Can we talk about....Ivor Cummins et al?

(bulkbiker) #41

Taking one tweet out of context is hardly a fair thing to do. You presumably follow Zoe so should be aware of her science based stance. if you don’t than maybe now is a good time to start?


@Keto_Tom, there’s plenty of data above (and generally available) if you are interested in looking.

“Conspiracy theorist” used to mean that someone believed that there was … well, a conspiracy for a particular result, a coordinated effort behind the scenes. Now the phrase is used to dismiss someone who is going against the mainstream narrative.

For me, realizing how disastrously wrong the public health officials are about health and disease made me look at everything a bit more skeptically. I don’t assume they’re wrong, but I definitely don’t assume they’re right. I went into this pandemic open to agreeing with the media and officials, and the more I saw, the less any of it made sense. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy; I just think it’s a mess.


Yes as the old saying, or something like it goes, ‘never assume malicious intent when you can just assume stupidity instead’.

I think there is, or should be, a clear difference between valid skepticism and scientific challenge of public policy such as masks, lockdowns vs the actual conspiracy narrative of evil intent, shady agendas etc. We should definitely do the former, and the latter should be dismissed until such time as there is good evidence to support it. The problem is the two have become conflated and it really doesn’t help when people working on the former use language and a communication style that plays into the latter.

To that exact point, Zoe has made a cryptic statement designed to scare people, something that is (intentionally or not), easy for people to retweet that can be interpreted into the conspiracy narrative with no effort at all. What’s the purpose of that post? it offers nothing that’s going to help anyone…if it’s related to some analysis or data then say so and share it. Don’t leave it open to wild interpretation and perhaps assume someone, new follower or old, might dig around your twitter history/website to figure out what the hell you’re talking about.

I’m aware of Zoe’s background and forensic takedowns of mainstream nutrition advice which is why I thought I’d include her in this conversation - she seems to be going down the same path as Ivor and whilst she is entitled to do exactly what she wants and hold whatever views she likes, my reaction to it is to feel confused and disappointed.

(Polly) #44

Uh Also it is important not to forget that Zoe lives in Wales where they had a whole panoply of additional restrictions imposed such as only being able to purchase “essential” goods from the supermarkets which were the only shops open in most places. Aisles of non-essential goods such as babies nappies (diapers) and children’s clothing and bedding were roped off.

As @MarkGossage said, the tweet needs to be considered in context.

In the UK they are pushing a climate of fear about the Indian variant to justify prolonging restrictions. There is no sensible justification for this.

I know Zoe personally and have enormous respect for her analytical thinking skills as well as her ability to pull the one relevant fact out of a jumble of inconsequential material.


Yes! Although I do think it’s a bit more complex than stupidity. I can’t speak to other countries since I’ve been mostly following the trajectory in the US but here I see a combination of:

  1. media going for clicks (the more panic, the more clicks). This is obvious and commonsensical, but it’s also supported by at least one study and a very revealing recorded convo with a CNN newsperson;

  2. an extreme political divide about how to handle this. I don’t support or defend the earlier president (I was one of those who spent a week in tears after that election) but I think the opposition to him has been so knee-jerk that folks who would usually be very concerned about the effects of shutdowns on children and the poor have been surprisingly silent on this front;

  3. a very strong Pharma industry - with enormous political and medical influence -with literally billions in profits at stake.

  4. an almost comical fear of dissenting voices on social media. I’ve seen quotes from a Pfizer study be flagged for “misinformation” and someone who just had a question about an adverse effect be banned. There seems to be no tolerance at all for anything beyond one very narrow telling of this story. This leads most folks to conclude that it is in fact the only valid narrative. [YT, Twitter, FB, etc are private companies and have the right to exclude anyone for any reason, but unfortunately they are also now the equivalent of our town squares, and it’s frustrating to see basic dialogue and questioning being suppressed]

That’s definitely not a conspiracy theory, and it’s not exactly “stupidity” but it seems to me a very dangerous combination.

(Doug) #46

Sure - because huge numbers of people have other stuff wrong with them too.

It’s not nearly as simple as “other stuff” appearing on a death certificate or not. There are immediate causes of death, and intermediate causes, and underlying causes.

There are causes or contributing conditions that are “due to or as a consequence of” - then fill in the blank, and there can be multiple instances of this.

It’s easy - here too, it’s a matter of “something else” being present, nothing more than that. ‘Other adverse effects’ - this is exceedingy broad, and can include a vast number of things - as long as they’re not among the other listed contributing conditions, then they can get dumped into this category. And - we’re only talking about 2% of the listed cases anyway.

Indeed - there will be cases where it’s 50/50 Covid and something else. Or 49/51 or 51/49 and so on… Heart disease often causes pulmonary edema, for example, so it makes sense that heart disease can easily increase the severity of Covid, or that Covid can increase the severity of the effects of heart disease.

The total death numbers will reflect all such cases, regardless of which is the “biggest” cause.

Again, sure, because pneumonia, or even more specifically - pulmonary edema - is the largest single way in which Covid kills people. Influenza is not separated from pneumonia by the CDC. In the U.S. people are almost never actually tested for influenza; rather it is usually diagnosed based on symptoms.

The yearly ‘influenza’ statistics from the CDC are routinely exaggerated by several multiples, due to this, and due to a desire to motivate people to get flu vaccines. “Pneumonia caused by Covid” is almost entirely indistinguishable, here.

The way to resolve all the above is to look at the total death numbers. In the U.S., 2020’s mortality increased more than any other year since the flu pandemic 100+ years ago.

