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"puts it more bluntly" link points to the wrong site

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Yglesias is (wittingly or not) guilty of the classic issue of overinterpreting change-in-rate stats - yes, ivermectin overdoses increased BY PERCENTAGE, but from next to nothing to... also next to nothing. It's like when shark attack deaths increase from 2 to 8 in a given year and the newspapers say "SHARK KILLINGS INCREASE 400%!"

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I like this section: "This story doesn’t make me feel smug and superior to everyone else. It makes me feel confused and annoyed. This is how true things usually make me feel, so I think I’ve dodged the Law of Rationalist Irony and might have some chance of being right this time". obviously this can lead to its own bias (choosing not to believe anything that would make you feel good, on purpose, is definitely a real problem common with depression) but i think a bias towards truth being confusing and annoying is better than the alternative, and i try to lean on it (another potential failure case?: stories emphasizing how bizarre and baffling and mysterious some fact is, when actually its pretty normal and explicable. this kind of thing is annoyingly common among fuck yeah science types)

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I really enjoyed reading this, tho' it sent an uncanny chill down my spine.

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Really appreciated the careful dive into what actual facts exist about this situation. But.

I submit that those with a decent brain and a B-S detector (like me, of course) didn't need a follow-up to know that the original story as presented was almost certainly B-S. Hospitals overwhelmed with a steady stream of ivermectin overdoses such that they were turning away GUNSHOT victims? Both parts of that story are prima facia ridiculous.

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Now I get how people develop epistemic learned helplessness

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The Ivermectin story supports the theory that a lot of anti-vax sentiment is the result of a fear of needles.

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Interesting.Absolutely brilliant book by Julia Galef

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You start all wrong.

“ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug that looked promising against COVID in an early study. Later it started looking less promising, and investigators found that the early study was fraudulent.”


There were MANY studies that showed some benefit from Ivermectin all over the world, and many meta-analyses and reviews concluding it had benefits. There were also studies that showed no benefit, but problems with many of them too.


Your word “the” is the lie. It is the MAIN technique of sophists to confuse “or” and “and” and to attack an “or” by focusing on a single term and defend an “and” by defending a single term.

Shame on you.

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Best. Post. In. Quite. Some. Time. Nice work.

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I will add that I am especially disappointed in you because you’re a PHYSICIAN and in addition you have written extensively about issues related to drug trials. I don’t know what weird bias overcame you here, but the financial incentives for expensive patentable therapeutics and vaccines and the regulatory roadblocks around EUAs for vaccines created very strong pressures to disparage the use of cheap known-to-be-safe drugs like Ivermectin and HCQ for treatment of COVID (which in the case of HCQ led to many “designed to fail” studies and some fake studies and in the case of Ivermectin which seems even more promising than HCQ for early treatment led to many many many lies in the media).

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Tremendous article, thanks very much. I just read The Scout Mindset. A twinge of smugness or satisfaction I might feel when reading news stories (I've left twitter, thank God) is definitely a warning sign that I need to ask myself, wait, what's my bias. Twinges of anxiety and resentment reading a news story are signs I need to pause, back off, get willing to move outside my comfort zone, reread. All the news and opinion pieces on Afghanistan has me thinking about bias a lot. I haven't ended up annoyed - it's too large a tragedy for that. I have definitely ended up confused and uncertain. Maybe that's the right place to be, but it leaves my feeling like I've failed my duty as a citizen or something. Just thinking I don't know the truth, or can't reach a conclusion, just not taking a position - that's not enough.

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Has this very recent review been discredited? https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2052297521000883?via%3Dihub

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Ponder the truth that there exists a graduate student or post-doc researcher in Anthropology who will refuse the standard treatment for River Blindness because it's a deadly poison, part of a Trumpist conspiracy theory.

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I think the main point about the story is that it is effectively a stand-in for vaccine refusal/hesitancy among people who are medically and financially able to get a vaccine.

As for your post, it's a great reminder to be skeptical of any story that's poorly sourced/hastily thrown out to the world.

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Alright so yeah, information is now food. If it's palatable and pleasing it's probably unhealthy. A good information diet involves lots of whole, bland informations that aren't particularly motivating to consume and maybe involves periods of fasting. Got it.

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There are really only two possible culprits for this whole debacle. If you watch the Channel 4 interview (as you stated, this appears to be the source from which most outlets copy/pasted without additional investigation) they very clearly link the 'ivermectin is dangerous' and the 'this is the reason why hospitals are full' bullet points.

"Dr. McElyea said patients are packing his eastern and southeastern Oklahoma hospitals after taking ivermectin doses meant for a full-sized horse, because they believed false claims the horse de-wormer could fight COVID-19."

Source: https://kfor.com/news/local/patients-overdosing-on-ivermectin-backing-up-rural-oklahoma-hospitals-ambulances/

That CLEARLY implies the cause/effect. Without the unedited interview, it's hard to go any deeper. Back to the two possible culprits, either the reporter is purposefully misinterpreting the doctor or the doctor was being dishonest. The doctor has refused to comment any further and Channel 4 hasn't updated the story with any information that helps sort this out.

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If you liked this article, I bet you'll enjoy some of Matt Orchard's documentary videos, especially this one (to avoid spoilers I won't explain further):

The Coldest Case Ever Solved: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiZmXnFC8_k

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>>>Only you, reading this ACX article, are getting the full story and learning more about the world instead of just confirming your biases.

>>>Did you believe that?

