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This seems like a good summary of the denialist case

H/t Rich in The Lifeboat News. Dan refused to host this video, and I must say I still feel inclined to side with him and John Hilley on the COVID-19 issue - also I’m worn out trying to make sense of the whole thing, and I wish I never had to read anything more about it! - but I can see only good, and no harm, coming from clear discussion of these opinions. I’d like to see a written version of the presentation that is being read out here by Dr. Fuellmich. (He’s a lawyer, not a medical doctor or scientist.) Presumably such a written presentation is easy to find - but I’m going to bed now, and I haven’t even quite finished watching all of this.

Crimes against Humanity

Sat 3 Oct 2020

Dr. Reiner Fuellmich

“Mainstreamers”, perhaps? In present company, where “the mainstream media” are rightly regarded with suspicion - even often outright contempt - it’s hardly going to be taken as a complimentary description!

It goes without saying, or at least it ought to, that individuals have individual views, so any categorisation is bound to be simplistic. But it is also obvious that the discussion of the particular subject of COVID-19 is heavily polarised, so it is useful and helpful to have terms for the polarities that aren’t too offensive, too misleading, or too simplistic, and that carry only connotations that people can live with, even if they are uncomfortable and annoying.

No terms are satisfactory. I just think we need terms that are less unsatisfactory than, say, “covidiot” (on one side) or “sheeple” (on the other).

I just don’t want to have to keep bracing myself for being implicitly jeered at as an irrational, panicky, group-thinking Chicken Little; and on the other hand I don’t want to jeer at anybody for having different opinions from mine in obvious good faith. So I’m trying to negotiate some vocabulary that can be shared without everybody feeling hurt or angry or offended all the time. I’m not aiming very high!

As I said in the other thread, I wouldn’t be comfortable with being tagged as a “believer”, and I would be about equally uncomfortable with being tagged as a “mainstreamer”, but I’m suggesting these terms as ones I could live with. I’m aiming only for a workable compromise, not a blinding moment of revelatory mutual understanding!

[That’s weird! The post I was just replying to - at some length, too - seems to have disappeared!]

Hi Twirlip I’m not gaslighting you really - I didn’t like my post and deleted it but you were too quick for me.
My post was about the term ‘denialist’ - but not really your use of it, which you qualified adequately on the other thread. So it may have appeared to be criticizing you, which I didn’t mean to do. Sorry about that!

As denialism refers to some position that is supposed to be substantially true, that position needs to be stated first, as the details matter.
I think it matters because as used by Dan and John Hilley someone who thinks the coronavirus was much more severe than the flu for a few months, or perhaps that it was much more serious in some countries like the UK… would be ‘a denier’.
Such a use of the term allows aspersions to be cast without the user even stating their own position so when used as a criticism it’s a broad brush kind of adhom - the so-called denier’s position is made to look blunt and extreme.

It was fine, and I think you should restore it if possible, although of course it’s up to you.

My only complaint about your post is that it frustratingly didn’t offer any alternative suggestions.

I was only trying to set a discussion in motion.

I never thought people would like the term ‘denialist’ much. It had already been complained about [I forget exactly where, but I’ll search later … er, no, tomorrow! … I’ve gone past bedtime again], but I hoped that in the context of my post the offence given would be minimal, and a discussion in search of preferable terms (for both ‘sides’) could ensue.

Cheers Twirlip.
This was my post I deleted:

The use of the term ‘denialist’ is also being discussed on your other thread

" A comment by Dan"

but there’s another substantial discussion going on there so I’ll just post here on the topic of this nomenclature. Hope that’s OK.

I know you are only looking for a word of description - but what word describes those who adhere to what is alleged to be denied?

So I’m definitely not aiming this at you Twirlip :slightly_smiling_face:, but just generally - neither sides’ position can be encapsulated by a single word, and for one side to even try to do this suggests an aversion to discussion of the salient disputed points, or even reach agreement on what they are.

We’ve been here with ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘anti-vaxxers’ - deliberately inaccurate and pejorative terms (because they paint the other side as holding fixed or extreme views), the use of which only serves the purpose of one side, ie to have the denigration of the other built in to ordinary discourse.

The term ‘denialist’ suggests someone who is denying something that is established with near certainty amongst rational people. Without reference to what is alleged to be being denied, it’s logically meaningless - but conveniently attempts to steal an ad hom march by pigeon-holing and casting aspersions on ALL opposing views.

