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The biggest problem mRNA skeptics face
And how to handle it. Because this battle isn't going away.
On Friday I was having lunch with a relative.
She’s a nice woman, smart. We’re not especially close - we didn’t grow up near one another and we don’t live near each other now - but we’re blood, and in no way unfriendly.
One more thing: she’s an academic. You can guess her politics.
Just after we sat, we talked a bit about Covid. She said she’d been only vaguely aware of my views or how controversial I’d become - surprising but not entirely, she’s had plenty else to worry about of late. She’d googled me and come across “The Pandemic’s Wrongest Man,” though. Of course.
We ordered, ate, caught up, gossiped about family. The usual.
And then she said something along the lines of, Well. I would like to hear about your journey, how you developed these views.
Sure, I said.
One question I’d ask, one way to look at it - do you generally believe in the scientific method?
I think she said “scientific method,” not “science.” But she meant “science.”
She meant, Do you believe in science?
There is only one answer to this question, if someone is foolish and/or rude enough to say it out loud to you, the mRNA skeptic. I don’t care who that someone is: a relative, a friend, a frenemy, a television interviewer, a total stranger.
Yes, this question has only one answer.
What an idiotic thing to say, I said.
She was taken aback. After all, she had asked me if I was a moron, but she’d done so politely.
I don’t think it’s idiotic, she said.
Of course I believe in science, I said. A nuclear power plant sits not far from where I live. It exists because one group of brilliant scientists unlocked the secrets of the atom and another group figured out to how to use fission to heat water and turn turbines and make electricity. Which I use every day.
I could have made the same point even more simply: whenever I get on a plane I don’t expect to see the wings flapping.
To exist in the modern world is to know science exists. To agree to a prenatal genetic screen, to check your favorite team’s highlights on your phone, even to drive - is to understand the profound technological revolution humanity has undergone in the last three centuries.
These people. These smart liberal people.
They believe, truly, that anyone who questions the mRNA shots must be a knuckle-dragging mouth-breather who has no idea what the scientific method even is.
The mRNA jabs are extraordinary science. They are an incredible feat of biotechnology. We have figured out how to hijack our own cellular machinery in the same way viruses do. These shots build on generations of brilliant biological research, dating back to the discovery of the structure and function of DNA in 1953.
But that amazing history doesn’t mean that the modified mRNA in the Covid jabs is safe, any more than it means plutonium is safe.
In fact it means the opposite. It means they should be treated as dangerous until proven otherwise.
And the scientists who helped develop them knew that they might be dangerous. As they wrote in a widely read 2016 paper called “mRNA delivery using nanoparticles”:
Currently, no mRNA therapeutic is approved for use in humans, and a beneficial safety profile in patients still has to be demonstrated. A first clinical application will likely not be a prophylactic vaccine, because the tolerance for side effects is very low for a drug that is injected into healthy individuals. [emphasis added] Establishing the safety profile in a therapeutic application, such as cancer immunotherapy, will be followed by prophylactic applications.
In other words, mRNAs shouldn’t be used in large numbers of healthy people before we gained years of experience with them in cancer patients, who have far shorter life expectancies and a much higher tolerance for risk as they pursue cures.
When regulators approve drugs, they do so on the basis that those drugs are safe and effective." The first word is “safe.” Not effective, safe.
First, do no harm.
But in 2020 drug companies, scientists, regulators, and the government tossed that maxim aside.
They decided the Covid mRNA jabs were safe enough to be moved within months into large clinical trials.
When less than five months later those big trials did not turn up obvious and deadly side effects, they decided the vaccines were safe enough to be given to more than a billion people. They made this decision though the vaccines had NOT demonstrated a clean short-term safety profile in the trials, but rather fairly severe though generally short-term side effects.
I cannot emphasize enough how completely these choices upended the normal process of drug research and development. The regulators took an enormous risk.
It has not paid off. Two years after mass vaccinations began, all-cause mortality remains well above normal in almost every country that used the mRNAs, while births are way down.
(Ashes, ashes, 12.7 percent more of us fall down)
It is also theoretically possible to have a reasonable conversation about these facts with mRNA vaccine advocates, and to speculate as to what reasons other than the shots might be driving the current death wave.
In reality two factors make it very difficult.
The first is that most of them are unaware of the demographic reality currently unfolding. Although advanced countries all over the world regularly publish weekly or monthly death rates, the media has almost completely ignored the recent excess in mortality.
This refusal is particularly striking considering the same outlets obsessively counted of Covid deaths for the first 18 months of the pandemic - until late 2021, when it became clear that Covid deaths were continuing to rise quickly even in Western European countries where nearly every adult had been vaccinated and boosted.
But an even bigger problem is the attitude that vaccine advocates display.
As if those of us raising questions must be treated with kid gloves because we just don’t understand how science works. Don’t we understand basic biology? Don’t we know these drugs have been tested? Don’t we know there’s a process? Don’t we understand that sometimes terrible things can happen to people after they’ve received the mRNAs purely by coincidence?
We sure do. We understand everything these nice folks who got the shot do.
The problem is that we understand more.
So. When you are confronted with this patronizing line of questioning, don’t try to talk around it. Call it out. Make sure your questioner understands that you believe in science. (Ugh.)
Then, if he or she doesn’t shut down entirely, you can at least begin the process of trying to walk through the more worrisome data. Or just send them here.
And if he does, so be it; at least you have shown that you will not accept any debate that begins with the premise you are too dumb to understand that vaccines are real.