Nope, because you failed to note that the original headline picture showed people in coats and hoodies in SEPTEMBER in Oklahoma. Picture was from later winter this year (possibly January). This was...God, such bad news presentation, and I missed that clothing issue the first time I saw the picture.

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Now I'm waiting to see how long it takes before someone actually does start making phone calls... :-)

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This just proves my already held belief that I’m smarter and my life is better by not being on Twitter.

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This is way too good, and the big reason I follow your blog. Thanks!

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Great article. Baselines and context are important, but they are anathema to "good stories," which the media desperately needs. I've been in financial markets and a stock analyst for decades. For a while, I was on the floor of SG Warburg (now UBS), which was a big international broker. Reporters would always need a story about why certain stocks were up or down. Since we were a little unique at the time thanks to our global desk we could feed them great lines that they would run with like "we've seen some major short-selling out of the Far East this morning" or "sovereign wealth funds are in buying US equities heavily since they are selling off some of their European bank holdings." Mind you these were all made up but it got the reporter off the phone right away with a "story" that would make their editor happy. This happened all the time when I was covering individual stocks as well so I had to make up something like "well the quarter was in line but A/R increased more than revenue and inventories went up sequentially which could alarm investors." Taleb writes about this in "Fooled by Randomness" which is excellent.

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As a non-scientist, can I ask more about the evidence against ivermectin?

So here's the sort of complicated politi -- I mean, 4D play-writing -- that I'm seeing. There are scientists like Robert Malone (early inventor of mRNA technology, long-term pharma consultant and employee) who specifically discuss the viability of ivermectin as a therapeutic for covid. Malone has a long interview on it here: https://www.theepochtimes.com/part-2-dr-robert-malone-on-ivermectin-escape-mutants-and-the-faulty-logic-of-vaccine-mandates_3981859.html.

He distinguishes clearly between the cattle ivermectin, horse ivermectin, and human ivermectin. He says things like there are a bunch of under-powered studies of human-ivermectin-helping-cure-covid that are inconclusive, one meta-analysis of human ivermectin concluding that it's inconclusive, and two meta-analyses concluding that there's good evidence that ivermectin works on covid. Malone also points out conflict-of-interest problems and how they feed into conspiracy theories -- he talks about how Merck came out and said ivermectin is toxic when in fact it's classified by the WHO as an essential medicine, and how Merck might have had self-interested reasons to make that statement because it's making money precisely off of covid interventions that are not ivermectin.

On the other side, Tom Bartlett, who is a writer in Austin, Texas, who has lots of journalistic publications and has won an award of some kind in investigative reporting, has a hit piece on Malone in the Atlantic (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/08/robert-malone-vaccine-inventor-vaccine-skeptic/619734/). Bartlett starts by casting doubt on Malone's claim to have invented mRNA technology (though later in the article he confirms that he's found the early articles where Malone did just that -- Bartlett winds up emphasizing that the mRNA tech as it exists now is the product of hundreds of scientific contributions since then). Bartlett also accuses Malone of being a vaccine skeptic (though it turns out, later in the same article, Bartlett admits Malone is not skeptical about most vaccines, just the new ones that use mRNA tech in a previously untested way). So given Bartlett's reporting on Malone, we are supposed to think that Malone is a crazy unhinged far-right vaccine skeptic who is casting doubt on mRNA tech (and by extension supporting things like ivermectin) because he is... what? Because he's greedy for money? Hardly; there's not much money in the anti-vaxx business these days. Because he likes the attention from far-right wing-nuts, or at least the people whom Bartlett regards as far-right wing-nuts? That... looks like Bartlett's main explanation.

Except that Malone doesn't sound crazy and unhinged. I mean, he's got an interview where he talks like a normal human being reasoning through data. He's got the academic articles. Even Bartlett admits he actually invented the early mRNA tech. And nobody's disputing that Malone has decades of working in vaccine manufacture/consulting/whatever at pharma companies, where he was apparently not crazy enough to get fired. So he's actually got the credentials, right? And when he talks about financial conflicts of interest -- well, those are real things in the messy world of human relationships, right?

Granted, I haven't checked the data that Malone says exists. I *did* check the WHO classification list, and ivermectin is indeed there: https://list.essentialmeds.org/medicines/58.

In fact, back in March the WHO even admitted that it could be used in clinical trials for treating covid (https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/who-advises-that-ivermectin-only-be-used-to-treat-covid-19-within-clinical-trials). That's presumably an acknowledgement that there might be something to those studies indicating that ivermectin is inconclusive but in such a way that further studies are a good idea?

I honestly don't have time to go digging up all those inconclusive studies and meta-analyses of ivermectin. That's, frankly, what the specialists are for. Is anyone here actually up on all this research? And if the specialists don't agree with each other -- then do we have any basis at all for thinking that people are trying ivermectin because they are "far-right wing-nuts" as opposed to people just like us who are trying to make sense of things?

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Is there a reason why Scott almost always formats his entry in 5 distinct parts ? (except in this case...)

I'm sure he thought about this a lot and would be very interested in his reasonnings behind this.


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I think the original conclusion of this story: that newspapers and the MSM are simply not doing their due diligence on reporting and fact checking, is still accurate, even if the truth is that it was complicated in general. The fact remains that the original story that KFOR insinuated, and that others outright state, is simply wrong and pretty much a complete fabrication. There is an interesting meta-conclusion about partisanship, but the primary result shouldn't be detracted from.

