Hollow the Science

Science today is no different than any other subject area. It’s no longer about research; it’s all about narrative and agenda.  “Follow the Science” is really “Hollow the Science” until all that remains is the accepted, usually leftist narrative, and those who question it even with solid arguments must be neutralized. 

Consider climate change.  The Earth & Environmental Sciences Area (EESA) at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is huge, with the Climate Sciences Department alone with over 100 scientists.  Joe Biden has just committed $575 million for the Climate Resilience Regional Challenge (which I’ll abbreviate as CRoC).  Do you honestly think those receiving federal funding to investigate climate change are the most impartial voices on the matter?  As reported in an Epoch Times article perhaps too optimistically titled “Era of ‘Unquestioned and Unchallenged’ Climate Change Claims is Over,” after scientists published a credible article in a journal refuting some climate change gospel, rather than publish their own paper contesting the claims, a senior opinion editor at Scientific American and the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies went on a smear campaign, including attempting to discredit the authors and the journal editor by demanding their emails under FOIA.  The article claims that numerous scientists speaking out about the suppressive efforts were afraid to be quoted by name.  Here’s one who wasn’t (funny how often they are “emeritus”):

William Happer, Princeton professor emeritus of physics and former climate adviser to President Donald Trump, wasn't surprised by the response to the new findings.

“Of course the climate cult will be dismissive of any information -- no matter how scientifically correct -- that is politically incorrect," he told The Epoch Times, noting that the new findings made important and valid points.

Consider the CDC’s “COVID science.”  The CDC advocated for lockdowns despite the knowledge that they are ineffective and counterproductive.  It allowed Randi Weingarten and the teachers’ union to dictate its school-opening policy.  It has been making false and misleading statements about COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis.  Worst of all has been its behavior on masks.  From day one, the CDC chucked its own coronavirus handbook based on decades of research which stated masks are ineffective and not recommended for coronaviruses; you were not allowed to ask why.  The CDC then very unprofessionally defended its pro-mask stance by grasping at a report about the experience of two hairdressers, all while ignoring high-quality randomized studies with large sample size, like the Danish study, finding masks ineffective.  The CDC continues to defend its stance even after the definitive Cochrane meta-study conducted by prestigious authors came out saying all masks for corona and respiratory viruses are pretty much useless.  (The CDC director in congressional testimony actually had the gall to belittle high-quality randomized studies as inferior.  We’re talking the director of the CDC with a PhD in a related field.)  Unfortunately, the editor of the journal in which the Cochrane meta-study appeared folded under perceived pressure from a New York Times inquiry into the meta-study results and watered down her conclusion of the meta-study, permanently besmirching her own reputation.  (The fact that she felt she had to do this is chilling.)  The CDC hasn’t stopped there.  You may recognize the names Vinay Prasad and Mary Beth Høeg, epidemiologists from UCSF not afraid to speak out when they uncover excessive claims and faulty reasoning by the CDC.  They just published a pre-proofed journal article on the CDC’s reliance on mask articles.  As reported on October 6 by the Epoch Times:

One of the most influential federal health journals in the United States has published unsupported claims about the benefits of masks in preventing transmission of COVID-19, according to authors of a manuscript recently accepted for publication in The American Journal of Medicine.

The claims come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which has a powerfully persuasive effect on public health decision-making. How the studies published in the MMWR advance scientific understanding "remain largely opaque to the general public," the authors wrote in the pre-proofed paper. For this reason, the authors expressed, it is essential to dig into how agency conclusions -- and subsequent recommendations that affect citizens across the globe -- are made.

<font-size: 14px;"="">…researchers discovered questionable qualities in most of the studies -- qualities that could easily misrepresent results and confuse readers such as health care professionals, researchers, and the public. These qualities included poor study design, scarcity of statistical significance, dubious methods for assessing mask effectiveness, failure to cite conflicting data, and lack of randomization.

In other words, mostly low-quality studies often making dubious claims were published in the MMWR, and nevertheless these were used to steer CDC mask policy.  In case you can’t gain access to the full journal article, here are some excerpts:

In Figure 1, we show a total of 23/77 (29.9%) identified studies that assessed the effectiveness of masks, however, 58/77 (75.3%) stated masks were effective. Of these 58 studies, 41/58 (70.7%) used causal language and 40/58 (69.0%) used causal language inappropriately. One mannequin study allowed causal inference. 11/77 (14.3%) found a statistically significant inverse relationship between masking and cases. No studies (0/77; 0%) were randomized. 4/77 (5.2%) had a numerically higher number of cases in the mask group than the comparator group but all 4/4 (100%) concluded masks were effective. Of all publications included, 0/77 (0.0%) cited a randomized study or review of only randomized studies. Of all 58 studies stating masks were effective, only 1/58 (1.7%), which mainly focused on influenza mentioned conflicting data on mask effectiveness…

We found that, among the 77 studies identified pertaining to masks published in MMWR, 30% tested the effectiveness of masks, with 14% having statistically significant results, yet over 75% of all 77 studies concluded masks were effective. Of the 5% that reported higher case rates in the masked group than the comparator group, all concluded masks were effective. MMWR studies consistently drawing conclusions about mask effectiveness without supporting evidence is particularly problematic and difficult to justify considering the totality of randomized evidence about the use of surgical or N95 masks to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses has been negative.…

One Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Viewpoint described how, starting September 11, 2020, political appointees may have “demanded the ability to review and revise scientific reports” in MMWR, and concern was raised about “political appointees trying to influence the scientific process.”

Remember when Anthony Fauci first said masks don’t work, then said they do, and claimed he told a white lie the first time so that masks would be available for health care workers?  Well, I never bought that.  What I believe is that the first time he told the truth, and the second time he switched to the advancing mask narrative intended to scare us into lockdowns, distancing, and vaccines.

In post-plague or post-zombie outbreak end-of-the-world movies, survivors always say they’re going to attempt a dangerous trek on foot to the CDC in Atlanta hundreds of miles away, because if anyone found a cure, it would be the CDC.  How many feel that way now?

W.A. Eliot is a pseudonym

Image: Gratis Graphics

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