Vinay and I dive deep on the latest censored antithesis hero while trying to make sense of sense-making in general.

Here’s Vinay’s piece on this in Unherd.

And here’s the Rebel Wisdom episode on sense-making that I referenced.

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Full Transcript Below!

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– [Zubin] Hey everybody, welcome to The VPZD show. I’m one of your hosts, Dr. Zubin Damania. I’m a hospitalist and internet guy? What do you think, VP?

– [Vinay] And a graduate of UCSF, and a former Stanford faculty member. A lotta things, lotta things in the past life.

– [Zubin] Thanks for fluffing me, thanks for fluffing me. How ’bout you? You are a UCSF assistant professor, associate professor?

– [Vinay] Associate, don’t you take that away from me.

– Oo, sorry.

– [Vinay] Don’t take that away from me.

– I clipped you down.

– [Vinay] That is an important change in letters. Yes, I’m an associate professor in epidemiology and biostatistics, and I’m a HemOnc doctor. And what else? I dunno, I run a lab called VK Prasad Lab. We do health policy research. And I do this with you. Mostly for my own entertainment. That’s what I do it for.

– [Zubin] Hey, don’t you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby. You know, I gotta say this. You’ve been very outspoken lately, doing a lot of great work that has generated, of course, the usual controversy. But the thing you addressed is something that I have been talking about intermittently, but it’s the Joe Rogan, Robert Malone, Peter McCullough stuff. So, the big interview.

– Yes, let’s get into it.

– [Zubin] Let’s get into it. Now, why are we even talking about this? So this guy Robert Malone, who claims to have invented-

– mRNA.

– The question mark. Yeah, exactly.

– [Vinay] Invented the question mark. Dr. Evil! Dr. Evil speech.

– Dr. Evil. He made outlandish claims, like he invented the question mark. Yeah, so he claims that he invented mRNA, and as a result, he has the authority to speak about vaccines, and he’s made some interesting claims that I think you’ve talked about, I’ve talked about. We’re gonna get into it in detail today. But why does it matter? Because Rogan has a lot of reach and a lot of people are talking about this. And I think there are many people who are convinced not to vaccinate, either adults or children, based on what he said. Now, you and I have both had a kind of nuanced take on kids and COVID vaccines, and myocarditis, and that kind of thing.

– And mandates. We’re nuanced on mandates.

– [Zubin] We’re nuanced on mandates. We’re nuanced on any kind of actual policy that, yeah.

– [Vinay] But on advising adults to get vaccinated, we are unanimous.

– [Zubin] We are united, yes. So, let’s talk about this. How do you wanna start? Because this is a morass that many have feared to tread in. And it doesn’t behoove us when the mainstream sort of physician community, like the 270 doctors that signed a petition to say-

– [Vinay] You mean, like, 55 doctors and, like, 80 fake people or something, it looks like. I think the petition is crumbling. Yeah, I don’t know, I saw some news reports saying that they’re not all doctors, and it’s kind of, yeah.

– Ah. You know, they said that about Great Barrington, too. They’re like, these aren’t really scientists, they’re all, like, this or that-

– But they had 11,000 signatures, you know, so I’m sure some were fake, but yeah.

– [Zubin] Some where fake, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, the idea that these 278 physicians are calling out Rogan and saying you need to, or Spotify, you need to de-platform Rogan for platforming this guy. How ’bout this? How ’bout a direct point by point rebuttal to what the guy is saying? Because that’s actually a good use of your time.

– [Vinay] Yeah, so, that’s really well put. And I think that’s what led me to do this for Unheard Magazine, and maybe we’ll put a link in the show notes to this article. But, you know, basically I sat down and I listened to both episodes twice. You know, I listened to it a little bit faster than one time speed, but I listened to both twice.

– [Zubin] You need a prize for that, dude.

– [Vinay] Yeah, it’s like three hours plus three hours, plus three hours, plus three hours. You know, but maybe I got through it in, I dunno, six, seven hours. And then as I was listening the second time, I took notes. And my notes were basically like, oh, he said this, he said this, he said this, and McCullough said this and this and this. And then I put ’em together and I tried to say let’s put this in a bucket, this in a bucket. And I really wanted to, like, do a fair job of actually summarizing what they actually say, which I think is the first rule of proper scholarship and debate. And then what I wanted to do was say, you know, is there anything they’re getting right. And if so, what. And I actually thought there’s a lot they get right. And actually it is good that they’re saying. And then I also saw, is there some that they’re getting wrong and what is that. And there’s a lot they get wrong. And so, you know, I just fundamentally don’t believe. First of all, writing a letter that we should de-platform Joe Rogan, are they crazy? I mean, let’s just talk about that for a second. Let’s say hypothetically, Spotify cancels their most popular act. Sure, maybe they’ll do that. Maybe they’ll do that, they’ll cancel the guy with, what, six million downloads an episode, or seven million an episode. Maybe they’ll do that. And then what? What will Joe Rogan do? Joe Rogan could hang a shingle out in front of his house and he’ll get a million people to sign up to that shingle.

– [Zubin] Easily.

– [Vinay] Easily. You can’t silence this guy. And you shouldn’t want to, actually. You should want to give him credit where credit is due. And I think he does deserve some credit. He’s an open-minded guy. He’s often quite funny. He is a comedian. And he’s a good interviewer. You know, I’ve heard him interview Neil deGrasse Tyson, and some other, Brian Greene. It’s spectacular interviews on science.

– [Zubin] Oh yeah, those are great, yeah, yeah, yeah.

– Great, yeah. You know, he allows people a forum to talk. And, you know, he is willing to change his mind and willing to engage in dialogue. And I don’t know, I think, you know, it’s not for me to decide should he have had these two on. But these two people were canceled from other platforms, which is what naturally led them to, you know, get that extra bump to get on his show. And now it’s clear that that has backfired. And by canceling Malone and McCullough, you have actually amplified Malone and McCullough in, you know, an order of magnitude more.

– [Zubin] Yeah, absolutely. And the bottom line is canceling just doesn’t work. If your goal is to shut people up, it won’t work. If your goal is to get attention to yourself and show your righteousness, that will work for a second in your own tribe. That’s it.

– In your own tribe, yeah.

– [Zubin] So the whole cancel thing is nonsense, and we’re seeing it now. So, okay, so now because-

– Yeah, you gotta do cleanup. Yeah, go on.

– [Zubin] Yeah, because people tried to de-platform these guys, you and I are stuck with the painful job of watching hours of this shit and then going through, and point by point. So let’s do it.

– [Vinay] And I’m gonna alternate it for you, something he says right and something he says wrong. Is that fair?

– Perfect. Let’s do it. And we may disagree on what he says right.

– Okay.

– Who knows.

– [Vinay] That’s all the better. All the better. But I think, at least for a couple, I think we’ve talked about so much before that I think we’ll probably be in agreement, but maybe a couple we’ll disagree. So let’s talk about one thing, which is I think he gets right, which is that, you know, Malone says, quote, he’s talking about vaccine safety, quote, no discussion of risk is allowed, end quote. And he says, there are some people out there who, if any time you bring up vaccine safety, you’re labeled pejoratively an anti-vaxxer. And that’s used to stifle debate. And actually, this is the thing that I kinda gave him credit for. Because in the universe of vaccine safety signals, and it could have done many things, but there’s one safety signal that has become very important, and that’s myocarditis in boys between the ages of, let’s say 12 and let’s say 30. That was the important safety signal from Pfizer and Moderna. The other safety signal that was important was in women, after Johnson and Johnson, under the age of 50 and vaccine induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis. Those are two important safety signals. And they require, I think, you need to think differently about vaccinating those groups of people. So Malone, and to some degree McCullough, they talk about this. And what do they say that I think we’ll all agree on? Boys more than girls, Moderna more than Pfizer. Or maybe I said that, they didn’t say that. The precise estimates, I think, you know, they range from one in three to 6,000. And, you know, it has to do with how many doses you need. And I’ll say like, you know, I can’t tell you the gold standard right answer, that requires randomized controlled trials. But what I can tell you is if you’re a boy in that target age group and you get one dose, and then you had an Omicron infection before dose two, I think there’s an open question of whether or not you need the second dose. If you’re a boy in that age group, you’ve had two doses. Do you need a booster, question mark. And in fact, our friend, Paul Offit, you know, he wrote in the Atlantic, he told his own son, who’s in his 20s, don’t get the booster. I’m not convinced you need that. The other thought I think it leads to is should you space the second dose further out. Or, you know, for people who have had one dose and then recovered, is that enough? Or if they had natural infects and just got one dose, is that enough? And I think these are really important questions. Because the more you dose them with this product, they’re running the risk of mRNA every time you dose. But their risk of hospitalization and death, you know, there’s a huge reduction with that first dose. And each additional dose, we don’t know exactly, but it might modestly change that. But again, it’s the law of diminishing returns. So, the thing I give him credit for is, yes, we should talk about it. No, you’re not an anti-vaxxer for talking about vaccinating people safely. In fact, you’re called a good doctor. You and I have talked about it a lot. You and I are very nuanced about it. So that’s something I give him credit for. What are your thoughts?

– [Zubin] Yeah, no, I think you’re correct. What I will say, the nuance I’ll put into that is that he’s starting to frame, he’s using a sort of a rhetorical tactic, where he’s saying you can’t even talk about this. Anyone who talks about this gets shut down. But that’s a little disingenuous. It’s true, you get labeled an anti-vaxxer by, you know, hardcore thesis people who are trying to virtue signal. But the truth is, we’ve been talking about this. ACIP meeting notes are public. You can see how they debate in and out about myocarditis and these kind of things. Great Britain actually publicly says, you know, I’m not sure about vaccinating young, you know, five to 11 year old boys, you know. So the stuff is discussed. So yes, he’s right. It’s incorrect-

– Okay, fair, fair.

