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Doing Science Backwards: The Last Stand of the RCT Zealots
Starting with a conclusion & working backwards is not the foundation of science. It's the foundation of someone with a nefarious political agenda.
Scientific fact: N95 respirators are an effective tool to protect yourself from infection from airborne diseases such as COVID. Here is how they work:
Recently, a new “study” involving a Randomized Trial from McMaster University has been making the rounds on social media, and given a rocketship by pro-COVID, anti-vaxx pundits who have spent the past two years demanding complete and total submission to a virus that causes permanent organ damage, including the brain. Of course, your usual gamut of pro-plague influencers from Alasdair Munro to Vinay Prasad have pushed this study quite hard, after months of screeching about the lack of highly unethical Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) and how they are the only “actual science” that can dictate whether or not preventative measures work.
This “study” is bullshit, formed by people who very clearly had a conclusion already in mind, and designed a terrible Randomized Trial - not a Randomized Control Trial - for the sole purpose of generating supposed “evidence” that would support the conclusion they sought to imagine evidence for. Massive conflicts of interest are at play here, and none of them are paid proper respect by the study’s champions.
Extensive documentation for the past half-century has been made about how corrupt corporations such as Big Oil and Big Tobacco have used their extensive wealth to manipulate the scientific method in order to sabotage the public’s understanding of the health risks of nicotine addiction, or how burning oil can compromise the planet’s ability to support human life. There was even the excellent film titled Thank You For Smoking (2006), featuring Aaron Eckhart as a lobbyist for the “Academy of Tobacco Studies,” a totally bipartisan and non-biased organization.
Now, just where have we heard this smug, arrogant tone of supposed experts about children’s health before in relatively recent years? Hmm… Anyways, let’s jump the border to Canada - the disaster zone that this study in question originates from, and go back in time to April 20th, 2021.
The Ontario Nurses’ Association goes to court demanding airborne Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers… in the midst of an airborne pandemic, as 19,000 health-care workers in the province had already been infected. Many going on to develop Long COVID and other long-term health complications. This was also a flashpoint in the major “debate” to finally accept the mountain of evidence that COVID was an airborne virus, and requires airborne PPE - instead of simply “droplet” transmission, which was the justification from preventing healthcare workers from accessing adequate PPE.
The Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Directors of Ontario Hospitals went to court against the Ontario Nurses’ Association labor union, with 30 members signing a witness statement against the nurses having adequate PPE during an airborne pandemic. Having damned themselves for stabbing healthcare workers in the back, they immediately went to work on a study that would justify this horrendous betrayal.
As this study was in the planning phase, multiple scientists and medical experts spoke up about what a disgusting ethical violation this study would be:
Even better, it would feature a “randomized trial,” a highly unethical practice to employ during an ongoing pandemic. The research, development, and engineering of PPE does not utilize RT/RCTs with deadly and disabling viruses - because it’s about as sensible as using convicts, the elderly, and the terminally ill as stuntmen in action movies, and yes, I did steal that bit from the late Bill Hicks. The study was so unethical that nursing unions told their members not to participate, and in fact violates Points 2-7 of the Nuremberg Code - a “set of ethical research principles for human experimentation” that were created in the aftermath of the horrors of the Third Reich’s atrocities in medical experimentation on the victims of Nazi Germany’s concentration camps. This is not a violation to be taken lightly.
Let’s just start ripping through this “study,” because it’s so impressively atrocious and dishonest:
“Health care workers randomly assigned to the N95 respirator group were instructed to use a … N95 respirator when providing routine care to patients with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19.”
So, from the get-go, this RCT was already designed to fail, which anyone with a basic understanding of aerosol physics and how COVID hangs in the air can explain to you. If you were even halfway serious about designing an RCT, as unethical as it is, then you would give your subjects a box of N95s and tell them to put this on before they leave the house and come to the hospital, keep the N95 on, and then take it off after returning home.
The PPE doesn’t work when you’re not wearing it, jackass. If I only habitually wear my airborne PPE when I suspect I’m treating a COVID patient, and I’m not wearing it when I walk into the hospital lobby, pass someone infectious with COVID, asymptomatic or otherwise, as they’re exhaling COVID into the air - and I’m inhaling the virus - then of course the N95 isn’t going to offer any protection! Because I’m not wearing it! That is the entire purpose of Personal Protective Equipment!
How do we know that N95s work? Because we already have a cluster randomized clinical trial of over 1,500 healthcare workers in Beijing, China from 2009-10. What did they find?
