Date:25 January 2024
- ● What’s true in this topsy-turvy world?
- ● Deception in the name of ‘science’
- ● How do we overcome scientific distortion and censorship?
By Rob Verkerk PhD, executive & scientific director, ANH-Intl and ANH-USA
- Trust in governments, mainstream health authorities and mainstream science is at all time low, leading to increasingly desperate attempts to rebuild that trust, including at this month’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos
- Ever more information is being branded as mis-, dis- or malinformation (MDM) as authorities clamp down on those who dare to challenge corporate-determined ‘truths’. Appointed governmental, academic and media ‘authorities’ are not only the key arbiters of MDM, they are also frequent disseminators of MDM
- The past four years have seen a huge crackdown on scientific dissent, originally the driving force behind scientific discovery and innovation, in an attempt to control the narrative and bend our will, and beliefs, to official narratives
- Rapidly expanding AI technology is not only being used detect and marginalise so-called misinformation, it is now also widely regarded (including by WEF) as a key source, presenting major societal risks
- Raising awareness of the way information is being controlled is essential, so we can counter the tightening of the information reins, find new and more trusted authorities of health-related information before they’re cut too short.
It’s just days since the close of 2024’s World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. Among the many things that have been turned over by the planet’s self-appointed corporate and geopolitical leaders and billionaires, are ways of navigating a world that the WEF’s own 2023-2024 Global Risks Perception Survey suggests is going to be becoming considerably more stormy and turbulent during the next 2 to 10 years, and not just from a weather perspective.
Take note of the risk that is deemed by the WEF to be the greatest risk over the next two years: misinformation and disinformation.
In the WEF’s own words: “As polarization grows and technological risks remain unchecked ‘truth’ will come under pressure….In response to mis- and disinformation, governments could be increasingly empowered to control information based on what they determine to be “true”. Freedoms relating to the internet, press and access to wider sources of information that are already in decline risk descending into broader repression of information flows across a wider set of countries.”
What’s true in this topsy-turvy world?
The perception of what constitutes ‘truth’ and ‘misinformation, disinformation or malinformation’ (MDM) is at the heart of the issue. Both concepts remain elusive because the arbiter of what is true and correct (i.e. not false, whether deliberate or accidental) remains the mainstream scientific and medical establishment. An establishment that itself routinely publishes false information (see here and here). There are many reasons that have been found to contribute to false information being drip fed to the public, some being deliberate, others unintended. They include author bias, statistical bias and confounding, statistical manipulation of data, use of inappropriate statistical methods, conflicts of interest, ghost writing of research manuscripts by conflicted interests, author conclusions that are inconsistent with the findings, inadequate peer review, not to mention the distortion of research findings by PR machines and the mainstream media for the purpose of benefiting corporate funders and shareholders. Worse than that, journals like the BMJ, that have in recent years tried to do the right thing by increasing transparency in medical science, have found themselves side-lined when challenging social media censorship of articles critical of manipulated medical research.
>>> UNCHR perspective on misinformation and disinformation
>>> Dr Eric Berg censored (shadowbanned) by YouTube for educational videos on intermittent fasting and keto diets
>>> Dr Joseph Mercola’s response to lawsuit against YouTube following censorship of videos (currently under appeal)
Deception in the name of ‘science’
During the last 4 years, we have been repeatedly exposed to the phrase “follow the science” by health authorities and the mainstream media (searching “follow the science” on Google brings up no less than 42,800,000 hits). This notion gives the impression that science consistently delivers both truthful information (which is does not; see above) and that even the best quality science is certain and unequivocal. As if it were some kind of magic tool that casts science as either black or white and never any shade of grey, being the ultimate tool with the power to eliminate uncertainty. Accordingly, the scientists who serve in the great scientific institutions are the only capable arbiters of scientific ‘truth’, are infallible, and are also in full agreement with each other over the conclusions from research. A quaint concept perhaps, but nothing short of a pipe dream.
>>> Read ‘Why misinformation bans are misinformed and dangerous’
This hocus pocus is especially rampant when it comes to areas of emerging science. Think lab leak origin of SARS-CoV-2, the effectiveness of masks or covid-19 mass vaccination, the safety of cellphones and wireless technologies, the benefits and risks of statins, SSRIs and many categories of drug, the effectiveness of different modalities of so-called alternative medicine, climate change ‘science’, the environmental impacts of regenerative livestock farming, light or moderate consumption of coffee or alcohol….the list goes on.