– To try to stifle debate. Yeah, but I do think that he’s over-blowing the lack of discussion, the lack of transparency.

– But let me push back on you on one thing, okay?

– Do it, do it.

– On this issue, okay? Here’s what I think. Let’s be honest. Over the last 10 years, you are one of the top five greatest proponents for vaccination in the media ecosystem, because you are a powerful social media personality, a doctor who has advocated for vaccines for a decade. For more than a decade. Is that fair to say? You’ve had Paul Offit on your show, 10, 20 times, maybe. I don’t know how many times.

– [Zubin] Yeah, I had him on the show to the point where, physically in the studio, anti-vaxxers were banging on, they figured out where we were, they echo-located us using bat signals, and came and actually started pounding on the window while we were doing a live show. That’s how much of a-

– Wow, that’s scary.

– [Zubin] That’s my pro-vaxx credentials.

– [Vinay] Okay, so that’s point number one. You have been doing this for a long time, and you have been, I think, a great advocate for vaccination. Okay, point number two is you are somebody who’s talked about this issue. And you have a nuanced point of view on this issue, which I think is fair. And even Paul Offit does too, by the way. Okay, then point number three. The word anti-vaxxer is an epithet. It’s like calling somebody the F-word. I mean, it’s a nasty word, right? To call, right, I mean, to some degree. Okay, point number four. I have seen people call you that in recent weeks. Now, you know, and myself. So I guess the point I wanna make is that we are living in a really delusional place if ZDoggMD, the guy who’s basically been pushing vaccines for 20 years, you know, if ZDoggMD is an anti-vaxxer, then it’s like Neil Armstrong is an anti-astronaut. You know, like, what are we talking about anymore? What the hell are we talking about? This is crazy.

– [Zubin] I’ll say this. I cannot disagree with that. I’ll say this, what’s interesting is there’s a purity aspect to it, a religiosity to it. So on the, you know, vaccine advocacy side, you know, bless their hearts. And I say this not in the Southern way, like where it’s a pejorative. I’m saying it like I really feel bad. The position is hard because there’s so much mis- and dis-information, so much confusion, so many professional sort of activists that have been opposing childhood vaccines, that these people have a playbook that they’ve had to go by for a long time. Then along comes a pandemic where there’s some nuance, and they’re using the same playbook. And, you know, what’s interesting is the way they attack me is by a proxy attack on you. So because you ask about myocarditis, the attack on me is, look, we know ZDogg’s not an anti-vaxxer, but he sure platforms some anti-vaxxers. I’m like, so who are those?

– [Vinay] Yeah, who are those? Marty.

– Yeah, Marty.

– [Vinay] Dr. Marty Makary, the professor from Hopkins. Or Dr. Vinay Prasad, the guy who has vaccinated more people than I’m sure they have, because I vaccinate post-auto. Okay, sure.

– [Zubin] Exactly, so that’s the thing. It’s a purity issue. You’re not ideologically pure on it, therefore you need excommunication and-

– [Vinay] But I think that’s where Malone has the point, which is that like, you know, Marty and I, and Monica, I mean, what are we talking about anymore? We’re all doctors. We’re all doctors. We went to med school to help people, that’s our goal. We may disagree on policy issues. We’re all pro-vaccine. I mean, I don’t know if there, there may be a few doctors who truly fit the anti-vaxx label, who are, you know, categorically opposed to vaccines, but we’re all professors. What kind of a claim is that? You think we’ve been, like, lying and, you know, I don’t know, hiding out, waiting to say myocarditis after dose two? We were quiet about childhood vaccination for 10 years and, you know, giving it in clinic and all this stuff. You know, like, what do people really think? They really think we’re, like, secret anti-vaxxers? Are they crazy?

– [Zubin] You know, they literally do. They literally do.

– Yeah, I think they’re brains might not be working.

– [Zubin] Well, it’s delusion.

– [Vinay] Yeah, it’s delusion.

– [Zubin] Your piece was retweeted by, or re-featured in the Epic Times or something. And people-

– Yes, right, which I don’t control.

– Suddenly think, which you don’t control. You know, it’s actually a logical fallacy to attack someone with a guilt by association fallacy. And that’s what they’re doing. They’re saying, do you look at the comments on your videos? There are anti-vaxxers there commenting on your videos. Therefore you must be really resonating with the anti-vaxxers! And you’re like, wait, wait, hold on, take a breath. It’s because we’re actually talking in nuance that people who would never listen to us are now listening to us. And that’s why you and I, and Marty-

– And you’re meeting people where they are.

– [Zubin] You’re meeting people where they are, which is public health 101. They’re sending us emails saying you’re the only person who ever could have convinced me to get a vaccine. I am an anti-vaxxer. They self-identify as anti-vaxxers, and they’re going and getting the COVID vaccine because they finally heard a doctor who actually doesn’t speak to them like they’re idiots.

– [Vinay] But lemme make this point. But to Malone’s point, the fact that people look around and they see ZDogg is called anti-vaxxer by proxy, you know, Vinay Prasad, professor of hematology oncology, he’s called anti-vaxxer. When they see that, they see there’s a lot of academics out there who say, you know what, I just don’t wanna talk about it because I wanna stay out of this debate. So it does stifle debate. I do think-

– Oo, good point.

– [Vinay] You know, if you call people these words, if you call people words that don’t apply, you stifle debate. Anyway, so that’s his point. But let’s go to what he gets wrong, ’cause that’s more fun.

– [Zubin] No no, that’s good, that’s a great point. I’m gonna take that point as very well taken, yeah. Go for it.

– I mean, we’re on the same page on this, but okay. This is where I think, I was like, claim, Malone, McCullough, vaccines have lots of other dangerous side effects. So he says there’s, what about that boy with seizure and paralysis? What about it may have, quote, major threats to reproductive health for women. What about that? What about suppressing T-cells and then causing you to have cancers later, unusual cancers. You know, he said all these things. And I guess-

– Yes, he did.

– [Vinay] What I would say is, yeah. You know, obviously I think, how can I put it. I think that’s not good to say all those things. Because, in two ways it’s not good. I mean, one, it’s kind of irresponsible. Like, what if you got the vaccine and your big toe fell off? What if you got the vaccine and you developed gouty arthritis and it was really bad, ZDogg? What have you got gouty arthritis? I thought I heard about somebody. I heard about somebody got gouty arthritis. I mean, this is bad. I mean, one, there are infinitely possible things that could happen to you after vaccination. Some good, some bad. The burden is on people to kind of validate these things as linked to vaccine before you start going around telling people about what you worry about. And when you say that it might cause unusual cancers, and I’ve not seen any data that supports that claim, when you say that, you really do fearmonger, and you feed into that delusion that these things can do all sorts of negative things.

– [Zubin] Yes, and, okay, so this is where Malone triggers a bit of emotional response on me, which I’m gonna try to inhibit. I’m gonna inhibit my brainstem for once today. Because Rogan picks this stuff up, right. Rogan’s a smart guy, but then when you hear Rogan talk on his own about vaccines, he says, you know, I had a friend who was totally injured by vaccines, with the COVID vaccine. She started having seizures. And I had another friend who had this happen. And it’s like correlation, causation, complete disconnect from any standard of evidence to actually show that the vaccine caused that event. And Malone is in the same boat. So Malone, who, and I’m just gonna use this as an example. So Malone has made a video directly addressing parents. And in this video, he says, I’m Robert Malone. I’m the inventor of mRNA technology used in the coronavirus vaccines you are now being presented with. As parents, you are about to make an irreversible medical decision to inject your children with this jab.

– [Vinay] I did see this video.

– [Zubin] He’s using very specific language.

– [Vinay] I already watched six hours. You know, you wanna go back and watch more?

– [Zubin] I’m a masochist. I wanna see all, all of it. Well, so the point being is like, on Rogan, he puts one face on and he escalates slowly.

– I’ve heard people say that.

– [Zubin] Yeah, and then he goes elsewhere and he says this. This is exactly what he said. He said you’re injecting it in an irreversible way, making a medical irreversible decision. And here’s what you’re doing. You’re giving them a toxin, the toxic spike protein which will build up in their brain, nervous system, reproductive organs, and other organs, irreversibly causing toxicity. This is absolutely true. And you can never reverse it. So, think twice before you do this. And so what he does is really rhetorically interesting. He’s unopposed. No one’s challenging him. He’s identifying himself as the inventor of the thing that he’s now telling you not to do. He’s like, I have secret knowledge that you don’t have, which, by the way, is completely misleading. He was one tiny component. ‘Cause that’s another claim he makes, is I made this vaccine. I was at the tip of the spear, teaching Merck about the Ebola vaccine. It’s like, okay, that’s a nice claim. How do we back that up? Like, how do we show that? And the thing is, and this is another piece of it, right. He’s never been in an interview situation where any of this has been directly challenged to his face. He’s always been in friendly fire. And the only time he was challenged was recently, when Alex Berenson, who’s a vaccine skeptic, actually was on, they were on Fox News. And he said, you know, I think it’s really not helpful that you keep saying you’re the inventor of mRNA. It sets back our cause of questioning vaccines a lot. And I think it’s really unhelpful that you promote ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine when they really don’t work. And I was like, oh, snap! And you know what, Malone was so put off, he later, like, ranted and raved and was so hurt about it, that someone actually challenged him. And that’s my emotional reaction to Malone, right.

– [Vinay] I guess you’re right, I mean, okay, that’s fair. I mean, I guess I also don’t like to hear him keep saying I invented it, because I think it’s trying to prey upon truth by credentials or something like that. What’s the word?

– Yeah, credentialism, or appeal to authority.