Also conveniently, it makes a claim for having a sound case for something, without having to specify what that is, or what the case is.

All that from one word - so this can be a powerful technique for the majority to denigrate other viewpoints, while avoiding accountability and keeping it’s options open…

Such terms may have their place when speaking to the choir, when the meaning will be understood - i.e. a sleight on the other side.

Eg (ie these were meant to be examples of qualified denials)

"This virus was far worse than flu for a while, in the UK at least. "

“This virus was very dangerous in the UK, but is less dangerous now except for some regions.”

Those you mention accuse those questioning the narrative in any way of denying ALL forms of it!

So really this is a call for accuracy and respect in addressing each other in discussion of contentious subjects.

We should definitely aim for respect (all the time, if at all possible), but accuracy isn’t always needed. Most important terms in ordinary language are hugely ambiguous. I don’t think we need to, nor should we, aim for a higher standard of precision [I won’t distinguish between ‘precision’ and ‘accuracy’!] than the normal linguistic standard. Even the most appallingly vague and ambiguous terms will do, so long as they don’t carry connotations of irrationality, idiocy, and/or bad faith. In any particular discussion, we can always aim to achieve whatever higher standard of precision is needed for the job in hand.

Just to be slightly more concrete and particular: we already manage to use such appallingly vague and ambiguous words as liberal, feminist, scientific, rational, sane, moral without talking total nonsense all the time! (I even understand what people mean when they rage against ‘liberals’ as being ‘fascists’! I don’t grasp it conceptually, but I get the gist of what’s being said, enough that I don’t always need to quibble.)

I don’t think we need aim any higher than that.

It depends what is meant by the term and what is understood. JH referred to the vacuous world of Covid-19 denial so it’s clear he was associating ‘denialism’ with vacuity. Hugely aggressive, actually. You had attached no such meaning though.
But I don’t object on grounds of respect, it’s just that a bit of respect would be one way of providing the accuracy needed for people to discuss each other’s positions. (You can’t do that if you don’t ascertain what they are!)
My main objections are that - as used on the TLN discussion I mean, not by you - it’s pigeon-holing and showing no interest in what the other side’s position actually is. It shows the user to be holding a fixed and hostile view, and not willing to clarify their own. For these reasons I think it’s destructive of reasonable discussion, which unsurprisingly never follows. Cheers

It’s way past my bedtime (I’m brushing my teeth as I type this, and I’m doing neither activity well!), so I mustn’t go on too long.

I’ve been trying to think what term I would choose if the topic were different, and - as has often been the case during the last five years or so - I were on the other side of the debate (or squabble).

Take the alleged “antisemitism” of the Labour Party, for example. I’m a “denier” of that, but I wouldn’t like to be called an “antisemitism denier”, because the term appears to presume the reality of precisely what I am claiming to be fictional (or, in cases of good faith, imaginary).

I can’t think of anything better, nor can I find anything better in Roget’s Thesaurus, than heretic and orthodox for the two sides. Thus, I’m heretical on antisemitism in the Labour Party, but I’m orthodox on COVID-19. The words seem to fit well enough, in both cases, but I want to know what terms others would prefer. Perhaps dissenter is preferable to heretic. Roget also suggests denier, which is almost surely preferable to denialist, but I still don’t like it (I’d already forgotten that I’d just used it myself!) when it is coupled with antisemitism.

(But I also don’t want to be the only one who is making suggestions!)

(And as I suggested elsewhere, this discussion of terminology should probably be in a thread of its own, although it’s not too disruptive here.)

Damn, I still can’t stop brooding about it!

I keep coming back to the terms believer and disbeliever, which I suggested in the other thread. Unlike orthodox, dissenter, heretic, etc., this pair of opposed terms captures exactly what is essential in the dispute, while still leaving room for manifold variations of individual opinion on both sides. On one side, there is belief in the reality of a particular phenomenon. On the other side, there is disbelief in the reality of the same phenomenon. No moral or intellectual virtue or fault is attached to either belief or disbelief; both are potentially healthy human attitudes to hold. I’m a disbeliever in antisemitism in the Labour Party; I’m a believer in the COVID-19 pandemic. (That is not a profession of religious faith!) I’m not too uncomfortable with either profession of [dis]belief. The English language is not being stretched too much. I hope I can sleep now.

I haven’t listened or read, but if you feel inclined to side with John Hilley, consider some facts, all from the “respected” sources, clear, simple concise and showing the plandemic is over, it is no where near as dangerous as the fear porn mongers suggest, and the lockdown is counter productive.

