76 Comments

I am an old timer in stats in data, both academia and industry, and I completely agree. I think this dimension of bias is the least understood in science.

I used to explain it as an axiom: if a group publishes a finding, but their careers would be destroyed by finding anything contrary, then that paper contains zero informational value.

I have friends with faculty appointments who were told on day one, your job now is to bring in grant money to this university. Like a law partner who is supposed to make it rain. I don't know why anyone thinks someone with those incentives, will go against any headwinds in pursuit of truth. Some do anyway, but they are exceptional people.

And like you say, too few people understand that typical statistical methods only rule out chance to a certain degree. This always means if enough studies are run, false positives will appear. I remember reading about a drug that was finally approved after 33 trials! More evidence something is a placebo is not possible.

This is also why research is meaningless until there are independent direct replications. Basically everyone understands this since 2011 but no one does it, because, see axioms and incentives above.

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I work at a working class setting where the bosses demand everyone wear a mask. Due to the nature of my job, I get to visit new such locations almost weekly. One thing I’ve noticed at all of these places is that absolutely no one ever wears a mask during breaks when only their co-workers can see them. The people know, and they know that the others know. One of the things I hate the most about these stupid mask mandates is that they require people to behave in a fundamentally dishonest way.

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I must be the only mask hater who thinks the Bangladesh study was more or less ok.

As with you, though, I think poking holes in it misses the point to begin with. Literally who cares if masks "work"? What is the end of slowing spread? The seasonal waves will still come, and burn the fuel that is available when they do.

Stopping the healthcare system from "being overwhelmed," or eradicating the virus through herd immunity - these frauds are obsolete. I'd rather be dead than look like a germaphobic idiot every day, or see children psychologically tortured as a cultural norm, anyway.

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el gato malo eviscerates the dodgy bangladesh study here:

https://boriquagato.substack.com/p/bangladesh-mask-study-do-not-believe

https://boriquagato.substack.com/p/more-on-the-bangladesh-mask-study

The study was atrocious.

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I hate the droplets argument.

I can't do it any more as I am outed as a non-believer, but asked and could not find a single person in this western country who had ever had a stranger cough or sneeze into their face, which is what the droplet theory espouses masks will prevent.

The entire fiasco is one big cluster fck.

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Oct 9, 2021Liked by eugyppius

Some other takedowns of interest, including one dissecting the hersterical Nassim Talib, see these:

https://wmbriggs.com/post/37320/

https://wmbriggs.com/post/33752/

https://wmbriggs.com/post/37548/

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Oct 9, 2021Liked by eugyppius

Thinking too much: masks are Progressive/Empire hijabs. The symbol-manipulator class is having a terrible time with this war. Maybe proles have an advantage looking at it from the outside.

World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation. -- Marshall McLuhan

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I don't think anyone's mentioned this yet, but another important flaw in the thinking with those who scream "We must mask our children in school" lies with the fact that in most schools the kids gather in the cafeteria for lunch and take off their masks to eat and talk to their friends. Cafeterias, of course, are large and confined spaces with poor ventilation and lots of excited breathing, sneezing, coughing, and cursing (yes, my sons learned to curse at school, back in the day when things weren't crazy).

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Oct 9, 2021Liked by eugyppius

I just point people to p 31 of this WHO publication citing 10 studies showing masks don't work

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/329439/WHO-WHE-IHM-GIP-2019.1-eng.pdf

blows their mind... yes WHO, back in a saner time (2019)

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"When that paper finally squeaked into print, they spent more months trying desperately to poke holes in it."

Let's not forget that when that paper was finally published that the journal published a rebuttal by Tom Frieden in the very same edition. They didn't even give it a second to breathe but had a dismissal of it ready to go.

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Oct 9, 2021Liked by eugyppius

Excellent! I’m loving your substack.

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The corruption of science is absolutely the worst outcome of this sorry episode. Worse than 3 million deaths, since it will lead to many more millions. It was demonstrated in the HCQ frenzy when competent doctors publicized effectiveness in early treatment and the vax nazis immediately constructed tests of ICU patients to prove it doesn't work in advanced cases. This isn't really new -- there have always been corrupt doctors and researchers, more interested in profits than truth, or patients, and politicians ready to use their frauds to promote their own interests. "Betrayers of Truth" was a frightening expose of rampant academic fraud back when it was still not the prevalent process. This episode has accelerated the fraud to the highest levels of medical industry bureaucracies and government. Dark times ahead unless we can reestablish academic integrity.

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Oct 9, 2021Liked by eugyppius

It’s funny/not funny the John Ioannidis, despite his similar recognition of the lack of studies showing mask efficacy, he still believes they work. (He has said this in recent presentations.)

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Oct 10, 2021Liked by eugyppius

Will you run an article on the gov covid statistics?  I just came across an article in the Swiss media in which the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) is stating that 93% of deaths are in the unvaccinated and jet in UK only 20% are in the unvaccinated since most people who die are in the elderly and most of them are vaccinated… ( even if the effect of the vaccine per 100'000 is still positive)

How is the 93% possible? Something doesn’t add up…

The article : https://www.20min.ch/story/93-prozent-der-covid-todesfaelle-sind-ungeimpfte-218347301737

The UK statistic(from which I get the 20% unvaccinated deaths and 75% vaccinated - table 4):

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1023849/Vaccine_surveillance_report_-_week_40.pdf

No matter what I just want to say that I love your work!

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Oct 9, 2021Liked by eugyppius

Great post. I'd say there were actually three kinds of early studies: (a) the ones you mention, where if you wear something over your face fewer particles blast out, often using crash test dummies; (b) embarrassing anecdotes like the hairdresser story; and (c) opportunistic looks at case rate changes against NPI introductions, where as soon as you introduce controls or adjust the date range you can get the opposite results.

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Oct 9, 2021Liked by eugyppius

All medical research and most other science too, I think. After all, the editors of the top journals don't quit, stating that same thing, when it's not true. And that started long before the public part of the CV19.

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