Continuous use of N95 respirators was more efficacious against CRI than intermittent use of N95 or medical masks. Most policies for HCWs recommend use of medical masks alone or targeted N95 respirator use. Continuous use of N95s resulted in significantly lower rates of bacterial colonization, a novel finding that points to more research on the clinical significance of bacterial infection in symptomatic HCWs.
So all that this studies’ authors and cheerleaders (Team #InfinityCOVID) are saying is that intermittent, almost random PPE use during an airborne pandemic with a deadly and disabling disease is not effective. Oh my god, really? Which anybody who takes the ongoing pandemic seriously, and not as a way to line their own pockets with Grifter Galleons, would explain that this is why you need N95 distribution, and mandates, as well as other tools, in order to reduce transmission and infections - from a virus that can damage the brain.
Let’s keep going, stealing a tweet from physician and field epidemiologist Raina MacIntyre:
So their dataset… was bad? So it’s not even a randomized trial… it’s just a random collection of data about infections bundled into a “study” that clearly already had a conclusion in mind? Assuming the general public’s scientific illiteracy and inability to evaluate the quality of a random study, of course it would be easy to mislead them if you just pull all of your data out of your ass!
We could keep nitpicking this study piece by piece, but what else is there to say? The authors clearly had a conclusion and sought evidence after the fact - which is the opposite of how the scientific method works. There was already a massive outcry over what would be a ghoulish breach of ethics. They did not design and perform a randomized control trial, but instead a series of randomized trials. The collection of data is essentially random, as the countries involved were in different phases of the pandemic. This is not a scientific research study at all - it’s a massive ethics violation repackaged to be a propaganda piece, masquerading as “real science” and “definitive data,” designed by the same people who betrayed their fellow nurses and doctors - including a John Conly, that claimed N95 masking causes the “harms” of acme, unlike the proven harms of brain damage and chronic fatigue caused by COVID infection.
In an elementary school science class, you learn the very basics of the scientific method and how a generic scientist does research:
Formulation of a Question - i.e. “How effective are N95 masks against COVID?”
Hypothesis - aka conjecture. “N95s might not be effective protection against COVID. But I could be wrong!”
Prediction - Expectations for the results of testing. That might just be wrong!
Experimentation and/or Testing - Suitable experiments.
Analysis and/or Conclusion - Well, what if I just started from here and worked backwards instead? I don’t want to do the actual work, I want to feel like I am right, and my priority is soaking up online praise.
So there you have it. The Last Stand of the RCT Zealots - standing naked on the battlefield, empty-handed, having established that they know absolutely nothing about science - and they don’t even bother to read the studies they champion. A mature adult on their side of the aisle would have read this McMaster University study, realized the obvious flaws, and refuted it as shoddy science that humiliates their side. Instead, we get fake experts who can’t even make it out of grade school singing victory chants and demanding the submission of their ideological enemies.
The childish drivel these pro-COVID trolls vomit into the public discourse is complete and total scientific illiteracy, largely backed by wealthy interests. An immature child looks at the work in front of them, and chooses to rush towards the finish line instead of going through the process that the adults have established standards for. A mature scientist approaches their work and research with a sense of humility, and a willingness to be wrong. This is the divide.
So who championed this dogshit, pathetic excuse for a medical research study without an ounce of inspection? All of the usual suspects. The whole basis of the Pandemic Accountability Index, even:
And of course, we can’t forget the star of our previous PAI Profile: Alasdair Munro.
A scientifically illiterate twat masquerading as some sort of COVID Mastermind, who clearly didn’t bother to read the “best evidence” on adequate PPE during an airborne pandemic. As we established in the profile on Alasdair Munro, he clearly sees himself as the final authority on all things COVID, even in fields that are way outside his purview as a pediatric registrar. The Southampton Clinical Research Facility is misleading their community by pretending this man is qualified to work with children.
So to come full circle, just who funded this study, anyways? Well, we have a general idea - the billionaire Weston Family of Canada, similar to the sadistic Walton Family (Wal-Mart) of the United States.
Oh, of course then. All of these pro-COVID pundits above are pushing rightoid billionaire backed drivel in support of a deadly & disabling virus, constantly minimizing its effects, and handwaving away the growing mountain of suffering that continues to multiply in new and horrifying ways. This is what these plague pundits’ crusade towards “normalcy” is all about - forcing the public to adopt a false sense of ignorance around the ongoing pandemic as the virus wages a war of attrition against the public’s health - and billionaires continue to plunder the wealth built off the backs of workers around the world bearing the burden of the pandemic.
Letting the little people think the government is obligated to protect their health, or protect them from disability - even if it interferes with corporate profiteering - is clearly the grand violation that must not be crossed. No matter how many pathetic faux-scientists have to humiliate themselves and betray their communities in order to make this “new normal” possible.