IDSG Ep92 The Better Skeptics Project, with Jeff Eaton and Kristin Rawls
Our friends Jeff Eaton and Kristin Rawls from the Christian Rightcast return to help us wrap up our Bret & Heather coverage, at least for now. Daniel takes us through the horrors of the ‘Better Skeptics Project’, Bret and Heather’s escalating (yet crumbling) project of puffing Ivermectin as a Covid treatment, their spat with Yuri Deigin and Quillette, etc.
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Christian Rightcast https://rightcast.substack.com/
CHristian Rightcast on Twitter https://twitter.com/crightcast?lang=en
Kristin’s Twitter https://twitter.com/kristinrawls
Jeff’s Twitter https://twitter.com/eaton
Thread by Ben Collins on the origins of the Ivermectin craze: https://twitter.com/oneunderscore__/status/1431040456364810242
Decoding the Gurus, Special Episode: Welcome to Weinstein World with special guest David Pizarro
Yuri Deigin, Lab-Made? SARS-CoV-2 Genealogy Through the Lens of Gain-of-Function Research
- Furin Cleavage Site
- Similarities to RaTG13
Dark Horse Episode 93: School of Rocks
“No such thing as a biologist” — 40:50ish
Claire Berlinksi and Yuri Deigin, Looking for COVID-19 ‘Miracle Drugs’? We Already Have Them. They’re Called Vaccines
Sam Harris with Eric Topol, Making Sense Podcast #256, A Contagion of Bad Ideas
Rebel Wisdom YouTube
Rebel Wisdom, Better Skeptics for the Dark Horse
Rebel Wisdom, Ivermectin, For and Against, with Tess Lawrie, Graham Walker, and Gideo Meyerson-Katz
Rebel Wisdom, Eric Weinstein: Vaccines, Ivermectin, & Dark Horse
Rebel Wisdom, Yuri Deigin Responds to Bret Weinstein on Vaccines, Ivermectin, and Quillette
Rebel Wisdom, Vaccines and Dark Horse, an Investigation
Rebel Wisdom, Ivermectin, the Backstory of the FLCCC. Eric Osgood
David Fuller, Ivermectin — For and Against, Briefing Document
David Fuller, On Bret Weinstein, Alternative Media, Ivermectin and Vaccine-Related Controversies
Megyn Kelly, Bret Weinstein on Tech Censorship, The Value of Conversation, and COVID Treatments
- Kirsch and Malone and the Other Side Starts around 17:20
Alexandros Marinos Twitter
Alexandros Marinos [thread about Fuller and Better Skeptics]https://mobile.twitter.com/alexandrosM/status/1422301544737738762?s=19
Alexandros Marinos thread about the Sam Harris/Eric Topol Making Sense
Better Skeptics, [Launching the 10K Ground Truth Challenge]https://www.betterskeptics.com/launching-the-10k-ground-truth-challenge/
- We think it is worthwhile to take full accounting of the quality of the statements uttered in these podcasts. This is almost 11 hours worth of live speech, so it would be unbelievable if the number of false statements is zero. Should some false statements be identified, it will be for the world to see how the interested parties react. We want to compose high-quality fact-checking from average-quality ingredients: normal people, with our own biases and internal contradictions.
- A detailed description of the challenge process and rules is available here. In a nutshell: Anyone who identifies what they believe is a false statement will be required to submit their claim to us via public Twitter message with a specified hashtag. Three referees will evaluate each submission across two rounds, and all submissions scoring 9 or above will be awarded the $100 prize.
Ground Truth Challenge: The Rules
We’ve chosen and transcribed four recent podcasts featuring Bret Weinstein which discussed COVID-19 vaccines and/or Ivermectin. These are:
- Covid, Ivermectin, and the Crime of the Century. June 1, 2021. Video – Transcript
- How to Save the World in Three Easy Steps. June 11, 2021. Video – Transcript
- Joe Rogan Experience #1671 – Bret Weinstein & Dr. Pierre Kory. June 22, 2021. Video – Transcript
- Bret and Heather 87th DarkHorse Podcast Livestream: We Must Drive this Virus to Extinction. July 12, 2021. Video – Transcript
Ground Truth Challenge: Results!
- So what of the outcome? In the end, only 3 challenges succeeded. Of these, two provided effective counter-arguments, not entirely refuting the target quote but providing sufficient counter-evidence to warrant narrowing or rephrasing it. The third is a straightforward factual error that was no longer true at the time of the podcast (see table below).
