The subtle art of distinguishing conspiracy theories from truth

Another week, and another young sportsman has had an on-field cardiac arrest. In this case it was the 29 year old captain of Luton Town F.C., who apparently has a previous collapse on the pitch with atrial fibrillation, had it surgically ablated, and was passed fit for all activities again.

I don’t want to dwell on his story, but merely use it as a peg on which to hang a discussion of the young excess death phenomenon in the UK and abroad. It is interesting that in the Daily Mail article on the episode, the vast majority of comments that weren’t simply expressing human sympathy were raising the issue of the possible role of COVID vaccines, which of course professional sportsmen were all forced to take on pain of being treated like Novak Djokovic, only without his ability to come back into the game. The cat is out of the antivax bag on that, in a big way. And yet one still may not raise it in polite company, away from the anonymity of the press comments columns. I want to look at why that might be.

The official line is that the excess in deaths since 2021 is due to lifestyle (keeping super-fit by professional football training??) or NHS delays (having private team doctors and treatment???). But it seems also to be within the Overton window to blame rare complications of COVID for much of it. After all, the Highly Deadly Black SARS-CoV-2 Tarantula has only been known for four years, and there is much that is still mysterious about it. That possible association does not, however, appear to be compelling enough actually for governments to research the role of COVID is these cases very seriously.

What is definitely still beyond the pale is the suggestion that many of the sudden deaths and near-fatal collapses have to do with the COVID vaccines. I needn’t rehearse that here as it is well-known, except to observe that in the small percentage of the Daily Mail comments that didn’t implicate Big Pharma, direct accusations of “conspiracy theorist” or “moron” were prominently directed at the rest. You can bet your life these would have constituted a majority in The Guardian. Or in Parliament.

Yet consider the rational process behind the adoption of this attitude, which I know is a painful ordeal, but has to be done sometimes to clear the vision.

I have mentioned that it’s OK to say that the dreadful COVID is is still such a mysterious and new scourge that unknown complications may well be causing a silent epidemic of the various conditions contributing to excess deaths, even though for all those people who have died COVID was, at most, a fairly typical upper respiratory tract Coronavirus infection, or just a positive test, or nothing at all. Those naturally infected who were unfortunate enough to have the late-onset complications when spike protein got beyond their upper respiratory tract got very ill at the time. Still (it is permitted to argue) this was a novel virus appearing out of the blue in 2019, research is still in the early stages, and so anything is possible. It is even, arguably, OK to speculate that it may have leaked from a bioweapons lab, making such complications even more plausible.

In comparison, the various mRNA and viral-vector vaccines only came along in 2021, two years later. They definitely did come from laboratories, being based on a radically novel technology never successfully incorporated even into an animal vaccine (and indeed previously abandoned because they killed all the laboratory animals that were tested with them). They were produced in double quick time by bypassing most of the safety stages that give ordinary vaccines a ten-year period prior to roll-out. And they were produced by companies that have often been caught falsifying data and hiding adverse effects of their products. In fact Pfizer has the honour of having had the largest criminal fine in history just a few years ago. Furthermore, they were authorised for pretty well every class and condition of people, unlike nearly every other pharmaceutical product, and encouraged or enforced upon everyone in the world who could be cajoled into compliance. The risk of unknown side effects could not be larger.

Not only do they have all the potential hazards of any entirely new type of drug, but a whole number of theoretical problems were anticipated in advance (most of which have actually been observed, including reverse transcription into DNA, which I predicted even before I read the experts doing so). Some risks have become apparent only later, such as contamination with DNA itself and a whole raft of manufacturing failures.

Now, to me the two cases – of the appearance of COVId and the appearance of the vaccines in the world – appear very similar in terms of possible risks. It is hard to understand what makes the very possibility of a problem with the vaccines any less likely than a problem with the virus they were intended to combat, not least because they contain the same spike-protein weaponry. Why is suspecting one an acceptable hypothesis, and suspecting the other a moronic conspiracy theory?

The thalidomide scare was just a little before my time – most of its British victims formed a little community of young kids within Roehampton Hopsital when I was training there around 1974. So I can’t remember the process by which it was slowly found to be poisoning fetuses. I’ve no doubt, though, that the first people to suspect it were ridiculed simply because everyone believed in this safe anti-nausea drug. I’ve no doubt that Distillers, the manufacturer, fought tooth and nail to protect their own baby against criticism. But I’m also sure that, whilst all this was going on, the public was divided between those who thought it was probably safe, and those who did not. The former did not, as far as I’m aware, say that the latter were conspiracy theorists and that any harm from thalidomide was a sheer impossibility to be laughed out of court.

