Dr Fauci: Anti-Science Bias a Problem in US

June 18, 2020

UPDATE: Wash Post Video

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

― Issac Asimov

CNN:

On Wednesday, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joined the US Department of Health and Human Services’ podcast “Learning Curve” and gave his expertise on the pandemic and the vaccine development process.He also defended the stay-at-home orders as having saved “millions of lives,” and drew attention to anti-science bias and the disproportionate impact the virus is having on the black community.

Fauci said “anti-science bias” in the country can be problematic.”One of the problems we face in the United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are — for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable — they just don’t believe science and they don’t believe authority,” Fauci said.

“So when they see someone up in the White House, which has an air of authority to it, who’s talking about science, that there are some people who just don’t believe that — and that’s unfortunate because, you know, science is truth,” Fauci said. “

It’s amazing sometimes the denial there is. It’s the same thing that gets people who are anti-vaxxers, who don’t want people to get vaccinated, even though the data clearly indicate the safety of vaccines,” Fauci added. “That’s really a problem.” 

Trump has frequently disregarded expert advice — and often the guidance of his own administration — during the pandemic. He long touted the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19 despite a lack of medical evidence, and the Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency use authorization for the drug earlier this week. His suggestion that ingesting disinfectant in April was a potential treatment — he later said he was joking — was quickly denounced by medical experts. And he has refused to wear face masks in public despite widespread beliefs that doing so slows the spread of the virus.

Politics USA:

Trump called coronavirus testing overrated and claimed that people are wearing masks as a symbol of disapproval of him.

Trump sat down for an interview with The Wall Street Journal who reported:

The president said testing for Covid-19 was overrated and allowed for the possibility that some Americans wore facial coverings not as a preventative measure but as a way to signal disapproval of him.

“I personally think testing is overrated, even though I created the greatest testing machine in history,” Mr. Trump said, adding that more testing in the U.S. led to an increase in confirmed cases that “in many ways, it makes us look bad.”

14 Responses to “Dr Fauci: Anti-Science Bias a Problem in US”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    And what’s next?

  2. jimbills Says:

    The Fauci comments today were kind of like Bolton’s book – it’s news, yes, but we already knew it.

  3. labman57 Says:

    Far too many people have embraced Trump’s intellectual laziness as well as a mindset wherein … if they do not understand the science, and the findings have a negative impact on their lifestyle, then the science cannot be real.

  4. John Kane Says:

    The president said … allowed for the possibility that some Americans wore facial coverings not as a preventative measure but as a way to signal disapproval of him.

    Wow, I had not realized the depths of disapproval he was getting from the populations of countries such as China and Japan.

  5. neilrieck Says:

    Isaac Asimov had it nailed in 1980 and (surprisingly) things have gotten worse. Forgive me for posting a link to my own website but it contains links for some things that I have found very worrying: nations with the highest amount of religious participation have the lowest IQs (and vice versa). Religious fundamentalism is on the rise in North America (the Ark Encounter in Kentucky springs to mind) and the mean IQ of the USA is 98 (two points below the world mean). Meanwhile, IQs in Hong Kong are 109 which is a full 11 points higher.

    http://neilrieck.net/docs/recommended_books.html

    • Keith Omelvena Says:

      So which comes first? Does acceptance of fundamentalist doctrine effect IQ, or are people with lower IQ drawn to fundamentalist doctrine, of which the US has a disproportionately large number?

      • jimbills Says:

        Meh. Sweden’s IQ is 99. Greece’s is 92. Cuba’s is 85. None of those are actually hotbeds of religious fundamentalism:
        https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/average-iq-by-country/

        I’d bet it’s largely a matter of how emphasized youth education is in cultural values combined with the ability to have a well-funded and well-taught educational system. There are large swathes of the States that fail on both counts – but that could describe an inner city as well as a rural backwater just as easily.

      • neilrieck Says:

        I am not qualified to answer that. I can tell you that I was raised in an Evangelical Lutheran family by good hard-working parents who, in retrospect, were blind to life’s realities. Real world problems were dealt with by words like faith and prayer. My parents have passed on but I still hear this language from cousins. The only phrase I have come up with to describe this is “magical thinking” (it came from people like Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov by the way). If anyone ditches a world of science and technology for “magical thinking” then how well do you think you they would do on an IQ test? Observation: there are a lot of high tech companies operating in Israel which means there must be a lot of high IQ talent to choose from. So how is it that the mean IQ of Israel is even lower than the USA? It is even lower in other middle east countries. Now lets compare the two largest countries, India and China, with populations over 1-billion. The government of India is promoting Hinduism (which is causing problems for other religions including Muslims) while the government of China discourages religion. I wonder how things will look in 20 years.

        • jimbills Says:

          Neil – imho, you’re looking for something in the data that just isn’t there in any definitive way.

          It appears that a country’s wealth (developed economies with a stable government), culture (Asian countries place a high value on youth education), and climate (countries closer to the equator score lower on the whole) have far more effect on the average IQ than religious beliefs. Singapore scores at the top, and it’s a religious country with its share of radicals. When you’re talking about the US, it’s one point different from most of Scandinavia, and tied with New Zealand and Australia. Saudi Arabia is tied with Belize.

          Additionally, the data itself might not be perfectly accurate. Did they go out and test every citizen in the world? Was it a best guess based on available figures?

          Many studies do indicate that there is a connection between religious beliefs and IQ, but there are too many holes in the average national IQ figures to make the case.

          Here are two links that state a link between intelligence and religious belief:
          https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23921675/

          “intelligent people are less likely to conform and, thus, are more likely to resist religious dogma”

          https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160289613000846

          Personally, I’ve known too many highly intelligent people that are also religious to write religious belief off as strictly a matter of intelligence on the individual level (none of them have been fundamentalists, however). There are ALWAYS exceptions – but on a group level, there is probably a connection.

          • Lionel Smith Says:

            jimbills

            “…but on a group level, there is probably a connection.”

            as Peter Medawar once put it:

            “… educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.”

          • jimbills Says:

            Cheers. Thanks for that.

    • Lionel Smith Says:

      neilrick your web site http://neilrieck.net/docs/recommended_books.html produces this response here in UK:

      “This site has been blocked by Web Safe. It’s listed as having content that’s inappropriate for children, involving either pornography, hate, crime, drugs, violence, hacking, self harm or suicide.”

      which surprises me.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      As someone who has always done well on standardized tests, I find IQ is a poor marker of useful intelligence. IQ tests have “problems” with exactly one correct answer, unlike the messy tradeoffs of engineering or public policy. They don’t test for gullibility, self-delusion or the ability to adapt to new environments.


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