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Why is being an apostate such a big part of COVID-19 contrarian narratives?

There has long been a huge appeal in medicine that derives from being an “apostate”. Since COVID-19 hit, apostasy has become like a drug among too many doctors, and social media has amplified the popularity of “medical apostates” beyond anything I’ve seen previously.

Recently, I was taking my turn supervising the surgical skills lab for the interns in the residency program in which I’m faculty. It was a practice session for knot tying, suturing, and using the simulators to practice basic laparoscopic skills, as the course was nearing its end and the final examinations are coming up. I happened to be talking with some of the interns as they practiced or took breaks, and somehow the topic of medical misinformation and antivaccine physicians came up. As I’ve noted a number of times among my colleagues and trainees, one intern was surprised at how many physicians have been promoting antivax disinformation and COVID-19 quackery since the pandemic hit. As I am wont to do, I pointed out that we’ve always had these “contrarian” doctors in our profession’s midst who view themselves as apostates; it’s just that most of our colleagues didn’t notice or pay attention to them. Many didn’t believe they existed—or thought our complaints about them were exaggerated—and as a result there has been little impetus in our profession to do anything about them, a task that specialty boards and state medical boards have historically been depressingly lax about. Indeed, it’s a topic that I’ve written about almost as long as I’ve been blogging, and way back in 2008 a friend and fellow blogger, Dr. Val Jones, even coined a term for doctors who didn’t pay much attention to medical pseudoscience, the “shruggie“. I noted that no one who paid attention to these issues before the pandemic has been particularly surprised to see how many quacks and antivaxxers are in our midst. Indeed, some of these interactions are why of late I’ve been stepping back a bit and writing more and more about my views regarding why and how physicians ostensibly trained in science-based medicine break bad and use their credentials to attack the science-based regulation of medicine, viewing it as “thoughtcrime” and “censorship.”

In 2008, I laid down some of my thoughts on why doctors become quacks and updated those thoughts a couple of weeks ago, but I now realize that even that update was incomplete. Although I did discuss hubris, arrogance, and ego gratifications as some of the traits that fuel the conversion of a physician into a quack and antivaxxer, an article in The New York Times by Andy Kroll published a couple of weeks ago led me to realize that I forgot one other important trait: Apostasy. Kroll’s article isn’t just about medicine, of course; it’s about an entire right-wing narrative about the pandemic. While it’s impossible for me to completely avoid mentioning politics, I’m going to try to deemphasize that aspect of this discussion, because the appeal of “apostasy” in medicine long predates the capture of the anti-public health movement including the antivaccine movement by the right. It’s a more general phenomenon than the politics of today might lead one to believe.

Kroll starts out with the example of a physician, one whom I have as yet not written about but one who is running as the Republican nominee to become governor of Minnesota, Scott Jensen:

On Apr. 8, 2020, in the chaotic early days of the Covid pandemic, the Fox News host Laura Ingraham welcomed a little-known state senator onto her prime time show. With his unmistakable Minnesota accent and an aw-shucks bearing, Scott Jensen, a Republican, was the furthest thing from the typical fire-breathing cable news guest. But the message that he wanted to share was nothing short of explosive. He told Ms. Ingraham that he believed doctors and hospitals might be manipulating the data about Covid-19. He took aim at new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning that they could lead medical institutions to inflate their fees. “The idea that we are going to allow people to massage and sort of game the numbers is a real issue because we are going to undermine the trust” of the public, he said. Ms. Ingraham’s guest offered no evidence or data to back up this serious allegation. Coming from a random state senator, the claim might have been easily dismissed as partisan politics. What gave it the sheen of credibility was his other job: He is a medical doctor.

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that there is much hubris among my colleagues, in which physicians in specialties unrelated to public health, epidemiology, and pandemics come to think that they know better than experts in those fields. Dr. Jensen is no different. He is a family practice doctor who’s run a practice in Watertown, Minnesota, since 1986. He shows no evidence of possessing the knowledge, skills, and expertise relevant to making pronouncements about COVID-19, such as the ones that he made on Fox News and antivaccine outlets such as Del Bigtree’s vlog, such as the claim that people died “with COVID, not of COVID” and death certificates were being rigged to exaggerate the number of COVID-19 deaths. For instance, here he is in a Q&A with Minnesota Public Radio in March 2022:

Do you dispute that more than 12,000 Minnesotans have died as a result of COVID-19? Or that COVID-19 has killed more than 960,000 Americans? Yes, I do. I think that what we have, when you say killed, I would say that COVID-19 may well have played a part. I would say that if this is a person who’s dying of stage 4 colon cancer, and COVID was diagnosed in the last 48 to 72 hours and it was put down as a COVID death I think that’s problematic. And I think the only way to solve the problem rather than call one another names or accuse someone of misinformation or disinformation, why don’t we just do an audit?

When questioned about his expertise, he responded:

I studied epidemiology in 1976 and ’77 when I was in dental school. My wife was an immunology researcher, prior to veterinary school. My family is very medically oriented. I went back and did advanced studies as a part of a Bush Fellowship and epidemiology and leadership and communication were part of that. But I don’t think that’s really the issue. I think that you’ll find people a lot more credentials than me on both sides of this argument. And I don’t think that it necessarily does anything to constructively move forward to simply denigrate this group of people’s credentials and elevate someone else’s.

So he studied epidemiology 45 years ago as an undergraduate, and was awarded a Bush Fellowship in Leadership and Policy Studies in 1999. I note that it wasn’t difficult just to search the Bush Foundation website and find Dr. Jensen’s name. What did he study? According to the Bush Foundation, he studied “dermatology, allergy, computer applications, leadership, and ethics”. No doubt that’s why he moves on to a “both sides” fallacy:

I mean, you’ve got people like Jayanta Bhattacharya, Harvey Risch, Scott Atlas, John Ioannidis, Peter McCullough, these people are all highly regarded giants in their field. And then you’ve got other people like Tony Fauci and Mike Osterholm, and others that are respected on another side.

Of course, many of those names are quite familiar to regular readers of this blog, as we have written about them and how they have promoted COVID-19 contrarianism and minimization going back to very early in the pandemic (just use the Search Box for this blog if you’re interested in the details). I’m not going to dwell on that or relitigate past discussions. Rather, I want to move on to this part of Kroll’s article.

My first experience with medical “heretic”

Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD: Medical "heretic" and "apostate."
Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD: Medical “heretic” and “apostate.”

I’ve frequently made allusions to the religious language that antivaccine doctors and doctors who have come to believe in alternative medicine quackery use. They love to dismiss conventional evidence- and science-based medicine as “dogma”, as though it were simply another competing religious belief to theirs. Indeed, a number of physicians with views outside the mainstream who are not quacks and antivaxxers sometimes like to invoke the very same language, although rarely as aggressively as doctors like Dr. Jensen.

The apostate evokes images of a distinctly religious variety. The fourth-century Roman emperor Julian, who pushed to abandon Christianity and return to paganism. Freethinkers tortured and burned at the stake for daring to question the official orthodoxy of their era. And yet for as long as the word “apostate” has existed, it has possessed a certain allure. To become one requires undertaking a journey of the mind, if not the soul, a wrenching transformation that eventually leads one to reject what was once believed to be true, certain, sacred. It’s a journey that often results in glorious righteousness. They’ve experienced an awakening that few others have, suffered for their awakening and now believe they see the world for what it is.

Although Kroll points to examples of politicians such as Ronald Reagan, who was famously a dedicated New Deal Democrat before he became a Republican, in particular:

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party,” Reagan liked to say. “The Democratic Party left me.” This was a clever bit of sloganeering by the future president. It was also the testimony of an apostate.

My first experience with medical “apostasy” dates back to medical school. My girlfriend at the time gave me a book by a Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn, Confessions of a Medical Heretic, first published in 1979. Note the language: Heresy and apostasy often exist in the same person, if that person is someone who was once a member of a religion who embraced beliefs considered heresy by that religion to the point of leaving and becoming an apostate.

Indeed, in the introduction to Confessions, Dr. Mendelsohn declared:

I do not believe in Modern Medicine. I am a medical heretic. My aim in this book is to persuade you to become a heretic, too. I haven’t always been a medical heretic. I once believed in Modern Medicine.

And there you have it. Dr. Mendelsohn was not just a “medical heretic.” He was a medical apostate, too, having renounced his “belief” in Modern Medicine for another belief system, while portraying patients in starkly religious terms:

Without the ritual of the checkup, internists would have trouble paying the office rent. How else can the doctor ensure a steady supply of sacrificial victims for the Church’s other sacraments without the examination? The Gospel said many were called and few were chosen, but the Church of Modern Medicine has gone that one better: All are called and most are chosen.

I remembered my shock at reading Dr. Mendelsohn’s jeremiad against modern medicine, particularly its religious language that cast Dr. Mendelsohn as the “heretic” who had discovered The Truth and medicine as a religion with doctors as its high priests. As these books frequently do, Confessions of a Medical Heretic mixed reasonable criticisms of how modern medicine operated with over-the-top rants that portrayed surgeons as bloodthirsty butchers who didn’t care if operations were therapeutic and necessary or not but did them anyway because they were greed-heads who just loved to cut. He was particularly harsh on obstetricians and gynecologists, whom he characterized as sacrificing women on the altar of surgery during childbirth. Not surprisingly, it turns out that Dr. Mendelsohn was antivax to the core as well, writing in a chapter in his 1984 book How To Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor that there was “no convincing scientific evidence that mass inoculations can be credited with eliminating any childhood disease”; “while the myriad short-term hazards of most immunizations are known (but rarely explained), no one knows the long term consequences of injecting foreign proteins into the body of your child”; and “there is growing suspicion that immunization against relatively harm-less childhood diseases may be responsible for the dramatic increase in auto-immune diseases since mass inoculations were introduced.” He even asked, “Have we traded mumps and measles for cancer and leukemia?”

If you read the article, you’ll find a number of antivax tropes that antivaxxers co-opt against COVID-19 vaccines today. Forty years ago, Dr. Mendelsohn portrayed measles and mumps as basically harmless diseases, with the vaccines being more dangerous. He pointed to outbreaks of pertussis among vaccinated children in much the same way that COVID-19 antivaxxers point to transmission of COVID-19 among the vaccinated, leading him to call mass vaccination against pertussis “indefensible”. (The pertussis vaccine is not a sterilizing vaccine and only partially inhibits transmission, even as it is good at preventing serious disease. Sound familiar?) He fear mongered about unknown “long term” effects of vaccines. He blamed the DPT vaccine for sudden infant death syndrome. He wrote this about the polio vaccine:

Meanwhile, there is an ongoing debate among the immunologists regarding the relative risks of killed virus vs. live virus vaccine. Supporters of the killed virus vaccine maintain that it is the presence of live virus organisms in the other product that is responsible for the polio cases that occasionally appear. Supporters of the live virus type argue that the killed virus vaccine offers inadequate protections and actually increases the susceptibility of those vaccinated. This offers me a rare opportunity to be comfortably neutral. I believe that both factions are right and that use of either of the vaccines will increase, not diminish, the possibility that your child will contract the disease. In short, it appears that the most effective way to protect your child from polio is to make sure that he doesn’t get the vaccine!

