My own medical profession, as I have described at Evolution News before, is at the forefront in a struggle against a plague. Heroic doctors and nurses risk their lives daily. Somewhere far back behind the front line, meanwhile, there is a policy-making Blob.
In the context of foreign policy, cynics refer to The Blob. The Blob is the foreign policy of experts and hangers-on, and it takes on a life of its own.
The Science Blob
The scientific profession has a Blob as well, consisting of myriad scientific experts in government and academia, with their accompanying bureaucrats and other pilot fish. The Science Blob (hereafter “The S-Blob”) is in a panic. The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a very unwelcome spotlight on The S-Blob, and more than anything else, Blobs hate light. This pandemic is unmasking the incompetence of the scientific establishment, particularly the failure of the massive public health bureaucracy. The West is facing hundreds of thousands of deaths and economic and societal collapse because scientists who are trained and paid to protect us from pandemics failed to protect us from this pandemic.
As the Wall Street Journal and others report, U.S. intelligence is investigating whether COVID-19 originated from scientific incompetence in a Wuhan research lab. Denials aside, it spread to the local populace with historic loss of life, and was spread to the world by a Chinese scientific and political establishment that covered up the emerging pandemic and allowed international flights to leave Wuhan while restricting flights within China. The World Health Organization covered up the local epidemic long enough to permit it to become a pandemic. The American Centers for Disease Control ignored the clear evidence that Americans were at risk and apparently made no effort to seal our borders until months after the epidemic in China began and spread to Europe. American public health officials since then have thrown our nation into a virtual depression (with unemployment levels not seen since the 1930s) and have shown astonishing incompetence. Our response to this entirely preventable pandemic was hindered by a lack of rudimentary credible science (e.g., quickly changing statements about whether masks are to be recommended). Never in this century has the nature of the S-Blob been so starkly on display.
The Root of the Problem
Blobs are slow. They feed voraciously (on your money) and excrete voraciously (e.g., evolutionary biology). Blobs need tenders to protect them, and the S-Blob depends heavily on its Internet tenders. Yale neuroscientist Steven Novella is one such tender. Novella has made a career out of making excuses for the S-Blob. Novella is, as you might imagine, in a frenzy as of late. As we all face death and economic and societal ruin thanks to the S-Blob, Novella gets to the root of the problem, in his view, and lays out the blame:
This is difficult to quantify, but what is happening is that we are allowing to thrive a multi-billion dollar industry funneling money to charlatans, quacks, con-artists, pseudoscientists… Do you think they are just taking their money and staying quiet? No. They are using some of those billions to lobby… and funnel taxpayer money into promoting their snake oil. This multi-billion dollar industry is also engaged in a massive advertising campaign, which amounts to a disinformation campaign, for their “brand”… They have spent decades misinforming the public about the relative significance of various health risks and benefits, the nature of disease, and the trustworthiness of scientists and experts… So we have allowed a system to fester in our society that… infiltrates scientific and professional institutions with pseudoscience and rank nonsense, forces government expenditure on fake medicine… Part of our pandemic preparedness has to be scientific hygiene – we need to keep pseudoscience out of our medical institutions.
Lest you misunderstand, Novella isn’t talking about The S-Blob. He’s talking about what he sees as the real root of our national crisis… Reiki:
…The implication is we should just let people use their Reiki or magic potions if it makes them feel like they are doing something, as long as the treatment is not directly physically harmful. As you can see, I have been addressing it for years, including the fact that I will have to address it for years…
With this COVID pandemic, Novella’s multi-year quest to protect the public from Reiki, an alternative medicine technique, is finally coming to fruition, just when we need it.
Protecting the Homefolk
The S-Blob is increasingly under justifiable scrutiny for the most catastrophic scientific fiasco of the 21st century. Its defenders are spewing chaff like there’s no tomorrow. They will assiduously protect the homefolk from homeopaths, Orthodox Jews, Christians in parking lots, lone surfers, and all the usual suspects. This pandemic will keep the likes of Novella busy for the foreseeable future — there’s a lot of Blob-butt to cover. A S-Blob tender’s job is never done, as long as there are excuses to peddle and accountability to shirk.
Photo: COVID-19 test kit, by U.S. Centers for Disease Control / Public domain.