Sunday, March 12, 2023

Covid-19: The Betrayal of Science By The Science Journals

Only rarely will you see anything from The Lancet on our pages. Because of their history of politicization of reports they just can't be trusted. From a 2021 post:

We so prefer the British Medical Journal to the Lancet that we almost never link to the Lancet. 

Starting with the 1998 vaccine/autism paper, to the fact it took the Lancet 12 years to retract it, to the  two Iraq death toll papers, papers based on models that were refuted with the simple question: Where are the bodies?, to the fraudulent hydroxychloriquine paper (and retraction) used by the WHO to halt clinical trials, to the letter published by the Lancet organized by Daszak stating the Wuhan Institute of Virology could not have been the source of WuFlu (with 26 of the 27 co-signers having undisclosed connections to the Wuhan Institute), and three or four more instances that have slipped my memory at the moment.

The TL;dr is, sadly, after all these years, you can't trust the Lancet....

And from Tablet Magazine, March 8:

Treason of the Science Journals
How Anthony Fauci manufactured consensus on the origins of COVID-19 with the help of science writers and the media 

At the government level, pandemic preparedness is as much about protecting critical supply chains as it is about administering medical treatments. What the COVID-19 pandemic showed is that the flow of information, which may be the single most vital resource in the supply chain, is utterly broken. In many cases, it was actively undermined by senior public health officials including the former chief medical adviser to the president, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

New emails released in a congressional probe show that Fauci helped direct the publication of “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2,” an influential scientific paper published in Nature Medicine on March 17, 2020, that claimed COVID-19 could not have leaked from a laboratory. Fauci then cited the paper—in effect quoting himself, since he coordinated the article behind the scenes and was given final approval before it published—as if it was an independent source corroborating his assertions that COVID could only have come from a bat and not from a lab.

“There was a study recently that we can make available to you, where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve,” Fauci said at a presidential briefing on April 17, 2020, exactly one month after “Proximal Origin” was published. “And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.”

But why would Fauci go to so much trouble to control the information surrounding the origins of the virus while sending the message to Americans that the idea that COVID had come from a lab was a conspiracy theory? And why would science journalists and peer-reviewed science publications go along with the effort?

Fauci, it appears, may have been trying to hide his connections to the Wuhan Laboratory of Virology (WIV). For years, according to a report at The Intercept, the National Institutes of Health (where Fauci served as a director) directed government grants to the Chinese facility where multiple investigations by federal agencies have now concluded the virus likely originated—specifically to fund the controversial gain of function (GoF) research that intentionally engineers deadly viruses in order to study them. Even if this was all merely a coincidence, it certainly looked bad. Fauci seemed so alarmed by the optics that in January 2020, he sent an email to his deputy, Hugh Auchincloss, with the single-word, all-caps subject line “IMPORTANT”—something he does not do in the hundreds of pages of other emails released to the public via FOIA requests. The email Fauci sent contained a link to a scientific study that was then spreading across the internet, which had originally been published in 2015 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology by the WIV’s Shi Zhengli and pioneering American GoF researcher Ralph Baric. In the body of the email, Fauci wrote to Auchincloss, “It is essential that we speak this AM. Keep your cell phone on …You will have tasks today that must be done.”

What were those tasks? It’s impossible to know from the email but one can speculate that if Fauci wanted to control the narrative about the outbreak of COVID-19 it would have been a monumental and near impossible task. Reporters could find public records showing the connections between his office at the NIH and China’s WIV. Fauci might be able to find a few journalists credulous enough to simply dismiss the fact that COVID was first reported in the city containing China’s largest facility for producing coronaviruses, but surely there was no way he could get the entire media to go along. If he had, he may have revealed just how dysfunctional and bought-off science journalism has become, a reality that Americans would be well advised to confront before the next pandemic.

The deeper phenomenon at work, however, is that in the U.S. a large number of professionals who cover science for general readers and for news publications like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal are not—and do not pretend to be—journalists per se. They are science writers whose field is science communications—a distinction with a huge difference. They see their role as translating the lofty work of pure science for a general audience, rather than as professional skeptics whose job is to investigate the competing interests, claims, and billion-dollar funding streams in the messy world of all-too-human scientists....

 So, if we can't trust Nature, or Science, what are we left with?

The BMJ, who disemboweled Facebook's so called fact-checkers? I rather enjoyed reading those stories.

The New England Journal of Medicine? 

The journal Cell is supposed to be pretty good.

Proceedings of The Royal Society A and B? With the departure of Sir Paul Nurse as President of The Royal Society the journals seem to be tacking back closer to what can be found from the Presidencies of  Pepys, Wren and Newton in The Philosophical Transactions.

Digitized Minutes of the Royal Society 1686 - 1711

"Royal Society opens archive, kills productivity" (Newton's First Published Paper; Franklin and the Kite, etc.)

As noted in May  2020's "NASA detects evidence of parallel universe that's probably better than the one we're in":

*The currently most popular paper at Proceedings A is "A contribution to the mathematical theory of epidemics" Published:

There is also Proceedings B which was split off from what hat just been Proceedings of the Royal Society early in the last century to cover biology in its own journal and where the currently most popular paper is "A 250-year index of first flowering dates and its response to temperature changes (Published 07 April 2010) and just for grins and giggle here's an early report on global warming's impact on the Arctic via the Minutes of Council:

"It will without doubt have come to your Lordship's knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

(This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations."
—President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817
President of the Royal Society, Minutes of Council, Volume 8. pp.149-153, Royal Society, London.
20th November, 1817.
There is also Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society whose back issues start in 1665.

So who knows, maybe it's time for a new journal.