Everything old is new again. I know, I know, I write that too often, but it really is true.

Dr. Mendelsohn’s rhetoric was full of explicitly religious imagery, too. For instance, there’s a chapter in Confessions of a Medical Heretic called “Ritual Mutilations” (Chapter 3, about appendectomies, tonsillectomies, hysterectomy, cancer surgery, and more). While it was a reasonable argument regarding how many tonsillectomies and hysterectomies were truly necessary, that was not what Dr. Mendelsohn was about, as he referred to the “millions of mutilations which are ceremoniously carried out every year in operating rooms”. He also dismissed most cancer surgery as useless, predicting that most cancer surgery “will be regarded with the same kind of horror that we now regard the use of leeches in George Washington’s time”. Another example of religious imagery includes Chapter 7, “The Devil’s Priests“—in the “Church of Modern Medicine,” yet! If that’s not enough, he described hospitals as The Temples of Doom. Again, for every reasonable criticism about hospitals (e.g., the oversuse of laboratory and diagnostic tests of dubious value and fee-for-service reimbursement models that incentivize doing more procedures), there are several overblown ones that portray hospitals as abattoirs. (I exaggerate only slightly.)

Other chapters have titles like:

  • Miraculous Mayhem (Chapter 2)
  • Holy War on the Family (Chapter 5)

The religious language of “heresy” versus religion is overwhelming in the book, and it wasn’t just there either. In 1984, during an address to the “health freedom” group, the National Health Federation, Dr. Mendelsohn said something that really drilled home what I mean by how the view of medicine as a religion leads to quackery:

Doctors complain that quacks keep patients away from orthodox medicine. I cheer! Since all the treatments, both orthodox and alternative, for cancer, coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and arthritis, are equally unproven, why would a sane person choose treatment that can kill the patient?

Both sides! Alternative or science-based medicine, they’re just two different belief systems that are “equally unproven”! Got it? Elsewhere, in the foreword to Immunisation: The Reality Behind The Myth by Walene James, he wrote:

Elegance of style is an additional bonus. For example, James compares modern vaccines—laden with formaldehyde, mercury, dog kidney tissue—with the “eye of newt and toe of frog” added to the brew of Macbeth’s witches. She wisely comments: “Is it too impudent to suggest that man has long had a love affair with decomposing animal proteins, noxious potions that ward off the demons of ill fortune?”Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth

will open the eyes of those who still believe in the religion of modern medicine. It will strengthen those who have left that religion. And to protect every human being right from the start— this book is the most valuable gift you can present to the mother of a newborn baby.

Again, note the narrative of the apostate.

Also, note how Dr. Mendelsohn sounded rather New Age-y before Oprah Winfrey ever became popular, describing his alternative “new medicine” thusly:

Our New Medicine cuts across all political and ideological lines and touches the core of every person’s relationship with life: How long and how well will I live? The New Medicine, too, takes on some of the trappings of a religion.

And:

Faith is the first requirement for a religion, and you still need faith to practice the New Medicine. But you won’t need faith in technology or doctors, or drugs, or professionals. You need faith in life. By faithfully, religiously if you will, regarding life — and loving it — the New Medicine immediately will discredit Modern Medicine. The New Medicine need not come between a person and whatever traditional religion he or she chooses, because the religions that have survived all support life.

And:

Since life is the central mystery of our New Medicine, our “sacraments” acknowledge and celebrate the life of the universe. The “sins” of the New Medicine, in many cases, turn out to be the virtues of the Church of Modern Medicine: any practice that promotes or condones violence against life. The New Medicine says it’s a “sin” to restrict weight gain during pregnancy, to use the Pill freely on the theory that it’s safer than pregnancy, to submit to routine annual physicals, to put silver nitrate in babies’ eyes, to immunize children routinely, to be ignorant of nutrition, and a host of other activities that Modern Medicine promotes as “healthy.” These activities are sins not because they offend anybody’s idea of correct or polite behavior, but because they present a clear and present danger to life. They are offenses against biology. Since the life in our bodies seems to have an incredible capacity to heal itself, if given the proper conditions the corrective activities of the New Medicine — guilt and penance — will aim at producing those proper conditions. Imbalance is often as difficult to avoid in human life as balance is desirable. Since this is a human medicine, not one bound to the deathly formality of machines, hope is one thing that is never taken away from even the worst “sinner.” The New Medicine doesn’t have any empty rituals. You fulfill the “commandments” and celebrate the sacraments by doing real things. Naturally, we have priests in this religion, too. But the New Doctor is not the prime mediator between the faithful and the object of faith. The authority of the doctor is severely limited by the individual taking the responsibility upon himself. Still, a system of ethics needs a mediator, a supporter of the faithful in their quest, a lifeguard when the quest runs into trouble.

I could go on and on, but you can read the entire book for free for yourself if you want, as a PDF of it is hosted at—where else?—Whale.to, which was a good thing for me writing this post, as I no longer possess the original copy of the book that I’d received in the mid-1980s. I really don’t know what happened to it.

I also can’t help but note that Dr. Mendelsohn was as underqualified to make such sweeping indictments of many areas of medicine as Dr. Jensen is to make sweeping indictments of public health responses to COVID-19.

Why is medical apostasy so attractive?

There’s no doubt that medical apostasy is very attractive to certain physicians. Nor is apostasy attractive only to the doctor who embraces “heresy” and becomes an “apostate” opposed to the “church of medicine,” as Dr. Mendelsohn so famously described himself, although maybe not using exactly those words. The idea of an apostate is attractive to those who would follow the apostate. In this concluding segment, I’ll look at both sides of this coin. After all, it doesn’t take much to think of a list of physicians who used the language of medical heresy/apostasy in describing their “conversion” to quackery; e.g., Andrew Wakefield, Paul Thomas, Stanislaw Burzynski, and many other physicians turned quacks have railed against the “dogma” of medicine that has left them on the outside.

In my last article on the making of COVID-19 contrarians specifically and quacks more generally, I noted that hubris was a key trait in physicians that lead them to believe that they know better than the assembled experts in their fields, that they alone have found some fatal flaw in the understanding of science missed by experts far more qualified than they are. In fairness, one has to recognize that it is always theoretically possible that a doctor such as Dr. Mendelsohn, Dr. Jensen, or any of the other panoply of “apostates” to see something that the experts didn’t. It’s just incredibly unlikely. Moreover, if such “apostates” brought home the evidence to prove their point, chances are good that eventually they could persuade the experts. I won’t claim that it would be easy or fast, but in general over time science does win out.

It takes a lot of self-confidence to believe that you have what it takes to be entrusted with people’s lives and most private information, as physicians are. This is even more true if you think you have what it takes to become a surgeon, the only profession to which society explicitly gives permission to remove or rearrange parts of people’s anatomy for therapeutic intent, to plunge into places in the body that even the person possessing that body can never see. Also, as I point out a lot, most physicians are not scientists. Many go into medicine and surgery because it’s a calling; they want to help people. Many go into medicine for religious reasons; indeed, unlike the case among scientists the level of religious belief among physicians is similar to that of the general public, at least in the US. It is therefore unsurprising (to me, at least) that many would view medicine and its practices in a religious light.

There is also a tendency among physicians to believe that they are the “best and the brightest”, because in large part many of us are, at least if you define “best and brightest” as academic achievement. After all, high academic achievement and strong work ethic are basically prerequisites to be accepted to medical school. As a result, when physicians find that the reality of medicine as a service, even an assembly line seeing patients if you will, there is often disappointment. For physicians who have always seen themselves as brilliant and creative (even if medicine itself tends to disincentivize too much creativity), as “brave mavericks,” as I like to call them, something “different” becomes very attractive. There’s a reason why there are medical pseudoacademic pseudoprofessional societies like the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), whose members seem to think they’re all even better than the children at Lake Wobegon, where all of the children were “above average“, as in unappreciated geniuses who are all “ahead of the herd”. Moreover, like the apostate, they are “persecuted,” as this old editorial titled “Medical Herdology” by a former AAPS president described:

Inescapably, the herd is a force to be reckoned with in all of our professional lives. We must be prepared to travel with it or alongside it, to one degree or another, without being trampled or singled out for extermination. And, for those few physicians who still believe in individual-based medicine practiced according to the principles of Hippocrates, and in watching out for one another when one of our own is attacked, fortunately we have the AAPS. We are a fellowship of “different doctors,” and the distinction is apparent.

It’s also very satisfying to be able to tell yourself that you were once deluded, but saw through the delusion and embraced The Truth, whether that narrative is accurate or not.

Going back to Kroll’s description of apostasy, these brave maverick physicians, in their own self-image, have “experienced an awakening that few others have, suffered for their awakening and now believe they see the world for what it is”. Of course, being an apostate can be good or bad. If you reject one harmful non-science-based belief system in favor of one that is science-based (as Jim Laidler did when he rejected antivax beliefs and “autism biomed” quackery), then being an apostate can be a good thing, and the good feelings about oneself the conversion engendered can encourage the apostate to continue to do good. However, when, as Dr. Mendelsohn and Dr. Jensen did, the “apostate” embraces a set of harmful beliefs after rejecting science-based medical conclusions, then being an apostate is not something to be applauded, even as that apostasy leads such doctors to view themselves as possessors of secret knowledge that their colleagues do not possess, refuse to understand, or even reject outright. Indeed, they become susceptible to conspiracy theory, because if everyone rejects what you believe to be knowledge that you possess that the vast majority of experts characterize as nonsense, then you have to explain why our knowledge is rejected. Enter conspiracy theory and characterization of a belief system as “dogma”. It never occurs to this type of apostate that their new beliefs are rejected because they are not supported by evidence; to them, it’s because of religious differences, with science-based medicine being cast as just another belief system, a sort of religion or dogma whose adherents are trying to cast “heresy” against their belief as “thought crime“.

Apostasy also provides a testimonial message that people tend to find very appealing. Kroll sums it up well in his NYT article:

There are few more powerful messages in human psychology than that of the apostate: “Believe me. I used to be one of them.”

I would add that there are also few narratives more powerful in reinforcing a change in belief system for the person who’s made that change. There’s a reason why an antivaxxer named J.B. Handley once likened Andrew Wakefield to “Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one.” Particularly powerful to them was Wakefield’s narrative of “unjust persecution” for his views, just as the stories of martyrs are particularly powerful in religion. Moreover, apostates, because they have rejected beliefs that they used to hold dear, can be particularly strong in their new beliefs and persuasive in converting others. It’s very similar to how converts to a new religion are often the most devout.

