[ 20/4/20 Tom’s facebook page]
While you raise some legitimate concerns about the economic incentives of companies producing vaccines, the rest of your story missed most of the important bits.
Genner invented the idea in 1796 to prevent smallpox (a major killer). It worked. It works for many things.
Vaccines are very effective for most people, most of the time.
And sure, some people will have adverse effects, we are all different in many different ways, and that idea applies to anything. Consider the idea of wearing a seat belt. In some circumstances it will kill you, but in most circumstances it will save you. So most people wear seatbelts and are saved by doing so, and some people die because they did.
Same with vaccinations.
I strongly advise you to get all the vaccinations your are likely to need, and to get everyone you love vaccinated too. They are much more likely to die from not being vaccinated than they are to from the vaccination process. And some people will get adverse effects, in some very rare cases including death.
We do not yet have the technology to be able to predict such things, in another 15 years we might.
Your house might collapse and kill you in a huge earthquake, but without a house you are very likely to die from hypothermia during winter. Everything is a balance of risks. Assessing those risks as accurately as possible is one key to continued existence. And some things are truly random, so there can be no absolute guarantees about anything.
Sure there have been some issues with some vaccines and some technologies, and for the most part those have been addressed as identified and most vaccines are extremely safe for most people.
Now you are getting away from vaccines, and into a very different and related area – health.
As you know, I am no proponent of the existing systems. I see vast areas in need of systemic reform.
As you also know, I cured myself of “terminal cancer” by going raw organic vegan and high dose vitamin C, eliminating anything that wasn’t whole food (sugar, alcohol, etc). I have been vegan for 10 years now. No significant illness in that time.
Our existing food systems are very clearly not optimised for human health, they are optimised for the production of profit. Same goes for medical systems.
Vaccines are a very useful tool, in our modern highly connected world. Without them, the average life expectancy would be very much lower, as most people would die in various pandemics. Jungle dwellers do not meet a lot of strangers. We come into close contact with tourists and items (food and otherwise) from all over the world.
So yeah – sure, Standard American Diet is shit – no argument about that.
American healthcare system is shit. No argument there either.
America is the richest nation in the world because its production facilities did not get bombed in WWI or WWII, and it sold a lot of stuff to those nations whose productive systems were seriously bombed. That advantage has yet to be cancelled by any other factor (though China is closing fast).
Vaccines are essential if you want to live in a connected world, where you are free to travel more than 5 miles. If you are happy that everyone be mandated by law to live within 5 miles of their place of birth and to not interact with more than 200 people over their life, and that travel beyond that is available to only a very few, and only under the strictest of quarantine measures (literally 40 days), then sure, we can do without vaccines. Otherwise no – we can’t.
Health is a very complex thing, and has degrees of fundamental uncertainty involved. And sure, better diets, better lifestyles, all contribute hugely to better health. And novel organisms happen (through a raft of well understood mechanisms – remember I was a biochemist by training, and evolutionary biologist by interest long before that – for well over 50 years). I know a little bit about this stuff, I was good enough at it to be admitted to second year university level at age 17, and was in the top 5 of that class and the next year.
Childhood disease has been with us forever. Most diseases have strong density dependent functions. Our density has been steadily increasing over the last 200 years. It aint rocket science.
With the shit diets most people have vaccines are the only thing keeping most of them alive – FACT!
And even on a really good diet, with the connectedness in today’s world, I get vaccinated for everything going – no ifs buts or otherwise. I strongly recommend others do also.
[followed by tom share a couple of videos of Dr. Judy Mikovits
I watched about half an hour of the first video, and most of the second.
She did not strike me as a particularly credible scientist. She does not seem to have a very good handle on uncertainty, or probability. She certainly doesn’t understand that the Wuhan live food market is all sorts of meat and fish, alive and dead.
Are there problems with the incentives in place in respect of pharmaceutical companies? Sure, heaps of them – I’ve been writing about many of them for decades.
Could she have been badly treated? Sure, entirely possible.
Is it likely that she made mistakes? Sure – we all do.
Is it possible the Covid 19 escaped from a laboratory? Yes, but not very probable. The virus doesn’t have the sorts of characteristics one would expect of a weaponised virus.
It seems more probable to me that it did come from bats probably via pangolins and then to people.
Vaccines protect us from viruses that would otherwise kill a lot of people.
Are there dangers with them? Sure. Everything has risk.
