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Why we should welcome Joe Rogan’s RFK Jr debate

Joe Rogan offered to host a debate between RFK Jr. (pictured) and a critic

June 19, 2023 - 10:00am

Last week, the guest on the Joe Rogan podcast was Robert J Kennedy Jr. Among other things, Kennedy is a well-known vaccine sceptic and so Rogan was immediately criticised for giving him a platform.

One of those critics was Professor Peter Hotez, a leading vaccinologist, who took to Twitter to express his disapproval:

Rogan responded by offering to host a debate between Hotez and Kennedy. As an added inducement, he said he’d donate $100,000 to a charity of Hotez’s choice.

The professor was unenthused — and so a debate with RJK Jr. is unlikely to happen. However, Rogan has provoked a furious debate about the debate.

Many of the internet’s self-appointed rationalists are firmly against the idea. The general thrust is that a show-down with the “anti-vaxxers” would be pointless because “you can’t debate crazy”. Or, as George Carlin once said: “Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

Certainly, it’s hard to fact-check claims and counter-claims in a live setting — thus handing an advantage to the participant most willing to play fast-and-loose with the truth. What’s more, we’re not just talking about a contest of facts and logic, but also of rhetorical ability. There’s a risk that a skilled debater would run rings around a deeply knowledgeable, but less fluent, opponent.

On the face of it, live debates look like a bad way of settling scientific disagreements. However, what’s at stake here isn’t science itself, but political disagreement on scientific issues. There is a distinction. In politics, wrong ideas are less easily confined to the fringe. If we’ve got mainstream politicians claiming that men can have cervixes, for instance, then it’s vital that truth-tellers take a very public stand for reality. Ditto on vaccines, climate change and all the rest of it.

So, yes, the defenders of scientific orthodoxy should go head-to-head with the heretics.

Of course, we’re still left with the limitations of live debate as a format. How, then, would we stop each confrontation from descending into flailing chaos? As with boxing, the answer is rules. I’d suggest three in particular — plus a deal-breaker.

Firstly, no picking on weak opponents. Each side should be free to nominate a champion of their choice to do the actual debating. In this way, any gap in rhetorical ability could be minimised.

Secondly, factual claims — especially those that depend on specialist knowledge — should be limited in number and properly referenced. That would focus the debate on broad principles and logical consistency, while allowing the most important facts to be checked.

Thirdly, the debate should be open-ended, to give fact-checkers time to report back. Their job wouldn’t be to judge who’s won and lost — but to let the audience know if a key claim is disputed, has no credible source or is completely made-up.

Which brings us to the deal-breaker: everybody involved would need to agree on the fact-checkers. The fact-checking industry certainly does not have a stellar reputation — Covid has taught as us much — but independently-minded scientists might be suitable in the role.

Joe Rogan’s $100,000 offer is beside the point. Instead, he should focus on a creating a forum for debate in which BS merchants would be at maximum disadvantage. After all, who could object to that?


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

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Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago

People like Hotez should be wary of stigmatising dissenters. We owe all the benefits of modern civilisation to people who have challenged established narratives.

Not only that, but it is becoming clearer by the day that the policies championed by the scientific establishment during the pandemic have had catastrophic consequences everywhere.

A little humility is in order.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The big advances come from people who break with established wisdom, sure. Unfortunately most people who go against established wisdom are failures. For every original and groundbreaking idea there are tens of thousands of mistakes, not to mention flat-earthers, grifters, and cranks. Arguably modern medicine owes more to the people who cleared the pitch of faith healers and snake oil salesmen than to those who came up with the right ideas.

Championing your own hunch against the judgement of every expert on the planet may be worth a try, but it is an extreme long-shot, and the odds are very much against you. Maybe a little humility also from the anti-establishment brigade would not come amiss?

Last edited 11 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Dear Rasmus,
you are fully aware that many thousands of experts disagree that the pandemic was handled well at all. Best to admit that than argue disingenuously. Makes you look like an extremist.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
11 months ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

Or a troll.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
11 months ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

Or a troll.

Gorka Sillero
Gorka Sillero
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

” against the judgement of every expert on the planet”

said totally not in bad faith, aha….

