Science versus Scientism (Part 1)
More root cause analysis of the COVIDcrisis
“It’s very dangerous, Chuck, because a lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science. Because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science. Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people, and there was pushback against me.
So if you are trying to get at me as a public health official and scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science. And anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that. You have to be asleep not to see that.”
NIH NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, quoted during a MSNBC/Chuck Todd “Meet The Press Daily” interview June 09, 2021. (Relevant Aside- Chuck Todd and MTP-Daily were dropped by MSNBC effective June 06, 2022. )
The impetus for Fauci’s famous self-own was a video from Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who floated a theory that the Director of the NIAID was colluding with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to develop a narrative about COVID-19. Chuck Todd teed this up by calling the Senator’s accusation a “really wild, fantastical conspiracy”. According to Senator Blackburn:
“Dr. Fauci was emailing with Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, trying to create that narrative,” “Cherrypicking information so that you would only know what they wanted you to know, and there would be a narrative that would fit with this cherrypicked information.”
You can see the full interview here.
With the passage of time (and a couple of pending lawsuits), we now know that the accusation of Senator Blackburn and her colleagues appears to have had significant merit.
Anthony Fauci, America’s high priest of scientism, wears out his welcome
Scientific 'progress' unrestrained by sacred principles is fraught with dangers
On April 13, the editors of National Review opined: “More than a year ago, Americans welcomed [Dr.] Anthony Fauci into their homes as a sober scientist who was helping them make sense of a deadly new virus. But he has worn out that welcome.”
William F. Buckley’s heirs are absolutely right, and here’s why.
Anthony Fauci is no longer viewed as our nation’s sober “scientist” because he’s not one. Instead, he has shown himself to be a political opportunist and our country’s new high priest of “scientism.”
In the early 1900s, G.K. Chesterton spoke of the unavoidable consequences of worshipping science above the sacred. Observing that the naturalists of his day were only too willing to turn their science into a philosophy and then impose their new religion upon all of culture with near fanatic zeal, Chesterton said, “I never said a word against eminent men of science. What I complain of is a vague, popular philosophy which supposes itself to be scientific when it is really nothing but a sort of new religion and an uncommonly nasty one.”
Recognizing that science could never presume to compete in the moral arena, Chesterton went further. “To mix science up with philosophy is only to produce a philosophy that has lost all its ideal value and a science that has lost all its practical value. It is for my private physician to tell me whether this or that food will kill me. It is for my private philosopher to tell me whether I ought to be killed.”
Chesterton knew science could answer the questions of mathematics and medicine, but he was likewise keenly aware it had little to say about meaning and morality. He warned that scientific “progress” unrestrained by sacred principles was fraught with dangers.
Precisely. And this becomes even more of a problem when Scientism is coupled with Utilitarianism (and Marxism) as I discussed in the previous chapter “Tyranny of the Modelers”. Piper then cites prophetic words from writer and novelist CS Lewis:
C.S. Lewis also spoke of Western society’s diminishment of God’s created order while elevating personal power to fill the chaotic void. Predicting the rise of what he and others labeled “scientism,” Lewis warned of a dystopia where public policy and even moral and religious beliefs would be dictated by oligarchs only too eager to assume the role of our new cultural high priests.
In his novel “That Hideous Strength,” Lewis asks an obvious question: After two world wars in which technology has brought us the “advancements” of the mass slaughter, ballistic missiles, and the atomic bomb, how is our new man-made god of “scientism” working for us?
C. S. Lewis, November 29, 1893-- November 22, 1963
In another outstanding essay regarding the same issue, titled “Anthony Fauci, Prophet of Scientism”, Trevor Thomas also cites CS Lewis in a quote that cuts right to the heart of the matter:
[T]he new oligarchy must more and more base its claim to plan us on its claim to knowledge. If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists’ puppets. Technocracy is the form to which a planned society must tend. Now I dread specialists in power because they are specialists speaking outside their special subjects. Let scientists tell us about sciences. But government involves questions about the good for man, and justice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man’s opinion no added value… I dread government in the name of science. That is how tyrannies come in.
So, what is Scientism, and how is the concept behind the term important for understanding the COVIDcrisis?