In my judgement, even with all the criticisms I have of big pharma, vaccines are some of the safest things around. I don’t want to catch polio, or smallpox, or measles, or tetanus or any other avoidable illness for which we have effective vaccines.
And I have a reasonably good diet, with high levels of Vit C supplements, so would likely have little symptoms from most viral infections. And there are always some who are susceptible to particular viruses, and for whom a vaccine is the difference between life and death. That is true for many about our age and a little older.
You know that I agree with you that the major cultural narratives, particularly around economics and politics and science and evolution are seriously wrong – in large measure deliberately so in order to benefit very small groups. We agree about that much.
Much of my childhood was seriously unpleasant in terms of social interaction. I was picked on by many rejected by most. So I developed an ability to exist without social agreement, at a level that seems to be quite rare. I’m reasonably happy being in a minority of 1, but I would much rather be in communities that agreed at least about core values and about ways of resolving issues of interpretation and understanding.
In my third year at university I was at a party one night, and I was outside at the edge of a lighted area when one of the beautiful girls who never normally talked to me (a normally straight A student), came over to me and asked me how I got ‘A’s in biochemistry. She asked “where did you learn the answers?”. I tried to explain to her that I didn’t learn the answers. Biochem tests were always open book, and multiple short answer questions. You needed to have read the book, and understood the concepts, and could then look up the details in appropriate places in the book to answer the questions. It was simple.
After about 10 minutes I realised that she had gotten through her entire scholastic career with straight ‘A’s without ever understanding any of the concepts involved, without making successive layers of abstractions, but simply by learning and repeating the required sets of symbols.
Prior to that conversation it never occurred to me that anyone could do that.
Since that conversation I have become reasonably confident that most people do actually operate in that fashion most of the time, without being conscious of it. Judy seems to be in that class of individuals. They can be very competent within limited domains, and can produce some really good work; but they cannot easily entertain anything other than their one perceive right interpretation of reality. They can’t easily consider a dozen or more possible different interpretive schema that are all equally valid fits for any particular sets of data.
For me, all interpretations contain uncertainties, particularly when people are involved. And quite often it really doesn’t matter much what anyone else thinks, only what they do. And just sometimes, what they think does significantly influence what they do (most often actions are driven by habits and context, rather than deliberate thought or choice; and sometimes choice makes a big difference).
I chair the Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust, and for the last 3 years I have been sole charge of the science and monitoring of our artificial colony, and involved in the monitoring of the largest natural colony. I have observed the effects of virus in those birds – without any impact of humans. My wife Ailsa does research on Banded Dotterel, a shore bird, and sometimes I help her out with technical aspects of her research, and we have also observed the impacts of viruses on those birds. I grew up on farms, and saw the impacts of viruses on farm and wild animals and plants. I have gardens and a tunnel house and see the impacts of viruses on those plant species growing there from time to time.
Viruses exist. They happen, quite naturally. One of the beauties of understanding biochemistry is to see where viruses fit in the spectrum of living organisms, and to see the many different classes of systemic interactions embodied in those entities. From a strictly abstract conceptual systems viewpoint it is amazing complexity.
So I have no problem imagining either man made or natural origin of any virus. The gene sequencing of this one seems to indicate that it came from bat via pangolin to humans – and the meat market of Wuhan would be a likely vector path for that to happen. Could it have been engineered to appear like that? Sure, anything is possible, but why would anyone?
Pandemics are a major risk. Always have been. Many of us have been highlighting the risk for a very long time.
Sure, they can be created and engineered, and they can and do and always have happened naturally. Read history.
So I never entirely rule out the possibility of conspiracy, and not everything that happens is the result of conspiracy. And whenever some group benefits over others, then I tend to look quite closely.
Vaccines have improved the health outcomes of most people.
If large numbers of people stop having vaccinations, then large numbers will die in the resulting pandemics that were entirely preventable.
Do vaccines work the same for all people? No, of course not. Everyone is different in many subtle and not so subtle ways, and sometimes, in some contexts, those matter.
People die in cars. Should we ban cars?
People drown in water. Should we ban water? [Oops, they need it to survive also. It has an optimum concentration for survival – maybe we just need to be conscious of that.]
Focus on the fundamental changes that are needed.
Reform of the monetary system so that everyone gets a universal sufficient income.
Change to the understanding of evolution, so that the foundational role of cooperation in both complexity and freedom is understood.
Ensure that everyone understands that freedom without responsibility (social and ecological) is self terminating.