Kelly Madden
Kelly Madden
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“Maybe a little humility also from the anti-establishment brigade would not come amiss?”
In the context of COVID, “the establishment” was “established” the day before yesterday, and it showed ZERO humility, or even official recognition of multiple blatant errors.
We cannot fault them for errors; that’s the nature of responsibility over so many unknowns. But your appeal to humility…?
Fauci and Collins suppressed information from reputable critics.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
11 months ago
Reply to  Kelly Madden

Exactly. If their approach wasn’t to silence critics, and in some cases run smear campaigns, they may actually deserve some humility back.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
11 months ago
Reply to  Kelly Madden

Exactly. If their approach wasn’t to silence critics, and in some cases run smear campaigns, they may actually deserve some humility back.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Have you not heard of the Great Barrington Declaration?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

@ several
OK, it depends a bit on exactly what it is we are discussing. If it is pandemic management, “against the judgement of every expert on the planet” is out of place, I’ll give you that. There was not much well-established expertise on either side, both sides had shortcuts and assumptions, and both sides had some serious contributors. It is not exactly obvious even now what, with hindsight, would have been the best approach.

If we are talking about people who claim that vaccinations cause untold diseases (like Kennedy or Wakefield), or who claim that COVID does not exist or can be easily cured by Ivermectin or Vitamin D or keeping a robust natural health, it is another matter. These people are backing their own hunches and ability to use a spreadsheet against pretty much everybody who understand the field. In general established wisdom (where it exists) is right most of the time, and it is very rare that heretics can do better. Giving equal time and respect to dissenters and heretics is not a way to advance knowledge. All it will accomplish is to fill the discussion with noise to the point that even the people that have something useful to say will be drowned out.

For the record: I admit to knowing little about what Kennedy has to say, but hear that he claims that the huge increase in Autism diagnoses is caused by childhood vaccination. Without considering the obvious alternative explanation that it is because the diagnostic criteria have shifted. For that alone I will classify him as a crank.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

conspiracy theories are just theories

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Dear Rasmus,
you are fully aware that many thousands of experts disagree that the pandemic was handled well at all. Best to admit that than argue disingenuously. Makes you look like an extremist.

Gorka Sillero
Gorka Sillero
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

” against the judgement of every expert on the planet”

said totally not in bad faith, aha….

Kelly Madden
Kelly Madden
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“Maybe a little humility also from the anti-establishment brigade would not come amiss?”
In the context of COVID, “the establishment” was “established” the day before yesterday, and it showed ZERO humility, or even official recognition of multiple blatant errors.
We cannot fault them for errors; that’s the nature of responsibility over so many unknowns. But your appeal to humility…?
Fauci and Collins suppressed information from reputable critics.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Have you not heard of the Great Barrington Declaration?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

@ several
OK, it depends a bit on exactly what it is we are discussing. If it is pandemic management, “against the judgement of every expert on the planet” is out of place, I’ll give you that. There was not much well-established expertise on either side, both sides had shortcuts and assumptions, and both sides had some serious contributors. It is not exactly obvious even now what, with hindsight, would have been the best approach.

If we are talking about people who claim that vaccinations cause untold diseases (like Kennedy or Wakefield), or who claim that COVID does not exist or can be easily cured by Ivermectin or Vitamin D or keeping a robust natural health, it is another matter. These people are backing their own hunches and ability to use a spreadsheet against pretty much everybody who understand the field. In general established wisdom (where it exists) is right most of the time, and it is very rare that heretics can do better. Giving equal time and respect to dissenters and heretics is not a way to advance knowledge. All it will accomplish is to fill the discussion with noise to the point that even the people that have something useful to say will be drowned out.

