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This seems like a good summary of the denialist case

I don’t think it’s aimed at me personally, and it’s nothing like as bad as the kind of thing that goes on in That Other Place! But it does upset me, and again there is a comparison with the Other Place: the two most notoriously aggressive posters there never had it in for me personally - there was just one exception, when a whole load of people piled on to me at once, including one of the two usual suspects - but I was upset by how a general encouragement of aggressive behaviour made creative discussion all but impossible.

There is a general principle which I don’t know how to formulate, and which perhaps we could discuss, when deciding what “rules” should apply here. (That assumes that we do end up needing “rules”. But we seem to be managing pretty well without them so far, and I like it that way, so long as it works.) I’ll just try to illustrate it with some imprecise comments.

I don’t like “tone policing”, and by and large I think people should feel free to use whatever colourful language they like. (Where would we be without Rhisisms, in particular!) If someone wants to call Donald Trump a ridiculous orange baboon, or Suzanne Moore a hateful cow, I don’t want to stop them. But it gets a bit uncomfortable when an entire class of people is dismissed as beneath contempt. We all “contain multitudes”, after all, and no significant aspect of humanity should be despised.

(I said I didn’t know how to express this!)

There is a general chilling effect if too much aggression is expressed even against groups who aren’t personally present. But that statement really needs clarifying. There is of course no harm in raging against Guardian journalists en masse, for example - indeed, we’d arguably be failing in our duty if we didn’t! But being a Guardian journalist isn’t an innate human quality. (If you see what I mean. Again I must apologise for not being able to say clearly what I’m getting at.) It is all right to rage at, or express contempt for, concrete groups of people who are doing concrete things.

I expect someone else (I’m looking at you, @Evvy_dense!) will be able to say that more clearly and succinctly than I can, if I have at all managed to convey what I mean.

Where it gets really uncomfortable for me, and where I think also the general quality of discussion is lowered, is when entire large abstract subgroups of humanity are hated and/or despised. That applies even when it is done in a humorous manner. Here there is a real danger of “tone policing” and “political correctness”, so I had better try really hard to be clear. I still don’t know how to state the principle abstractly, so I’ll try to give some concrete examples. (I won’t go as far as searching for quotations, partly because it’s probably not necessary, and partly because I haven’t even had breakfast yet!) Suppose you, Rhis, dismiss people who believe in the reality of the COVID-19 panic* as “Chicken Little” types. Well, several of us here do believe in the reality of the pandemic (although I think we are all willing to be persuaded by evidence and argument), so we are implicitly being insulted.

* [That’s a marvellous Freudian slip, and I think I’ll leave it just as it is.] :slight_smile:

I feel a real, deep dread of engaging in any threads on the subject of COVID-19, but the subject is inescapable, unless I avoid coming here altogether. It’s partly because of what I’ve just tried to describe (very inadequately, I know), but there is another element: a certain slipperiness in the position of “pandemic-disbelievers” (as I have chosen to call you lot, for the time being!), which goes beyond the variation in individual opinions that @Evvy_dense has written about.

It’s possible that I am imagining this slipperiness (my state of mind is pretty fractured, and it’s not just because of worrying about politics all the time), but since I have complained of “gaslighting”, I must at least try to clarify what I am complaining about. Also, even if I’m not imagining it, it may not be necessary to conduct a detailed post-mortem; it may be enough just for me to clarify my discomfort a little, and then we can “move on”. (Damn, there must be some way of saying that without being reminded of Tony Blair!)

I am practically sure that in more than one thread in this forum, more than one person has denied, not just the seriousness of the [alleged] COVID-19 pandemic, or the necessity for what I myself have described as the “extremely destructive, almost suicidal defensive measures that have been taken against the supposed threat”, or the competence of the measures taken, particularly in the UK (I’m sure we can all validly complain about those), but even the existence of a widespread infection by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. I forget exactly what I had in mind to write next (I had formulated all the words in my mind, but I’m tired and hungry, and the words have slipped away), but it may have been that I am also almost certain that in more than one thread in this forum, more than one person has falsely denied having denied the reality of the viral infection.

