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Is COVID Undermining Real Science

  • 14-02-2021 2:07pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 186 ✭✭ jd1983


    One of the very few positives arising from COVID 19 is the rapid development of vaccines, particularly mRNA vaccines which has led to the possibility of cancer vaccines. This is an amazing scientific development but I get the feeling, particularly in this country that such achievements are under attack.
    Two of the lead scientists involved in the Astra Zeneca vaccine are from Ireland. This vaccine is likely to save 100's of thousands of lives, reduce severe illness in others and should help (along with other vaccines) get rid of the most draconian restrictions of freedom I've experienced in my lifetime. Considering all this, you'd expect these scientists who have worked painstakingly long hours to achieve this would be lauded and celebrated in this country. However I don't see any celebrations of their achievements in the media. Instead the media, celebrity "scientists" and NPHET seem to be consistently undermining such achievements by casting doubt over their vaccines effectiveness and subtlety spreading misinformation.
    If one were to randomly ask 100 Irish people if they knew the names of the two Irish Scientists involved in the Astra Zeneca vaccine, I'd be surprised if any knew who they are. However if you asked the same people if they knew Tony Holohan, Sam McConkey, Tomas Ryan etc, I bet a majority above a certain age would know who they are.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,805 ✭✭✭✭ endacl


    What’s your point?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,155 ✭✭✭ DaCor


    Not sure what your point is OP.

    Are you saying that because we haven't celebrated these people that science is under attack? Thats some leap to make.

    I will say this, the time for celebration is not here yet. Get the world vaccinated fast before more variants appear and then we can have a party.


  • Registered Users Posts: 186 ✭✭ jd1983


    endacl wrote: »
    What’s your point?

    My point is if we continue to undermine actual science, then there's a concern that scientific progress will suffer. Where is the incentive to work hard and make scientific breakthroughs if it's wafflers that are spouting pseudo-science and being sensationalist that are appear to be awarded.
    Furthermore, I feel there's currently a lot of censorship around opinions and this doesn't bode well for science. I feel there's no honest debate in society in Ireland regarding the pros/cons of lockdown measures. A lot of what's being referred to as 'expert opinion' in Ireland contrasts with 'expert opinion' from outside Ireland and from large governing bodies like the WHO.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,155 ✭✭✭ DaCor


    jd1983 wrote: »
    My point is if we continue to undermine actual science, then there's a concern that scientific progress will suffer. Where is the incentive to work hard and make scientific breakthroughs if it's wafflers that are spouting pseudo-science and being sensationalist that are appear to be awarded.

    You are assuming people go into the sciences for personal recognition and fame?

    You are also making another leap in saying that posts on facebook are going to prevent scientific advancements...I think you put too much stock in wacko's


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,445 ✭✭✭ Rodney Bathgate


    jd1983 wrote: »
    A lot of what's being referred to as 'expert opinion' in Ireland contrasts with 'expert opinion' from outside Ireland and from large governing bodies like the WHO.

    The WHO has no credibility, they are a mouthpiece for the CCP.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 186 ✭✭ jd1983


    DaCor wrote: »

    You are also making another leap in saying that posts on facebook are going to prevent scientific advancements...I think you put too much stock in wacko's

    It looks like it's you that's making leaps, I haven't mentioned anything about facebook and I haven't even logged onto facebook in months.

    I'm talking about "scientists" who are constantly on mainstream media TV and radio shows. One "scientist" in particular has made the following claims:
    - Predicted 50k deaths in Ireland in an oireachtas submission to the Covid Committee in August
    - Predicted 100's of children dying on prime time during a debate on school's reopening
    - Stated that Covid has a fatality rate of 3% last Summer
    - Constantly casting doubts on vaccines

    I take no stock in ridiculous opinions like these, I can only assume you're not reading my posts properly if you think so. However, quite a lot of people are taking such opinions seriously which I believe will ultimately damage Science and this worries me. These people are rarely if ever challenged on such ludicrous positions on MSM.


  • Registered Users Posts: 186 ✭✭ jd1983


    The WHO has no credibility, they are a mouthpiece for the CCP.

    I'd certainly be critical of some of their actions but they certainly have more credibility than NPHET.

    I feel they're not showing much leadership but to be fair they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them either. Therefore they avoid getting political and therefore avoid criticizing individual countries responses.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,155 ✭✭✭ DaCor


    jd1983 wrote: »
    It looks like it's you that's making leaps, I haven't mentioned anything about facebook and I haven't even logged onto facebook in months.

    Sigh

    Facebook was used as an example based on your "it's wafflers that are spouting pseudo-science " statement, unless you want to share some links to reputable news sources that are providing a platform for said wafflers
    jd1983 wrote: »
    I'm talking about "scientists" who are constantly on mainstream media TV and radio shows. One "scientist" in particular has made the following claims:
    - Predicted 50k deaths in Ireland in an oireachtas submission to the Covid Committee in August
    - Predicted 100's of children dying on prime time during a debate on school's reopening
    - Stated that Covid has a fatality rate of 3% last Summer
    - Constantly casting doubts on vaccines

    I take no stock in ridiculous opinions like these, I can only assume you're not reading my posts properly if you think so. However, quite a lot of people are taking such opinions seriously which I believe will ultimately damage Science and this worries me. These people are rarely if ever challenged on such ludicrous positions on MSM.

