Thoughts on the Existence of Viruses and Evaluating Controversial Scientific Discussions
There has been a highly vocal minority of the anti-mandate movement that has argued the COVID-19 pandemic policies are flawed because they are based on the erroneous assumption that the virus exists in the first place. Because the catastrophic failures within the health establishment have greatly increased public skepticism towards “official” scientific positions, this message has gained a significant degree of traction within a vocal minority of our movement.
It is extremely important to remember that just because some scientific positions are wrong, this does not mean all scientific positions are wrong. My hope through sharing my thought process in analyzing this issue is that it can provide some insights into how we can all assess controversial and complex scientific issues.
Why is this message problematic?
First, it divides those who are opposed to the existing COVID policies into polarized camps that are in opposition to each other.
Because of the urgency of the threat we are facing, fighting amongst ourselves over this issue will only result in us being unable to come together and stop the harmful policies we can all easily agree need to stop. As Desmet suggested, to move forward we cannot establish a new Mass Formation to oppose the existing Mass Formation and instead we must focus on working together and speaking from the heart.
Second, it casts the entire anti-mandate movement in a very bad light. When members of the public are forced to assess a complex situation that has strong voices on either side, they often decide what to believe based on how each side makes them feel. The science is on our side, and the facts make it very clear the current pandemic policies need to end. To any outsider, the ideology that viruses do not exist seems insane and will typically be interpreted as the product of paranoia and a complete misunderstanding of science.
By our movement passively condoning this belief system, it results in the evidence we have being seen through this lens and criticisms of vaccine mandates being equated to a delusional belief the COVID-19 virus does not exist. Unless we shift the perspectives of the moderate members of society (who are heavily influenced by how we make them feel), the pandemic policies will never end, and condoning a radical view like rejecting the existence viruses is highly counterproductive to this goal.
Third, it pushes many of the more moderate authority figures who would want to support fighting the pandemic policies away from supporting the cause because they do not want to be associated with the virus debunkers perspective and challenged by the virus debunkers. The only way the pandemic narrative can shift is if the moderates also get on board with challenging these policies and it is fought through the court system. If our movement is unable to internally address the radical voices within it, it severely weakens the movement’s credibility in the eyes of outside moderates.
Fourth, one of the unique characteristics of COVID-19 is that it can simmer in the background for a while and then suddenly become very bad. If you treat COVID-19 while it is simmering in the background, it normally responds extremely well to early treatment, whereas if you wait until the illness has suddenly hit the severe stage, it is difficult to treat and often necessitates hospitalization.
At this point, every single person I know outside of medicine (friends not patients) who became severely ill with COVID-19 ignored the initial infection and only contacted me after they were very close to dying to ask for help and avoid being hospitalized. In most cases, this carelessness is a result of them falling into a narrative that COVID-19 is just a minor flu or doesn’t exist in the first place. By promoting the virus debunking message, it directly harms the people who catch COVID-19 and in those cases, creates the hospitalization and deaths amongst the unvaccinated that are needed to sustain the narrative supporting mandatory vaccinations.
Fifth, there are certain aspects of terrain theory (the foundation of the argument against the existence of viruses) that are valid and relevant to COVID-19. By aggressively promoting an extremist version of terrain theory, it is poisoning the well for the important parts of terrain theory to enter the discussion. I have wanted to write about terrain theory, but have specifically avoided doing so for this reason.
Finally, addressing this issue takes up a lot of time. Virtually every public figure speaking out against the vaccine mandates has had to give up a lot to do it (loss of employment, ex-communication from their social or professional circles, and experiencing varying degrees of harassment). They have received very little in return and have put a lot of things in their life on hold to spend time working on the issue (we have many other obligations as well) and strained many of their personal relationships to devote a lot of their time to this issue. We are all in a situation where there is a lot we want to do for this cause that we are not able to because we don’t have the time to, so when time gets sucked into addressing the small number of loud voices in the virus debunking crowd, it directly takes away from things we need to be doing.
Arguing in Good Faith and Bad Faith
One of the central problems anyone with a marginalized viewpoint that challenges the existing power structure will encounter is unfair and unwarranted censorship. Because they have suffered through this, those arguing against the pandemic policies are particularly sensitive to not censoring opponents within their community.
When I put this substack together, I stated that if I have time, I am willing to consider any criticism that is presented, provided it is in good faith. What that means is that if the critic genuinely believes what they are stating, is open-minded and is respectful, and willing to defend their viewpoints in a public debate, they deserve to have the right to speak.
