Of Coin Flips and 'Climate Change'

Heads I win, tails you lose. That might as well be the motto of the left these days, and not least of its Green flank.

For instance, it has become a commonplace that whenever anyone anywhere jokes during winter that global warming sounds nice right about now, for leftist condemnation to come in hot and heavy. As Eric Felton reminds us, when Donald Trump tossed off a one-liner to that effect during a speech on a frigid day in 2019, he was bitterly mocked by environmentalists. Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale's project on climate change communication (yes, such a thing does exist) said that the then-president's comment was "scientifically ridiculous and demonstrably false," adding,

There is a fundamental difference in scale between what weather is and what climate is. What's going on in one small corner of the world at a given moment does not reflect what's going on with the planet.

Good to know. But its hard not to notice that whenever it suits their purposes Greens will unreflectively sling bowls of hot, steamy, anecdata with the best of them. Have you noticed that you hear more about hurricanes during hurricane season these days? Climate change! Still wearing shortsleeves on Halloween? Climate change! Catch the news about that big tornado down south? Climate change!

As noted college drop-out and rich guy Derek Jeter said at Davos a few years ago, "[W]e’re seeing more and more natural disasters each year... Something has to be causing it.” Something other than the 24 hour news cycle and the rise of social media, I think he means.

Felton has a helpful evaluation of this summer's hottest example of this observation bias, the heat wave that hit the Pacific Northwest which saw temperatures consistently exceeding 100ºF. In a piece for RealClear Investigations, he discusses an organization called World Weather Attribution, "a group organized not just to attribute extreme weather events to climate change, but to do so quickly." While the heatwave was still ongoing, WWA put out a statement claiming that they'd analyzed the data and that the extreme weather would have been “virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.”

Considering their mission statement, it's hard to label this conclusion a shocker. But their claim of scientific objectivity gave cover to virtually every mainstream media outlet to confidently report that the heat was attributable to climate change. So saith the science!


Or saidth -- until a climatologist named Cliff Mass took the time to actually look through the data himself and came to an entirely different conclusion. Mass happens to be an expert in the weather of the Pacific Northwest -- he has actually written a book entitled 'The Weather of the Pacific Northwest' -- and his own weather models accurately predicted the heatwave.

According to Felton, Mass's modeling suggested that "global warming might have been responsible for two degrees of the near 40-degree anomaly. With or without climate change, Mass wrote, the region 'still would have experienced the most severe heat wave of the past century'." In short, the true culprit was the environmentalist movement's least favorite -- “natural variability.”

Mass made it a point to call out the shoddiness of World Weather Attribution's analysis, and they responded to his critique, saying that his report was "misleading and incorrect." But Felton notes that, after the release of Mass's study, WWA's statements on the topic were much more cautious and equivocating.

Let us all be inspired by their belated humility. Caution is king, at least where climate science is concerned. Better to be cautious than embarrassed when someone comes along and checks your work.

A Telescope for Social Justice: No White Men Need Apply

A cosmic storm is roiling the Astrophysics community. Focused on the name of a NASA space telescope, the controversy is one more in a decade-long whirlwind of accusation that has made clear to straight white men that their days of pursuing science free of guilt and obeisance are decisively over. 

As an academic field, Astrophysics became 'woke’ years ago and is now one of the most rigidly doctrinaire of the hard sciences. It has seen numerous purity campaigns against non-believers, first against insufficiently feminist-compliant men. A blog called Women in Astronomy promotes indignant tales of female suffering, profiling young women shattered when men expressed sexual or romantic interest, or deeply hurt when researcher Matt Taylor, whose team put a space probe on a comet, appeared on television wearing an ‘inappropriate’ shirt

In one of the field’s most public spats about female victimhood, renowned Italian particle physicist Alessandro Strumia was ejected from CERN, the prestigious European center for high-energy physics research, after he presented a meticulously documented conference paper arguing that the targeted hiring of women into STEM positions was neither necessary nor wise. For this, he was denounced as a misogynist in a histrionic open letter by Particles for Justice, a posse of modern-day Puritans who hunt academic thought criminals, led by New Hampshire University physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a self-described “activist for equality in science” and AI researcher Brian Nord of the University of Chicago.

On guard against toxic masculinity.

Strumia need not have bothered. Fealty to the principles of “diversity,” especially to the dogma that women and people of color should always be hired and promoted over white men, is now an accepted requirement in Astronomy departments across the western world. Denunciations of misogyny, heterosexism, and anti-blackness have become the primary preoccupations of many astronomy researchers, at least some of whom seem to spend far more time and energy agitating for social justice than studying the heavens. Last year, these crusaders organized a one-day Strike for Black Lives, during which they stopped work to discuss white supremacy (it says something about the nature of their work that nobody noticed the stoppage) and joined with Indigenous activists to prevent the building of the world’s largest telescope on Mauna Kea, a Hawaiian mountain deemed sacred.

The latest ideological conflict is more purely symbolic. It concerns NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the flagship NASA project due for official launch later this year. According to NASA’s website, the Webb will be “the largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built and launched into space,” and will provide unprecedented opportunities for research on the origins of galaxies as well as on stars and planetary systems in process of formation. Complementing and extending the work made possible by the Hubble, Webb will revolutionize insight into our universe.

James E. Webb (1906-1992) was NASA’s administrator in the years 1961-1968, shepherding NASA through what was arguably its period of most outstanding progress. He transformed the agency into a highly focused research organization intent on achieving manned flight and a moon landing. It was as a result of Webb’s prescience that NASA developed rockets not only for military and propaganda purposes but for scientific ones as well, with the aim of using American technology to learn about Earth’s solar system and beyond. Without that focus, the Hubble would never have been constructed and astronomical research would have been set back by decades. Every astronomer working today owes a debt to Webb. 

But gratitude is in short supply among today’s warriors for social justice, who object to honoring Webb’s memory. Led by Particles for Justice founders Prescod-Weinstein and Nord, and joined by Sarah Tuttle and Lucianne Walkowicz, they are lobbying NASA to find a more suitable (i.e. non-white and non-male) candidate, one who represents “our highest values” for which they conveniently nominate themselves the arbiters. Webb is disqualified because of a less than pristine personal history as a government official during the Cold War. 

James Webb: on trial for insufficient Wokeness.

According to the four doyennes of woke Astronomy, who recently published in Scientific American their argument for why “The James Webb Space Telescope Needs to Be Renamed,” Webb was complicit “in homophobic discrimination in the federal government.” It is now well known that federal government employees who were homosexual were believed particularly vulnerable to blackmail by Soviet agents; Webb worked for the federal government at the time the policy of barring homosexual employees from the civil service was discussed and implemented, resulting in hundreds of firings over a period of more than a decade. 

