Pandemic Lessons Learned: Scientific Debate Silenced, With Deadly Consequences

February 5, 2022 Updated: February 20, 2022

Commentary

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines science as “knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation.” So science is human knowledge of facts, which has nothing to do with human intention or politics.

Yet Mao Zedong said in 1940 that “Natural science is one of man’s weapons in his fight for freedom.” In Mao’s China, science became a tool for the communist leader and his comrades to conquer the world and achieve their “freedom.”

For my purposes here, I will call fact-based science Objective Science and Mao’s totalitarian science Subjective Science.

My Sister Didn’t Have to Die

I lost two brothers to infectious diseases, and one sister to famine.

I am the ninth and the youngest child in my family, and I was named Jiu (meaning “ninth” in Chinese). But three of my siblings died very young. Two boys died from unknown infectious diseases days after they were born, and a girl, Zhen, died from malnutrition during the Great Famine in 1960 when she was only 3 years old.

Life was tough growing up during China’s Culture Revolution, to put it mildly. However, life was also very beautiful, as I enjoyed the love of my parents and my siblings. I thought it was so unfair that my two brothers did not make it. As for Zhen, it was unfortunate, but the Great Famine was a natural disaster, as we were told by the government. There was nothing anyone could have done about it.

I did not want the tragic death of my brothers to ever happen to another defenseless child, so I devoted my scientific career to vaccine development. Thanks to the well-tested, safe, and effective vaccines that have been developed, we see far fewer children die from infectious diseases today than 70 years ago.

Epoch Times Photo
A small group of Chinese youths walk past several dazibaos, communist revolutionary placards, in downtown Beijing during the Cultural Revolution in February 1967.  (Jean Vincent/AFP via Getty Images)

As a vaccine research scientist in Canada, I realized my dream of advancing fact-based science to reduce the child mortality rate. Also, unlike in China, where information the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deems harmful is censored, I had access to uncensored information in Canada. That’s how I discovered a phenomenon that could be more deadly than any infectious disease: Subjective Science.

I learned that my sister Zhen did not have to die; she would have lived if it wasn’t for Mao’s insane Great Leap Forward campaign. Many families in our village died with no survivors, while my family was one of the luckiest with only one dead.

And it was a good harvest year! After the start of the Great Leap Forward in 1958, in order to please their superiors, local communist officials exaggerated the reporting of their agricultural output, sometimes 10 times or more than the real output. They then had to collect the harvest in its entirety as tax, leaving nothing for the farmers. The Great Famine was largely man-made.

There were scientists and scholars who voiced their disbelief about the reported figures. However, they were labelled as rightists and anti-revolutionists and silenced. Some were executed.

As a direct result of the communist propaganda and the controlled narratives based on political campaigns that ignored common sense and scientific findings, millions of people like Zhen died. The agricultural experts who verified and praised the fake reports, representing the science as Mao wanted them to, were practising Subjective Science.

Some may argue that even though the Great Leap Forward was an abysmal failure, the CCP has changed. Today, CCP officials are well-dressed, smart businesspeople. Nobody would stoop to verifying fake reports, even if pressured by their superiors.

Well, I wanted to believe that too. But in essence, today’s CCP is the same as it was back in 1958. All you have to do is look at how they handled the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in December 2019 and January 2020. They still practice Subjective Science. Facts are not important. The CCP’s narratives are the only allowed thoughts on SARS-CoV-2, be it the origin of the virus, human-to-human transmission capability, lockdown measures, etc.

Not only that. Since the pandemic, it looks as though the CCP’s Subjective Science had pervaded the United States and the free world.

Dr. Fauci: ‘I Represent Science’

On Nov. 28, 2021, I watched Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical adviser to the President of the United States, say on CBS’s Face the Nation: “It’s easy to criticize [me], but they are really criticizing science, because I represent science.”