At this point, I do not believe the virus debunking camp is arguing in good faith. Since I cannot read minds, I cannot say for certain why this behavior is occurring, but there are a few theories at this point in time.
Many people I have spoken to believe that the virus debunking camp is being promoted to deliberately disrupt the anti-mandate movement. This is a common tactic that is used to disrupt activism movements and there is a unique ferocity to this movement that is not otherwise seen by any other competing faction within the anti-mandate movement (this often indicates outside funding is creating a faction or artificially boosting it).
To varying extents, I knew most of the leading figures who are advancing the viruses do not exist hypothesis well before COVID-19 and in other issues (such as presenting the scientific evidence suggesting the enormous importance of the viral microbiome within the body) I was never left with the impression these individuals were dishonest charlatans or controlled opposition. In the past I valued many of the highly controversial messages they put forward, although I will note I found they were often unable to address holes in their theories that were brought to their attention when people attempted to make sense of their ideas (and hence why I viewed them as credible enough to listen to but not credible enough to trust without verification).
However, in recent years, for varying reasons (I do not feel are appropriate for me to discuss) many of them no longer have their medical licenses and are now economically in a situation where they cannot practice medicine but still need to make doctor money.
At this point in time, these physicians all have health or wellness-based online health businesses, emphasize being an MD and offer naturopathically focused consultations, but make it clear they do cannot take patients at this time (as that would cross the line into a doctor-patient relationship which they legally cannot do). As a result, they have a much smaller customer base they have access to and need to have a way to attract clients.
Since the viral attention generated over promoting the controversial viral debunking viewpoint attracts clients interested in their niche health care products, there is an inherent conflict of interest behind promoting this viewpoint and a conflict of interest in admitting it is wrong (as this would sacrifice the authority they have established with their customer base). One of the reasons why I prefer to be anonymous here is so that my practice of medicine is not forced to conform to any expectations I have created in the public through my writings (this is an extremely common issue public speakers run into).
The impression I have developed from observing both the leading figures of this movement and its individual adherents is that they are not arguing in good faith. Nothing will change their perspective, and the underlying goal in each argument raised is to use inflammatory rhetoric to draw attention to the topic, and then once a discussion ensues, find any means possible to dismiss the opposing arguments so they do not have to admit being at fault.
If we for example consider Steve Kirsch’s recent article on this subject, it should be abundantly clear that the “leaders” of the virus debunking movement are willing to fight for a debate on their hypothesis, but only so far as it builds their online following and not far enough to actually enter a debate they can lose. To me, this is a sign they are arguing in bad faith and have an inherent conflict of interest against determining the truth of the matter.
Typically, when I discuss this topic with individuals arguing against the existence of viruses (or observe others engage in the discussion) I normally observe an unwillingness to consider the opposing perspective, lots of ad-hominem attacks thrown around (ie. accusations of being brainwashed or working for Pfizer), and no willingness to directly debate the actual point. Allowing open debates of highly controversial subjects is essential for the advancement of science, but for this process to work, the debate must be conducted in good faith.
Testing the Scientific Method
One of the central problems in society is that humans will always have differences of opinion, and when those differences cannot be resolved, it can lead to violent conflict and in some cases war. A key purpose of laws and courts is to have the means to resolve these differences in a manner that most of the population believes is fair (keeping in mind that having a resolution everyone agrees upon is often impossible). One of the major issues we are encountering now is that enough corruption has entered the legal system that many decisions made by the courts (and law enforcement agencies) are no longer believed to be fair by most of the population, and this is creating significant domestic instability.
A similar problem exists with determining truth, and as a society, we have enlisted the scientific method for this task (it should be noted other options also exist that I sometimes utilize). Unfortunately, much in the same way blatant corruption has entered our legal system, blatant corruption has entered the scientific process and much of the public (myself included) no longer trusts science to be the neutral arbiter of truth. Nonetheless, I still believe in the utility of the ideal construct of science.
The core concept of the scientific method is having a hypothesis, devising ways to test that hypothesis by attempting to disprove it, and over time adopting the hypotheses that survive attempts to disprove them. For this approach to work, there must be a way to disprove each hypothesis and for independent outside parties to reproduce the results of others.
For example, how can you scientifically test the existence of God? Because faith in one’s religion (such as witnessing the existence of god) arises from a personal mystical experience in each member of the faith, there is no way to definitively prove God’s existence or disprove God’s existence with an experiment that can be observed by those outside the individual mystical experience.