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Why the HELL do I have to get the actual facts from a $100/year Substack by a guy writing under a pseudonym?

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I will acknowledge you got me on Act 2 (but not on Act 3, though I still hadn’t (and have not) clicked through anything), but my defense is that I heard about this first through Eliezer and not from some random bluecheck.

However, that does not absolve me completely, and I am appropriately chastised.

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So, since the NPDS data is national, I think ~0.25 patients per day for Oklahoma is pretty good systematic evidence that this is not happening.

On the other hand, I get to have a semi-informed anecdote for this one. As I type, I'm on the premises of the biggest hospital complex in the state of Oklahoma, where I work every day. I can see with my own eyes -- literally 20 minutes ago as I came in from the parking lot, and every weekday before today -- that the ERs are not overflowing, that there are not patients sitting in ambulances and helicopters, etc. I have never heard any of the physicians and others I work with mention ivermectin poisoning as a major problem. Of course that isn't proof, but media being what it is now, I put a high premium on my own eyes and ears.

Then there is the suspicious framing of the story -- since we are a backwards red state, we must have droves of gun violence victims from our random shooting sprees competing for ER and ICU space with people guzzling snake oil cures. I guess we also must put our many overflow patients into teepees outside the Great Medicine Man Tent. But back in reality, best I can tell, Oklahoma hospitals are in the same situation as presumably any other state: strained, but not "overwhelmed", by COVID-19 patients in addition to the normal distribution of patients.

Of course my bias is that national media will get many things about red states wrong, so perhaps if I were to walk across the street and ask the hospital staff for statistics, then (assuming they would give them to me), I would be proven wrong. It's also possible that things are different in rural areas, although the complex where I'm at is the trauma center where severe gunshot victims, etc, are transferred for the whole surrounding region, so I would expect them to be piling up here if this were actually happening.

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Did you believe that?

Yes. Yes, I do. That's why I'm willing to be a paid subscriber. Because this site makes me a better person (inasmuch as that's possible).

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So here's the thing. I totally did believe you the first time, but I believed it because **you** wrote it. This genuinely doesn't seem like bad practice on reflection. After all, what is the point of carefully selecting a few sources to read among a sea of information if not that you can believe what they say without fact checking them?

Perhaps this stems from some kind of bias, but I am pretty confident that, if I had read something like this on twitter, my reaction would be 'no idea what's true here'. In fact, that's a reaction I have quite often.

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"Only you, reading this ACX article, are getting the full story and learning more about the world instead of just confirming your biases."

Well, I definitely don't believe _that_. Partly because you practically admitted that you do not know the "full story", if such a thing even exists. Also, I'm not necessarily here to learn more about the world. I was promised a play in three acts. It was a nice play.

But perhaps I have learned a bit about (or confirmed my biases of) how other people learn about (or confirm their biases of) the world. It is interesting how easy it is to go meta once the object level becomes vague, uncertain and perhaps not that important. In fact, I'm doing it right now! But I think the question is relevant: for how many people is the object level claim in the original article (i.e. whether gunshot victims were unable to be treated "due to" an ER being filled with ivermectine overdose patients. ), what matters? I'd guess the answer is of rather limited value if you do not expect to be visiting an ER in Oklahoma. In other words, local news. Which it basically was, for a while. For many, this seems to be mainly a soldier in the culture war, although this case is interesting, because both sides appear to believe the soldier is fighting for them. What to make of all this, then? That's up to you, although I'm reinforcing my bias of initial smug skepticism about minor events across the pond.

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The fact you don't even know Ivermectin has been shown to be effective in dozen of RCTs makes me rethink your intelligence.

At a minimum, you should just admit that "you don't know if it works or not".

Yet you state that it's clearly ineffective.

Please go back to the drawing board.

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This is updated regularly:


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Budy i am glad i read this article.

So i can tell you the following. I am not a Republican. I have actually read most of the articles and links. I have been following on Ivermectin for a long time. The media has been biased, you are still being biased.

1- the hospital came out with a public letter because that doctor is affiliated with them. And the same as with dr McCullough who's medical group he worked for just for having their name mentioned in an introduction to an interview. This group felt the need to dissociate/protect themselves from anything related to this mr.

2- Japanese health associations endorsed Ivermectin recently (and i am not talking about the public speech from Fabruary).

3- india just recently made Ivermectin part of the list of essential deugs to fight covid

I am bringing out those 2 recent developments to let you know, that not just early signs were positive, but even later experiences were. Which can explain the latest developments mentioned above.

4- Satoshi (the proud Nobel prize winner for Ivermectin discovery) and other collaborators, published a new study on the risks of IVM in the context of potential covid therapeutics.. You might want to check it: very very very low risk. The study is over 50 pages and quite conclusive and extensive.

5- point 4 doesn't answer for people using animal forms. But it does answer the false media claims (for multiple months now) that IVM has high risk.

6- YouTube has removed any testimony from anypne who took IVM and then spoke positively about the results .. You can still find thoae on other platforms, if you are interested in what those people had to say(maybe you will learn something).

7- Correlation is not causality, i know. But that correlation seems to have saved some interesting lives.

8- you might want to check the number of non republican doctors (they seem to be educated enough to have an MD degree), that have used and prescribed IVM and what are the results they saw. Live ICU doctors, family practitioners, etc.

