How many of you know a learned and well-respected friend or colleague who thinks the Covid vaccines will magnetize your body, disrupt your genetic coding and improve your cell reception? This person is staunchly anti-vaccine and despite their education and intellect, remains convinced the pandemic is a huge pack of fabricated lies. Bizarrely, they are willing to entertain a whole range of outlandish and unproven treatments for Covid while turning their backs on proven science.
If you don’t have your hand raised at this point, you need to get out more. The incidence of the aforementioned individual is high, so much so that we’ve coined a collective term for them, CovIdiots. Not only is the term disingenuous, but it is also very misleading. Intelligence is not prophylaxis for gullibility, in fact, quite the opposite.
Buy the lie
Bernie Madoff would be the first to tell you that intelligent people are often the easiest to convince of something, for a number of reasons.
Vanity, a tendency to trust, and a mistaken belief in their own abilities to filter truth from bullshit, leave intelligent people wide open for exploitative individuals. Financial cons are most often exacted on wealthy, well-educated individuals who are always, with hindsight, blamed for not having known better.
Lower intellect is usually linked to lower-income and nothing ferments distrust like poverty. Grow up knowing the whole world is out to screw you and you are, by default, suspicious of everything. Poor individuals are more susceptible to the “establishment or world-order” types of conspiracy misinformation.
Surely not the doctors too?
Doctors are just regular people that have spent an insane amount of time studying up how the body works. That’s regular doctors. Specialists and surgeons require double the amount of studying. Very very specific studying, particular to their chosen specialty, as the field of medicine is huge.
Take virology, epidemiology, and pharmacology. Three very distinct branches of medicine and ones which the average doctor will only glance at for a few weeks during their training. Their knowledge of these topics, broadly speaking, is only marginally better than that of the general public.
The published word
Presented with a preprint for a large clinical trial on Ivermectin, published in a scientific journal, most doctors would take the information contained in the trial at face value. Doctors are not forensic data analysts and are therefore unable to properly validate the data provided without considerable time and effort. They rely on experts (peers) to do the fact-checking for them.
This dependence is riddled with problems, mostly stemming from a lack of peer review, Open Access models, and the predatory pay to publish platforms preferred by many publications. Often little or no review is applied to published papers and a stringent code of ethics applicable to preprints is largely ignored.
Simply put, much of what is published today within the scientific community, can not be taken at face value.
If the scientific publication industry was akin to a cancer patient, doctors would be urgently calling for chemo to attempt to save an almost terminal case.
Many doctors, along with broad swathes of the public, do not recognize this trend, are not aware of it, or simply turn a blind eye.
The fire and smoke logic trap
Can’t have a fire starting without a little smoke and in pandemic central 2021, that smoke represents misinformation. Our world is filled with it. This flawed logic is mistakenly applied to justify the ‘genuineness’ of claims made relating to vaccines and so-called Covid treatments.
The truth is there can be smoke without the presence of fire, particularly when that smoke has been intentionally created to suggest the presence of non-existent flames. In fact, con artists are all too aware of this human flaw we use to justify something and use it against us with spectacular success.
Let’s say, by way of example that a toothpaste manufacturer wanted to clear a large stock of an older brand of toothpaste from its catalog. An article, not so innocently released to a large gossip rag with an established social media presence would suggest the brand was out of stock in stores across the US. An unnamed company official would intonate that people were mistakenly using it to combat the SARS-CoV2 virus.
You can see the Twitter stream now, can’t you? Betty Blogger from Saskatchewan would be first up.
Our family has been using this toothpaste for years. None of us have caught Covid yet and it’s all over town. Now we know why.
A few days later, as the story spreads across social media, the company would release an official media statement, categorically denying their toothpaste has any effect on the virus. The rest is marketing history.
Think before you point that finger
You might not have fallen for the misinformation in the pandemic sphere. In this case, you’re vaccinated, you still wear your mask in public spaces and you respect your health and the safety of others. Well done, give yourself a pat on the back as you’re one of the lucky ones.
CovIdiots, and I do actually despise that term, haven’t been that fortunate.
There may be areas of your life that don’t relate to the virus, where you too, are guilty of being a XyzIdiot. There are very few of us that don’t harbor beliefs or thoughts based on misinformation. These don’t have to be virus-related but can apply to any part of your life and you may have bought the lie, hook, line, and sinker. Want a great place to start looking, think politics.
CovIdiots don’t deserve your ridicule or you’re holier than thou condescension. There, but for the grace of God, goes you. It has nothing to do with brain capacity or the lack thereof, being gullible or not. It is simply a question of buying into a story based on our politics, trust, education, and life experience.
Pretty certain we all do that, each day.