If you are honest with the philosophy of science, it is hence most accurate to say religion simply exists in a realm that science was not designed to assess and science neither proves nor disproves many core tenets of religious faiths. For example, I have sincerely held religious beliefs that have arisen from personal experiences I believe support the basis for my faith, but I do not consider them to be scientific evidence for my faith because my own experiences are not accessible to others. Similarly, the recently published Is Atheism Dead? highlights numerous scientific discoveries that suggest the possibility of intelligent design, but when reviewing those discoveries, it is critical to understand that suggestions supporting a largely unprovable theory are very different from proof of the theory.
What is Pseudoscience?
One of the most common approaches people will use to promote their viewpoints is to take existing labels with negative connotations and slap them onto opponents of their viewpoints.
This inevitably leads to debasements of the labels as they get more and more twisted to meet the political needs of their proponents. For example, racism has been a huge problem throughout human history, but now the meaning of the word has been cheapened to the point almost any noun in the sentence “Is _____ racist?” will produce results on Google explaining its connection to racism.
Pseudoscience has two different meanings. One is a classical concept meant to illustrate a concept that violates the scientific method and therefore cannot be considered scientific. The other meaning is a political pejorative used to characterize theories that contradict prevailing scientific viewpoints, which like many other labels has been gradually expanded in meaning to the point of being meaningless. For example, having “anti-vaccine” beliefs are typically characterized as pseudoscience even though they do not meet the classical definition of “pseudoscience” and only meet the political definition (as they challenge existing scientific viewpoints).
The label of pseudoscience often goes hand in hand with rhetoric such as “claims without evidence,” “despite no evidence,” “unproven theories” and so forth. The problem is that in almost all cases where it is alleged there is “no evidence” for a viewpoint, there is evidence for the viewpoint, but, an arbitrary standard is put into place that makes no amount of evidence satisfactory to overcome that hurdle. I would argue that if “we believe there is insufficient evidence for this claim” were to be stated in these instances, it would be truthful, but the commonly used characterization of “no evidence” existing is too subjective to hold any meaning.
Since the classification of pseudoscience is so subjective, a lengthy philosophical debate exists on where to make the cut off for something being controversial versus non-scientific exists. One of the best answers to this question has been the proposal that if a hypothesis cannot be falsified, it is pseudoscience. Keeping that in mind, let’s consider the current situation on vaccine safety:
•The conventional perspective is that vaccines are almost 100% safe and the idea that they can cause neurological injuries or death is pseudoscience and has no evidence supporting it.
•The rebuttal to the conventional argument is that there is a large body of evidence that has accumulated showing vaccine harm exists.
•The response to this argument is that this body of evidence is unscientific and only a randomized placebo-controlled study can show if the harm is occurring.
•The rebuttal to the conventional side is that this means we need to do randomized controlled trials to evaluate the safety of the childhood vaccine schedule so we can determine if harm does or does not exist.
•The response to this argument is that since vaccines are “so safe and effective” it is unethical to ever perform a placebo-controlled study since doing so would deny placebo trial participants access to a “life-saving” vaccine.
Because of the final argument, the vaccine schedule has never been tested for safety, and whenever individuals attempt to follow proper research protocols to do so, they typically later face harsh sanctions for doing so (ie. Andrew Wakefield and Paul Thomas).
When you take each of the conventional arguments against vaccines causing harm in isolation, they sound “scientific” but when you viewed in combination, they instead function as an unfalsifiable hypothesis that can never be disproven (if there was an honest scientific debate, it would be a huge red flag that the current pediatric vaccination schedule has never been tested for safety). The debate over vaccine safety thus is an example of classic pseudoscience, which is somewhat ironic since the scientific community labels doubts about vaccine safety as (political) pseudoscience. A similar situation also exists regarding the vaccine adverse event reporting databases such as VAERS being given the role for evaluating vaccine safety but simultaneously never being deemed as a credible source of information whenever they provide signals indicating vaccine dangers.
This philosophical detour is important because the virus debunking movement embodies many of the classic characteristics of pseudoscience, and at the same time utilizes many of the common attacks against dissenting viewpoints that are used by members of the establishment to discredit “pseudoscientific” viewpoints. As a result, it is understandably difficult to fairly debate these topics.
What is Terrain Theory?
Individuals respond differently to the same disease, and it is generally accepted the current physiologic condition of the individual plays a large part in determining that response (for example unhealthy individuals often are more susceptible to infections).