– Appeal to authority, that’s the word, yes. It’s appeal to authority. And that’s not accurate. And I guess to be honest, I haven’t pulled all his PubMed papers and compared him to other people. I don’t doubt that he worked in the mRNA space, but I think it’s kind of a stretch to say you invented something. I mean, you really gotta be at the company doing the work.

– [Zubin] Exactly. And you and I both know that this is like standing on the shoulders of giants, like all kinds of people involved in these things. So somebody actually did go, a molecular biologist online did go and actually sort this out, and said, yeah, he had an early publication on wrapping mRNA in lipid to get it in mouse cells, looking at HIV. He had some patents on that that all expired, and the ultimate technology they used was different. He gave up on it. And I’ll say this, now this is very difficult, because this is where you get accused of ad hominem, right. But the truth is when someone’s going up there and speaking in absolutes, using rhetorical conventions that appeal to authority and so on, I think it’s reasonable to ask what are their motivations and what’s really going on with them, as the credible witness that you’re supposed to believe. And the truth is, his wife has said this, he said this. He was really, really upset that he did not get the lion’s share of credit for the mRNA technology. And he’s angry about it. And his wife has said so much. There was an Atlantic article written about it, that he called a hit piece and so on, and so you do need to ask this, just like people ask about us, like, what are our motivations. Are we looking for influence, are we looking for fame, are we looking for money, are we looking for truth, heaven forbid. It’s reasonable to ask those questions, right. I think. When you’re faced with this.

– [Vinay] Hard to know, but yeah, I guess, well, either way you slice it, he does say a lotta side effects that are very anecdotal, at best, and not really vetted, and it’s not really helpful. And I actually think the other thing it does is actually it takes away the focus on the one thing that we can actually try to mitigate, which is the myocarditis, which we could actually try to make safer. So I think it’s like a double whammy, right.

– [Zubin] You’re right, ’cause everything you said, maybe space the dose out, maybe give one dose, maybe have a talk about these. Certainly don’t give Moderna to people under 30. That’s not rocket science, that’s just good medicine! But no, you’re an anti-vaxxer.

– [Vinay] That’s what Germany’s done, Norway has done. You know, the kids five to 11, I think it is a tricky space, because as you know, the United Kingdom right now, if you’re five to 11 and you have a comorbidity, you’ll get vaccinated. But if you’re a regular, healthy kid five to 11, they’re not doing it. And Norway just announced that they’ve decided not to go forward with five to 11, they’re gonna hope they acquire Omicron and have a natural course. They think it’ll be more durable, and also that the risk benefit profile, they’re not convinced about. And so what I want to acknowledge is that, you know, he is playing into the fact that, although he never mentions European nations, which if anything might strengthen his argument, but I don’t know why he doesn’t. Because he plays into the different sorta fear motivations. Go ahead.

– [Zubin] Sorry, do you know why he doesn’t mention Europeans, because-

– [Vinay] No I don’t know, why?

– [Zubin] I’ll tell you. Because it would violate his rhetorical convention of saying nobody is talking about this, is fighting these bastards. And there’s a monolithic conspiracy to promote vaccination among young people. And he says this on Rogan. And the thing is, except for Great Britain, Norway. All these other European countries. The WHO.

– Interesting. That’s an interesting point, yeah.

– [Zubin] So that’s a piece of it.

– [Vinay] Yeah, and I guess the reason that I’m interested in this space is that I feel like in some regards they’re doing a better job and we could learn from them. Yes, I see, but it doesn’t feed into the convention that quote unquote no one’s talking about it. Okay, next point. The VAERS. You know, McCullough talked about VAERS, and he says I estimate there’s 45,000 people dead as a result of the vaccine. And, you know, this led me to do a little bit of a sort of an explanation of VAERS, which is of course a passive collection system. And, you know, in order to register events on VAERS, two things have to happen. One, a light bulb has to go off in the doctor’s mind who sees somebody post vaccine, and they have to submit a report. Those reports have to be aggregated. And then the next thing is those reports have to be compared against baseline rates of what you might expect just with time. And so, the two errors are, one, it’s under reported. Like, something happened that is attributable, but nobody filed the report. But the second thing that could happen is that things that were coincidental, that don’t have to do with cause and effect, but just had to do with if you vaccinate a lotta 85 year olds, Z, some of them are gonna die in the next week. Had nothing to do with the vaccine. They’re 85! Some are gonna die in the next week. So you need to subtract base rates. And, you know, I’m not sure how he did his paper. I haven’t seen his paper. I mean, it’s certainly not published yet. But, you know, it is premature. And it is, I think, unhelpful and also fear-mongering to go around saying that this vaccine killed 45,000 people. I disagree with that. I wouldn’t talk like that. Thoughts?

– Yeah, you’re being very kind to him in your professional language, which I think is very good. This is why you will go far in the world and I will not, because I’m just gonna say what I think.

– [Vinay] Okay, go ahead. Say it, say it.

– [Zubin] I’ll say what I think. He’s absolutely full of shit about that stuff, because of his methodology, right. Now, it may turn out that there’s subtle things that we’re missing, but he’s forgetting about Vaccine Safety Datalink. He’s forgetting about Prism. These are big systems of healthcare that are very invested in trying to find small toxicities and problems that show up. That’s how we caught, you know, the vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, which, by the way, it’s actually, over time, it’s been clear that it’s actually even a slightly broader population, both men and women, and up even into later ages. And that’s why CDC had to come back and say, you know what, now that we have these mRNA, we have more information, we’re really not recommending Johnson and Johnson. There’s a preference for, which, dude, like, that would be considered anti-vaccine sentiment a few months ago, what the CDC said.

– [Vinay] And I wrote an article saying a similar thing that they should do it. I think they’re slow to do it, and I still think they coulda done more forcefully. They could actually actively withdraw it from the market because there are safer alternatives. But you’re right. You’re right, it just goes to show you that if you had said that early on, it would be anti-vaxx, and now, you know, it is the standard, the law of the land. Law of the land.

– [Zubin] It’s the law of the land. One other piece I just wanted to talk about with Malone’s assertations, his propositional assertations that, you know, the spike protein builds up in the ovaries and-

– [Vinay] I don’t know what that means, I know.

– [Zubin] The nanolipids. So actually looked into this, I looked into this. So he’s citing a rat study where they injected, like, super normal amounts of the lipid nanoparticles. And lo and behold, they accrued in multiple organs. But even in that rat study, they looked at the tissues themselves and there was no damage to the tissues at all. And he makes a similar assertation that the spike protein used in the mRNA vaccines has never been tested for safety in humans, except in the randomized control trials and the preclinical trials, which he said didn’t happen, but they’re there. You can download them, they’re all there. So this is just straight up deceptive, right. And again-

– And I guess, lemme give another thing. Like, every day, people use shampoo. Every day, people sit on furniture with flame retardants. Every day, people drink from plastic Aquafina bottles. If you look hard enough, bits of plastic Aquafina bottle are in your blood serum. That furniture retardant is in your, I don’t know, adipose tissue. And, I don’t know, maybe something in your shampoo is in your eyebrow! I don’t know, I don’t know! But I guess the point is, like, but I certainly know that the flame retardant and then the water bottle, like, I think Nick, what’s this guy, Nick, the guy who’s running for governor, Nick Kristof. He had a nice piece on the water bottles shards in the bloodstream. The point is this. The point isn’t that, yeah, things end up in parts of the body, perhaps. Of course this study, as you point out, there’s a lotta things different than the actual vaccine. Supernormal, it’s a rat, et cetera. But the question is, what import is it? What does that mean? And of course it sounds scary. You don’t want it to end up there, right. I don’t want Aquafina bottle to end up in my bloodstream. But guess what? I was thirsty, I drank it, and what happens if I go out and to live a normal life? You know, did I really care? I don’t know. You know, what does it even mean? I don’t know! I don’t know, what is-

– That’s right. That’s why randomized control trials and different ways to look at this stuff that aren’t a rat model where you give ’em a butt ton of stuff and then, you know, talk about-

– And then murder them, and then sacrifice the rat, and dissect them, and then take a little piece of their tissue and put it in mass spec or whatever the hell they do. I don’t know how they’re even finding it.

– That’s exactly it. I don’t even know, but they gotta do it that way. So yeah, so anyway, so back to this.

– [Vinay] No, you’re right, you’re right, okay. Next one. This is one where he gets right. And you’re gonna give him credit, I think a little bit, which is that they have a point. They have a point that the US vaccine policy ignores the science on natural immunity. And I wanna put one thing in context, which I think people, their brains have difficulty understanding, you know, in every direction, which is when people compare immunity after vaccination to immunity after natural immunity, and they say natural immunity is more durable, that can be a true claim. But that does not mean it’s preferable to get sick with the virus than to get the vaccine. Because what it is saying, if you get sick with the virus, and if you live to tell the tale, then you have good immunity, true. But some people don’t live to tell the tale. They’re not in that dataset. And if you get the vaccine, you know, many many more people are living to tell the tale. Okay, so, for lots of people, it could be true. But even for a 95 year old who survived COVID, their immunity is stronger than a 95 year old who got vaccine, maybe. I don’t know that to be true, but it could be. But that’s not the same thing as saying a 95 year old should go get COVID. Okay, let’s make that point.

– Bingo, bingo.

– The next point.

– Very important.