For hundreds of years, inconclusiveness and scientific uncertainty have been dealt with by promoting a process whereby scientific peers attempt to replicate experiments to verify, or invalidate, previous findings, in the process testing repeatability and reproducibility. If multiple researchers do the same kinds of experiments, albeit at different times and in different places, while getting similar results, probability dictates that the confidence of these findings increasingly approximates to what we like to think of as scientific ‘truth’. The incentive to replicate studies also increases when scientific discourse is promoted and there are sufficient funds available to repeat studies and test hypotheses.
Herein lies another fundamental shift in how the scientific and medical establishments function. Censorship, gaslighting and cancel culture, all of which have gathered immense pace since the covid pandemic was initiated in March 2020, have seen fit to silence or marginalise scientific dissent. In addition, there has been a longer standing trend away from ‘blue sky’ public funding, and towards the private funding of research. This is especially the case for medical or health-related research, with private funding entities being directly or indirectly related to corporate beneficiaries, notably Big Pharma, Big Biotech or biotechnology spin-offs. These same interests have extensive control of the media and are the drivers behind the recent emergence of the censorship-industrial complex.
For example, those who have faced life-changing injuries caused by AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine claim to have been censored on social media.
The long and short of this is that it is the censors that get to decide which strands of ‘the science’ the public gets to see, and which it doesn’t. Much of this happens with the public being unaware of how social and mainstream media apply their censorship practices, more and more of it being programmed and AI-informed. On this note, we will shortly be releasing a short film that exposes the risks of social media shadowbanning. In an effort to increase transparency of news outlets and allow users to filter information themselves, a tool called Perspectify has recently been launched that offers “comprehensive information” about media outlet ownership, and “relevant statistics”. Such a tool might actually end up further distorting a person’s view of scientific information given that mainstream media channels are more likely to be preferentially rated over those which carry information that challenges mainstream science.
>>> Find out how key research publications by leading French microbiologist who criticised health authorities stance on covid-19, Dr Didier Raoult, is facing retraction by scientific journals on the grounds of ethics breaches that Raoult claims are down to “complete ignorance” of France’s research ethics laws.
What’s so twisted is that it’s now becoming apparent, even in mainstream circles, that such AI interference is going to increase, not decrease, misinformation and disinformation. In effect, AI will be used to both detect what its programmers determine to be misinformation, but it can also create disinformation and fake news.
So much so, the recently released WEF Global Risks Perception Survey found that respondents considered “AI-generated misinformation and disinformation” as the second biggest risk currently facing society, pipping “extreme weather” and exceeding the risks of “societal and/or political polarization”, “cost-of-living crisis” and “cyberattacks”.
This selective and opaque censorship doesn’t just violate our basic right to freedom of expression, it violates people’s freedom of thought.
How do we overcome scientific distortion and censorship?
This may be a 64 million dollar question. But what we can confidently say is that the starting point has to be awareness over the extent, nature, mechanisms and potential impacts of censorship, including on our health and fundamental rights.
This article and others we have written about it (here, here and here) are intended to raise awareness of the murky subject of social media censorship of health-related information, so we ask you to please share this and our previous articles widely with your own networks.
One thing the vast majority of us have in common, regardless of where we sit in terms of our interpretation of scientific phenomena or research findings, is a desire to know what we consider to be the most accurate interpretation of reality, something I hesitatingly refer to as ‘the truth’ (my hesitation is linked to the fact that absolute truth, even when supposedly objectively determined, is likely an elusive concept given we remain unclear as to what constitutes reality, with reality being something that can only be determined from the perspective of an individual observer).
Once we know that what’s under the spotlight of mainstream media or mainstream science often represents a selected view or opinion rather than the totality of scientific information, we become motivated to find more trusted information sources that are less likely to be distorted. This loss of trust for the scientific mainstream was the key driver for last year’s Nobel Prize Summit in Washington DC. However, as we have argued, the approach taken, including heavy use of stealth AI, is more likely weaken rather than build trust, at least among those who still have the capacity to think critically.
In time, we will all need to re-establish a view on who will become more or less trusted authorities. One thing is for sure, trust in mainstream health authorities, governments and the medical and scientific establishment is at an all time low, and that’s why they’re fighting so hard to try to rebuild trust. Another likelihood is that attempting to rebuild trust by stealth, censorship and the use of AI is doomed to failure among those of us alive to the deception that surrounds us.
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