I’m a public health scholar who watched Plandemic. Here’s what you should know.
Originally published by Code Like A Girl
You may wonder about that viral video.
If so, I hope you read this. I hope you thoughtfully consider everything. We should hear all arguments, but not all ideas deserve equal weight. Ideas must receive the weight that the strength of the evidence commands.
You are under no obligation to entertain my claim that I have magical powers. Please don’t. If I do that, please get me help. Pretending that platforms are obligated to allow me to claim this is a misapplication of justice.
In the past, ideas were suppressed, not because they lacked merit, but because they threatened people (think the dark ages). Now, we weigh new ideas on their merit.
The video never presented a single shred of evidence. It seems dishonest to say that people are looking for the truth.
Google searches do not constitute research, though they can educate us on the subject and make things more accessible. I question their sincerity when that is the depth of people’s research.
If you want to know, why not conduct a study?
The journalist never challenged a single claim from the protagonist. Real scientists face critical commentary from peers who will tear it to shreds before it sees the light of day. Then, the recipient takes the advice and improves. This continues until there are no more concerns.
Even then, the research may be ignored. Not because it’s a conspiracy but because scientists know that revolutionary finds are rare, while errors are not. That’s why assessing all relevant studies — a meta-analysis — can help prevent any one study from shaping how we perceive an issue.
If we knowingly tell people something untrue, we have likely done harm. We may give false hope and waste others’ time and money. At worst, the error may take lives. That is why a scientist checks and double-checks. If they get it wrong, people may never believe them again.
A crisis may mean having to offer a best guess. We have to be honest about what we know. The void left by the unknown leaves people hungry for answers. People feel scared and vulnerable. Some will prey upon this and say what people want to hear.
Be cautious if people cannot show how they know what they say, especially if the most advanced scholars or professionals have condemned it. Ask why they would avoid scrutiny. The truth can take it. If they deflect criticism or change subjects, be wary.
The best scientists welcome criticism from those most able to give it. If I ask a lawyer or my mail carrier if my research is good, and they say it is, that’s not proof. How would they know?
Aside from that, much of this tale employs magical thinking and suspends reality. Many ethical people would not stay silent about this — me among them.
To believe Plandemic is to assert that the scientific community is immoral or exceptionally stupid.
I struggle to understand how anyone could believe that. People believe it’s safe to entertain a deeply flawed argument. Then, you may reason, you’re not right or wrong, but you are wrong. One way or another, you entertain a lie.
Something true will remain true apart from this video. If an unrelated problem also appeared in the video, like a troubling law or issues with healthcare, the truth of that problem has nothing to do with the fantasy in the video.
The story gains credibility by conflating a valid concern with unrelated ideas, but what’s happening in our minds isn’t logical. It’s like saying “The Lord of the Rings” is an excellent book to consult about wildlife because there is some truth to the story. Maybe it’s all true because there are some truths in it.
People on social media can say anything and bear no responsibility if it isn’t true. That is the opposite of science.
When someone is discredited and a study recalled, peers likely have already attempted to repeat it. If we suspect something is off, we check. We may redo an experiment to confirm the result. If no one can repeat it, it’s reasonable to ask if the original study had issues. Imagine finding an error so basic as to cast doubt that anyone could have missed it.
I would feel robbed of time and money like they had played me for a fool when I tried to corroborate their work. It’s an insult to those who spent time and funding and a betrayal to people suffering from the disease. If you make a scientific mistake or propose a shocking theory, that won’t end your career.
A scientist’s career is over when she no longer accepts that she may be wrong. Without growth, there can be no discovery.
I want to believe that people know it’s not true but are struggling because their mind has fallen prey to biases they’ve mistaken for reality. Feeling like it could be true doesn’t show something is true any more than an optical illusion depicts reality.
Our perception makes us feel and see things that do not reflect reality. We fear airplanes but not cars; we don’t always feel things that make sense — sometimes, people hallucinate. Sometimes you see a shadow in the corner of your eye. That does not make it real.
The same is true here, except it hurts people. People feel safe behind a screen, speculating the worst about others with no evidence, but it is no less cruel. I believe people know it’s wrong, which is why they do not bring it directly to these people. That is why they do not let the accused plead their case.
Everyone who earns a living is not corrupt.
When I took my first graduate classes, the people at my school stunned me — and they still do every day — with their deeply moral character. Any of them could have earned significantly more in another field. Still, they chose public health. They work in a field that often serves the poor, oppressed, and voiceless. It serves people who may have nothing in return. People do not suddenly change because someone offers them money.
If you weigh ideas, I support that, but you must follow them to their logical conclusion. If what the video says is true, there isn’t a half-truth option. If it’s not reputable, then it’s not credible for anything. Misinformation is not a credible source.
Lies believed ruin lives; they create a false reality where no one ever agrees. Lies threaten society. This isn’t a harmless conspiracy video like the many, many that float on the internet where anyone may say anything without consequence.
So, why remove this video and not others? Social media is not a moral gatekeeper. Companies allow some offensive material. Misinformation like this threatens national security, so Facebook did some “research” and decided how to handle it. If you wanted an example of why it’s a terrible idea to conclude without experience, this is it.
Facebook made the error conspiracy theorists make: misunderstanding the data. The removals triggered the boomerang effect. It’s when you tell someone they’re wrong, and they reflexively believe it more. People more readily accept the first thing they hear in a crisis and think less critically.
Ask yourself why, if many researchers leave the country to study elsewhere, why could this scientist not do that. She could conduct research anywhere. The US is not the entire world. Many scientists travel all over the world to research. Others tried to replicate it and could not. Why not repeat the studies and prove them wrong?
Are there no honorable people in science anywhere?
I am skeptical that this field could be so universally morally bankrupt that no single person will speak against this. It seems doubtful that the powers of evil are so vast as to reach far and wide, eclipsing the ends of the earth.
We do not have a human right to mislead others.
Social media removed the video, knowing people might believe it — and they were right — and it would lead people to behave in ways that would threaten lives. Moreover, Facebook can do whatever it wants, and people can share their materials on their websites using their software and programs.
It’s not a human right to post whatever you like. People may build their own platforms, so why don’t they? Why don’t they? They can make their own website and start their labs. They can band together, do credible research under 24/7 surveillance, and post it for the world to see. This is about the truth, so why haven’t they?
No deplatforming does not prove there is something to hide. This isn’t a children’s story.
Terrorist groups have posted videos that were taken down in the past. It is not because they were “on to something.” The best way to vet an idea is to follow it to all logical conclusions. If something is true, ask yourself what that means.
This is not a magical story where you may, without just cause, accuse innocent people and go on as if you have done nothing wrong. They’re actual people. I have seen how exhausted they are, struggling to find solutions over excessively long hours, only to face accusations they have done nothing to warrant.
We are burning them at both ends, and still, they work.
Few people are close enough to me that I would correct their behavior, but if my child, my husband, or someone close to me were denigrating a group of people working on getting us out of this mess, I would have strong words. It would not be because the fabricator’s words were correct.
The more incorrect it is, the stronger my objection would be.
I believe in truth and integrity and that people do not deserve to be accused of something without evidence. I do not believe it is just to mistreat people because something sounds like it might be true.