– [Vinay] Yeah, but then the next point I wanna make is the corollary that people on the Covidian side don’t see, which is that, unfortunately, whether we like it or not, maybe a hundred million Americans have had COVID already. You know, that happened. Turned out that happened. And now that they’ve had it, and it happened, how are you gonna treat ’em? Do you need them to get three boosters? Do you need, even if they’re, you know, 20 years old, or 12 years old and they’re a boy, do they really need that? And that’s where the policy is broken as well. Which is that for people who have recovered, maybe they don’t need as many doses. Maybe, you know, there should be different randomized studies in those subpopulations. It’s not even a subpopulation, it’s a hundred million Americans probably by this point. So, you know, I do think, anyway, lemme go to your thoughts, and then we’ll go-

– No, okay, I’m a thousand million percent with you on this. And there was just today, CDC announced, CDC of all people said, hey, you know what, we have some data now that natural immunity may actually be better.

– [Vinay] They finally said it?

– [Zubin] Right, right, right, they said it. Now of course, my initial thought on that is, well so, like you said, what’s another reason natural immunity might be better, is because people who actually survive COVID have an immune system that is more robust at baseline. And so, if you compare them to a vaccinated cohort that hasn’t had that challenge, there’s some selection bias there.

– [Vinay] Yeah, you know what it should be? It should be natural immunity compared against people who get vaccinated and then complete Ninja Warrior. If you can get Ninja Warrior, then you’re the same. Then you’re, now it’s a fair trial.

– [Zubin] That’s true, that’s true. And they’ve eaten dirt as kids, and, you know, have a hygiene hypothesis going. But, you know, to your point about valuing, so, natural immunity versus vaccine, and should you go out and try to get the infection. So there was a story in my favorite medical journal, People Magazine, recently about a rather famous Czechoslovakian folk singer, who, I don’t know, I think she was in her fifties. And her son, they were in a band together or something. And she did not wanna get vaccinated. And her son had told the story after her death, that said, you know, she never said why, but whenever we’d talk about it, she would get very emotional. And in the Czech Republic, they have vaccine and immunity passports. So in order to go to venues and do things like that, you need to show either that you’ve been infected recently or you have been vaccinated. So one of her family members got infected and she decided I’m not gonna distance, I’m gonna stay with them, and I’m gonna get this so that I can have the immunity and then, you know, have my passport. And of course she died. She dropped dead in her bathroom, presumably of a clot or something. And so this is again, there’s two things to point out here. One is, okay, yeah, you don’t prefer the natural infection to the vaccine when possible, ’cause you never know if you’re the one who’s gonna drop dead. But the second thing is this poor woman felt compelled to obey some passport that’s gonna do nothing for transmission, and lost her life because of the purity rules of the religious overlords.

– Oh, you’re right. Oh wow, wow, yeah, you see both side failures on this, yeah.

– [Zubin] So both sides are in this woman’s story. And if you don’t feel love in the face of the suffering of that family, like, if you’re a pro-vaxx zealot, you’re just like, good riddance to her, she’s a dumbass.

– [Vinay] No, but you accelerated her death by with the stupid passport. And if you’re an anti-vaxxer, you accelerated her death by making her seek infection!

– Exactly!

– Yeah!

– [Zubin] Exactly! So, those of us superior beings in the Alt-Middle who are better than everyone, we would’ve done it right. Course we are. But you know what else I was thinking? I mean, that’s such a great story. I don’t know, maybe this is tangential. I was also thinking about, like, at some moment in the podcast, one of his podcasts, and I didn’t listen to this in full, Joe Rogan says that, you know, for some people, myocarditis after vaccine is greater than myocarditis after infection. That’s actually a true claim, that like, you know, among 12 to 30 year old boys who have had one dose of Moderna, if you get the second dose of Moderna, your risk of myocarditis is way, way higher than if you had developed COVID-19 infections even without any vaccine in your body. That’s just a true claim. Okay, so we need to get off the, but like, does that mean those kids should get zero doses, or, you know, I don’t know if that’s the answer. But I certainly think it should raise questions about whether or not they should be getting Moderna at all, and whether or not the dose two is adding much. That’s a question. But I think that the people on the one side who believe that the virus has to always be worse than the vaccine, need to acknowledge there are these tiny populations where that might not be true. You know, a boy who’s already had two doses of Moderna getting the third dose, what is that gonna do for him? You know, healthy athlete. Or two dose of Moderna and Omicron. You’re really telling me the third dose is preferable to just going out there on the street? I mean, come on. I don’t think that the third dose is gonna do that much. But, you know, it’s a really interesting dilemma. And, oh, the last thing I wanna say. The vaccine myocarditis, it shouldn’t even be close. Are you people out of their minds? It shouldn’t even be close. It’s supposed to be a whole lot safer than getting ill with, like, we shouldn’t be, like, nail-biting, and, like, was Joe Rogan right, lemme look at the bar. It shouldn’t even be close! That’s another point. It should be way, way, way safer. Yes, that’s the standard.

– [Zubin] Yeah, yeah. Now, I’ll say this, I’ll say, well, you know, there’s MIS-C, there’s long COVID in kids. There’s all these other things that you could say you’re preventing. I mean, I don’t know, I don’t know.

– [Vinay] No no, go on, go on. But it’s less with Delta, less with Omicron.

– [Zubin] True, true, true. Area under the curve, what’s the benefit, what’s the risk. And it’s age specific, it’s sex specific, it’s vaccine specific. Can we talk about that. That’s all.

– Yeah, and it’s dose specific, right. Like, first dose might be a lot of the MIS-C benefit, and then additional doses may not, yeah, right.

– [Zubin] Interesting, yeah, very interesting. And so, that’s what we should be talking about. And that’s where it becomes very frustrating and you empower these sort of Malone types, because you don’t allow those conversations. And again, it gets to the religiosity of it. So on the Covidian side, there’s a purity issue. Like you are impure if you haven’t vaccinated with a booster, whatever the tribe is saying, and double masked with a KN95 at age three or whatever, and you’re impure. Whereas on the other side, on the, you know, purported Covidian side, we’ll call them thesis and antithesis. On the antithesis side, it’s less insulting, it’s less pejorative on both sides. And, you know, this purity issue is one of, wait a minute, you’re gonna go full jihad on me and make me look like I’m in Riyadh and covering my face forcibly, right. That’s a liberty versus oppression thing. And also, here are the holy sacraments of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, which- Are sacred.

– [Vinay] Okay, but lemme ask you this, lemme ask you this. It’s interesting because the Covidiot side is largely, you know, they’re not in the mainstream media, and they’re not in universities. And I mean, you know, these are people pushed to, I don’t know, pushed out of, you know, a lot of society. But the Covidian side, this is Stanford university, my friend. The students are gonna get expelled from university if they don’t get boosted by the end of this month. You know, even if they’ve had Omicron. And then just yesterday, you know, Saagar from Breaking Points, so Krystal and Saagar tweeted out that there’s a Hopkins student who had had COVID and had vaccines, and he’s gonna be threatened to be expelled if he doesn’t get boosted by the end of the month by Hopkins. I mean, this is really crazy stuff that’s being enforced by our institutions, and people who are supposed to be smart! So I guess that should scare you, right? I mean, there’s always gonna be dumb people in society, but why are smart people doing dumb things?

– [Zubin] Yeah yeah, okay, this is a great thing to discuss. So, our institutions are medieval institutions dealing with humans that have paleolithic emotions. This is stealing from Daniel Schmachtenberger and Tristan Harris, who were on Rogan talking about this. And now we have technology that gives us God-like powers. So this is what happens, is the mainstream that are our medieval institutions are behaving like jackasses, right. But the antithesis group has God-like technology and the ability now to reach a lot of people that feel morally like they do in that tribe. And I think the difference is, it’s both terrible, right. But the difference is in the antithesis tribe telling people that, you know, these like Malone, telling people that these vaccines will kill you and give you cancer and cause infertility, that can directly cost human lives in people who are older with co-morbidities and at high risk and need to be vaccinated. So, I don’t know if there’s a false equivalence there, but I think-

– [Vinay] Yes, I think you’re right. Like, bad ideas can cost human life. But I guess the mechanism does not require the brute force of institutional apparatus, doesn’t require coercion from the state, doesn’t require coercion from a university. It just requires the susceptibility of people to bad ideas, which is, you know, ironically, everyday I look, I see people are incredibly susceptible to bad ideas in every direction on earth. So I guess, yes, I do dislike it when I know people who have delusional beliefs and these beliefs come from these, you know, bad entities. But I do feel even more aggravated personally when a university enforces a delusional policy. Just because I feel like, I don’t know, am I crazy to think universities should be held to a higher standard than the average blogger? I don’t know.

– [Zubin] Yeah. And how much of that, I have to introspect on this myself, because I’m with you on this. I feel the same way. But I’ll say, like, when I introspect, I go, well, what in my own bias actually causes me to veer one way or the other in terms of my loudest noises that I make. So when I’m screaming on my shows, it’s usually about that. It’s usually about like, I can’t believe this university is doing this crazy crap to these kids who just need to hang out together. And yet I’ve screamed about the sort of vaccine hesitancy side quite a bit. But I scream about it less. Now, what is that? I think partially it is this idea that our institutions should know better. Secondly, it’s because I live in the Bay Area, so I see that psychosis much more. But then I hear from doctors who live in the Midwest and they’ll say, Z, look, I’m with you on this Alt-Middle idea, but it seems like you really focus on these things. Is it because you live in the Bay Area and you’re seeing the disease there, and you’re not seeing the disease I’m seeing, which is people who are really poorly educated about this stuff, who are listening to Rogan and Malone and are going out and they get belligerent in the hospital when you talk about vaccines, and they get angry with you. And it’s because they’ve really been turned, you know.

– [Vinay] Okay, okay, I hear that.

– [Zubin] So I’m curious of your thoughts, I’m curious of your thoughts.

