Oh, how amusing

Review of the latest Matt Ridley:

Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19 by Alina Chan and Matt Ridley pretends to be agnostic between the two while pimping the lab-leak scenario for all it’s worth.

Neither author, it is reasonable to note, is a virologist or epidemiologist. Chan has a PhD in medical genetics and is a junior research scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Ridley has a DPhil on the mating habits of pheasants; in April 2020 he declared himself confident that a cure for Covid-19 would arrive sooner than a vaccine, and a few months later he was arguing against any second lockdown.

Chan rose to Twitter fame in May 2020 by releasing a paper direct to the internet, written with two colleagues, claiming that Covid was already “pre-adapted to human transmission” when its first cases were detected, implying it had been deliberately engineered to target people. This book says that hers was “a scientific paper yet to be peer-reviewed for publication”, which seems at best disingenuous since it has never since been peer-reviewed for publication either.

Certain little linguistic tricks being used there to direct opinion, don’t you think? The reviewer is, I think at least, this Steven Poole:

Steven Poole (born 1972) is a British author and journalist. He particularly concerns himself with the abuse of language and has written two books on the subject.

Been practising, has he?

11 thoughts on “Oh, how amusing”

  1. “Ridley … in April 2020 he declared himself confident that a cure for Covid-19 would arrive sooner than a vaccine”

    Maybe at some stage someone will provide analysis and compare the efficacy of all the various treatments that were known about by late 2020 to that of the “vaccines” that subsequently arrived…

  2. The surprising thing is that he doesn’t mention Northern Rock! It’s the standard lefty playbook to just throw any dirt they can think of because they are congenitally able to construct a cogent argument. Any article by John Crace or Marina Hyde, any blog post by someone like Dan Davies or David Tominey follows the same pattern to disguise their impoverished thought patterns. This guy Poole is unable to follow the template: he is even lower than the level of the aforementioned dolts

  3. Ask yourself why the Establishment is so desperate to deflect attention away from Chinese involvement in the release, accidental or otherwise, and spread of COVID 19.

  4. When did it become the rule that a person could not learn and understand a scientific topic unless they had a degree in it? It is frequently those outside a discipline who challenge its doctrines and dogma to bring enlightenment.

    Most science of earlier centuries was discovered and advanced by non-scientists, even with no formal education. Michael Faraday was an apprentice book binder who did not go to school learning his letters and numbers at Sunday school. He invented the mechanics of electro magnetic induction – motors, generators and much more. Charles Darwin wasn’t a biologist.

  5. Someday, PF. Of course, as has been discussed at length, right now they can’t admit there are any other treatments or the vaccines’ emergency approval goes up in smoke.

    I can’t understand this modern idea that you can’t talk about something with any authority unless it’s precisely your field of expertise. You don’t have to be an architect to notice that someone bungled the campanile at Pisa.

  6. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    The entire academic journal system needs to be burned down and the ashes fired into the sun. We’d seriously be better off with every lab blogging their results close-to real time. It wouldn’t take much imagination to come up with a system to turn all of this output into some global memorandum of permanent record. We’d reduce peer suppression and publication bias, quality would be policed by reach and influence.

    Possibly including the lab books. Which incidentally should be kept (as far as possible) electronically and blockchained so that there is no prospect of erasing history a la Wuhan.

  7. “Neither author, it is reasonable to note, is a virologist or epidemiologist. Chan has a PhD in medical genetics and is a junior research scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Ridley has a DPhil on the mating habits of pheasants; ”

    Exhibit A should have had at least the basics of virology and epidemiology. You can’t get a PhD in that particular field without having a solid grounding in it.
    Which anyone actually knowledgeable about virology or epidemiology would know.

    Exhibit B, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Ridley , looks, judging from his list of publications, quite able to soak up the necessary knowledge.
    And that is even before pointing out that the mathematical foundation of a lot of his publications is exactly the same as for virology and epidemiology: propagation of [X] through a population.
    Which anyone actually knowledgeable about virology or epidemiology would know.

    Compare to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Poole , whose qualifications and publications disqualify him, by his own words above, to even start to have an Opinion about the matter, let alone write a book review about something touching the subject.

    But Journalists and logic, eh?

  8. Possibly including the lab books. Which incidentally should be kept (as far as possible) electronically and blockchained so that there is no prospect of erasing history a la Wuhan.

    +1 and also the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. But that might be an inconvenient truth.

  9. Only the least aware among us would denigrate a paper because it had not been “peer-reviewed”. Today’s system of journal publication and peer review is hopelessly corrupt, anti-science and should be held up as a reason to not believe the veracity of the paper’s conclusions.

  10. Poole is a giant cunt. I remember him reviewing a book by Theodore Dalrymple in which he played the man, not the ball, by suggesting that Dalrymple was some kind of club bore. As it happens, I know Tony Daniels and he is one of the wittiest men, with the lightest conversational touch and the widest interests, that you could imagine.

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