Do these things, and most other things can sort themselves out.
[Tom’s link to a pea paper – https://www.seekdl.org/conferences/paper/details/4762.html%5D
That paper you referred to seems to be a total hoax.
The give away is the reference to gibberellic acid.
As a scientific paper it is complete nonsense – has the general form but none of the detailed content, no serious treatment of alternative hypothesis, and very small datasets – and insane statistical references. It simply is nonsense!!!
Life is complex, really complex.
It takes a lot of work to start to get some sort of a feeling for the quantum nature of complex organic chemistry.
Learning biochem takes time, and serious abstraction of concept sets; recursively.
Learning how to evaluate experimental design and analysis takes time too, and actually doing it for yourself on published papers takes time. I have the habit of doing that.
Sure, there are always multiple levels of fundamental tensions in all systems, between order and chaos, the explored and the unexplored, confidence and uncertainty, …… And some things are just wrong, with very high degrees of confidence – and that paper is one of them.
Had the experiment been repeated a hundred times, with a hundred peas, then it might start to achieve statistical significance, but not a single experiment with 30 peas. Just nonsense.
[Tom said I was just a mouthpiece for the cultural narrative; without innovation.]
There are 3 Major innovative (to some degree) ideas:
1/ That the economic system we have of money and capital is no longer fit for purpose, and is itself now probably the single largest existential threat to humanity, and that is a very complex topic, as the system also currently performs many essential functions.
2/ That the common understanding of evolution (in as far as most people understand it at all, which is not much in the USA), of being all about competition, is fundamentally wrong, and it is in fact more accurate to say that at our level of complexity our existence is much more nearly all about cooperation, and that all new levels of complexity are necessarily founded on cooperation.
3/ That reality is, at a fundamental level (and all life at every level is), based on a balance between order and chaos, between things that are in some sense lawful, and others that are essentially unpredictable and random. Thus all new orders of complexity require large collections in order to get the reliability necessary for that new level of complexity to exist.
If you want to seriously explore holes in the cultural narrative then I strongly recommend both Daniel Schmachtenberger’s videos – War on sensemaking (and most of his stuff – he makes some errors that I call him on, but mostly we strong align); and Eric Weinstein’s DISC (Distributed Idea Suppression Complex) concept (see his Portal series on youtube). Both have very strong theses, and the real situation seems to be orders of magnitude more complex and difficult than either make explicit.
I have been and am consistently, counter to the cultural narrative in stating that money is only a useful myth, and that poverty is essentially an artifact of the system, and that we are capable of producing systems that deliver abundance for all, but not via the current insanity of consumerism.
I am consistent in saying that our long term future involves global cooperation (or we don’t have a long term future). And I am also clear that global cooperation is nothing like global political or military control.
Vaccines are, to me, a total side issue.
Covid-19 is a side issue. In a sense it is a particularly vicious flu that has a higher that usual death rate particularly as the number of cases increase, and people are subject to high viral load from multiple sources.
Just about everything that happens is side issues.
What is important is building global cooperation and global respect for diversity.
And cooperation is almost the exact opposite of patriotism or any sort of hegemony. It means accepting that there always a near infinite number of paths to achieving anything that have similar overall sets of costs and benefits (however many dimensions of those one cares to consider). And some paths are a very long way from optimal (even if they had demonstrable utility in our past).
In a sense, I wouldn’t put anything past some aspects of the military industrial complex, and in another sense, as someone quite deeply trained in the chemistry of life – I see a very real need for vaccines, for public health.
Is scary mind control possible – yeah sure – turn on any TV news bulletin, read any paper.
Is there a fundamental fabric of well meaning and dedicate human beings doing their level best for their fellow human beings? Yeah – sure – that exists too. Both are often present in the same individual at the same time. We are that complex!
[Tom – all I hear is vaccines are good for you.]
If that’s what you hear then you’re not listening very well.
Yes – on balance of risk, for most people, at this point in time, vaccines are good for you, but there are a huge number of modifiers in that which mean that for some individuals it aint going to be so.
In a sense, yes – at this point in time, vaccines are generally useful, for those organisms that pose a real risk of death or serious injury by pandemic (like polio, smallpox, measles (to a lesser extent)). For those people at risk (elderly) then flu shots are a good idea.
The variability in human biochemistry means that no centralised and standardised solution will work well for all people (people are all different in more dimensions that most people have ever counted).
