Friday, April 17, 2020

Just How Incurious and Uncritical is David Lane's Audience?

David Lane
Thursday, according to David Lane, the effect of the coronavirus is part of a political conspiracy to ding Donald Trump. To that end Lane has written: Who Is Under the Intoxicating Spell of COVID-19?

David Lane probably thinks that putting people at risk for contracting Covid-19 is a means of supporting Trump's reelection. People can die if the Dow Jones Industrial Average (embraced by Trump as  the measure of his approval) depicts a thriving economy for which Trump will take undue credit.

In the way of background, David Lane is a very creepy, holier than thou Republican operative and Christian nationalist. In spite of all his jingoistic flag waving Lane also happens to have been a participant in a conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. Thus, David Lane is a hypocrite.

According to Lane:
The spellbinding presence of the coronavirus has resulted in disproportionate numbers, desultory speculations, masked manipulation and unnerving alarmism. A more cogent reaction comes from Dr. Knut Wittkowski, a highly credentialed, widely cited professor who rubbishes the United States' response to the virus. John Kirby for The Press & The Public Project in New York City, April 1-2, 2020, interviewed the longtime biostatistician.
That links to a rather boring YouTube video. According to the description:
Perspectives on the Pandemic Episode 2: In this explosive second edition of Perspectives on the Pandemic, Professor Knut Wittkowski, for twenty years head of The Rockefeller University's Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, says that social distancing and lockdown is the absolutely worst way to deal with an airborne respiratory virus.
That did not sit well with the folks at Rockefeller University (emphasis added):
The opinions that have been expressed by Knut Wittkowski, discouraging social distancing in order to hasten the development of herd immunity to the novel coronavirus, do not represent the views of The Rockefeller University, its leadership, or its faculty.

Wittkowski was previously employed by Rockefeller as a biostatistician. He has never held the title of professor at Rockefeller.
Rock U. is, perhaps the most elite graduate school in the country in the fields of medicine and biology. It would appear that Mr. Wittowski has overstated his credentials. Mr. Lane has overstated the overstatements in claiming that Wittowski is highly credentialed, widely cited and a professor. Wittowski is none of those things.

What should have given Mr. Lane pause is this sentence which Lane has seen fit to quote:
“[Children] are evolutionarily designed to be exposed to all sorts of viruses during their lifetime, and so they should keep going to school and infecting each other.”
A statistician, Wittowski lacks the training and experience to make these pronouncements. He is not an epidemiologist. Even if he is correct about the resiliency of children when exposed to viruses, he has not considered the effects of having tens of thousands of little carriers of contagion roaming loose in society.

In fact there are numerous credible reports of people contracting Covid-19 more than once. Therefore, exposure to the coronavirus does not guarantee that someone will develop immunity.

Even if exposure creates immunity, those kids would have a significant potential to infect their teachers, parents, grandparents and other relatives. Herd immunity seems more like herd exhaust, otherwise known as bullshit.

David Lane doesn't care. He is perfectly willing to spread misinformation if he thinks that the message benefits him politically in the near term.

Lane is a cynic. One of the things that we have learned over the last few decades is that the Internet is a source of nourishment for conspiracy theories. There are still legions of people who believe that President Obama was an illegal alien or that the Affordable Care Act comes with “death panels.”

Form any belief — no matter how preposterous — and the Internet will provide “evidence” in support of that moronic point of view. Lane knows that people will believe him, and in this case Mr. Wittowski, regardless of contrary evidence that might develop in the future.

We have become extremely adept in the art of selective observation. Counting the hits while disregarding the misses.

Moving past Mr. Wittowski, Lane's political agenda takes shape:
With that as background, we consider last week's threat to Bluegrass State citizens by Kentucky Democrat Governor Andy Beshear's despotic Machiavellianism: "Any individual that's going to go to a mass gathering of any type that we know about this weekend [read: Easter church services], we are going to record license plates and provide it to local health departments, [which] are going to come to your door with an order for you to be quarantined for 14 days."
In other words, Democrats are evil despots. They want to keep people safe from their own idiotic impulses. People have a constitutional right guaranteed by the First Amendment to contract Covid-19 and then be a source of contagion which, according to the first part of Lane's polemic, is good for society.

Later on:
Will a refresher course have to be mandated for politicians and government bureaucrats in contemporary America that is done through political currency in the form of ballots on Election Day? Politically aloof and tone-deaf politicians fear one thing only and that is being removed from office.

If America is to make it through, those foisting Russian collusion, impeachment, Ukraine and such will have to be voted out of office.
Nevermind the facts and the evidence associated with Russian collusion, impeachment and Trump's Ukraine misdeeds. My hope is that we will oust the corrupt imbeciles who gave Trump a pass for extorting help with his political campaign from the citizens of Ukraine.

That would make David Lane very, very sad. Lane is simplistic:
The battle in America's public square is on, where eternal and immutable Christianity clashes with transient and mutable secularism. These two distinct religions cannot coexist, as one will ultimately end in the destruction of the other. Whereas one leads to death, the other will give rise to the Fourth Great Awakening.
Lane pretends not to know that the vast majority of Christians disagree with his Christian nationalism. Lane pretends not to appreciate the fact that we are a religiously diverse nation.

Lane further pretends that secularism is a religion when, in fact, secularism means the absence of religious dogma in public policy as our founders intended.

In the final analysis, David Lane is a Republican because it benefits his Christianity. Lane is also a Christian extremist because the promotion of his zealotry benefits Republican politicians.

To those ends, Lane is willing to promote any concept regardless of whether or not (as is often the case) the collateral damage is far greater than any conceivable benefit. David Lane is just another petty political huckster whose most prominent character attribute is shamelessness.

In that regard Mr. Lane has developed an immunity.

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