Thank you for the reference (which I’ve bookmarked), but please note that the term fear porn mongers is approximately 100 times more objectionable than denialist! That’s a move in the wrong direction.

As for John Hilley, although I basically share his opinions, I agree with those who have already pointed out that his language is unnecessarily confrontational. (Rather more so in his latest blog post than in the one I referred to a few weeks ago, where it was only a small blot on a good summary.) Also, I’m uncomfortable that I seem to be posting too much on this subject, when I have little or no evidence or analysis to add, but I am posting because I feel very pressured by the intemperate language used by you and others here, and I often have to wait for hours and take a deep breath before diving into yet another thread on this subject that is already looming darkly over everybody’s lives in so many ways.

(I agree that the effects of the drastic social measures taken against the virus loom even more darkly than does the virus itself. I have always felt that way, and I still remember my shock when such measures were announced in France many months ago.)

Surely we can all make an effort to avoid overly emotive and insulting language, at least when describing views that are held in good faith (even if foolishly) by other people in the forum? The political writers I admire tend to make their points without browbeating, and, far from being castrated, are are all the more effective for it. It can be more devastating just to let the facts speak for themselves than to try to dictate what people should feel.

When I have the time and energy (I haven’t at the moment - I’ve had very little sleep so far this morning), I’ll try to see if COVID-19 - Evidence Not Fear comes into the category of admirable writing on this subject.

How about ‘disputants’ as a neutral word. After all, it doesn’t carry - afaics - any pejorative undertones, and implies even-handed weight to all parties. And god knows, there is a whole lot of dispute going on, with no-one able to lay down absolutely crushing evidence that silences all debate. (That’s if you can find any evidence of that entirely-reliable quality to begin with, the lamentably-universal biasing of presented ‘facts’ being what it is currently…)

I’m a disputant of the open-mindedly sceptical variety - :slight_smile: - with no set-in-adamant ‘opinions’ about all this blow up; though I think I can see some pretty strong tendencies manifesting towards reliable fact, which I’m guessing will get more confirmed, as all the muck comes out in the wash - as always happens over time with things like this. (Actual, assuredly-accurate total death rates strike me as one such category of reliable fact, btw - when you can get them.)

I estimate - at the moment - that dan and John H are both overstating the ‘certainties’, and are getting noticeably, and unhelpfully, shirty about anyone who disputes their stances. Such obduracies don’t do any good; varieties of Terror Derangement Syndrome, I suppose (though god knows, dan has good reason, after his pretty awful fight with the disease, plus his horrifying work experience). And before anyone slags that TDS phrase as ‘insulting’, isn’t it clamorously obvious that we are awash with such stampeded minds at the moment? TDS is clearly a real thing, and widely in action right now. Never with me, as it happens: an arch-goat in the sheep/goat dichotomy; never had the least fear of the virus, never took any of the chaotic ‘emergency’ measures seriously. There are reasons for that - perhaps atypical - posture, which I won’t delve into in depth here…

Btw, the sheep/goats language is based purely on practical experience of husbandry with those animals: when alarmed by something, sheep bunch and run, whilst goats scatter, run a bit, then stop and look again - and consider! Goats are inherently un-herdable, except by the biggest and most determined dogs; like the black dogs which appear suddenly towards the end of ‘Animal Farm’. (Notice how the states’ bolshie-crowd-control specialists always seem to be dressed in hyper-macho, hyper-theatrical black outfits these days? Even more trendily fashionable amongst machista men than camo, innit? :laughing: )

Afraid I have to counsel the deeply-emotionally-unsatisfying idea of waitandsee, yet again…! :innocent:

It’s not your burden Twirlip :slightly_smiling_face: you’re not a labelist at heart :smiley:

It should be noted in passing that Dan banned the posting of evidence on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine on his TLN board, having openly asked for it. No-one who posts there should label anyone ‘denialists’ on this issue, even when talking to each other.
Jonathan Cook’s ‘cynical left’ is no better a term - and wildly inaccurate.

What is the purpose of having a single word to describe a group of people who express doubt about the unspecified and varied claims of another group of people?

The lack of specificity in what is claimed to be true in variants of the official narratve automatically makes the doubting group non-homogenous. Are those who say the threat is past denialists? Or those who say it is a threat but the real problem is that certain governments are ignoring effective treatments?