If I’m mistaken about this (as I very well may be), I’ll apologise to whoever I’ve wronged. Be that as it may, there are two more things to say (no, three things - nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!), and then I’ll have my breakfast! (1) I think I have managed to explain why I have been feeling “gaslighted”, even though my explanation is not as clear (or brief!) as could be wished. (2) Whatever the truth of my claims about “gaslighting”, I think we need to be clearer as to what we are disagreeing about. It’s hard to detect progress in our discussions. (Again that may just be a failing on my part. I’ve written more than once how confused I am by the whole COVID-19 thing. That confusion is natural and healthy enough - probably - and in any case it is quite distinct from the confusion and dread I feel because of real or imaginary “gaslighting”. Finally, apart from all the confusion, I just have great difficulty keeping up and following up all the references. I’m miles behind! Sorry if I’m dragging the discussion down to my level, and everyone else is keeping up OK.) (3) On the other hand, much interesting information has been posted (e.g. Kendrick, Cummings - not Dominic!), and I think there is at least the potential for progress, and we just need to organise our discussion(s) of the subject a little better. (Again I must acknowledge that it may just be me who needs to be better organised.)

Hi Twirlip, I hope you’ve managed to grab some sleep and some food.
Maybe I’m filling in non-existent blanks, you’re welcome to do a straightening job (or a hatchet job if I’ve got it wrong :slightly_smiling_face: )

What I think you’re saying T is:

Maybe easier to see in reverse mode first, by reference to what I think I have stated: that people questioning aspects of the virus policy or science may be dismissed (attacked) (i) by association with either the far right or lizardly fantasists, or (ii) by painting their ‘denials’ beyond credibility.

OK cancel reverse mode :slight_smile: Are you saying this kind of association also takes place when people (who may be described as denying certain main aspects of the virus that are more often accepted) criticize those accepting main narratives as being eg like, sheeple? Or maybe, that they have Rhis’s “terror-derangement syndrome” (TDS)? Thereby pigeon-holing many with views that are rationally arrived at? Or something like that…?

Also, slipperiness? Not saying what they are denying, then denying that…

(Maybe I can slip in (see what I did there :slight_smile: ) a possible answer, in case it helps… )

That (changes in denial) probably happens; however there is the easily-overlooked question of precisely what was being denied; if this was some exposition of some ‘mainstream’ view, the latter would have had more of a platform and the advantage of putting a mainstream case is you can be non-committal about the details while opponents can be accused of being hostile to everything about what you are proposing. So for example a government, medic or vaccine salesperson might make a sweeping statement like “There can be no return to normality until a Covid-19 vaccine is produced”. Someone might object saying a Covid-19 vaccine is not necessary (or needed due to falling deaths in their country), and cite other treatment or prophylactic responses like vitamin-D or C supplementation, or HCQ when testing positive.
Others might say the vaccine will be inadequately tested. One ‘denies’ vaccine ‘belief’ due to lack of safety of the vaccine proposed, the other due to its lack of necessity. Both might deny being anti-vaccine but be against THIS vaccine; the vaccine-promoter in this example might not even realize the effect of foisting a loaded question (that contains a lot of presumptions) on someone. So they might think the ‘opposition’ is changing their position…? It might be even harder to spot if you are a neutral who hadn’t being doing the pushing.

To me the presumptions in the question or claim (denial is a function of a particular claim!?) ARE the rub, because their absence favours the dominant narrative, leaving the ‘deniers’ (who are not all denying the same thing) at a significant disadvantage.

I don’t want to elaborate in case I’m on the wrong track. Hope helpful, even if it’s just so that you can say “No, I didn’t mean anything like that” :slightly_smiling_face:


In other words (mine!), the case made out by “pandemic-believers” is itself “slippery”. I’d agree with that. (Correct me if I’m only putting words in your mouth. I don’t at all have a clear grasp of what this whole argument is about, and I’m fumbling my way through it.)

But that doesn’t nullify my contention that there is a countervailing movement of (what I call) “pandemic-disbelievers”, which possesses an equal and opposite coherence to that of the “pandemic-believers”, but is (like the mainstream case) “slippery” in its details.

I think we are all aware that there are rational arguments on both sides, but I am trying to point to the simultaneous existence of irrational attitudes on both sides, in what I think is a very symmetrical way.

(I mentioned this weeks ago, when I posted a reference to John Hilley’s earlier blog post, but I was too tired at the time to go into details, as I had hoped to do.)

You seem to me to believe that irrationality is all on the side of the “believers”, and it is only they who (a) form a kind of coherent group, and (b) indiscriminately smear their opponents, as if their opponents formed a coherent group.

