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There has been much controversy over lately at Science Based Medicine as they seem to have been institutionally captured by gender ideology and turning away from the foundations SBM was founded on.  When gender woo-magic takes precedent of science based facts the lambasting by those who keep their scientific integrity intact is inevitable, hence this letter by Emeritus Editor Kimball Atwood to Steve Novella about his decent into gender-woo.

 

Thank you for Jessie Singal for posting the letter.

 

 

Hi Steve,

Harriet has told me that you stated that her article “dragged SBM into a raging controversy.” She feels, and I agree, that it was your retracting that article and replacing it by very bad articles written by advocates of “gender affirmation” that dragged SBM into a raging controversy. I’ve attempted to explain why previously, but here I’ll mention a couple of the most obvious reasons.

You claimed that Harriet’s article was below SBM’s minimal standard for “high quality scientific evidence and reasoning to inform medical issues.” Yet you replaced it with articles stating things such as the following:

  • “Biology is a binary and differences of sex development (DSDs) are vanishingly rare”. False. DSDs are as common as 1 in 5,000 births, and increase to 1 in 200 or 1 in 300 if you include hypospadias and cryptorchidism. Biology is very, very well known to be a spectrum.

[Lovell attributes the sentence in quotes to Shrier; I’ve been unable to find it in her book]

Do you, Steve, think that sex is a spectrum? Yes, I know Lovell wrote “biology is a spectrum,” but that is an incoherent claim. Her implication is that sex is a spectrum. If that were true, it would upend all that we know about sex in mammals and many other life forms, including sexual dimorphism, reproduction, and selection. Do you think that Lovell’s statement constitutes “high quality scientific evidence and reasoning”? OMG, apparently you do. What’s happened to you?

Do you think that hypospadias and cryptorchism are DSDs? They are not, and to suggest that they are does not meet SBM’s minimal standard for reasoning about medical issues.

The citation is to a paper that discusses real DSDs, not cryptorchism or hypospadias, and makes no claims about a “spectrum.” It supports the very statement that Lovell claims to be false (even though Shrier seems never to have made that statement). Where was the editor here?

According to Eckert,

  • Throughout her book, Shrier refers to her subjects as “biological girls,” a term that conflates sex with gender and mischaracterizes Shrier’s subjects. The reason is that a person’s sex refers to the identity assigned by doctors, parents, and medical professionals at birth, most often based on external anatomy (genitals).

Do you, Steve, think that Shrier’s subjects were not biological girls? Do you think that this characterization conflates sex with gender? Do you think that sex is an “identity assigned by doctors,” rather than a fact noted by everyone in the delivery room in almost every case? Do you think that “human” is also an identity assigned by doctors? How does such an absurd passage meet SBM’s minimal standard for scientific evidence and reasoning? Do you really think that “this is good scientific practice—not political correctness”? How can you be so naive?

Finally, I’ll remind you of a previous objection that you haven’t answered, which refutes the crux of Lovell’s claim about “gender affirmation” for biological girls “lead(ing) to improved psychological outcomes”:

“Lastly, as clearly noted in the American Academy of Pediatrics statement, complete with many citations of their own, we use affirmation, pubertal suppression, and hormone therapy in youth because it leads to improved psychological outcomes. The literature is abundant and clear on this topic.”

The “abundant” link is not to several studies or a review of several studies, as the adjective implies, but to a single study that is irrelevant to Shrier’s thesis because it looks at a group of pre-pubescent, transgender children (age 3-12) undergoing only social transition, not at adolescent girls. It’s also not a good study because it controls its cohort with a cohort of non-transgender children, rather than with the appropriate control group (transgender children not undergoing social transition).

The “clear” link is to a paper that does not reveal whether its subjects were gender dysphoric (GD) in childhood or not, but whose abstract states:

Implications for impact: This study suggests that gender-affirming hormones are a helpful medical intervention for transgender youth. Gender-affirming hormones were found to be associated with decreases in suicidality and improvements in general well-being.”

That is all most SBM readers will read, if they even bother to click on the link. But in the discussion (behind a paywall; I got it on ResearchGate) we see this:

“Hypothesis 3 (i.e., those assigned female at birth will experience greater improvements in general well-being and larger decreases in suicidality) was not supported.” (My italics; parenthetical phrase in the original)

Need I mention (again) that this is the only outcome of the study that is relevant to Shrier’s book? Where was the editor here?

Speaking of editors, it appears that there have been none at SBM other than the original five. Of those, two ruled to retract Harriet’s review, two (Harriet and I) would have kept it, and one is dead. I knew Wally well enough to feel confident that he would have voted to keep the review, and that he would have been shocked, probably to the point of resigning, when you published the embarrassments by Lovell and Eckert and when you banned Andy Lewis from commenting.

No, it was not Harriet who dragged SBM into a raging controversy. It was you and David, because of some very poor choices, made worse by your doubling down after every reasonable objection by Jesse Singal, Andy Lewis, Michael Shermer, Jerry Coyne, Abigail Shrier, me, and several others.