For the record: I admit to knowing little about what Kennedy has to say, but hear that he claims that the huge increase in Autism diagnoses is caused by childhood vaccination. Without considering the obvious alternative explanation that it is because the diagnostic criteria have shifted. For that alone I will classify him as a crank.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
11 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

conspiracy theories are just theories

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The key point here seems to me to be this – ‘what’s at stake here isn’t science itself, but political disagreement on scientific issues’
There has always been a very fine line between punditry and expertise. Academics, and particularly scientists have I think been slow to realise that distinction, particularly in a social media age. During the pandemic I heard much criticism (often misplaced) of ‘science by press release.’ Too many scientists seemed to think that somehow ‘science by twitter’ was a new standard.
A lot of people in this world would do themselves a service if there were to separate themselves from twitter for a meaningful period.
Science as in the scientific method is, for sure something we should all listen to the likes of Hotez about and be humble. That said, some scientists do give off the impression that scientific method is a substitute for an assessment of power and interests. It is not.
What the pandemic showed was that the advance of technology and the confluence of interests on the part of establishment institutions is not something that is settled as a matter of power relations. China has shown us where this ends up with its social credit ideas.
The internet’s politico-scientific pundits would I think do well to ask themselves how they would have reacted to AIDS had they had 2020s tech and the social media environment at the time.
Scientific debate should be had in journals – rightly so. Not on a tacky social media site. Political debate should be had by us all. Professor Hotez, like anyone else at large is a part of civil society. If he wants to say and think that aggressive political media has had a negative effect on our civil society then he can say so and I would agree with him.
So my thought: have this debate, but have it amongst a real cross-section of civil society, not a scientist-specialist and a controversialist.

j m
j m
11 months ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

I don’t believe that scientists are inhuman and not susceptible to corruption, self-interest, deception and even greed.
We have Robert Malone, but I would take RFK any day of the week over Malone. Why? Because we aren’t arguing about what is done in labs or some R&D facility. That is only relevant as context. What we are arguing about, is the marriage of politics and “science” that has taken place. We are talking about blatant, proven and obvious corruption.
RFK has done his homework as a non-scientist, and it is compelling. As s non-oil guy, or coal guy he took on large oil and coal companies. So what if RFK Jr didn’t have PhD petro-geology?
He has caught scientists in flat out lies and has a recording of one very prominent principal investigator selling out his conscience in favor of his reputation and in favor of continued funding from Wellcome Trust, Gates, et al. We already know Pharma’s track record. And the covid response took censorship off the rails!!!! With direct censorship from the White House itself — boasting in press conferences of how it was directing FB on what do do with “misinformation.” (aka – probable truth)
The scientific community is more in bed with political corruption now more than ever, and what needs to happen is the exact opposite of you are suggesting. What you are suggesting is to divorce ourselves from reality, and treat the two separately. The two, politics and science, seem to be less separate than they have ever been. An attempt to live in la la land because you want la la land to be real might feel good to you and really to all of us, but it is not reality. We all want science to be honest and independent, but it’s not.
Can you really believe Science himself (Fauci) is a scientists that is uninfluenced by politics? Get real.
Wake up people! RFK Jr doesn’t want a debate about science he wants to expose corruption. So I go back to where I started… “I don’t believe that scientists are inhuman and not susceptible to corruption, self-interest, deception and even greed.”
We need this and many other debates, otherwise the nonsensical trend toward greater politicization of science will continue.
Sam — want your ideal? Then we need to eliminate the corruption, so we can start to work toward the ideal you expressed.
A Debate between two scientists about a journal published paper doesn’t get us anywhere toward the goal of exposing corruption. We need somebody with a track record of going after and exposing corruption. That works best when you have an expert at exactly that, RFK , debating somebody who is clearly holding the “establishment” line.
Sorry it took me so many words. I know somebody could say what I just said better in just two or three sentences.

childe rolande
childe rolande
11 months ago
Reply to  j m

Really excellent post.

childe rolande
childe rolande
11 months ago
Reply to  j m

Really excellent post.