That is odd, because you yourself do not seem to me to be a “disbeliever”!

So it is likely that I am misunderstanding you. I don’t know why that is. It isn’t just because your posts tend to be long and detailed, and I’m not keeping up - because I also haven’t kept up with @PontiusPrimate’s often long and detailed posts, and yet I am clear that he is a fellow “believer”.

(That remark is not at all intended to box either PP or myself into some kind of ridiculously rigid, quasi-religious position on the topic! On the contrary, PP shows an admirable flexibility and open-mindedness, while I at least admit my confusion and ignorance, and I have been genuinely interested in reading well-written presentations by “disbelievers”.)

Like you, I feel that I shouldn’t go on at too great a length, in case I’m on the wrong track, so I’ll stop here.

I do actually suspect that there is a real pathogen that has been causing some excess death this year. I’m not convinced it’s been anything like as pandemic as it’s been claimed. I’m pretty convinced that it’s been blown up into a raging monster image by axe-grinders; and I believe an awful lot of susceptible people have been panicked into stampeding by the manipulators (they would be the Chicken Littles of whom I speak). Not meant to be an insult, just an accurate characterisation; you’ll remember the fairy-story from which the character comes, I’m sure? It was just a small apple or something falling from above, not the sky.

More generally, Twirl, you seem to struggle a whole lot with the burdens of life. I sympathise deeply, being damn near crippled by chronic geriatric fatigue myself. For example, had to turn back from cycling over to the tree-defenders’ camp this AM because I got caught in a black squall as I traversed the treeless, hedgeless gale prairie on the way, and got soaked. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit in the chilly outdoor camp for hours in that state, so turned back and got changed and warmed up again - and lo and bleedin’ behold, that was my day’s sparse ration of energy used up for today. Just had to go for a lie down before I fell asleep on my feet. Bastard!

You seem to be similarly chronically afflicted bro. Sympathy and solidarity! I’m fanatically keen that 5F doesn’t become the slagging shitshow that the Hulk has become. So - if you think you’re being abused by gaslighting, or any such mistreatment, let’s sort it and eliminate it. I do get a strong sense, though, that no-one here actually intends such disrespect to you. Please don’t be afraid of bogeymen who aren’t actually under the 5F bed! :wink: :slight_smile:

Before battling my way out to Lidl and Sainsbury’s, I took Wittgenstein off the shelf, where he’s been for years, and started to have a close skim through Philosophical Investigations. There is indeed some support for my position there, but less than I’d hoped, so I’ll continue looking for stronger arguments, if only to convince myself that I’m not making a howling error in trying to stuff a variety of individual positions, all of them critical of the mainstream, into the Procrustean bed of a single school, movement, or tendency of “pandemic-disbelievers”.

There is quite a long section that’s relevant, but I’ll just quote the beginning:

  1. One might say that the concept ‘game’ is a concept with blurred edges. - “But is a blurred concept a concept at all?” - Is an indistinct photograph a picture of a person at all? Is it even always an advantage to replace an indistinct picture by a sharp one? Isn’t the indistinct one often exactly what we need?

I think in the case considered by W., there is no definition, but in the case I’m considering here, there is a definition, but the definition is necessarily imprecise, so his argument only lends limited support to mine, and I may even have been misled by a mere analogy. I’ll think more about it, but I’m out of ideas at the moment.

(My “necessarily imprecise” definition occurs near the start of the long unstructured paragraph in the 18th(!) post in this thread, here.)

Perhaps mercifully, I don’t have time to pursue this any further now, as it’s getting near bedtime again.

Although my 68-year-old body is indeed starting to show worrying signs of age, my struggles have mainly been with things that have been internalised (it started with my mother - I’m not joking!), and I have barely contributed in any useful way to collective struggles against external enemies or difficulties. I feel a terrible fraud hanging around in a place like this (or MLMB or TLN), but I do at least recognise some collective enemies and difficulties, more than I used to (five years ago, say), even if I’m still unable and/or unwilling to do much about them.

That said, my many long, complicated, agonising, self-defeating, and literally unbelievable struggles with various aspects of the so-called “mental health” system - there really have been enough of them to fill several novels, if only I could write creatively, rather than factually! - do at least have striking parallels with collective political struggles, and I believe it is possible to make quite concrete links between the two domains, although even after all this time I am still not ready to do so. Watch this waste of space. :slight_smile:

I was mainly trying to simplify your case as requested.

