Iain Davis

Off – Guardian

Recently, leading anti-rationalist Dominic Lawson had his COVID 19 vaccine promotion pamphlet published by the Daily Mail with the headline “To win the war on Covid-19 we must inoculate Britain against the crazy anti-vaxxers.” Like many anti-rationalists Dominic seems to struggle with complex issues.

Certainly questioning anything they are told is unthinkable. Repeating information is where it’s at for the anti-rationalists.

Anti-rationalists are incapable of independent thought and need to be told what to believe by someone, some body or organisation, they consider to be important. They call these carefully selected important people and groups “reliable sources.”

It isn’t entirely clear what constitutes a reliable source for the anti-rationalist but they appear to range from globalist think tanks and appointed world health authority officials, to mainstream media hacks, multinational corporation spokespersons, the right scientists, fact checkers and government representatives.

For many anti-rationalists Dominic is one of those reliable sources. However, there is a pecking order and Dominic probably has his own favourite goto’s for information, though presumably Richard Tomlinson and Boris Johnson aren’t among them.

Given that virtually nothing he says in his article is plausible, let alone accurate, it is clear that veracity doesn’t have much to do with reliability for the anti-rationalists. If they can’t cherry pick the information they need to confirm their opinions, they just make it up.

ACCEPT EVERYTHING AND QUESTION NOTHING

Dominic get’s off to a flyer:

There is only one sure way to deal with the coronavirus which has plunged the world’s economy into recession and killed (so far) more than half a million people. A vaccine.”

The specific novel strain of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 may cause the associated respiratory syndrome of COVID 19. While Dominic doesn’t bother making this distinction, it is important to do so. Otherwise, he could be suggesting that half a million people have been killed by the common cold, which is what most coronavirus strains are.

I’m sure Dominic knows this isn’t just semantics. Something which so called fact checkers, the kind of reliable sources anti-rationalists prefer, have been keen to highlight.

When a 2020 study by Pentagon scientists of flu vaccinated U.S. military personnel found that vaccine interference increased the subjects risk of contracting coronavirus by 36%, the inaccurately named FactCheck were quick to point out that this didn’t specifically mean SARS-CoV-2. They said the vaccine study only showed an increased risk for coronavirus and that this is not the same as SARS-CoV-2. Despite Dominic’s slapdash approach, on this occasion, precision was important for the anti-rationalists.

The study was of service men and women inoculated between 2017 – 2019. This was before SARS-CoV-2 was discovered. This also means the Pentagon team weren’t testing for SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility. SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus, so FactCheck’s categorical statement that there is “no evidence” that the flu vaccine increases the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 is false. There is inconclusive evidence that this could be the case. FactCheck have got their facts wrong.

Evidence of this potential risk was also found in the paper by scientists from the University of Hong Kong who discovered almost a five-fold increase in susceptibility to non influenza respiratory viruses, including coronavirus, among flu vaccinated children.

Anti-rationalists will be quick to deny the existence of this science because that’s what they do whenever it doesn’t “fit” with their articles of faith.

Given that we know that COVID 19 is only a significant threat to the older people with comorbidities, and that this is the section of the population most extensively vaccinated with flu vaccines, the correlation and the existing scientific evidence would seem to warrant further investigation.

Something the anti-vaxxers at the British Medical Journal are willing to contemplate.

However, rather than call for urgent research to establish if vaccine interference from the flu shot could increase SARS-CoV-2 risks, Facebook’s anti-rationalist fact checking partners preferred instead to deny everything and suggest that vaccine interference isn’t a thing.

A quick search of Google Scholar reveals hundreds of papers and scientific articles discussing vaccine interference. Even the most cursory independent research is not something the anti-rationalists like to do.

A virus has very little to say about fiscal or monetary policy. However, government’s do. Dominic’s belief that a virus has caused global economic collapse is very silly. Of course it hasn’t, the political response to claims about a virus has.

Thus far this virus has supposedly affected about 0.15% of the global population and allegedly killed 0.007%. Though it seems, in the UK at least, there is reasonable doubt about the figures. Oxford University Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) reports that one of the main sources of mortality statistics in the UK, Public health England (PHE), have considerably overestimated deaths from COVID 19.

According to the World Health Organisation, if we accept the figures they report, COVID 19 is slightly less dangerous than a bad, though relatively common, seasonal influenza. Quite why COVID 19 necessitates plunging “the world’s economy into recession,” while flu doesn’t, is difficult to say. Still, Dominic thinks this all makes perfect sense, so that should be more than enough for his anti-rationalist followers.

I say “allegedly killed” because there is very little evidence that these people died “of” COVID 19. The vast majority of people who sadly died “with” COVID 19 were older people approaching, or already receiving, end of life care.

No one, including Dominic, knows how many of the people who died with COVID 19 died of COVID 19. Nor do we have much hope of ever finding out because the death registration process for COVID 19 produces a new from of mortality statistic which is almost perfectly useless.

This makes no difference to the anti-rationalists and they are willing to report that the virus has killed “more than half a million people” because that is what they have been told to think by their reliable sources. It is almost certainly a wildly inaccurate claim, but that’s no reason not to demand everyone else unquestioningly believe it in the myopic world of the anti-rationalists.

Off – Guardian