As I like to say, it’s not the pure grifters who know they’re grifting who are the most dangerous. It’s the true believers whose belief leads them to grift.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

177 replies on “Why is being an apostate such a big part of COVID-19 contrarian narratives?”

The US is awash in narcissism, and certain professions are more prone to it than others. It doesn’t help that so many put doctors on pedestals. With great power comes great responsibility. Let’s hope the country returns to sanity now that the quack cures have been shown to be useless, and many quacks have been thrashed in the election.

A part of explanation why more and more doctors turn to “heresy” and “apostasy” regarding Covid and Covid vaccines, is that many of those realize that in the post-Covid-vaccine future, being a confirmed Covid-vaccine-skeptic will confer significant career advantages, a hope to lead medical associations, journals, etc.

It becomes exceedingly difficult to supercharge a medical career by being a “Covid vaccine advocate”. Witness the fall of “Risa Hoshino”, Ed Niremberg, and more. And being a Covid vaccine skeptic, to many, seems to be a way to a superstar status.

The world is changing — and people naturally adopt new ways to get a career advantage.

Covid vaccine skeptics used to incur a significant cost by being censored, deplatformed, de-licensed etc — but not anymore. Now it is a way to stardom, fame, etc

Covid vaccine skeptics used to incur a significant cost by being censored, deplatformed, de-licensed

Bullshit, but that’s typical for you.

Now it is a way to stardom, fame, etc

For some, but it’s a result of the lies you and other anti-vaccine cranks pump out to scare people about the ‘dangers’ of vaccines. Your lack of concern about spreading lies that, if people believe them, can cause harm, is disgusting.

You’re being just a bit unfair to Igor. After all, he’s partly right about motivations for being a medical apostate (achieving fame and even stardom among the ignorant and delusional), though quite wrong about positive effects on career advancement.

He also has it backwards about the “cost” of being a Brave Maverick. The more successful BMs have monetized their activities through books, lectures, Substack platforms etc. But for every Steve Kirsch boasting “tens of thousands of paid subscribers”, there’s an Igor Chudov languishing in obscurity without even enough Substack $ to keep him in Junior Mints and clean underwear.

It looks like you are leaving me no way to win! If I charge money, you’d call me a “grifter”. If I do not charge money, I am “unsuccessful”.

There is a reason why I do not charge money. The reason is that I love money and if I charged fees, my substack would be greatly influenced by revenue goals.

I decided that I do not want money to influence what I write, especially considering that I have a modest, but decent net worth, so I am not charging. I just write about whatever I want, as long as I think my subscribers find it interesting.

If something changes in my life, like say I retire, I will likely start charging optional subscriber fees.

as long as I think my subscribers find it interesting

Lots of people find the lies about vaccines you and your fellow clowns write: the fact that you’re writing pure crap about them is why you aren’t taken seriously.

The problem is that there’s just so much room for grifters to operate: the successful ones have sucked most of the oxygen (and cash) out of the room.

It’s hard for an unknown (without superficially impressive credentials or a pre-existing stash) who poses in an antivax t-shirt to get much traction. In pre-Internet days they’d walk downtown streets wearing a sandwich board and get about the same level of attention and respect.

It is superstar status in Substack. Medical career is another thing,evn though you can get a political appointment

Alties I survey usually highlight their guests’/ compatriots’ apostacy as a reason for their legitimacy: they were educated and trained by the Orthodoxy and hen saw its flaws and thus, took great risks by rebelling from the cabal. Many of the Covid minimisers/ denialists/ anti-vaxxers who are MDs or PhDs left vaunted positions in the medical or academic hierarchy for The Truth and now, they enlighten the masses. They could have had a cushy life, earning Big Money and being praised by their Keepers but NO! they valued their audience’s welfare first. Why would a physician, who was part of the Establishment for 50 years, part ways now? ( Null).

Actually, alties have accumulated quite a long list and they appear on shows with Null, Del, RFK jr and even Adams.

What do you call the person who graduated last in their medical school class?
Doctor.

It’s not the best and brightest doctors who reject the obvious benefits of vaccination.

Another iteration of the familiar ‘if they’re wrong they must be stupid’ trope, which is no more than an appeal to biases w/o evidence. It would indeed be interesting to know where antivax MDs stood on various more-or-less objective measures of ability like GPA in either ug or med school. But my wager would be that’s more-or-less all over the map, and not predictive. I have no problem thinking Jensen e. g. may not be the brightest bulb, but some really kooky non-MD antivaxers were
star students at some point, and there are multiple instances of genius scientists embracing cranky ideas, e. g. Linus Pauling w. vitamin C.

What wer’re looking at here is something like personality flaws, if not DSM level personality disorders, rather than lack of intelligence per se.

@ sadmar:

You might have something there.
Although alties may believe otherwise, everyone who gets into medical school has already achieved academic success ( requirements such as GPA, MCAT scores) and ( usually) a degree in a related area at an accredited university. Med school is not easy.

Orac writes about Emeritus Syndrome/ Nobel Disease when older professionals go off the rails. In the case of Pauling, he was quite advanced in age and later on, had cancer himself. Null often speaks about how the Nobel Prize winner encouraged his own “research” at the “Institute” long ago. Montagnier is another example. Mullis. Shockley. Duesberg, other aids denialists.

Some of the anti-vaxxers/ denialists being discussed now are younger people who currently teach or work in their respective fields.
I imagine that whenever someone who has a decent background in one area ventures outside it to pontificate in another discipline that is unrelated or far from their area of expertise we might question their
judgment already. Personality disorders are one possibility as are other “problems”. Quack Watch discusses this in an old article about why medical professionals go woo. How about Andy W? Smart people can be devious and read their audiences well.

I’ve always said that you can decipher a woo-meister’s intelligence/ education from how well they construct alternate explanations of illness/ cure/ etc. I expect that someone well versed in real medicine might go well beyond a Del or a Mikey in explaining how biology works and would integrate aspects of reality into their scammery. Or provide a much better smokescreen.

I knew two or three folks in med school who we’re definitely given to magical thinking. They were in the bottom of our class. Believing that cranial-sacral OMT would cure epilepsy was what made them stand out, or whatever. It sure wasn’t their spectacular mastery of the material or hard work on clinical rotations.

One of the exercises we had to undertake was sitting through a medical board meeting and watching discipline issued. I imagined them there someday for grift, overprescribing benzos, sheer negligence, etc, like those there presently.

For what it’s worth, every physician I have encountered in the last two years who is questioning of, or down right against, covid vaccines is 60+.

As I see it, it’s a question of intelligence vs. wisdom.
Late last month, UNISA Chancelor and former South African President Thabo Mbeki again repeated his claims that HIV does not cause AIDS. This is 20 YEARS after his administration lost in Court over those claims.
Mbeki earned a Master’s Degree in Economics aged just 24. His beliefs about HIV and AIDS are flat out wrong. And yet, he remains convinced that he is right and actual medical scientists and researchers are wrong. I am certain he will go to his grave not recanting his beliefs.

But looking at risk reward as say some of the Europeans have done wrt to some cohorts seems like a better signal for competence than blanket acceptance of anything Big Pharma says.

This isn’t just a medical phenomenon. Look at conservative figures like Dave Rubin or even Kanye West, or the many Substack pundits whose schtick is anti-liberal contrarianism.

Funny how all these “independent thinkers” think alike. I mean, to the extent that any thinking is going on.

@Matt
It is amusing that immediately following your post is one from someone who fancies herself as “indie” yet it is blatantly obvious that she is very much “die” and receives the vast majority of her believes in ready-to-use packages.

This isn’t just a medical phenomenon.

Certainly not: the late Serge Lange, a very good mathematician who turned to HIV/AIDS denialism in his later years is a good illustration of that.

It is not possible that medical doctors who dissent from the mainstream medical consensus could be basing their opinions on logic and evidence. No, that is not possible, because Orac KNOWS the mainstream consensus is always correct. And it is always correct because it is formed by experts who know better than all the rest of us.

In reality, though, medicine is a very imperfect science, and most of the common diseases have no cures or good treatments. There are some accomplishments, some improvements in understanding. Certainly big improvements in medical technology. But an enormous amount is still a mystery.

So it only makes sense that MDs would not all be on board with the mainstream consensus on any topic. Orac cannot see it that way. As I said, he “knows” the mainstream consensus has to be correct, or at least is very likely to be correct. Because it is determined by experts, and non-experts are not qualified to question or doubt them.

If you doubt experts in any medical domain, you are a conspiracy theorist, a quack, a grifter, a spreader of dangerous disinformation. Or else you are an example of the Dunning-Kruger phenomenon — over-estimating your knowledge because of your ignorance. Or else you have a huge ego and need to feel special and above the mainstream.

It CANNOT be that you have thought long and carefully on a particular topic. It CANNOT be that you have educated yourself and managed to see things that are more easily seen by outsiders to the field.

I am NOT claiming that every dissenter is rational and correct. Dissenters are just as imperfect and prone to irrationality as any human being. But SO ARE the anti-dissenters!

There is no substitute for thought. Orac would like it to be easy — have a question? Ask the experts and be satisfied with their answer.

So many mistaken ideologies grow out of this desire. Wanting things to be easy. Have a medical problem? Ask The Science. Read the CDC website. Look no further, be satisfied, be grateful that there are experts that can do all your thinking for you.

Meanwhile nearly everyone who was hospitalized or worse from Covid was unvaccinated, either before the vaccines were ready (mostly Democrats) or because they refused them (mostly Republicans). It’s easy to say “no,” every toddler learns that. Informed opposition requires skill. It’s easy to be in an echo chamber of belief systems (b.s.) especially if one’s understanding of biology is non-existent or provided by hoaxers. Herman Cain awardees.

I’m very glad that Oz will not be in the Senate. A small success for sanity.

Mark, your information about “nearly everyone who was hospitalized or worse from Covid was unvaccinated” was true at some point, but is out of date. I recommend checking two sources of data:

1) UKHSA Vaccine Surveillance Reports (if you google this term you will find them). Take a look at Week 13 report (they discontinued reporting of outcomes by vaccination status after Week 13, because the data became too embarrassing). Direct your attention at Table 13 (deaths from Covid by vaccination status) or table 12 (hospitalizations from Covid by vaccination status. You will see the overwhelming majority of hospitalized or dying people to be vaccinated. While some death protection from vaccines still existed, it was minimal and going down every week. That’s as of April 2022 — and things have gotten worse since then.

2) NSW respiratory surveillance reports – COVID-19 and influenza (again search for the term and you will find it).

Look at Table 1. You will see that during Week 44, 0 (zero) unvaccinated people out of 310 were admitted to hospital and 1 ouf of 24 dead was unvaccinated.