    Is it a big secret? Why dont you share with everyone who you are talking about. Its difficult to dissect the issue without the full story. Links to back up your 4 points would be most useful


  • Administrators, Social & Fun Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 60,748 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Beasty


    This forum is to discuss Covid - there's a Science, Health and Environment Category to discuss wider science issues

    EDIT:

    Moved from Coronavirus Forum. I will leave it to local mods to re-open as they see fit


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 8,088 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    jd1983 wrote: »
    One of the very few positives arising from COVID 19 is the rapid development of vaccines, particularly mRNA vaccines which has led to the possibility of cancer vaccines. This is an amazing scientific development but I get the feeling, particularly in this country that such achievements are under attack.
    Under attack, or being approached with caution? From a peer-review scholarly standpoint, science only "suggests," it does not prove. Caution has been the watchword with anything new. Karl Popper discussed this. Plus he suggested that we test the null first: that there will be no significant difference before and after. Rather, than proceed with the research hypothesis that suggests something was significant, before and after. If we find data that suggests that the null is in error, this in turn lends support for the research hypothesis. This helps us avoid the trap of wanting to prove that we want to be true, while ignoring contrary evidence.

    All this caution in science has been misinterpreted by many not in science (e.g., popular media making breaking news deadlines; politicians with a biased agenda; anti-vaxxers; etc.). Plus, Karl Popper suggested that all theories must be falsifiable. That they can be subject to challenge, and not treated as a given. To the extent that they survive continuing challenges by research studies that suggest support, such theories continue to be used to guide research.
    jd1983 wrote: »
    Two of the lead scientists involved in the Astra Zeneca vaccine are from Ireland. This vaccine is likely to save 100's of thousands of lives, reduce severe illness in others and should help (along with other vaccines) get rid of the most draconian restrictions of freedom I've experienced in my lifetime. Considering all this, you'd expect these scientists who have worked painstakingly long hours to achieve this would be lauded and celebrated in this country. However I don't see any celebrations of their achievements in the media.
    Cannot speak for specific Irish celebrations. But there was an article in widely distributed, popular media appearing on the web that celebrated these two scientists, and that they were being considered for the Nobel. This article discussed how, at first there was caution about the mRNA method by the scientific community, but that changed after large population studies suggested it was an approach to vaccinating against COVID.

    But caution needs to continue to be applied regarding this mRNA method, per Karl Popper; and more importantly, there have only been short-term, and now mid-term studies of this new approach to vaccine development. There has not been enough time for longitudinal studies. Hopefully, more studies continued over years will lend support to this method.
    jd1983 wrote: »
    If one were to randomly ask 100 Irish people if they knew the names of the two Irish Scientists involved in the Astra Zeneca vaccine, I'd be surprised if any knew who they are.
    Do you have a reliable survey that asks "100 Irish people," or are you just making this up in Darrell Huff fashion?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 336 ✭✭ Unicorn Milk Latte


    Fathom wrote: »
    But there was an article in widely distributed, popular media appearing on the web that celebrated these two scientists, and that they were being considered for the Nobel.


    There were also articles about the two founders of Biontech, both in the Guardian, and in several major German newspapers and magazines - partly because they were descendants of Turkish immigrants in Germany, and had a highly successful career.
    These researchers recognised the severity of Covid very early in 2020, and decided to redirect all their efforts into Covid vaccine research, even though, at the time, this did not look like a prudent business strategy. That is why they were the first to bring a vaccine to the market.



    In Germany, everyone knows the name of Christian Drosten, who developed the first Covid PCR test in early 2020, and has done an incredible job of communicating complicated scientific facts to the general population.



    And, I believe, there's still lots of respect and admiration for scientists, even if the results are not in yet. The winner of last year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Jennifer Doudna, had dropped all ongoing research last year to focus exclusively on Covid, and how CRISPR can be applied in diagnosis and treatment. A new, rapid CRISPR based Covid test is currently under peer review.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,061 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    And, I believe, there's still lots of respect and admiration for scientists, even if the results are not in yet. The winner of last year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Jennifer Doudna, had dropped all ongoing research last year to focus exclusively on Covid, and how CRISPR can be applied in diagnosis and treatment. A new, rapid CRISPR based Covid test is currently under peer review.
    Yes, indeed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,325 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    I struggle to see that the failure to turn scientific researchers into celebrities is "undermining real science".

    If anything, real science is more likely to be undermined by the kind of attitudes that take celebrity culture seriously and attach value and significance to it.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,061 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    jd1983 wrote: »
    My point is if we continue to undermine actual science, then there's a concern that scientific progress will suffer. Where is the incentive to work hard and make scientific breakthroughs if it's wafflers that are spouting pseudo-science and being sensationalist that are appear to be awarded.
    First of all, discovery is a reward in itself. Secondly, publish or perish provides a strong incentive associated with tenure and promotion. And in concluding, the peer review process in the sciences does not condone “pseudo science” for grant funding or publication.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 8,088 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    Each domain in science advances. In terms of history. It is quite rapid. Progressing geometrically in the past 100 years. It is difficult to keep up with the discoveries and advances in one scientific domain. To keep up with all advances across domains appears unlikely. There's just too much. The iceberg metaphor comes to mind. For each domain. So how can the news media keep up with all of them in a valid and reliable way? Not likely. Plus the news media works from a different model than the scientific disciplines.

    Some grants require researchers to publish two different types of reports. One scientific. Plus one for the taxpayer unfamiliar with the language of science. And certainly not familiar with all the advances in each scientific domain. This is difficult for the reasons given above, to say the least. Misunderstandings occur. And are expected by those informed of scientific advancement.



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