Maybe then you can have an investigative answer about all this. Maybe you will have a different opinion, or maybe your opinion will be more strengthened. But if you want to start saying that you want to use logic and fight bias, well start looking at what those advocates of IVM are clinging to. You already know the other side anyway.

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I think you should add more hedging at the beginning around ivermectin. I don't know that there's *good evidence*, but based on the studies I've seen I don't think it's crazy to believe that it *might* work. (I can even think of some reasons it might work, such as killing worms that suppress immune response. That might even account for some heterogeneity in findings. But this isn't my field.)

Probably some number of people are taking appropriate doses of ivermectin on the merits of some study they've read. Hey, that's their prerogative. And then some number are eating the horse paste wholesale and going to the hospital and taking up ER slots.

Anyway, I'd be a little more cautious in saying that it's been fully discounted already, or that there's *no* remaining evidence.

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Fantastic post, one of your best.

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My wife's a dog breeder, so I already knew that the initial story was implausible. Ivermectin has a huge gap between 'clinical dose' and 'toxic overdose.' There's no way people are being hospitalized en masse from overdosing on it.

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"the ways our irrationality is polarizing us."

This seems like a feedback loop. Being polarized makes people not think clearly about issues. Looking at issues unclearly, as you mentioned, ratchets up polarization by reinforcing one's preconceptions...

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Did you hear? Paul Krugman filed for personal bankruptcy.

I try to be on high alert when I run to into a story that absolutely confirms my personal biases - the ones I’m aware of anyway. The ones I’m not aware of remain a work in progress.

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As background about the USA's Poison Control service, I found this episode of RadioLab interesting: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/poison-control

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I wrote a Substack post about Ivermectin 6 weeks ago: https://yevaud.substack.com/p/thoughts-on-ivermectin/comments . TLDR - the studies that claim it is "90% effective" are all fraudulent, the studies that claim it is "useless" have data that suggests it is 20% effective, and US research hospitals haven't looked into it because they have incompetent management.

That hasn't changed, but now there's a fourth point: "don't take an overdose of horse paste".

The Wikipedia saying https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Don%27t_stuff_beans_up_your_nose comes to mind on that advice.

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I feel like people give too little thought to how different pieces of misinformation have different impact. If you mistakenly believe vaccines are dangerous and ivermectin works, and are middle-aged or older, you'll incur a sizeable risk of dying and a sizeable risk of causing someone else to die. If you mistakenly believe hospitals are full of people with ivermectin poisoining, you'll be more likely to rely on vaccination instead, which happens to be the correct thing to do, even if your reasons for it would be somewhat incorrect. Maybe it would cause a few people would reject ivermectin in some scenario where it would be actually helpful for them, or refuse to go to a hospital because you overestimate how overcrowded it is - but on the net, the average receiver of such misinformation would probably be better off.

That's not to say it's a good idea to spread information that you know is false or unverified but think is useful (although I do think this is sometimes a better explanation of why spreading happens than people actually wishful-thinking it true). For one thing, judging whether a claim about something happening at some hospital is true is easy enough that the average journalist can reliably do it, while judging claims about drugs and vaccines isn't, and judging the exact effect of a story on its audience is also hard, so you'd regularly misjudge those things and cause harm. And it would poison the well - if the facts you build your calculations on might have been falsified by someone in the name of some past cost-benefit calculus of their own, it becomes impossible to make good judgments about anything. We should be working on building a web of reliable knowledge fragments, not fighting fire with fire.

Still, I think if you spend most of your misinformation-related attention on false stories with low impact that happen to be convenient for your biases, and ignore false stories with high impact that line up less nicely with your prejudices, you are still committing some meta version of the confirmation bias, even if the way you verify and judge the specific stories you pay attention to is correct and unbiased 100% of the time.

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I fell completely for Act II... despite just having been exposed to the morale of Act I and, well, that there were 3 Acts. [insert large facepalm]

Of the ones I checked, The Guardian actually has an "amendment disclaimer" at the end. But it pretty much looks like the left the article/title as is, and then just slapped at the end this:

"[NHS] said [...] that Dr McElyea was not an employee but was affiliated with a medical staffing group that provided coverage for its emergency room. NHS Sequoyah had not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin [...]"

I kind of think that this is even worse than no amendment? Because one can hope that e.g. the BBC one didn't know of the controversy and left it as is. The Guardian's has a "fact-checking done, good job, let's pat ourselves in the back" feeling. Despite the title literally saying the doctor made the ivermectin->hospital collapse implication. But well, maybe, at least they tried? I don't know anymore.

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This is a marvelous post! Instapundit has a recent post (by Ed Driscoll) about the story, and the comments illustrate every scene in your play . . . I added a comment with a link to the post, since you said it was okay to share.

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In some sense, the true story does not matter here. The style of reporting here is what matters. We need to find a way to incentivize this, or at least disincentivize that *other* stuff.

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This kind of fake news is encouraged by the capitalist economic system. When there's a major financial incentive to lie for sensationalist clicks the media will of course do so as their primary concern is one thing - profit. Once again we see the profit incentive perverting the proper functioning of society.

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Good article. A well done article. I have no place to complain about it.

My main takeaway from it is yet more despair and hopelessness. It takes hours or days just to maybe understand an infinitesimal fraction of a fraction of a single issue. I mostly understood that by now, but I guess a reminder is helpful. I just need to remember to keep myself resigned to the fact that I will only ever understand a couple pieces of this world's billion-piece puzzle.