It is not known that Webb himself pursued the policy with any zeal—or even that he did anything more than passively acquiesce, as the vast majority of people today acquiesce in workplace policies that may, more than half a century from now, be deemed discriminatory and unjust—but for the proponents of LGBTQ liberation, he was “a facilitator” of homophobia who deserves to be purged in turn. The sum total of the case against Webb deserves to be quoted at length so as to reveal its lack of substance:

When he arrived at NASA in 1961, his leadership role meant he was in part responsible for implementing what was by then federal policy: the purging of LGBT individuals from the workforce. When he was at State, this policy was enforced by those who worked under him. As early as 1950, he was aware of this policy, which was a forerunner to the antigay witch hunt known today as the lavender scare. Historian David K. Johnson’s 2004 book on the subject, The Lavender Scare, discusses archival evidence indicating that Webb, along with others in State Department leadership, was involved in Senate discussions that ultimately kicked off a devastating series of federal policies.

In other words, there is no evidence whatsoever that Webb himself favored, developed, or actively implemented anti-gay legislation. He was, in the authors’ deliberately vague words, “in part responsible” and “aware” of a policy “enforced by [others].” The worst that can be said, it seems, is that “there is no record of him choosing to stand up for the humanity of those being persecuted.” Note, here, how absence of evidence becomes evidence of absence, a classic logical fallacy.

The question that remains is what any of this has to do with a space telescope; or, more specifically, why the astronomy research community should care about James Webb’s failure to be a pro-gay activist at a time when being one would almost certainly have accomplished nothing aside from the sabotaging of his own career, likely with the result that he would never have been able to promote astronomical research at NASA.

The anti-Webb activists have no answer except the melodramatic assertion that “many queer scientists fundamentally do not feel safe in their workplaces” today and a febrile rhetorical question: “What signal does it send,” they ask, “to current and future generations of scientists when we prioritize the legacies of complicit government officials over the dreams of the next generation?” 

I’m not sure who nominated these authors the adjudicators of the next generation’s dreams, but even conceding them such authority cannot disguise their use of a false dilemma. Naming a telescope after Webb doesn’t send any particular signal about gay rights, now firmly established in American law and attitudes. If the naming sends any signal, it is simply that a man like Webb deserves recognition for his demonstrated contribution to astronomical research. 

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Maybe you should.

Purging him, on the other hand, sends a stark signal about the runaway craze of cancel culture, confirming that decades after one’s death, one’s legitimate achievements can be smeared by activists who comb through every recorded utterance and action to find the taint of a retroactively-imposed ethical failure. So convinced are the authors that they have arrived at the end of history that they cannot imagine themselves condemned for an insufficient defense of another’s humanity.

The authors’ choice to replace Webb is almost laughably formulaic. They advocate the telescope’s renaming after an escaped 19th century slave woman and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. It is not known that Tubman ever gave a thought to astronomical research, but the activists claim that she “almost certainly used the North Star […] to navigate her way to freedom.” If that seems a tenuous connection to high-level astronomical research, then you undoubtedly haven’t engaged in an extensive enough consideration of white male evil. As we are informed, “The time for lionizing leaders who acquiesced in a history of harm is over.” That puts 99.9 percent of the people who lived before us in the west firmly out of the running for commemoration.

Harriet Tubman: hidden figure?

Anyone thinking that a call of such manifest over-reach might be ignored has not taken the febrile temperature of Departments of Astrophysics over the last decade. The appeal has received widespread support, with signatories to petitions registering their opposition to Webb’s memorialization, and NASA officials now running scared. A ponderous article “NASA investigates renaming James Webb telescope after anti-LGBT + claims” explains that NASA officials are reviewing archival documents to investigate the extent of Webb’s “crimes” and will render a decision upon completion of the investigation. 

In the short term, NASA officials have little to gain and much to lose in standing firm for Webb. I won’t be surprised if the agency announces, after a suitable period of consideration, that it has found a progressive icon to replace the discredited white man. 

Like the forced acquiescence of sports teams, browbeaten into changing their names or removing mascots and logos, the chastisement and bullying of NASA will set an extraordinary precedent. Why should demands halt with Webb? How is it that the Hubble Space Telescope has retained its imprimatur: surely something insalubrious could be found in the life of its namesake? Why not purge all scientific instruments and discoveries of harmful white male names, beginning with Halley’s Comet, Newton’s Laws of Motion, and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? Only time will tell which pale male will be next in line for elimination.

Regarding Covid, What Are 'Breakthroughs'?

Amid the welter of conflicting reports, contradictory information, breathless warnings and a veritable blizzard of confusing statistics regarding the efficacy of the Covid vaccines, especially with respect to the Delta variant, one is hard put to determine a proper course of action. Should people enthusiastically embrace the official push to vaccine compliance or retain a saving skepticism about these new wonder drugs, which have been rushed to market in record time and in a manner granting pharmaceutical companies immunity from liability?

In my estimation, there is every reason to remain skeptical. Organizations like Global Research, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeonstotalhealth.uk., the Belgian Medical Doctors and Health Professionals, various European Union Agencies and the CDC itself tell us that the vaccines are by no means reliable and may be hazardous to your health. In some cases, they may even be lethal. And most such findings are underreported by a factor of at least 5, since these rely on passive, voluntary sites like VAERS in the U.S. and Yellow Card in the U.K. 

Dr. Peter Doshi writes in the BMJ (British Medical Journal), a subsidiary of the British Medical Association, that the world:

has bet the farm on vaccines as the solution to the pandemic, but the trials are not focused on answering the questions many might assume they are… None of the trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus… the truth is that the science remains far from clear cut.

As if this were not enough to induce a certain lack of confidence, renowned cardiologist Peter McCullough has added his testimony to the debate, asserting that the vaccines are not safe and should not be recommended. He is one of many.

A new category of alarm has recently entered the discussion about the prevalence of what are called “breakthrough cases” where the vaccines do not appear to have provided reliable immunity from the disease and its variants. Again, the statistics are confounding, depending on where one gets one’s information. On the one hand, breakthroughs may be infinitesimal. On the other, breakthroughs may be distressingly frequent, fully vaccinated people displaying all the symptoms of the disease. Which is it? I suspect that the fly in the ointment is more like the elephant in the room. 

Just say... let's think about it.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, while recommending vaccination, admits that vaccines “still don't prevent the spread of the disease because of the mutation.” The New York Post reports on a CDC study claiming that the virus, primarily in the form of the Delta variant, and may be transmissible by vaccinated people who suffer “breakthrough” infections. A Covid-19 outbreak in Massachusetts occurred mainly among vaccinated people: “74 percent occurred among the fully vaccinated, according to a new CDC study.” The beat goes on.