j m
j m
11 months ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

I don’t believe that scientists are inhuman and not susceptible to corruption, self-interest, deception and even greed.
We have Robert Malone, but I would take RFK any day of the week over Malone. Why? Because we aren’t arguing about what is done in labs or some R&D facility. That is only relevant as context. What we are arguing about, is the marriage of politics and “science” that has taken place. We are talking about blatant, proven and obvious corruption.
RFK has done his homework as a non-scientist, and it is compelling. As s non-oil guy, or coal guy he took on large oil and coal companies. So what if RFK Jr didn’t have PhD petro-geology?
He has caught scientists in flat out lies and has a recording of one very prominent principal investigator selling out his conscience in favor of his reputation and in favor of continued funding from Wellcome Trust, Gates, et al. We already know Pharma’s track record. And the covid response took censorship off the rails!!!! With direct censorship from the White House itself — boasting in press conferences of how it was directing FB on what do do with “misinformation.” (aka – probable truth)
The scientific community is more in bed with political corruption now more than ever, and what needs to happen is the exact opposite of you are suggesting. What you are suggesting is to divorce ourselves from reality, and treat the two separately. The two, politics and science, seem to be less separate than they have ever been. An attempt to live in la la land because you want la la land to be real might feel good to you and really to all of us, but it is not reality. We all want science to be honest and independent, but it’s not.
Can you really believe Science himself (Fauci) is a scientists that is uninfluenced by politics? Get real.
Wake up people! RFK Jr doesn’t want a debate about science he wants to expose corruption. So I go back to where I started… “I don’t believe that scientists are inhuman and not susceptible to corruption, self-interest, deception and even greed.”
We need this and many other debates, otherwise the nonsensical trend toward greater politicization of science will continue.
Sam — want your ideal? Then we need to eliminate the corruption, so we can start to work toward the ideal you expressed.
A Debate between two scientists about a journal published paper doesn’t get us anywhere toward the goal of exposing corruption. We need somebody with a track record of going after and exposing corruption. That works best when you have an expert at exactly that, RFK , debating somebody who is clearly holding the “establishment” line.
Sorry it took me so many words. I know somebody could say what I just said better in just two or three sentences.

Cate Terwilliger
Cate Terwilliger
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Exactly. Well and succinctly put.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The big advances come from people who break with established wisdom, sure. Unfortunately most people who go against established wisdom are failures. For every original and groundbreaking idea there are tens of thousands of mistakes, not to mention flat-earthers, grifters, and cranks. Arguably modern medicine owes more to the people who cleared the pitch of faith healers and snake oil salesmen than to those who came up with the right ideas.

Championing your own hunch against the judgement of every expert on the planet may be worth a try, but it is an extreme long-shot, and the odds are very much against you. Maybe a little humility also from the anti-establishment brigade would not come amiss?

Last edited 11 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Sam Hill
Sam Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The key point here seems to me to be this – ‘what’s at stake here isn’t science itself, but political disagreement on scientific issues’
There has always been a very fine line between punditry and expertise. Academics, and particularly scientists have I think been slow to realise that distinction, particularly in a social media age. During the pandemic I heard much criticism (often misplaced) of ‘science by press release.’ Too many scientists seemed to think that somehow ‘science by twitter’ was a new standard.
A lot of people in this world would do themselves a service if there were to separate themselves from twitter for a meaningful period.
Science as in the scientific method is, for sure something we should all listen to the likes of Hotez about and be humble. That said, some scientists do give off the impression that scientific method is a substitute for an assessment of power and interests. It is not.
What the pandemic showed was that the advance of technology and the confluence of interests on the part of establishment institutions is not something that is settled as a matter of power relations. China has shown us where this ends up with its social credit ideas.
The internet’s politico-scientific pundits would I think do well to ask themselves how they would have reacted to AIDS had they had 2020s tech and the social media environment at the time.
Scientific debate should be had in journals – rightly so. Not on a tacky social media site. Political debate should be had by us all. Professor Hotez, like anyone else at large is a part of civil society. If he wants to say and think that aggressive political media has had a negative effect on our civil society then he can say so and I would agree with him.
So my thought: have this debate, but have it amongst a real cross-section of civil society, not a scientist-specialist and a controversialist.

Cate Terwilliger
Cate Terwilliger
11 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Exactly. Well and succinctly put.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 months ago

People like Hotez should be wary of stigmatising dissenters. We owe all the benefits of modern civilisation to people who have challenged established narratives.

Not only that, but it is becoming clearer by the day that the policies championed by the scientific establishment during the pandemic have had catastrophic consequences everywhere.