Terrain theory in turn encapsulates two different ideas. The first is that since people with a “healthy” internal terrain respond well to illnesses, the correct approach to treating a disease is not to “treat the disease” but rather restore their internal terrain. This approach is often necessary to resolve many complex illnesses, but at the same time, it is often simply not practical and if this is pursued rather than directly treating an illness, the patient will die. For this reason, terrain theory tends to be endorsed by alternative health care practitioners who are not directly (and legally) responsible for the lives of their patients. This is somewhat analogous to why it was so problematic all the of pandemic policies were decided by public health bureaucrats who had no direct experience treating patients and were never the party directly responsible for the poor outcomes of their policies.
The second is a notion of “pleomorphism” where microbial species are believed to change their morphology and morph into forms that are classically believed to belong to different species or even different classes of organisms (such as changing into a virus or a fungus). This school of thought believes that harmful conditions within the body cause the microorganisms in there to change into harmful organisms and correcting the internal terrain or doing something else to encourage a physiologically compatible pleomorphic cycle is necessary to change those organisms into ones that are conducive to supporting health. This in turn can sometimes produce solutions to complex chronic illnesses that otherwise remain unsolvable (such as spike protein injuries).
The virus debunking camp in turn makes a few key assumptions from terrain theory I do not believe accurately represent what those who developed terrain theory found. Specifically, they argue pathogens can only arise from inside the body and arise as a result of the innate pleomorphic cycle having gone awry. This is an erroneous assumption because existence of an internal pleomorphic cycle does not in any way exclude the possibility that microorganisms from outside the body can also enter the body and affect it.
One of the major challenges of studying the “pleomorphic cycle” is that many parts of it are smaller than the magnification limit of light microscopes (500 to 1500x magnification). Once something is smaller than the wavelength of light, it cannot be seen in a light microscope and most of the pleomorphic cycle lies just beyond that optical magnification limit. The technology we have that provides higher magnification, electron microscopy, requires the samples to be killed and then fixed in place.
As a result, with currently existing technologies, while the dynamic pleomorphic cycle can be observed in larger organisms through a light microscope, there is no way to directly observe this process in much smaller organisms since electron microscopy can only provide snapshots in time. In the past, a few creative microscope designs were made that allegedly could bypass the optical magnification limit (I have studied these devices and tracked down people who used two of these devices but never directly operated one), and many of the often cited beliefs of viruses arising from inside the body are based upon the observations made by operators of these microscopes.
This is important for two reasons:
First, because for all practical purposes those microscopes do not exist now, there is no way they can be used to assess if there is or is not a tiny virus like microorganism that is part of the pleomorphic cycle that is key to COVID-19. Second, and more importantly as stated before, the individuals who pioneered those microscopes never claimed viruses could not originate from outside the body; they only claimed that certain viruses that affected physiology could arise from inside the body.
In this section, I will discuss some of the common misunderstandings I have observed in the arguments that have been raised against the existence of viruses.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect states that the less knowledge or competence one has in an area, the more likely they are to overestimate their knowledge and competence in that area. As much as I hate to acknowledge it (I prefer to believe the best in others), I believe this effect exists and explains many issues within society.
When I have looked at the key arguments put forward by the virus debunking camp, many of them fall under the Dunning-Kruger Effect. If you only take the individual premises being put forward to argue against the existence of viruses, much like the individual arguments for the irrefutable safety of the childhood vaccine schedule, it seems sensible to extrapolate from those premises to the entire concept of viruses existing being a sham. However, if you have a broader context, it becomes very difficult to interpret those same premises to these conclusions.
One of the major challenges with studying tiny things below the optical magnification limit of microscopes is that it is immensely difficult to have a consistent and reliable way to study them. Fortunately, we have developed a variety of ingenious solutions, but all of them still require a certain degree of inference and assumption. This matters because a key argument of the virus debunking camp is that if something is determined through inference it is a hoax. If that form of logic holds, then it requires adopting a nihilist perspective where we reject a large portion of the scientific knowledge in our world that is actively applied to solve problems in our everyday lives.
The scientific community instead adopts the perspective that anything determined through inference has a certain degree of uncertainty (which the scientific field is often not honest in representing). In most cases, the degree of that uncertainty can be quantified. For example, with every test that aims to detect something, it will normally fail to detect 100% of what is there (instead maybe having a 98% sensitivity) and it will erroneously detect something that is not there, and incorrectly overcall things that are not there (for example a 10% false positive rate would be classified as a 90% specificity).
