Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying go unvaccinated for Covid, take and promote Ivermectin instead

September 16, 2021 • 9:30 am

Since Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying left Evergreen State under trying circumstances, they’ve made a living doing podcasts on YouTube, and have become somewhat notorious for their stand on Covid-19 and the dubious remedy Ivermectin.

The story below, from the Portland, Oregon news site Willamette Week, reports how both Weinstein and Heying not only remain unvaccinated against Covid, as they don’t trust the vaccine, but are also dosing themselves with Ivermectin, a drug used in humans for roundworm, lice, and skin conditions, but which has no effect on the coronavirus. (It’s also famous for de-worming horses.) The FDA has strongly warned humans not to dose themselves with this drug as a treatment or preventive for Covid.

Nevertheless, according to both the story below (click on screenshot) and the section on Weinstein and Covid on Wikipedia, the ex-professors have been relentlessly touting Ivermectin (read the Wikipedia section for documentation) and taking it themselves.

Here’s how two “progressive” biologists (not just one) have completely ignored science for reasons best known to themselves. What they have accomplished, instead, is to ruin their reputations except among the loons and some Trumpies.

From the paper:

Instead, the loudest voice [doubting vaccines] may be that of a Toyota-driving Bernie Bro who lives near Lewis & Clark College, an evolutionary biologist with a Ph.D. who studied and taught at two of the nation’s most liberal universities and participated in Occupy Wall Street.

His name is Bret Weinstein, and he makes his living preaching the dangers of COVID-19 vaccines while extolling ivermectin, the controversial drug often used to deworm horses.

Weinstein, 52, is one of the foremost proponents of ivermectin. He’s appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to flog the drug. He and his wife, Heather Heying, also a Ph.D. biologist, went on Real Time With Bill Maher in January, an appearance that boosted interest in their DarkHorse Podcast, which has 382,000 subscribers on YouTube alone.

Weinstein’s biggest fan is probably Joe Rogan, host of the most popular podcast in the U.S. Weinstein appeared with Rogan four times, including a June 2020 show that’s gotten almost 8 million views on YouTube. In June 2021, it turned into a lovefest.

. . .“Your podcast is one of my very favorites,” Rogan said. “I listen to it or watch it all the time. It’s an amazing source of rational thinking by educated people who talk about things they understand, which is exactly the opposite of what I do!”

LOL.

. . . Now, because of people like Weinstein, a drug meant for 1,000-pound animals is flying off the shelves in feed stores not just in red states, but even in Multnomah County, where the vaccination rate is approaching 80%.

. . . But unlike most of their fellow residents in Multnomah County, both say they are not vaccinated. Instead, they protect themselves from COVID by eating whole foods from farmers markets and by taking weekly doses of ivermectin, along with vitamins C and D, and zinc.

. . . Weinstein likes ivermectin, he says, because it has a stellar safety record (it does) and it’s cheap (it is, at about $5 a pill). Vaccines, meantime, are the opposite. They aren’t proven to be safe yet, Weinstein says, and they’re more expensive (for the governments who purchase them).

I won’t go on; you can check for yourself, but I will quote David Gorski, also known as Orac and an oracle on the Science-Based Medicine site:

“Bret Weinstein is one of the foremost purveyors of COVID-19 disinformation out there,” says Dr. David Gorski, a surgical oncologist and professor at Wayne State University who also debunks quack remedies as managing editor at a website called Science-Based Medicine. “Weinstein can be ‘credited’ with playing a large role in popularizing the belief that ivermectin is a miracle cure or preventative for COVID-19, that the vaccines are dangerous, and that the disease itself is not. Why are Rogan and Maher attracted to his messages? Contrarians and conspiracy theorists tend to be attracted to each other.”

I am still baffled why Weinstein and Heying are pushing quackery after careers as biologists—ecologists and evolutionary biologists! I think most of us admired Bret for taking a stand against extremist anti-racism at Evergreen State, a stand for which they eventually had to leave teaching. But then Bret started broaching weird and convoluted theories of evolution, and now this—horse drugs!

All I can guess is that the pair are contrarians to the bone, and are acting it out with horse pills. It can’t really be the science, as all the data say that the vaccines are both effective and safe, while Ivermectin is of NO value in preventing or treating Covid-19. And, of course, it could be dangerous, especially if you buy the veterinary brand, as it’s designed for horses, who have much greater mass than humans, and the animal formula of Ivermectin is different from that used for other human ailments.

Bret and Heather, are you listening? Please stop this dangerous and antiscientific madness, as you could be hurting people rather than helping them.

They won’t listen to their critics, of course, and for that reason their reputation will be permanently marred in the community of rational thinkers.

Bret and Heather from the news site:

h/t: Marion

169 thoughts on “Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying go unvaccinated for Covid, take and promote Ivermectin instead

  1. When I see stories like this I am always drawn back to memetic, or viral theories of ideas. It just seems to me that the structure of some idea maps to some ‘brain-space’ amenable to it. A brain-space cut off from other well-functioning cognitive processes that would otherwise reject such thinking.

    The idea has found a niche wherein it can successfully reproduce and spread.

    1. Wow. Thank you. I’ve spent a half-decade wondering why some of my family and friends have suddenly gone ’round the bend. Now you’ve given me something to research and consider.

        1. Thank you; I will check it out with an open searching mind. I’m serious: I have friends and family who think I’VE gone ’round the band, and say “wow, you’ve NEVER been this condemning of a president. EVER. We’ve always been able to discuss things.”. And I say “Can’t you see it’s NEVER been this bad?” And they don’t seem to get it…and I’m talking professionals, a teacher, business owners, etc.

  2. Perhaps they found the suppression of dissent related to the vaccines and to alternatives like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine too reminiscent of the party line and what they went through at Evergreen to be able to trust the message bearers?

      1. I think some people love the attention that edgy contrarianism can bring. Joe Rogan is a good example and he has a few more followers than Bret and Heather. The most frustrating thing about this is that all of them get a lot of credit for being rational skeptics. Rogan is talking about all of the money that Big Pharma gets for their covid vaccines and quietly ignores that Onnit has profited off of nonsense supplements like Alpha Brain (please look it up). Just for clarification, I know he did partly own Onnit and now it may be getting sold. I am not sure if he remains part owner. He did tout the voodoo supplements while he owned it though. Rogan also thinks Graham Hancock may have a legit theory on the origin of civilization. This is a man that gets enormous credit for popularizing science. The trade off is that I think he actually has popularized science as he has given a massive platform to legit scientists like Steven Pinker, Neil Degrasse Tyson, and Sam Harris. Kind of cuts both ways though in that it might give some of his ludicrous ideas more street cred. I think being rational is actually rather difficult and tend to think I am significantly swayed by emotions and tribal identification. I am concerned that a lot of current and future self anointed skeptics will have progressed to this status through a pretty easy, undisciplined path. No one really knows how this algorithm plays out and it may end up being positive in the end, but the irrationality that is currently dominating social media is at least a big warning sign.

        1. Dr. Harriet Hall once reviewed a book on popular medicine written by Andrew Weil and deemed it dangerous because it contained a lot of good science. It was also peppered with quackery, and Weil didn’t make it at all clear that there was a division between scientific medicine and “alternative medicine.” It would have been better to either stick the latter in a single section, as fair warning — or just leave out everything reasonable.

          1. In the ’70s Weil wrote a very good book about drugs, The Natural Mind.

            Then he went and became some kind off knock-off Depak.

      2. I was horrified as I’d quite liked them and had to fire them (my default position on ivermectin fools and vaccine hesitant murders).
        IQ is co-related with vax opinions so it rattles me when people I thought were “smart” pull this kind of shit. It is like watching somebody you thought was a decent person kick a puppy.
        D.A.
        NYC

        1. Exactly. I’m just finishing their book (Hunter Gatherers guide to the 21st century) and now I read this?? A total betrayal!

    1. Right, but that’s a silly thing, isn’t it? It’s like someone on the train tracks refusing to get off because they just don’t trust the people yelling at them “The train’s coming! Get off the tracks!” Perhaps they just don’t like the hectoring tone or perhaps they’re all speaking at once which goes against a pet peeve they have. Having an explanation or justification is fine but not if it goes against logic and evidence.

    2. I don’t recall there ever has been any suppression of dissent in this matter. It has been hard to get away from rampant promotion of Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine. Not very effective suppression if there was.

  3. Investigational use of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID is not unjustified. While the drug is an antihelminth, it also has antiviral activity in vitro. Which is surprising.

    There have been a number of (not particularly good) clinical trials in humans against COVID that report positive results. A meta analysis was done which also reported benefit, but that meta analysis has been temporarily retracted to be redone without one of the original studies. The drug has been used safely in millions of human patients around the world to treat parasites.

    It is also true that recommending its use in humans for COVID is very premature – it has not been shown to be effective using FDA standards, and people are poisoning themselves by taking very high doses.

    That Weinstein is recommending ivermectin at the same time he is denigrating the vaccines is pretty deplorable.

