Culture

Deniers & Conspiracy Theorists Disbelieve In Official COVID Science Because Of Faulty Brains

Reader Stephen Shipman found the JAMA—prestigious journal!—peer-reviewed note “Science Denial and COVID Conspiracy Theories: Potential Neurological Mechanisms and Possible Responses” by Bruth Miller.

Let’s don’t breeze by that KGB-style subtitle: Potential Neurological Mechanisms why people might deny items on the list of Official Beliefs, or why people offer alternate causal explanations for these beliefs, might be explained, says Miller, by “Neurological Mechanisms”—which is to say, bad brains.

Passing off critics as neurologically damaged, and therefore in need of caring, loving, possibly confined, treatment, sure is easier than successfully rebutting criticisms.

The opening paragraph is a wonder, especially considering the paper’s date, 2 November 2020. Here’s most of it.

The US public health response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been dismal, characterized by antimask behavior, antivaccine beliefs, conspiracy theories about the origins of COVID-19, and vocal support by elected officials for unproven therapies. Less than half of the people in the US heed health recommendations to wear a mask when out in public. Antiscience rhetoric has consequences. While only 4% of the world’s population resides in the US, the US has accounted for 20% of the world’s deaths related to COVID-19 and has performed less well than several other wealthy nations.

Not wearing a mask is “antiscience”? What about all the old-school, and even some new-school, science that recommends against masks? Like this and this? Doesn’t count, presumably because that science was done before Official Science became fully woke. Or maybe because science that doesn’t fit official narratives is ruled invalid.

As far as the US death count goes, yes, amen, it is damn curious. It can’t be high because a few people on the internet are posting evidence showing masks don’t work. Take NYC, where mask usage is 98%+, and has been for months. Yet people still die, though at decreasing rates.

On the other hand, Florida, which doesn’t have lockdowns or mask mandates, and California, which does, have similar relative deaths. Curious.

This suggests Americans are older and unhealthier, not science denying. Denying science, and even supposing the origin of the coronadoom is entirely natural, denying that and insisting on Chinese misbehavior, can’t make you more susceptible to catching a bug. What possibly causal mechanism can this Miller have in mind that ties denial and death?

Answer: none. Because there is none. If anything, people who think the doom is a plot are likely to be more careful than those who think science will save them. Miller just can’t stomach people out of his social circles doubting his word, an increasing emotion among our elites.

As far as those origins of the doom go, he said this, recalling this was three months ago: “15% among those with some postgraduate training endorsed” the idea “that COVID-19 was planned”. Some 48% of folks outside Miller’s class thought the same.

Now scientists have been known to soup-up bugs to study what it would be like if those souped-up bugs were to get loose and cause—wait for it, wait for it—pandemics. Scientists are not required to read Mary Shelley. There isn’t much, or any, evidence China released the doom intentionally, but there’s plenty it got out by accident, a not-at-all-implausible explanation.

Don’t worry. The other bugs scientists study the world over, like ebola^2, can’t escape.

Skip all that, and peer into this:

Beliefs grounded in false information, just like those grounded in truth, have neural origins and reflect connections in dedicated brain circuits. Individuals are organized to hold beliefs and to evaluate their merit based on facts and experiences. Studies of neurodegenerative disorders that target selective brain networks shed light on the neural mechanisms that underlie the creation and sustenance of beliefs that are not based in reality.

You can’t help but be a dumbass, says Miller, because of your dedicated brain circuits.

“False beliefs are common in neurodegenerative disorders,” says Miller, caused by “faulty prefrontal systems”. Indeed, quoting papers suggesting the ineffectiveness of masks is like those who have “Capgras syndrome, the false belief that a loved one has been replaced by an impostor.”

Is that the same as when a person wrongly believes hacks are quality scientists?

How do we bypass dedicated brain circuits and faulty prefrontal systems and turn those who couldn’t help but believe falsities into science-loving upright citizens?

Education! “Developing frontal circuitry to support the process of reasoning is part of education and science literacy and stands at the core of a healthy democracy.”

Miller doesn’t say how forcing people to watch boring videos will fix their screwed up brains, but I’m sure he must be right that it can. Because Miller is a scientist.

