Freddie Sayers and Julia Hobsbawm debate Adam Boulton on Sky
The panelists found unexpected agreement about Neil O'Brien's Covid website
UnHerd’s Executive Editor was on Sky News’ The View this morning with Adam Boulton and Julia Hobsbawm, and the discussion turned to Neil O’Brien MP’s ‘anti-virus’ website…
The interview starts with a fallacy from the interviewer – he suggests its a forgone conclusion that Lockdowns reduce the virus, frankly that is still up for debate with evidence that it does being largely circumstantial – in the UK they have been imposed after the peak in infections and areas where they have never been imposed haven’t seen markedly worse outcomes than elsewhere etc (we all know the arguments). Apart from that though, the ethical debate is a long way from being resolved – or even being had!
The interviewer (I will charitably assume he is playing devil’s advocate) otherwise seems to be under the impression that the biggest problem we have in our societies is disinformation. It isn’t – its censorship that leads to lack of scrutiny that leads to rumour and suspicion and – ultimately – conspiracy theories.
This is not difficult to understand. As for Neil O’Brien, he should have the courage of his convictions and take Carl Heneghan up on his offer of a debate.
We all know the reason he wouldn’t though – its got nothing to do with ‘not wanting to give his opponents the oxygen of publicity’. Its because Neil O’Brien would lose.
True, although I feel you’re being more charitable than the odious and dishonest Adam Boulton deserves
Best will in the world, there are two enormous reasons for avoiding this interview
I assume Boulton is one of them, and that is quite enough reason to avoid it. I don’t know anything about Julia Hobsdawn. Is she related to the Marxist historian? If so, then I guess that is another good reason not to waste any time on this.
Yes, she’s his daughter; and yes, she and Boulton are the enormous reasons to avoid the interview.
Indeed, although even leaving aside her parentage her CV is all you need to know about her
Too little understanding* of the issue exhibited by the contributors, as usual. In fact there are very good reasons why the fallacious arguments of the intransigent pseudoskeptics listed at covidfaq.co should not be heard – except in the context of a “debunking”. That they’re in some ways different to the more brazen nonsense of e.g. a Trump is a red herring and it’s absolutely right that the public be warned about them.
* Presumably due to unfamiliarity with the literature on [combating] misinformation, the ethics of inquiry and belief etc.
I am not sure I get the point of the interview. Was that it or does it go on? Or maybe I need to watch what was said before for some context.
They start with the push-pull, move on to Fraser Nelson and finish with this Neil O’Brian, who I never heard of before.
As Sam Bowman (who’s also a contributor to the antivirus site) says, Nelson wrote exactly the same sort of thing against the everyone’s favourite epidemiologist in the Spectator, so it’s a bit rich for him to criticise a website pointing out Heneghan’s errors. It’s the usual pattern with these so-called “liberterian” free speech advocates: “We want more free speech!” people criticise them “This is censorship! Cancel culture! We need state intervention to prevent private websites removing our accounts!”
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