    1. That Weinstein is recommending ivermectin at the same time he is denigrating the vaccines is pretty deplorable.

      Yes, this is the thing that strikes me as so odd about the ivermectin people. At least with earlier “I’m skeptical of western medicine…I take vitamins and natural oils” types, they were being internally consistent: the system’s products are not to be trusted. There is no logical consistency in these folks, who are more like “the system is wrong, western medicine is wrong, therefore we will take the system’s western medicine ivermectin instead of one of the vaccines.”

    2. I’ve read at least one study that noted that the concentrations of ivermectin that inhibited viral replication in vitro were (roughly) ten times as high as serum concentrations achieved in people who took (roughly) ten times the usual antihelminthic dose of the drug. So, two orders of magnitude too small at least based on these findings, and as you point out, the “positive” studies seem not to be very good ones. Whereas the vaccines have been tried on literally hundreds of millions of people worldwide, with a safety profile quite a bit higher than is exposure to the virus (even IF every VAERS reported event turned out to be a true, vaccine-caused event) and more importantly, with demonstrable protective effects.

      I’d heard Weinstein speak on Sam Harris’s podcast quite some time ago, and I thought he was sharper than this. I guess not, at least on this subject. His brother is a bit odd in his manner of thinking as well, though they are both clearly quite bright. There’s a bit of curious egotism in their intellectual attitudes.

      Things like this push me ever further toward despair for humanity.

      1. There are no end of chemicals that kill viruses and bacteria in petri dishes. Dish detergent is quite stunning! The trick is to find the ones that do the same in the human body without killing human cells too. I think an average five year capable of understanding this, and assume there is a willing suspension of disbelief in educated adults who choose to ignore that final step.
        As for biology professors, I’m afraid they are not proofed against weapons-grade stupidity. Just look at Peezus.

      2. It seems sadly ironic to me that Weinstein has mused about how readily our evolved brains can rationalize and embrace dangerously irrational ideas that can lead to dystopian outcomes.

    1. COVIDiots. Throw in Nicki Minaj and a few other badly informed “influencers” and you have plenty of proof that a significant portion of this country is downright stupid.

      1. I was going to suggest that the whole world suffers from that malady, but…it does seem to be the case the we here in the US have a percentage of global deaths from Covid currently that is comparable to our rates of global incarceration. I think that specific concordance is just a coincidence, but neither fact paints the intelligence and moral clarity of my homeland in a flattering light.

        1. We’re #1! We’re #1! U-S-A! U-S-A! Remember when Trump told us we’d be #1 so much we’d get sick of it? And then a few years later, we were #1 at getting sick with Covid. The man is a profit.

      2. I only got my second dose yesterday (I had to wait six months after a bone marrow transplant to get the first) and I have to say to Ms Minaj that I am saddened and disappointed that my testicles have not tripled in size. I think I’ll sue.

    2. India uses Ivermectin and they do not have a pandemic there. Have you read about them? Ivermectin is not just for animals, although I see you like restating that old claim over and over again, to insult people. Do you guys get out much? Many people have been injured by the vaccine. Not just minor injuries, but limbs removed from blood clots, horrible medical problems. It is not a secret, but maybe you are complicit in some way. You keep taking your boosters and you will eventually be apologizing to Weinstein and Heying. My guess is you are propaganda pushers. Well no one believes that the vaccines are ok and that Ivermectin is for animals. We, regular people, see the results of our neighbors and coworkers. They are dying and they are maimed.

      1. Sorry, but you are sorely deluded. First of all, I said that the drug was used by humans at the outset. Second, there have been no blind controlled studies showing ivermectin is efficacious at preventing or curing Covid (see https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/30/health/covid-ivermectin-prescriptions.html).

        Injured by the vaccine? Here’s your two choices:

        1. Take ivermectin and don’t get vaccinated
        2. Don’t take ivermectin and get vaccinated.

        You’re recommending #1, and only an idiot, knowing the risks (much higher if you don’t get vaccinated), would go that route.

        Eventually it MAY be shown that ivermectin has positive effects, but we don’t know that now. But what we DO KNOW is that the vaccination has hugely positive effects overall.

        Only chowderheads would take ivermectin and not the vaccinated. Chowderheads, especially ones like you who put people in danger with your ignorance.

        Oh by the way you’ve shown further ignorance. There is a pandemic in India: https://apnews.com/article/business-science-health-india-pandemics-334c326d86efa73a0631bf7cb6e3f92e

  4. I’m guessing this to be some terminal sunk cost fallacy trajectory. Bret and Heather, post-Evergreen, picked up some crank followers, who they gradually began pandering to. At some point they had committed so much to crank positions that they couldn’t credibly extricate themselves any longer. Sad.

    1. I don’t think you’re far off, here. There is notoriety to be had — and if they leverage it well, money to be made — for folks that buck the orthodoxy of their “team” and start saying things the other “team” likes to hear. When “lefties” are seemingly supporting right-wing positions, it gives political cover to right wingers. It’s partly why you see anti-BLM and arch-conservative Black people on Fox News and other RW sources. “See, I’m not racist, that Black guy agrees with me!”

      If you’ve achieved your notoriety from one side of the spectrum, and that’s where your audience is coming from, you have to pander to it. And to keep them interested these days requires a continual escalation to more and more extreme positions.

      It’s by no means a one-way phenomenon. Anti-Trump Republicans and organizations (e.g. Lincoln Project) raised a lot of money from Democrats who liked being re-assured that it wasn’t just liberals who thought Trump was deplorable.

      It’s why I’m always a little uncomfortable at the osculation of people like Weinstein, Jody Shaw (Smith College), and Lindsay Shepherd (Laurier University). Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I can’t help but question their motivation, especially as I watch the arc of their public views get increasingly extreme.

    2. I first heard of Bret Weinstein during the Evergreen meltdown and, as Jerry mentioned, thought well of him. But beginning almost immediately thereafter any time I saw him speak or read him he seemed to be a bit off to me, like a well camouflaged crank. Looks like he’s completely given up on concealing his inner crank these days. His COVID-19 / vaccine / ivermectin views are beyond the pale and and highly unethical to boot. I have a hard time believing a biology professor could be so stupid as to actually sincerely believe what he is preaching, so I have to wonder if he is just evil.

      1. I wasted far too many hours watching interviews with him around that time, as I tried to educate myself on what was going on. The man can talk, to be certain, at great length – but whether any substance is conveyed is another matter all together. I personally now think that he’s a true grifter, not a true believer. The ‘I left the left’ circuit has proven to be quite profitable (see: Dave Rubin), after all. But even when he was a professor, there were warning signs. I know I’ve gone out on a limb defending Evergreen in the past here – because I think things about their educational model are truly fantastic. So I’ve spent time talking to former students of Bret as well as colleagues. One professor scoffed when I asked what they thought of him (this was back a few years ago, closer to his departure). They said he was basically a fluff hire because Evergreen wanted Heather. They continued that to their knowledge, he’d only published on paper in his entire career and spent his time pontificating nonsense to students who came out of his classes unsure of what they had learned. Part of his beef with the administration which never really came to light was that Evergreen was trying to streamline their transcripts to more easily match with other institutions – meaning certain goal posts and outcomes would be required of the sciences. Bret was not keen on this at all, as it would have required his classes to become more structured.

        1. Very interesting stuff. Doesn’t surprise me though. I don’t fool myself into thinking I’m infallible, but I seem to have a pretty good nose for quacks and I got a whiff off of Bret very early on.

          Talking a mean line of bullshit is one of the most useful life skills. Wish I had it.

          1. Oh yes, the talkers can make a lot of money just flapping their gums and producing nothing. In a large company, the can keep up this grift for years before having to move on. I know of several people in C level positions that have spent entire careers this way.

    3. I think Lady Gaga explains it best:

      To crash the critic saying, “Is it right or is it wrong?”
      If only fame had an IV, baby, could I bear
      Being away from you? I found the vein, put it in here

      I live for the applause, applause, applause
      I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause
      Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me
      The applause, applause, applause

  5. That’s disappointing. It’s very depressing to see daily evidence of our species’ inability to employ rational thought. It doesn’t bode well for our survival.

    1. Time again for one of my favorite quotations of Bertrand Russell, viz., “Man is a rational animal – so at least I have been told. Throughout a long life, I have looked diligently for evidence in favor of this statement, but so far I have not had the good fortune to come across it, though I have searched in many countries spread over three continents.”

      Source: https://quotepark.com/quotes/1942477-bertrand-russell-man-is-a-rational-animal-so-at-least-i-have-been/

      1. I’ve had the same experience. Sometimes I’ve been unable to identify it even in myself. We are what we are, I’m afraid.

  6. How unfathomable. How disappointing. Contrarianism for the sake of it is indistinguishable from blind ideology, which I thought they had forsaken.

  7. I expect they have chosen the wrong approach… but there is an article on Quillete “Understanding the Motivated Reasoning of Anti-Vax Refuseniks” which is interesting and suggests that

    And we should remember, too, that we all hunger for dignity, self-respect, and a sense of control over our lives.

    Perhaps Bret and Heather feel that they have arbitrarily lost their dignity, self-respect and control over their lives and are pushing back against “The Woke Establishment”?

