Category: Internet & social media

Carl Sagan

John Ioannidis and the Carl Sagan effect in science communication about COVID-19

We have been critical about John Ioannidis over a number of his statements about the COVID-19 pandemic. Now he's done it again, producing a poor-quality paper whose unwritten assumptions suggest that the Carl Sagan effect, in which scientists are penalized professionally by their peers for becoming popular science communicators, still holds considerable sway in science and medicine.

/ December 13, 2021
Hasidic Jews in Borough Park

Echoes of measles outbreaks in 2019: Antivaxxers are targeting Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn with COVID-19 misinformation

About a year before the COVID-19 pandemic, large measles outbreaks among Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn and Rockland County were linked to misinformation targeted to their communities by antivaxxers. History is repeating itself with COVID-19.

/ November 1, 2021

About those “19 Errors,” Part Two

A critical and evidence-based response to the alleged errors journalist Jesse Singal found in my guest post reviewing Abigail Shrier's book on trans youth. The second of two parts.

/ September 5, 2021
Ivermectin

Ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine, take 5: The Nobel Prize gambit

Ivermectin continues to be the new hydroxychloroquine, an unproven repurposed drug promoted to treat COVID-19. Now the advocates are pointing to the history of the drug's developers being awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, as though that has anything to do with its effectiveness against COVID-19.

/ August 9, 2021

A New Covid-19 Myth?

A correspondent suggested I should have known that the pandemic was over months ago. That's obviously a myth. But where did that idea come from?

/ June 29, 2021
Ivermectin

Ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine, take 2

A few months ago, Scott Gavura wrote about how the veterinary deworming drug ivermectin has become the new hydroxychloroquine in that it is being promoted as a highly effective treatment against COVID-19—and by many of the same people who previously promoted HCQ—despite evidence that is, at best very weak and at worst completely negative. Unfortunately, with the publication of two new and...

/ June 21, 2021

“COVID-19 vaccines are going to sterilize our womenfolk,” Take 2

Antivaxxers have long claimed that vaccines, particularly HPV vaccines, can damage the ovaries and cause female infertility. That claim has been resurrected for COVID-19 vaccines. The first example relied on a dubious "similarity" between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and a placental protein. This time, it's the lipid nanoparticles attacking the ovaries, echoing very old claims about polysorbate-80. Truly, everything old is new...

/ June 7, 2021

COVID vaccine manufacturers should explore legal action against anti-vaxxers spreading disinformation

Perhaps it's time for vaccine manufacturers to consider defamation suits against anti-vaxxers who spread false information about COVID vaccines. Lawsuits by voting technology companies against Fox and others over false "rigged" election claims could serve as a template.

/ May 6, 2021
Namaste - Yoga Practitioner

Conspirituality: Where New Age wellness meets right wing conspiracy thinking

Conspiracy theorists and QAnon may sound miles apart from wellness, yoga and GOOP, but they're converging into "conspirituality", the integration of spirituality and conspiracy theories.

/ February 4, 2021
Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

The efforts of antivaxxers to portray COVID-19 vaccines as harmful or even deadly continue apace…

As more and more COVID-19 vaccines find their way into more and more arms, there are reports of bad things happening to people after vaccination up to and including even death. As I've been predicting for a long time that they would, antivaxxers are now weaponizing these reports and anecdotes before they have even been investigated in order to spread fear, uncertainty,...

/ January 18, 2021