I thought, how interesting, in China, science is used to serve the Communist Party. The CCP represents science in China. The CCP’s science is not to be criticized or questioned, but to be followed. If you criticize the Party, you are criticizing the representative of science. Now suddenly in the United States we have an individual who says he represents science! And anyone who dares to challenge him is deemed anti-science.

Science is about facts and truth. The interpretation of facts is often debated to reach well-thought-out conclusions. Research findings must go through a peer-review process before being recognized as scientific. When was this basic scientific principle replaced by CCP-style science, where a powerful and influential person claims to represent science, and therefore cannot be criticized?

In June 2021, after the contents of redacted emails from Dr. Fauci on the origins of COVID-19 were published, some things that had puzzled me from the beginning of the pandemic started to make sense.

I was a true believer in science and devoted my career to vaccine development for two decades, the second of which was with the largest vaccine company in the world at that time. I always believed in my fellow scientists as being noble, trustworthy, honest, and humble. So I almost fell out of my chair when I read a research paper in February 2020 on Nature Medicine’s website titled “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2.” It was written by Kristian Andersen (Scripps Institute), Andrew Rambaut (University of Edinburgh), Ian Lipkin (Columbia University), Edward Holmes (University of Sydney), and Robert Garry (Tulane University).

Creative rendition of SARS-CoV-2 virus
A creative rendition of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles. Note: not to scale. (NIAID [shorturl.at/hHKWY])
The authors showed that SARS-CoV-2 binds to human ACE2 much better than any computer programs predicted. “Thus, the high-affinity binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to human ACE2 is most likely the result of natural selection on a human or human-like ACE2 that permits another optimal binding solution to arise. This is strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of purposeful manipulation,” they wrote.

Excuse me? If SARS-CoV-2 infects people better than your computer predicts, then the only conclusion you can draw is that your computer sucks. How did these world-renowned scientists get the basic logic so wrong? And how did the prestigious publication Nature Medicine not catch that? Did anyone even read the paper before publishing it, not to mention peer review it?

This paper, as bad as it is, has been read 5.64 million times, referenced by 2,123 other papers, and used by authority figures such as Dr. Fauci to conclude that the debate on COVID-19’s origin is over, and label the possibility of a non-natural origin for SARS-CoV-2 as a conspiracy theory.

It seemed that the SARS-CoV-2 origin narrative had been decided upon—even when the existing facts did not support the narrative. The scientists took the existing facts and forced them to fit the preferred narrative, and also forced the general public to accept it, while silencing all other opinions and essentially banning scientific debate on the issue.

These scientists remind me of the agricultural experts in China in 1958.

Seeing what was happening in the science world, and the controlled narrative of the authorities on scientific matters, as a former proud scientist I was dismayed and distressed. I couldn’t believe prominent scientists like Kristian Andersen and publications like Nature Medicine could betray the very principle of science: telling the truth. Instead, they used people’s trust in science to silence scientific debate and advance their own narrative. This is Subjective Science, the Mao-style totalitarian science, at work in the free world!

I decided to write to Nature Medicine to complain about the paper and demand a retraction or at least an explanation. I sent my letter, titled “It is Premature to Conclude that SARS-CoV-2 Did not Have a Lab Origin,” by email on April 15 but did not receive a reply. Then I forwarded my email to Andersen, the paper’s lead author, with no response either.

Maybe I was being naive to question their science. It might have actually been their intention to use the facts to draw conclusions that are opposite to the facts, and drive the narrative directed by their masters—just like the so-called agricultural experts praising the fake reports in China during the Great Leap Forward.

It would take a corrupt system to do that. Is this really happening in America, I wondered?

Andersen’s Flip-Flop

Well, the Fauci emails accessed via Freedom of Information Act requests made public in June 2021 revealed what happened. On Jan. 31, 2020, Andersen emailed Fauci about the coronavirus, saying, “some of the features (potentially) look engineered.” The next day, a group of people, including Fauci and Andersen, held a secret teleconference. The Nature Medicine article concluding that “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus” was published online a few days later (and finalized on March 17, 2020).