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OK. I actually live in Oklahoma City and happen to know a couple of ICU nurses, and they've been saying our hospitals are overwhelmed for a while, long before ivermectin became a talking point. Neither has mentioned anything to do with poisoning cases, although I just asked specifically and haven't heard back.

As for gunshot victims, that doesn't ring true either. Checking the crime statistics, there have been 52 aggravated assaults in the last month here in OKC. Obviously that's not a perfect match for gunshot victims (many aggravated assaults are not with guns, some people get shot by accident) but I don't think the rate for the metro is higher than 2/day. The ICUs are full to the point that it might be hard to deal with, but it's COVID, not ivermectin.

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Do I believe you could, rather than reflexively default to other experts, deploy your perfectly suited analytical skills to the patient, humble evaluation of the purported antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory capacities of a repurposed drug which, when employed with other therapeutics in concert, have shown enough promise not to dismiss them out of hand (and which people might reasonably, vaccinated or not, employ when, not if, they get it)? Hell, yes.

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There's a Cochrane report on the efficacy of Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment, which looks at the reputable studies (ignoring the notable fake one - see https://steamtraen.blogspot.com/2021/07/Some-problems-with-the-data-from-a-Covid-study.html).

Cochrane reports are often viewed as the "gold standard" for meta-analyses. This one concludes "Currently, evidence on efficacy and safety of ivermectin for prevention of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection and COVID‐19 treatment is conflicting."

See https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD015017.pub2/full

All the trials had few participants (total of 14 studies with total of 1678 participants).

Soon, we'll get reports from some actual large scale studies, e.g.


This is the same trial platform that found the beneficial effects of (cheap, out of patent) dexamethasone, which I read somewhere (sorry, can't find link quickly) is said to have saved tens of thousands of lives. So it's hardly like "mega-corp" is suppressing this, it's just being careful.

Science is slowly winding its windy path to the likely truth, whatever that turns out to be.

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The problem with this sort of thing is that it takes a smart person like Scott a decent amount of effort to sort out what is going on. People normally can't do this and it is not a good use of their time. The most unfortunate form of this sort of debacle is when it deals with someone's reputation and their life accidentally gets somewhat ruined. If you're unwilling to do this much research to fact check, should you not watch news at all?

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> Have you clicked through to any of the links yet? No? Not even after I admitted I’m probably biased here?

I know this isn't your point, but this makes me wonder...do people click links *while* they're reading an article?

If I were to check your sources, I would have gone back and done it after reading everything you'd written.

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As someone who lives in Oklahoma, I have also been confused and annoyed by this whole thing. I'm not saying that absolutely no one here is doing stupid things with ivermectin... but if enough people were doing this that it overcrowded the local hospitals, I think I would have heard of that. My local doctors don't seem any busier than normal. Not sure about the local hospitals, but considering we're currently in a Covid spike, "the surge of Covid cases is overcrowding hospitals" sounds plausible... especially since the OKC hospitals serve not just the metro area, but also the rural towns, where vaccination rates are lower.

As a side note: I believe I have ivermectin somewhere in the house. I was prescribed the cream version for my acne several years ago. Does this mean I can claim to be "one of those idiot Oklahomans talking ivermectin"?

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“ Okay, this time I promise I’m not trying to psych you out.”

I dunno Scott, I’m waiting for the follow on “gotcha” post. Like that final jump scare at the end of the Sissie Spacek version of “Carrie”. :)

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As per references to NHS Sequoyah, the hospital seems at least somewhat related to Dr. McElyea himself as it is one of the two hospitals U.S. News lists he is affiliated with:


However by the hospital's own admission, Dr. McElyea hasn't worked at their location in over two months:


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As soon as you divide people/newspapers etc. into "the good guys" doing good reporting and "the bad guys" spreading misinformation you set yourself up for the fall. As soon as you look for easy categorical answers in something as messy as daily news you set yourself up for the fall.

A more truthful view might sometimes feel confusing and annoying, but it is also possible to appreciate the complexity of the world with a sense of wonder. Then epistemic doubt comes naturally. As someone said: If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything (https://www.age-of-the-sage.org/buddhism/third_patriarch_zen.html).

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Scott, I think you are trying too hard to find equipoise. It all starts with RS running headline behind the click-baity "Doctor says...X is true" as opposed to "X is true". Further, a real news organization would have heard the quote and demanded hard data: which hospital, on what day, with how many numbers etc. The reporting technique RS used sets my Bayesian priors at 'highly improbable'.

And indeed the lack of follow up data in the article implies either 'too good to check so we didn't' or the far worse 'we did inquire, it was not confirmed, and we ran with it anyway.'

I am also burdened with some insider information as physician. First, Ivermectin overdose is likely to cause the type of symptoms (mild GI mostly) that would have all triage-abiding staff drop the Ivermectin patient like the proverbial hot potato if a hot trauma came in. Any delay would be measured in seconds. Further, not all gunshot wounds need urgent attention. Indeed, my first surgical case as an intern was removing a bullet that was present for two weeks...a case so ho hum the residents did not want any part of it. Thus, the gestalt of the article, "Ivermectin overdoses are causing gunshot victims to get worse care", is highly unlikely even if these OD cases were far more common than they are

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I'm just pleased I followed this through the same three acts and reached the same satisfyingly muddy conclusions before reading this. [Act I was egregious, Act II satisfying, Act II interesting].


