Nature recently published a survey showing how common online and other attacks on scientists trying to communicate science-based information are. The hatred is nothing new. What’s new are COVID-19 and social media.
Colton Berrett developed transverse myelitis at age 13 and as a result was left permanently disabled, with significant paralsysis. Four years later, he died, apparently by suicide. Polly Tommy and the VAXXED crew have been promoting the message that it was Gardasil that caused Colton’s disease and therefore killed him. When I explained why Gardasil almost certainly had nothing to do with Colton’s disease and death, I learned once again how “they” view “us.”
The pandemic has brought scientists who have rejected science with respect to COVID-19 public health measures a disturbing level of influence. Recent research suggests reasons why and who among the public susceptible to such misinformation remains persuadable.
Antivaccine activists and quacks often weaponize legitimate concerns about industry conflicts of interest in medicine into the “shill gambit,” in which they accuse critics and defenders of science-based medicine of being in the pay of big pharma. However, the rise of physician-influencers and, in particular, Subscription Substack show that not all conflicts of interest are from industry or even financial.
Minerva published an op-ed disguised as a “study” decrying “censorship and defamation.” It was really just criticism and quality control, but the usual suspects are all over it as evidence of evil.