Everyone would ‘deny’ some aspect of the official narrative - just as everyone believes in some ‘conspiracies’ and anyone would be ‘anti’ a vaccine if they thought it to be unsafe enough or unnecessary.

Why refer to groups of people at all? Just refer to specific arguments. :slightly_smiling_face:

Meanwhile back at Twirlip’s original point…which was derailed by - oh, me! Sorry about that :grinning:.

Dr Reiner Fuellmich’s summary of the case.

It IS a good summary, in that it seems to be based on evidence backed up by experts of suitable eminence, though I would say that that in itself is no guarantee - but the fact that they are all willing to proactively take it into court where the evidence will be inspected and challenged gives it a certain gravitas.

Also, the questions about the PCR test are of a fundamental nature. The UK death rate from Covid-19 has fallen away since the highs of April-June, and it’s only the number of ‘cases’ - as determined purely by the PCR test in question - that keeps the ‘threat’ alive.
In this respect it’s striking that the documentation says the PCR test is not to be used to detect infections! This is from the (US) CDC, cited in the video transcript:

" Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019 n-cov is the causative agent for clinical symptoms.
Second bullet Point says: The performance of this test has not been established for monitoring treatment of 2019 n-cov infection.
Third bullet point says: This test cannot rule out diseases caused by other bacterial or viral pathogens."

Whatever name is given to the powers that are running the response to Covid-19 or those attacking those who question the policy, they should be explaining this - and of course should have done so at the outset. In the UK, the steeply rising deaths in March-May provided reasonable justification for acting in some haste - but that excuse is gone. We are, in fact, left with PCR as the reason so it is right and necessary that it should be challenged before the restrictions cause any more damage than they are obviously causing already.

Yes! In Spring the rising death rate - that one nitty-gritty reliable measure - was a genuine alarm bell. But as the - also TLH-banned -Ivor Cummings points out, death rates in just about every country have now settled back into the customary noise level of seasonal flus.

The things that are rising - apparently; I make no dogmatic statement here - are hospital admissions and the casedemic numbers, which both on grounds of actual hospitalisations and on grounds of the complete unreliability of the PCR non-test shouldn’t be taken as a particularly alarming sign; no visible exponentiality to it.

And if hospital admissions are rising - just a little - is that surprising, when you consider the long furlough from treating most other health problems into which the NHS has been forced this year by the malignant combination of incompetence and unadmitted bad-faith agendas within the ruling junta?

The graph of the rising number of NHS patients on ventilators was posted on Twitter precisely in answer to such a statement, if I remember right. @PontiusPrimate posted a version of it in another thread.

At the risk of sounding like Dan, I must say that since yesterday I have come to feel strongly that I am being gaslighted here. Rather, my first strong feelings were confusion, self-doubt (“surely I can’t have misread so many posts and articles so completely?”) and exhaustion, leading me to seriously contemplate taking a few days off from here. Only then did it occur to me that this may be the result of gaslighting.

I must admit that I’m now strongly tempted to cling to the word denialist, even though it offends people, because it names a tendency that tends to deny that it denies things!

But I don’t think that I should leave here (even temporarily), or continue to use a word that gives offence.

@RhisiartGwilym has suggested disputant as an alternative, and I’m grateful that an alternative has been offered, but unfortunately that one won’t do, because it doesn’t distinguish between the two sides, in the way that pairs of terms such as defence and prosecution do.

For the time being, unilaterally, I am going to use some such terms as covid-believer and covid-disbeliever. No judgement is intended to be attached to either term.

Alternatively, one might use pandemic-believer and pandemic-disbeliever. Those are even clumsier, but might be preferable. I’ll give it some thought. (Meanwhile, I must have some breakfast. It’s nearly 2:25 p.m. I’ve had very little sleep, largely as a result of this thread. I hope I’m managing to think straight.)


I have already tried, at some length, to explain that some such crude and simplistic terms are needed. I was tempted to appeal to Wittgenstein, but I haven’t read enough of his later philosophy (or understood enough of the little I have read) to know if it really would support my case for the use of vague terms. Anyway, as I said, precise terms that better describe individual opinions are needed in any detailed discussion.

(If only people would also agree to use a more precise term than “liberal” when that crude and vague term comes up! Some hope! As I have also tried to explain, I don’t object to the use of that crude and vague term - even though it bothers me a lot - because such terms really are needed. I only object to the unavailability of more precise terms when they are needed.)