    1. You can do that without going on Maher’s show. I think they are addicted to the fame as a major motivation.

  8. I’ve lost all respect for Bret Weinstein. What a jackass.

    I would like to clear something up though. Many continue to disparage avermectin as “horse dewormer” as if it was complete insanity that a veterinary drug would be used by people when it has not been approved for human use. This is completely untrue. Avermectin was discovered in 1975 and found to be a powerful killer of parasitic worms in animals. In the 1980s, Merck initiated one of the most noble humanitarian initiatives in the history of pharma – they got the drug approved in humans, showed that it cures debilitating River Blindness disease due to parasitic worms endemic in parts of Africa using just 0.15 mg of drug in a person (a grain of table salt), and prevents worm parasitism for up to a year. They did this in spite of a paralyzed and unhelpful WHO, spent hundreds of millions of dollars at a complete loss to make and distribute it across Africa, gave it all away with no return, and swore to provide it free to Africa indefinitely, saving millions from inevitable blindness. The discoverers won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

    In other words, it IS a human drug and not just “horse paste” which I find unfair. That said, it works by blocking open a chloride ion channel found in the nerves of worms but not in humans. Viruses (e.g. the COVID-causing kind) don’t have or need chloride ion channels to replicate so there’s zero reason to believe it should work at all. Taking it for COVID is like taking Lipitor for herpes. This came about because when the COVID pandemic broke, there was no treatment at all for it and as the deaths mounted, the world looked to the pharma industry for answers. A school of thought emerged to throw every approved human drug at it “just to see” if it helped in a Hail Mary attempt to identify something for doctors to use “off label” even though there was no mechanistic reason to believe the vast majority of these drugs even should. Avermectin came up, a clinical study was conducted (actually over 100 human trials are being conducted), and it failed to do squat for COVID patients. So clinging to avermectin is the dumb part, not that it’s ‘humans taking horse meds.’

    Contrast that with the COVID vaccines: new technology (mRNA vaccines), developed in 1/3 the time of any previous vaccine, over 90% efficacious in preventing hospitalization and death, amazing safety in over 200M Americans alone, and it’s free.

    Weinstein is a fricking idiot on this. So much so, he should have his biology license revoked. Unconscionable what he is doing. Not only is he taking a personal risk (I don’t care) but he is giving false medical information to millions which not only violates the Hippocratic Oath that all doctors take to “do no harm” but he is actually harming thousands of real people by hawking bullshit and telling them to not protect themselves. A pox upon your house Weinstein, you moron. Might as well go all in and start an anti-seatbelt movement, a condom ban, a smoke indoors campaign…

    1. I agree that the constant references to Ivermectin as “horse medicine” are gratuitous cheap shots. That said, if people are taking the veterinary version because their doctor refused to give them a prescription for something of no demonstrated value in prevention/treatment of Covid, then I guess they earned the cheap shots even if the medication didn’t.

      1. They’ve absolutely earned the cheap shot. I’m actually getting tired of seeing people step up and say, “yes ivermectin doesn’t work for COVID, but calling it horse medicine is not true.” It is true. So many people are taking ivermectin made and sold to treat livestock, rather than the kind made and sold to treat humans, and self medicating based on dosage information posted on social media by other cranks, that they are clogging up ERs and overwhelming poison control hot lines. Lot and lots of them absolutely are taking horse medicine and they absolutely deserve to be mocked for it.

        Too bad if some people misinterpret that to mean ivermectin is only used to treat live stock.

        1. It’s the same drug, though. It’s just in a different form for easier administration to large animals. If someone inclined to take “horse” ivermectin was smart enough to reduce the dosage correctly for his body weight, he’d be getting the same drug as the “human version”.

          I do think headlines that call it “horse dewormer” are being deliberately misleading. But then many headlines are clickbait these days…

          1. Quick question here – I’m not a drug expert and I’m genuinely curious – are there no regulatory differences in the production of the drug for humans vs. animals? Even things like corn get treated differently if they are for human vs. animal use.

              1. However, Ivermectin
                preparation for animals is very different from those approved for humans. Humans should not
                consume medication for animals. Some forms of Ivermectin are used in animals to prevent
                heartworm disease and certain internal and external parasites. It’s important to note that these
                products are different from the ones for people and safe when used as prescribed for animals,
                only.

                This statement is from the ND department of health (no bastion of far left extremism, I imagine). FDA says the same, the animal versions are not evaluated for human use. I’ll keep sleuthing to see what exactly the difference is.

          2. Yeah, I know it’s the same drug. The headlines might not be telling the whole story, but they are correct.

            As I’m sure you well know, whether any given drug is medicine or poison depends entirely on dosage. If these people taking the horse medicine were taking dosages that have been approved as safe for use in humans, that would be one thing. That’s not what is happening. They are taking orders of magnitude higher dosages because they trust quacks and conspiracy nuts more than the relevant experts.

            It’s a comedy of errors. Not only are they clogging up hospitals across the nation because vaccines are bad and masks infringe their freedom, but also because they are self medicating on horse medicine and poisoning themselves in large numbers. And they are maiming and killing other people by allowing the disease to continue to flourish in our society and by stressing our medical care systems to overload and thus preventing other people from receiving necessary medical care.

            1. Aaaaactually, there was a very good blog post on AstralCodexTen a few days ago (“Too Good To Check”) that dealt with the “ivermectin poisoning victims are clogging up hospitals” story – it’s an urban legend. At the peak, there were some thirty reported cases of ivermectin poisoning per day in the US, most of them mild. Not nothing, but not enough to have an impact on hospitalization levels.

      1. True, you did. My plaint is pretty minor and not meant to criticize really. Just pointing out that the horsey part detracts slightly from what is the real outrage of this story: that Weinstein is pro-avermectin which not only shouldn’t work but doesn’t work and most egregiously, antivax and defiantly broadcasting it. Thanks for sharing this story.

    2. I do agree that the epithets miss the point and are a distraction. PCP, for instance, is a “horse medicine”, but it DEFINTIELY has effects on humans…which should surprise no one, since humans are a lot like horses biochemically. The important point with Ivermectin is simply that this antiparasitic drug is not “designed” to fight viruses, and that while it is entirely POSSIBLE for crossover efficacy to happen, it needs to be investigated and demonstrated clearly through careful scientific studies on large scales…especially in light of the present availability of highly effective and quite safe vaccines, and the fact that no medicine is without risk of side-effects.

      I sometimes think some public confusion is because people really just don’t understand the difference between pathogen types like the various kinds of parasites, bacteria, fungi. viruses, etc. but that simply CANNOT be why Weinstein would be confused. I hope.

    3. “there’s zero reason to believe it should work at all.”

      I don’t think that is quite right. According to this Letter to the Editor :

      [https://www.scielo.br/j/bjid/a/Bhq8CJ9xDB7hTjkbJSVJb9M/?format=pdf&lang=en]

      It has been shown to have in vitro activity against related viruses and COVID, and some speculated mechanisms of action are listed. It’s all above my pay grade, and I am certainly not saying it has proven clinical efficacy, but there is a bit more than zero reason to think it should be investigated. 🙂

      1. I meant there was zero reason to believe that it would work based on its mechanism-of-action a priori without then being tested to see (a posteriori). That was the point of the experiment: to screen drugs that shouldn’t work but for reasons we don’t yet understand actually do.

        This paper is not above my pay grade! The authors claim that avermectin kills the coronavirus in vitro after 24h at a concentration of 2 uM. The human dose used to kill worms is 12 mg every 6 months or so. Human max plasma concentration after this dose is 0.034 uM, so this paper is bathing these cells in almost 1000x more avermectin for a day to kill the virus. Want to speculate if avermectin kills the virus at 1/1000th that concentration? A high dose clinical trial of avermectin was done using 48 mg/day for 5 days. 0.2 uM plasma was achieved…didn’t work in the clinic.

        I stand by my statement.

    1. No, he’s a horse’s ars.

      “horse’s ass noun
      \ ˈhȯr-səz- \
      Definition of horse’s ass
      often vulgar
      : a stupid or incompetent person : BLOCKHEAD”

  9. Anyone with a scientific background, especially in biological sciences can easily find and comprehend well documented information about virology, epidemiology, mRNA vaccines and the history of vaccine usage from many different sources online, in medical textbooks and journals. The evidence for their trusted use is overwhelming and unambiguous.
    Either these folks haven’t examined that info, which seems unlikely given their educational backgrounds, or they have ulterior motives. My guess would be the latter. If they are making a living doing podcasts then they have to pander to their audience as it must bring in certain advertising income on their website.
    Most of the time behavior can be explained in terms of power, money or religion (other than outright psychosis), so I put these guys squarely in the money camp.

    1. It is indeed hard to fathom how a biologist can make such fundamental mistakes about biology. Even if the critical knowledge comes from outside their field in the science, they should well know the merit of just saying “I don’t know”. But in this case my hunch is that their delusion starts with a streak of contrarianism.

  10. I’m glad you posted about this. I’ve been watching his slide into quackery for the last year and have lost all respect for him. It has been sad to see. Would it be crazy to think that maybe he is vaccinated and is just pandering?