It’s quite difficult to say what beliefs are irrational, in the absence of reliable facts. I’m not making a case here for one belief or against another. It’s the attacks on people that we’re discussing, I thought.

In my view, the attacks on ‘denialists’ (just saving time :slight_smile: ) are generally irrational in that they avoid the specific evidence of contention and instead distort the stated beliefs of the ‘denialists’, often playing to a receptive or approving crowd.

This scenario plays out almost everywhere; in the MSM where scientific evidence is presented as conspiracy theories, in science blogs (incessantly banging on about anti-vaxxers or calling genuine 5g-campaigners covidiots, while ignoring the science they reference), non-science blogs like JH’s and in ordinary forums, even from highly respectable left wing writers like Cook and Ahmed.
In a dynamic where dissenters are so bashed they have trouble finding places to air their evidence, I just don’t think they spend their time gaslighting - I haven’t seen any. And that’s why I wouldn’t call their caution ‘slippery’ - whereas the blunt, sweeping, haranguing statements and misrepresentations of those with power and politics on their side (but not the science particularly) DO deserve that descriptor.

I know RG talks about TDS - but I think that was referring to the reactionary responses to dissenting voices on TLN, or in the media. That’s why I think there is no symmetry in that respect.

In the world of Covid-truths , it’s all up for grabs - but the field is far from level.

Hope helps. Also hope the evidence will become our focus, it’s far more interesting than each others’ positions :). Yes I know it was I who queried the term ‘denialists’…thought it relevant - honest Guv.

PS I see PontiusPrimate has picked up on the subject matter of your original post - ie Fuellmich’s legal case - in a new thread about Excess deaths

No. As far as I’m aware, no individuals have been attacked here, including me. (Praise be.)

As I tried to explain (obviously not successfully), I also felt attacked in TLN, even though (with only one exception, viz., Mary, and then a bunch of others when she stormed off) no-one had it in for me personally there. I tend to identify with ideas, and a lot of ideas are given a hard time in TLN. It’s hard to explain! Write me off as paranoid, if it’ll save time. :slight_smile:

I don’t want to go on too long (it’s now past bedtime, once again), but I think you surely must understand that in TLN, it wasn’t a group of individuals against another group of individuals, but a collective process.

It’s very hard to get this sort of point across; indeed it was at just such a point as this that I got suddenly banned from TLN.

(Only Everyman ever properly addressed the concept of collective processes in a small online group - he foresaw the kind of difficulties that emerged.)

I would alter your wording to something like: “a dynamic where dissent is bashed”. The individual personae of the dissenters and the bashers periodically vary (naming no names - my tactlessness has its limits!), but the dynamic* persists.

* [Not a word I much like - was it introduced by Freud?]

This could get too complicated, and I’m happy to let it drop. (Not my original point about the need for a pair of vague terms, though - I’m stubborn about that.) The “dynamic” here is nowhere near as unhealthy as it was (and still is) in TLN.

I’m hope I’m not being too tactless in mentioning TLN several times explicitly like this. (It’s what they get for banning me in such an ad hoc way, for so little reason!) Or, tactless in drawing attention to something that seems a little bit squiffy in our own “dynamic”, here at 5F. I think I’m acting a bit like a canary in a coal-mine - but it may all be in my own mind, and others may have other ideas of what I’m acting like. :slight_smile:

Heed Everyman’s warnings about internal group processes! One can’t afford to ignore them - and that’s precisely for the sake of the future survival of evidence and argument. Ignoring such things is a form of “denialism”! :slight_smile:

Sorry if I’m being preachy.

Wayyy past bedtime, again.

That’s probably a good pattern to follow. That is, split off new threads to deal with particular points in the long video and (later) PDF document that I referred to in the OP, because they cover a lot of ground. Also, this thread seems to have become the de facto place for discussing the (surprisingly deep) ramifications and connotations of terminology.

The term denialists came over here from the TLN/JH post which was certainly an attack on people with certain viewpoints. That’s why we were discussing the term, and the only reason I mentioned TLN. But since you mention it, yes you were banned there after disagreeing with Dan while being attacked as you described. If I remember correctly there was clearly a misunderstanding which he refused to correct after it was pointed out.

" As far as I’m aware, no individuals have been attacked here, including me. (Praise be.)"