- The material consisted of 11 hours of live, unscripted speech put under extreme scrutiny, and with no prior warning to the speakers. We therefore feel it’s remarkable that so few challenges ended up as successful – however, this was our first such challenge, so we have no point of comparison.
Natural Selections Substack, On Driving SARS-CoV-2 Extinct
- If we are interested in minimizing harm from SARS-CoV2, we need to use prophylaxis to force extinction. Prophylaxis refers to action taken before exposure to prevent an event. A condom is prophylaxis against pregnancy. Doxycycline is prophylaxis against malaria. Vaccines and repurposed drugs such as ivermectin have both been presented as prophylaxis against Covid-19. In order to clear our planet of SARS-CoV2, we need safe and effective prophylaxis distributed so widely that it drives the virus to extinction.
- How we do this is up for debate, and of course there will be disagreement along the way. Some people, including the authors of a recently published Quillette article, see one and only one way forward: vaccination of every person with access to currently authorized vaccines. Other people, including ourselves, believe that the current vaccines—which are non-sterilizing, cannot quickly reach the entire world, and provide only narrow, short-lived immunity—cannot accomplish the goal, not even in principle. Any viable strategy for extinguishing SARS-CoV-2 in the near term must therefore include effective prophylaxis beyond the current crop of authorized vaccines. For now that means drugs taken to prevent infection for those who are unvaccinated and who have not had a confirmed case of Covid (and therefore lack natural immunity). It may also require prophylactic medicine for vaccinated people as fading vaccine-induced immunity and new variants evolving in response to the vaccination campaign render the current vaccines ever less effective.
- This is a departure for us, running exactly counter to our typical expectations. Ordinarily, we are enthusiastic about vaccines and decidedly skeptical about pills. On this issue though, with these vaccines, our position has flipped. There are several reasons for this: the novel and non-sterilizing nature of the vaccines being deployed, the potential for perverse incentives involved in a vaccine only strategy, emerging concerns about vaccine safety, and the logistical reality that vaccines alone cannot, and will not, get the job done. In addition, the most promising prophylactic medicine is also extremely well known, with a four-decade long and unusually clean global safety record. This reasoning is discussed in episode #87 of our podcast.
Gideon M-K thread on the Carvallo ivermectin study.
- “20/n Given that the graphical and written representations of the primary outcome of the study appear to conflict, and the results tables differ between the pre-registration and the publication, it is worth asking whether this study even took place at all”
Gideon M-K at his Medium, Ivermectin Shows No Clear Benefit in the Treatment of Covid-19
- The new study in question is called the Together Clinical Trials, and it’s a truly amazing collaboration between a number of universities and research groups to study the effects of repurposed drugs on people with Covid-19 who attend hospitals as outpatients.
- Basically, they look at people who are at moderate risk but are experiencing relatively mild disease, randomize them to either get one of several drugs or a placebo, and then see if those drugs have any benefit in treating Covid-19. The full protocol is a masterpiece of science—well worth reading if you’re interested in trial design.
- This trial has already demonstrated that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir are unlikely to be beneficial treatments for people with Covid-19 in outpatient settings and, because of the hype around ivermectin, had included the drug in a treatment arm to see if it worked. The results from that part of the trial, including over 1,300 patients, were released in summary form late this afternoon.
- They showed no benefit for ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19. None whatsoever.
Gideon M-K, Medium post Is Ivermectin for Covid-19 Based on Fraudulent Research? Part 2
- Most research is OK — it has some virtues, some oversights, some charms, some flaws. Some is excellent and transformative, some is terrible and harmful. When I first became interested in ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medication being tested for Covid-19, I expected a combo plate of the above — just like everything else.
- Maybe, and this is a worst-case scenario, a few cheeky papers that had been doctored or altered noticeably, something bad enough to leave a clue.
- I did not expect what has happened, what is happening.
- I hesitate to put this into words, because it scares me, and because I know the consequences of such statements. But there is no sugar thick enough to coat this:
- Ivermectin literature contains a staggering volume of scientific fraud. Not mistakes, or oversights, or gilded lilies. Fraud.
- My sincere opinion is that at least a third of the evidence supporting the use of ivermectin as a Covid-19 therapeutic is not just ‘ based on shaky data’, but consists of studies that may never have happened at all.
Dark Horse 94, Is It Later Than We Think?
- Around 26:00, repudiating the Carvallo et al paper.