  11. In support of contrarians: Contrarians may be irritating but they/we have been responsible for many important scientific discoveries over the years. The CDC and the medical establishment promulgated a lot of baloney at the beginning of the pandemic. Folks who questioned the CDC and doctors’ advice to not wear masks when all of Asia was masked, were apparently right on, for example. Now it’s pretty clear that the CDC’s advice is affected by politics, on children masking, for example, changing advice after intervention from the teachers’ unions. And the eviction moratorium. Science? Really? Maybe the science is inconclusive on a number of points. Maybe politics is informing more of the medical establishment’s actions than we currently know. If Weinstein and Heying are forging their own path, using science as they understand it, I’m reluctant to call them names even though I’m a fervent believer in vaccines. Just sayin’.

    1. To be fair to them, the initial advice about NOT masking was openly (and I thought, clearly) based on the recognition that masks were in comparative short supply, and we wanted to make sure that health care providers had adequate access to them until production could be ramped up, which isn’t unreasonable. Other matters have been a bit more irritating — and eviction isn’t really within the bailiwick of the CDC — and changing recommendations due purely to political pressure is frustrating. But with respect to some matters, it’s simply the case that recommendations SHOULD change as more information comes in. It’s not being contrarian that really matters, but WHY ones is going against particular advice, and what the evidence and arguments in support of or against one’s position are.

      1. Thanks Robert, good defense. It’s also important to point out that what qualifies as a mask also had to be evaluated in the real world. N95? Surgical mask? Bandana? Cotton, polyester, or silk? No one knew at the time. While N95 masks were likely protective though in global shortage, all the others were of unknown benefit and the last thing that the CDC or WHO could do was risk giving out public health guidance on masks that weren’t protective. They could’ve made the pandemic worse by encouraging people to mask up, thinking they were protected but weren’t, and actually expose themselves to more infected people to become infected. Many forget why it took months to get mask guidance.

        ‘Masks were good until they weren’t,’ was changing guidance based on science.

      2. Excellent points all, Robert. The downside to the CDC’s approach though is loss of trust, especially from folks who had a low trust in government going into the pandemic.

        1. Yes. I think it would have been better for everyone if they had admitted up front that this advice was not final, that it was early, that it might change as they learned more. But perhaps I overestimate the public in thinking this would have engendered more trust.

          1. I do think they often said there was more research to be done and often couched their answers with qualifications. It must have been difficult for them to know exactly the right tone to take. If they are too confident in their advice, everyone will complain when they inevitably have to change it. If they are too wishy-washy, no one will feel much urge to follow their advice. This would be hard in a well-run democracy but it was made even harder with the politicization of our current situation. As is well known to readers of this website, the real problem lies with the lack of understanding of how science works among the general population.

      3. Here, here, Robert. Again correct. Thx
        D.A.
        NYC
        I’ll also say – That our “masking up” when necessary was pretty pitiful as a society compared to societies where masking has been a tradition (in pre-covid times).
        2. Heather is certainly the smart one, as is his math star brother Eric.

    2. Keep in mind that most of the top at the CDC are political appointees. It did not use to be this way but it is now. That alone makes a hell of a difference.

    3. Science takes time. That a contrarian guesses the correct answer before science has had the time to come up with one does not mean that contrarians are a better bet than science.

      In the same vein, people demanding answers from science when it doesn’t have the data to yield an answer is not a failure of science.

      Again in the same vein, when better data comes along pointing to a different answer and science correspondingly changes its mind, that is not a failure of science. That’s how it is supposed to work.

      Definitely with you on politics muddying things up. But I think the biggest problem is that people seem to expect definitive, precise, guaranteed to be correct answers right this instant. Reality just doesn’t work that way. One thing is clear though. The best bet is science. Not contrarians, not quacks, people that did some research on the internet. It won’t necessarily give you clear answers and it won’t give them to you right when you want them, but it is definitely the best bet.

      A contrarian saying “See! I was right all along!,” is not to be taken seriously. When they can demonstrate a track record of being right on many answers over a long time period, and that record approaches the record of modern science, then they might have something to brag about. I won’t be holding my breath.

      1. darelle, you and I may understand contrarians differently. I see them as folks who stalwartly challenge the prevailing orthodoxy. Some, like Galileo, challenged religious orthodoxy. Others, like J. Harlan Bretz, challenged the prevailing scientific orthodoxy in geology. They both withstood tremendous pressure to conform but they each believed in the conclusions their processes had reached.

        1. suzi, your last sentence illustrates exactly why the two examples you mention were *scientists* in the first instance (rather than contrarians): they both employed the methods of scientific discovery to prove their ideas. That their ideas were in opposition (contrarian if you prefer) to the then orthodoxy is incidental: they followed the scientific process and thereby proved their hypotheses.

          By the way, I doubt that they “believed” their conclusions – they gathered data, which gave them confidence in, and supported the validity of their “contrarian” ideas.

          I think the word contrarian has unfortunately become fashionable to label any and every idea which, rightly or wrongly, go against the current orthodoxy of many things: contrarians don’t want to be seen as sheeple, unthinkly trudging along with the rest. They have to stand out as bastions of independent ideas…

          As darrelle observed “The best bet is science. Not contrarians, not quacks, people that did some research on the internet.”

  12. As commenter #11 points out, avermectin is a real pharmaceutical, with a reputable history and real effects. Therefore, although the relevance of a membrane chloride channel blocker to coronavirus replication is mysterious, it is at least possible that there is something to this story—granted that the evidence so far is less than convincing. The worst part of the new performance by Weinstein and Heying is their apparent disparaging of the vaccines against covid. The vaccines have been abundantly tested, and they belong to a rock-solid category of modern medicine—one might as well disparage anesthesia, or sterile technique. Most unfortunately, by joining the crank category in this discussion, Weinstein and Heying undermine everything else they have ever said, including about the Evergreen State farrago and its lessons.

  13. “Ivermectin… has no effect on the coronavirus.” Is that really true, though? I first remember seeing it when I read about COVID treatments back in 2020. East Virginia Medical School studied various treatments in their hospital and produced this paper (https://www.evms.edu/media/t4_training/EVMS_Critical_Care_COVID-19_Protocol.pdf), describing the treatment protocol they worked out. Ivermectin was recommended by them for every stage of treatment, and strongly recommended in specific cases, as it was the single drug with the most consistent benefit in treating COVID. They also recommended other drugs, like methylprednisolone, enoxaparin, etc. in certain cases.

    Now, this paper was published was long before the public “found out” about ivermectin, and indeed, before you ever heard the word in the news. And East Virginia Medical School appears to be a reputable source, and runs one of the larger hospitals in the region…

    1. I do not say Ivermectin has no effect on Covid, but I know our ICU is full of unvaccinated that were using Ivermectin.
      Strangely enough (or maybe not) this Ivermectin use is an overwhelmingly ‘white’ thing here.
      Generalising (there are always exceptions) the ‘blacks’ here just go for the vaccine, among the ‘coloureds’ and ‘whites’ there is quite a bit of ‘vaccine hesitancy’, but the staunch refuseniks and Ivermectin users are almost exclusively ‘white’.

    2. A good YouTube channel which is posted daily and covers all aspects of COVID-19 around the world is by Dr John Campbell.

      Broadly speaking he is a strong advocate of vaccination, but he also acknowledges various scientific reports of the *possible* benefits of Ivermectin, Vitamin D and Zinc.

      Today’s post https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gndsUjgPYo is about the Australian approach to Ivermectin prescription, limiting it to appropriate human use but mostly for political/social reasons.

    3. The methodology of that study has been criticized. An Egyptian study that Bret initially touted was found to be fraudulent as well. I’m sure Bret will come up with other things that waste people’s time when they investigate it though. Combating nonsense is actually much harder than conspiracy theorists coming up with some new, edgy thing to disprove. The criticism was not directed at you, as you were just asking about the study. To directly answer your question, there remains no adequately powered study demonstrating ivermectin’s benefit for the treatment of covid.

  14. Ivermectin is a single dose dewormer, little is known about it’s chronic use, and no dosage is seriously determined. We do know that it can be hepatotoxic. Moreover, the evidence of it’s efficacy against Covid is kinda feeble, to put it mildly.
    On the other hand we have vaccines, the serious side effects of which are extremely rare and we have robust, nay overwhelming, evidence of their outstanding efficacy.
    A real no brainer, if anything ever was
    I’m very disappointed in Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein for promulgating this, well, woo?

  15. Just remember, that as someone pointed out on-line a couple of days back, ivermectin works best in humans when it has been through the horse.

  16. The use of Ivermectin and the disparagement of vaccines by right-wingers is a reflection of their strategy to further engender distrust of government that started with Goldwater, gained traction under Reagan and accelerated under Trump. The Republican Party is now a nihilistic death cult. It has no policies except to oppose each and every Democratic proposal, regardless of its merits. Its goal is power for the purpose of destroying the effectiveness of government in improving the lives of people. It is a cult that has about one-third of the electorate under its sway. Willing to die for the cult, its members are pathetic, sad, and a great danger to democracy. It is perhaps unfair to say they don’t believe in anything. As good white Christian nationalists they would say they are following the guidance of Jesus. So, the cult is like all cults: led by people that have no compunction sending their flock to do crazy things. Enjoying their power, they have no trouble finding the dupes that believe everything they say.

  17. These two are becoming the character Alan Krumwiede in Outbreak. I wouldn’t be surprised if they secretly get a vaccine just like ol’ Alan did.