Merriam-Webster: scientism (sci·en·tism | \ ˈsī-ən-ˌti-zəm \)
Definition of scientism
1: methods and attitudes typical of or attributed to the natural scientist
2: an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)
The term scientism was popularized by F.A. Hayek, who defined it as the "slavish imitation of the method and language of Science". Hayek, F. A. v. (1942). "Scientism and the Study of Society. Part I". Economica. 9 (35): 267–291. doi:10.2307/2549540. JSTOR 2549540.
Karl Popper defines scientism as "the aping of what is widely mistaken for the method of science". Popper, Karl R. (1979). Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach (Revised ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press. p. 185. LCCN 79318586. OL 4489088M.
With the infamous Chuck Todd interview, which (appropriately) prompted almost universal amazement and derision from US press, international press, and members of the US public who were not already consumed by the mass formation hypnosis created around Anthony Fauci by the American Association of Medical Colleges and Corporate-State media,
The June 09, 2021 outburst and umbrage from Anthony Fauci was triggered when Chuck Todd confronted Fauci with examples of Republican politicians accusing him of colluding with Facebook leadership to establish an approved narrative which would protect his status and support his various unilateral authoritarian policy flip-flops. Speaking to Fauci of Blackburn’s comments, Todd said
“I don’t even know where to begin, but it’s a sitting United States Senator. It’s the most.. What I would call the most extreme version of what I have heard. You’ve got Kevin McCarthy doing his own version of this, Marco Rubio, you’re aware of the critiques. You’ve been debunking this. How do you debunk that? She’s got it in her own head. “Again, a sitting US Senator that represents the State of Tennessee? What do you say to that?” (note the classic gaslighting of a female US Senator from a rural state), to which Fauci replied:
“You know Chuck, I don’t have a clue what she just said, I don’t have a clue what she is talking about (shrugging his shoulders- more gaslighting), “Neither do we”, Todd interjects (whomever “we” is- more classic propaganda strategy). Fauci then states “I mean so, welcome to the club, I have no idea what she is talking about”. “And I am sorry, I do not want to be pejorative about a United States Senator, but I have no idea what she is talking about”. “And, and you know, Chuck, if you go through each and every one of the points, which are so ridiculous, as, as, as, as, you know, just painfully ridiculous, but nonetheless, if you go through each and every one of them, you can explain and debunk it immediately” (notice how smoothly he dissembles while avoiding the question?).
But Dr. Fauci never actually answered the question posed by Mr. Todd, and in retrospect it appears that this all may have been a classic distraction feint by a very smooth and experienced DC politician/bureaucrat which got out of hand. Both before and after that time, we have had multiple lines of evidence demonstrating collusion between Facebook and both US HHS and WHO. For example, Facebook has publicly stated it is assisting efforts of the White House, the CDC and the WHO to censor unwanted speech about vaccines. In fact, this pro-censorship public health messaging stance represents a longstanding relationship between Democratic party leadership, Facebook and Google, which traces back to before the COVIDcrisis. For example, On February 14, 2019, Rep Adam Schiff (D- CA) wrote to Facebook and Google leadership directly advocating for collusion and censorship on the topic of vaccine misinformation.
In a March 04, 2019 response to the Adam Schiff letter (including subsequent lawsuit), Children’s Health Defense detailed how Mr. Schiff asked Facebook to suppress and purge internet content critical of government vaccine policies. This statement provides a succinct summary of the problems with US government Scientism regarding vaccination policies, which included “challenges concerning Facebook use of so-called “independent fact-checkers,” which, in truth, are neither independent nor fact-based”. Of course, consequent to thanks to a lawsuit brought by journalist John Stossel, we have subsequently learned from Facebook’s legal team that the supposed battle against “misinformation” as a farce. Facebook finally admitted the truth: The “fact checks” that social media use to police what Americans read and watch are just “opinion.”
