The pseudoscience sewer

22 May 2020– I crossed paths the other day, in an online professional forum, with a cocksure fellow who – like far too many medical providers – is driven by a very un-Chaotic deference toward ‘expert’ authority, no matter how demonstrably bogus. 

I’ll call him Chip. We had fenced before: Back in late February, in the same forum, he took issue when I charged Deep State public-health operative Tony Fauci with deliberate fear-mongering. Fauci had kept repeating the pseudoscience canard that SARS-CoV-2 is ‘ten times more lethal than seasonal influenza.’ In fact, I pointed out, both denominators were at best wild guesstimates, and therefore so is the result. Chip seemed to think I was making a much more complex argument. He bypassed the arithmetic and trotted out a non-falsifiable objection. I saw it was pointless to argue, and politely disengaged.

The other day Chip popped up again in the same forum. He haughtily reminded a third colleague – a lockdown skeptic – that ‘some … have short memories’; that ‘new [Covid-19] cases are still on the rise’ in some areas, and therefore, ’the lockdowns will have to continue [there] for a few more weeks.’ He linked to hoary March graphs created by a software engineer who designs computer models – then remonstrated that we should trust ‘epidemiologists … not clinicians.’ (Software engineers, too, but not clinicians.)

Sorry, Chip. I’m going with the clinicians on this one. It’s more than just tribal loyalty: The epidemiologists have been wallowing in their own pseudoscientific filth for months now, trying to convince the public that that stench is the smell of ambrosia. 

In their lockdown advocacy, the epidemiologists completely overlooked the towering ‘curves’ that will be caused by delaying medical care for vastly more prolific killers than Covid-19 (eg cardiovascular disease, cancer and influenza complications like pneumonia and sepsis). We clinicians, on the other hand, never lost our focus on those boring old diseases. Together they kill way more people than Covid-19, and always will. 

The epidemiologists ignored the epidemiology of suicide, drug overdose and alcoholism, which – as we clinicians always knew – all spike predictably in tandem with unemployment and bankruptcy rates. 

It’s not clear the epidemiologists even know very much about viruses. I have yet to hear a CDC or NIH scientist use his bully pulpit to remind officials that respiratory viruses spread most efficiently indoors. That’s why we get colds & influenza more often in the wintertime – we’re indoors more, virus-laden droplets settle on common surfaces that we can’t avoid, etc. It’s easier to ‘socially distance’ outdoors. UV radiation kills coronaviruses. Breezes help disperse ‘em. 

Clinicians always knew this, and a lot of us have been shouting it from the rooftops. But where were Fauci and Birx? No wonder poor Governor Cuomo was so flabbergasted when he learned two-thirds of NYC’s recent Covid-19 dead had been staying indoors, just as they’d been instructed.

Right on cue, here comes CDC on May 21, trying to cover the epidemiologists’ asses by contradicting everything they and others have told us for months, years, decades: suddenly viruses aren’t spread from ‘surfaces.’ Where, pray, is the science behind that sudden revision? Nonsense: As with masks, they were right the first time.

Finally, of course, the rather dated March curves that Chip dusted off have largely been discredited by antibody tests showing virus is a couple orders of magnitude more widespread than we first thought. That suggests the curve flattened itself, long before we panicked and hid indoors. In any case – like Chip’s earlier defense of Fauci – they were non-falsifiable, like all computer-model-driven Covid-19 curves.

That is, such models attribute curve flattening that might well have occurred anyway (as it does every year with seasonal influenza; as antibody testing now suggests may already have occurred with Covid-19 before the lockdowns) to whatever ‘mitigation’ the designer favors. I love falsifiability: It’s the anchor of scientific method. Besides, ‘non-falsifiable’ is a useful, polite synonym for ‘pseudoscientific effluvia’ and more vulgar terms.

It troubles me that entrenched public-health bureaucrats and their defenders would ignore the heaps of corpses piling up from the real killers as they wail hysterically over the much smaller pile of Covid-19 victims (many of whom, we now know, actually died of something else). It’s almost as if they believe the lives of Covid-19 victims are intrinsically more worthy than those lost to other diseases. But it doesn’t surprise me. We’ve seen this before.

Every time some wacko shoots up a school or a WalMart with an AR-15, gun-control advocates demand a ban on so-called ‘assault rifles.’ They are almost always echoed by public health types in white coats (who often lack medical degrees.) Never mind that rifles kill fewer Americans every year than knives or hammers, which nobody wants to ban. Never mind that there’s no such thing as an assault rifle. Never mind that the previous assault weapons ban had no measurable impact on violent crime. To the advocates, the lives of individual mass shooting victims are intrinsically worth much more than the lives of those who are merely stabbed to death. And though rifles aren’t most people’s go-to for home defense, they will assuredly do the trick. So the lives saved by intervention of an armed citizen – there are hundreds of thousands of such interventions every year – are worth least of all.

Maybe it’s as simple as this: If you have ulterior motives for wanting to ban guns, a stabbing victim doesn’t help your cause. If you have ulterior motives for wanting the economy shut down, the people who die from the lockdown not only don’t help your cause, they hurt it. Consequently, they’re worth nothing to you.

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