And that, surely, tells us that the current demonising of those suspicious of the vaccines is not a natural phenomenon at all, but something produced in a laboratory – in this case, a psychological laboratory owned by who knows whom? Given the close parallels with the virus itself, it is by no means impossible that the labs producing the virus, the vaccines, and the propaganda all belong to the same morally challenged people.

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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7 Responses to The subtle art of distinguishing conspiracy theories from truth

  1. shopwindows says:

    Call it:

    obsequiousness, ulterior motive government, vested interests proponents, string pullers

    segueing into gutless concensus, peer reviewed authority, prevailing orthodoxy, politically correct Overton windows,

    versus critical thinking, intellectual rigour, strength of character, consistency under pressure.

    Even, especially , if our motto is audi alteram partem, adults are obliged to weigh things up and make timely decisions. Why on earth people acquiesced to inoculation is beyond me. IMO it would be wise nowadays to form one’s own opinion of what the real Overton window is as held by the silent majority versus what the Government and Pravda would have us believe. Adulthood can be a lonely place.

  2. shopwindows says:

    A remarkable presentation by Michael Shellenberger about current events. And noteworthy that whilst he is clearly an effective investigative journalist he took the inoculation plus booster. Indeed how do we ensure we spot every attempt to brow beat us, to con us into behaviour, acquiescence, to that which is against our best interests? It’s not easy but going against the herd, the essence of a firebrand, when justified, is an essential quality. How do we trigger our hackles? Nick Hudson is good on this. Basically wherever Governments, institutions, are over zealous pushing something pay attention. Cynical but especially right now essential.

    • Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

      I’ve not yet watched it, but Shellenberger’s good, so I will.

      I think there’s a gradual “red pill” process for everyone, including him. His book on climate change was published in 2020, but I guess it has taken more recent events, and especially his work on Twitter, to show him just how widespread the rot is.

      I’d become aware of this in 2019, in a general way, but though I was alerted thereby to the nonsense around COVID early on, the sheer enormity of the deception took a while to sink in. So I regret that I succumbed to the first two doses of AZ, fortunately without any clear adverse sequelae not equally attributable to age.

      Your “triggered hackles” are indeed a useful asset, but the possession of a viable alternative worldview by which to judge events is even more essential. I’m talking here about intelligent biblical Christianity, which even the secularists are groping towards as they try to hold on to their detachment.

  3. shopwindows says:

    If I came over as bombastic I apologise. All of us were non plussed to varying degrees by events starting 2016 or 2020. The fact I eagerly await news, analysis from you, Shellenberger, the Weinsteins, Kirsch, et al, mostly inoculated, demonstrates how wrong footed so many of the best were.

    The founder of Yo Sushi advocates that if you haven’t failed in some action today you’re not trying hard enough. We should do everything we can to improve our decision taking but tolerate mistakes. However the fascist public private mechanics of lobbying have lead us far down, towards that unacceptable face of capitalism. And your analysis of not just ethics or morality, not just checks and balances of parliamentary governance with judiciary against a constitution but religious soul supporting society is to me invaluable.

    • Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

      Having listened to Shellenberger’s excellent talk, I see that he himself is one of those who has returned to Christian faith because of the current evils (in his case, whilst writing Apocalypse Never).

  4. Ben says:

    I turned down vaccination – for myself and my family – not because I thought it was dangerous, but because it seemed clear to me that if it *were*, no-one was going to admit to it. The authorities had backed themselves into a corner with lock-down overreach, and vaccination was the ‘then a miracle occurs’ to back out whilst saving face (or avoiding massive lawsuits).

    • Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

      Well done you for sussing out the game so early.

      From what I’ve seen, it seems more likely that the plans were always to do whatever it took to keep society quiet until the magic vaccines could be rolled out. Lockdowns, masks, testing, marginalising old drugs and old doctors, propaganda – all were the means to the vaccination end, because that’s where the money would come from.

      And they would be able to rinse and repeat for an endless supply of newly manufactured (I mean *discovered*) pandemics, using the same cheapo technology. If it didn’t start killing people or the killing could be well hidden.

      Whether the precedent of removing civil liberties was part of the same plan, or a separate bonus, it’s certainly still running – though it has also triggered one almighty popular backlash across the Western world.

      To what extent they were wrong-footed by a lab leak ahead of time, or planned the release to further their commercial or ideological ends, is still unclear. But I’d guess a conservative 20 million have died from the vaccine, and if you count those killed by lockdown and other measures at that time, by the economic and health sequelae of that in the developed world, and the major economic disruption in the developing world, you’re reaching a level of deaths in 4 years close to that produced by the whole history of Soviet and Chinese communism.

      If that’s not worth a Nobel Prize for medicine, I don’t know what is. And let’s toss Zelensky and Biden the Peace Prize while we’re at it.

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