The Discovery Institute has jumped onto the anti-vax quack bandwagon

The Discovery Institute has jumped onto the anti-vax bandwagon. They’ve even come out with a book, The Price of Panic, which tries to claim that the problem isn’t the pandemic, it’s the government’s response to the pandemic. Not good. None of the three authors is a medical doctor or a public health expert.

Read the article by P.Z. Myers here.

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Only in America.

Young-earth and ID folks have a tendency towards various bad science claims - antienvironmental, smoking is not so bad, industrial chemical production is entirely harmless, etc. Not sure why, but it’s quite common.

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Once one has attacked one branch of science (evolution), all others are considered fair game.

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Grifters gotta grift.

But how are they on the anti-vax bandwagon? The book doesn’t seem to have anything to do with vaccines. Here is an hour-long talk on their website about the book:

Anyways I skimmed through it and it appears to be a bunch of nonsense and cherry-picked data… It is interesting their subtitle for the book which is “How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic Into a Catastrophe.” That fits right in with the MO of the discovery institute as they are basically arguing the same thing but with evolution. Very sad.

For example, one thing that irritated me in particular

Around 36:24 of the video they show a graph of Georgia’s cumulative case count and use it to try and demonstrate how lockdowns do nothing to help nor does opening back up. First of all, there are no axes on their graph so nobody can fact-check them. But then also, they seem to ignore the hard work required to test such a thing. Like what kind of “lockdown” did Georgia have? How did people follow such a law? What about other health precautions? They just ignore all of that and then repeat some junk. Here is a real paper on studying such topics:

But no, the video is just “COVID restrictions bad. We can’t do anything to control COVID because of this one graph without labels we showed of the state of Georgia over an unspecified time period. Freedom good.”

The book ironically makes COVID-19 worse if people follow its advice but maybe it made them a few bucks so it was worth it?


I’m never surprised when certain people surrounded by other certain people in a organization that promotes anti scientific work puts out something silly. . I honestly fall into the camp now days that maybe it’s better for them to just fall into their own destruction. Letting the blind lead the blind into a pit type of thing. Put the info out and if they can’t figure it out and it results in their suffering then it’s really on them. As more time goes by I realize trying to talk to people like that is meaningless. The best thing is to constantly undermine and shut them down and do things like Epperson v. Arkansas, Edwards v. Aguillard and Kitzmiller v. Dover. We need to push for public schools to adopt programs like Next Generation Science Standards with a heavy emphasis on evolution and geology.


Good point. I’ll ask PZ Myers. But the book is stupid and dangerous.

That’s not too surprising. The DI has been hip deep in the culture wars for a while now.

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@pevaquark I left a comment on PZ Myers’s blog about how the book is anti-vax. I had to register with freethought blogs to do so! My comment is now awaiting moderation.

Thanks. By the way a new paper discussing this topic:

Its modest conclusion:

It appears clear from evidence to date that government interventions, even more restrictive ones such as stay-at-home orders, are beneficial in some circumstances and unlikely to be causing harms more extreme than the pandemic itself.

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14 posts were split to a new topic: Is evolution fantasy?

I knew that Brazil has been hard hit, but I hadn’t seen this statistic:

That’s not 10% mortality amongst COVID cases in the 85+ demographic, but 10% of the entire 85+ population in Manaus, Brazil died of COVID.

India also serves as example of what happens when nothing is done to stop the spread.

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Did you read the book or just the review on Pharyngula?

Haven’t read the book…have you read it?

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When your main endeavor depends on undermining confidence in consensus science, you might as well try to weaken as many areas of confidence in expertise as you can. It all supports the “institutional scientists and academics can’t be trusted” narrative.


I now have a copy and I’m reading it. I can confirm that it is NOT an anti-vax book. I will assume that you got your information from an unreliable source.

Perhaps not, but it’s anti-science nevertheless.

Do you acknowledge that your claim that it was anti-vax was incorrect?

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