It's the same with ivermectin itself, it's not gonna be no panacea, but it ain't no hemlock neither. I actually think a lot of confusion [political stream info-hysteria issues aside] is around interpretation of academic rigour and phrasing, so I'm waiting on the Oxford study.


At the moment I have as much time for people that shout 'horse de-wormer duh, it doesn't work' at people taking a human, safe dose to hedge an albeit small bet [sympathetic prescription if you will] as those that take a veterinary dose thinking it'll cure them and vaccines won't.

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You repeatedly refer to the hospital with phrases like “some random unrelated hospital” but that hospital was not “unrelated”. Our first clue Is that the hospital’s statement says: “Dr. McElyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over 2 months”, a line which suggests he HAD recently worked at that exact hospital, making that specific hospital a good candidate to perhaps be the one he was talking about. Which might naturally lead people in the area and/or press to be concerned/wondering about THAT hospital, which explains them making a statement about it.

To confirm, there’s this page on the doctor’s practice: https://health.usnews.com/doctors/jason-mcelyea-815102

Which lists two affiliated hospitals, one of which is the one that made the statement.

Quote: “Dr. Jason A. Mcelyea is a family medicine doctor in Sallisaw, Oklahoma and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Integris Grove Hospital and *Northeastern Health System Sequoyah*.”

NHS weighed in first. Integris Grove Hospital hasn’t yet responded to requests for comment but a third hospital in the area that he is thought to sometimes work with (McAlester Regional) has; the statement they made was: “At this time we are not aware of any Ivermectin overdoses at our facility. Dr. McElyea is not employed with McAlester Regional Health Center.”

(Source: https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/around-the-region/oklahoma-hospitals-respond-after-doctor-says-ivermectin-overdoses-backing-up-emergency-rooms/ )

TL;DR: the hospitals making statements are related by (a) physical proximity to his practice, (b) having worked with him at some point (and being identified as such in well-indexed online sources).

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There's a nice irony that a news story piling on to the general perception that red states are briming with anti-vaxxers led with a photo of people in a red state lining up for vaccinations.

Another meta- to all this is that Rolling Stone was once infamous for its almost pedantic fact-checking. Matt Taibbi wrote about it here: https://taibbi.substack.com/p/fact-checking-takes-another-beating

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FYI Yahoo News is just a news aggregator. That article you linked to there was actually from Insider.

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Oh my god you got me twice even though the title says three acts

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2 got me, but I'm not convinced you actually refuted it. Relying on the word of a single doctor without bothering to check does seem to be what actually happened.

For what it's worth, I have no specific distrust of Rolling Stone compared to any other publication short of purely public databases like FRED or the US Census tables. But the idea that hospitals anywhere are seeing large amounts of poisoning cases and turning away gunshot victims doesn't pass a basic smell test. I can easily believe a doctor somewhere saw one gunshot victim in triage having to wait a bit longer at a hospital that was also currently treating one poisoning victim, said something in a moment of frustration, and the news ran with it because it makes for a good headline likely to attract this kind of attention, that is, no one was specifically lying exactly, but the framing was intentionally sensational and misleading and nobody bothered to check how bad this problem really was.

That still seems to be true. Hospitals in Oklahoma are almost certainly not seeing many poisoning or gunshot victims compared to everything else people show up for, and Rolling Stone and the BBC and whoever picked this up from the original local source do not appear to have made any effort to figure out how prevalent either poisonings or gunshots are right now in any specific region of Oklahoma at all, nor did they call the original doctor that was quoted by the local news.

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> I’m still not really sure about a lot of this, and I still haven’t done anything extreme like call any of the hospitals or doctors involved. It’s just what I think is the most likely picture.

The much less extreme yet equally effective strategy is "hire someone to call hospitals for you." Research assistants are pretty useful!

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I never know the line between confirmation bias and making sensible judgments.

Like, I believed the initial statement because I have a high trust in Scott A. He has earned that trust by being reliable over years. I'd also be inclined to believe it because I do not trust the media as far as I can throw them. This distrust has been earned by being highly unreliable over the years. So I see that tweet on this website it seems like a slam dunk. And later turns out to be a slam dunk (Scott makes it seem like a gray area, I don't see it that way).

Like, these broad generalizations might be wrong 20% of the time. But I don't need to be more right than that.

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I don't know about Scott, but I'm willing to bite the bullet and admit to feeling smugly superior to Rolling Stone, and The Guardian and BBC and anyone else who bought in to really any version of this story.

One's prior for "maybe the latest crazy medical fad is causing people to poison themselves in such vast numbers that they are overwhelming hospitals on a regional level" ought to be very low. Has that *ever* happened? It's certainly quite rare. There are some deeply stupid people out there, but there seem to be barriers against stupidity manifesting in this particular fashion.

A member of a high-trust society might be forgiven for taking a single report from a reputable newspaper as cause to update from "very very unlikely, not worth considering" to "oh crap, this is really happening". But reporters and editors for a reputable newspaper should *not* be forgiven for running a story like this without e.g. calling hospitals to check, asking their in-house medical experts whether it's even plausible, or, yes, checking out the National Poison Data Center. If you're a reporter, randos with an axe to grind will call you with stories about how the outgroup is stupid and evil, and it's your job to sort out a little wheat from a lot of chaff in a way that requires tedious effort. Shame on all of them.