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Categories: Culture

16 replies »

  1. I sifted through 11 COMMENTS posted [to the referenced article in JAMA at the link Briggs provided] looking for some sharp retort, neat rebuttal, solid contrarian view, or, evidence of medical community sanity. Findings cut-pasted below:

    * November 6, 2020 – Disturbing Analogy
    Giovanna Calabrese, Medical Doctor, PhD Psych | Casa di Cura Igea, Milan, Italy
    [… I find quite disturbing the parallelism between “false beliefs” and neurodegenerative disorders. …It is not long ago that political opponents ended up in psychiatric hospitals.]
    *November 17, 2020 – Quite a Doubtful Hypothesis
    Andrea Bellelli, MD | Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
    [I am extremely skeptical about the attempt to infer a diagnosis from a belief. It reminds me of Soviet political psychiatry. Dementia is caused by loss of neurons, and is a cause of impaired reasoning; but trying to establish a parallel between a wrong idea and a disease is hazardous. Wrong ideas are widespread and everyone may at some point believe in one, simply because being wrong is common. Moreover Covid-19 deniers are a poorly defined group, and attributing to its members one and the same error in reasoning is not justified. The group may even include persons who have reasonable doubts on the measures adopted to control the pandemic.]

  2. Interesting. A purely evil communist tradition is now part of the medical community in the USA. Making your opponent “crazy” is a long-standing technique of ALL dictators, not just “Joe the Dictator” (by his OWN words, not mine). I do love when evil is at least consistent.

    Proof that “peer reviewed” is just another term for “lie confirmed”.

    One must wonder how Miller knows which brain wiring is right—oh wait, he has GOD on his union card. I forgot…..

    Sadly, the people of the US will not tar and feather Miller. They will just end up in mental hospitals as dissidents because they ARE LAZY AND WILL NOT FIGHT BACK. Sorry, folks, you wanted this and you pleaded and begged for the crazies to run the asylum so you could remain in denial. Enjoy hell.

  3. What can be said the “disturbed” folks who question mask wearing can also (and has been) said about those who have faith in the reality of God. This is pure Democrat Party thinking.

    The Democrat Party, the party of slavery, has decided that those who do not believe in the Democrat program are sub-normal, maybe 2/3 human, and are only good for slavery. This is what the New World Order is all about—a small elite with lots of slaves who have been trained to do as they are told.

  4. “Miller doesn’t say how forcing people to watch boring videos will fix their screwed up brains, but I’m sure he must be right that it can. Because Miller is a scientist”

    shades of Clockwork Orange.

    All these researchers seem to be ideologically-driven incompetent liars so they cannot be trusted. You just need to tune them out and look at what’s around you. Around me, I’ve known 50-plus people that have had this in the last year and they are all fine, one hospitalization, he is 84, and he’s fine now too. People tell me they’ve seen pictures of overrun hospitals but last time I went to the doctor’s office the hospital was empty. I took someone to the emergency room just two weeks ago and it was empty. I also know that hospitals should be running at 80% capacity as do ICUs, meaning if you had 5 beds 4 should be filled at every given time one more person means you don’t have any beds. It’s all lies lies lies.

  5. And all of the sudden their latest gun control scheme (HR127) requires you to get the approval of a Psychiatrist before you’re allowed a license to practice a basic human right.

    No chance they’ll tie specific political positions to mental illness to prevent their political opponents (and people they just plain don’t like) from possessing arms. No, they’d never do that.

    I will not comply.

  6. Like Jan, I clicked on the original JAMA opinion piece to see the comments. There weren’t many. After all, who’d risk their careers and federal grant monies.

    As Jan noted, one or two commenters furrowed their brows over the premise that views not in keeping with The Science of the State are evidence of a neurological mental illness. A bridge too far? They timidly ask.

    No-one in these circles dares question the underlying dogma, whether it’s “Climate” or “The Pandemic.” Scientists and others who disagree with The State are “Deniers” meaning anathema. In this case, “Covid deniers.”

    No, these ones are just quibbling about methods for obtaining obedience to a dogma they already support. Not a premise, but a dogma, because “The Science is Settled.”

    Exercises in obedience to the current Cult of The State, which since March, 2020 is the Covid Cult, are both spiritual, such as “mandatory fear” over a virus with a 99.8% survival rate (about the same as a bad flu season), and temporal, with outward signs of worship, such as forced masking, forced reception of experimental biological agents (their name for it, because these aren’t traditional vaccines), forced shut-down of churches, schools, businesses and livelihoods, forced imprisonment in homes, talk of “quarantine camps”, threats of punishment, and so forth.

    “Developing frontal circuitry to support the process of reasoning is part of education and science literacy and stands at the core of a healthy democracy,” says Bruce (Call me Bruth) Miller, PhDegree.

    This bland, earnest, tortuous, statement is partly true, aren’t they always. He has our best interests at heart, he wants to “develop our frontal circuitry”. That’s technical talk in brainiac land, in case we’re wondering.

    The part he leaves out, is that “frontal circuitry” and the ability to reason, is developed by testing ideas in that back-and-forth process known as “debate and discussion”. We put our ideas on trial, and see if they hold up to scrutiny.