3) Disturbing data shows excess mortality (which cannot be explained by reported Covid deaths) in numerous countries. There is a relationship between vaccination rate by country and excess mortality by country. There is also a very similar relationship between excess mortality and vaccination rate in UK “economic deprivation quintiles” with nearly identical slope. Despite being obtained from completely different data sets, the slope and Y-intercept of the two relationships of “excess mortality to vaccination rate” show remarkable similarity and their confidence intervals intersect, suggesting that something real is going on.

While such a relationship alone cannot infer causality, it is akin to seeing “smoke” and wondering if there is a “fire”. We have disturbing data that needs to somehow be explained. Such a linear regression allows us to guesstimate the relative risk of all-cause mortality between vaccinated and unvaccinated people as of recently. I will omit this estimate here.

My personal hope is that excess mortality is a temporary phenomenon and will somehow go away, and that we will all return to the baseline mortality, obviously. The alternative is unthinkable. However, the relationship shows signs of strengthening in terms of R-squared as well as magnitude (slope of the line).

That is a very old and poorly written Reuters fact check that addresses an even older The Expose article — not the mortality data from this summer and fall.

It is also self contradictory because instead of talking about the rates of Covid-19 or deaths it suddenly brings up old tropes of “oh most people were vaccinated so you should expect more cases”. More cases, perhaps — but they were debunking a statement about rates per 1,000.

While you have a good point, take any previous week – same pattern. I wrote a dozen or more articles about that UKHSA data — it is hard core antivax, was instrumental to development of my own thinking etc.

They discontinued it eventually, but it was a gold mine. Case rates among boosted were like 4 time the case rates in the unvaxed.

@Igor

Would it be to hard for you to supply some Data? As you said, we should take your statements with a grain of salt…

@Igor Chudov Check COVID data from Singapore health ministry. Data really changes week by week.

“Because it is determined by experts, and non-experts are not qualified to question or doubt them”

“It CANNOT be that you have thought long and carefully on a particular topic. It CANNOT be that you have educated yourself and managed to see things that are more easily seen by outsiders to the field”

Sigh. You really don’t have a clue about the things that you don’t know, do you? I’ll give you a true example. A guy at work recently asked me how to connect up a bathroom extractor fan. He showed me a photo. I asked where the wire had come from and he said it was from the light switch. The fan was 12Vdc. The light switch is 230Vac. He’s not stupid. The problem hadn’t even occurred to him. That’s you. Unless you started from scratch and had the same education as the people you say are wrong, you won’t even know that there are questions you should be asking.

He should add a transformer, to bring down 230V to 12V and rectifier circuit to turn AC into DC. No big problem, but without he probably blow up the extractor fan.

This is an incredibly important point! Can non-professionals have judgments on matters that are reserved for professionals?

Your example with hooking up a 12vdc fan to a 230vac switch, and someone not realizing that they need a dc power power supply in the middle, is a perfect example.

Can someone without understanding of electricity design an electrical system? Not practically.

Are there any judgments that non-electrical professionals can make about electrical products? Absolutely!

For example, a non-professional who knows nothing about electricity can notice that a certain brand’s ceiling fans do not work, or are too noisy, or cause fires. One does not need to be an electrical engineer to make that judgment.

If you buy a fan, and it dos not properly ventilate, and the fan company says you need to buy a booster fan, which is endorsed by company-paid influencers, and criticizing this brand is not allowed in the media, and the booster fan stops working after 2 months, and then they suggest to get a bivalent booster ceiling fan, a month after getting which the head of the “center of ceiling fan control center” gets sick for 3 weeks, you also might get suspicious.

So non-professionals still need to be on lookout for easily identifiable signs that they are being cheated — and that is when promises do not match observable outcomes — and remember professional judgment is only useful when it is not adulterated by commercial interest or ideology.

The point is that while non-professionals should not make professional judgments, non-professionals can see outcomes without necessarily knowing all the mechanisms.

The analogous revelation moment for me in the covid vax world was the “Barnstable outbreak”.

But an important message from you should not be lost, specifically we should all be on lookout for “what do I not really understand”. The Dunning Kruger effect is real and humility is extremely important. Warren Buffett also loves talking about the “boundary” of knowledge.

A lot of people like to spout BS or make stuff up. This is a great point that you made.

Ah yes, the horrible Barnstable outbreak /s
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7031e2.htm

Among five COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized, four were fully vaccinated; no deaths were reported.

..

The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 is highly transmissible (1); vaccination is the most important strategy to prevent severe illness and death. On July 27, CDC recommended that all persons, including those who are fully vaccinated, should wear masks in indoor public settings in areas where COVID-19 transmission is high or substantial.* Findings from this investigation suggest that even jurisdictions without substantial or high COVID-19 transmission might consider expanding prevention strategies, including masking in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status, given the potential risk of infection during attendance at large public gatherings that include travelers from many areas with differing levels of transmission.

IIRC, this event was a large gathering with many visitors from outside the county. It was likely exacerbated by a rain storm that led many people to shelter in crowded bars. This was also just at the start of the Delta outbreak and the CDC had revised recommendations to allow vaccinated people not to wear masks.

The CFR in the U.S. for July 2021 was 0.09%. The previous July it had been 1.3%. But sure, blame the vaccines.

Assuming for the sake of argument that masks make a difference, then is isn’t it a false sense of security caused by the vaccines that is to blame for vaccinated not wearing masks?

That said I think the argument is that they aren’t effective.

Assuming for the sake of argument that masks make a difference, then is isn’t it a false sense of security caused by the vaccines that is to blame for vaccinated not wearing masks?

This comment is not even wrong. The people who bitched and moaned about mask mandates were the ones who bitched and moaned about vaccination mandates. In each case, it was an attitude of “I don’t wanna!” I wore my mask and got vaccinated, and my family and friends did the same.

So was it the CDC that was at fault for listening the guidelines, believing that the vaccines would prevent transmission? ( assuming masks work)

We have gone over this before, john. NOBODY has said that the vaccines 100% prevent transmission, just that they significantly reduce it. Ditto the wearing of masks. As a side note, in South Africa mask wearing was still mandatory for several months after the second booster dose.

“For example, a non-professional who knows nothing about electricity can notice that a certain brand’s ceiling fans do not work, or are too noisy, or cause fires. One does not need to be an electrical engineer to make that judgment”

You’re missing the point. When making a comment on something outside your field of expertise you CANNOT rely on what ever you think is obvious. There is ALWAYS something that you don’t know. I see this every week because I deal with a wide range of people outside of my area of experience.

“non-professionals can see outcomes without necessarily knowing all the mechanisms.”

Then why do you blame vaccination? That’s a mechanism.

Pretty much every Indie Rebel posting can be summarized as follows: Anonymous internet poster that has never demonstrated any expertise (or often even familiarity) on any subject she has opined on whines about not being taken seriously as a self-taught expert.

“It CANNOT be that you have thought long and carefully on a particular topic. It CANNOT be that you have educated yourself and managed to see things that are more easily seen by outsiders to the field”

It’s INCREDIBLY UNLIKELY based on everything you’ve posted so far.

Come to think of it, you have been “seeing things”. 😀

” most of the common diseases have no cures or good treatments.”

Oh come on.
Most of the common diseases do have good cures and treatments, and now they’re not thought of much.
Diphtheria (vaccine and treatment),
appendicitis (used to kill, now can be treated with antibiotics and surgery),
pre-eclampsia (screened for, treated with medications),
rickets (vitamin D supplementation),
scurvy (modern food systems),
cholera (modern sanitation and a vaccine and oral and IV hydration),
scoliosis (surgery, corrective braces, physical therapy)
high blood pressure (medications, lifestyle changes)
diabetes (insulin, lifestyle changes)
cataracts (surgery)

Shall I go on?
The change in infant mortality alone in the past 200 years should be a clue that scientific medicine is effective.

But that doesn’t fit your narrative, so off you go, making weird claims.

It is impossible to take apart all of the fallacious arguments you pose here.

I will address three.

If these brave geniuses have logical arguments they should MAKE THEM not say “Trust me.” Let us behold their genius and revel in it so that we all may be edified.

Almost all of the COMMON issues have good treatments or even cures. How do I know? I’m a PCP, I deal with them EVERYDAY. Why don’t you? Because you are NOT.

Finally, you seem to imply expert consensus is a collection of opinions. This is WRONG. It is based on a collection of EVIDENCE. Present your better evidence and consensus will change.

Example: show me your evidence that all of us doctors fail to appropriately counsel patients about nutrition and lifestyle. Hell, prove any of your hyperbolic, uninformed, fantastical statements true.

Apostate woukd think that whole modern medicine is wrong, an invent an entire new one; best real doctors would change a small part of it.
Really do start thinking. This would mean answering the questio

There is no substitute for thought. Orac would like it to be easy — have a question? Ask the experts and be satisfied with their answer.

Any opinions on the muon g − 2 anomaly, “Polly”?

@ Igor Chudov

You refer to “UKHSA Vaccine Surveillance Reports Table 13”. Either you didn’t read the following at bottom of table or you read it, ignored it, or just too stupid to understand it.

“In the context of very high vaccine coverage in the population, even with a highly effective vaccine, it is expected that a large proportion of cases, hospitalisations and deaths would occur in vaccinated individuals, simply because a larger proportion of the population are vaccinated than unvaccinated and no vaccine is 100% effective. This is especially true because vaccination has been prioritised in individuals who are more susceptible or more at risk of severe disease. Individuals in risk groups may also be more at risk of hospitalisation or death due to non-COVID-19 causes, and thus may be hospitalised or die with COVID”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1066759/Vaccine-surveillance-report-week-13.pdf

You write: “Disturbing data shows excess mortality (which cannot be explained by reported Covid deaths) in numerous countries. There is a relationship between vaccination rate by country and excess mortality by country.”

One can also find that the countries with highest vaccination rates were those experiencing highest case loads, overwhelmed hospitals, shortages of staff (many sick from COVID) and shortages of Personal Protective Equipment. With hospitals filled with COVID patients, others who needed hospitalization weren’t admitted, either no space and/or no way to shield them from ongoing infected patients. Excess deaths from other causes during a pandemic are the norm; but, of course, you have NEVER studied the history of pandemics, etc.

You have already shown in previous comments your lack of basic math skills, your lack of any basic knowledge of virology, immunology, epidemiology and related disciplines, etc.

You having your own “website” says absolutely nothing about your level of knowledge or lack thereof. You probably don’t charge because even scientific illiterates like yourself would still not pay.

@ Indie Rebel

You write: “It is not possible that medical doctors who dissent from the mainstream medical consensus could be basing their opinions on logic and evidence. No, that is not possible, because Orac KNOWS the mainstream consensus is always correct. And it is always correct because it is formed by experts who know better than all the rest of us.”