– [Vinay] Okay, one question though, which I don’t know the answer to is that, you know, people always say that like, yeah, I saw somebody whose mind was shaped by Malone. And what I wanna know is was his mind shaped or her mind shaped by Malone, or did they already have the inclination they didn’t wanna do it, and they just found a convenient, you know, puppet, or a convenient spokesperson for it. That’s one question. The next question , ’cause I will be honest with you-

– Information bias, yeah.

– [Vinay] I’ll tell you why my bias is the way my bias is. My bias is that, like, why. I’m a university professor. Who do I talk to the most? University professors. You know, I live in the university professor for several years pre-COVID, probably the majority of dinners I had were with multiple university professors, you know. Like literally the only crowds I hang out with. And I’ll use a non-COVID example. Progression-free survival. Progression-free survival is something we use all the time in oncology. It’s the time until tumors get bigger, there’s a new tumor on the scan, or the patient passes away. It’s a composite time to event endpoint. And the time to the tumor gets bigger, it’s 20% bigger. 20% bigger from the smallest it ever was. That’s an arbitrary size. Do patients feel good at 119% and bad at 121%? No, it’s arbitrary. Okay, so I have argued, not argued, I’m correct, it’s a surrogate end point. It’s not an end point of how a patient feels or functions. It is a stand in or surrogate end point for that. Every once in a while, I go to a professor dinner and some professor says progression-free survival is a clinical end point. It’s not a surrogate end point. And I say, “Why would you say such thing? “That’s just totally wrong.” And then I explain, I explain, and I explain where response rate came from, a 1970s dinner party where some old men were feeling marbles through foam rubber, and that’s why they got this- You know, I explain all this stuff. And then I show them the concordance data, multiple plots showing low R squared correlation, coefficient of determination values. I really prove that this is, you know, a weak surrogate at best. And then they still say to me, well, for some people it’s clinically meaningful. And then I show it has no correlation with health and quality of life. Again, they say the same. And then I just wanna say to them, I wanna say to them, you’re a smart person. You have two doctorates. And you still will not yield this point, my friend. Yield that you are wrong. Yield it! Why will you not yield? And so, I don’t know, that’s my bias, that like, how can this person have spent 25 years at Harvard and their brain don’t work. And even when I present data to prove it to them, their brain still don’t work. How is that possible? Meanwhile, I have sympathy for the person who, you know, society treated poorly, they never went to college. I have a lotta sympathy for such a person because I don’t expect them to be bringing the level of rigor I expect from the professor. And so when Stanford implements a stupid policy, I get much more viscerally angry than when random Joe Schmo. But that’s, maybe it is my bias. And now you got me to introspect on it.

– [Zubin] Nah, you know what? You actually articulated, I think, what I unconsciously felt to some degree. Same thing. When we see smart people who should know better behaving in a irrational way, we’ve had this conversation. The people who should really know better, you feel it in your chest. You’re like, what the hell, dude. Whereas you feel, I feel really bad because I talk to these folks all the time who are like, you know, I just, I have no medical background, I have no training at all, I’m scared for my kids, I’m scared for myself, I’m scared for my mom. I hear this guy Malone, but I’m sympathetic with Malone because I am worried about this, because my innate bias is I hate anything the government tells me to do. And I’m like, bro, I feel you. Like, I get it. Now here’s what I would do, I would get vaccinated. But I totally understand. And no one likes to be told what to do. So I’m with you. You’ve articulated it very clearly. I think people should listen to what you just said to understand, if they think we’re biased in some way, this is the nature of it, right. Because we should recognize our biases and put them out there, and then it’s clean bias. You’re like, this is where I’m coming from, this is what informs what I say.

– [Vinay] And you know, I even wanna go further and push it, which I’ll argue to you, it’s not a bias. Here’s why it’s not a bias. We are supposed to live in a society where the people who operate universities and work at universities are, I hate to say it, they’re supposed to be better thinkers. No offense. We need a society that’s fairer. Everybody born in any walk of life should have an equal chance of being a university professor. They should have that opportunity. But not everyone is meant to be doing this extreme level of analytical thinking. It’s one particular type of thinking, analytical thinking. It’s not for everybody. Some people are gifted analytical thinkers, some people are not. Sometimes it’ll surprise you. I knew a guy who dropped outta college, but he was a car guy. And this guy is like the greatest analytical thinker you’ve ever seen just for automotive. You know, just for automotive. The way he troubleshoots, it’s like car talk on NPR. It was like that level of analytical thinking. Those guys have PhDs from MIT, okay. So I don’t wanna say that analytical thinking is confined to the university. But what I do wanna say is that among the people who work in biomedicine at the highest levels of universities, it should be enriched with the absolute best thinkers. Yes we need to improve the pipeline. But once you get to the rarefied level, there is no safety net. There is no, you know, mercy. It’s really pure meritocracy. You know, you have to write well, write fast, write good, think good, be better, speak better, speak clearer. Okay, that’s my view of a world. Kill me if you disagree. But I mean, the world can be fair. But when you get to the tippity top, you want the person in charge to know what the hell they’re doing, okay. And if that person will not yield to better arguments, if they will not see reason, I really feel like the whole world is failing. Why are they in that position? Why are these people running Stanford if they don’t know? If they don’t know basic things. You know, why are they setting the policy? Meanwhile, you know, the person who is seduced by the Malones and McCulloughs, I feel pity for, I feel the opposite emotion. Why do I feel pity for them? Because you know, I mean, they were born into a country that was sort of shifting. A country where, for the prior generation, you’d always earn more than your father. You’d always earn more than your mother. But now that’s not true anymore, in terms of real wages. Your opportunities are stifled. Some of these communities, like from where I’m from, you know, LaPorte, Indiana, a lotta those industries are moving away. You know, it’s hard to grow up and stay close to your parents if you’re in LA Porte, Indiana, because there’s not a lotta great job prospects. You know, education, the cost of going to college is horrendous. What they teach you in college is so much irrelevant garbage. There’s so many more, you know, all this kind of stuff. And so I feel sympathy for somebody who didn’t do biomedicine. But I don’t have any sympathy for somebody who’s running the policy program at Johns Hopkins university. I expect that person to be the creme de la creme of thinkers. And if they’re not, then why do they have that job? They need to be booted immediately.

– [Zubin] That was pretty well said, brother. I have nothing to add. I’m just, I’m sitting back-

– I guess this is our biases.

– Eating popcorn, it’s great.

– [Vinay] I haven’t really explicitly thought about why that bothers me so much, but I think that’s the reason.

– [Zubin] No, you articulated it really well, yeah. I’m with you. The meritocracy piece, the equality of opportunity, not outcome. Like yeah, you have the opportunity. If you fuck it up, go away. Or be criticized.

– [Vinay] And I wanna also acknowledge that there are ways in which, you know, like, opportunity may be passed along paths of privilege. So like, you know, if your father was a rich professor, you’re much more likely to be connected, sure. And those things need to be ameliorated. And the pipeline has to be better. And we have to do a better job of letting anyone from any walk of life have the opportunity to get to that level. But once you’re at that level, there is something about people. Some people are just, their brains work better at that than other people. And we need a way to promote those people and push the other people away. Because we need the people at the top who know what they’re doing.

– [Zubin] Listen, I believe it was Cobra Kai that said it best. No mercy. Strike first. At that level.

– [Vinay] I guess it’s almost, that’s why I called myself an old-fashioned doctor. ‘Cause these are old fashioned ideas that you have to actually be good. You know, I wanna say a side thing, Z. Can I just say my side?

– Yeah.

– Okay.

– Come with it.

– [Vinay] I always get many trainees come to me, how can I publish papers, how can I write a book, how can I do these things. You know, how can I have podcasts. And I was like, that’s not your first question. Your first question is how can you be the best at whatever you wanna do. And like, you know, if you wanna comment, I mean, it depends on what you wanna do. I mean, I only do a few things in life. You know, you don’t see me out there playing tennis, but professionally, et cetera, you know. But the thing I like to do is read papers and interpret them well, I think. And so I was like, you know, what does it take to do that? I don’t know, it takes like seven years of solitude. You know, like Batman in “Batman Begins” or like, “Seven Years in Tibet.” You know, you have to go out there and do some work quietly, and practice and hone your craft, and then come back when you’re good at it. And nobody wants to do the work anymore. I mean, everyone just wants it handed to them. And I was like, that’s not how it works.

– [Zubin] I’m with you. And we’ll both get fully, fully eliminated from any teaching responsibilities for saying that, by being realistic with trainees.

– [Vinay] Well, I think people like it. I mean, people I work with-

– [Zubin] I do too, I do too. I’ve always been that way.

– [Vinay] I mean, the whole goal of teaching is to make someone better at doing. And so, that’s what we need to work on.

– [Zubin] And then that reminds me, so what do you think about these kids at different schools, high schools and colleges, that are protesting, purportedly, according to mainstream media, about they don’t feel safe. Like, they don’t feel, like, protected against COVID.

– [Vinay] It saddens me that they’re not thinking good. I mean, I just, I don’t know what to say. It really saddens me. It saddens me to know that we got another generation of people where there’re lots of people seduced by group think whose brains don’t work. I mean, just sit down, get an actuarial table, look at your risk of dying if you’re a healthy 17 year old boy who had two vaccines in you, and compare it to your risk of dying of suicide, a car accident, injury, fall, trauma, skiing. Compare it to anything else you do and tell me which is higher. And if you’re still so scared, okay, you know, then I really wonder about you. And then the second thing I wonder is where do you think the virus is going? You wanna walk outta school now, it’s not safe. Okay, sure. Walk out. And then maybe we’ll come and we’ll put some filters in and, I don’t know what they’ll do. Maybe they’ll have you wear 17 masks. I don’t know how many masks they’ll, you know, who knows what we’ll do to make it safer for you. What’s gonna happen when you get sick with it next year or the year after that, or the year after that. where do you think the virus is gonna go? Is it gonna go away? Is it gonna go hide? It’s gonna get ya. So, you know, get over it, you know. I mean, I don’t know. I also wonder if like, you know, the media loves to highlight these stories, if it’s true or not.