  18. I’m not going to make an argument here because there isn’t room and I have no formal credentials. Everyone in this thread should watch their videos (they are free on YT) and make THEIR OWN judgment based on what THEY say. If that takes a few hours (it does), they would be time well spent.

    They make a very good case. And they know they are in a tiny and unpopular minority. They don’t dwell on it.

    Jerry has a Ph.D, but so do Weinstein and Heying. Jerry is self-described on Twitter as a superannuated professor, but they are former professors too. Heying was the most popular professor at Evergreen, her husband was ranked second. Popularity and populism are neither always right nor always wrong. I don’t agree with everything they say, but I come pretty close. They talk like real scientists. As far as I know, only real scientists are able to do that. GO TO THE SOURCE, or settle for second hand information.

      1. > It doesn’t take a PhD to recognize the benefits of being vaccinated against Covid.

        If you read my comment (again?), I’m sure you’ll notice that I haven’t said otherwise! But I think I need to add that one does not need a Ph.D to understand that getting the full story takes slightly more effort than getting one side of the story. You presumably have Dr. Coyne’s side. Do you have the other side? Do you want it? I only know that you seem to need it based on the fact that you offered no comment on what I did say. You and everyone who can spare the time should visit the Darkhorse podcast (it’s on YT, idk where else) and invest in learning more. Please do note that it’s not important that you agree with everything said, just that you listen to it all and carefully pick out what you do agree with. I wish it were easier. So does everyone, of course.

        I am sad to say that it seems that Dr. Coyne, whom I have tremendous respect for, has not YET treated himself to all the info available on EXACTLY what Drs. Heying and Weinstein have to say. But I’m sure he will eventually, and hopefully sooner rather than later, and then choose to update this post, post haste.

        Not that it’s anyone’s business, but because I can’t source Ivermectin in my location, I had to settle for the vaccine. I’m not delighted about that. It’s a vaccine, yes, but it’s not a very good one. It’s a single-target vaccine, and it isn’t very effective even at first, plus now we’re learning that we may require not only boosters, but boosters FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES. I’m also taking Vitamin D3 supplement and apparently I need to also look into sourcing a zinc supplement. But for the record, I’d prefer Ivermectin that I have to pay for over the free vaccine.

        1. So what exactly would make you favor ivermectin over the vaccine? I think you owe us that answer. I’m not encouraged to read more about what Weinstein and Heyer have to say without a good reason for doing so.

          There’s a pattern in online hucksterism that’s easy to spot. Someone tells what decision they made, thereby making it personal, and then encourages one to read more or do the research. This engenders guilt that there might be some nugget of information that lies undiscovered and that we haven’t quite done enough research. What they don’t do is explain why they made a decision which goes against accepted advice from almost all professionals This is essentially showing us the rabbit hole and inviting us to dive right in.

        2. I has nothing to do with being on someone’s “side”. The evidence supporting vaccination is overwhelming. Refusing to be vaccinated is profoundly stupid, to say nothing about being immoral. One in every 500 Americans is dead from the virus. Almost every Covid death occurring in the US at this point is due to vaccine refusal.

        3. Frankly Tim, you’re being dense.
          “It’s not a very good vaccine.”
          The hell it isn’t! 90+% efficacy against hospitalization and death. 100K’s have been protected from what would otherwise have killed them. It’s even highly protective against emerging variants like delta. Essentially all of the ~1,500/day COVID deaths in the US are in UNvaccinated people. What ARE you even talking about?

          DO NOT take ivermectin!! It’s a placebo at best and can harm you if you overdose. It’s a very powerful medicine…AGAINST WORMS, not viruses.

          The need for boosters doesn’t make it a bad vaccine, it’s just that our immunity fades over time like it does for the flu. People who recover from COVID will be susceptible to getting it again in the future, just like needing the vaccine. You can get the flu again, right? Learn more facts, speculate less.

    1. I respectfully disagree. They don’t talk like real scientists and they don’t make a good case, in fact they don’t make a case at all. I have GONE TO THE SOURCE and made MY OWN judgment, having watched and listened to a lot of Heying, Bret Weinstein, and his brother Eric too. They are all undoubtedly very smart, but the Weinsteins in particular, seem unable to hide the unjustifiably high regard they have for themselves and their own (absence of) scientific accomplishments.

      Eric has been pushing his own theory of everything since 2013 at least, yet he never published it. In fact, he never published a physics paper, ever. Why? Because of the “Distributed Idea Suppression Complex” of academia would prevent his earth shattering ideas being taken seriously. The establishment has it in for him and his genius, apparently. At least he has now published a paper on his own website, although the academic community has reacted with widespread indifference.

      In 20 years Bret has authored two papers at the VERY most (I know of more prolific undergrads), but at least he has done better than Eric. However, neither of them seem able to resist their own delusions of self-grandeur. Remarkably, they both remain fixated on the ridiculous idea that the Nobel prize was stolen from Bret for his one research paper on telomeres 20 years ago. One does wonder why someone with so much potential never published again. Funny isn’t it?

      The evidence for vaccination, its efficacy and safety, is overwhelming – and that includes the COVID vaccines. That doesn’t mean dangers or inefficacy might be lurking, but as Hitchens said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Yet Weinstein and Heying have produced no evidence against the safety or efficacy of the vaccines, either or extraordinary or otherwise.

      Over the years, I have realised that those of us who believe in behaving ethically have an expectation that others are of a likewise persuasion. Unfortunately, I have also realised that this is not true, and many people don’t give a toss about such things. Such individuals will say or do whatever is required for fame, notoriety, vanity, and financial advantage. Obviously, they must also maintain their ego with just enough of a peg up to keep it from imploding.

      There are many things at play in this vaccine denial and ivermectin nonsense, but none relate to science. Instead, our protagonists are fixated on:

      1. Feeding their intellectual vanity and boosting their own egos by spreading false narratives around their own ‘brilliance’
      2. Giving credibility to their contrarian, anti-establishment profile
      3. Grifting the credulous to increase their income

      I realise I have spoken more of Bret than Heather here, but that’s largely because he has managed to dump more rubbish about himself on the internet.

      Anyway, to finish up, I’ll return to your claim about ‘real scientists’. After 20 years in the field, it’s unusual for a ‘real scientist’ to have written more that 2 papers. It’s even more unusual to claim that one of them was stolen by someone who used it to win a Nobel prize.

  19. Right upfront, I got vaccinated as soon as I could, and I haven’t heard every last word Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying have said on the matter. Maybe they have said crazy things I haven’t heard. But I heard several of their podcasts speaking about the issue, and they didn’t sound crazy. I haven’t seen them *quoted* saying something crazy that I didn’t hear, either.

    Instead, I’m seeing articles like the main one we’re responding to today which don’t sound unbiased. Whenever a source refers to Ivermectin as a horse drug, for instance, rather than accurately describing Ivermectin as one of the proven safest drugs in the world used by millions of human beings, that tells me the source is biased.

    When I’ve heard Bret and Heather speak about this, they carefully stated this is the choice they’re making for themselves, not advising others to do. And the main point they always made was that they opposed the fact that the very discussion was immediately shut down, in the same way that the discussion of whether COVID came from a lab leak was shut down before it could be examined. I have to agree that people should be able to discuss any issue, and bring all the facts out into the open. I don’t agree with the idea that we have to curtail honest discussions because the public can’t handle it. Lack of honesty is what’s driven conspiracy theories through this whole thing.

    Again, I have no idea if they’re right. I wouldn’t make their choice. I tend to doubt they’re right because so many smart people say they’re wrong, like Sam Harris, and Quillette devoted a whole long article to it. However, I’ve never heard Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying say anything to make me doubt that they speak in good faith. That’s my own judgement. Others might hear them and come to a different conclusion. Either way, I think people should hear them directly before making a judgement on their motivation and character.

    1. I find “this is the choice they’re making for themselves, not advising others to do” as convincing as an anti-vaxer’s claim that “I’m not anti-vax, I’m for safe vaccines” while keeping their kids from measles vaccinations.

      It is easy to demand that they be allowed to discuss things. But the proof is in the pudding that they have chosen this pathetic thread of possible value over proven vaccines that have been clearly shown to have saved countless lives with near-zero side effects. Their “choice for themselves” shows them either incapable of thinking clearly or involved in some sort of grift.

    2. Isn’t the real issue with people like Weinstein and Heyer the fact that they haven’t gotten vaccinated? While calling Ivermectin a horse drug may not be telling the whole story, I suspect most that are saying it are not suggesting that scientists investigating its use against COVID are stupid or should stop what they’re doing. Instead, it’s the idea that so many people are rejecting the vaccine AND taking Ivermectin. Calling it a horse drug is just making fun of that illogical choice, not rejecting Ivermectin per se. It’s FDA approval, scientific consensus, millions of successful takers, and proven effectiveness against, at best, a hint in a few borderline studies that Ivermectin has anti-viral properties that might help fight COVID. Given the evidence, it is hard to justify choosing Ivermectin.

      1. “Isn’t the real issue with people like Weinstein and Heyer the fact that they haven’t gotten vaccinated?”

        Bingo.

