It’s Not Too Late
On not following "the science"
Little tears are forming in the fabric of belief. Many who believed that taking their shots was the only right thing to do, are noticing inconsistencies in the official story. The failure to prevent disease. The rashes and the fatigue. The cognitive deficits. The heart damage and the cancers. The sudden deaths among the young and apparently healthy. The adverse events.
These things can nag at one’s consciousness.
Most who were compliant, however, still believe on balance that it was the right choice, even if it came with risks that we were not told about.
“Because I had my shots, when I did get Covid, I was barely sick for a day or two.”
“Because” has no place in that sentence. It assumes a causality for which there is no evidence.
We have been told that those who easily survived Covid did so because they got their shots and, conversely, that those who got very sick suffered so because they were not vaccinated against Covid. But this has no relationship with reality. Covid is a nasty disease, the full extent of which we surely do not yet know. The frankenvirus behind Covid causes a suite of damages that are not produced by other, naturally occurring viruses. This is true, but it is also true that most people who get Covid are just fine, at least for now. A substantial minority of those infected are asymptomatic. Many more who know they have it only get a bit sick. Your comorbidities, not your vaccination status, predict how well you will do. The risk is higher the more comorbidities you have. The older you are, the fatter you are, the sicker you are, especially with heart or kidney or metabolic disease—the more likely you are to get walloped by Covid.
We are all trying to run our own statistics based on personal anecdotes, but we are doing so in a landscape of misinformation. The assurances that good personal outcomes are due to compliance, and bad ones are because you didn’t follow along: it’s a modern form of karma. The New Karma has been brought to you by the government and by pharmaceutical companies. Ask no questions, stick out your arm, get the shot, go on about your business—you are one of the good ones. Point out the inconsistencies in the official story, move, perhaps, from hesitancy to refusal, and be vilified. You will pay the price. That’s karma for you.
The tests are bad. The treatments are worse. The official advice is useful as a way to know what not to do. Do not stay inside. Do not take their new-to-market drugs. Do not avoid long-established and safe drugs, drugs known to be effective against other viruses. Do not vilify your family, friends, and neighbors for making decisions for themselves.
Do not forget what it feels like to have agency. You are a complete human being, one responsible for your own decisions, and for your fate. Luck will play a role, to be sure. Your past, some of which was luck, plays a role. But you also play a role. Your actions help decide your fate.
The Pied Piper led the children of Hamelin away from their homes, luring them with charisma and pretty lies. The children never returned. Today’s Pied Piper is luring whole populations with authority and pretty lies, pretending to be science. #FollowTheScience should have been a tell. (For some of us it was.) Science is neither a result, nor a set of static facts. Science is not a thing to be followed. Science is the best process we have by which we discover what is true about the Universe. It’s a messy and inelegant process, likely to take unexpected twists and turns, but is the most likely one to arrive us, ultimately, at the truth. The scientific process does not merely tolerate dissent; it requires it.
We were handed a bill of goods, in which science was coopted. Scientific consensus appeared to arrive fully formed, after a scant few months. The One True Answer was arrived at behind closed doors, by people no doubt bearing the most credentially of credentials. They bestowed on us the One True Answer, they told us to Follow, and so we were blessed.
Ah, mighty Science, hallowed be thy name.
For many years I worked in the tropics—conducting field research in Madagascar and Costa Rica, then running study abroad programs in Panama and Ecuador. On behalf of both myself and my students, I had to make decisions about which vaccines to get. The analysis included consideration of the risk of contracting a particular disease given where we were going to be and what we were going to be doing, the severity of the disease and the ability to treat it, and the efficacy of the vaccine. I was vaccinated against yellow fever, typhoid, and rabies, among other diseases. I was not—and I recommended that my students not be—vaccinated against cholera, despite it being present in some of the places that I went. Cholera is a nasty disease. It can kill you. But cholera is unlikely to make you sick if you have access to clean, fresh water. Add to this that the cholera vaccine was ineffective, barely reducing the incidence of contracting the disease. So I never accepted the cholera vaccine.
It was with this background that I watched the roll-out of the mRNA Covid vaccines and thought: Is this the right decision? Considering the question was the responsible thing to do.
Being a dog-lover doesn’t mean that you love all dogs. And being enthusiastic about vaccines doesn’t mean that you embrace everything that is called a vaccine.
Furthermore, calling something a vaccine doesn’t make it one. And calling something science doesn’t make it science. Fear of being called an anti-vaxxer, or anti-science, though, that’s powerful. If you think that “being on the side of science” means accepting all pronouncements handed down by authorities who claim the mantle of science, then you have misunderstood science, and handed over your fate to those who have demonstrated, over and over again, that they do not have your best interests at heart.
If you veer off the path of following the science, and discover that the world doesn’t look as you’ve been told, they may well call you all sorts of nasty names. It doesn’t make them true. And it is never too late to change your mind.
Free subscribers receive essays to their inbox most Tuesdays. Paying subscribers can comment on posts, and receive additional perks. I thank you.
Modern man: “Because I had my shots, when I did get Covid, I was barely sick for a day or two.”
Ancient man: "Because we sacrificed a virgin, our crop failures were minimal."
Seriously…one of your best pieces. In the beginning, when I had such strong instincts and beliefs and no scientific or medical background you and Brett were a source of that and reason as I went on my daily Covid walks and listened to Dark Horse. Sad to know we were all right. Tragic really…