    Try doing that now. Anathema ideas cannot even be aired. Not in academic journals (because it’s all academic, now), not in town council meetings, not even at the family dinner table.

    A useful Latin phrase is Res ipsa loquitur, a legal term of art, meaning, “The thing (or matter) speaks for itself.” Let’s hope so, and soon.

  7. This is a bit off-topic, though it may show I have a mental disorder for not believing the Covid line:
    How can we go from 14,657 cases of flu in a week to 23 cases in a week this year? (Numbers from Gateway Pundit article)
    Now, I realize that one of the miracles of Covid is it apparently totally cured flu, however, since I have that nasty mental disorder discussed above, if you simply look at this from a statistical viewpoint, would not one say “NO” it is statistically impossible for that to be true?

    (I’m serious here. Statistically, is this even possible? I know it’s reported to happen, but people report UFO sightings, too…..)

  8. The Caustic Cancel Culture Pogrom (CCCP) now killing reality and snuffing of history in a whirlwind’s manner is an affront to our Nation (and the world). In one of many examples, the lies of the 1619 Project give us insight into the many tools the CCCP has at its disposal. This latest assault with the “official” medical community climbing aboard the CCCP train is a shameful event.

    I questioned one of my doctors about Covid-1984. Saying the medical community should be ashamed of themselves, the answer is “we did not know what it was all about.” Oh, bubbles and soap (B and S). Thank you, Briggs, for the warning, next trip I will keep my mouth shut to avoid the unscheduled shrink-wrap trip.

    This Covid-1984 alt-reality we live under is the same old evil infestation – socialism/communism. A new type, with the debased commie loving businesses (e.g., medical) in partnership with government. The term “Fascism” described the public-private partnerships in Italy during Mussolini’s reign. Take your pick, Fascistism or Commucist to describe the Newtopia of today.

    For the un-woke (based) folk facing the CCCP adversity, here is an antidote. It is a heart-warming true story about Vice Admiral James Stockdale (December 23, 1923 – July 5, 2005) to give us some hope. September 9, 1965, was a life-changing day for Stockdale. It was the day the Vietcong shot down his Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. He ejected to save his own life and the North Vietnamese captured him that day. They detained Stockdale at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” (H?a Lò Prison). They had a new troublesome prisoner. He set up communications among the American prisoners of war, and a code of rules to organize the prisoners and boost their morale.

    This famous quote by Stockdale will help us face the CCCP: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

  9. You always hear about how the US has a dangerously high percentage of COVID deaths compared to population. But not for other countries. So I ran some numbers.

    UK: About .9% of world population, about 4.5% of COVID deaths.
    Italy: About .8% of world population, about 3.4% of COVID deaths.
    Mexico: About 1.6% of world population, about 5.8% of COVID deaths.
    Argentina: About .6% of world population, about 1.8% of COVID deaths.

    So we can see that the US is far from alone in having a “disproportionately high” number of COVID deaths. You can find some countries with less proportional deaths to population, but in Europe and Latin America COVID deaths are almost always “overrepresented” proportionally.

    Why would this be? Well, three factors. First, there are areas of the world that COVID doesn’t seem to be killing many people at all, such as much of Africa. This is likely because these areas lack the old, unhealthy people that COVID is so good at killing. (Not necessarily because they have good health mind you; if people die of other causes before they can get old enough to be at high risk for COVID that also reduces the COVID deaths). Second, in many parts of the world reporting of health data is spotty at best. If you die and no one tells anyone, it isn’t in the stats. Third, while in the west governments have found it convenient to have high numbers for purposes of fear, other countries like having low numbers so that they can claim they have the situation in control. All it takes is ascribing deaths to comorbidities instead of COVID to dramatically decrease your numbers. And some countries are probably going further than that and outright lying (looking at you China).

    With those factors it makes no sense to compare the numbers like we should expect equal amounts of deaths reported in every region. But you’ll keep hearing about the US’s “disproportionate” amount of deaths anyway (though, as I mentioned, only the US will be targeted for this).

  10. Oh, Bruthy! So Liberal Sheepism is normal brain functioning, and dissent from GroupThink is a mental illness? Dear AMA, you have it bassackwards.

    This is the outfit that thinks gender dysphoria and pedophilia are healthy, and religion is madness.

    Go ahead and build loony bins to house 150,000,000 dissenter patients. Guess who is going to be living there, nut jobs. Not the people who build them. Those would be the competent types. No, the sub-standard concentration camp housing will be for the defectives. Look in the mirror if you’re confused about that, Doctor.

  11. i guess this is where reeducation camps come in. And for those that are re incorrigible pre- frontal lobotomies are in order. God help us.

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