      2. Of course but it’s much worse still because they’re not just refusing to get vaccinated and risking getting it themselves and possibly spreading it to others if they did, the worst is that they’re broadcasting that others might want to avoid vaccination too. That crosses a red line for me from wantonly taking risks himself (fine, have at it) but advising many others not to protect themselves using the best protection system imaginable and being dead wrong about that. Not only should he know better, he’s inevitably harming many other people who consider him some kind of contrarian authority on this subject. Few things are worse than giving people advice that could kill them. That is immoral and the height of douchebaggery.

  20. I have no allegiance to either side in the ivermectin wars, and the certainty with which many have pronounced on it from early in the debate simply boggles me. My perhaps uninformed understanding is that both the “it works” and the “it doesn’t work” sides may be a bit premature. Is Oxford still running their PRINCIPLE trial to investigate ivermectin? Is the NIH-sponsored ACTIV-6 study that is looking at ivermectin still underway? It is (was supposed to be?) a 15,000 person double-blind RCT. Perhaps these studies got underway before the early evidence for ivermectin began to fall apart and sheer momentum carries them forward. Nevertheless, is it really an ignorant perspective to say: let’s wait for some large, credible DB RCTs before we announce a definitive position on this? Or has the ivermectin issue become like much debate in the US where only firm black or white answers are allowed–and the louder the better.

    https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2021-06-23-ivermectin-be-investigated-possible-treatment-covid-19-oxford-s-principle-trial

    https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04885530

  21. A longer exploration of this situation was published in AREO, titled “On Bret Weinstein, Alternative Media, Ivermectin and Vaccine-Related Controversies” .

    The situation according to author David Fuller is much more pronounced than simply taking some unproven alternative medicine. I try to summarize.

    (1) “Bret has hosted a number of Covid-vaccine dissenters on the Dark Horse podcast […] he has generally expressed agreement with his guests’ views”
    (2) “He has not hosted anyone who would challenge those perspectives, […] and he has neither seriously challenged them nor asked them to respond to criticism.”
    (3) One guest asserted ‘Covid vaccines cause miscarriages and result in babies being born with “the brain split in half.”’
    (4) This guest ‘and Bret both claimed that the vaccines were “unsafe for women.”’
    (5) One other guest “made strong claims about the efficacy of ivermectin in treating and preventing Covid.”
    (6) Bret Weinstein repeatedly asserted Ivermectin is “something like 100% effective”.

    This activity goes far beyond personally believing in some other medicine. It’s advocacy against covid vaccines, and deep in quakery and tinfoil hat territory. David Fuller’s account shows in much detail what Theodor W. Adorno said about holocaust deniers: it’s enlisting truths in service of a Big Lie.

    Such people can show expertise as they engage in miniscule, minute details. As they nitpick over every tiny thing, they create doubts with thousand small cuts. They then present their totally unproven, clearly false “alternative” as rock solid. They do not scrutinise their own story, certainly nowhere near the attention to detail they used in “debunking” the established version, as held by a vast majority of experts. Their own version is immunised from criticism by spreading doubt about any and all major sources, as somehow complicit in a massive coverup.

    This particular pattern should be recognised as its own category. It is not being sceptical, or reluctant, or “open minded”. It‘s demaguery, using fear to erode the foundations of democracies. I think it‘s also a publicity stunt, and they are secretly vaccinated.

    1. This is a good comment, with much food for thought. Thanks. I follow Bret on Twitter and was surprised the day I saw him saying that youtube (or maybe just ‘big-tech’) was censoring him while he was trying to ‘save the world’. That’s a whole ‘nother level of something.

  22. We see this all the time from people that got abuse from left progressives, they cross over and seem to loose all perspective and rational nuance especially because it becomes their new way of making a living

  23. I thought the article was nicely detailed. Though I felt that some of the article and the comments within suggested a disingenuousness to Bret and Heather’s project. I think it’s such a common intuition to presume an intelligent person who “surely must know better” is consciously grifting or disingenuous and has some other psychological motivation. But we know the way the human brain works – it’s biased, and smart people can truly believe irrational things.

    I was certainly sympathetic to Bret and Heather during the Evergreen escapade. And Bret really struck me as level headed when he was talking about that scene.

    But like some others, I noticed once he started talking on other topic, whether it was with Sam Harris, or on stage, or elsewhere, that he seemed to propose somewhat off-the-path ideas, and also speak with a conviction and confidence about his theories that struck me as not quite warranted. It started to rub me as, if not “unscientific,” then at least showing a level of attachment to one’s own theories that the system of science, peer review etc is set up to mitigate.

    And what we you get even with excellent scientists who start operating “off the grid.” Bret is doing “Talk Show Science” where he just has to convince a layman audience, not his peers, rather than his ideas going through the crucible of scientific scrutiny. And, yes, the emotional feedback from a receptive/adoring audience is going to play a part too, even among people of cool headed temperament, I’d expect.

  24. Dr. Gorski is right to call out the Weinsteins’ anti-vax lunacy, but somehow feels compelled to side with the Trans-bullies in their attacks on the science behind Abigail Shrier’s book “Irreversible Damage” and against fellow Science Based Medicine doctor Harriet Hall. Go figure.

  25. Whatever the benefits and risks on Ivermectin for Covid turn out to be, the language being used really sound like this is a political issue.
    Of course there are nuts who trust anything they read no the internet, and nothing that comes from more conventional sources. There is little that can be done about such people.
    On the other extreme, you have companies that have a huge financial incentive to oppose any Covid treatment method that would invalidate their emergency use authorizations, or for which no patent control is likely.

    Between those extremes, there are doctors doing what they can for their patients, with the knowledge that treatment methods are rapidly evolving, largely due to the fact that the disease itself has just not been around long enough for treatments to have been methodically studied and approved.
    Some of the doctors using Ivermectin seem to be qualified, mainstream physicians working in senior positions in large hospitals.

    I read some of the linked information, but did not find confirmation that Weinstein is taking veterinary medicine. When the cost is mentioned, it refers to cost “per pill”, which makes it more likely that he has been prescribed the medicine. The livestock treatment usually comes in a paste.

    I just read an interview with Dr. Joseph Varon https://www.linkedin.com/in/joseph-varon-209a462b
    where he pleads that people not self prescribe Ivermectin, but also writes that he “has used ivermectin since the start of the pandemic in all COVID-19 patients.”

    The danger in jumping on the bandwagon and actively mocking even those legitimately prescribed Ivermectin lies in the very real possibility that new and ongoing studies might well require us to be expected to mock, in the near future, anyone who doubts it’s effectiveness in treating Covid symptoms.

    The data for people taking it and calling poison control, at least in Texas, indicates an increase. In an average year, they get approximately 200 such calls. This year, as of last week, there have been 260. It should be noted that a call to poison control does not equal an actual adverse event, much less a death. And that even with a claimed fivefold increase in calls nationally, the numbers remain very small.
    I suspect Texas has an established baseline for such incidents because so many families own livestock. It is no always easy to give such treatments to horses or cows without it getting everywhere, and there is a danger that kids will get into it. The stuff we buy is apple flavored.

    It seems to all come down to trust. The CDC has had a political aspect to it for a long time, not helped by their recent decision to redefine vaccines so that the word “immunity” is omitted.
    The pharmaceutical companies certainly have a dual nature. They produce lifesaving medicines, of course. But they are corporations, and perfectly capable of putting profits ahead of other considerations. Most of us trust our personal doctors. I was vaccinated because my wife is a good one, and we know some virologists who also advocate for at least the Pfizer vaccine.

    1. A very measured comment. I accept the idea that vaccines are the best way forward, both for the individual and society. I am double jabbed already and expect to be offered a booster shot soon. I also accept that some *additional* measures might provide additional personal protection/mitigation, such as Ivermectin, vitamin D and zinc supplements.

      I do worry that diatribes about ‘horse dewormer’ are driven by individual/collective political disputes rather than medicine.

      I do worry that diatribes about ‘vaccine dangers’ are driven by individual/collective political disputes rather than medicine.

      Nevertheless I have increased my supplementation to include more vitamin D and zinc.

      1. “zinc”

        I must note – solely on a FYI basis, as it bears on the context of this piece :

        The writer (or whatever they are) Michael Savage wrote a piece titled “Zinc destroys the covid-19 virus but first you have to get it into your cells”.

        The piece can easily be found (I refrain from posting it here). The piece links to some Pub Med journal articles – especially a review – also easy to find.

        I learned a lot about zinc in the process of understanding the claim – I can say that.

      2. Dr. Blancke is a proponent of vitamin D, along with the usual conventional measures.

        I am also thoroughly vaxed, although I suffered through SARS, and had a mild case of Covid. I think the conventional wisdom now is that immunity through recovery from the disease is stronger and longer lasting than the protection provided through vaccination.

        But even writing that reminded me that conventional wisdom, even that held in the medical community, is very different from official policy. Natural immunity does not seem to be a factor in policy.

        This whole situation has been political from the beginning, but I guess that is how everything works these days. However, people worried about their families are worried about doing what is best for their health. In that respect, they really do not care about the sensibilities of the CCP, what political advantages left or right think they can gain through policy manipulation, and certainly are not concerned in the least about Pfizer’s ability to increase shareholder dividends.
        For those groups,and many others with the ability to influence policy and media coverage, your health as an individual is just not the top priority.

