Are Sceptical Voices Being Suppressed?

4 April 2020. Updated 14 May 2020.

Further Reading

Dissent in a time of Covid‘ by Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, March 23rd 2020

We Need the Habits of a Free Mind to Think Through This Crisis – Together‘ by Pamela Paresky, Arc Digital, March 28th 2020

I was “cancelled” for criticising the lockdown – but now more than ever we must hold the government to account‘ by Toby Young, The Telegraph, April 3rd 2020

Coronavirus: Ofcom formally probes David Icke TV interview‘, BBC News, April 9th 2020

Confessions of a COVID-19 truther‘ by Freddy Gray, The Spectator, April 11th 2020

Coronavirus lockdown: German lawyer detained for opposition‘ by Alex Thomson, UKColumn, April 14th 2020

The corona conspiracies are unhinged – but is denouncing people all that helpful?’ by Oliver Wiseman, CapX, April 15th 2020

Daniel Hannan: The abuse, outrage and viciousness is hurled overwhelmingly at those of us who back ending the lockdown‘ by Daniel Hannan, ConservativeHome, April 15th 2020

I have herd immunity‘ by Lionel Shriver, The Spectator, April 18th 2020

Covid19: criminalising & pathologising dissent‘ by Catte Black, off-guardian.org, April 16th 2020

Letter to Ofcom Following its Decision to Sanction ITV and London Live‘, Free Speech Union, April 24th 2020

Why Did YouTube Remove The Doctors’ Briefing?‘ by Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, April 26th 2020

Lockdown Critics May Have Some Valid Points‘ by Joe Nocera, Bloomberg Opinion, April 30th 2020

From Fahrenheit 451 to “censortech”‘ by Izabella Kaminska, Financial Times, May 12th 2020

Further Viewing

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rchumpoll
rchumpoll
1 month ago

I’m curious to know – who is checking the mathematical validity of the Imperial College model?
As someone trained in science and bioengineering myself, it seems odd to me that governments blindly rely on these sorts of assertions without creating cross-disciplinary work groups to produce models that take all parameters into account. Biological systems don’t act according to the results of stochastic modelling.
We already know that the vulnerable are largely those with underlying health conditions – COPD, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even old age, if this can be classified as a ‘disease’. The young and the healthy, languishing at home and watching their futures being destroyed by collapsing economies, find this – if anything – to be an inconvenient flu-like illness of short duration.
Since we know this, why are we isolating whole populations? Why not ask the vulnerable rigorously to self-isolate and be cared for by the community to protect them from the disease? Another advantage of doing this would be that the COVID -19 virus would then sweep through a population that could cope with infection and thus bring about the herd immunity that we need if we are not to experience this sort of thing again.
Further, I’m concerned that nobody in government is properly weighing the economic and social effect of the lockdown in terms of the poverty and social unrest that could come later. Maybe that death toll potential needs to be examined. Another mathematical model perhaps?
These are just some of the questions I’m pondering. The news media is, as usual, its helpful and alarmist self, so no help there.

Mike May
Mike May
1 month ago
Reply to  rchumpoll

“[W]ho is checking the mathematical validity” – reminds me of Yanis Varoufakis’ book a bojut negotiating with the EU, “Adults in the Room”. When he was finally allowed to see the model of the Greek economy that the EU were using, he found that it did not reduce consumption as VAT was increased.

Willow
Willow
1 month ago
Reply to  rchumpoll

It seems to me that there are some gaping knowledge holes in the team advising the Govt. When Matt Hancock was challenged about the purported 150,000 expected “lockdown deaths” he replied that they didn’t form “part of the analysis”. I am really very concerned that the policy the Govt is pursuing is not science based. It certainly isn’t looking at all at the wider picture. The experts seem locked into their own echo chamber. I don’t know if they aren’t keeping up with emerging science or are just ignoring it. Surely with the lower IFRs emerging from multiple studies, Ferguson should be updating his model? Models should be dynamic and reflect the changing landscape they are modelling. I’ve seen no evidence that is happening at all. The view and the direction being followed seems incredibly blinkered. Apart from not incorporating economic and social costs into the picture, they don’t appear to have consulted immunologists. If they had, how could they be surprised that the tests they purchased would not find antibodies in the blood of those recovered with young, vigorous immune systems – how could no-one have told them that antibodies aren’t there because they weren’t needed! Normally, evolutionary pressure drives viruses to become less virulent over time. I’ve seen the view expressed by biologists that lockdowns reverse this natural selection and favour the emergence of more virulent strains. Some scientists believe that the Wuhan lockdown caused the second more virulent strain to emerge. Surely the Govt should be listening to evolutionary biologists and considering this type of thing? It just beggars belief that they are not doing so. There needs to be some serious challenge to the legitimacy of SAGE continuing to hold a closed monopoly on a situation that very clearly is not an emergency at this point.