In the March 04, 2019 letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, CHD provides multiple clear and compelling data- and logic-based examples of the consequences of US Government-promoted “Scientism” in action. For example:
For your company to take on the role suggested by Mr. Schiff, you would essentially be engaging in the practice of censoring information about vaccines on behalf of the government. There is no other way to logically interpret his letter, in which he expresses his expectation that your company will take measures to stop Facebook users from seeing what he calls “antivaccine” information, a term he treats synonymously with “medically inaccurate information about vaccines”. Mr. Schiff expresses his concern that certain information might discourage parents from vaccinating their child such information as “a direct threat to public health”.
Hence, his true criterion for determining what information constitutes a “threat” is truthful and accurate, but whether or not it accords with the goal of achieving high vaccination rates. In a truly Orwellian fashion, he then defines any information that could undermine that goal as “medically inaccurate”. He is, in short, employing the logical fallacy of begging the question. When he says that certain information threatens “public health”, what he really means is that it threatens public health policy.
Mr. Schiff’s false statements are indicative of the problem of how the government systematically misinforms the public about vaccine safety and effectiveness. The CDC itself is a leading purveyor of misinformation about vaccines. For example, a literature review by the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration on the safety and effectiveness of the influenza vaccine concluded that the fundamental assumptions underlying the CDC’s universal flu shot recommendation are unsupported by the scientific evidence and, furthermore, that the CDC has deliberately misrepresented the science in order to support its policy.
In a foreshadowing of the censorship, propaganda, defamation and coordinated (old and new) media policies which have directly contributed to the catastrophic global mismanagement of the COVIDcrisis, the WHO (specifically Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is an Ethiopian microbiologist, malaria researcher, and politician - with no medical training) issued an September 04, 2019 press release stating:
The World Health Organization welcomes the commitment by Facebook to ensure that users find facts about vaccines across Instagram, Facebook Search, Groups, Pages and forums where people seek out information and advice.
Facebook will direct millions of its users to WHO’s accurate and reliable vaccine information in several languages, to ensure that vital health messages reach people who need them the most.
The World Health Organization and Facebook have been in discussions for several months to ensure people can access authoritative information on vaccines and reduce the spread of inaccuracies.
Vaccine misinformation is a major threat to global health that could reverse decades of progress made in tackling preventable diseases.
Many debilitating and deadly diseases can be effectively prevented by vaccines. Think measles, diphtheria, hepatitis, polio, cholera, yellow fever, influenza…
Major digital organizations have a responsibility to their users -- to ensure that they can access facts about vaccines and health. It would be great to see social and search platforms come together to leverage their combined reach.
We want digital actors doing more to make it known around the world that #VaccinesWork.
We want innovation that supports healthy behaviors to save lives and protect the vulnerable. So many children whose parents fully support vaccination currently lack access to these life-saving tools.
These online efforts must be matched by tangible steps by governments and the health sector to promote trust in vaccination and respond to the needs and concerns of parents.
More recently, extensive legal documentation has become available regarding the illegal relationship by which the US Government, HHS, Fauci and specifically the CDC have conspired to restrict freedom of speech. In March, 2020, Zuckerberg communicated by email with White House Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci, proposing a collaboration between Facebook and the government on COVID-related information; Fauci agreed to this collaboration, and Zuckerberg made an offer of some kind (so far undisclosed) connected to that collaboration. One month later, in April, 2020, Facebook began affirmatively directing users to the CDC’s information on COVID, and in May the company announced a new, more stringent policy against COVID “misinformation.” For more on this, see Simon Chandler, Facebook’s Coronavirus Misinformation Policy At Odds with Political Ads Stance, Forbes (Apr. 16, 2020).
Similarly, during January 2021 the White House stated that its “direct engagement” with Facebook would cause the organization to “clamp down” on so-called vaccine misinformation. Finally, Dr. Fauci’s May, 2021 reversal of the government’s previous denunciations of the lab-leak hypothesis of COVID’s origins was followed almost immediately by Facebook’s reversal of its ban on content suggesting that COVID was “manmade or manufactured.” The close proximity of these paired events supports an inference that Facebook works jointly with and willingly takes direction from the federal government about what COVID-related speech to censor and what not to censor. See Yartzoff v. Thomas, 809 F.2d 1371, 1376 (9th Cir. 1987) (“causal inference strengthened by closeness in time between events”).