Also, we don't live in a really high-trust society, particularly where the mass media is concerned, and Rolling Stone is not a reputable newspaper. They're the ones who broke the UVA fraternity rape "scandal", remember? One should have at least a moderately high prior for any mainstream news outlet, and Rolling Stone in particular, inadequately fact-checking claims that the right-wing outgroup is stupid and running exaggerated "right-wing outgroup is stupid" stories; if it's Fox News s/right-wing/left-wing. *Particularly* if you are e.g. an editor at BBC deciding whether to just blindly run a Rolling Stone (or Fox News) story under your own masthead.

And you should have an even higher prior that anyone "debunking" anyone else on Twitter, of all places, is taking an inadequately-researched cheap shot that doesn't debunk much of anything.

There were only ever two rational responses to any of this. First, seeing a fantastic story aligned with the known biases of the medium, quickly look to see if they are making a strong effort to call out their confirming sources and saying "nope, so it's probably grossly exaggerated at the very least and irrelevant to me, so I'm ignoring it". Or second, deciding that it might be relevant and looking for reliable sources yourself. That applies to the original story and the "debunking" tweet, though if you've appropriately dismissed the original story then why would you bother with the tweet.

Is there anyone here who saw the original story and thought it was likely to be at all close to the truth?

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Well as a dyed in the wool empiricist my priors were:

(1) People are generally self-centered tribal idiots (if mostly well-meaning self centered tribal idiots), and therefore...

(2) In a pandemic some modest fraction will do dumbass things, and

(3) A larger fraction will seek confirmation of their hopes and fears about the pandemic in the anecdata of the dumbasses, and

(4) Those responsible for reporting, whose Christmas bonuses depend on page clicks, will exaggerate the dumbassery in ways that assist the confirmation bias of whatever their readership demographic is, and finally

(5) What is *actually going on* is exceedingly hard to know, unless it's happening to you personally right now, and is probably only determinable to any reasonable degree long after the dust settles, and perhaps not even then (cf. Rashomon), and therefore

(6) You should base your personal actions on what you have personally experienced, and what has been long established by painful repetition of empirical confirmation, and generally ignore emergent stories that suggest upending either. And also:

(7) Being a reporter or pundit is a miserable career that would give me ulcers.

Every one of the versions of the story you told supported all 6 priors, so I didn't experience any displacement shock at any point. Nor do I worry much about what it means if yet another version of the story emerges, because I rather suspect it will be in line with all 6 priors.

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When I saw the original tweet, my first thought was: “Hmm, this isn't the first time Rolling Stone published a false story that was ‘too good to check’, is it?” And I looked it up and remembered that in 2015 they published a campus rape story that turned out to be extremely shoddily sourced and was retracted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Rape_on_Campus

The most important thing is that there were no serious consequences for the reporter, Sabrina Erdely. She wasn't fired. She gave a grudging apology and that was it.

So, no matter what else we can say about this whole thing, Rolling Stone can't be trusted and should basically be ignored.

These things tend to get forgotten, which means there are no real consequences for Ederly or Rolling Stone. I'm commenting here to do a tiny bit to counter that.

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The Sequoia Hospital System isn’t unrelated to Dr. McElyea or to this story. The doctor is a member of a physicians group that is contracted with Sequoia and the public statement by Sequoia explicitly says that McElyea has worked at Sequoia but not in two months. So, yes, the statement by Sequoia does refute the Rolling Stone story directly. Scott is inferring, without any evidence, that McElyea is contracted with other hospitals where these overdoses may be occurring. Further, McElyea is a family practitioner so it is doubtful he spends much time in a hospital although he apparently does appear in hospitals sometimes.

Despite Scott’s weak argument that “ both sides are culpable”, the fact still remains that the Rolling Stone story and the original KFOR story lack any facts whatsoever. They don’t name a specific hospital, a source who actually has personal knowledge of the alleged Ivermectin overdoses or any facts showing how McElyea supposedly has knowledge of any cases, let alone cases where people have gone blind. The Rolling Stone article is fiction. The fact that the Sequoia system is in fact contracted with McElyea’s physician group and the fact that McElyea has apparently worked in at least one of Sequoia’s hospitals directly contradicts the Rolling Stone article. Scott also mistakenly believes that Sequoia is one hospital. In fact, Sequoia operates multiple hospitals in the eastern part of Oklahoma where McElyea practices. Therefore, its statement that there have been no Ivermectin overdose cases at it’s facilities is probative evidence contradicting the claims in Rolling Stone. So no, the evidence isn’t equally lacking. The side that made the claim has precisely no facts to back up its claim. The side that debunked the story has multiple pieces of directly, probative evidence to back it up. The pedantic left may claim that the evidence isn’t dispositive but its mire than they have. Maybe elitists, icluding Scott, should STFU.

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So the 'true story' is still that major media outlets including Rolling Stone made the whole thing up based on misrepresenting a radio interview

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This article was an absolute delight—it reminded me of this excellent piece on your writing style: https://sashachapin.substack.com/p/some-of-scott-alexanders-writing

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I'm beginning to wonder if this is also a story that is like the chloroquine story, again with an alleged poisoning over "this was touted as a wonder drug" (then it was supposed to be alleged attempted murder, I haven't seen a definite conclusion either way):


Exactly how many people are taking ivermectin (I'm not surprised they're using the animal version since that's probably easier to get than trying to persuade a doctor to prescribe it when you don't have worms)? And again, if you're taking a dose calibrated for a horse or cow, yes you are going to overdose and poison yourself. But are there really that many cases of ivermectin-taking?