Due to the nature of tests, the better you are at catching everything you are looking for, the more likely you will be to also get false positives. In science, this is known as there always being a tradeoff between sensitivity and specificity (a longer discussion of the profound implication of this topic can be found here).
When the initial COVID-19 tests were done, they used a PCR approach that had very high sensitivity because it was deemed essential to not miss any cases of SARS-CoV-2. The problem with this approach was that the sensitivity was so high, that the specificity was abysmal and a large number of false positive test results emerged that created the illusion of an epidemic. I also believe there were a variety of other issues with the testing process that further created false positives such as contamination between samples in laboratories that read the PCR tests.
However, while the PCR tests suffered from many issues, the rapid antigen tests instead traded a much lower sensitivity for a higher specificity (typically around 99%) and could be done at home, so they were not subject to potential errors within laboratories. My own experience has demonstrated this as I have seen numerous PCR tests produce false positives, while I have not yet seen a rapid test produce a positive in someone who did not appear to have COVID-19 (many of us have to do these every week for work since we are not vaccinated).
To further illustrate the point, at the hospital I worked at throughout the pandemic, the doctors there would typically order PCR tests for patients who seemed sick enough to require hospital care and rapid tests for those who did not appear to require hospital admission. Because Medicare did not differentiate between the tests (both were simply a positive or negative test) this allowed the hospital staff to always have “credible” paperwork to support their medical decision-making (which is important for Medicare).
Unfortunately, although the PCR tests and rapid antigen tests are very different, they are also treated as being identical by the virus debunking community, and there is a widespread belief that rapid antigen tests also produce a high number of false positives.
If then we return to the tiny world below the optical magnification limit, we will discover that cells regularly produce exosomes and these serve a vital role as messengers throughout the body that regulate many aspects of physiology. It has likewise been observed that SARS-CoV-2 and spike protein-producing vaccines pathologically alter the exosome system within the body and that administering healthy exosomes derived from stem cells or the products of conception (amniotic fluid or umbilical cord blood) to patients can significantly benefit certain acutely ill patients with COVID-19, certain patients with long haul COVID-19 and certain patients with vaccine injuries.
One of the most stable shapes is a sphere, and as a result, many lipid-bound spheres are utilized in nature. Exosomes and certain viruses including SARS-CoV-2 utilize this spherical architecture, and in some cases, viruses look very similar to exosomes (for example this paper highlights the misidentification of coronaviruses on electron microscopy). Because of the link between abnormal exosomes and COVID-19 and the potential to misinterpret one as the other it has been argued that all viruses are simply human exosomes that are misinterpreted as fictitious viruses.
For reference, this is SARS-CoV-2:
For reference, these are exosomes:
A key problem with this argument (which perfectly represents the Dunning-Kruger effect) is that there are also non-spherical viruses that look very different from exosomes.
For reference, this is a bacteriophage:
For reference, this is Ebola:
For reference, this is rabies:
In addition to a very different appearance from exosomes, these viruses also have highly unique effects in those they infect (for example bacteriophages function as effective antibiotics, ebola rapidly causes an agonizing death where your body essentially melts from the inside, and rabies typically follows a bite from an infected animal after which over a period of weeks to months insanity and frothing at the mouth develops which is then followed by death unless treatment is initiated). I hence cannot see how the existence of these specific viruses can be reconciled with the notion viruses do not exist.
Another major objection to SARS-CoV-2 is based on a lack of understanding of the process of genomic sequencing. Not too long ago, it was incredibly difficult to sequence DNA or RNA, to the point it took a 13-year international collaboration (The Human Genome Project) to sequence the human genome and during this time, multiple approaches were employed to do so.
Since that time, the biotech industry has taken off, and the technology has advanced to the point it is relatively simple to sequence the entire genome of someone as a routine lab test. Because of this, a variety of different technologies now exist to sequence genomes. All of these technologies run into the following design constraints which widely vary depending on the approach:
•How much does the technology cost?
•How accurate is the sequencing?
•How long does it take to complete the sequencing process?
With the currently existing technology, it has been found that fragmenting the genome into individual parts to be read (and then recombining those segments) provides high accuracy and is also one of the cheapest and fastest ways to do the testing, whereas analyzing longer segments in one go often creates reading errors. For this reason, the fragmenting approach is often done. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding behind the reason for this approach has been used to argue that the entire viral genome of SARS-CoV-2 is an illusion created by a computer model splicing gene sequences together.