A little humility is in order.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
11 months ago

The latest Fact-Checking outrage: a bike race in Ireland in which the Women’s Category was won by a man.
Here’s how “The Journal” fact-checked it:

A NEWS STORY claiming that a trans woman was currently leading the women’s category in a cycle race along the west coast of Ireland is misleading; the event is not a competitive race, and there is no women’s category.

Then, when you go to the website of the event, it is described as an “unsupported race”. There is a leaderboard and a women’s category, and in top place… is a biological male.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
11 months ago

The latest Fact-Checking outrage: a bike race in Ireland in which the Women’s Category was won by a man.
Here’s how “The Journal” fact-checked it:

A NEWS STORY claiming that a trans woman was currently leading the women’s category in a cycle race along the west coast of Ireland is misleading; the event is not a competitive race, and there is no women’s category.

Then, when you go to the website of the event, it is described as an “unsupported race”. There is a leaderboard and a women’s category, and in top place… is a biological male.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
11 months ago

I don’t really think debates are very good at getting to the truth of a matter however, post Covid all of this is up for discussion and if Hotez doesn’t want to debate he can at least go point by point and tell us where RFK jr is lying. Unfortunately he seems to just want to pressure Spotify into censoring Rogan which doesn’t make him look credible.

jim peden
jim peden
11 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

Yes, I agree completely. ‘Debate’ as in Parliament or the Oxford Union is about scoring rhetorical points over your opponent in a short theatrical contest. This kind of debate has no hope of reaching anything near the truth except by accident. It can only provide a ‘winner’ like a sports contest.
If Hotez is sincere then he would simply do as you suggest and address RFK Jr’s points one by one citing contrary evidence from verifiable and falsifiable sources. That would be a rational and reasonable way to proceed.
I wonder why that’s not happening.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  jim peden

Your point about rhetorical skill is valid, but it doesn’t discount the value of debates. In fact, we should have more debates with more people to reduce the influence of rhetorical skill.

I’ve watched at least a half dozen Oxford debates on climate change. The alarmist side has lost every single one. You can attribute a single loss to the rhetorical skill of the debaters, but not five or six of them.

j m
j m
11 months ago
Reply to  jim peden

But that is how political issues have long been dealt with. If covid-19 hadn’t been politicized through government lies, coercion and censorship, then I would be tempted to agree with your comment. But for a political issue like Covid-19, and in light of the goal — to expose corruption, a very public debate is needed.
If not a debate… what is your solution to exposing the corruption surrounding not only the covid 19 response, but the dozens of exposes made in “The Real Anthony Fauci?”
What do you suggest is the best way to shed light?
This world needs thousands of debates. Good, structured debates have the power to expose. That’s precisely what we need. Twitter offers an opportunity for people to speak for themselves, as do these comment sections. It isn’t surprising how most of the Big Papers don’t have a comment section at the bottom of articles. They couldn’t care less about what their readers think. The journalists want to simply tell us what to think. Listening is not something they are interested in. This type of self-protection is a breeding ground for narrow thinking.
Americans need hundreds of debates between high-profile leaders, scientists and other experts on critical issues. Thousands would be even better. You’re right that a single 45 minute debate will absolutely not get us to unanimity on an given truth. But, such a forum is powerful for reach, and for opening minds. The contest isn’t a negative, it is the point! 115 million viewers tuned into the Super Bowl live. An estimated 1.5 billion tuned into the World Cup. If people can understand that there is always two sides, we will have so many more critical thinkers in America. People will rely more on their own minds!
For as long as man has existed, there has been a propensity for leadership to strive for a monopoly, to spin, and censor and to strive for total control. Most of America’s 330 million plus citizens are victims to one-sided thinking. I just can’t think of a better medium than a high-profile, hyped-up debate between two experts with proven substantive arguments. If rules are in place that require respect and maturity, the power for good would be off the charts! They get more exposure, and people benefit from seeing both sides.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  jim peden

Your point about rhetorical skill is valid, but it doesn’t discount the value of debates. In fact, we should have more debates with more people to reduce the influence of rhetorical skill.