– [Zubin] It’s true, it’s like 200 kids somewhere, right, exactly. And suddenly it’s the whole country, you know, protesting. I agree. It’s just really interesting, where, again, you don’t think good. I think none of us are. I think we’re all falling prey to certain sort of group think and hive-mind behavior, but some are a little more clear than others, and might just point and say here’s where the thinking may not be clear, right. That’s important. That’s an important role. It’s an important role of, like, alternative media, like what we’re trying to do. It’s an important role, it should be of mainstream media. But I think mainstream media has dropped the ball because they’re not incentivized to do that. They’re incentivized to, you know, create outrage porn or whatever it is that sells the clips.

– [Vinay] I mean, let’s just say that to judge if someone’s thinking well, you gotta be thinking well, and I dunno about that.

– Yeah, it’s a challenge. It’s definitely a challenge for me, yeah.

– [Vinay] Let’s do the last one. Early treatments, including hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, are being suppressed. They don’t want you to have the cure. So here of course, I conclude, I disagree. I disagree. I dunno, you wanna take first crack at this? Like, this is where I think I really disagree perhaps the most with them.

– [Zubin] Yeah, it’s almost like what Malone accuses the vaccine establishment of saying is, listen, we’re gonna suppress all these alternative treatments because we want a monolithic thing to create the, what he calls the mass formation psychosis. There’s only one solution. It’s our solution to all the anxiety and fear and catastrophe that you guys are seeing. Now we’re gonna take advantage of this and promote the one solution, which is vaccines. And ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine and all these other things, we’re gonna suppress them, because they’re gonna interfere with our one solution, even though we know they work. Now, this is where I got so fucking pissed when I heard Malone talk, I wanted to go over there, and this is all emotional, it’s all ad hominem, so just forgive me for a second, ’cause I know the antithesis crowd is, their immune system’s gonna get triggered by what I’m about to say. He goes on to say, it’s hospitalists. That’s my profession. We are internal medicine doctors who are trained to only take care of patients in the hospital. We are probably the lowest paid physician specialties that work in the hospital. I mean, maybe short of PM&R or something. We see 20 to 40 patients a day. During COVID, there’s been burnout, infections, horror, and this fucking fucker accuses hospitalists of colluding across the country to promote vaccines, because, this is what he said, to my recollection of the interview, because it will allow them to stay in the hospital longer because they’re not as effective as the treatments, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, and that would make the hospitalists more money, and their overlords and the hospitals more money.

– Oh, I remember that crazy stuff.

– [Zubin] And I’m like, have you ever fucking touched a patient? Have you worked in the hospital? Every hospitalist I know is desperate to get people out of the hospital because they are drowning. They’re dying. They’re blocking patients in the ER.

– [Vinay] Oh, I forgot about that. They had something where he was like, the hospital doesn’t want people to get better at home because it makes them more money. And I was like, if that were true, then why are they passing out the vaccines? I was like are you outta your mind? Are you outta your mind? Are you outta your mind.

– [Zubin] It was crazy! So anyway, so I’ll let you talk about hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, but I’ll say this. Like, his assertation that there’s a grand conspiracy would have to span every nation, and it doesn’t, because we see Great Britain is not promoting vaccination for non co-morbid children. It would have to be across every nation, every specialty, hospitalists, all of that. And no, it’s not. Every single doctor who’s out there practicing, for the most part, wants their patients to get better, get well. And they know that for the most part, that these vaccines do that. And hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin have not been proven to do that. So I’ll back to you.

– [Vinay] You know, I think that’s really interesting. And I don’t know, like, why do I think this stuff doesn’t work. I mean, this is the hardest thing to explain, I think. I don’t know, we were talking about it offline, and like, why is it so hard to explain. And I think it’s, like, really hard to explain to people who just don’t spend a lotta time following drug development. And if you follow drug development a long time, you’ll just see that like, boy, 25 years go by and everyone had all these ideas. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of ideas. And only a tiny paucity actually worked in really good studies. And some of the things that are approved haven’t even proved they worked in really good studies. And so, you know, if we were even stricter, it would be even fewer, right. And the things that do work mostly work modestly at best. And so, the idea that, like, you can use some in vitro study to see that chloroquines inhibit replication of Coronaviridae, to argue that it’s likely that it works, that’s gonna be a stretch at baseline. You know, the probability that that study would inform that it works is probably one on the order of 10 to the power of five, or 10 of the power of seven, like in that ballpark, or even less. You know, just ’cause the pre-test probably is so low. Then you combine it with many, many studies, as in the case of hydroxychloroquine. Maybe even a hundred randomized control trials that are all mostly equivocal or negative. You know, and the pooled analysis is negative. So now you have a low chance it was gonna help at the beginning, which is true of all drugs, nothing unique about this. And all these negative studies. The probability it still works, it’s gotta be really negative. And yes, would it work if you gave it early. Would it work with the mouse or would it work in a house? Would it work with a fox, would it work in a box? You know, they always say, that it woulda worked there, woulda worked there. Yeah well, okay, sure, prove to me it does. And you know, everyone has always said that in the history of medicine. Everyone who’s got to eat their hat, they always say, well, it woulda worked if you gave it early. Yeah.

– Yep.

– [Vinay] And the other thing I wanna say is how come nobody ever asks do these drugs penetrate the rat ovary too. Because maybe actually, you know, right, like, it’s the vaccine. Does that get into that rat ovary? What about does hydroxychloroquine enter a rat ovary. I bet if you swallowed, did you know, Z, if you swallow hydroxychloroquine, it’ll go right to your testes. Did you know that? You know, like, I dunno.

– [Zubin] I actually assume that, that’s why I swallow it daily. You know, ’cause I just need any help I can get.

– [Vinay] It’s the rest of the organs that it’s wasted on, yeah. I mean, come on. What the hell are we talking about? And so, I dunno, then ivermectin is, like, similar, low pre-test probability. There’re ongoing studies, so I don’t wanna, I’ve slammed the door-

– Poison the studies.

– [Vinay] On hydroxychloroquine, but ivermectin, I don’t wanna totally slam the door yet. I’ll wait a little bit longer. But, you know, it’s not like a magic bullet.

– [Zubin] And it doesn’t help that the mainstream media calls it horse, you know, tranquilizer, or whatever the hell- No, that’s the culture war.

– [Zubin] Yeah, that’s culture war stuff. So the whole thing is now, it’s a sacrament of the culture war and the new religion, new multiple religions, now, that have sprung up in the absence, in a secular world where humans are wired for religion and religiosity, sanctity, and purity, and authority. It’s interesting, there’s a loyalty subversion component, I think, on both sides of this. But on the thesis side, it’s fascinating. Listen, wait, are you gonna speak out against vaccines in any way that isn’t absolute, you’re disloyal to the medical establishment. Don’t you know we’re suffering, and hospitals are filling up, and how can you talk about this? And then there’s the sanctity component. How dare he not wear a mask out in public? I might walk by him and breathe in his dirty filthy unvaccinated air.

– [Vinay] Yeah, filthy.

– [Zubin] And the vaccine passports, the same thing, filthy dirty people that are unvaccinated. Mudbloods out there, walking around with their dirty filthy blood. It’s like, we’ve heard this kind of language before, right. And then on the other side, it’s the same thing. Like, you know, the cabal of evil doers, these devils that are pulling the strings of the world government and the Great Reset and the Gates’ and all this. And they wanna suppress cheap and easy drugs, that of course are also made by these big pharmaceutical companies, but never mind. By the way, some bits of misinformation that he put out, that Japan beat COVID with ivermectin, simply not true. They never recommended ivermectin. That’s just a straight falsehood. The other thing he said was Uttar Pradesh used ivermectin. Yeah, just not true, right? Like, there’s no evidence that ivermectin was why they had a decline in cases.

– [Vinay] I guess this got cut from my essay, but that whole thing about like, these country-country comparisons. I’m like, oh God, come on, spare me. Like, some of these places, they’re not collecting the data in the same way. Like, isn’t that a problem, you know? Like, you know, they’re not collecting the data in the same way, it’s not standardized, the methods are different. You’re comparing these broad sweeping comparisons. Lots of things are different between Israel and Palestine, and Uttar Pradesh and the United States, and in Japan and Taiwan, et cetera, et cetera. I mean, it’s tiresome. I mean, you just can’t draw causal conclusions from that.

– [Zubin] Right, right. But you don’t censor them either. You don’t like-

– No, of course not. That’s the last part of my essay. Let’s talk about that. I guess, I mean, this is what really irritates me about antithesis, thesis? I don’t know which one. The Covidian side.

– [Zubin] Ah, the thesis side.

– [Vinay] Yeah, they’re the ones that, they like to censor, I think. I mean-

– Oh yes.

– [Vinay] I guess everyone likes to censor, but they’re the ones who have the ear of these platforms.

– The power.

– Yeah, the power to censor.

– They have the power to do it.

– [Vinay] Yeah, and so I guess I talk about, like, I don’t know, booting these people off these platforms is deeply foolish, and already it’s backfired. Because, you know, they got on Rogan and they have way more adherence now. And they’re martyred. You know, it’s like making a martyr outta somebody.

– [Zubin] Absolutely, another religious thing, yeah.

– [Vinay] And the right way to do it is to give them credit where credit is due. And to point out when they say wrong. And, you know, I just wanna point out that, you know, my little thing, I just saw last night, Joe Rogan himself tweeted my essay on what he got right, what he got wrong. Which actually shows you-

– Bro. You’re gonna be downing creatine shakes with that guy pretty soon.

