The Institute of Denial

October 18, 2020

When you are a Conservative party sorely lacking in factual support for your programs, you launder bad ideas through a far right wing “Institution” or “Center”.
It’s where you get a significant number of anti-science, climate denial, and now, Covid denial memes.

Hoover Institution Fellow David Epstein, at

Without a doubt, it is a major challenge to accurately model and predict the course of climate change. Climate systems are highly chaotic, which makes it difficult to figure out the effect of any particular natural or human event on future climate changes. We should therefore proceed with caution before making bold claims that the main, or even sole, driver of climate change is the human generated increase in the carbon dioxide level, which now is approaching 415 parts per million.

Washington Post:

One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial “herd immunity” strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

The administration has already begun to implement some policies along these lines, according to current and former officials as well as experts, particularly with regard to testing.

The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House in August as a pandemic adviser.


Twitter has removed a tweet from White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas that sought to undermine the importance of face masks because it was in violation of the platform’s Covid-19 Misleading Information Policy, a spokesman for the company confirmed on Sunday. 

Atlas wrote in a tweet posted Saturday, “Masks work? NO” followed by a series of misrepresentations about the science behind the effectiveness of masks in combating the pandemic.


Washington Post again:

As summer faded into autumn and the novel coronavirus continued to ravage the nation unabated, Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist whose commentary on Fox News led President Trump to recruit him to the White House, consolidated his power over the government’s pandemic response.

Atlas shot down attempts to expand testing. He openly feuded with other doctors on the coronavirus task force and succeeded in largely sidelining them. He advanced fringe theories, such as that social distancing and mask-wearing were meaningless and would not have changed the course of the virus in several hard-hit areas. And he advocated allowing infections to spread naturally among most of the population while protecting the most vulnerable and those in nursing homes until the United States reaches herd immunity, which experts say would cause excess deaths, according to three current and former senior administration officials.

Atlas also cultivated Trump’s affection with his public assertions that the pandemic is nearly over, despite death and infection counts showing otherwise, and his willingness to tell the public that a vaccine could be developed before the Nov. 3 election, despite clear indications of a slower timetable.

Discord on the coronavirus task force has worsened since the arrival in late summer of Atlas, whom colleagues said they regard as ill-informed, manipulative and at times dishonest.

6 Responses to “The Institute of Denial”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Something similar has happened with “alternative medicine” being sneaked into once-legitimate science-based medical organizations (like the Cleveland Clinic), often as a well-funded addition to the program. They give it the newer term “integrative medicine” to shed the bad connotations associated with “alternative medicine”, but from the science-based medicine point of view, it’s just the horrible mainstream acceptance of quackademic medicine.

    Anything good about integrative medicine is not unique to IM.
    Anything unique about IM is not good.

  2. jimbills Says:

    Here’s another genius advocating a herd immunity strategy, who listens to conspiracy theories, and won’t take the vaccine:

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