"MIT researchers found that Covid-19 skeptics on Twitter and Facebook — far from being “data illiterate” — often use sophisticated data visualization techniques to argue...
they went so far as to use louvain analysis to track us.
certain internet felines (albeit now in exile) were listed among the major nodes of this graph.
leaving aside the issue here about "covid skeptics" as a sort of dismissive smear and lazy ad hominem meant to skirt the meat of the issues, this MIT article seems to have noticed what so many of you have known for a year: that team reality is, in fact, well grounded in realty and science. this was never some gang of dimwits and conspiracists, it was a group with serious intellect and empiricism.
we came to our conclusions because we engaged with the data, and many of us are very good at engaging with data, FAR better than the public health “C team” of self serving scrubs playing at being ready for the big leagues. public health is not where top flight thinkers and analysts wind up. it's the scupper that catches the folks washing out of research and development and sucking them into bureaucracy and politics.
it's embarrassing to watch even one time bastions of technology and rationality like MIT join in the gaslighting of "team reality" by trying to claim "well, they know how to use and visualize data well, but they are still wrong" and yet provide no data or refutation whatsoever. they tacitly accuse of us using some sneaky trick in representing data when it is, in fact, they that are using shabby rhetorical gambits to avoid addressing it.
this is the act of a clerisy, not a scientific body. the internet has become the world's greatest peer review. you cannot hide there. their fragile and dogmatic cathedral cannot possibly stand against our bazaar of ideas and refutation. the coddled grow weak, venal, and dishonest. the challenged grow strong and gain wisdom.
this was never a fair fight; it was folks honed and strengthened by a free market against the stunted little trees of bureaucratic fiefdoms and the academic/political weathervanes happy to sell out what they know to be facts for grant money and prominence. it was always talent and truth against gormless opportunists. you can win in the media for a time, but the real story will come out eventually.
they sought to vilify us, to discredit us, and to remove us from public debate. but the facts are and always have been the facts and the fact is this: NPI's do NOT work to stop a respiratory virus. we knew this before and we have proven it beyond any remote shadow of doubt again. the data is overwhelming and always has been. all the major pre 2020 standing guidelines for pandemics advised against these actions because the costs were monstrous and they were known not to work.
and as this has become manifestly clear, the desperate need to stifle such fact based criticism of polices rooted not in science and empiricism but rather in political expedience, superstition, and propaganda only intensifies. getting caught out as totally wrong after taking the lives and livelihoods of planet earth on such an insane and destructive joyride all while loudly bellowing “i am an expert! trust the experts!” and hectoring all others into silence with appeals to authority and empty sanctimony is not a thing you get to come back from. it’s how careers end. so, of course they will fight to the last bullet, play dirty, and try to keep the game going until they can claim it worked. of course they will disparage and seek to silence those who disagree. what else can they do?
but ask yourself this simple question: when was the last time you saw the side seeking to censor the other in a debate and be the side of right or of factual accuracy?
many of us stood up early on and called this out as pseudoscience and authoritarian political adventurism. many paid prices for it. this list is long and distinguished and i’ll not belabor it here. you know who you are and many others know it too. i remain glad to have played whatever small part in this i did.
and i'd do it again.
proud to have stood with so many of you: on rational ground.