The vaccines may be not only harmful as many top-tier virologists and immunologists have stated, but also basically ineffective against the virus. There is, however, another possibility to consider. As I have written in a previous article for The Pipeline, world-celebrated virologist and Nobel Laureate Luc Montagnier argues: 

the vaccines and viral variants go hand in hand, owing to a condition called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), a phenomenon in which virus-specific antibodies enhance the entry of the virus and may also cause viral replication. Variants will continue to proliferate as a direct result of the vaccines themselves.

His explication is technically complex but convincing, in my opinion. (Montagnier has been panned by “liberal” sites galore, but his credentials are impeccable and theirs are not.) Similarly, the highly respected medical journal Vaccine has released a study exposing the danger of vaccine-caused long-term healing complications. This means that the vaccines could aggravate viral infections, resulting in a “covid spike.” 

If such is in fact the case, the vaccines themselves may be responsible for the emergence of breakthroughs. Indeed, the word “breakthrough” may be deceptive. What we may be witnessing is not a “breakthrough” but a malignant side-effect of the vaccine itself, which will continue to be touted as an antidote when it might well be an amplifier.

Theories and hypotheses will obviously continue to abound and the issue will remain vexed, but there is more than sufficient confusion being generated to warrant at least some degree of hesitancy. The stakes are too serious to fiddle with solutions that could prove to be toxins, in particular when there exist benign remedies and countermeasures like HCQ, Ivermectin, Zinc and Vitamin D3 supplements, when natural immunity is a significant factor, and when the recovery rate for the vast majority is extraordinarily high, as even the CDC has admitted. (Warning: do not trust the preponderance of hostile social media and progressivist “factcheckers” that have adopted a duplicitous label.)

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The first principle of the Nuremberg Code treating of medical ethics establishes reads:

The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should…be able to exercise free power of choice, without…any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion, and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved, as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.

The issue is that the plethora of conflicting reports renders an informed decision regarding taking the vaccine difficult to make. Under the circumstances, it should certainly not be mandated. It should be left up to the individual to determine whether or not he will allow a problematic substance to be injected into his body. 

The real breakthrough would be to lucidly consider one’s options, to be skeptical of an officialdom that had far too much skin in the game of persuasion, profit and power, and to refuse to be stampeded into unreasoning panic.

Regarding Covid-19, Public Policy v. Panic

Nothing has better demonstrated to me the impossible clash of true science -- the constant search for and the skeptical sifting and winnowing of empirical evidence -- with public policy than the worldwide response to the Covid-19 virus about which so little was known  when it first appeared.

Science, like the Western legal advocacy system, depends on proponents and opponents clashing and presenting their best relevant arguments for us to decide an issue, but the search in science on any issue must be ongoing, and in law and public policy there are practical and procedural time limits. It would be wonderful if there were some alternative responsible forum to quickly test the assumptions of policy makers (often contradictory and based on little or poor evidence), but there isn’t much leeway to my knowledge.

The Western court systems are generally a reasonable way to test the validity of fact but the timing problems make it almost impossible to do so rapidly enough to matter when it comes to this disease. Good public policy on scientific issues should be made with far greater humility than it presently is, and perhaps the only way to get around the normal strictures is to create a rapid response team of experts critical of the public policy gurus who can file affidavits in support of their findings and persuade courts to issue temporary injunctions pending full expedited hearings. Absent that, the only way to deal with this overreaching is resistance, and -- down the road -- the ballot box. When it's often too late.

The face of the medical bureaucracy: Rochelle Walensky

This week the  CDC announced new guidelines suggesting fully vaccinated people should again mask. Among other things,"It added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission."

The CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. Director Rochelle Walensky stated this week that “fully vaccinated people have just as much viral load as the unvaccinated, making it possible for them to spread the virus to others,” so school children should be masked. She should be ignored if it her claim is not supported by equally sound research -- and it isn't. It's based instead on data from a single study in India, where different vaccines were in use, and was so deficient it was rejected in peer review.

She’s not alone, however. There has been a drumbeat to reinstate some of the most loathsome and freedom-destroying diktats we’ve just come out from under. Organizations and businesses are demanding employees be fully vaccinated and some even requiring vaccinated persons to mask. How do these square with the feminist slogan, “my body, my choice,” and the concept of privacy of medical information in HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)? How are these requirements that you prove you’ve taken the vaccine even constitutional?

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On July 18  a U.S. District Court decided preliminarily the first test case I know of against the new restrictions, Klassen v. Trustees of Indiana University. Law Professor Eugene Volokh , a legal scholar worth respect, explains why the Court denied a preliminary injunction sought by the students against being forced to mask, social distance and  vaccinate or qualify for an exemption on religious or medical reasons. 

Under guiding principles of federalism, our Constitution preserves the power of the States, within constitutional limits, to adopt laws to provide for public health and safety. Twice the United States Supreme Court has upheld state authority to compel reasonable  vaccinations. [The court is referring here to Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905) and Zucht v. King (1922). -EV] The States don't have arbitrary power, but they have discretion to act reasonably in protecting the public's health.

Students at Indiana University have a significant liberty protected by the Constitution—refusing unwanted medical treatment based on bodily autonomy. The Fourteenth Amendment says no state may "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." U.S. Const. amend. XIV § 1. Given this due process protection of liberty, longstanding constitutional law prevents a public university—an arm of the State—from mandating a vaccine for its students unless it has rationally pursued a legitimate interest in public health for its campus community.

Does this mean that it’s constitutional for the university to issue such a mandate? Not exactly. The students sought injunctive relief, not a final decision on the merits. As Volokh notes, the injunctive relief “requires a strong showing that they will likely succeed on the merits of their claims, that they will sustain irreparable harm, and that the balance of harms and public interest favor such a remedy.”

You can always transfer, kids.

But the students have other options which the court had to balance -- they could apply for a medical deferral, take the semester off (the mandate applies only for the coming semester), attend another university or attend online. (In this respect the students have more options and may have had a weaker case for injunctive relief than might some other litigants covered by similar mandates.) And in a request for injunctive relief there is usually no opportunity to fully flesh out that these directives are unnecessary in the public interest, unreasonable, and therefore unconstitutional .

In a nutshell here’s the legal problem: testing the reasonableness of the state action would take a great deal of time, given the number of conflicting expert opinions on a scientific matter -- one on which we have so little empirical evidence  and where the evidence seems to be so quickly changing. Adding to that is that the mandates tend -- as here -- to be of short duration so that by the time the issue would be resolved it would likely be moot.

It would be wonderful if it were easier. It would be even more wonderful if the mass media and social media which combined in the Trusted News Initiative  to restrict information contrary to the official public health directives and the latter unable to hide behind the protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 to restrict diverse views on these mandates. More open discussion might improve state decisions and lessen the impact of scare accounts on judicial reviewers of those decisions. 