As I explained in previous exchanges, medical consensus is based nowadays on committees of experts who carry out thorough reviews of research on a subject. In the past, many decades ago, there was less credible research, so they could be wrong; but nowadays because of so much research being carried out both in US and world-wide, would be extremely rare for them to be wrong. However, when you write: “And it is always correct because it is formed by experts who know better than all the rest of us.” As I pointed out in a previous exchange, your antivax position based on not even understanding immunology; e.g., how the adaptive immune system works, recognizing not microbes but small parts called antigenic determinants which then leads to memory cells, etc. So your “the rest of us” is, if you mean like you, are scientifically ignorant bunch.

However, I’ll give you a chance to defend your position. Pick one or two of Orac’s articles where he tears apart some doctor or doctors, explain their opinions, including any published well-done studies, their evidence. Otherwise, just another example of your empty comments.

@ Igor Chudov

You write: “A part of explanation why more and more doctors turn to “heresy” and “apostasy” regarding Covid and Covid vaccines, is that many of those realize that in the post-Covid-vaccine future, being a confirmed Covid-vaccine-skeptic will confer significant career advantages, a hope to lead medical associations, journals, etc. It becomes exceedingly difficult to supercharge a medical career by being a “Covid vaccine advocate”. Witness the fall of “Risa Hoshino”, Ed Niremberg, and more. And being a Covid vaccine skeptic, to many, seems to be a way to a superstar status. The world is changing — and people naturally adopt new ways to get a career advantage. Covid vaccine skeptics used to incur a significant cost by being censored, deplatformed, de-licensed etc — but not anymore. Now it is a way to stardom, fame, etc.”

I challenge you to post excerpts together with URL to any credible papers, articles, etc. that claim antivax stance advancing careers. Of course, they may attract patients who are as ignorant and biased as you; but not leading medical associations, journal editors, etc. There is one medical association led by antivaxxers; but it also maintains among other things that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. It has about 500 members out of far more than one million doctors in US, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Also, emphasizes conspiracy theories.

As for Risa Hoshino and Ed Nirenberg, Nirenberg is a med student and I couldn’t find anything through Google Search indicating his fall; but who cares, one can always find a couple of examples to back any position. Just one more example of your unscientific approach to things. Ever heard “the exception proves the rule?”

As for “supercharging a career being a covid vaccine advocate”, maybe because many of the publicly interviewed covid vaccine advocates are tenured full professors at major medical schools or chairs of hospital departments or CDC, etc. so advocating for covid vaccines just part of their jobs, their positions, etc.

@JustaTech
“Most of the common diseases do have good cures and treatments”

Not the common diseases of today. Antibiotics and surgery can cure some diseases that were common in the past.

“The change in infant mortality alone in the past 200 years should be a clue that scientific medicine is effective.”

Modern medicine has stopped most infant mortality, maybe mostly because of antibiotics. All species lose a percentage of their offspring, that is how nature works. It has been possible to disable that, bringing the average lifespan way up. And the increase in average lifespan is always cited by drug and surgery advocates.

I have NEVER said that modern medicine is useless. But it is TRUE that the currently common diseases do not have cures or good treatments. You mentioned lifestyle changes as treatments for some diseases — the idea of having a healthy lifestyle did not begin with modern mainstream medicine. In fact mainstream medicine took a long time to finally admit that lifestyle matters.

There are some types of cancer that can be cured, especially if discovered early. But most can’t, and advanced cancer generally can’t be cured. Because cancer is still mostly not understood.

Autoimmune disorders have no cures or good treatments. Suppressing the immune system suppresses health.

Neurological diseases mostly can’t be cured and have no good treatments.

Lifestyle diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes do not have cures or good treatments. Yes, surgery can save the lives of heart disease patients, but does nothing about what caused it to begin with. Doctors can recommend lifestyle improvements, but that is NOT mainstream medicine. Holistic doctors, and people in general, have always known that lifestyle matters.

Because modern mainstream medicine had a few big successes, our society has a worshipful trusting attitude towards medical doctors. In reality, there is much more unknown than known. That doesn’t prevent arrogance and over-confidence.

I am sure Orac would admit, if he feels like being honest, that in most cases of cancer (unless discovered very early, and then you don’t always know if it really is cancer), all that can be hoped for is an extension of life. If cancer is still local and can be surgically removed, then ok that can be a cure. But cancer is NOT well understood.

Wow. I had not realized how very little you know of health and medicine in history.
Yes, the treatments for a lot of types of conditions are in need of improvement. And you know what? People are researching the causes of and treatments for all kinds of autoimmune, neurological and other kinds of conditions every single day. No one is resting on their laurels, they’re busting tail to find root causes and better treatments.

And stop acting like there aren’t any treatments for type II diabetes. Standard of care is lifestyle adjustments, then medications, then insulin. Before that patients just died. (Yes, standard of care in mainstream medicine.)

There are medications and therapies and devices to help control seizure disorders. Before that patients just died.
There are medications and therapies to help address mental health conditions. Before that there was maybe prayer? And people suffered.

No one is saying the work is done. But it’s a damn sight better than it used to be.

Improved infant mortality isn’t just antibiotics. It’s prenatal care (lifestyle adjustments!), vaccinations, incubators, ultrasounds, APGAR scores, clean water, window screens, fortified milk, sanitary sewers, WIC, and so much more.

The world is full of people studying the causes of and cures for cancers. (Cancers plural, it’s not a singular disease.) There are dozens of conferences every year on every aspect of cancer research and treatment, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

New treatments, cures and understandings aren’t found by people claiming to be “rebels”, they’re found by people working together, and working hard.

Wow. I had not realized how very little you know of health and medicine in history.

At least she’s an expert on schizophrenia. See, voices come from “non-physical entities”:

“Schizophrenics are usually tormented by malicious spirit voices. People who hear friendly helpful voices don’t tell anyone. So they don’t get diagnosed as crazy, and they aren’t crazy.”

My oncologist was very clear when discussing my stage IV colon cancer what was curable and what was not. In fact he said to me: if it spreads to your lungs, it’s game over. Not that palliative care wouldn’t have extended my life somewhat, but he was very clear that there was no way to cure it.

I am pretty sure that Erbitux saved my life.

Changing your lifestyle after problems have do not cure the disease, though it prevents it becoming worse. Statins may hlp there
Many neurological diseases do have a cure. Do your home work.
Diabetes type 1have a cure, so do other similar autoimune disease.

@ Indie Rebel

Nope, antibiotics are not main reason for longer life expectancies, vaccines, safer foods, safer water, and antibiotics also, etc; but keep on displaying your ignorance.

As for “I am sure Orac would admit, if he feels like being honest, that in most cases of cancer (unless discovered very early, and then you don’t always know if it really is cancer), all that can be hoped for is an extension of life. If cancer is still local and can be surgically removed, then ok that can be a cure. But cancer is NOT well understood.”

“if he feels like being honest.” You really are a sick SOB. It is you who are the dishonest one, continuing with claims that Orac, myself and others have torn to shreds. And “you don’t always know if it really is cancer.” Given just how ignorant you are, yep for you. “But cancer is NOT well understood.” Again, yep for you; but the amount of knowledge on cancer is considerable. Do we know everything. Nope; but quite a bit.

Why do you keep making a fool of yourself??? I guess it is in your nature.

They understood my colon cancer pretty well, the sequenced it to make sure I was a candidate for Erbitux.

When they assert that the vaccines are preventing severe disease are they checking that against the current strain? If the virus indeed mutated to be less dangerous or less likely to cause severe disease how is the vaccine claimed to have this effect? Couldn’t it be mere correlation? If we don’t know what strain each vaccinated individual caught who didn’t go to the hospital, how can we know?

We are not into analysing vaccine strains. It is hoe man severe cases vaccines prevent, regardless of strain,

You can’t know that. The virus getting less virulent is a confounder that has to be dealt with or all you have is simple correlation.

We must prevent COVID regardless of strain. Knowing strain would be useful i we have a strain specific vaccine..

We don’t know that the vax prevents COVID in the current strain since -at least the original series is based on the original strain. The current strain is less virulent; hence benefits attributed to the vaccine may just be benefits of the virus weakening.

There are other studies than original clinical trials, do you know that ? Even better, they are not sponsored by pharma.

Instead of just asking questions, we could look for answers. And instead of just asking how can we know, let’s look at my 4 step science methodology.
1. Does it work? i.e. do Covid-19 vaccinations reduce the rate of hospitalizations and death compared to the unvaccinated?

A good first start is this study published a couple months ago from last winter into April 2022.
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2796235

In this cross-sectional study of US adults hospitalized with COVID-19 during January 2022 to April 2022 (during Omicron variant predominance), COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates were 10.5 times higher in unvaccinated persons and 2.5 times higher in vaccinated persons with no booster dose, respectively, compared with those who had received a booster dose. Compared with unvaccinated hospitalized persons, vaccinated hospitalized persons were more likely to be older and have more underlying medical conditions.

I couldn’t find the variant prevalence graph from that far back, but this was when BA.4 and 5 were starting to replace the original Omicron variant.

This doesn’t included mortality data. But check out Figure 2 which has age-group graphs for hospitalization by vaccination and booster status. They all show significant protection throughout the period for all age groups.

How well does it work? For this, let’s look at more recent CDC data on mortality by vaccination status.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/data-review/vaccines.html

In particular, look at Figure 10
This figure shows deaths per 100K for adults over 50. At the peak in mid-July there were about 10 deaths per 100K for unvaccinated people compared with only 2 for those with the primary series or with one booster. And those with a second booster had only about 1 death per 100K at that time.

as an aside, there is this note

Variants became the predominant circulating strain (representing >50% of sequenced isolates) during the following weeks: Delta (B.1.617.2) during the week ending June 26, 2021; Omicron B.1.1.529 during the week ending December 25, 2021; Omicron BA.2 subvariant during the week ending March 26, 2022, and Omicron BA.5 subvariant during the week of July 2,2022. These periods are classified as: Delta (July–October 2021), early Omicron (January–March 2022), later Omicron (April–June 2022), and Omicron BA.5 (July–October 2022).

In the last 4 weeks or so, BQ.1 and 1.1 have become the most common variants.

How does it work? A complete discussion of the immune system would better be handled by reading Sompayrac’s book. But we have extensive tests showing that all four vaccines authorized in the U.S. generate antibodies which neutralize the different variants with varying effectiveness. (much less for the BQ variants) Also, they produce memory T cells and B cells which recognize a new infection even after the antibody levels wane and are mainly responsible for protecting against severe disease including hospitalization and death.
How can we make it work better? That is the big question right now. The bivalent boosters are the best effort at the moment. Lab tests show they neutralize the newer variants somewhat better, but how this translates into a clinical benefit remains to be seen. In particular the benefit for younger adults seems to be less. Someone will undoubtedly do a follow-on to the Havers study I cited next year and that should give us real data to base a decision on.

