Forgive me my dear friends and despised enemies for bringing you news of one of the silliest papers I’ve read in a long time, but I laughed so much while going through it, I thought some of you might be amused by it, too. I know I’ll go on too long, but I can’t help myself.
The peer-reviewed paper is “A darkening spring: How preexisting distrust shaped COVID-19 skepticism” by J. Hunter Priniski and a Keith J. Holyoak, in PLOS One.
Now long-time readers know I always emphasize the “peer-reviewed” bit because I want to demonstrate the absurdity of the system. PLOS One does one better—by including the peers’ reviews! This, as you will see, does a far superior job at that demonstration than I could ever do.
Before we get to it, another amusing thing is the inflation in credits. Remember movies from back in the 1940s? You’d see the main actors listed, maybe the writer, a producer and the director, and that was about it. Modern movies have lists of credits longer than an EPA regulation. We learn who the guy who brought the burgers to the assistant to the guy who did the hair for the assistant grip was, and fascinating things like that.
Same thing here. Turns out Priniski did the “Conceptualization, Data curation, Methodology, Validation, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing”. Holyoak’s credits were just as impressive.
Anyway, as you can tell from the title “A darkening spring”, this paper belongs to the common horror genre in academia. Professional academics love to frighten themselves as much as anybody else, and there’s nothing, to them, scarier than a populace who no longer loves or shows proper deference to them.
I know it’s long, but I promise you will at least smile as you read the Abstract (my paragraphifications):
Despite widespread communication of the health risks associated with the COVID-19 virus, many Americans underestimated its risks and were antagonistic regarding preventative measures. Political partisanship has been linked to diverging attitudes towards the virus, but the cognitive processes underlying this divergence remain unclear.
Bayesian models fit to data gathered through two preregistered online surveys, administered before (March 13, 2020, N = 850) and during the first wave (April–May, 2020, N = 1610) of cases in the United States, reveal two preexisting forms of distrust––distrust in Democratic politicians and in medical scientists––that drove initial skepticism about the virus.
During the first wave of cases, additional factors came into play, suggesting that skeptical attitudes became more deeply embedded within a complex network of auxiliary beliefs. These findings highlight how mechanisms that enhance cognitive coherence can drive anti-science attitudes.
They seem to have forgotten the panic was well under way by March 13. And that Democrat politicians like Chuck Schumer had already told people to come on down to riskless Chinatown and have a riskless meal! (Pelosi did the same.) Schumer did that because Trump wanted to close the borders to Chinamen—and Chinawomen.
They also forgot there were quite a lot of sane doctors, including at the WHO itself (as we reminded you last week) that recommended against lockdowns. Even the Fabulous Fauci himself was then saying masks were absurd.
As far as trusting doctors goes, doctors hadn’t really begun slicing the breasts off little girls, and the penises of little boys, and drugging the lot to gills, but some were doing it, and the news was out. You can’t trust any “doctor” who recommends that. Or doctor’s organizations, like the AMA. Who were out chattering about white supremacy (yes).
Now to the really funny material. If you are reading this in public, be forewarned of the danger of guffawing.
In their surveys they asked these (and other) questions:
- “Some politicians are making a big deal out of COVID-19 for political gain.”
- “I fear the government will use COVID-19 as an excuse to mandate vaccinations.”
- “Medical organizations like the CDC and WHO are untrustworthy.”
- “COVID-19 was engineered in a laboratory.”
- “Your chances of getting a disease after being vaccinated against it are incredibly low.”
- “We should stop social distancing as soon as possible to kickstart the economy.”
Number 1 is unambiguously true. And everybody knows it. As we just saw with Schumer.
Number 2, I did a spit take. Remember–can you remember—when mandated vaccines was a conspiracy theory? People who warned of mandated vaccines were cancelled. And then, after vaccines were mandated, they were fired from their jobs. A double jab. (Good pun!)
Number 3. WHO abandoned their old recommendations after receiving a junk-load of money from China (a junk is a Chinese boat—thank you). The CDC was caught in error after error, exaggeration after exaggeration. How dare they still not be trusted.
Number 4. Indeed, as all evidence suggests, the doom was created in gain-of-lethality research.
Number 5. The best of them all. CDC director Rochelle Walensky said, on camera, many times, if you got the vax you could not get infected, and you would not pass on the virus. And she was one of many, many.
But that was after. In 2020 during these surveys, people only had their suspicions, built from watching these stalwart organizations in practice.
Number 6. Well, yes. As even backtracking Experts are now admitting.
So. It turns out the skeptics were right, the Experts wrong. On all these things.
Nevertheless, our Expert authors conclude (again my paragraphifications):
The emergence and maintenance of COVID-19 skepticism appears to be similar in form to climate-change denialism. Both misconceptions are based on conspiracy theories that posit malevolent intentions of political and scientific organizations.
Conspiracy theories promote narratives alleging that academic and scientific organizations are conspiring with Democratic politicians and the mainstream media to push political agendas under the guise of scientific rigor.
For example, skeptics of climate change often claim that Democratic politicians are conspiring with climate scientists to use scientific evidence to regulate the economy for liberal (or socialist) ends.
In the case of COVID-19 denialism, conspiracy theories have claimed that that the virus was spread on purpose, and that medical professionals and Democratic politicians were conspiring to make then-President Donald Trump look bad in an election year.
All that can, or should be said about this, is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Incidentally, the regime paid for this study. NSF Grant such-and-such.
Indulge me in one last joke, will you? The peer review. It’s all there. Here are the juicy bits:
The paper deals with a very important and actual topic…
Overall, this paper can be viewed as a good presentation of the insights of the skeptical attitude regarding covid…
Your manuscript was well thought out, clear and provides important information that helps explains the current beliefs about COVID.
There were four reviewers. Reviewer 2—and I’d like to shake his hand–rejected the paper.
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