Separation of science and state
A way forward from US government atrocities
The medical authorities in the US have betrayed the country. They have misled the country on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.; suppressing the use of safe generic drugs for early treatment while endlessly promoting novel vaccines with horrific safety profiles. We don’t know the impact of these acts, but it has likely been devastating. The question is: What was all this about? Was this garden-variety corruption?
Yes, the behavior by the medical authorities was likely due to the corruption of individuals. But there is more going on here. Namely, science is too closely associated with the state. This is unnatural. Science is the search for truth in the natural world and it is unavoidably in conflict with the state. The state seeks control and science is intrinsically uncontrollable.
The conflict between science and state
The tension between the church and the state has been at the core of western liberal democracy since the signing of the United States Constitution. The first clause of the first amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”; the doctrine of the separation of church and state. The founders of the US understood that the relationship between the state and religion is fraught with potential conflict and sought to protect the church.
Science, on the other hand, wasn’t even mentioned in the constitution although at the time of the founding of the US, science was undergoing a revolution following Isaac Newton’s publication of “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica”. That is understandable given that science and technology were in their infancy. However, that blind spot to the intrinsic conflict between science and the state remains with us today. It has now become a problem.
The corruption of science has become rampant and the consequences for the greater society have likely been horrific. It is clear, we need to start taking seriously the integrity of science itself. The most troubling aspect of scientific lies and deception we are witnessing is the central role that has been played by the US government. That is in incontrovertible as detailed below.
Deprivation of early COVID-19 treatment
On issue after issue in the pandemic, federal medical authorities have lied and deceived. The mostly deadly were the FDA lies that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are dangerous. Hydroxychloroquine is used chronically by hundreds of thousands of people in the US. Billions of doses of ivermectin have been dispensed worldwide since its discovery.
The National Institutes of Health issued a statement with similar impact. NIH was more circumspect on the use of ivermectin in COVID-19:
“There is insufficient evidence for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19….”
This statement is certainly false. The “Panel” never considered the issue. My investigations have revealed as much. The Chair of the Panel implicitly acknowledged that no vote was held on the ivermectin recommendation in an exchange at the Annals of Internal Medicine (comments section). The NIH statement on ivermectin is simply the view of the Panel Chairs. Litigation is also ongoing to force the NIH to explicitly confirm this deception. The case will turn on a motion for summary judgement that is currently in the hands of the presiding judge.
Deception on COVID-19 vaccination
Another fraud was the refusal to acknowledge natural immunity from prior COVID-19 infection. The assertion that vaccination is superior to natural immunity has a certain totalitarian brazenness; a newly minted theory based on an outlier study with federal employee authorship published without peer review.
The CDC has betrayed the country by its refusal to acknowledge uncertainty on the safety of the vaccines. The safety of the vaccines is unknown to the public because of the totalitarian secrecy of the US pharmacovigilance system. That system, VAERS, works as follows: Anyone can report a vaccine adverse event through VAERS and the number of reported adverse events is publicly available. However, from the CDC fact sheet: “Once adverse events are identified using VAERS, they may be monitored in other immunization safety systems to confirm if a particular adverse event is related to a vaccination and identify any specific risk factors.”
The events may be monitored. However, we don’t know if they are monitored because that information is not publicly disclosed. As a result, we don’t know the number of cases in which vaccination was ruled out as a cause of the adverse event. Those supportive of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign make their assumptions, those against make theirs. In truth, zero information is available on how many of the reported adverse events were not caused by the vaccine.
The secrecy surrounding the number of ruled-out VAERS adverse events is not an academic question. As of this writing (January 5, 2022) there have been 21,002 deaths reported for the COVID-19 vaccines. Furthermore, there is anecdotal evidence that VAERS reports are simply ignored.