Epoch Times Photo
Kristian Andersen briefs reporters in San Diego on Dec. 30, 2020. (The Associated Press)

We now know that in early February 2020, something happened to change Andersen’s opinion from “some of the features (potentially) look engineered” to “SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.” Sounds exactly like what Subjective Scientists would do.

Interestingly, after the publication of the paper—which was used by Fauci to silence all other voices—the main authors, Andersen and Garry, received an $8.9 million grant from Fauci’s NIAID on Aug. 17, 2020.

A win-win-win all around. But the taxpayers are the losers, the public are the losers, and potentially millions of lives are at risk due to this Mao-style Subjective Science.

It turns out I wasn’t the only one questioning the Nature Medicine paper. In January 2021, Dr. Steven Quay from Seattle published a paper titled “Bayesian Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Origin” where he revealed he had written to Andersen on May 25, 2020, questioning his conclusions. He didn’t get a response either. Instead, Andersen blocked Quay from following his Twitter account.

There are so many lessons to be learned from missteps during this pandemic, such as the rushed vaccines, the damaging lockdowns, the denial of sound early treatments, the disregarding of natural immunity, and so on. In my opinion, the most important lesson is that we must get back to science that is fact-based, Objective Science. Any scientific conclusions must be vigorously debated based on raw data, and no one should be allowed to claim to represent science.

Facts and truth are stubborn. They are sometimes slow in coming, but they do bubble to the surface eventually. Dr. Fauci and company tried very hard to suppress the scientific investigation that SARS-CoV-2 might have escaped from a laboratory. Now, it has become an accepted possibility, after all attempts to find a natural origin failed.

Natural Immunity

The issue of natural immunity and how it was cut out of the equation in the fight against COVID is another example of Subjective Science.

It is known to all scientists with even a slight immunology training that a person develops natural immunity after recovering from an infection. The protection afforded by natural immunity is what all vaccines strive to achieve; some do it better than others, but vaccines rarely surpass natural immunity. It was extremely anti-science to impose vaccine mandates on the millions in Canada and America who contracted and then recovered from COVID-19. Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control admits in a report released on Jan. 28 that natural immunity against COVID-19 is superior to any of the available vaccine regimens.

So what happens to people who lost their jobs because they refused to take the jab, but have recovered from COVID and are now immune? Why not adjust the vaccine mandate accordingly? Why are public health policies still dictated by a few people “representing the science” rather than by science itself?

It is refreshing, though, to see that the scientific community has started to awaken to the narrative-driven reports in scientific journals. For example, the prestigious British Medical Journal published an editorial on Jan. 19 titled “Covid-19 vaccines and treatments: we must have raw data, now.” It is a timely call and relates to the very core of the issue. In order to know the science, we have to have the facts.

But don’t expect to be able to peruse the raw data on the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines any time soon, as Pfizer has indicated that it will not begin entertaining requests for trial data until May 2025. We paid for the vaccines with our tax dollars (and many paid with their lives, as vaccine-related deaths do happen), but we’re asked to just take the vaccine and blindly trust the “representatives of science” like Dr. Fauci, without any kind of verification that the vaccines are safe and effective?

The agricultural experts in China during the Great Leap Forward did release their data, just no one believed any of it was real. I just hope people’s trust in scientists today is not in danger of plummeting to that point. Substantial changes in our scientific funding system are needed if confidence in science’s reputation is to be restored.

Before Canada and the United States become Mao-style communist states, we still have a chance to get rid of Subjective Science and restore fact-based, Objective Science. That will put us in a much better position to take on the next challenge Mother Nature may throw at us.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Joe Wang
Joe Wang, Ph.D., was a lead scientist for Sanofi Pasteur’s SARS vaccine project in 2003. He is now the president of New Tang Dynasty TV (Canada).