Science’s Growing Credibility Gap

 Dear Editor,

The surgeon general issued a warning about vaccine misinformation the same day the WHO’s COVID-19 origin study was retracted.  This warning is a ham-handed response that serves as fodder for continuing politicization and greater distrust.  The surgeon general’s goal should be to increase our nation’s health, not to vaccinate for the sake of vaccinating.  Safety concerns must be transparently answered with evidence.  Discounting concerns as “disinformation” increases distrust.

The scientific community failed to educate during COVID.  Governors engaged in an arms race of increasingly strict unscientific isolation policies.  Science knew outside was safer than inside; parks were forbidden.  Social interaction is important for mental health; we were isolated until continually changing goals were reached.  “Health policies” were unequally enforced for political gain.  Health data was manipulated in New York.  Public health workers relied on this manipulated data to maximize policy effectiveness.  Prior to the whistleblower, questioning NY’s governor was labeled a health threat.  Meanwhile, Florida was heavily criticized for scientifically allowing social interactions and outside events.  More questioning was needed, not less.

The surgeon general referenced a research article growing in popularity among mainstream media on social media “disinformation.”  The scientific process demands continuous rigorous challenge/questioning.  One research paper does not make a scientific fact.  Journalist “fact checkers” incorrectly label opinions and perspectives as fake despite being neither fact nor fiction.  Did these researchers define “truth” based on similar biases?  Scientific review articles claim to have confirmed this study’s results using their own experiments.  Regardless of the articles content, or substance, the publisher/audience ultimately defined lies and truth.  Breitbart articles were labeled “false” while New York Times articles were labeled “true.”  Those who believe conservatives are either liars or uneducated may not question these results – conformation bias.

Several prestigious medical organizations crossed lanes to promote unscientific political and social ideologies.  As a result, legitimate scientific concerns were attacked to promote political agendas.  This undermines healthcare credibility.  For month’s mainstream media, including the “model of truth” New York Times, leveraged the now discredited WHO investigation to label COVID origin questions as false racist propaganda.  What other articles labeled by “researchers” as “fake” today will be proven “fact” tomorrow?  Did candidate Biden work with Facebook to “correct misinformation?”

COVID is not polio, smallpox or measles.  Currently, we do not know if vaccine benefits out way disease risks.  The answer to opposition’s “fake news” is not supporter’s “fake news.”

Alan Burke