Is there a risk that vaccines could be used to transport some other agent into people (for the benefit of some subgroup)? Yes, such classes of risk always exist; and in my estimation they are small, because the risk to the group doing such things of other groups finding out and taking retaliatory action is too great.
In a very real sense, it is the risk of such retaliatory action that keeps systems in some semblance of balance. The legal system is supposed to do that more generally, but it was long ago captured by “cheating elements”, and now does a very poor job. So it comes down to each and every one of us actually living the maxim “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance”. And that vigilance puts in place the highest standards of evidence on each of us personally. We can allow ourselves to speculate to any degree we wish, but we then need to do sufficient work that we are actually confident that the evidence backs up the speculation (at least enough to take it to the next level of evaluation).
The possibility of chemical agents being administered via vaccines is insignificant compared to the psychological and sense-making warfare going on every day from the many layers of news media and deep cultural, religious, and institutional narratives present (with DISC and other factors present also).
And if any of us are to have a reasonable chance at survival and freedom, then individual life must be the highest value, followed by individual liberty (responsibly exercised – and that gets deeply complex very quickly).
Over simplifying any of it creates serious issues.
We must all start by acknowledging that the complexity exists, acknowledging that we are using simplistic models that we hope and trust are useful in the context under deliberation, and then start to seriously consider all of the factors we consider relevant to that context.
I have not, personally, seriously examined any vaccine for potential adulterants. That is a relatively simple thing to do, any mass spectrometer would give a first cut at identifying and eliminating many classes of agents very quickly. Getting to classes of agents involving nucleotide sequences specifically engineered to produce particular psychoative or other biochemical responses is more difficult, but entirely possible with modern gene sequencing equipment. The reason I don’t think it is happening, is that those vaccines are encased in glass vials at the factory, and any such thing found leads immediately back to the factory, and leaves a trail. It is a very high risk strategy. Easily discovered, easily proven. So just stupid in that sense. And anyone going to those sorts of lengths is unlikely to be that stupid at that level.
There are many conspiracies that are real and actually need to be exposed, without creating ones that seem highly improbable (and I haven’t tested, so maybe someone is that stupid). What is required is evidence.
It just doesn’t seem high enough probability to get my attention at present.
I have given it this much attention only because of the respect I have for you as an individual.
[28/4/20 Followed by]
Back in 1984 I was taking a couple of weeks holiday after my first 6 week full time political campaign for NZ parliament, and I met a guy from the US as we stayed at the same camp grounds a few nights. He was part of Kelly Johnson’s Skunk Works team. He would not discuss details of any projects, but would talk about some general areas.
So to answer your 3 questions:
1/ I am very clear that leading tech developments are usually done a very long way from public view, and general public perception is typically 20-50 years behind the leading edge.
2/ Military were testing ballistic science long before we have written records. Spears are very old. Arrows a little more recent. Large ballistic engines of war over 2,000 years old. Biological weaponry is much more recent (though even 2,000 years ago using ballistas to throw dead plague victims into besieged cities was a thing done). I got seriously interested in the classes of activities happening in such institutions as I was gaining some awareness of (through some of my Dad’s military contacts) in the mid 60s, and have kept such informal tabs on such things as I can. It was one of the things that led me to study biochemistry and microbiology at university in the early 70s. I am very conscious of the potential effectiveness of such things, at many different levels. I can think of far more effective ways of distributing them than within vaccines – but I am not going to discuss any of those openly.
3/ If I was seriously into developing any high level military tech, I would do it completely black. No reference to anything recorded in any political or public system.
[Followed by – Tom suggested nanotech in vaccines]
The problem with any tech like that, is that the moment you actually deploy it, then it can be inspected and reverse engineered by anyone with a reasonable technical ability.
One can disappear down any number of such recursive loops.
I did on one occasion go to twelve levels of abstraction on one of my mental exploratory journeys. The possibility/probability spectra on such things rapidly approach infinity.
I am not saying anything is impossible, and in my view it is highly improbable that it would be deployed in the manner you are suggesting, for a host of reasons I do not wish to elaborate too clearly, but should be obvious to any serious student of complexity theory and strategy.
I am saying that it is remarkably easy to detect anything like that if you are actually looking for it, and have a few tools and a modicum of skills.
I don’t have the tools to reverse engineer nanotech, but google does, as do the military establishments of quite a few countries, and quite a few major corporations, and a few eccentric individuals.