– [Vinay] I don’t have the body habitus to tolerate creatine, you know.

– [Zubin] Dude, if you ever go on his show, he’s gonna shame you. He’s gonna be like, look how skinny you are, VP. You need to muscle up.

– [Vinay] And I’m not sure I believe in all of these kinds of supplement products. But that’s a longer conversation.

– [Zubin] That’s another conversation, yeah.

– [Vinay] But I guess, I mean, you gotta give a guy credit for, I mean, I dunno, if somebody wrote a big article about what you and I got right or wrong, would we RT that? I don’t know, it depends. I mean, if I thought it was really fair, maybe I would. But I mean, he’s willing to amplify criticism of his own show to his own audience. And you give a man a lotta credit for that.

– [Zubin] Yeah, you know who does that too? So, this is something that’s been called. And by the way, I give a lotta credit to David Fuller, Rebel Wisdom, his group of sense makers there, for a lotta the ideas that I steal and then popularize and promote. And I gotta say, there’s a new video he did about religiosity in COVID, that I think is a must-see. I shared it on my platforms and I may put a link to it here. But the… Oh, God dammit, what were we talking about, VP? I’ve already lost my train of thought ’cause I was thinking about David and how I-

– [Vinay] Amplifying criticism to your own followers.

– [Zubin] Ah, yes yes yes. So this thing called audience capture. So we’re all, to some degree, potentially captured by our audience. We know what it feels like in the comments when you just get piled on because you’ve pissed off the audience, or you have a certain demographic that really likes to watch your show, and you say something they really don’t like. It can create a lot of internal friction if you’re not self-aware, right. And you can unconsciously start to abide this audience and feed them stuff they really want. Now, somebody like Rogan, he’s been really good in general about not doing that, although he can fall prey to it. For example, with Malone and with McCullough, he features these guys, but he doesn’t really feature a lot of people that oppose what they’re saying. He’s had a couple, but nobody who’s nearly as charismatic or compelling. Like, I don’t think Gupta counts, right, ’cause he’s just another, he’s a mouthpiece of the thesis. And so, there’s a degree of capture. Sam Harris actually has talked about this, where he will literally attack his own audiences. You know, he’ll say, listen, I know you guys like Trump. A lotta people in my audience really like Trump. I think Trump is absolutely idiotic, and anyone who likes him is out of their mind and should not be here. Like, he’ll sternal rub his own audience into submission, where a lotta people will just leave and then get angry. And there’s something to that. There’s a certain type of integrity. Whether you agree with Sam’s positions or not, the fact that he’s willing to just burn it all down for whatever his own integrity is, that’s powerful. Now of course, Sam has so many followers and is so big. It’s much harder for, say, like, think about, say, okay, and this is the last piece on this. People ask, well, one of the things Malone said was I have no horse in this game. I’m not making any money from this. Anyone who is promoting vaccines is somehow making money from this. I get nothing out of this. I oughta be on my farm in Virginia with my horses. But instead, I just believe in this so much. Okay, horse shit. And I’ll tell you why. Who knows whether Malone’s making money or not, but you know that he was nobody prior to COVID. A lotta these guys had very small platforms, right. Now COVID happens. Now, there’s something other than money. It’s called influence, fame, power, those kind of things. He’s gotten all of those in spades from saying what he said. So, he acts like he’s taking this big career hit. He had no career. Like, in the sense that, you know, and I’m gonna be honest, nobody knows who this guy was. Now everybody knows who he is. So he can sell-

– Well, lemme push you on this. ‘Cause I struggle with this, and I actually don’t know what to think. Because, lemme name some people who you might say similar things about, okay. And I don’t wanna be mean to these people. You know, I’m not actually saying that, but somebody could say that, and there are things I agree with and disagree with of these people. Okay, here are a few. Ashish Jha. Pre-COVID, Ashish Jha was a professor at Harvard. Nobody knew who he was. Now, you know, he’s on TV every day. And he’s saying things that the thesis side says, the, you know, lockdown side. Eric Topol. I mean, he’s always been a popular commenter on science, but his following massively increased. You know, I dunno, I guess my point is that-

– Peter Hotez.

– [Vinay] Oh, Peter, yeah. Yeah, he blew up. In fact, didn’t he go on Rogan too? Once upon a time?

– [Zubin] A long time ago, pre-COVID, yeah.

– [Vinay] Oh, over video or something, I remember.

– [Zubin] Yeah, pre-COVID. So, finish your thought, yeah.

– [Vinay] Yeah, so I guess my thought is that anybody who talks about COVID issues, whether you’re anti-vaxx or pro-vaxx, or in the middle or whatever, you know, people are craving that, so their platforms will grow. Everyone who talks about it. So, you know, I guess, like, even you and I. You know, our show-

– Oh, definitely.

– [Vinay] Right, yeah. So I guess the question is how do you separate you holding the view you hold from being pulled by the people you’re reaching. And I struggle with it, because like, you know, I mean, is Ashish saying just what he’s saying just to get on CNN? Is Malone saying just what he’s saying just to be famous? I don’t know. Or is he just saying what he believes in. So I guess, how do you think about it? That’s what I don’t understand.

– [Zubin] Oh man, I’m so glad you brought that up, because it’s true. On the thesis side, it’s absolutely true. There’s a whole cadre of Nazgûl that have arisen, as the Dark Lord rises of COVID , that suddenly are empowered with influence, and the same on the antithesis side. And the same in the Alt-Middle, where you and I are, for the most part. Okay, so your question is how do you distinguish, I think, between what we actually believe, that’s actually drawing the audience to us, and that audience happens to align with us, and therefore that’s our audience, versus how much of it then becomes a self-fulfilling, like, the audience now expects this and this and this and this. So this is a great question, man. And this strikes at the heart of how do you do alternative media, right. So how do you do it with integrity. So before COVID, I was a vaccine absolutest. Like, I was the guy that would, I made a video saying-

– That’s what I’m saying, yes.

– [Zubin] Yeah, right, zero tolerance for anti-vaxxers. They are delusional cult members. And now I’m speaking in this nuance. So, a lot of my early audience has actually complained to me. They’re like, what happened to the 2016 ZDogg that we signed up for? And I have literally had to say, sorry, I’ve grown, I’ve learned, I feel like there’s a lot of-

– [Vinay] And this is a different situation. It’s a different situation!

– [Zubin] It’s different! The times have changed. But the question is-

– [Vinay] But wait, Z, I just wanna say, I’m in the same boat. ‘Cause, like, pre-COVID, what do I write? I’m writing books on cancer drug policy, the excesses of pharmaceutical industry. You know, I’m in the sort of deep left side of the issue. And now I’m much more, like, following the data. And yeah, a lotta the people who used to love me, hate me. And, you know, and people who used to hate me, love me! You know, I mean-

– It’s true, it’s true. And again, how do you feel about this? You know, when you get a really-

– [Vinay] Well, I mean, I know my compass.

– Yeah, exactly, exactly.

– Like, I’ll tell you how I know my compass. You know, you said you were an absolutest on vaccines before. I’m an absolutist on data. I’ve always had, I don’t know, will anyone ever see it, I’ll always have the same principles. One, most things we think help don’t help. Two, the burden to show things help should be high, because people fool themselves. Three, evidence is something that can easily misinterpreted, especially when you’re anxious, afraid, or wanna sell a product. You know, so you have to demand good evidence. Be careful. If you think you can overcome mother nature, it’s difficult to. In everything! From cancer biology to the spread of an infectious pathogen. And so you can often do self-inflicted wounds when you try to do things. And that’s what the book “Medical Reversal” is about. Things doctors did that didn’t work as expected. And a lotta the things I rail about on COVID are things we think are probably gonna work, but may backfire, like vaccine passports, et cetera. And, you know, so I think it’s a consistent framework, but. I don’t know, how do you think about it?

– [Zubin] Honestly, that’s why I like to do a show with you, because I know this about you. You’ve been consistent. In fact, I reached out to you years ago, prior to COVID, because I saw your work. And I said, this guy is as skeptical of how medicine does its business as I am. And that was a kinship, right, because we both share that particular compass. And what’s interesting is what I’ve had to learn, what I’ve had to grow into myself, is understanding how to look at another side compassionately and be able to speak to them in a way that is accepting of who they are without giving up the fact that I actually think what I’m saying is right, and I need to persuade you. So that’s been a change for me that COVID helped to accelerate. And the truth is, if you’re not allowed to change, grow, or have strong opinions because you’re afraid the audience is gonna abandon you, then that’s a bad model, right. Which means you’re dependent, right, you’re dependent on clicks and all that.

– [Vinay] So your survival mechanism is that you probably, to a large degree, you’re willing to tolerate massive losses in your audience.

– [Zubin] Yeah, I am. In fact, I’m willing to tolerate it going to zero. I just don’t care. But it took me a long time to get to that point. You woulda asked me five years ago, and I’m like, wait, lose my whole audience? Like, how, why, what? So I’ve had to grow up.

