|Letter in The Lancet, 18 February 2020|
I’m talking Covid here. The reason so many people lost faith in “the science” is because scientists (some, not all, but quite a few) did things to damage themselves and our faith in them. They fouled their own nests. In Aussie speak they cruelled their own pitches.
The above letter was the first example I came across. I felt cheated by it.
In early 2020 friends had asked me what I thought of a new theory (pushed by US congressman Tom Cotton, iirc) that the virus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan. I knew about the above letter, in The Lancet, the gold-star scientific medical journal. My response was “no, it’s not true; it’s just a conspiracy theory”, and quoted the above letter. As the letter says “Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus.” And who would want that? Especially so early in the pandemic, when we didn’t know how deadly it was. So I was a hard “no, it’s not true. It’s a conspiracy theory."
Imagine how I felt when it was revealed that the majority of the 27 scientists who had signed the letter had severe conflicts of interest. The majority had worked directly with the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Many now admit that the virus could indeed have been from a lab leak, from the WIV. But not before their reputations and that of science was trashed. With the help of lead signatory of the letter, Peter Daszak, who is even now getting more funding for Gain of Function research -- in the WIV !
The letter was an egregious lie. A lie that 27 signatories supported. Of whom we now know 19 had a conflict of interest, tied in some way to the WIV. All of the signatories, including even the “conflicted”, have by now admitted that the virus may have originated from a lab leak. (Imagine how much more we may have learned about the origins of the virus, had these people, these “scientists", had not muddied the waters as they did.)
That was the first but not the last or even the worst of what scientists did during the pandemic.
There’s the case we now know of Anthony Fauci’s own role in suppressing the lab leak theory. In emails released under FOI he pressured the virologist Kristian Anderson, to reverse his belief that the virus seemed to him to be man-made. And then — mirabilis!— Anderson received research money from Fauci’s Fund.
A while later, Fauci, under pressure from his then boss Francis Collins, scuppered the Great Barrington Declaration, the one by three eminent health experts and epidemiologists from Stanford, Harvard and Oxford. The GBD pushed for “focused protection”, a strategy that is now recognised as likely the most effective with the least cost to broader society. But which Fauci under orders from Collins, demonised. He called, infamously, the eminent doctors “fringe epidemiologists”.
And then we find that Pfizer did not test if the vaccine would stop transmission (and we now know it doesn’t) but all government officials and likes of Fauci & Co, told us unequivocally that it did. Another lie, which they knew was a lie when they told it.
This is not to buy into crazy conspiracies, to be a “climate sceptic” or a flat earther. But it is to say that the scientific community disgraced itself over Covid. Again, not all did. But lots did. Including some of our most senior. Anthony Fauci, much as he may be an eminence in his fields, ought be ashamed of himself. He did bad. Real bad. I find it hard to wish him a comfortable retirement.
Alexandros Marinos, number cruncher, has more here.