        So everyone has to filter through all the garbage to make the best decisions for their own health. I personally find it all pretty confusing, and I have a very accomplished doc sitting across from me who treats Covid patients every day, and who keeps up with current practices.

  26. They were on Shermer’s Skeptic the other day.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2FemT5aZQQ

    I commented:

    David Anderson
    2 days ago
    I used to listen to their show all the time – the first 40-50 episodes. Then they went all ivermectin-y and vaccine “questioning”. Both are deal breakers for me, so I left them behind.
    D.A., J.D., NYC

    1. Does Shermer give them an easy time? I usually listen but avoid anything featuring anti vaxxers. Too much fury is bad for you.

  27. For a moment there I couldn’t remember which drug actually showed promise against Covid-19. It was metformin, not ivermectin. Why can’t anti-vaxxers at least promote treatments that are better than nothing? I guess that would be too conventional.

  28. It seems pretty clear and obvious that their drumming out of Evergreen and failure to get another teaching job or jobs (no idea if that was attempted) is a good thing, despite the apparent bad reasons for getting the boot. Keep such people away from the impressionable as much as possible. The internet makes this much more difficult.

    It seems easy to see a correlation between high vaccine success in countries and better Covid control, especially deaths. But no one can be absolutely sure, though it becomes clearer as we get more info. The pair will almost certainly be guilty of causing deaths among the gullible. If doing that for money, they are clearly evil persons at this point, not as much as Drumpf, but let’s call a spade a spade.

    It can be difficult not to wish for the early deaths of such people, the sooner the better, if only to protect the innocent and gullible, not because of some pathetic revenge motive.

    I find it more and more extraordinary how so many are callously indifferent to suffering and death because of their own personal selfishness.

    1. “It seems pretty clear and obvious that their drumming out of Evergreen and failure to get another teaching job or jobs (no idea if that was attempted) is a good thing, despite the apparent bad reasons for getting the boot.”

      Brett’s and Heather’s position on the Covid vaccine is a strange one. They are not against vaccinations per se..they’ve been vaccinated against far more diseases than I have…as both of them have had to work in the field as biologists in far flung areas.

      Their resistance to this particular vaccine seems to reside in a belief that it’s rollout was rushed and that the risks of long term negative effects has been understated or even ignored. They claim that it’s actually safer to go with a drug such as Ivermectin, which they claim has an established track record of both effectiveness against the virus and safety.

      To arrive at this position, however, it seems that they have relied on fringe characters within the sciences. It is very similar to Brett’s insistence that the lab leak hypothesis is valid.

      Right now, it’s ironic that the professors who taught at one of the most liberal colleges in the country now hold at least two beliefs that are synonymous with Trumpistan!

    1. ??? OK. I fire her also. She displeases me, please take her away.
      She said a few things which made sense about a particular topic, seemed to squeeze it for all it was worth and I’m proud to say I thought I sniffed a crank below the waterline there. 🙂
      It took me much longer with the Weinsteins. Some you win, some you loose.
      D.A.
      NYC

      1. Yep, I’m 100% with you on that. It makes no difference whether they are grifting or actually believe their own nonsense: once the he anti-vaxing starts, I’m out.

        1. Again, let’s call a spade a spade: “… once the .. anti-vaxing starts …” these people are almost certainly killers, period, no ifs, ands and buts. Actually deliberate murderers, if they realize it’s nonsense and are doing it for money, or some kind of perverted popularity and fame.

    2. It is possible that the mindset that made Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying and Jodi Shaw resist Woke progressivism is the very same mindset that triggers their (alleged) anti-vax feelings.

      1. I think that I would use something much stronger than “mindset” for the mass murderers Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung, even despite some millions still believing their motives were in part good ones. Much stronger words for Adolph Hitler (and Donald Trump, except the latter’s blame-able numbers will be only about half a million, let us hope—Weinstein and company are parts of that act, unless they are excusably mentally ill, which Trump is not).

        A lot of the discussion here seems to me to be pussy-footing around—sorry you lovely cats for the common metaphor as used here.

  29. This is why I’m sceptical of anyone relying on crowdfunding for independence. Their paymasters are the people they can get, and we are in a place now where there’s money to be made in pandering to morons than trying to educate against misinformation.

    Gonna guess this is yet another case of people trying to make a buck of the vocal angry misinformed.

    1. The alternatives are add revenue and subscription fees. I’m skeptical of someone who has to interrupt their impassioned podcast about the evils of the state or whatnot every 5 minutes to advertise underwear or beef jerky…those are paymasters as well.

      And with regard to subscriptions, is it that much different than crowdfunding? These people have to make a living…and it could be argued that just as there is a market for morons, there is also a market for folks who are not morons but want good content, and will pay for it.

      1. I don’t think they are that different. Each puts someone’s livelihood at the mercy of who they can get to pay.

        But I think both in general are fundamentally different from someone funded in the college system or a journalist working for a newspaper that’s not a propaganda rag. There’s a gap between the administration / paymasters and those working under them.

  30. Weinstein is an irritating purveyor of pseudoscience these days. Has a habit of falling back on “I’m only asking questions” type nonsense to defend his ramblings.

    I am amused to be David Gorski quoted though. He’s quite fond of pseudoscience these days, as well.

    Two peeps completely blinded by their own ideological biases. Both completely discredited.

  31. The phrase “too clever by half” seems to apply to the Weinsteins…it may unfortunately by driven by a need to constantly put out content for listeners. They may feel pressure to consistently raise the bar as contrarians to grow their footprint.

  32. Vaccines, and medicine in general, is – generally – about cost/benefit or trade-off.

    It is peculiar to decline one medicine for another, without specification – in detail – of the benefits or costs in either case. It is doubly peculiar to choose any medicine over ignoring the problems completely. The Weinsteins are, of course, granted their privacy with their own doctors, if any were consulted (it is not clear).

    As such, the decision-making described in this piece is simply confusing, with no clear point to be found.

    …I cannot help but wonder if the “anti-vaccine” impulse is an aversion to the risk of the trade-off, not of a pin-prick or common side-effects for curing one specific disease, but the fear that while modern medicine has been curing the disease (benefit), it has been causing more diseases in the process that science and medicine has not yet been able to show.

    For instance, it is easy for anyone to simply imagine – as an unfalsifiable premise of a science-fiction tale – the human body, growing up from infancy, for generations, protected by vaccines, itself has reacted in such a way that diseases such as neurodegeneration, or cancer, and so on – vis-á-vis the elusive “well-balanced diet” are the _consequences_ – the _cost_ – of the vaccines, and other medicines.

    1. The huge increase in life expectancy in, say, the last 200 years is a rough indicator of the success of modern medicine. Unfortunately for epidemiologists, people forget the ravages of diseases that have now been controlled or eliminated. In general, the idea that modern medicine is a major cause of cancer and other ills is just BS. Of course, mistakes can still be made. That’s how science works.

      1. “the idea that modern medicine is a major cause of cancer and other ills is just BS”

        Yes of course, but my sci-fi story posits that, over generations, the physiology has intrinsically changed in response to any given medicine such that what we consider healthy tissues, bones, and media (blood, lymph, etc.) are no longer compatible with one another, and especially at older ages – precisely where many of these problems become unsolvable. I think this is an unfalsifiable scenario – perfect for sci-fi, and, I expect, in the mind of some “anti-vaccine-ers”.

        That means, in my sci-fi story, the doctors and researchers will all say the patient is fine, the positive controls are good – but decades later, the model organism is no longer the model organism from the wild….

        We are no longer wild-type! L’enfant sauvage!…

        Thus, the “anti-vaccine” person is afraid to take any given vaccine.The risk, in their view, exceeds to cost of avoiding, e.g., measles, or covid.

        1. In your sci-fi story, are you talking about modern medicine changing our phenotype or genotype? It does change the former but it is unknown how it changes the latter.

          It is interesting to examine the thinking of these anti-vaxxers, though I’m not sure how this connects to your sci-fi story. It is amazing that they reject a vaccine for a disease that has killed 1 in 500 Americans based on the excuses they offer. There’s probably not a single explanation for this phenomenon but we still really can’t adequately explain what’s behind most of it.

          Actually, if I had to choose an explanation, it is simply the low amount of knowledge and awareness of most of the population. One part of society has created the science and technology that the other half consumes while not really understanding how any of it really works. At the same time, they’ve been convinced that they have certain freedoms and it’s the height of virtue to invoke them whenever they are made uncomfortable by circumstance. In essence, they are telling our institutions that they want nothing to do with their virus or their vaccine. They are children that just want to be left alone.

          1. “In your sci-fi story, are you talking about modern medicine changing our phenotype or genotype? It does change the former but it is unknown how it changes the latter.”

            The genes, RNA, gene products, or physiology would have changed or been modified in accordance with all current knowledge (post-translational modification, methylation, etc.), over the generations since e.g. 19th c. medicine so they might work perfectly well together, and even allow long lifespan – until the age-associated incompatibility makes the system react [ movie trailer voice] : “in ways they did not predict”.

            I think that is what an unspoken concern of “anti-vaccine” people is (because I never heard this). Not the mild short-term side-effects, but stuff that happens decades after the shot/jab, which medicine _might_ elucidate in that post-jab time frame, but by then it will of course be too late to not do anything about it (“not do” meaning, refuse a vaccine).