A lot to dispute here, but first: they are pushing ambivalent booster BEFORE they know if there is a clinical benefit? So unknown risk/reward do it because we say so? Isn’t that an illustration of the problem we skeptics are harping on?

The original vaccine RCT trials didn’t have clinical benefit as a primary endpoint, although they did count hospitalizations and deaths which showed a benefit of the vaccines. The primary goal was protection from symptomatic disease.
But now we are shooting at a moving target with BA.4 and 5 on the rise when these formulations were being developed and starting to be replaced by BQ.1 and 1.1, which are already making our current antibody cocktails ineffective. So the ACIP recommended and the FDA authorized the revised booster formulations for Pfizer and Moderna while the phase 2/3 trials were being geared up. And now the preliminary results are starting to come in.
For Moderna
N Engl J Med 2022; 387:1279-1291
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2208343

The bivalent omicron-containing vaccine mRNA-1273.214 elicited neutralizing antibody responses against omicron that were superior to those with mRNA-1273, without evident safety concerns.

and for Pfizer

Bivalent booster elicited approximately 4-fold higher neutralizing antibody titers against Omicron BA.4/BA.5 sublineages compared to the original COVID-19 vaccine in individuals older than 55 years of age
One-month after a 30-µg booster dose of the bivalent vaccine, Omicron BA.4/BA.5-neutralizing antibody titers increased 13.2-fold from pre-booster levels in adults older than 55 years of age and 9.5-fold in adults 18 to 55 years of age, compared to a 2.9-fold increase in adults older than 55 years or age who received the original booster vaccine
Safety and tolerability profile of bivalent booster remains favorable and similar to the original Covid-19 vaccine

The risk of the original formulations was already established to be low so the ACIP recommended following the flu vaccine strategy of just updating the antigen to match circulating strains. And the trials are showing this to be safe.

AFIK no one was told they have to get the bivalent booster, at least not in the general population. So far about 15 million people including myself have taken advantage of the opportunity.

And as I noted before, we will find out when studies like the one I linked to are published after the current respiratory disease season how much the benefit proves to be.

Now, do you have any information to contribute to the discussion?

Is this the one after which the director of the CDC was sick for 3 straight weeks with ‘mild’ Covid? Sounds effective.😒

@john labarge You just do not get it,do you? Vaccines are not 100% effective, so somebody can get the disease. It does not mean that everyone get th disease.

@JustaTech

“The world is full of people studying the causes of and cures for cancers. (Cancers plural, it’s not a singular disease.) There are dozens of conferences every year on every aspect of cancer research and treatment, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

New treatments, cures and understandings aren’t found by people claiming to be “rebels”, they’re found by people working together, and working hard.”

Oh they are working hard, that is so reassuring. More money, more time, any day now …

And you never heard of an important cure, discovery or invention accomplished by one person working independently? Never? Are you sure? Groupthink is not always so productive.

Perhaps you mention one cure developed by an indepenent person ? I want to know what you mean with independent.

And you never heard of an important cure, discovery or invention accomplished by one person working independently? Never? Are you sure?

Kill the suspense. Name one. With data to show it works.

I hear that plenty of cancer cures have been developed by people working independently. They patent their cures through InventHelp, but then the medical establishment quashes them to protect their stock in Big Pharma.

Just ask George Foreman, he’ll clue you in.

Tbh much of this sounds feasible.

Only to people prone to conspiracies. Kind of like the amazing carburetors that gave cars such amazing gas mileages that automakers suppressed them.

You clowns are really sad: never have evidence but always know people who do are bought off.

Moser, H.W., Moser, A.B., Hollandsworth, K. et al. “Lorenzo’s Oil” Therapy for X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy: Rationale and Current Assessment of Efficacy. J Mol Neurosci 33, 105–113 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12031-007-0041-4
Not a miracle cure, even less something Inie Rebel would like.

“And you never heard of an important cure, discovery or invention accomplished by one person working independently? ”

Excuse me? Who do you think is washing the glassware or ordering the reagents or maintaining the mouse colony or keeping the instruments up and running, or making sure the freezers have enough liquid nitrogen or keeping the radiation license up to date or all the other things that have to work correctly for any research to get done? It’s sure as shooting not one person alone in a basement!

Do you have ANY idea what is involved in modern biological or medical research? Even the most basic science work is done in a group. Usually there is a lead researcher, but it all just takes more hands and more hours than a single person has.

And then we get to things like a clinical trial, which takes dozens and dozens of people and organizations.

but sure, you walk on down to City of Hope or MD Anderson and tell them they’re just fapping about wasting money.

Or better yet, you could tell all those University of California post-docs (the ones on strike) that the $27,000 salary they’re getting is too much.

News flash to IR: all the low hanging fruit has been picked. All the easy answers have been found. Now we’ve moved on to the hard stuff, and guess what, it’s hard! A lot of things don’t work! That’s science.

It took more than 30 years for the idea of a CAR-T cancer treatment to come to fruition. Because it was hard. Because a lot of new technology had to be invented. And it’s taken thousands of people in dozens of fields to make it happen.

Humph. I remember Tom Swift combining AC and DC electricity to make a Tom Swift special searchlight. That’s how simple science is.

@ Indie Rebel

Once more, you write: “It is not possible that medical doctors who dissent from the mainstream medical consensus could be basing their opinions on logic and evidence. No, that is not possible, because Orac KNOWS the mainstream consensus is always correct. And it is always correct because it is formed by experts who know better than all the rest of us.”

There is one medical association led by antivaxxers; but it also maintains among other things that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. It has about 500 members out of far more than one million doctors in US, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Also, emphasizes conspiracy theories. So, 500 doctors, must be intelligent to have made it through medical school, and, of course, educated in medicine; yet, one of their major positions is HIV doesn’t cause AIDS as well as downplaying Covid and antivaxxers. So, maybe you agree that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS??? The research is literally overwhelming; but these 500 are prime examples that intelligence and education doesn’t mean someone is credible. I guess, since Orac includes them in his article, one more example of your belief that Orac shouldn’t criticize people who disagree with him, actually not disagreeing with him; but disagreeing with overwhelming science.

“Experts who know better than all the rest of us.” Yep, because they base their consensus on reviews of research, feedback from others not on the panel, etc. and, yep, expert compared to morons like you who don’t even understand immunology, that is, how vaccines simply mimic antigenic determinants to bring about memory cells, without actually causing suffering, etc.

What is non experts can know is that with Time there have been extensive changes in what experts think they know, that past vaccines have taken way longer to come to market and as late as 2017 mRNA was plagued with problems. We can also know that the so-called officials benefit from the vaccines with various degrees of directness ranging from direct campaign contributions or stock ownership to nod and wink job opportunities at manufacturers down the line. And all this adds up to allowing time for the truth to come out/expert opinions to find more accuracy.

@ johnlabarge

The first placebo controlled randomized clinical trials were conducted shortly after World War II. The 1954-1955 Salk polio vaccine trials were placebo controlled randomized clinical trials and these are the basis of subsequent vaccines, INCLUDING THE mRNA Covid vaccines. So, no change in expertise for vaccine trials.

You write: “as late as 2017 mRNA was plagued with problems.” Give a legitimate reference; but even so, who carers if the problems were effectively dealt with! ! !

You write: “We can also know that the so-called officials benefit from the vaccines with various degrees of directness ranging from direct campaign contributions or stock ownership to nod and wink job opportunities at manufacturers down the line. And all this adds up to allowing time for the truth to come out/expert opinions to find more accuracy.”

As I’ve written umpteen times before all products on market are produced for profit. Doesn’t say if good, bad, or some combination. So, yep, companies producing mRNA covid vaccines want to make a good profit. The current mRNA vaccines have been studied, tested, with now over two year follow-ups, not just in US; but in numerous nations around the world. So, actually expert opinion, if anything, even stronger that vaccines work with minimal risk. Nothing in this life is totally risk free; but risk from vaccine minuscule compared to from natural Covid, including myocarditis, much much higher from natural Covid.

You write that because Omicron less virulent than previous, confounding; yet, statistics have found that the first vaccines still confer reasonable protection against variants, perhaps allowing some illness; but far fewer hospitalizations and deaths than among non-vaccinated. I won’t bother giving international stats because I realize that nothing will change your warped mind. And you also ignore that, though less virulent, Omicron much more transmissible so more infected, thus even if less virulent per person, higher risk that some will suffer quite a bit and the data on hospitalizations where Omicron predominant show this.

Personally, I was in Moderna phase 3 clinical trials, eventually received both, then two boosters, then bivalent booster, and if they come up with another booster, I, at 76, will be first in line. And, compared to you, Indie Rebel, etc. I have studied, etc immunology, microbiology, and epidemiology for over 40 years and when they advertised for volunteers for Moderna clinical trial i first devotes several weeks to reviewing chapter in textbooks and downloading around 100 recent peer-reviewed journal articles before deciding to volunteer.

There was an early appearance of “placebo” in medical trials in 1863. A researcher named Flint (I forget the first name) compared how patients with rheumatic fever responded to the then regular treatment to the response of patients to whom he gave a placebo (he had another name for it that also escapes me) but his paper was, if I remember grad school stuff correctly) the first time placebo was used in this context.

“with Time there have been extensive changes in what experts think they know”

…while shill gambit-playing amateurs like labarge keep spouting the same senseless drivel over and over.

“with Time there have been extensive changes in what experts think they know”

Yes. That’s the [email protected]#king point. It’s called learning. I’m sure you managed some of it at some point, before you stopped and decided all you needed was politics.

Well, you do wonder why Browning/Colt didn’t go straight to the 1911. I mean, that’s only a bunch of springs, levers and tubes. Not exactly immune system complexity.

Attn @David:

Would it be to hard for you to supply some Data? As you said, we should take your statements with a grain of salt…

I wrote numerous posts on the UKHSA case rate/hospitalization rate/death rate statistics and would be delighted to mention sources as well.

To get these reports, search google for: UKHSA COVID-19 vaccine weekly surveillance reports

The case rate/hospitalization rate/death rate statistics report was published in PDF form weekly until Week 13 of 2022. You can review week 13 report and look backwards into previous weeks also, it goes back to summer of 2021.

There reports were a fancy idea to show how amazingly do Covid vaccines work by showing British people the absolute numbers and the case rates as to convince them to get vaccinated. And indeed, in the beginning, they showed some vaccine effectiveness for cases and GREAT effectiveness against deaths. Almost right away, however, effectiveness in all three categories began to decline, death protection declining the slowest.

By the time these reports were discontinued in April 2022, the rates became ridiculous. Effectiveness against CASES became vastly NEGATIVE. Case rates among boosted Brits were 3-4 times HIGHER than among the unvaccinated. Case/death rate reports were discontinued due to orders from above.