Sincerely Yours,
Kimball

People are morons.  They are abusing health care workers who are trying to save their ignorant, stupid lives.  Can you imagine the audacity of some of these donkey-donuts cursing out medical staff while proclaiming Covid isn’t real?  It’s happening here in Texas-North, and i am fucking embarrassed to live in this clownshow of a province.

“While we’re on this unit, the doctors (and nurses) are just being horrifically, horrifically abused,” she said.

“(Health-care workers are) being sworn at, they’re being told that COVID isn’t real and (patients) don’t want to be intubated,” Christensen said.

“There are no words at this point. I’m just completely baffled. I’ve walked the halls of this ICU. I’ve seen that it’s real.”

Un

Fraking

Believable.

Dr. Paul Parks, the head of emergency medicine for the Alberta Medical Association, said the situation in Alberta hospitals will only become worse without an increase in restrictions.

“I am advocating so strongly for increased public health measures at this point in time and our government to take leadership and to put in some meaningful restrictions,” Parks said.

He said he believes the province is just days away from implementing critical care triage, with increasing COVID-19 patients and no workers to care for them.

“We’re for sure close,” he said. “We cannot continue to keep adding (patients).

This public health crisis was easily predictable and entirely avoidable, but our conservative UCP government led by Jason Kenny proclaimed the province was “Open for Summer!” and lifted all public health safety restrictions.

321 Albertans died for the “Open for Summer” debacle – and more are dying everyday – expect a big jump in the death toll once the medical triage starts.

 

What a tragedy, made worse with the knowledge that it was entirely preventable.

“Ok…I am ready to share whether anyone wants to read or not.
I am far more of a qualitative researcher than quantitative. I like themes and patterns. Swabbing today uncovered a theme I guess I didn’t expect. Yes there were lots of kids.
Tons of Close Contacts that created stress and confusion for families. There were a lot of 20-somethings who had friends test positive and most of them were unvaccinated. That wasn’t a surprise either. There were more unvaccinated than I anticipated and in groups I wouldn’t have expected. I did my darnedest to answer questions and hear concerns about this.
Maybe I swayed one which is a win no matter what.
But what became so evident was how so many aspects of this pandemic are dividing FAMILIES. The dangerous narrative Jason Kenney and the UCP have perpetuated that COVID isn’t a big deal if you’re healthy or younger has begun to show itself in the basic day to day functioning of families.
A parent with their under 12 child needing to get swabbed because grandparent came for dinner sick knowingly and it turned out to be Delta. The pain and anger was palpable and intruding into the marriage of these parents. Watching tears stream down mom’s face as she explained why they were there was excruciating because she understood the selfish risk the child had been placed in. A grandson and his grandmother being tested as he lived
in her home as well as his parents’ who had both recently tested positive and he was beside himself that he may have passed it on to gramma unknowingly.
He was angry at his unvaccinated parents. But when he described how ill his dad was, we had to discuss the need to seek medical
attention before it was too late. Likely another admission to hospital by my estimation. A father asked me how they might convince their teenage son to get vaccinated when there was so much misinformation at his disposal that fueled his fears. We sat for 20 minutes talking about strategies and questions to pose. He was desperate for a way to convince his child to do as they had and protect himself. He admitted that until his son was alienated from things he enjoyed because he wasn’t vaccinated, he didn’t think he would get it.
You see, these constant shifts over the last year created solely and purposely by Kenney have created imbalance at every level. It is exactly as he wants it to be. Because with imbalance comes distraction and with distraction comes Kenney’s ability to remain unaccountable. While families are struggling
to remain in tact with their heads’ barely above water, Kenney ignites kindling of a million little fires. It destroys the fibre of community.
That is what I saw today. I saw families in crisis. NOT because of COVID itself but the misinformation and anger and distrust that this government has planted and cultivated since day one. We only need to look to the east coast to see how doing things the “other way” could strengthen community and family resolve. We are a province divided…but today I witnessed how, like the crisis in our health system, the lack of empathy, compassion and leadership as caused a crisis in families.
There is a such a deep need for guidance and comfort right now. The vaccine debate is just another reflection of the turmoil that has been orchestrated in Alberta. What I witnessed today was people desperate for definitive compassionate leadership.
Desperate.
It will get worse before it gets better. This I know. I need to believe it WILL get better though. I need to.”

I heard this story on the radio while driving into work this morning.  I had hoped I had misheard the announcer when they said that health care workers had been verbally assaulted and in some cases physically assaulted while doing their jobs.

But sadly, no.

“Crowds of people opposed to COVID-19 vaccinations clogged the streets of Vancouver and demonstrated outside hospitals across B.C. on Wednesday afternoon, earning the indignation of some political leaders.

According to police estimates, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside hospitals in Vancouver, Kelowna, Kamloops, Victoria, Prince George, Nanaimo and in other Canadian cities.

The protests were organized by Canadian Frontline Nurses, a group founded by two Ontario nurses who have promoted conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and attended rallies in the U.S. for those who think the pandemic is a “fraud.” In posters for the event, dubbed “worldwide walkout,” the group urged supporters to “stand up for freedom” and “reject the tyranny of mandatory vaccines.”

Unbelievable.