  33. Seems to me it’s a market-share ploy. Probably only 1% of the population had ever heard of them before this. Now, they’ve caught the ear of maybe 25% of the 10% of the population that’s vehemently anti-vax, so now they’re up to 3.5% overall, with 2.5% following, at least.

    But I’m particularly happy learn of his dismal publication record out of this thread, in case anyone ever throws Weinstein in my face.

  34. Our Bret S. Weinstein here (and his actual BS at present is not the kind that makes one smile, rather it is at a deadly kind for which he very likely has no ameliorating excuse whatsoever, and which makes at least me scowl) is I believe the author of the following thesis from rather recently, and easily found. Many here are far more qualified to judge it, which, if another respondent here is correct, is almost certainly very close to his one and only publication. It would be interesting to know if there is anything worthwhile in it which the professors (two emeriti, two associate and one assistant) apparently found sufficient for the degree from Michigan:

    ——-

    “EVOLUTIONARY TRADE-OFFS: EMERGENT CONSTRAINTS AND THEIR ADAPTIVE CONSEQUENCES

    Bret S. Weinstein
    A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
    (Biology)
    in The University of Michigan
    2009
    Professor Emeritus Richard D. Alexander, Co-Chair Associate Professor Robyn J. Burnham, Co-Chair Professor Emeritus Gerald R. Smith
    Associate Professor Beverly I. Strassmann
    Assistant Professor Elizabeth A. Tibbetts
    © Bret S. Weinstein ________________________
    2009″

    ….,,.,

    ” TABLE OF CONTENTS
    DEDICATION ………………………………………………………………………………………………….ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ………………………………………………………………………………..iii LIST OF FIGURES………………………………………………………………………………………….vii ABSTRACT …………………………………………………………………………………………………..viii CHAPTER
    1. EVOLUTIONARY TRADE-OFFS AS A CENTRAL ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE IN BIOLOGY …………………………………………………………………1
    2. LIFE’S SLOW FUSE: TELOMERES, TUMOURS AND THE
    EVOLUTION OF VERTEBRATE SENESCENCE……………………………….13
    3. PLATEAUS, RIDGES AND DUNES: DIVERSITY GRADIENTS
    AND ADAPTIVE TOPOGRAPHY ……………………………………………………. 45
    4. THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE: GROUP STABILITY
    AND THE EVOLUTION OF MORAL TENSION ……………………………….. 65. ”

    ———-

    I assume his far worse than unfortunate recent behaviour is not something making this committee feel proud and happy about. It is possibly somewhat excusable, though I seriously doubt that. Let’s hope he gets a more useful job and just shuts his goddam mouth about covid vaccine, to at least minimize the resulting deaths as far as possible.

    1. “… his one and only publication”

      Does the institution from which a professor publishes – or not – matter? For instance, a “teaching university”? I think some places are either “research university” or “teaching university”, even though they all, of course, offer classes and teaching.

      1. I don’t know, but in particular here, I doubt that Evergreen put much emphasis on research, or had a Ph.D. program in Biology. But others here likely know more.

        I believe his main advisor was Alexander, likely well regarded, 80 at the time of that thesis (but so am I in two months, so would like to think not decreased much in mental acuity!)

        1. I don’t know, but in particular here, I doubt that Evergreen put much emphasis on research, or had a Ph.D. program in Biology. But others here likely know more.

          No Ph.D. program, but undergraduates are very much encouraged to publish. There isn’t a tenure system, so not sure how pressing it is for faculty. That said, other faculty do publish prolifically. A quick google scholar search shows that to the be case. I think Weinstein preferred unfettered pontification rather than peer reviewed publication.

          1. Also encouraged even more to learn, I hope. And hopefully the pre-publication review is more than merely ‘peerly’, for undergrads! Even in mathematics, it can be easy to think you’ve covered all the bases. At least there, falsehood is slam-dunk counterexamples, and the quantifier words ‘some’ and ‘all’ are clear. No BS even from Bret S.

    2. I know of three of the four committee members (all but Smith) and all are top notch scientists. The chapters are a funky mix of topics; sometimes one sees this with brilliant people who have something important to say about several different topics but sometimes it means the person had no focus. Interestingly, Weinstein appears to have never published any of this work, unless it was in a book chapter that does not show up on Google Scholar.

      INTERESTING DUCK RELATED FACTOID: Weinstein’s committee member Bev Strassmann is the aunt of one of the people who helps Jerry tend his ducks.

      1. I think this article is chapter 2:

        The reserve-capacity hypothesis: evolutionary origins and modern implications of the trade-off between tumor-suppression and tissue-repair
        Weinstein, BS and Ciszek, D
        May 2002 | EXPERIMENTAL GERONTOLOGY 37 (5) , pp.615-627

        And this article looks like chapter 4:

        The better angels of our nature: group stability and the evolution of moral tension
        Lahti, DC and Weinstein, BS
        Jan 2005 | EVOLUTION AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR 26 (1) , pp.47-63

        Both are extended essays. Neither one has data, and neither one is a synthetic review or meta analysis.

        The 2002 paper has a clever idea that links senescence to cancer in mice, and it has been cited 44 times (WoS) which is pretty good. But Weinstein got scooped by another paper in Nature (Tyner et al. 2002) on the same topic that had, like, actual data from actual mice. That better paper been cited almost 1100 times. Weinstein was pissed about it:

        “Though p53 was clearly central to Tyner et al.’s experiment, we regard their analytic focus on p53’s role in the trade-off to be somewhat misdirected. Weinstein and Ciszek (2000), which was declined scientific review at the same journal that later published Tyner et al. (2002), contains greater detail and additional references that could not be included here due to limits on space.” [from the last paragraph of the Experimental Gerontology paper]

        1. If such availability is really possible, then, I’d guess, this appeals to the “DIY” crowd – the “resourceful” crowd, that – sadly – has lost the distinction between DIY and resourcefulness with simply amateur bad decision making.

          … I mean, a prescription drug would make more sense, but what doctor would prescribe it?

      1. One of the articles I was reading indicated that at least 80k people in the US have been prescribed Ivermectin by their physician. And that was a while ago.
        The thing to do now is mock and shame people taking it, but a great many people are being prescribed it by their doctors. I am unaware of doctors recommending it instead of the vaccine, which is an important point.

        There was a discussion of this at our house, particularly concerning dosages for Covid vs dosages for head lice or the tropical bugs it is commonly used for.
        The dosage they are using in India is one 12mg tab a day for three days for active cases, and two tabs separated by a week for primary and secondary contacts.
        That is well within the dose range for a full sized adult using it for head lice.

        At those dosages, there is very little risk of serious side effects. So it becomes a case of “perhaps it helps”, coupled with low cost and little risk.

        As far as veterinary meds go, all sorts of them are available at feed stores. The Ivermectin we have is a paste, that comes in a syringe marked with weight increments. As human-intended Ivermectin is so inexpensive and largely used, it would surprise me if the companies that sell the paste don’t just buy the active ingredient in bulk from the regular pharmaceutical company, and blend it with the apple flavored paste.

        I went out and looked, and the mcg/kg dosage on the paste is the same as the human head lice dosage. So even the actual horse-paste people are taking a safe dose, as long as they weigh themselves and follow the instructions on the box.

        It seems reasonable to criticize people who decline the vaccine for whatever reason, but the more I read about Ivermectin, the more it seems harmless, even if it turns out to not be effective. Also, they can walk outside barefoot without having to worry about hookworms.

        1. All that really shows is that doctors are people too, subject to many of the fallacies and foibles of the anti-vaxxers. These doctors that prescribe ivermectin might be doing it because they want to keep their anti-vaxxers as customers. It might be accompanied by a statement like, “My advice is to get the vaccination but I can’t force you to do so. There’s a slight possibility that Ivermectin has some effectiveness, the research is sketchy at best, so I’ll give you a prescription as you requested.”

  35. Ivermectin is interesting! Excerpts from from Wikipedia :

    Ivermectin was discovered in 1975 and came into medical use in 1981;[12][13] William Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for its discovery and applications.

    Mechanism of action
    Ivermectin and its related drugs act by interfering with nerve and muscle function of helminths and insects.[55] The drug binds to glutamate-gated chloride channels that are common to invertebrate nerve and muscle cells.[56] Ivermectin binding pushes these channels open, increasing the flow of chloride ions and hyper-polarizing the cell membranes.[56][55] This hyperpolarization paralyzes the affected tissue, eventually killing the invertebrate.[56] In mammals, however, glutamate-gated chloride channels only occur in the brain and spinal cord and avermectins cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, recommended doses of avermectins are unable to kill mammals via tissue paralysis.[56]

    Pharmacokinetics
    Ivermectin can be given by mouth, topically, or via injection. It does not readily cross the blood–brain barrier of mammals due to the presence of P-glycoprotein (the MDR1 gene mutation affects the function of this protein).[57] Crossing may still become significant if ivermectin is given at high doses, in which case brain levels peak 2–5 hours after administration. In contrast to mammals, ivermectin can cross the blood–brain barrier in tortoises, often with fatal consequences.

    Read more – especially look at the structure!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivermectin

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