by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Professors Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya, original signers of the Great Barrington Declaration, use a Federalist column to discuss their concerns about COVID-19’s long-term impact on science.
The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns have not only been devastating for society, they have had a chilling effect on the scientific community. For science to thrive, opposing ideas must be openly and vigorously discussed, supported, or countered based on scientific merit.
Instead, some politicians, journalists, and (alas) scientists have engaged in vicious slander of dissident scientists, spreading damaging conspiracy theories, even with open calls for censorship in place of debate. In many cases, eminent scientific voices have been effectively silenced, often with gutter tactics. People who oppose lockdowns have been accused of having blood on their hands, their university positions threatened, with many of our colleagues choosing to stay quiet rather than face the mob. …
… Dr. Scott Atlas served as a special advisor to the president on COVID policy between July and November 2020. This would be a difficult job in normal circumstances when the science is more mature. …
… Scientists who did not share his views had every opportunity to do so responsibly by reporting scientific facts and conjectures and engaging with his ideas.
Instead, the Journal of the American Medical Association—the flagship medical journal in the United States—published an opinion article defaming him without engaging his actual scientific views. The editors of the journal then refused to publish letters supporting Atlas.
Contrary to his critics, Atlas got the science right. …
… Dr. John Ioannidis is a world-famous scientist who from the beginning of the epidemic called for better scientific information to decide COVID policy. His work, published in the “Bulletin of the World Health Organization,” has helped establish how deadly the virus actually is—an order of magnitude lower than the conventional narrative implies. For his work, BuzzFeed News falsely accused him of political bias and financial conflicts of interest.