In any hearing on the merits here’s some of the evidence I expect the opponents of these mandates would produce;

  1. The mortality rate from Covid-19 in the U.S. has been low (affecting mostly the elderly and those with co-morbidities) and is now at the lowest point .Even the new bugaboo about cases from a new "delta" variant is overblown as the  “cases” are asymptomatic or very mild. Harvard Medical School Professor Martin Kulldorff pointed this out on Twitter, writing that “In [the] USA, COVID mortality is now the lowest since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.” He reports: "Far more people were dying from COVID-19 months ago as we were winding down restrictions than are dying today as some call to reinstate them." With mortality so low, it’s hard to argue that reinstatement of Covid restrictions is reasonable.
  2. Government restrictions ignore the fact that most of the U.S. has natural immunity to the virus. Some 80percent of American adults are immune to the virus: More than 64 percent have received at least one vaccine dose and, of those who haven’t, roughly half have natural immunity from prior infection. There’s ample scientific evidence that natural immunity is effective and durable, and public-health leaders should pay it heed. Only around 10 percent of Americans have had confirmed positive Covid tests, but four to six times as many have likely had the infection.
  3. At this point we know enough about treatment so that Covid 19 or its variants are easily treatable at home. It should be engaged in its early stages, not when hospitalization is required because no treatment has been received.
  4. Like every other drug or vaccine the Covid vaccinations are toxic at some level in some percent of people as Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of the technology behind the mRNA gene therapy (the Covid vaccinations) indicates at the link.
  5.  There is already a cheap, effective, fast treatment in the early stages of Covid-19: Ivermectin.  “The statistically significant evidence suggests that it is safe and works both for treating and preventing the disease.”

So, on one hand we have reputable scientists confirming low Covid mortality, broad natural immunity to the virus, easy rapid treatability of the disease at home and seemingly deliberate  underreporting of vaccine toxicity by public health officials. The problem remains how to bring this information to judicial fora in time override the unconstitutional--because unnecessary and unreasonable -- restrictions on liberty.


Regarding the Vaccines: Exercise Extreme Prudence

In a measured presentation on the subject of vaccines delivered this February, Dr. Byram Bridle, a viral immunologist at Guelph University in Canada, expressed skepticism about these presumed vehicles of salvation. “I would probably prefer to have natural immunity,” he said. Confirming Bridle’s skepticism, a recent study from the Washington University School of Medicine finds there to be lifelong immunity after Covid, owing to natural antibody-producing cells rather than synthetic infusions.

 As Global Research explains, a major issue involved in rejecting the vaccines is that they are forms of gene therapy deputizing for vaccines and are potentially hazardous, “exotic creatures… that actively hijack your genes and reprogram them.” In other words, the vaccines are not really vaccines as commonly understood but genomic substances responding to what is likely a digital virus

Moreover, a new study by British professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen, soon to be published in the Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics, claims that it is “now beyond a reasonable doubt…that unique fingerprints in SARS-CoV-2 [are] indicative of purposive manipulation," concluding that “SARS-Coronavirus-2 has no credible natural ancestor.” Indeed, after initial denials across the media for over a year, opinion now seems to be shifting toward a laboratory origin for the virus. A synthetic antidote to a manufactured virus would seem to belong in Frankenstein’s lab, not in the natural world.

No, really, I feel fine. Why do you ask?

Dr. Peter McCullough, a prominent cardiologist, believes that with increasing reports of adverse effects, it's too risky for people who have a more than 99 percent survival rate to receive one of the experimental vaccines. “Based on the safety data now, I can no longer recommend it," he said in an interview with journalist and author John Leake, which was predictably scrubbed on YouTube. Too many people die “on days one, two and three after the vaccine.” 

McCullough has been attacked as a right-wing crank by the usual swarm of dubious “factcheckers” populating the Net. McCullough has 600 peer-reviewed publications to his name, many of which have appeared in top-tier journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet. He is also the president of the Cardiorenal Society of America, co-editor of Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine and associate editor of the American Journal of Cardiology and Cardiorenal Medicine. His credentials are impeccable and he should be taken seriously. Left-wing cranks should not.

Furthermore, the recent controversy surrounding prominent French virologist and Nobel Laureate Luc Montagnier needs to be put in context. He did not say that all who had been vaccinated would die within two years, as was widely reported. What he did say was that the vaccines and viral variants go hand in hand, owing to a condition called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), a phenomenon in which virus-specific antibodies enhance the entry of the virus and may also cause viral replication. Variants will continue to proliferate as a direct result of the vaccines themselves: in each country, he says, “the curve of vaccination is followed by the curve of deaths.” Because of the vaccines, “the virus is forced to find another solution, or die,” thus creating vaccine-resistant variants. 

Naturally, Montagnier has been mocked, slandered, “factchecked,” refuted and misreported in a veritable Netblitz. Nonetheless, that one lockdown insensibly succeeds another, that new viral variants continue to appear irrespective of counter-measures, and that top-off injections will likely be administered at regular intervals add weight to his argument. (The French video interview between Montagnier and journalist Pierre Barnérias has been rendered exceedingly difficult to find, but the effort is worth it.)

What could possibly go wrong?

Corroborating Montagnier’s analysis, an international team of virologists and microbiologists writing for the quality journal Vaccine has released a study exposing the vaccine fiasco foisted upon a fearful and credulous public. They describe more than 20 possible long-term healing complications, including severe pneumonia from cross reactivity; this means that the vaccine could potentially cause a “covid spike.” Vaccines, they fear, could “exacerbate[e] rather than attenuat[e] viral infections.” The efficacy of the vaccines, they claim, has been vastly overstated...intentionally. The skeptics appear to have been right all along. 

The debate has raged far and wide among those who swear by the necessity of the vaccines and those who remain doubtful or condemnatory. Official sites such as the British MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory products Agency) require a considerable amount of data dredging in order to arrive at reliable conclusions. Reconnoitering the terrain of what is nothing less than a species of fractal embedding is an arduous process; one feels a bit like Joshua’s spies sent out to probe the defenses of Jericho. But the results are startling. The number of adverse reactions is enough to cause a pandemic of vaccine hesitancy. 

By May 19 in the U.K. alone, there have been at least 245,276 adverse reports and counting. The alarming incidence of adverse effects such as blindness, impaired vision and other eye disorders, nervous system disorders, brain damage, facial paralysis, strokes, capillary leak syndrome, cardiac issues, blood disorders and gastrointestinal disorders cannot be taken lightly.

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The total number of deaths as of May 19 is 1,192 in the U.K. alone. These are government-authorized figures. Of course, statistical taxonomies appear to reduce the significance of adverse results; tell that to the growing number of vaccine recipients who have suffered the consequences. And we must remember that the reporting scheme, which is passive and voluntary, is significantly underused. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that less than one percent of side-effects following vaccination are in fact reported. 