 

 

  “Protesters carried signs with slogans criticizing vaccine passports as a form of discrimination and chanted “freedom” and “crimes against humanity.”

By the early evening, one health authority was reporting a physical assault against a health-care worker. Island Health’s president and CEO Kathy MacNeil said some of the protests on Vancouver Island had disrupted people’s safe access to health care.”

You can’t go to school without the mandated vaccinations.  This is just like that, public health mandates are good for society.  These people are protesting for the freedom to spread Covid-19 to others, because of their monumental ignorance and gullibility.

  “What happened to our health-care teams today is not acceptable to me nor to the people and communities they serve. Our health-care teams deserve respect and support, no matter what personal beliefs we hold.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix described the protests as “despicable.”

“The nature of the protest to disrupt people when they go to hospital, people who are going there for surgery or for other circumstances, or to visit loved ones or to be with loved ones when they pass away, to have a protest there is really not acceptable behaviour,” he said.”

It is not the people at the hospitals that are ‘ruining your freedom’ and ‘imposing tyranny’ on you.  Look at your political class.  They are making the call here and if you have issues with them, go protest at the legislature or city hall.  But stay the heck away from hospitals and health care workers who are doing their best (and have been doing their best for a very long time) to keep people alive during this pandemic.

The stupid people are now the deadly dynamos of this pandemic.

“We have a window of opportunity to rapidly accelerate vaccine uptake and close the protection gap in younger age groups.”

The number of cases in Canada each day grew from about 700 in early August, to almost 3,500 now. The vast majority of cases are among unvaccinated individuals, with Tam saying unvaccinated people are 12 times more likely to be infected and 36 times more likely to be hospitalized if they get infected.

New modelling released Friday showed if the current rate of transmission of COVID-19 remains the same, Canada could see more than 15,000 new cases a day by the beginning of October.

So, the ignorant are weeding themselves out of society, but at too great a cost for the rest of us.  It’s sad a I have to compile stories like this, I thought Canadians as a whole had a better grip on reality.

 

 

Canada is experiencing a fair amount of Covid fatigue.  The reception of news of the fourth wave seems like only a small ripple in the news.   Unsurprisingly the news isn’t particularly good.  The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel has gotten farther and dimmer as the delta variant of Covid 19 makes its rounds through the population.

“The country’s seven-day average for new daily cases is now close to 1,300 — an increase of nearly 60 per cent over the previous week, with cases ticking back up mainly in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.

“We’re absolutely in the fourth wave,” said Dr. Peter Juni, who is the scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. “There’s no doubt about that.”

But unlike previous waves, which overwhelmed various hospital systems and led to catastrophic death in long-term care facilities, there is hope this spike won’t be quite so dire.”

Do we have the pandemic under control?  I think much of that answer to that will depend on how willing Canadians are to get fully vaccinated.

“High vaccination uptake across the country has changed the game: Roughly 60 per cent of Canadians are now fully vaccinated, and research continues to show leading vaccines offer high levels of protection from serious illness, even against the fast-spreading delta variant.”

“The point is we can’t go back to normal,” said Juni. “Because we continue to have a challenge with the large proportion of people who remain unvaccinated.”

As usual, we have the crowd that arduously shout about how their personal freedom is being impinged upon by pubic health measures.  This is the segment of the population that will knowingly or unknowingly cause the pandemic to drag on for much longer than necessary.

“Unprotected individuals around the world have proven vulnerable to the highly contagious delta variant in recent weeks, with surges of cases — including serious infections and deaths — in areas of low vaccine coverage, ranging from entire regions in Africa to certain U.S. states.

“This is going to overwhelmingly be a disease of unvaccinated Canadians and under-vaccinated populations,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician and member of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force.”

The Delta variant is kicking the ass of un-vaccinated populations, not only in Canada, but world wide.  It is very much a personal responsibility/consequences issue.  It’s just that in this case the vaccine hesitant are, in my opinion, are acting irresponsibly and unfortunately the consequences can be quite dire.  No one should have to suffer intubation or the Long Covid when we have the means of preventing the majority of such outcomes.

“With early signs of a delta-driven wave beginning and the fall approaching, efforts to increase the proportion of fully vaccinated Canadians and reinforce individual precautions per local public health advice are crucial to reducing virus spread and lowering the risk of a resurgence that could lead to health-care capacity being exceeded this coming fall and winter,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, in a statement on Tuesday.”

Let’s make this pandemic as short as possible and continue to follow the best evidenced based public health practices.

 

 

 

I’m flabbergasted.

 

You won’t have to isolate or quarantine if you test positive for Covid?  I think Dr.Hinshaw has finally given in to the political machinations she’s had to fight against during the UCP’s legendary mishandling of the pandemic in Alberta.

 

No masking required in schools?  Or in public transportation?

 

It is discouraging when your government decides that the best possible policy course is going to be “survival of the fittest”.  People who are immune compromised or other vulnerable populations can apparently go fuck themselves.

I won’t be taking part in any of the freshly reopened economy.  I will continue to distance and mask for the protection of myself and others.

 

See you in the 4th wave.

 

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