There was a big brouhaha about it with open letters from high officials published and fake fact checks written, relating to “denominators” in case rate calculations. But UKHSA denominators were correct and based on lists of NIMS named persons eligible for vaccination. As of April 13, death protection still existed but became minimal, I do not recall exactly but something like 10-30% death protection on the backdrop of vastly higher case rates among the vaccinated.

There are several tables in each report.

Table 11-13 show cases/hospitalizations/deaths in absolute numbers and table 14 shows case RATES per 100,000.

You absolutely SHOULD take my statements with a grain of salt! I take yours with a big grain of salt also after all.

As for the specific numbers, I would love to compile them and/or cite them for you also. Take a look first and I will be glad to discuss them further if you are interested.

Just that they decide to stop reporting this tells you everything you need to know about whether you should trust health officials.

Unfortunately you haven’t a f$%king clue about the NHS. Since it costs them money for every vaccine, the instant it makes sense they’ll stop sending out the invites.

Sure. Download Week 13 report using instructions I provided above. (if you cannot do it there is no point talking further)

(someone commented that I am “picking weeks”. I am not. Week 13 is the last report that provides this data. Previous weeks results are just as bad – look at weeks 10-12 if you want. )

Look at table 13 (deaths by vaccination status) You will see that over 90% of COVID deaths in that week were in vaccinated people. Add numbers in the “Total deaths” column and compare to numbers in “Unvaccinated” column. Note that despite that, there were some remnants of vaccine Covid death protection if stratified by age, see below.

Now look at table 14. Unadjusted rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation and death in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

Covid Case rate in boosted persons 40-49 years of age = 3,958 per 100,000 boosted persons.

Covid vase rate in UNVACCINATED persons 40-49 years of age = 779 per 100,000 unvaccinated persons.

So the boosted persons 40-49yo, have 3958/779 = 5 TIMES greater case rate.

Now look at death rates 40-49. Boosted people 0.6 per 100,000, unvaccinated people 0.7 per 100,000.

Now look at death rates 50-59. Boosted people 1.2 per 100,000, unvaccinated people 2.4 per 100,000.

So you see boosted people endlessly reinfected with covids, but still dying somewhat less. At the time there still was “covid death protection”.

That was the last week of such reporting. It was discontinued.

There is one neat metric politicians don’t want you to know: many more republicans died from coronavirus than did democRats though there are more democrats (voter suppression works!). They probably could have used those extra 500,000 in these last rounds of voting. Just sayin’ grinny, grinny, grim grin .

@Bobby, I am glad that you brought that up!

Much of that “Republicans” story was due to age difference and they had a huge age bucket 18-64, if I recall correctly.

The trends, if any, have reversed in early summer of 2022, and excess total mortality is strongly associated with vaccination rate, by country (28 or so countries’ data available) or by UK economic deprivation quintile.

The worst part is that the strength of the association is increasing:

the slope or the line is going up
the R squared
the P value is sharply decreasing, already being low (the lower is P value, the less likely is the outcome be due to random chance).

This is the most undesirable trend as far as I am concerned, and I hope it goes away soon. I have vaxed associates and I am very concerned.

Igor – What’s the point? You have an amazing ability to find the specific point that confirms your bias, possibly only passed by your desire to see yourself as a ‘critical thinker’. I am constantly in awe…

As for this latest example of confirmation bias, what do you want to know? Why people who are unvaccinated are not testing positive (as apposed to whether they are being tested… see note 1)?
It’s interesting to see that the disease is so much more severe for those unvaccinated (if you accept the infection rates, as you seem to…). For example, in those at high risk (+80), the rates of infection are 2K vs 776 per 100K (vaccinated vs unvaccinated), but the risk of ER visit is 117 vs 123 per 100K, which is 3-times higher for unvaccinated (117 out of 2K, vs 123 out of 776. The mortality rate (death per 100K) is twice as high, while the CFR is 5-times higher among unvaccinated – if we take the case number at face value, as you record we do. But should we? We’ve known for some while that there is a possible over counting of unvaccinated, leading to a (artificially) low infection rate.

BTW – This would calculate as VE of 80% at preventing death. Not bad!

It does raise the possibility that unvaccinated are not getting tested at the same rate as vaccinated. Is this ideological? Or just a lack of understanding? Seems a shame that so many people have been convinced to place ideology above their own health. I wonder who’s been telling them that vaccines don’t prevent serious disease and death…

You do realize the irony of claiming confirmation bias while also claiming there is no point in looking at data that doesn’t confirm your own opinion right?

Hi. Regarding not getting tested: people who were admitted to hospital or emergency department were all tested, so there is no bias. I believe at the time the UK still was testing a lot of people.

Regarding death protection: if one group (the vaxed) has three times the number of cases, it is a mistake to count risk per case — when the vaxed are having cases several times more often!

You need to look at overall risk (which is what Table 14 shows). It was still lower for the vaxed, but barely so — and the protection was dwindling with every week.

@Igor
If you want to state that vaccinated are getting more infected, based on this report, then you can’t disregard the same data point when dealing with disease severity (if you want to be take seriously). So what is it?

And the second question, based on the data set you’ve selected, is: is the protection from vaccination >40% – or 80%?

@Igor
I’m confused – you don’t want to take the infection data into consideration? Do you accept it – or not? Or maybe you want to only use that data when it supports you preselected conclusion? Sounds like cherry picking to me.
Maybe we have different definitions of ‘critical thinker’.

@ Igor Chudov

It isn’t worth going into detail as you have shown time and time again that you really don’t understand even simple arithmetic. You are just one more sick individual with your own “website” who believes his own delusions

Everyone who fails to worship at the alter of vaccines is a sick individual. Can’t wait for that 6th booster 😂

@ johnlabarge

You write: “Just that they decide to stop reporting this tells you everything you need to know about whether you should trust health officials.”

So, you don’t trust them, then automatically assume facts not in evidence. First and foremost I don’t automatically trust any single source; but I have been following the Covid pandemic since its beginning, including downloading and reading papers from around the world, including in several other language; e.g., Swedish, French. Do you really think that health officials in so many different nations would all lie about covid and vaccines, literally sell out their own populations? A few might; but literally all??? You continue to display what a sick ignorant individual you are?

And not once have you together with several others indicated the least understanding of viruses, immunology, and hence vaccines.

@ johnlabarge

Even in the US there are more than one source for covid pandemic data; e.g., Johns Hopkins University, individual state health departments, media (e.g., New York Times), and on and on it goes. And I’m not sure what you couldn’t find as the CDC, FDA, etc have several different websites with current covid case data, etc. Here are some websites/articles: How to Compare COVID Deaths for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated People. Scientific American
Catalina Jaramillo (2022 Apr 1). COVID-19 Data Comparing Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Continue to Be Available, Contrary to Viral Posts. Factcheck.org

@ johnlabarge

You write: “I know. How man Hail Mary’s til your saved? How many boosters til you’re saved?”

First, really dumb to mix religion with medical science. Boosters don’t “save” you, they reduce significantly your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. I have absolutely NO problem getting a booster several times per year for Covid. Though the evidence is strong that because of my previous vaccines, including boosters, that I am somewhat protected against severe illness, hospitalizations, and death, understanding Covid based on extensive study built on my understanding of virology, immunology, and epidemiology, at 76 the risk of a serious adverse event from a booster is exponentially lower than the risk from Covid, especially given that Omicron is much more transmissible. I prefer to err on the side of caution.

Getting a booster shot a few times a year is nothing. I have had friends who were type 1 diabetics and had to give themselves insulin shots daily. I have had other friends with various autoimmune diseases who have had to give themselves various types of shots. So, I consider myself lucky that even at my age all I need to get is a booster once in a while.

You just continue to display your moronic approach to things. Once again, conflating religious prayers with medicine just one example.

How much have they tested getting LNPs injected without aspiration every few months? My guess is not.

Not this old chestnut again.
Vaccines are not directly injected into the bloodstream/

Every time you bring “Aspiration” before injections up, you prove what a complete lack of knowledge you possess about physiology or actual medical practice.

I explained why once, ad nauseum, to you or one of your other socks (I mean, ahem, fellow antivaxxers.) as such, I’m not wasting time doing so again.

you think you’re so clever with this crap. You feel doubly-clever because you can cast aspersions on the poor RN or MA by insinuating that, not only are they part of the vax conspiracy, they’re incompetent.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to feel clever. I’m going over to an astrophysics forum to tell them how they didn’t preheat the laser and all of their conclusions about the universe are wrong in addition to them being incompetent.

So I clicked through to the study john linked.

Intravenous Injection of …COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Can Induce Acute Myopericarditis in Mouse Model

A study done on mice. In addition…

A correction has been published: Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 73, Issue 12, 15 December 2021, Pages 2372–2373, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciab941

Pretty weak tea.

Is that a technical term? Because the study is consistent with the results in the real world. It would be if it weren’t’ likely that young men weren’t getting myocarditis from the vaccine at a higher rate than from the disease. https://www.cmaj.ca/content/194/45/E1529

Oh yeah I know about the 7 times more likely propaganda study.

Which you can also get from covid. Which anti-vaxxers claim we’ll all get anyway so…..

I think you can better avoid myocarditis with knowledge rather than guessing, just as you can better avoid traffic with your eyes open – but you do you. As everyone who ever met you has learned, you can lead a horse’s ass to knowledge, but you can make him think.

I’m positive I think more than most folks here who shill for the vax.

Just because you do something doesn’t mean you are any good at it. The available evidence says you are rather bad at it.

“I’m positive I think more than most folks here who shill for the vax.”

That’s what all the conspiracy nuts say.

I’m pretty sure that my dog thinks all day long, but he’s never going to grow thumbs and get into the fridge.

Apart from the general one about all the pro vaccine people being paid for their opinions …

However, I was pointing out that tin foil hatted nutters also think that they know the real truth and that everyone else is a sheeple.

Tin foil hat nutters like those who think the lab leak theory is the most plausible? Weird seems maybe even that describes Fauci now…

@ johnlabarge

You write: “How much have they tested getting LNPs injected without aspiration every few months? My guess is not.”

You apparently don’t understand that a lipid is a simple fat and nanoparticles are much smaller than microscopic. I suggest you do some research in how much fat we inhale when cooking, especially frying. Your comments just get more and more absurd.

By the way, do you close toilet lid when flushing. Otherwise, how much feces do you inhale?

@ johnlabarge

One more point. If any of the lipid nanoparticles were to leak during an injection they would be even much much smaller and likely would fall downwards, not upwards to be inhaled; but if happened would be a minuscule amount of nanoparticles. You really are an IDIOT.

I would suggest that instead of obsessing as an idiotic antivaxxers that you worry about the toxins we all get in air and water from fossil fuels, conservatively estimated to cause 100,000 premature deaths and many more chronic health conditions. You should also think about plastics, found in the air, water, and even blood of infants.