It is consoling to remark that, as of April 16, six American states have banned the use of vaccine passports. According to NewsNation, for April 27, the count is even higher: at least 40 states “are advancing legislation to ban COVID-19 vaccine requirements for businesses and schools.” Becker’s Health IT for May 6 reports that several other states are considering legislation to the same effect. Hospital workers in Houston are suing to block mandatory vaccinations. It’s a running total.

It is also comforting to note that now-beleaguered medical guru Anthony Fauci, whom Jon Sanders writing in the American Institute for Economic Research called “that ubiquitous font of fatuous guidance,” admitted that asymptomatic spread of the virus, despite the dire media and official narrative as well as his own whiffling, was extremely rare. In a February 2020 email, Fauci wrote, “Error in my statement to you. I meant to say that “……most transmissions occur from someone who is symptomatic — not asymptomatic.”

"Error in my statement."

Our national governments and affiliated medical institutions will be fighting these developments tooth and nail. The Biden administration, we learn, may be considering the introduction of vaccine passports for international travel, as well as incentivizing employers to require vaccinations. The alliance of government funding and medical ideology is a powerful force for compliance. And for the most part, all we hear from the corporate media are crickets when we should be hearing kettle drums. 

Former Pfizer Vice President and chief scientific researcher Michael Yeadon believes that these vaccines, as they “go from the computer screens… into the arms of millions of people,” may contain “characteristics which could be harmful and could even be lethal.” The scale of the menace we are facing, he says, not from COVID but from the oligarchs, politicians, media types and technocrats who have exploited it and the billionaire companies that manufacture the vaccines, may be unprecedented. Like practically all vaccine skeptics, he will be “factchecked” to death by the usual suspects who have skin in the game.

But the menace is real. The aforementioned Professor Bridle has admitted that “We made a big mistake. We didn’t realize it until now… we never knew the spike protein itself was a toxin and was a pathogenic protein. So by vaccinating people we are inadvertently inoculating them with a toxin.” Bridle reprises a Japanese study showing how the synthetic mRNA spike protein circulates in the bloodstream and accumulates in tissues such as the liver, the adrenal glands, the spleen and the ovaries, likely causing extreme pathogenic reactions.

Similarly, pediatric rheumatologist J. Patrick Whelan has warned that the spike protein may cause microvascular damage to the liver, heart, and brain in “ways that were not assessed in the safety trials.” Whelan worries that hundreds of millions of people might “suffer long-lasting or even permanent damage to their brain or heart microvasculature as a result of failing to appreciate in the short-term an unintended effect of full-length spike protein-based vaccines on other organs.”

The news from Israel is as distressing as it is revelatory. The country launched one of the strictest vaccine programs in the world, creating two classes of citizens: the vaccinated who retained their social privileges, the unvaccinated who were stripped of them. A report just released by two Israeli researchers, Drs. Haim Yativ and Hervé Seligman, relying on tables provided by the Israel Ministry of Health, reveals that most COVID deaths during a five-week-long vaccination period “are for vaccinated people.”

The numbers show that “the vaccines, for the elderly… killed about 40 times more people than the disease itself would have killed, and about 260 times more people than the disease among the younger age class.” Additionally, confirming Luc Montagnier’s predictions, the researchers state that “in a few months we expect to face mid-and long-term adverse effects of the vaccination as ADE (Antibody-dependent Enhancement) and the vaccination-resistant mutants selected by the vaccines.” The Internet archive has, and no doubt will continue to suppress these numbers. There is far too much money, power and reputation involved to admit error.

People need to understand that such warnings are not conspiracy theories. They reflect the knowledge and apprehensions of reputable professionals who are not beholden to government funding and the big pharmaceutical companies. The accelerated quasi-vaccines may well have been the greatest mistake that our political, medical and media orthodoxies have ever committed. It makes good sense to act and think independently, to attend to and examine the official instruments with due diligence, and to exercise prudence when considering taking the jab. As counterintuitive as it may seem in the midst of an orchestrated panic, this is nothing less than a responsibility one owes oneself and one’s family.

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.

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.

Time to Take a Breather on Climate Politics

Not so long ago, we were all getting ready to freeze. In 1971, the Global Ecology network forecast the “continued rapid cooling of the earth; in 1975 The New York Times brooded that the earth “may be headed for another ice age,” as did Newsweek; in the March 1, 1975 issue of Science News, we were informed that “the approach of a full-blown 10,000-year ice age [was] a real possibility,” and in the July 1975 issue of National Wildlife, C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization warned that “the cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”

A few years later, we are all in danger of frying to a crisp. Over the past decades, as we know to our cost, a consensus has developed that the world is warming as a result of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). There is, apparently, no room for doubt.

The trouble is that the “science” involved has been commandeered by an army of political pulpiteers whose underlying purposes are distressingly suspect. Some of the movement’s advocates, to put it bluntly, are more concerned with saving their careers than saving the planet; others are building new careers at the expense of public credulity, the perks and salaries being just too good to give up. I imagine that a great number of them are dealing from the bottom of the deck. 

Thus William Gray, professor emeritus of the Atmosphere Department of Colorado State University, laments that “fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong. But they also know that they’d never get any grants if they spoke out.” Consequently, they must insist that “the science is settled”—an unscientific statement if ever there was one.

Gray received unlikely support from culture-hero James Lovelock who, in his various books on the apotheosis of Gaia, had been an ardent proponent of the Global Warming conjecture. In a late interview, Lovelock more or less reversed course, claiming that the science is far from settled and that “our university and government scientists might fear an admission of a mistake would lead to a loss of funding.”

In adding his réclame to the debunking of climate conformity, Lovelock -- who's now 100 years old -- showed both honesty and courage, rare attributes for climate commentators. If so-called climate skeptics need nerves of steel to oppose the reigning ideology, it takes even more courage for a “Warmist” to buck the trend. Lovelock, who in The Revenge of Gaia prophesied the charring of the planet, now confides he had been “extrapolating too far.” Despite predictably hedging his bets and deferring catastrophe into the indefinite future, he avers that “we don’t know what the climate is doing” and disparages his previous work, as well as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers, as “alarmist.” 

Financial Post journalist Peter Foster believes that progress toward a more sensible accord on climate may be occurring: “alarmist science, grand schemes of UN-coordinated global governance, carbon taxes, and government promoted ‘technologies of the future’—are crumbling.” 

But is that really the case? Our professional elites seems not to be aware—or interested—as they continue to promote a failed ideology. National governments and ambitious politicians are still beating the climate drum, whether Justin Trudeau in Canada or Gavin Newsom in California, leading their people down the road to economic perdition.