I’ve watched at least a half dozen Oxford debates on climate change. The alarmist side has lost every single one. You can attribute a single loss to the rhetorical skill of the debaters, but not five or six of them.

j m
j m
11 months ago
Reply to  jim peden

But that is how political issues have long been dealt with. If covid-19 hadn’t been politicized through government lies, coercion and censorship, then I would be tempted to agree with your comment. But for a political issue like Covid-19, and in light of the goal — to expose corruption, a very public debate is needed.
If not a debate… what is your solution to exposing the corruption surrounding not only the covid 19 response, but the dozens of exposes made in “The Real Anthony Fauci?”
What do you suggest is the best way to shed light?
This world needs thousands of debates. Good, structured debates have the power to expose. That’s precisely what we need. Twitter offers an opportunity for people to speak for themselves, as do these comment sections. It isn’t surprising how most of the Big Papers don’t have a comment section at the bottom of articles. They couldn’t care less about what their readers think. The journalists want to simply tell us what to think. Listening is not something they are interested in. This type of self-protection is a breeding ground for narrow thinking.
Americans need hundreds of debates between high-profile leaders, scientists and other experts on critical issues. Thousands would be even better. You’re right that a single 45 minute debate will absolutely not get us to unanimity on an given truth. But, such a forum is powerful for reach, and for opening minds. The contest isn’t a negative, it is the point! 115 million viewers tuned into the Super Bowl live. An estimated 1.5 billion tuned into the World Cup. If people can understand that there is always two sides, we will have so many more critical thinkers in America. People will rely more on their own minds!
For as long as man has existed, there has been a propensity for leadership to strive for a monopoly, to spin, and censor and to strive for total control. Most of America’s 330 million plus citizens are victims to one-sided thinking. I just can’t think of a better medium than a high-profile, hyped-up debate between two experts with proven substantive arguments. If rules are in place that require respect and maturity, the power for good would be off the charts! They get more exposure, and people benefit from seeing both sides.

j m
j m
11 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

RFK JR is literally BEGGING to be proven wrong. Why in hell is it so hard for the millions of so-called scientists and medical professionals to do that?

I have read dozens of articles, and browsed dozens more of headlines and articles of RFKs critics. And I have at times felt desperate to find some substantive argument to counter what RFK Jr has written. It’s been over a year now, and I have not found any substance. Mark Cuban’s comments the other day should make him the poster child (stress “child”) for the counters that I have read to date.
RFK Jr has already essentially listed every possible argument he would make in a debate in his books. He should be easy to beat!
When an opponent doesn’t show up, society doesn’t call it a “draw.”
Until somebody shows up, RFK is the undisputed winner.

jim peden
jim peden
11 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

Yes, I agree completely. ‘Debate’ as in Parliament or the Oxford Union is about scoring rhetorical points over your opponent in a short theatrical contest. This kind of debate has no hope of reaching anything near the truth except by accident. It can only provide a ‘winner’ like a sports contest.
If Hotez is sincere then he would simply do as you suggest and address RFK Jr’s points one by one citing contrary evidence from verifiable and falsifiable sources. That would be a rational and reasonable way to proceed.
I wonder why that’s not happening.

j m
j m
11 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

RFK JR is literally BEGGING to be proven wrong. Why in hell is it so hard for the millions of so-called scientists and medical professionals to do that?

I have read dozens of articles, and browsed dozens more of headlines and articles of RFKs critics. And I have at times felt desperate to find some substantive argument to counter what RFK Jr has written. It’s been over a year now, and I have not found any substance. Mark Cuban’s comments the other day should make him the poster child (stress “child”) for the counters that I have read to date.
RFK Jr has already essentially listed every possible argument he would make in a debate in his books. He should be easy to beat!
When an opponent doesn’t show up, society doesn’t call it a “draw.”
Until somebody shows up, RFK is the undisputed winner.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
11 months ago

I don’t really think debates are very good at getting to the truth of a matter however, post Covid all of this is up for discussion and if Hotez doesn’t want to debate he can at least go point by point and tell us where RFK jr is lying. Unfortunately he seems to just want to pressure Spotify into censoring Rogan which doesn’t make him look credible.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
11 months ago

Fact-checker is modern newsspeak for ‘left-wing curator’

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
11 months ago

Fact-checker is modern newsspeak for ‘left-wing curator’

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago

MSNBC is defending Hotez like a mother defends a baby. Hotez is afraid of a debate.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago

MSNBC is defending Hotez like a mother defends a baby. Hotez is afraid of a debate.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

We absolutely have to shed light on these controversies. I used to dismiss RFKs vaccine skepticism as unhinged, without really digging into his arguments.