Mark Gobell
Mark Gobell
1 month ago
Reply to  rchumpoll

WSJ: Coronavirus Lessons From the Asteroid That Didn’t Hit Earth
https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-lessons-from-the-asteroid-that-didnt-hit-earth-11585780465

Scary projections based on faulty data can put policy makers under pressure to adopt draconian measures.

By Benny Peiser and Andrew Montford on 1st April 2020 6:34 pm ET:

Several researchers have apparently asked to see Imperial’s calculations, but Prof. Neil Ferguson, the man leading the team, has said that the computer code is 13 years old and thousands of lines of it “undocumented,” making it hard for anyone to work with, let alone take it apart to identify potential errors. He has promised that it will be published in a week or so, but in the meantime reasonable people might wonder whether something made with 13-year-old, undocumented computer code should be used to justify shutting down the economy. […]

Tweet from Prof Neil Ferguson on 9:13pm 22 Mar 2020
https://twitter.com/neil_ferguson/status/1241835454707699713

I’m conscious that lots of people would like to see and run the pandemic simulation code we are using to model control measures against COVID-19. To explain the background – I wrote the code (thousands of lines of undocumented C) 13+ years ago to model flu pandemics…

Caroline
Caroline
1 month ago

What more could we do to end the lockdown?

davidm
davidm
1 month ago

Just tried to sign the petition by Robert Kok mentioned above, only to find it is being ‘checked’ and therefore unavailable for a ‘few days’. Anyone know if this is normal?

BrianJR
BrianJR
1 month ago
Reply to  davidm

I tried too and found the same – cynically it is easy to imagine why the “checking” is necessary.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  BrianJR

Brian, I also tried to sign the petition yesterday and failed for the same reason. I don’t think you can call a questioning attitude cynical – are ALL scientists cynical? Including those at imperial College? Surely not.

goldeneddie
goldeneddie
1 month ago
Reply to  davidm

Hi David, would you please do the same with our Petition and see if you can sign it? We started a Petition against Lockdown over a month ago. Despite having contacts in 3 countries and responses from 3 others, the Petition has been blocked and censored at every turn. I have the stats to show how many times it has been shared but apparently Facebook blocks it. YouTube has already ‘ghost censored’ me for posting it, and I’m running out of options of how to publish it further. Any ideas and your support would be great.

https://www.change.org/IPAL-Petition-Against-Lockdown

Please Sign and Share!

BrianJR
BrianJR
1 month ago

I can only suspect that there is a suppression on counter opinion, but can think of no way to prove it as a single citizen not employed in the media.

There has definitely been a downshift in tone and levels of vigorous questioning by journos at the daily briefing – even the usually robust Robert Peston seems to have backed down. Is this because they have simply tired of failing to extract an answer, or been pressured in some way, or a bit of both ?

There must be urgent change in the way the situation is being reported if the fear across the masses,that has been unncessarily created, is to be dispelled. Numerour articles in the Telegraph online report this fear today,

Professor Richard Sullivan, co-director of the conflict and health research group at King’s College, London is reported as saying :

“I think the fear out there is extraordinary. Now, it’s our view that the fear is out of all proportion to the threat and the risk. There’s been a real perspective loss here.

“I keep saying to people we have as many if not more people dying of pneumonia and loads of other conditions. I think life has to start renormalizing again with sufficient care and attention to the vulnerable.”

But how can we get pressure for the reporting to change ? We need direct action, and now.

goldeneddie
goldeneddie
1 month ago

Regarding the suppression of sceptical voices: We started a Petition against Lockdown over a month ago. Despite having contacts in 3 countries and responses from 3 others, the Petition has been blocked and censored at every turn.

I’m hoping that posting here will help:

https://www.change.org/IPAL-Petition-Against-Lockdown

Please Sign and Share!