Thankfully, authentic scientists, men of courage and integrity, have no intention of surrendering to the climate commissars of the day. Their persistence in disseminating truth may eventually pay off. Perhaps people may gradually become aware that the so-called greening of the earth is actually leading to the blackening of the earth.

Where good intentions go to die.

The toxic waste flowing from Green renewables, unreported in the mainstream media, is off the charts. Writing in Forbes, Michael Shellenberger, author of Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, cites reputable figures showing that by 2016 there were 250,000 metric tonnes of solar panel waste to deal with, producing carcinogens washed into the soil by rainwater.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), he continues, “projected that this amount could reach 78 million metric tonnes by 2050.” In addition, costs are unsustainable. Today, “recycling costs more than the economic value of the materials recovered, which is why most solar panels end up in landfills.”

Additionally, burning e-waste materials, which include plastic components, produces fumes that are teratogenic. Wind farms create their own waste issues regarding the disposal of uncrushable, 100-to-300 feet long, used wind turbine blades, “a waste problem,” writes Christina Stella at NPR, “that runs counter to what the industry is held up to be.”

Perhaps people are also beginning to twig to the fact that, as P.F. Whalen writes in American Thinker, “the climate change cult’s agenda, is less about climate change and more about Socialism; maneuvering for the redistribution of wealth and increased government control over our lives, while disguised as well-intentioned activists striving for cleaner air.”

There’s nothing like the threat of an imminent apocalypse to advance a suspect agenda.

The scientific consensus today, as Foster believes, may be slowly shifting away from the catastrophism of the climate gurus, despite official and partisan resistance. True, the shift has been tentative. Carbon-driven global warming was an easy sell, but it will be a hard buyback—too many professional reputations are on the line.

Nonetheless, the evidence is growing to suggest, variously, that the human contribution to global warming is far less than originally assumed, that there may be no global warming, and that in any event a meteorological calamity is highly unlikely. As far back as 2008, two-thirds of the scientists attending the 33rd International Geological Congress were “hostile to, even dismissive of, the U.N.’s IPCC report” on catastrophic climate. 

In addition, a coalition of 49 former NASA scientists and seven Apollo astronauts, including the deputy director of the space shuttle program, has accused the bureaucracy of both NASA and the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), with which NASA is affiliated, of diddling with the facts. They write: “We believe that [their] claims that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.” 

And a little child shall mislead them.

If Lovelock is right and we don’t know what the climate is doing, then it is surely time for a moratorium on oracular pronouncements foretelling climate doom and vaticinal prescriptions for drastic and irreversible action.

The sickly obsession with "green energy" has to be put out to pasture. It behooves us to proceed gingerly and with humility when engaging in practices that can alter and even destroy livelihoods, that can profoundly affect the industrial and economic infrastructures on which prosperity depends, and that may meddle harmfully with natural processes. Scientists are neither soothsayers nor sorcerer’s apprentices no matter how many degrees and laurels they have acquired.

Meanwhile, civilization is in no danger of collapsing—at least, not from natural causes; the earth is not about to become an orbital cinder; hydrocarbons are not about to be exhausted; and there is time to reflect, plan, experiment and test a diversity of sustainable energy replacements. Nuclear power plants, for example, are not only increasingly secure but create 300 times less toxic waste per unit of energy than do solar panels. Working in proportionate tandem with oil-and-gas, a safe, plentiful and affordable energy source can supply the energy needs of the future while preserving the environment as well as the job economy. 

Precipitate action may benefit crony capitalists, corrupt politicians, academic imbeciles, Reset leftists and scientific sell-outs at the cost of planetary degradation and common suffering. The possibilities for creating fear and panic to further the schemes and purposes of Green profiteers are endless. “Some say the world will end in fire,/Some say in ice,” wrote Robert Frost. In the 1970s it was ice; now it’s fire.

A pandemic, a Biblical flood, erupting volcanoes, the separating of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates that may release the hell of Tartarus upon the planet, as James Rollins fantasizes in his Sigma Force thriller The Last Odyssey—all are equally plausible, which is to say, implausible scenarios. Perhaps it’s time to stop fetishizing cataclysmic theatrics, whether for lucre, reputation or political control. Moreover, the untutored enthusiasms of credulous multitudes need to be treated with unqualified skepticism as well.

In short, informed and honorable people know it’s time to take a breather on climate politics. Too little is known and computer models are notoriously unreliable, often reflecting their programmers’ biases or ineptness rather than the real world. This practice of presuming on results is called by those in the field “climate model tuning” or “parameter estimation targeting a chosen set of observations.”

According to the American Meteorological Society, “tuning methodologies may affect fundamental results of climate models, such as climate sensitivity.” There are, as the AMS goes on to admit, “consistency issues across the model and its components,” as well as “limitations of process studies metrics,” such as sampling issues, and also the fact that “the climate system itself is not observed with sufficient fidelity to fully constrain models.” The language is technical but the meaning in layman’s terms is clear: the results of current climate and environmentalism studies, given the “arcane aspect of model construction,” are untrustworthy and corrupted.

What is needed is not ad hoc adjustments to confirm a theory or ratify an antecedent conclusion, but, as the AMS advises, “a vigorous debate on model tuning and evaluation.” There is far too much uncertainty arising from the inductive procedures currently in play.

Michael Crichton was right when he urged in State of Fear that we need “more people working in the field, in the actual environment, and fewer people behind computer screens.” No matter how sophisticated the regressive correlations and projective parameters used in computer simulations may be, there can be no substitute for concrete empirical work. Ultimately, we should agree, at the very least, that a large amount of comprehensive research still needs to be done before the science is sufficiently stabilized to yield results that are not perennially contestable.

The old Latin maxim applies: In dubio non agitur: when in doubt, don’t act. Or at any rate, act circumspectly and with gradually accumulated knowledge rather than with the doctorings of desire, the existence of prior convictions, or a raft of maniacal assumptions.

The Case of the Unknown Dosage

This column is a second-hand mystery thriller on the lines of the Agatha Christie Poirot television series. It tells the story how a real-life scientific scandal that involved a Nobel Prize winner, great American and U.K. universities, the Manhattan Project, several expert U.S. government committees, and dirty work at the laboratory was exposed by an academic detective almost a hundred years after it was first committed. Maybe it’s a mystery that would be solved easily by Poirot or by anyone familiar with those civilized British murders which turn on how much arsenic was in the jam omelette. But no one knew there was a mystery to be solved. And even though billions of dollars may hang on their decision, the authorities have not yet agreed to re-open the case.

The Hercule Poirot in this case who’s seeking the truth, whatever the cost to distinguished reputations, is Edward J. Calabrese, Professor of Toxicology at the University of Massachusetts, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, at Amherst. As in the best thrillers, Professor Calabrese blundered into the scandal by accident when he attended a research conference that starred two different sets of elderly rats. He was struck by the difference in their appearance.