This ignores a few major points:
•Computer modeling is often done when studying proteins and other microscopic biological structures because they follow known predictable principles. It is faster and significantly more feasible to do computer modeling than any other approach, so it is often the initial step in research. For example, with numerous drug candidates my team and many others considered for treating COVID-19, we first tested on computers if they interacted with the spike protein before doing more expensive tests on the drug candidates a computer model supported to see if they worked in a cellular culture.
•The entire viral genome has been also been repeatedly sequenced in a continuous fashion that does not involve splicing segments together. The technology to do this exists and numerous scientific papers regarding this approach for SARs-CoV-2 can easily be found online.
•The entire reason why continuous sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2's genome is not exclusively done is that it is often not the best approach for doing so (in terms of accuracy, cost, and reading time). This choice has nothing to do with wanting to create an illusion the virus exists when it does not.
•If you recombine fragments based upon them sharing the same sequences, the odds of erroneous splicing are extraordinarily low.
•Scientists around the world have independently been continually using a wide variety of gene sequencing technologies to provide genomes to the SARS-CoV-2 databases that analyze the variants. These databases are entirely consistent with the general structure of SARS-CoV-2 and only show minor variations corresponding to mutations seen throughout the variants. Even if the original viral genome was a created out of this air, through this process, it has been independently verified continually over the last two years.
•The scientists affiliated with the NIH and the Wuhan Institute of Virology spent years engineering SARS viruses and published numerous papers that clearly show how small portions of the genome were changed and the increasingly pathogenic effects that resulted from this gain of function research. The reason why so many people believe SARS-CoV-2 was a lab leak is because the virus is identical to what was extensively documented within these research papers and because the link is so clear, the media has had to bend over backwards to gaslight the population into ignoring the artificial origins of the virus.
•The individual proteins in the virus have been sequenced off of the proteins themselves rather than the RNA of the virus, and these protein sequences are in agreement with the genetic sequence.
Stating the viral genome has only been produced in a computer I can thus only interpret as either a bad-faith argument or one demonstrating profound ignorance of genetic sequencing.
Another common argument I run into represents the best example of an unfalsifiable belief system. It goes as follows:
No virus has ever been isolated from a pure source and then proven to cause disease through being injected. When viruses are produced for research, they are grown in diseased cells, and as a result, when the virus is injected into an animal to produce illness, parts of diseased cells are injected into the animals and this rather than the virus is what causes the illness.
This argument ignores two key points:
•The first is that viruses require cells to reproduce and be cultured. This means that there will never be a way to answer this objection as you cannot have viruses without the cells they were cultured in, and therefore, this objection is unfalsifiable.
•The second is that the cell cultures are often filtered through tiny filters which means whatever causes the systemic illness in the recipient who receives it has to be something much smaller than a bacteria which provides a fairly limited set of choices besides an infectious virus.
General Fallacies in The Virus Debate
Before writing this article, I reviewed Terrain: the Film on a free video sharing website (out of respect to the producers I will not link to it), as I was repeatedly told that this film encapsulates the key components of the viruses not existing theory. Many of the points in the previous section are directed at the key points of that movie, which I would argue represent both the Dunning-Kruger effect and arguments designed to have a lack of falsifiability.
Overall, the most common argument I encounter on this topic is:
“I do not need to prove viruses do not exist; you need to prove viruses do exist.”
There are a few major problems with this argument.
The first is that because the viruses do not exist camp has created a set of unfalsifiable arguments, nothing you say can ever address this argument or prove “viruses” exist and this contention functions as a trap that pulls you into debating the topic (in other words this is also an unfalsifiable argument).
The second is that if this logical standard were to hold, it would create an operationally untenable world. One of the most common examples of this argument was someone being told that they have to worship the religious faith of the State because unless they could prove God did not exist, they could not afford to take the risk of going to hell for the rest of their existence or something of the like (which occurs as a consequence of God in fact existing and the individual not following God’s vision for humanity). This argument may seem absurd to you, but it something many people have lived with throughout history.
The third is that there is an extremely limited pool of money for important scientific research that challenges existing scientific paradigms (to this point, my late-stage career goal is to fund this type of research). The viruses do not exist camp has insisted they have a right to that limited pool of money and that someone else needs to fund those experiments rather than funding it themselves.