Nope, you focus on vaccines that have many decades of research showing highly beneficial, minuscule risk compared to actual diseases, research including 100s of thousands of papers on mRNA, immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, and clinical trials, ignoring ALL we know about toxins from fossil fuels and increasing amounts of plastics in our bodies. Yep, focus on something that has overwhelming research as beneficial and ignore other significant real risks.

Toxins in the air and food don’t go straight to the bloodstream. The body isn’t designed that way. I guess all these folks are also idiots or should it be all caps 🙄…?

“The pseudoscience of Anti-Vaxxers – are vaccines injected direct into the bloodstream, and bypass the immune system, looks at the anatomy and physiology of the human body’s processing of extra-cellular fluid – which includes vaccines. No vaccine is injected directly into the bloodstream. IM and/or Subcut injections, into extra-cellular space in either a muscle or the fatty tissue over the muscle, are moved from that site of injection via the Lymph system. There is NO physiological way for veins and arteries to diffuse the ECM fluid at the site of injection. No vaccine bypasses the immune system. In fact, the opposite is true. Vaccine ingredients are taken up by the Lymphatics, and have to go through Lymph Nodes, packed with B-lymphocytes. Both assumptions that vaccines are “injected directly into muscle” and “vaccines bypass the immune system” are completely false.”

http://researchgate.net/publication/331729469_The_pseudoscience_of_Anti-Vaxxers_-_are_vaccines_injected_direct_into_the_bloodstream_and_do_they_bypass_the_immune_system

So no, John, vaccines do not go “straight to the bloodstream.”

Question: have you ever felt embarrassment over your blatant errors and apologized for any of them?

So you are saying there is no chance that a jab accidentally ends up in a vein or artery when not aspirated? (When not checking to see whether you’ve hit a blood vessel?)

Look, genius, those vessels are under pressure. PRESSURE. PRESSURE. If you nick one, stuff flies out until the clotting cascade closes it. Nothing is going IN. Not in normal, healthy tissue. The nearly-zero pressure lymphatics provide a drain.

I have directly observed this probably six dozen times under ultrasound guidance with needles and holes a helluva lot bigger than vaccine needles. FFS, man. Just STOP. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. You JUST DON’T.

What none of the aspiration fans have even attempted to explain in anything I’ve ever seen is why the identified adverse effect of myocarditis is almost entirely limited to a particular population. Does that population have deltoid muscles with much greater vascularization than those outside that population? I’m not at all convinced they’ve ever given that question a moment’s thought.
They also seem to be unaware that aspiration was routinely done in days of yore but discontinued based on evidence that it not warranted.

The theory is indeed that young men have larger/more vasculature around the deltoid. https://pmj.bmj.com/content/postgradmedj/early/2021/09/28/postgradmedj-2021-141119.full.pdf

Novavax which has also shown myocarditis has only two things in common with the mRNA jabs: 1) LNPs and 2) resulting spike protein of various distribution) (though through differing mechanisms (host cell manufacture versus spike protein in the jab itself))

Logic says it’s one or both these that is the likely cause of this adverse events and there are ancillary studies (which I’m not sure they were filtered out of previous comments) confirming parts of this hypothesis. It’s at least, since young men are dying, worth serious consideration by the medical community. Moreover there is also at least one study linking myocarditis to the vaccine rather than COVID infection (further confirming this hypothesis).

Interestingly, if not aspirating is the cause then the vax itself is cleared and the mitigation doesn’t even have to be anti-vax, just being more careful and less arrogant. Which brings me to one of my reasons for distrust: apparent arrogance and lack of curiosity from most in mainstream medicine.

“So you are saying there is no chance that a jab accidentally ends up in a vein or artery when not aspirated?”

Well, I checked a few diagrams of vein and artery positions near vaccinations that I’ve had. It would seem that it IS possible to stab you in one or the other if the person injecting you is pissed as a newt.

Of course, if you spend all day listening to [email protected]#kwits going on about microchips, you might be tempted to do it out of sheer rage.

The theory is indeed that young men have larger/more vasculature around the deltoid.

If there is anything in that speculative, rather badly written and speculation filled letter that says anything about differences in vasculature in the deltoid muscles of young men, it is going to have to be pointed out to me because I can’t see it.
There are some distinct signs in that letter that its author doesn’t really know much about “conventional” vaccines. He does have a fondness for citing himself – specifically, other letters he’s written.

Oops. Messed up my editing of my redundant sentence. But then repetition about speculation is not inappropriate.

“Which brings me to one of my reasons for distrust: apparent arrogance and lack of curiosity from most in mainstream medicine.”

I imagine that this is why no one likes airline pilots. Spend hours and hours on a plane and not once does the pilot give you a running commentary detailing flap settings, hydraulic pressure and that funny noise when the starboard toilet is flushed. Probably means that the pilot is really spending the flight playing with a phone and eating all the deserts.

Toxins in the air and food don’t go straight to the bloodstream.

I suggest you test that out with a cigarette.

Actually “toxins” in air (“toxin” is rarely correct terminology here) and in food (where there may be true toxins in the accepted sense of the word) DO enter the bloodstream quite readily and directly. Drugs are routinely administered by both routes. Inhaled drugs – or poisons – can act very quickly.

@Igor Chudov About your probabilities about a Moderna patented gene sequence in SARS CoV 2. Moderna patented a human gene involved in DNA repair (among numerous other cancer related genes). SARS CoV 2 is a RNA virus, and to replicate it must replicate RNA, too. Sometimes it would replicate and incorporate human RNA.

A virus cannot “evolve in bat caves” and yet incorporate HUMAN related genes. Yes, somehow Sars-Cov-2 picked up these genes.

Possibly (the reverse complement bit suggests) it was from being serially passed on Moderna’s patented MSH3_mut cell line.

Again, the sequence does not prove that “Moderna designed Sars-Cov-2”. It means that Sars-Cov-2 is a lab construct.

This sequence is a big mystery. Many questions arise about it. It is not in some random place on the virus — it incorporates and surrounds the furin cleavage site, the prime real estate on the virus genome. So it is very unlikely to be a random artifact, even of serial passage.

My own opinion is that we do not yet understand fully the story of that Moderna sequence and there is much to be learned. The real question may be: why it is in the Moderna patented sequence.

SARS-COV-2 has not incorporated human-related genes. The sequence in question is far, far to short to constitute a gene. It is about long enough to code a single epitope to which the immune system might respond.
You have still FAILED to explain how this 19 nucleotide sequence could be “inserted” without being lethal, nor have you shown any evidence of understanding of why that would be expected.
Yes, it is clear that there is very much which you must learn.

Again, the sequence does not prove that “Moderna designed Sars-Cov-2”. It means that Sars-Cov-2 is a lab construct.

Since your “sequence” is not what you claim it is your statement that about it being a lab construct is bullshit. Your history of not understanding jack shit but still construction lies is not blemished. Have you been taking lessons from labarge?

I’ve challenged him a couple of times to explain how it would be possible to insert a 19 nucleotide sequence into a coding region without it being “lethal” to the virus, but he hasn’t even attempted a reply that might show some understanding of the issue. And of course there is the question of why anyone would undertake to make such an insertion. It simply makes no prima facie sense.

Of course! And that is why the virus sequence is a REVERSE COMPLEMENT of the Moderna MSH3 patented sequence

That is not how it works. The Moderna sequence would be chemically unable to be incorporated into the + RNA strand.

@ Igor Chudov

As usual, you literally don’t know what you are talking about. Here are two article that clearly explain how Covid came originally from bats, then passed on to animals. You have made it clear over and over that you don’t understand immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, genetics, etc. You really are a FOOL:

Jonathan E. Pekar et al. (2022 Aug 26). The molecular epidemiology of multiple zoonotic origins of SARS-CoV-2. Science; 377

Worobey (2022 Aug 26). The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Science; 377

“still sticking with the bat thing”

Since, you know, science, indicates that, yeah.

Except that you don’t know — you’re understanding of science is zero, as you repeatedly demonstrate.

@ Igor Chudov

You write: “A virus cannot “evolve in bat caves” and yet incorporate HUMAN related genes. Yes, somehow Sars-Cov-2 picked up these genes.”

As Doug wrote: “The sequence in question is far, far to short to constitute a gene.”

But first an analogy: If I write a book and copywrite it, do I then own all the phrases, all the prepositions, etc.? Of course not.

There are only four nucleotides that compose DNA and RNA. A combination of three of these make a codon which codes for one amino acid. There are only 20 amino acids and 64 codons, so several three nucleotide codons code for the same amino acid. This is called degeneracy. And sequences of amino acids make proteins. It is exactly the same nucleotides, the same codons that code for viruses, bacteria, and human genes. And just as with a copywriter book, other books and papers will contain some of the same phrases, etc and so given only four nucleotides, in a long sequence such as the COVID virus, sections will have the same sequences. I already gave a couple of articles above that explain how COVID came from bats. Quite simply they found a number of corona viruses in bats that were very close to the COVID virus. Only a few mutations needed and RNA viruses do lots of mutations. In addition, besides mutations, they can exchange sections, etc. And finally, evidence that the precursor of COVID infected various animals.

The fact that you don’t even know that genes, etc in viruses, bacteria, animals, and humans are composed of the exact same nucleotides just one more example of just how ignorant you are.

You’re pretty funny. A wonderful analogy and explanation that is relatively brilliantly constructed. And then you just get back in the mud and let the insults fly.

@ johnlabarge

You write: “Still sticking with the bat thing.”

Nope, not sticking with the bat thing; but sticking with the science! ! !

Well, here goes:
amongst other developments in woo-world, I watched a new film on TWITTER, thanks to their marvelous innovations, called Died Suddenly and it’s spectacularly awful, featuring Kirsch and calamari clots. 68 minutes.
Elon makes it easier to spread CTs, BS and gossip.

Mike Adams should just call his site ‘Christian Natural News’.

Null is developing an intentional community at his Texas estate where guests can exercise, eat vegan meals, “learn” and create businesses based upon his models- sprouting, selling vegetables and making kim chi / vinegars for farmers’ markets -btw- you also pay room and board . No prices listed

Kirsch has turned record promoter, hyping a CD by “Five Times August”, a “music project” by a 39-year-old guy from Dallas named Brad Skistimas. The album, “Silent War” features protest songs about Fauci, fascism, wokeism and other dangerous isms, with a musical panache that makes The Refusers look good by comparison.

By now there have probably been enough hilariously lame antivax/Covid protest songs released to fill a themed album. Great Xmas gift idea for a cranky relative.

https://www.dallasobserver.com/music/the-funniest-songs-by-anti-vaxxers-12880218

@Igor Chudov About SARS CoV 2 and bat caves: Virus got out from the cave by infectin people.
But you have not answered a simple question: If SARS CoV 2 is spliced, were is the reporter gene ? Every splice organism mus have one.

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