Some looked “remarkably healthy, showing a wonderfully shining coat of fur. They seemed to be in the prime of their adult life.” Others “looked unhealthy, very haggard, skinny, with very little fur, and that patchy and dull.”

Nothing odd there, you might think, because the study of the rats was being conducted to determine the effects of exposing them to high doses of background radiation, sometimes sixty per cent higher than the background radiation they had experienced throughout their lives. But something odd was there because the healthy, shiny-coated rats were the ones who had been subjected to massive doses of radiation while the ailing, haggard, and dull creatures were the control group living protected lives. And that comparison contradicted the orthodoxy of public health and regulatory authorities holding that any dosage of radiation, however small, was bound to inflict health damage on living creatures.

A dose a day keeps the doctor away.

That belief in turn was confined neither to scientists nor to health professionals but had spread throughout society to promote strong risk-averse attitudes across the board but especially on the topic of radiation because, like cancer, radiation was a silent killer that murdered us without our noticing.

Most of us might have reacted to the rats therefore  as if it were an anomaly we hadn’t yet detected with some such thought as “well, that’s odd, wonder what caused it, probably something in the water.” But chance favors the prepared mind, as Louis Pasteur once said, and Calabrese, who had written several books on the topic, looked at the data and concluded that it was hard to deny that radiation had exerted a positive healthy influence on the rats. And for him that meant the conventional theory had to be re-examined.

The theory he was challenging is described by Calabrese as follows: any dose of chemical carcinogen or ionizing radiation, no matter how low, has the potential to cause cancer and shorten our lives. He traces the origins of this theory back to 1920 and to a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Professor Hermann Joseph Muller, who in 1926 demonstrated that high doses of radiation could cause gene mutations in the fruit fly. That made him famous and won him the Nobel Prize in 1946.

But it was a limited scientific advance, and as interest in combating cancer grew, he sought to expand its application to consider the impact of X-rays on the health of the patients. He asked research students to test whether the gene mutation response was proportional to the dose of radiation administered in other cases. They found that it was. But the radiation dose was extremely high in their experiments—"hundreds of thousands to millions of times greater than background radiation.”

Rather than test what was the effect of very low doses of radiation, however, Muller extrapolated backwards or downwards to estimate the impact of such doses. He called these results the Proportionality Rule. And this linear no-threshold model or LNT (i.e., implying that there’s no threshold below which radiation is harmless or even beneficial) became over time the orthodox view—and so the basis of “precautionary” principles that sought to eliminate any risk whatever from radiation even at the cost of eliminating fuels and technologies beneficial to human flourishing.

It took time for the LNT to establish itself, however, because the LNT was controversial within medical science and because Muller and his colleagues found it hard to replicate the results in other experiments without heavy massaging of the data. In some cases Muller went beyond massaging data to outright misrepresenting it. When Muller received the Nobel Prize for his original research in 1946, he used his acceptance speech to claim that the “threshold model” had been definitively superseded by the LNT. As Calabrese says darkly in his essay in Reassessing Radiation Safety (The Global Warming Policy Group, London): “In effect, Muller deliberately deceived his audience in an effort to manipulate them into accepting his ideological perspective.”

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That was a serious violation of the procedures and ethics of science. But it need not have been the end of the matter. There were many occasions after 1946 when the LNT theory was supposed to be reconsidered by different scientific authorities. Indeed, for more than half of his investigative essay, Calabrese is describing how on one occasion after another scientific authorities who ought to have discovered the errors underlying LNT failed to do so, from causes both shocking and comic. At one time Muller and a colleague successfully dismissed criticisms of their position because they knew the evidence against them was in research documents classified by the U.S. government and thus unavailable to reporters or the public.

From 1946 to the mid-nineties in Calabrese’s telling, the LNT becomes a plot device like Alfred Hitchcock’s McGuffin which, as it passes from hand to hand, escapes any number of threats of impending detection and discrediting until in 1995 an Oak Ridge genetics researcher in Tennessee discovers major irregularities in earlier researches that had apparently supported LNT. That leads to further investigations which themselves result in the conclusions that LNT was a mistake (even if its consequences remain to be buried), that those subjected to low-dose radiation did no worse than their control group, and that there was even a “hormetic” effect, i.e.,  low-dose radiation was beneficial, as with the rats which started Calabrese on his voyage of discovery.

It's a complicated story but also a gripping one that Calabrese tells well and clearly. My brief summary is not a substitute for the monograph which you can read above. But the LNT story is not over. Though the scientific basis of LNT has evaporated, its consequences in terms of policy and regulation are very much alive.

First, at a time when government policies everywhere are looking for alternatives to fossil fuels that are both effective and reasonably priced, nuclear power stations are still being blocked by massive and expensive regulations that reflect a false and vastly excessive estimate of the risks of radiation. Reassessing Radiation Safety is highly topical and an important intervention in the nuclear debate.

Secondly, the story of Muller and LNT illustrates the danger of treating human scientists as the god, Science. Borrowing a remark of Chesterton another topic, we might say about Calabrese’s story: “We believe in science as much as we ever did, but—Oh--there was happy time when we believed in scientists.” Scientists themselves should welcome their liberation from divinity.

Thirdly, since the LNT was a rehearsal for the precautionary principle which, inter alia, is a device for stopping the kind of innovation that we need for purposes as various as climate policy and cancer research, we should cast a beady eye on how that logic looks in the light of Calabrese’s careful account.

But let the last word go to Lord Lilley, a Cambridge-educated scientist and a member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet, who returns to the main point in his introduction:

Professor Calabrese has shown that a great many things that are damaging in large quantities may – in small doses, below a certain threshold – do no harm or even be beneficial. It seems that very small doses of potentially damaging substances can stimulate the repair and protection mechanisms that our bodies have evolved to help us survive.

You can have 'too much of a good thing.' But can you have 'too little of a bad thing?'

The sooner we find out, the better.

Les Miserables

In George Bernard Shaw’s Play, Misalliance, a young socialist bursts into a upper-class weekend party  waving a gun, and after a good deal of Shavian talk he’s persuaded to postpone revolution for a square meal in the kitchen by the kindly matriarch of the household. Before he is diverted, however, he challenges a retired colonial governor to say how he would deal with the New Socialist Man of the future, like himself, who rejects all the conventional rules of the political game. The governor explains matter-of-factly that he would tip off an ambitious policeman that he was a bit of a troublemaker who should be watched and then wait patiently for the policeman to provoke him into a fight and an arrest.

“Why, that’s disgraceful,” responds the anarchist indignantly. The governor replies that in the game of anarchism the police can always beat the anarchist.