Nanotech has some real potential, but also some real issues. How you fuel them is an issue. With very short antennas, getting any signal out from inside human tissue is actually quite difficult, because there are a lot of charged molecules around that are similar size to your transmitting antenna that can absorb and distort the signal.
I haven’t heard of anyone solving those issues yet.
I’m sure they will be solved.
I have personally talked to some of the people working at such things.
I would happily investigate any reasonable evidence that there was something in vaccines, and I have been perfectly straight all along that I am reasonably confident that there are not.
Last winter, when I kept working too long when conditions deteriorated and ended up with mild hypothermia and smacked a machete I was using into my kneecap, the first thing I did when I got to the local medical center and asked them to stitch it up, was ask for a tetanus vaccine update.
In my estimation, the risk of adulterants in vaccines is far lower than the risk of not being vaccinated.
And I live in New Zealand.
I know a lot a very good scientist here, with lots of access to very good gear. So if I had the slightest suspicion, I could get some analysed.
I don’t have any such suspicions.
I might be somewhat more cautious if I lived in the USA, but I don’t, and have no intention of doing so.
Last year’s flu vaccine had no effect on covid-19. We all knew that. Covid 19 is novel. And it is really hard to stop. NZ was down to 2 new cases today. So we are getting on top of it, but it is taking a lot of effort by a lot of people.
[29/4/20 Tom replied (culturebot)]
How do you get to “culturebot”???
We each need to make our own assessments of what we see as the most reliable evidence sets and the most useful interpretive schema – and the intersections of those two things gives an infinite set of infinities.
If your model has gotten so low resolution that you classify anyone with a different set of interpretations as (culturebot), then you are seriously missing something.
[30/4/20 Tom replied – you’re just repeating the cultural narrative]
It is vastly more complex that charaterisation, and it is part of it.
Sure, there are many levels of real conspiracy present that we need to be alert to the presence of, and to work at combating.
Sure, the use of vaccines as a tool of mass control is a real possibility that we need individuals with appropriate skill sets and tool sets to be alert to, and to be looking for (many more than the official channels for such things). They are real possibilities.
And we also need to be alert to the realities of biology.
There is a constant thing going on that is hard for me to characterise in terms that will be meaningful to someone else.
For me, the best way I think of it is as random mutation in genomic sequences in bacteria and virus performing a random search of the space of all possible mechanisms of gaining access to a food supply (us).
Our defense systems have been honed by about a billion years of countering such systems, but have been compromised by some random variations. One of the worst is the loss of the ability to produce vitamin C (which seems to have happened about 18 million years ago in the common ancestor we share with the other great apes). That single mutation significantly weakens the ability of our immune systems to respond, as many of the mechanisms of response have vitamin C as a limiting factor in their response. A 70Kg goat for example can produce about 100g of vitamin C metabolically a day. So when we are fighting some invader, most of us can actually make use of vast amounts of vitamin C to mount an effective immune response – 100g per day, at hourly intervals.
So looked at purely from an information systems perspective, of searching the space of available strategies, as embodied in the structure of particular chains of nucleic acids in RNA or DNA sequences and their translation in proteins and thence to other chemicals via catalysis, it is a very complex problem.
I am this combination of someone with an autistic spectrum brain who has spent 40 years programming computers, and someone keenly interested in biochemistry and the systems of life and evolution, and I see it all as multidimensional graphs of probabilities over spaces of time and context.
I am about as far removed as it is possible to get from a cultural narrative.
I am a narrative of one.
I am giving you my perspective, as that narrative of one.
In this case, in practice, it does strongly align with the general cultural narrative.
Do I entirely dismiss the possibility of conspiracy?
I am acutely aware of the possibility of conspiracy, at levels that very few people have even considered the possibility of.
And in the case of vaccines, I do generally see them as a very positive factor in our overall good health. The biochemical mechanics of it are well known to me in ways that very few appreciate.
Are they free of risk?
Are the things you are concerned about possible?
Yes – certainly.
Do we need to have active mechanisms to counter such threats?
Avoiding vaccines generally is a mechanism of last resort, with what seem clearly to me to be profiles of far more risk than benefit.
The possibilities that you raise are very real.
They do not appear to me to be actualities that we need to avoid vaccines for at this particular time.
Random testing of all vaccines by multiple independent agents is a very good idea.
It is a very good idea for everything – all aspects of reality.
And we all need multiple independent trust networks.
We live in a very complex and highly dimensional space of strategies and embodied realities; many orders of magnitude more complex than most have ever considered in their wildest flights of fancy.