What do you mean by this Twirlip? I haven’t read the entire thread in detail, so I could easily be missing nuance, but I’m curious about your sense of being gaslighted.

On the subject of terminology, I tend to use the word sceptic to refer to those who don’t buy the official narrative, and mainstream for those who do. Neither of those terms feel pejorative to me - one can be part of the mainstream on some issues, and sceptical on others after all.

Hope you managed to get some rest and some breakfast!


It’s not just in this one thread. (If only!) I don’t think I can summarise it. Not now, anyway. I’m worn out. (Not just from this.) If necessary, put it down to me having cracked up, for some unknown reason - that might even be the truth. And if necessary, I will take a break.

All I can say is that in opposition to the flood of information and/or propaganda from official sources there is also a flood of information and/or propaganda - often quoting respectable sources (many of which have been helpfully posted here) - denying the existence of any pandemic that is so uniquely dangerous that it justifies the extremely destructive, almost suicidal defensive measures that have been taken against the supposed threat. I started this thread with the good intention of publicising one such piece that just been censored in the Lifeboat. I was clearly aware that there was also a side-issue of how to name the flood of oppositional information and/or propaganda in a way that would not smear or invalidate or stigmatise it, in the way that the word ‘denialist’ does (only slightly, I felt). I anticipated that there would be a short discussion - probably in a separate thread, broken off from this one - in which alternative designations would be suggested by those most affected by the labelling. That has not happened. Mercifully, @Evvy_dense has at least begun to address the original intention of the thread (although sadly and ironically I am no longer in a fit state to do so myself). People have taken much greater offence than I anticipated. I might just about have been able to cope with that, but I cannot cope with the way in which those who are denying the official narrative also deny (in a rather Trump-like manner, I must say) that they are denying anything! It should be a simple matter to settle on a convenient, approximate, neutral pair of labels for the two great massively obvious opposing streams of overwhelming information and/or propaganda, but it has proven to be anything but simple, and I am utterly exhausted. I do not want to become even further bogged down by obsessively documenting, with quotations from a multitude of previous threads, the slipperiness I allege to be going on. Just conclude that I am imagining it, if you want; I haven’t got the energy to argue, nor do I think I’m ever going to think it worth the effort of trying. At the risk of sounding like Tony Blair (of all people), I really thought we could “move on” from people slinging insulting labels at one another, by agreeing to use neutral terms. But there seems to be a massive, slippery, oddly coordinated denial even of the need to use any terms at all. In that case, we are left only with insulting labels - or retreat from the problem altogether. [I’m sorry about the length of this unstructured paragraph, but it reflects my state of mind, and I haven’t the energy to try to rewrite it now. I may be able to edit it into better shape later.]

Let me add that whereas I have been repeatedly taken to task for using the relatively mild term ‘denialist’, much, much, much more inflammatory language has been repeatedly used in many threads in this forum by the, er, pandemic-disbelievers, and I have so far refrained from complaining about it. I think I have just about reached my limit.

Twirlip I’m sorry you feel you’ve been taken to task. That certainly wasn’t my intention, I started discussing that term because it came over from a context of considerable hostility in supposedly leftwing discourse. Most of what I said wasn’t aimed at you (I thought I’d explained that) but the use in the original context, where it was used in hit pieces, sometimes to denigrate people here.

I don’t mind what term you use yourself, though as I stated, why don’t we just discuss the arguments that we see being made and not the protagonists?

You’re probably right we should (hope you manage some rest though :slight_smile: ) get back to the topic of discussion, the video/transcript about the court action by Dr Fuellmich. It’s of fundamental importance - due to the focus on the facts of PCR testing, which has been a neglected subject for too long. Thanks for starting it off.

@Twirlip Just so we are clear, my reference to “fear porn mongers” was not directed at you. If that was unclear, my apologies.

Will someone please explain to me what “gaslighting” is?

“Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that’s seen in abusive relationships. It’s the act of manipulating a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories, and the events occurring around them. A victim of gaslighting can be pushed so far that they question their own sanity.”

Sorry to hear you feel it happening here, Twirl, in a place specifically set up to prevent such abusive dishonesty. Precisely the - unfounded - accusation that dan has been making lately at the Hulk, when he feels moved to censor a post. Pretty definitely mistaken in his case, though you can understand how he might entertain such illusions, being under such severe stress.

Do say more, T, if you think something similarly bad is being done to you. Let’s root it out, if it’s there.

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