While I still think he is wrong about vaccines, his concerns about the use of mercury in vaccines absolutely has merit. In fact, mercury has been removed from most vaccines now and his criticism has played a role in that.

However, autism rates have not declined since the removal of mercury in vaccines so it makes me skeptical of his claims.

Debating the settled science is always a good idea. We all have blind spots, including the experts, and the only way to expose those is through debate and discussion.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

We absolutely have to shed light on these controversies. I used to dismiss RFKs vaccine skepticism as unhinged, without really digging into his arguments.

While I still think he is wrong about vaccines, his concerns about the use of mercury in vaccines absolutely has merit. In fact, mercury has been removed from most vaccines now and his criticism has played a role in that.

However, autism rates have not declined since the removal of mercury in vaccines so it makes me skeptical of his claims.

Debating the settled science is always a good idea. We all have blind spots, including the experts, and the only way to expose those is through debate and discussion.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago

Fact checkers…..
One of the latest fact checks is hysterical.
‘Hysterical ‘ both in the sense of ‘funny’ and in the sense of ‘ranting madness’
The hysteria generated was in response to the mildest doubt about the efficacy of a vaccine. ‘The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine given to working-aged adults afforded modest protection overall against COVID-19 while the BA.4/5 lineages were the dominant circulating strains, afforded less protection when the BQ lineages were dominant, and effectiveness was not demonstrated when the XBB lineages were dominant.’

https://www.factcheck.org/2023/06/scicheck-cleveland-clinic-study-did-not-show-vaccines-increase-covid-19-risk/

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
11 months ago

Fact checkers…..
One of the latest fact checks is hysterical.
‘Hysterical ‘ both in the sense of ‘funny’ and in the sense of ‘ranting madness’
The hysteria generated was in response to the mildest doubt about the efficacy of a vaccine. ‘The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine given to working-aged adults afforded modest protection overall against COVID-19 while the BA.4/5 lineages were the dominant circulating strains, afforded less protection when the BQ lineages were dominant, and effectiveness was not demonstrated when the XBB lineages were dominant.’

https://www.factcheck.org/2023/06/scicheck-cleveland-clinic-study-did-not-show-vaccines-increase-covid-19-risk/

Katrina Collins
Katrina Collins
11 months ago

When I was a kid there were 5 vaccines on the childhood immunization schedule. Today there are 72 shots, with 200+ bacterial and viral strains. At the same time, when I was growing up, I never heard of nor met a single child with autism. Today we are moving towards 1 in 35. There were no children with severe food allergies either.

Katrina Collins
Katrina Collins
11 months ago

When I was a kid there were 5 vaccines on the childhood immunization schedule. Today there are 72 shots, with 200+ bacterial and viral strains. At the same time, when I was growing up, I never heard of nor met a single child with autism. Today we are moving towards 1 in 35. There were no children with severe food allergies either.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago

“So we partnered with a group at the New York Blood Center and the Galveston National Laboratory to take on the big scientific challenge of coronavirus vaccines. And I say a scientific challenge because one of the things that we’re not hearing a lot about is the unique potential safety problem of coronavirus vaccines.
This was first found in the early 1960s, with the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines that–and it was done here in Washington with the NIH and Children’s National Medical Center, that some of those kids who got the vaccine, actually did worse, and I believe there were two deaths as–in the consequence of that study.
Because what happens with certain types of respiratory virus vaccines, you get immunized, and then, when you get actually exposed to the virus, you get this kind of paradoxical immune enhancement phenomenon. And what–how–and we don’t entirely understand the basis of it, but we recognize that it’s a real problem for certain respiratory virus vaccines. That killed the RSV program for decades.
Now the Gates Foundation is taking it up again, but when we started developing coronavirus vaccines, and our colleagues, we noticed in laboratory animals that they started to show some of the same immune pathology that resembled what had happened 50 years earlier, so we said, oh, my God, this is going to be problematic.”
TESTIMONY OF PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR AND DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, AND CO-DIRECTOR, TEXAS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT
MARCH 5, 2020

https://www.congress.gov/event/116th-congress/house-event/LC65168/text?s=1&r=1

Last edited 11 months ago by Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