In the end, it matters little if a given death was, for example, more primarily due to Covid or to heart disease. “Heart disease” deaths, per se, are very, very constant from year-to-year, to begin with.


Is this absolute or scaled for population?

In any case, I think you bring up so many good points.
The problem with using excess deaths, however, is that we had an extreme year by almost any measure: isolation increases mortality; chronic fear and stress increases mortality; early and aggressive use of ventilators increases mortality (this is heartbreaking… I’m sure that doctors were doing the best they could, but a lot of folks died unnecessarily). Drug deaths were up, as were homicides in many places (though I don’t know how much of those is linked to shutdowns). How can we separate out those deaths caused primarily by Covid and those caused by the reaction to Covid?
And deaths are not the only things on the other side of that ledger - mental and physical health, exacerbation of poverty and childhood issues… it’s a really really long list.

But I digress. I think you’re right about how complex the Covid death figures are, but my guess is that most folks things it’s just xxx people killed by Covid and it’s just not that simple.

(Doug) #48

Madeleine, it’s both ways - either on a raw-numbers basis or adjusted for population.

I hear you on other effects - isolation/people not being cared for as well and/or not seeking treatment for other conditions, etc. If anything, I’d say it’s a further argument for fast and aggressive actions to minimize such a thing as Covid, to reduce the amount of related effects. Where such actions are themselves detrimental to people, then it’s a question of cost/benefit.

Death certificates will usually show the way here. Either directly as filled out, or, for example, by noting that a meaningfully larger number people died of cancer, and that there’s probably no better explanation than delays in getting treatment, due to Covid. I don’t think there’s anything else going on with cancer (there’s no evidence of ‘more cancer’ per se due to any other factors) that would explain it.

True, but that goes both ways, i.e. the true number could be higher, as well as lower, versus what figure one is looking at.

Looking at excess deaths tells us a lot. For most of last year in the U.S., attributed Covid deaths only covered 70-72% of the increased mortality. Thus there was a lot of room for related or possibly-related deaths that were primarily from other factors, even after accounting for normal mortality from all other causes.

It’s now about 82% of excess deaths in the U.S. that are attributed to Covid. I think this is due to correction of some of the early accounting, especially back in February - May 2020, when “Covid” deaths weren’t recorded in some places unless the death occurred in a hospital AND a positive virus test had been done and recorded for the given patient.

Even at the higher 82% figure, there remain ~69,000 excess deaths not attributed to Covid in the U.S. There is always a lag time, and that number was only through mid-December 2020. Hopefully ‘Covid’ will be pretty much done this year. Given that a lot of deaths in most countries happened/are happening in 2021, I imagine it won’t be until 2023 that we really get a good retrospective analysis on all of this.


I am aware of the restrictions in Wales, I live in the UK, I am Welsh and most of my family still lives there. I’m curious as to why you think the Welsh situation provides some kind of valid context for a cryptic tweet that suggests everyone should be terrified of some unstated thing.

In the UK they are pushing a climate of fear about the Indian variant to justify prolonging restrictions. There is no sensible justification for this.

This is what I mean about the conspiracy narrative, whether intentional or not, you are implying that the UK government have some agenda to keep the country locked down and are ramping up propaganda to enable this outcome… well to put in bluntly, stump up the evidence because if it’s true then I want to know, and I want to know why.

And I mean you, give the evidence, right here, no cop out answers that provide nothing other than an attempt to deflect by saying things like I ‘should know already’, or if I ‘don’t know I’ll never know’, or I need to ‘look harder’… all that is conspiracy BS used when people don’t actually have any justification for their claims.

(Polly) #50


You really want this?

OK here we go . . .

On 15 June 1215 a group of barons and nobles met with King John on the banks of the Thames at Runnymede and the first version of the Magna Carta was signed.

That document and its follow-ons over the subsequent months and most particularly during the reign of King Henry III provide the first “Bill of Rights” setting out the rights and freedoms of the subjects of the King (or Queen) of England.

In essence, we are allowed to do absolutely anything which is not forbidden and a translation of the words from the Magna Carta reads as follows:

“No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property, or outlawed, or exiled, or in anyway destroyed, nor shall we go against him or send against him unless by legal judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.”

Implicit in that clause (Clause 39) is the concept that we the free people of England (which also now includes Wales) shall not be deprived of our liberties without due cause.

Since 23 March 2020 we have been deprived of our liberties to an extent never before seen in this country

If I wish to be law abiding, cannot at the moment invite a friend or family member to sit down in my kitchen to enjoy a cup of tea and a chat. A child aged 12, if they are fortunate enough that their school is fully open, must wear a mask on the school bus and in classes. In order to enter a supermarket to buy groceries an adult must wear a mask.

If people wish to discuss whether any of these measures is either effective or necessary using a social media platform there is a high probability that their words will be censored because anything posted by anyone with enough of a following to gain traction is “fact checked” and deleted if it fails to agree with the “expressed opinion” of the WHO. The very fact that there can be no open discussion of such ideas fills me with concern.

You demanded that I justify my opinion that there is a lot to be scared about at the moment. Surely, the boot should be on the other foot. Before laws are passed which deprive me and my countrymen(and women) of the liberties which have been ours as of right for more than eight centuries that deprivation of liberty should be justified.

You say that Ivor Cummins and Zoe Harcombe are running some kind of conspiracy narrative. Does that mean that you think the current restrictions are justifiable? If so, please justify them here.

(Old Baconian) closed #51