected us to a blunder greater than any since the Iraq War.

The Iraq War WMD debacle is arguably the greatest expert “fail” in generations. The holy triumvirate—lawmakers, bureaucrats, and media—all failed to sniff out the truth. If any of them had, a war that cost trillions of dollars and claimed the lives of 100,000-200,000 people likely could have been avoided.

It would be difficult to surpass the Iraq blunder, but emerging evidence on COVID-19 suggests the experts—again: lawmakers, bureaucrats, and media—may have subjected us to a blunder of equally disastrous proportions.

The evidence? How's this for a dispatch from the Dept. of Now They Tell Us?

Antibody Tests Point To Lower Death Rate For The Coronavirus Than First Thought

Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared. The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself. The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous.

"The current best estimates for the infection fatality risk are between 0.5% and 1%," says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. That's in contrast with death rates of 5% or more based on calculations that included only people who got sick enough to be diagnosed with tests that detect the presence of virus in a person's body.

And the revised estimates support an early prediction by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force. In an editorial published in late March in The New England Journal of Medicine, Fauci and colleagues wrote that the case fatality rate for COVID-19 "may be considerably less than 1%."

Mon Dieu!

Wait -- what?

The new evidence is coming from places such as Indiana, which completed the first phase of a massive testing effort early in May. Indiana's program began soon after coronavirus cases began appearing in the state. The governor's office contacted Nir Menachemi, who chairs the health policy and management department at Indiana University's Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

The governor wanted basic information, such as how many people had been infected, and how many would die. At the time, "it was really difficult to know for sure," Menachemi says. "And frankly, not just in our state, but in any state." That was because health officials only knew about people who had been sick enough to get tested for the virus. And that number can be misleading, Menachemi says.

In other words, based on the faulty premise that infection=death -- aided and abetted as usual by a hysterical media that always runs with the worst-case scenario first -- the major economies of the West put a loaded gun to their heads and pulled the trigger.

For Menachemi and his team, it was like finally getting a glimpse of the entire coronavirus iceberg, instead of just the part above the water. And the data allowed them to calculate something called the infection fatality rate — the odds that an infected person will die. Previously, scientists had relied on what's known as the case fatality rate, which calculates the odds that someone who develops symptoms will die.

Indiana's infection fatality rate turned out to be about 0.58%, or roughly one death for every 172 people who got infected. And the results in Indiana are similar to those suggested by antibody studies in several other areas. In New York, for example, an antibody study indicated the state has an infection fatality rate around 0.5%.

Studies suggest a healthy young person's chance of dying from an infection is less than 1 in 1,000. But for someone in poor health in their 90s, it can be greater than 1 in 10.

To translate that into plain English: the very elderly are more likely to die of something than healthy young people. But will this stop people like Fauci from continuing to insist that the destruction of civilization the price we pay for allowing him and other doctors to continue to exercise an undue influence over the public policies of the U.S., Britain, and elsewhere? Of course not:

Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., said Sunday that the ban on British travelers entering the U.S. is likely to last months. Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told The Telegraph that the U.K. travel ban is expected to be lifted in “more likely months than weeks.” The infectious disease expert said the travel restrictions could last until a vaccine is ready, adding that it’s possible they are lifted sooner.

The other travel bans from the European Union, China and Brazil are also expected to last for “months” based on “what’s going with the infection rate,” Fauci said. The expert predicts the virus could “go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth... I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so, but I don’t think it’s this winter or fall.”

“This will end,” Fauci said, according to the newspaper. “As stressful and devastating as it is, it will end.”

Good to know. Now please go away, take Scarf Lady with you, and let the rest of us enjoy life.