Dr. Ioannidis - I'm Sorry to Have to Be So Blunt, But In Public Health vs. Science, Science Always Wins
Dr. Lyons-Weiler sends a message to a Pollyanish Dr. Ioannidis
Today, President Biden issued, evidently by decree, new vaccine “mandates” that include that employers with over 100 employees must make sure their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19, or tested weekly. The day before, Professor John Ioannidis of Stanford University penned a beautiful, poignant essay at Tablet How the Pandemic Is Changing the Norms of Science. I highly recommend the article as it correctly points out that, during the pandemic, “There was a clash between two schools of thought, authoritarian public health versus science—and science lost.”
The first part of that sentence is true. But the second part presumes that the clash is over.
In reality, the clash has just begun; science, or more accurately, Science, is just warming up.
For the first time, to my knowledge, in the history of peer-reviewed research, an Editor-in-Chief of a peer-reviewed research journal published, or more accurately, re-published, a study that had been retracted from another journal with full knowledge of the prior retraction. I know about this because I’m the Editor-in-Chief who oversaw the reviews. I expect a Retraction Watch article on this step any day - if they dare. They wrote to the author, who correctly forwarded their request for the reviews to me, which I duly provided. I have nothing to hide. Read my Editorial on why I republished the Walach et al. study here.
Hear that sound? That’s the sound of Science, breaking a chain.
For the past thirty years, the public has been clamoring in public for more Science, while public health has been stymying real studies and distorting the record of peer-reviewed studies with gross caricatures of Science - living in their own delusional world in which they consistently and reliably seems to never be able to find any associations between vaccines and serious adverse events.
Hear that sound? Science has broken another chain.
The public has their own School of Thought on the matter. It’s called Popular Rationalism - and it’s a matter of fact that the public understands the rigors of Science far better than Ioannidis is prepared to give them credit. The public also has been funding independent Science conducted without profit motive. Science for the sake of knowledge. Pure Science.
More chains are breaking.
Another thing Ioannidis got wrong is that the pandemic was an opportunity for the so-called “Anti-vaxxers” to learn the value of Science. Ioannidis wrote:
“Big Tobacco was known to kill many millions of people every year and to continuously mislead when promoting its old and new, equally harmful, products. Yet during the pandemic, requesting better evidence on effectiveness and adverse events was often considered anathema. This dismissive, authoritarian approach ‘in defense of science’ may sadly have enhanced vaccine hesitancy and the anti-vax movement, wasting a unique opportunity that was created by the fantastic rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines. Even the tobacco industry upgraded its reputation: Philip Morris donated ventilators to propel a profile of corporate responsibility and saving lives…”
For Ioannidis, it was because of the taboo on demands for more or better Science that so-called “Anti-vaxxers” missed out of the chance to learn of the power and value of objective science.
Dr. Ioannidis does not understand the so-called Anti-vaxxers, in 2017, chose the collective label “Vaccine Risk Aware”.
They understand the power of objective Science perfectly well - far better than the average American citizen. They have funded research, such as vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies when the NIH refused to do so; they have funded studies on the toxicity of aluminum in vaccines while FDA plays games with numbers to make doses of aluminum appear to be safe.
It was the Vaccine Risk Aware who funded our study that determined the first-ever pediatric dose limit for aluminum in children.
It was the Vaccine Risk Aware who funded our study of the rates of billed office visits required by the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated pediatric patients.
It is the Vaccine Risk Aware who gather in huge crowds on the steps of State Capitols and chant “What Do We Want - SCIENCE - When Do We Want It - NOW!”.
It is the Vaccine Risk Aware who host conferences, webinars, and start podcasts that educate millions of people around the world of the mismatch between public health claims about vaccines and Science.
I think Ioannidis is wrong, but I suspect he knows he is wrong. I suspect his article is simply the riskiest article he dare write in the present climate. Long ago, I sent him my exhaustive critique of the studies on the vaccine and autism question, showing him quantitatively that the studies the CDC relies upon to back their claim are underpowered observational studies - the same types of studies that led him, me and others to decry the reproducibility crisis in so much of the rest of Science. Ioannidis himself is perfectly capable of seeing the crap studies stood up to bolster confidence in vaccines. He is certainly capable of seeing that Moderna’s 95% efficacy was never 95%. He sees the exclusion of people with comorbidities, and of people who developed COVID19 after the first shot - and he knows how to determine if outcome measures are insufficient and biased.
Unlike me, Ioannidis has a lot to lose, and it’s an interesting exercise to analyze his article closely. Of all people, he knows the definition of Science. Ioannidis decries the loss of millions of lives that points out that in times of stress, the rich have gotten richer, and the poorer, poorer, while denying any pre-planning (he missed Event 201?)
“There was absolutely no conspiracy or preplanning behind this hypercharged evolution. Simply, in times of crisis, the powerful thrive and the weak become more disadvantaged. Amid pandemic confusion, the powerful and the conflicted became more powerful and more conflicted, while millions of disadvantaged people have died and billions suffered.”
I would call the decay in the standards of ethics de-evolution. In times of crisis, real leadership prevents the increase in the well-being gap; they call on the goodness of the people they lead to sacrifice, and to not take advantage. In the absence of virtuous leadership, vultures and predators take advantage of crisis. The phrase "Never let a good disaster go to waste" is apt; the term is “Crisis Capitalism”. The millions Ioannidis decries could have been saved by early treatment with inexpensive drugs; these were turfed by a conspiracy, for sure: the willful misinterpretation of the studies that support Hydroxychloroquine, the false study Ioannidis himself cites; the willful disregard of the studies that support Ivermectin… all via a conspiracy to follow public health instead of following Science.
Ioannidis’ article claims that the “Pandemic is Changing the Norms of Science”. No, John, it’s not, and you know it’s not, because that’s not possible. The norms of Science remain intact. Those who go outside the norms of Science have to hand in their cards at the door. What CDC has been and is doing with data on vaccines does not qualify as Science - not by a long shot. It’s up to Scientists everywhere to resist the shift to outright positivist mental masturbation that the CDC has been practicing for 30 years.
Call it what you want - fraud, positivist bullshit, Science-Like-Activities, happy mental masturbation. But please, Dr. Ioannidis, don’t confuse what they do with Science.
James Lyons-Weiler, PhD
IPAK and IPAK-EDU, LLC
Sept 9, 2021
What I’m Reading Right Now
Klünemann M, Andrejev S, Blasche S, et al. Bioaccumulation of therapeutic drugs by human gut bacteria. Nature. 2021. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03891-8
Very glad to see that you republished the Wallach study! I had the good fortune to meet and work for a day with Wouter Akema who worked with me sorting through data for one of my mortality analyses. He convinced me that I need to learn Tableau now, which wasn't around when I learned spreadsheet and macro handling as an actuary 24-25 years ago.