Has the Anti-Science Movement Jumped the Shark?

May 7, 2020

Maybe, if enough people understand the immediate peril this time.

Suggest a zoom conference between COVID docs and climate scientists.

NBC News:

At the end of another long shift treating coronavirus patients, Dr. Hadi Halazun opened his Facebook page to find a man insisting to him that “no one’s dying” and that the coronavirus is “fake news” drummed up by the news media.

Hadi tried to engage and explain his firsthand experience with the virus. In reply, another user insinuated that he wasn’t a real doctor, saying pictures from his profile showing him at concerts and music festivals proved it.

“I told them: ‘I am a real doctor. There are 200 people in my hospital’s ICU,'” said Halazun, a cardiologist in New York. “And they said, ‘Give me your credentials.’ I engaged with them, and they kicked me off their wall.”

“I left work and I felt so deflated. I let it get to me.”

Halazun, like many other health care professionals, is dealing with a bombardment of misinformation and harassment from conspiracy theorists, some of whom have moved beyond posting online to pressing doctors for proof of the severity of the pandemic.

And it’s taking a toll. Halazun said dealing with conspiracy theorists is the “second most painful thing I’ve had to deal with, other than separation of families from their loved one.”

Several other doctors shared similar experiences, saying that they regularly had to treat patients who had sought care too late because of conspiracy theories spread on social media and that social media companies have to do more to counteract the forces that spread lies for profit.

Dr. Duncan Maru, a physician and epidemiologist in Queens, New York, said he had heard from colleagues that a young patient had come into the emergency room last week with damage to his intestinal tract after having ingested bleach. The incident occurred just days after President Donald Trump suggested that “injection” of disinfectants should be researched as a potential coronavirus treatment.

“Folks delaying seeking care or, taking the most extreme case, somebody drinking bleach as a result of structural factors just underlines the fact that we have not protected the public from disinformation,” Maru said.

The structural factors in this case include Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, which have struggled to contain the spread of misinformation, some of it coming from positions of authority.

Social networks have taken a variety of steps in recent weeks to thwart misinformation, such as providing dedicated portals for vetted information from public health officials and banning content related to conspiracy theories around 5G wireless technology.

Despite the efforts, the distribution networks built up in recent years by fringe media personalities and activists on tech platforms and through websites have proven resilient.

Whitney Phillips, a assistant professor of communications who studies the spread of disinformation at Syracuse University, said the coronavirus outbreak offers a look at how conspiracy thinking is now, in some ways, more organized.

“With conspiracy theories, the reason they’re impervious to fact-checking is that they have become a way of being in the world for believers,” Phillips said. “It isn’t just one narrative that you can debunk. It is a holistic way of being in the world that has been reinforced by all the other bulls— that these platforms have allowed people to consume for years.”

5 Responses to “Has the Anti-Science Movement Jumped the Shark?”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    When the smoke clears, the rich get what they want and the rest of us get bupkes. The game is called “divide and conquer”.


    • Around 1930 Will Rogers, humourist and commentator observed:
      “The money was appropriated for the top in hopes it would trickle down to the needy, Mr Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up.

      Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But at least it will have passed through the poor fellow’s hands”

    • pendantry Says:

      That’s an important article, thanks for highlighting it. It’s really a shame that it won’t make the slightest bit of difference 😦

  2. A montage of looney believing bedwetters . We’ve been listening to these academic wackos with their fearmongering “climate change” crap for over 40 years…and NOTHING has happened.

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