Almost invariably, that is true. Revolutions are the exception, and even they conform to the governor’s cynical insight when they succeed, because the police reappear soon after the new order is established, are given greater powers by the new post-anarchist authorities, and arrest the few remaining anarchists. See the history of the early Soviet Union passim.

What we’re at present witnessing is the spread of anarchism in the United States and, less violently so far, in the United Kingdom: mobs rushing around, pulling down statues, attacking people they believe to be “racists” (maybe because they’re wearing a baseball cap), demanding conformity to their  revolutionary slogans, and visibly flouting the authority of governments and local authority. The pulling down of statues—historically known as iconoclasm—is a traditional accompaniment to religious or political revolution that symbolizes the defenestration of one set of rulers and their replacement by a new set.

The role of the police in these events is especially significant. As the guardians of order, supposedly politically impartial, they are expected to restrain and suppress riots and destruction of lives and property. Against these disorders they seem pulled in three different directions Those in Seattle have been instructed by local authorities that are politically sympathetic to the rioters to allow them to establish “no-go” areas outside the law; those in Atlanta may be resigning or simply looking the other way when crimes are committed because they feel the local authorities are making them scapegoats for incidents of law enforcement that went wrong; and those in London seem to have decided on their own initiatives that policing by consent means the consent of the rioters and have accordingly tried to appease them. In all these cases the citizens can no longer rely with confidence on the normal assumption that the police will protect them and their property. Anarchy reigns.

At some point if the anarchy does not lead to an actual revolution, it will either fizzle out or be stopped by police or military force. The 1968 manifestations in Paris were stopped when the Army made it plain it would intervene if necessary, the bourgeois supporters of de Gaulle mounted their own massive manifestations in Paris, and the Gaullists won a landslide in the subsequent elections.

But the spirit of anarchy cannot be confined in a box marked public order. It seeps out into all aspects of our lives—I’ve mentioned iconoclasm as its symbolic representation in the arts. Jihadists have destroyed “pagan idols,” i.e., Buddhist images, in Asia. Feminists in recent years have been imitating the Victorians in putting bras on Greek statues and stockings on piano legs in official settings. And the removal of statues of national heroes such as George Washington, as well as leading abolitionists, on the grounds of “slavery,” shows that the real motive force of this particular anarchistic drive is to replace the United States, founded circa 1776, with a new American state.

More important than iconoclasm, however, is antinomianism which is the rejection of all laws, customs, and informal rules in all fields of human behaviour including, significantly, science, law, and morality. Their removal gives the anarchist a thrill of liberation when first antinomianism breaks forth. But since it’s in the nature of man that, as Burke said, he must have rules to govern him, and if they don’t come from within in the form of customs and practices, they will come from without in the form of politically-imposed new “truths” on the arts and sciences.

Seattle, 2020

It’s a two-stage process: first, we liberate ourselves from the old laws that confine our imaginations to what science and experience tell us is true and practicable; second, we replace them with rules that reflect the wishes and interests of the powerful—who are not always politicians and ministers but sometimes in periods of decaying political authority, the mob or its allies. The political mob made its first appearance in Paris during the French revolution, but it has come and gone many times since then, and it’s presently most powerful in Seattle and Portland.

Taken together these two stages produce the replacement of professional rules and ethics by political values and authority in all fields. It can be a slow process, especially in science, and it begins modestly, but the final stages often have seasoned professionals accepting new rules they would once have denounced or regarded as simply too absurd to bother denouncing. The old professional rules of American journalism that you followed the truth where it led by examining fairly the claims of all sides in a dispute have collapsed entirely—and that collapse began long before Donald Trump was elected President. It has reached its apogee in the recent decision of the New York Times to publish the deceptive and false 1619 Project not as one account of many historical accounts of the birth of America but as the sole acceptable truth (though it comes to us less from history than from critical race theory which is constructed so as to negate any criticism of its own criteria.) Its principal author has just welcomed the spreading anarchy as a vindication of the Times project, which is now to be taught in American high schools.

Examine now this sinister drift from the rules of scientific truth to the imperatives of political anti-science which we might call the Lysenko Imperative, or “What the Party says is Science is Science”:

  1. There is a replication crisis in science. For the last decade it has become an open or grumbling scandal that a very high number of scientific experiments cannot be replicated, which means that the original findings are invalid. Since a great number of findings are not tested for replication in this way, that implies much more uncertainty about scientific findings than we tend to assume. Replications are far lower in psychology (50 per cent) especially social psychology (25 per cent), and in medicine than in other fields. In the last few days, for instance, a study by Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford found that they could not replicate the results in 13 of the 15 studies purporting to support the two-metre distancing rule in SARs and Covid-19 cases and concluded that “poor quality research is being used to justify a policy with enormous consequences for us all.”
  2. Much of the writing on both pollution and global warming emphasizes that these problems constitute a crisis or an emergency requiring urgent action to reduce carbon emissions and other “pollutants.” Time and again the dates for which catastrophe was confidently predicted have passed without grave occurrences. No apologies have been offered, and no signs given that the forecasters were reconsidering the theories on which their forecasts were based. Like the replication crisis, the prediction crisis is a scientific scandal unless it is seriously addressed. The latest warning of this erosion of scientific standard comes from Professor Ole Humlum, who looks at the empirical observations of climate science (as distinct from computer modelling) and finds that in most respects, including some surprising ones, things are getting better. He points out  that new data on rising ocean temperatures raise interesting questions about the source of the heat. “We can detect a great deal of heat rising from the bottom of the oceans. This obviously cannot be anything to do with human activity. So although people say the oceans are warming, in reality there is still much to learn.” But that will depend on the willingness of scientists committed to the conventional view of global warming as something driven by human activity to question or moderate their outlook in the light of this disturbingly optimistic evidence.
  3. Where will these trends end up? As is already the case with the social sciences, the future of science could be its transformation into the political hopes of activist groups within the profession committed to views that reject traditional scientific rules as obstructions to their visions. "Feminist science" and "transgender science" both confront traditional biology as a hostile “essentialism” and treat those who disagree more as political enemies than as fellow-scientists. A more radical critique is mounted by those who want to decolonize "white science" (i.e., science)  by granting at least equal scientific authority to indigeneous religious world views. A journey around this set of ideas—or “new ways of knowing”-- is conducted by Lenny Pier Ramos in the current Quillette. It is a journey into the past and into pre-modern mind-set. “ I pushed this point and asked Dr. Tajmel [a leading proponent of this decolonization] if her project did not, ultimately, amount to the reintroduction of religion in science. She responded, without missing a beat, that science itself was a form of a religion."

Mr. Ramos reflects that given these trends it seems only a matter of time before Science and Nature get on board with that idea. It sounds alarmist but absurd. Yet we would once have thought the same of the "1619 Project" and the New York Times. And that's before the arrival of, first, the mob, and then the new policeman.