A judge yesterday whacked the CDC’s overreaching mask mandate. The judge said “the mandate exceeded the CDC statutory authority, improperly invoked the good clause exemption to notice and comment rulemaking and failed to adequately explain its decision”.
The burden of proof on masks has always been on those who would force people to wear them. The starting hypothesis should have been that masks do not work, or that their benefits are too small to bother with, and that their use produces real harm, such as from the nastiness of wearing dirty cloth for prolonged periods, and in generating and spreading fear.
Mask advocates, and in particular those who criminalized masklessness, had a clear moral duty to provide sufficient positive evidence of mask efficacy to overcome this hypothesis. This they never did.
Experts turned the question around and insisted masks work, and that skeptics must instead provide conclusive proof that masks were useless. And even when such proof was provided it was discounted by one of the oldest fallacies going: the Alternate Explanation Fallacy (described here).
This occurs when somebody proposes an alternate explanation for an observation, and insists the alternate explanation must therefore be true because it is an alternate explanation. It’s used most in attempts to discredit miracles. It’s used with masks to say masks must have worked even when they are observed not to, because (the alternate explanation goes) something stopped them from working; therefore they ackshually work.
In short, there was no way to win against those determined that all must join the Cult of the Mask. To members, it was obvious masks worked because they were masks. No other proof was offered, or needed.
Here’s an example:
I'm seeing a lot of misinformation saying mask mandates don't work. You can't use a graph like this to conclude causation because there are many confounding factors e.g. places where ppl eat and drink were fully open, mandates didn't apply to all public spaces. /4 pic.twitter.com/SiNf4a6WmL
— Dr. Lucky Tran (@luckytran) April 15, 2022
The picture clearly shows no difference in infection rates in counties with mask mandates and those without. Conclusion: there is no evidence in this picture that mask mandates work. Therefore, there is good evidence in this picture that masks do not work.
Yet the fellow offers an Alternate Explanation: “You can’t use a graph like this to conclude causation because there are many confounding factors e.g. places where ppl eat and drink were fully open, mandates didn’t apply to all public spaces.” So masks ackshually work because he can think of an alternate explanation.
This is a particularly lame alternate explanation, however, because if people didn’t wear masks in bars in mask mandate counties, even fewer people wore masks everywhere in non-mandate counties.
Here’s another similar example (of which any number can be had):
During the winter/Omicron wave and subsequent decline, states with mask mandates generally have done worse than those without a mandate, and cases declined at the exact same time regardless
There is absolutely no legitimate, data based argument to justify mask mandates pic.twitter.com/bm3jDDU4ey
— Ian Miller (@ianmSC) March 1, 2022
The man goes on in the thread above to call for “getting more people boosted”, which, of course, has nothing to do with masks. He also wants to increase testing and give masks away free. Which also have nothing to do with whether masks work.
But he still concludes (among other things): “1. Universal masking works. 2. Mask mandates keep essential services safe, open and accessible to all”.
His only argument, and in fairness it is the same many in authority use, is “Masks work; therefore, masks work and so must be imposed.”
Some of my friends in medicine swear by masks. They are sure masks work, and won’t hear that they don’t. After all, masks block easy breathing, therefore they must be keeping out viruses. “Besides,” these professionals say to themselves, “I’m not getting sick that often while wearing one.” Which would be the exact same observation if indeed masks do not work.
Carefully controlled realistic—and not artificial mannequin- or model-based—experiments don’t show masks work. Indeed, they point in the opposite direction. Such as the Danish masks study, which is routinely ignored (just as many pretend never to have heard of Sweden’s anti-lockdown policy).
There are dozens of such studies paced over a century, ever since it was noticed mask mandates did no good in the Spanish Flu pandemic. There are even experiments that show masks worn by surgeons are not effective in preventing infections.
The CDC was satisfied to publish lame, error-filled or self-confirming circular studies is response to the many negative findings. They viewed these efforts, even in the face of the damning criticisms, as conclusive because they were efforts. To them, even just one study, however poor, that confirmed their view was sufficient. They acted like a judge convicting a defendant without hearing the defense: the charge alone was sufficient proof to convict. This is what you would expect from a bureaucracy.
You can see why people like masks. They block the nose and face. They must, these people reason, therefore be doing something. Which might even be true. But it does not follow that people should be forced to wear them, especially by criminalizing their absence.
Mask advocates, beyond ignoring experiments, also reason what’s the harm? They might work, so why not?
Again, beside the obvious nastiness of breathing through dirty cloth, masks spread idiot fear. They cause panic. And that is a sin.
Beyond all that, they give government a power they have no right to. “Thou shalt strap this cloth to thine face where thou goest” becomes law. Since they got away with this, at least until the judge acted, they will try to get away with more in the future.
Don’t worry, though. It will be for your own good.
Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.