I believe this is fundamentally unethical because unless that community can demonstrate they are acting in good faith, it is highly unlikely any experimental result will be accepted by them and the limited funding pool is hence wasted. Imagine for example a fanatical religious zealot demanded you devote yourself to the Church unless you could dig a hole 20 miles into the Earth and prove hell did not exist (the current world record for the deepest hole is 7.619 miles). This is a completely unrealistic demand, but if you somehow raised the billions required to do it, and did not obtain proof hell existed through doing so (as opposed to discovering hell does in fact exist 15 miles below the surface), the response from that zealot would most likely be that the hole simply was not deep enough and you need to fund digging a deeper one or submit to their religion.
There are also various other fallacies and misrepresentations I found peppered throughout Terrain: the Film.
One of the most frustrating ones was the speakers in the movie insisting COVID-19 was an illness that emerged from psychological conditions worsened by the pandemic hysteria. Taking off all the holistic wrapping paper it was presented with, this is fundamentally no different than a doctor gaslighting a patient and saying the cause of their medical injury was due to “stress.” In both cases, these proponents of the psychiatric explanation have a conflict of interest against acknowledging the cause of a specific illness and instead gaslight those who are sick to protect their own interests. This is especially frustrating because I have seen some of the figures in the film previously complain about the fact conventional doctors do this to patients.
Another very frustrating argument is that the belief in the existence of viruses is the original sin that created the pandemic policies, so it is critical anyone who opposes the pandemic policies adopt their narrative. I greatly sympathize with this argument because the fear of contagion has been abused by governments throughout history to “scientifically” justify committing heinous acts on their people (for example the Nazis targeted the Jews for being contaminated with tuberculosis).
One major problem with this argument is that although widespread rejection of existence of viruses would end the pandemic response or similar acts of medical tyranny in the future, it is nearly impossible the general population will agree to a theory that is highly unorthodox and easily scientifically disproven. Instead, as stated at the start of the article, promoting this message is counter-productive and simply makes it harder to end the mandates.
To provide another example of this logic, I could make the argument (and most likely provide some alleged evidence to support it) that UFOs were real, and aliens require the human species to live in peace and take care of the environment. Therefore, if we could convince everyone that Aliens existed, that would finally solve these two major issues. However, I suspect if I were to follow that approach I can state with a high degree of certainty that it would result in wasting decades of my life on something only a minority of the public will ever believe in.
What causes severe COVID-19?
There are different presentations of COVID-19. Some are indistinguishable from typical respiratory illnesses and can present as minor cases of the flu or a typical pneumonia hospitalization. The most dangerous form of COVID-19 has a very different presentation from any other infectious disease I have come across in my career, and this becomes immediately evident to anyone who has dealt with the disease. One of the major problems in the debate over the existence of COVID-19 is that its presentations that are like the typical flu are used to argue that all cases are like the typical flu. This is not that different from claiming manual cars do not exist in America and proving the case by showing twenty automatic cars in a parking lot.
Exactly why COVID-19 sometimes becomes a severe illness is a puzzle I have been trying to figure out from the start of the pandemic (I will admit I have gone deep down the rabbit hole searching for answers). For example, the way COVID-19 spreads has been highly unusual, as certain geographic regions have been decimated by it, while many other ones were relatively unharmed and just had an increase in hospitalization but nothing decimating occurred (for example, COVID-19 was catastrophic in parts of Lombardy Italy and New York City and I had many friends I extensively corresponded with who witnessed this first hand in NYC’s hospitals).
The pattern I have observed has led me to strongly suspect that there is an external factor that worsens the severity of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, while I have identified many potential explanations for what that factor is, I do not have confidence in the evidence for any of the potential candidates.
For example, my mother-in-law is an early 60s female with no previous health issues. Her husband is an overweight lifelong smoker with COPD (a chronic condition of the lungs) in his early 70s and has had multiple operations for life-threatening cardiovascular conditions. They live in a very rural area that has poor cellular reception (and no 5G) and both got COVID-19. My mother-in-law came very close to dying, while her husband had a minor cold and was her primary caretaker until we got there. Other than the highly speculative nicotine hypothesis (which states nicotine is protective against COVID-19), I could not identify any possible explanation for why their diseases were so different.
At this point in time, I know of one doctor who has treated severely ill COVID-19 patients and suspects SARS-CoV-2 does not exist. When I asked them what they thought was causing the illness, they told me they believed it was a spiritual process related to these individuals having unresolved trauma (and other emotional issues) being brought to the surface. I understand their rationale for why they believe this, but like many of the other explanations I’ve looked at, I do not believe it can explain the large variation in disease severity that is being observed.