Conflict with SARS-CoV-2 origin investigation
Then there’s the question of where the virus came from. On that issue, the NIH director released a statement: “The scientific evidence to date indicates that the virus is likely the result of viral evolution in nature …” But at the same time, the NIH is defending itself against the charge that it funded the development of SARS-CoV-2. This is surely the mother of all conflicts-of-interests. On this critical issue, we are left to the devices of the WHO and the Chinese government to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Silencing of scientists
It is no longer reasonable to assume that the state is the proper caretaker or defender of science. In truth, the state is an adversary to science in exactly the same manner that it has an adversarial relationship to religion.
At best, the state tolerates science. At worst, the state unleashes its full power to undermine science. The efforts to suppress scientific discourse on vaccine safety is the prime example. Vaccine promotion was considered a “wartime” effort. Dissent was characterized as “dangerous conspiracy theories”. This is not that far from the Catholic Church’s persecution of Galileo for his questioning of the geocentric orthodoxy.
Addressing the US government assault on science
Some acknowledge all of the above mendacity of the federal medical authorities and more but do not denounce those same authorities. The lies are defended as noble lies, lies for some greater good. Nonsense. These deceptions are fundamental violations of medical ethics and of the principles of democracy. In democracy, there is no presumption that the state has the best interests of the people at heart. Rather, democracy only functions properly when the people are fully informed. Or, in the words of JFK: “[a] nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
Also, scientists have proposed modest changes to federal medical research: “If we want scientists to speak freely in the future, we should avoid having the same people in charge of public health policy and medical research funding.” This is a start, but it is inadequate. Moreover, for example, the NIH has no formal public health policy authority as is.
The point is that something has failed in our government itself. It’s not just the errancy of this or that science agency administrator or scientist or policy. It’s about more than the growing infringements on free speech by the corporate media and social media, although that is a big part of the story. It’s likely that corporations such as Pfizer, Merck and Gilead significantly influenced government policy with vastly destructive results. However, the prime motivation of the state is preservation of power. That leads to conflicts with science. And when science conflicts with the state, the state crushes science.
The time has come to unplug the federal medical authorities. The government is currently borrowing the mantle of “truth” by association with science without the bona fide dedication to truth and discovery. The US government has clearly become the adversary of science. In the US, we would not tolerate a federal agency of religion. There is no reason to expect more from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In reality, these agencies are not much more than drug companies masquerading as public institutions.
There is a palpable desperation amongst the anti-COVID-vax, pro-COVID-therapy and anti-COVID-mask online communities about the actions of their government; actions which shock the conscience. We in the midst of a serious crisis of science and government. The proposed solution is proportionate to that crisis.
Excellent post. It's going to be hard to "unplug the federal medical authorities". It's a cabal knowing each other for long time with no boundaries between state and science.
Q7: Is there a conflict of interest between the Director of NIAID and the Chief Medical Advisor positions being held by the same individual?
A: Yes, it is. The health policy can be driven by politics (to make the President look good) rather than by the national health interests (as the Director of NIAID position requires). I wonder if the ‘fact checkers’ can deny this. Shouldn’t the Director of NIAID resigned on Jan 20th 2021 when he accepted the Chief Medical Advisor position?
Peter, this is a really good post.
A related question is: What is the line between science and religion? Of course we all have a sense of what belongs to science and what to religion, but to what extent is our sense of this a sort of historical accident?
If you think of science as being about how to understand reality, and religion as being about the same thing, then the line becomes a blurry one about the proper role of experiment and observation with respect to appropriate trust in authority. To some extent science entails trust in authority. An individual scientist provisionally trusts the authority of other scientists. An individual scientist cannot do all the experiments and observations for herself.
Did Cardinal Bellarmine think he was defending religion against the encroachments of science, or did he think that both he and Galileo were trying to understand reality, but that Galileo didn’t have the appropriate trust in authority? Did Galileo agree with Bellarmine that he was not encroaching on religion, but only differed with Bellarmine in that he thought that trust in authority needed to be tempered with observation to a degree that Bellarmine did not agree with?
If there is no clear line between science and religion then the separation of church and state enshrined in the American constitution might apply as much to the separation of science and state as Peter would like it to. But perhaps the way the culture of the West has evolved makes it difficult to see this.