Look to 0rf for the amusing version:
https://twitter.com/0rf/status/1669030822215655436?s=20

tardigrade
tardigrade
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

Read Hotez’s complete statement. Much as I dislike defending Hotez, there’s more to it than what you’ve quoted.
He also warns about Pharma “flipping around” their new technology to something more profitable. Interesting.
p.s. I still loathe Hotez.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

Look to 0rf for the amusing version:
https://twitter.com/0rf/status/1669030822215655436?s=20

tardigrade
tardigrade
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

Read Hotez’s complete statement. Much as I dislike defending Hotez, there’s more to it than what you’ve quoted.
He also warns about Pharma “flipping around” their new technology to something more profitable. Interesting.
p.s. I still loathe Hotez.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago

“So we partnered with a group at the New York Blood Center and the Galveston National Laboratory to take on the big scientific challenge of coronavirus vaccines. And I say a scientific challenge because one of the things that we’re not hearing a lot about is the unique potential safety problem of coronavirus vaccines.
This was first found in the early 1960s, with the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines that–and it was done here in Washington with the NIH and Children’s National Medical Center, that some of those kids who got the vaccine, actually did worse, and I believe there were two deaths as–in the consequence of that study.
Because what happens with certain types of respiratory virus vaccines, you get immunized, and then, when you get actually exposed to the virus, you get this kind of paradoxical immune enhancement phenomenon. And what–how–and we don’t entirely understand the basis of it, but we recognize that it’s a real problem for certain respiratory virus vaccines. That killed the RSV program for decades.
Now the Gates Foundation is taking it up again, but when we started developing coronavirus vaccines, and our colleagues, we noticed in laboratory animals that they started to show some of the same immune pathology that resembled what had happened 50 years earlier, so we said, oh, my God, this is going to be problematic.”
TESTIMONY OF PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR AND DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, AND CO-DIRECTOR, TEXAS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT
MARCH 5, 2020

https://www.congress.gov/event/116th-congress/house-event/LC65168/text?s=1&r=1

Last edited 11 months ago by Mark Goodhand
Kelly Madden
Kelly Madden
11 months ago

“After all, who could object to that?”
It’s not actually a rhetorical question. Watch and see how many DO object.

Kelly Madden
Kelly Madden
11 months ago

“After all, who could object to that?”
It’s not actually a rhetorical question. Watch and see how many DO object.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago

It’s rare for Peter Franklin to post an article I agree with, but I can’t find much to fault here. Credit where due.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
11 months ago

It’s rare for Peter Franklin to post an article I agree with, but I can’t find much to fault here. Credit where due.

J Mo
J Mo
11 months ago

Hotez, the self professed “junkfood-aholic”, looked like a bit of a fool when on JRE and Joe pressed him about why he’s not interested in healthy living and prevention rather than cure when it comes to health, so I’m not really surprised he doesn’t want to debate the lawyer RFK Jr.

J Mo
J Mo
11 months ago

Hotez, the self professed “junkfood-aholic”, looked like a bit of a fool when on JRE and Joe pressed him about why he’s not interested in healthy living and prevention rather than cure when it comes to health, so I’m not really surprised he doesn’t want to debate the lawyer RFK Jr.

Robin Greenhalgh
Robin Greenhalgh
11 months ago

Maybe Hotez should read Dr Alexandra Henrion Caude’s book written in french, although she’s got a phd in genetics from Harvard, about Messenger ARN vaccines. Think he’d probably be more humble!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago

Again, A post gets a number of answers, several downvotes, and just disappears many hours after being put up. Are you removing posts just for being downvoted? If so, please say it outright, so we know that this is just another herd.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
11 months ago

Again, A post gets a number of answers, several downvotes, and just disappears many hours after being put up. Are you removing posts just for being downvoted? If so, please say it outright, so we know that this is just another herd.