Visit our website: http://www.ipalnow.com

Andrew Clapton
Andrew Clapton
24 days ago

Having watched Newsnight last night – 07.05.2020 – what struck me was the lack of acknowledgement that the BBC has sat on its hands in scrutinizing government policy for nearlty two months. I must admit to not having watched all the Newsnight interviews over the last two months however it has been exceptionally rare to find dissenting voices on the efficacy of locking down a nation. Professor Giesecke being a notable example.

The reporter last night said she was sceptical at the time of the Ferguson paper on the 16th of March. If that is the case why did she not immediately raise her concerns at the time? And if she did, why were her concernes not aired on Newsnight? Surely it would have been helpful to have had a debate at the time about the draconian mesures being considered. Suddenly last night it seemed the dam had burst and various sceptical scientists were suddenly everywhere to be found. It seems the BBC wasn’t really looking hard enough, if at all. Was this just stupidity or mass self censorship?

After the horse has bolted the BBC attempts to do the job it should have been doing all along and provide the public with non patronising public scrutiny of the reasons for putting a nation under house arrest. As the tide turns will they, and the rest of the media who likewise failed in lesson 101 of journalism, apologise to the public?

John Avery
John Avery
23 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Clapton

The BBC has completely toed the lockdown line, only having a dig at indivduals with regard to lack of PPE supplies and adequate testing. There has been no mention about what’s happening in Sweden because that would be to contradict the UK government and, as such, I view that as news censorship. Unfortunately the BBC never apologize; anyone who has tried to send the critical voice of reason to their weekly Newswatch programme will know they simply invite a BBC spokesperson to justify their original output, effectively adding insult to injury. Thankfully the internet and more informed journalists make wider views available to those who seek to question the situation, but sadly the majority of the population are stuck regurgitating the mantra of project fear.

wantok87
wantok87
23 days ago

The standard scientific approach is to test a hypothesis by designing a method, performing an experiment, assessing the results and finally concluding with a long discussion as to the relevance of findings with previous research. It is of course acceptable to review other papers but this is fraught with errors if the original publications were of dubious quality or non validated by peer group review. The approach of the governments worldwide is frequently described as being led by the science. Many of the individuals quoted are in their own field preeminent however this does not mean infallible or appropriate. In the absent of new experimental data the conclusions that any group makes, on what is essentially a review of publications should be subject to peer group review itself. An example is the use of masks. There are a number of reviews including a Cochrane publication none of which validate the public use of masks in Covid-19. The Sky news reporter touched his mask on camera but seems to have escaped criticism because the media and public are convinced of their effectiveness. If mask are capable of a specific action then that needs to be demonstrated scientifically but to date this has not been done. The majority of the comments made about COVID 19 are at this time best guesses.
How have we agreed to house arrest of the public without challenge to the evidence? The role of the individuals such as Neil Ferguson is frightening and if he were a doctor he would have been subject to GMC discipline and his reported errors in BSE placed him at risk of negligence claims.
In effect this is not a scientific problem but a medical and biological one. In effect each of us has a risk of contracting the disease and providing there is medical support, the outcome is unlikely to be changed in any given environment. Of course this statement itself has assumptions that there is a standard virulence and pathology of the virus but to date there is no published evidence to support a change.
Hence any individual could die with the virus. The evidence is however that the risks are not the same for every group and the young worldwide are essentially safe. The question to answer is thus- Is it for others i.e.govenments, to individuals the choice of self determination of the risks they are prepared to take risk. (We do no ban obesity,smoking or alcohol consumption )
The balanced decision making by patients in accepting risk of treatment vs no treatment is standard in medicine -the female with the BRCA gene can have mutilating surgery to attempt to alter their mortality,before the have any disease. There would be no condemnation whichever decision was made.,
The parallel with COVID19 is that the government is determining medical management of a clinical risk. The immediate reaction of expounding this approach by may will be a repeat of the MANTRA— STAY HOME – -PROTECT THE NHS— SAVE LIVES as many of the public have now become so converted to this logic thta a likely respons would be a hysterical allegation of selfishness or possibly attempted murder” (yes this has been alleged in a face book post) spreading the virus by breaking lock down.
Is this a coherent argument? Yes infection would be likely to increase but the extent is not known, If the published Govt Statistics on excess deaths comparing 2019 to 2020 demonstrate that the people dying in excess are not the elderly but some are in the group who would not die with COVID19.
How do we progress? This lockdown septics site is a excellent beginning; but a demand for publication of all the scientific advice must be mandatory – no reputable scientist hides data and publishes with peer group review . In this instance the Peer Group is the general public not Government elected bodies.

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