I think no-one was gaslit here either. Other than that I think I’ll leave it there too :slight_smile:

For those who’ve just joined the programme, I think the original thread continues under " No excess mortality - really? " :slight_smile:

A thread like this is totally chilling.

Wake up.

The police state is being rolled out right in front of your eyes.

For feck’s sake grow a pair.

Seems we spoke too soon - please check the guidelines on civilized discussion Rob

And with regard to Dr Dan on another board, just about the entire so-called ‘alternate media’ has been infiltrated. You can literally count on the fingers of one hand those who still remain genuine (and that’s out of the entire English language internet, which is saying something).

People don’t often believe me when I say this.

Take a look at boards like here.

Yup, ban, ban, ban, the usual crap for ‘not obeying the rules’.

Human society is being decimated on a global level.

Only a complete lunatic would deny this…

There’s been nothing before like this in history (really, there hasn’t).

So let’s all pretend that we’re at a WA meeting in Basingstoke.

lol - nicely put :grin:

No need for any ban mate. There’s no one on this site that would disagree with what you just wrote (probably). But the only way this site will remain a place where people come to discuss stuff is if the basics are done right from the beginning.

Take care

PS - just pinged you a PM.

Obvious question (to your PM): why are you so afraid of people saying what they think?

I’d advise you to go back to that WA meeting in Basingstoke, because you might not like what’s coming.

Hi @RobG

There’s no issue here with people saying what they think, as long as they are able to do so in ways that don’t attack other posters on this board. Basic civility is not such a large ask.

Yeah - you’re right about that. I don’t like what’s coming. I don’t like it at all…


Not wishing to fall foul of the mods, I entirely agree with Rob.

As for continuing the original thread “No excess mortality - really”, I thought that had been so well explained by the Irish Youtuber (whose name I can’t remember), and posted here, that I can’t see any point in continuing this thread unless one has contradictory arguments.

Having finally watched the original video, I think it is the responsibility of anyone who still accepts the “case” numbers, or even that there is no political agenda here, to respond to what essentially is evidence, presented by lawyers, backed up by expert testimony.

@admin I just posted a new thread about the PCR test. Perhaps merge it with this one.

There is indeed broad agreement here about the scam that’s being driven into the world on the back of this dubious pathogen. No need for us to start getting snarly angry - or paranoid - about it. As a matter of fact, I’d say that staying restrained and civil in language is probably as crucial a matter as anything, simply in order to go on having constructive explorations of what’s happening, rather than letting ego circuses predominate; as we’ve watched happen with the Hulk. To that end, we have to stay alert and pro-active against any straying in of personalities and adhom. We need tactful admin to keep this situation upright; and we seem to be getting that. Still important to find time to get a general agreement on how exactly the moderation is done, and what the - agreed - rules are.

Right! Feeling damn-near knackered this AM after a disturbed night. BUT - I have just had a phone call saying that our tree-defenders’ camp only has a skeletal presence of bodies just now. So - on me bleedin’ bike, pronto! Back this evening if still on my effing feet! :smile:

Morning @PatB

No need to worry that you might fall foul of the mods (three-headed Cerberus that we are) for agreeing with a poster. So far, the only hard and fast rule on this site is that posts should not attack other posters. Flame wars are not constructive, and we have all witnessed what happens when they spin out of control. Let’s try to avoid that here.

As we see it, you’ve been exemplary in strongly and cogently arguing for your point of view (as indeed you are doing in this post) and whilst being able to avoid hurling insults at other posters.

@RobG could certainly learn something from you.

Cerberus AKA the mods.

Hi all,

We just want to suggest that discussion about some of the dynamics that might appear on this board, including possible groupthink etc. gets moved to the thread on board culture and censorship. We do consider it to be a very important topic, and are interested in seeing the discussion evolve.

That way, those of us who are interested in pursuing this topic can do so, and those who want to ignore that and focus on other issues are free to do so.


Hi PatB

Ivor Cummings (is that who you mean?) didn’t say that there was zero excess mortality. He took the mortality numbers (as I remember) at face value, and then went on to say that it was following a classic epidemic curve, and it was over now. That’s quite a separate issue than saying there just weren’t any excess deaths, as Dr. Fuellmich seems to be saying.

Zero excess deaths seems like fantasy to me… but i’m happy to proven wrong if the evidence comes to light. Let’s carry that discussion over to the excess deaths thread if some evidence does turn up.

More generally, with regard to your points about case numbers and the underlying political agenda, we probably agree on most of that.