As far as I can tell, the virus debunking movement is taking the same observations I’ve made and extrapolated from them to argue that no virus exists rather than that an outside factor can influence disease severity in someone who has a SARS-CoV-2 infection while simultaneously refusing to identify what that factor is. This is important to understand because their entire argument rests on the presence of this external factor, but as of now, the factor has not been identified.
To get around this problem, they have adopted the strategy of being extremely vague in defining what their position is. I have asked them to clearly state their position many times, and beyond stating I am obligated to prove the virus exists, they never will clearly elucidate what they are actually arguing. Similarly, using Terrain: The Film as an example, a clear explanation of what is causing COVID-19 is never presented, and instead a variety of vague explanations are floated without committing to any as the explanation for COVID-19 (as each would be easily disproven).
There were some other objections I had to how ideas were presented and argued within Terrain: the Film, but I do not believe they are as important to spend time reviewing and will not do so here.
How to Argue in Good Faith
This entire topic has been challenging for me to deal with because I support many of the ideas members of the virus debunking camp have put forward in the past and some of the arguments they are using now. I have also had countless experiences in my life of unfairly being accused of being pseudoscientific, so I am extremely hesitant to direct that label toward others.
If there is a sincere interest in having an appropriate resolution to this topic, I believe the virus debunking camp needs to do the following to demonstrate they are arguing in good faith:
•Stop being aggressive and belligerent when discussing the topic. This approach to debating puts everyone else in the position where they either need to directly attack your credibility, completely ignore you or censor you. We do not want to have to do any of those choices.
•Instead be willing to accept there will be a difference of opinion (agree to disagree on this point and instead focus on the areas of agreement like stopping the vaccine mandates).
•Be open to considering the possibility your theory is incorrect. If you are unwilling to consider the possibility your viewpoint is incorrect then you cannot argue in good faith.
•Clearly articulate what you are arguing. I am familiar with every single point that has been raised by your side, and I have repeatedly asked for the thesis to be stated (which must include: why do you specifically believe viruses do not exist, what proof do you have for this assertion, and what do you believe is causing COVID-19) and this article represents my best attempt to provide a truthful representation of the viruses not existing position. The fact that neither I (nor anyone else I have asked) has yet been able to understand your position means it has not been clearly presented. This ambiguity makes it impossible to debate the subject because whenever one aspect of it is refuted, the virus denialism camp can pivot to claiming they were never arguing that point and switch to something else.
If you consider the “scientific” debate regarding the pandemic policies (should masking, lockdowns or vaccines be mandated), each of these has become unfalsifiable positions where no evidence can be put forward that is deemed acceptable for not mandating any of them. A large part of why it has been possible for these pseudoscientific positions to remain in place is because they utilize moving goal posts and there has been no accountability for the leadership continually revising history (15 days to slow the spread to indefinite lockdowns or the vaccines are 95% effective and will permanently end the pandemic in the near future to mandating boosters every 6-9 months as they may reduce your chance of hospitalization and death). It is extremely important to clearly articulate your position because otherwise the wiggle room exists to get out of any contradictory evidence that arises to challenge your position (much of Fauci’s success has arisen from his skill in doing this).
•Provide a reasonable way you will accept your position being tested and disproven (asking someone else to fund doing so is not reasonable). This stipulation also requires your position to be clearly stated.
•Find someone or a group of people you group can agree upon to represent your theory, and then have those individuals commit to entering a debate that follows a fair structure (roughly equal time, no shouting over each other, and so forth). If this debate happens and there is an endorsement for the representative who debates it, the debate can serve its purpose to settle this discussion and move towards an amicable resolution.
Going forward, I will only reply to discussions on this topic if I feel the points are made in good faith (which I completely recognize is a subjective assessment on my part) or if a point is raised I have not heard before. I have tried to respectfully engage this topic but at this point in time, the debate has become circular because the same arguments (many of which were detailed above) are being continually reused and I do not have the bandwidth to continue replying to them.
Postscript: At this point there is no label that can be used to accurately identify these viewpoints. The best concise term I have come up with that accurately represents their position and is emotionally neutral is “virus debunkers.” If anyone can propose a better term both sides can agree upon, I am happy to adopt it, but going forward I would suggest using this phrase to identify those viewpoints.
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