Furthermore, Zuckerberg has contributed $35 million to the CDC (through the vehicle of the CDC Foundation), and Facebook has given millions of dollars in free advertising to the CDC. In 2021, a Facebook whistleblower revealed that Facebook censors vaccine-related content based on a secret “vaccine hesitancy” algorithm, which determines whether and to what extent the content (even if completely accurate) could induce vaccine hesitancy in viewers. Facebook banned “vaccine misinformation” and implemented the “vaccine hesitancy” algorithm pursuant to an understanding, agreement, or “meeting of the minds” with its federal “partner,” the CDC. Facebook says openly that it defers to the CDC and WHO for “authoritative information.” Moreover, Facebook openly states that it blocks content “which public health experts have advised us could lead to COVID-19 vaccine rejection” or “[other] negative outcomes.”
In light of all these facts, it is an eminently reasonable inference that the “public health experts” who “advise” and give direction to Facebook on which content to censor and suppress include federal health officials, and that Facebook’s deference was reflective of and pursuant to an agreement or understanding between Facebook and the CDC. The US Government and Facebook have sought to evade scrutiny by keeping the details of their collaboration largely secret.
In February, 2020, Facebook “opened its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters to the WHO for a meeting with tech companies including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc., where a WHO official discussed the companies’ role in spreading ‘lifesaving health information.’” For further details, see Sam Schechner, “How Facebook Hobbled Mark Zuckerberg’s Bid to Get America Vaccinated,” Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2021. Moreover, in September 2019, the WHO publicly stated that it had “discussions for several months” with Facebook about removing “inaccuracies” from its pages as discussed above. While the WHO is ordinarily not a federal actor, it appears that the WHO is itself engaged in joint action with the CDC and is acting as CDC’s agent-in-fact in the effort to stamp out so-called COVID “misinformation,” making the WHO a federal actor in this context.
In sum, Anthony Fauci, appropriately named as “America’s high priest of scientism” by Everett Piper, has been dishonest with the American people throughout the COVIDcrisis, and has repeatedly substituted his opinions for scientifically-based factual information, directly contributing to one of the greatest losses of life, freedom and livelihood in the history of mankind. This is an embodiment of the true essence and nature of Scientism.
I have spent my whole professional life dealing with the new priesthood of Scientism, and it has always infuriated me. Scientism has nothing to do with the scientific method that I was so rigorously trained in. In my experience, those who ascribe to this substitute religion are typically second or third-rate intellects who exploit a broken system of public funding of the “Scientific” enterprise to build personal status and power, typically coupled to a cult of personality.
In addition to Drs. Anthony Fauci and Robert Gallo (both “yellow beret” products of the NIH system), particularly egregious examples include the “Gene Therapy” pioneers W French Anderson (convicted of pedophilia with 10 year old girl, formerly of NIH) and former NIH/NIAID darling and U Penn Physician/Scientist Dr. James Wilson (whose research resulted in the avoidable death of young Jesse Gelsinger). For further details concerning that sordid affair, please see “The Death of Jesse Gelsinger: New Evidence of the Influence of Money and Prestige in Human Research” by Robin Wilson. Those who have been surprised at my speaking out concerning the use and abuse of my own work involving the initial invention of mRNA vaccine technology are generally unaware that I had already destroyed one career by speaking out concerning what I knew of that PRIOR UPenn situation. In that case, in the end, no significant changes in federal policy were forthcoming. Likewise, the role of UPenn in the development and advocacy for use of pseudouridine in an “improvement” upon my prior work and patents (when in fact it is dangerous due to suppression of immune responses and drastically increases mRNA stability to months instead of hours) is also unlikely to result in significant changes in the HHS bureaucracy and its Priests of Scientism unless there are deep and significant changes in the bureaucracy and its culture backed by clear and unambiguous congressional action.
See the upcoming substack essay titled “Science versus Scientism (Part 2)” for an examination of the Scientific Method as I have been trained to practice it, and a contrast to the Scientism practiced by Anthony Fauci, Francis Collins, Rochelle Walensky, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and so many other bureaucrats masquerading as scientists.