– I have a few tactics, and I’m curious what you think. Like one tactic is, this is one thing we differ a little bit. ‘Cause you always nicely say like, oh, somebody wrote me an email, and somebody wrote me an email. And I guess the truth is, you know, I’m sorry, people, I can’t read your emails. Like, I don’t read them. I disable all the comments on Twitter. I try not to look. Every once in a while, somebody I know, like, screenshots something and texts me, like, hey, did you see this. I’m like, no, of course not. The other day somebody asked me, they’re like, oh, are you going to have a phone call with Dr. So-and-so? And I was like, who the hell is Dr. So-and-so? Oh, he keeps tweeting at you saying that he wants to talk to you about your interpretation of your study, of the CDC study. I said, who is this dude? And he says, I don’t know. And then he says, he says you’re not answering him. And I was like, yeah, of course I wouldn’t be answering him. I don’t know who you are. And then I looked him up, and I was like, and this person, like, I mean, it’s like a ghost online. No publications, doesn’t work at a university. You know, I don’t even know what type of doctor this person is. I’m like, no. I hate to tell you, I’m sorry. I’m happy to, if you invite me to give grand rounds at your university, you want an Oxford style debate and you’re a decent university, I’m there. But if you want me to take 30 minutes of my time and have a phone call with rando number 455,240, no, I’m not taking a phone, are you crazy? I have so many things to do! I don’t got time to do these rando calls. But, you know, if you wanna have a debate on a show and record it so people can watch, yeah, I’ll do that. Because then I think, you know, other people will benefit from it. But a personal conversation with someone, are you crazy?

– [Zubin] Dude, they want a touchy-feely person, and they’re gonna get VP, right. And they can just deal with it and suck it. But like, with me, it’s interesting, because what I do is I stop looking at comments. Anyone who tries to goad me in comments. But I let my emails, I’ll scan, I’ll read every email briefly. Most of them I just delete because I can’t respond. So you said something interesting-

– [Vinay] That’s your middle ground.

– [Zubin] That’s my middle ground. They screenshot it and they send it to you. This, to me, is a sign. That’s an activation energy. That’s a threshold energy level. If people care that much to either go out of their way to do that, or you hear it offline, whatever, then it’s gonna reach my attention. But otherwise they don’t reach activation energy, and there’s so much noise out there, right. So you have to-

– So much noise, come on.

– [Zubin] You have to kinda set a threshold. And that’s why Twitter, I agree, I just dump and run.

– I mean, and I hate to tell people, I mean, you know, I’m in clinic, I’m in the hospital, I’m writing these papers. I mean, like, I’m spread, and I’m getting like 400 emails a day. I’m like, come on. I don’t have time for this shit, I’m sorry.

– [Zubin] I don’t know how you do what you do. Because you’re a full-time clinician, and researcher, and you’re doing all this stuff. You don’t have enough time to even tie your laces, dude, let alone answer a single email. Like, for me, this is me-

– Unsolicited email, dude.

– [Zubin] Yeah, right, right. I mean, for me, it’s like, well, this is kind of what I do now. So it’s a little different work-life balance, right. So it’s different because I’m not getting paid to see patients, so it’s a different balance. But the truth is, people need to understand that about each of us, right. Like, before they get really butt hurt when you don’t answer their email, or they get very angry that you’re not responding to their tweet. I think that’s part of it. People hold grudges about that shit. They get emotional. They’re normal humans. Oh, he’s too good to listen to me. It’s like, no, we’re too busy, dude. And we need to our own sanity.

– [Vinay] And again, like, there’s a difference between a debate held on a neutral platform then having a rando talk with some rando. I mean, no offense to some rando, but like, yeah, like, what are the rules of the debate, and who’s moderating, and where are we gonna do it. And yeah, you get something going that’s kinda fun, yeah, of course, let’s do it, of course. You want 30 minutes of my time? No, I’m sorry, what do I wanna talk to you for? And plus, then to go and you know, I dunno, I don’t even know. Or just send me, write your criticism down and email me or whatever. I mean, I’m talking about a CDC study. It’s not even like, you can direct it to the authors of the study. You can skip the middleman. You know, like, what do I care. I mean, I just told you what I thought, you take it, leave it. That’s it, you go on with life. All right, so, we did a thing. What did we not talk about? I mean, I think the core points that we agree, and then maybe the places we have different sort of feelings. Where we agree is, you know, you can’t silence Joe Rogan, just like you cannot extinguish the sun. I mean, he has seven million followers who are quite loyal. He’s ahead of CNN, so let’s not be silly. Two, you shouldn’t wanna silence him. You shouldn’t want to. You should wanna engage. Because, you know, if you really care about those people who follow him, you will try to change their mind, as I hope my essay does to some degree, particularly around vaccination. Censoring is a fool’s errand. Censoring is never gonna be sustainable. We live in a world where there’s just too much information coming out for anyone to even parse to be a censor. Censoring is prone to abuse, and censoring can backfire, as it did in these two cases. So give up on censoring. Censoring is the hallmark of a weak mind. The third point I think we agree on, vaccines good. Adults should get vaccinated. Definitely you ought to do it. And, you know, we’ve been big proponents for that. At the same time, there are a few places where our vaccine policy can be safer. Adolescents, boys. And then the same thing is mandates may not make sense. And that’s a separate issue. And then the last thing is that these guys fearmongered a lot on risks of vaccines, and they kinda probably wrong about early treatment and sort of conspiracy theories. And then the places where, you know, I guess we feel a little bit differently emotionally is that, you know, I mean, forgive me if I’m putting words in your mouth, but you feel like that these guys are doing a disservice and are gonna hurt people. And you’re not sure what their motivations are. And you think that, you know, too many people are being influenced. And I guess I don’t disagree, you know, with that feeling, but I’m equally concerned by people who are doing a disservice and harming people who work at universities setting stupid policies. And they bother me more, perhaps because I feel like they should be smarter because they are at a good university. So, I don’t know. I mean, anything I’m missing? I think that kind of, that’s how I feel about this.

– [Zubin] I think that’s a pretty good summary, man. That’s really good. You know what I liked about this episode is that it was a great discussion. Like, going back and forth, and like, okay, where do we agree, where do we find common ground. That’s how sense-making needs to work in the public sphere, right. ‘Cause sometimes you and I, we’re so simpatico about so many things. You know, it’s almost instantiating a little group think of our own, right.

– [Vinay] We are simpatico.

– [Zubin] We are. I mean, that’s why we’re, and we’re self-selecting to kinda, yeah. But every now and again, we really gotta, yeah, it’s good to have, you know, at least play devil’s advocate as much as we can. And then maybe, some point we’ll have to get guests here and just really kinda, somebody who challenges our thinking, you know, and forces you to stand up and beat them into submission, VP. Just smack them silly.

– I mean, yeah.

– Intellectually.

– [Vinay] Or persuade them lovingly?

– [Zubin] Yeah, there’s that, there’s that.

– [Vinay] One or the other. But yeah, I guess that would be interesting. You make me think about interesting things, actually. Because I’ll tell you, prior to this conversation, I hadn’t thought so much about, like, why does it bother me that Stanford is making a double vaxxed 20 year old get boosted who already had Omicron. That really irritates me. And Malone irritates me, but I also feel like, I guess, lemme put it another way to put it to you. I’m still struggling to articulate this. In human society, there will always be a Malone. I mean, whatever the issue is. From an asteroid is gonna hit earth, to how the tides rise, to, you know. In every walk of human life, there’s gonna be some fraction of people who are looking for an alternative explanation, dissatisfied with the status quo. They’re going to look for somebody who tells them something different, and they will find such a person. There will always be that, especially around issues like health, where, you know, the funny thing about health is lots of us have it, but it doesn’t last forever, and we’re all gonna lose it someday, you know. And so there’s always the opportunity for cupping and acupuncture and, you know, bullshit drugs that don’t work, and, you know, all that sort of predatory stuff. So I feel like the Malones, to some degree, are inevitable. For every Malone you extinguish, there’ll be three more Malones. I mean, I don’t know what their names are, but, you know, people who come along selling these things. But the institutions doing a better job, I feel like, is addressable, because institutions are few and far between, particularly with places with legacies, like Harvard and Stanford, the New York Times. These are places that are venerable, that have institutions and credibility. And they should aspire to be better than the average person or the average communication. They should aspire to pursue critical thinking, and rigorous critical thinking, and be better about it. They should aspire to hold debates among seasoned debaters, thoughtful people. And they shouldn’t get policy wrong, and they should be willing to readjust when faced with that error. And so, I guess, I don’t know, I’m trying to articulate why they need a clubbing more than a Malone needs a clubbing.

– [Zubin] I think that’s a good, that’s well articulated. You know, I would say this, I’ll add this third component, which is those of us in this space, this kind of middle alt, middle media space, that are trying to make sense, I think it behooves us to, when a Mal One, ’cause that’s the literal Malone, bad one, arises, you know, it’s easy to spend all day playing, you know, whack-a-mole with these kinda things, right?

– That’s what it is, whack-a-mole, yeah.

– [Zubin] But I think teaching people the skills to actually recognize good thinking and bad thinking, their own biases, try to make connections between people’s morality and why they believe the way they do, and their motivations, and what they’re saying and the propositional things they’re saying, I think that’s important. So I agree with you, I think we gotta hold our institutions accountable, which we’re doing a pretty good job of, you and I on the show. And also hold the population accountable to be better stewards of knowledge and sense-making. And I think we can do that in tandem. I think it’s good. I like the way you articulate that. That’s actually really helpful. Because people do, one of the big criticisms of us is why are you so hard on the mainstream and less hard on the antithesis? And that’s a good articulation for why we tend to focus on that.

– [Vinay] Yeah, because the mainstream is not whack-a-mole. There’s only one mainstream. They can do better. And ironically, if the mainstream does a better job, they’d be less kindling for the whack-a-moles.

– [Zubin] Agree, agree.

– [Vinay] They thrive on the absurd. Like when you see absurd policy run by the CDC, and nonsense that’s being said by the CDC director, of course you reach out for the nearest Malone. But if the CDC director could just be a little bit better and admit some truth, you know, maybe they wouldn’t create. Okay, anyway, we did a thing.

– I agree.

– [Vinay] It’s good to talk to you. Pleasure as always.

– [Zubin] And it’s a joy. Subscribe to the show, share it everywhere you can. Check out both of our channels, ZDoggMD Show and Plenary Session. And we are out. Thanks, VP.


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