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It’s funny how this is just BTFOing fake news but gets more attention than the systematic investigations of complex problems or conceptual posts or book reviews. Oh well.

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Amusingly there is decent evidence that TriCor actually works well against Covid and is pretty safe:


Why doesn't that go viral on social media?

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I think the tone of this post underplays the difference between a major media outlet making these mistakes and a random ACX reader making these mistakes. Like, you could come away from this post thinking "huh, wow, I do exactly the same thing I was criticizing Rolling Stone for doing", without also thinking "wow, it's horrifying that Rolling Stone -- an organization with power -- doesn't take its responsibility seriously enough to overcome this tempting error & check its stories"

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"Later it started looking less promising, and investigators found that a major supporting study was fraudulent." There is still overwhelming positive data for Ivermectin's effectiveness. You are referencing one study (Elgazzar) which when completely removed from the meta analyses, does not change the conclusion that Ivermectin is still clearly favored vs the control. 62% decrease in death lowers to 49% decrease in death. While the confidence drops by removing the Elgazzar study it DOES NOT indicate that Ivermectin is not effective. This is unbelievably irresponsible of you.

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What I am observing here in this very entertaining post is constant subtle switching between "to establish that something happened, there should be reliable evidence of it" and "to establish that something happened, there's enough that somebody said it happened and there's no reliable evidence that it could not, under any circumstances, have happened".

It is pretty clear that neither RS nor anybody else had any reliable evidence of hospitals being "overwhelmed" by ivermectin overdosing right-wing rubes. In fact, I don't think there's even a reliable evidence of "gunshot victims" "waiting" for anything, either ivermectin-related or not, beyond usual time a person would wait in other circumstances. All we have is the words about one case from one doctor, which doesn't give any verifyable details. And even that was not about turning the gunshot victim away but about transferring them to a different care facility (which may have a thousand reasons to not accept anybody who is already being treated by other facility just because some random doctor wants them to).

That should be the end of it, but somehow the fact that the hospital hasn't been named becomes important - did you notice the switch between "it happened" and "you can't prove it didn't happen if I don't tell you enough details to catch me"? The problem is not whether the story has been "debunked" or not - the problem is it shouldn't ever be "bunked" in the first place, and breathlessly reprinted verbatim by everbody knowing how to operate the copy-paste facility. It shouldn't be the story of "everybody is a little wrong in various ways", it should be "a MSM outlet has published fake news again, a lot of people got fooled again, and learned nothing again, and won't until they learn not to trust any reporting at all they get from those quarters, at least not without extremely heavy evidentiary proof".

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Scott's being too charitable to the left in his attempt to squeeze a post about generic human flaws out of a situation which isn't really about that.

The left was incorrect about its basic claims and the right was correct about them. The original article was in fact misleading and got that way because of political bias in the media.

It's true that the debunking of the original article wasn't completely on point, but that doesn't make the situation symmetrical. There's a big difference between a basically true claim with bad evidence and a basically false claim.

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" Only you, reading this ACX article, are getting the full story and learning more about the world instead of just confirming your biases."

at what point do we get to post the replying 'YES' meme?

how long is our checklist ?

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I don't understand why, considering the low risk of ivermectin, it's not used more. Like so if it's useful you save a bunch of lives if it's useless no harm or very little harm is done.

What am I missing?

I see distguibished ppl on both sides of the debate but more distinguished people being anti ivy, certainly more doctors.

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"Only you, reading this ACX article, are getting the full story and learning more about the world instead of just confirming your biases.

Did you believe that?"

Ofc not but I think it's fair to say we are relatively less biased on average, whatever that is worth.

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"This story doesn’t make me feel smug and superior to everyone else. It makes me feel confused and annoyed." Boy can I relate to that statement : (

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Act III, paragraph 3, "complications of treating ivermectin." There are definitely complications of treating ivermectin but the sentence might need a "Covid with."

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Scott: The media wasn't entirely fair to the people taking horse drugs, so people who claim the media is evil and biased have a point.

Also Scott: I'm going to trust long-time outright racists when they link me studies about HBD.

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I can't blame you for not seeing everything, but the clip I saw of the doctor he didn't say "do not take Ivermectin", he actually said something like "consult your doctor before taking Ivermectin, so you don't end up in the ER" (not the exact quote). I think that's a pretty important difference.

And while, yes IVM's effectiveness for Covid is still not certain, enough doctors still believe it's a good risk/reward, or is mildly effective to warrant not discarding it yet.

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jesus, this is demoralizing. is that the point?

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O mg.

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> Only you, reading this ACX article, are getting the full story and learning more about the world instead of just confirming your biases.

This but unironically.

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above average post

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> A Democrat reads some fraction of this story, and sees a bunch of idiot conspiracy theorists taking deadly horse medication to cure COVID. A doctor warns people that his hospital is overcrowded with poisoning cases, and the media dutifully reports on this. Then an unrelated hospital puts out a press release saying they’re not involved and - even though this changes nothing - Republicans seize on this to declare the entire media is “fake news” and nobody should trust anything they read and the horse dewormer conspiracists were right all along.


> A Republican reads some fraction of this story, and sees the media falsely reporting that ivermectin is overcrowding local hospitals, even though the hospitals themselves are denying this. Also, using a fake photo of something else to imply that lines at local hospitals are stretching out the door. Also, declaring that 70% of poison incidents are due to ivermectin when it’s really 2%.

The message from your blog post is, if I've read it correctly: "Every news report at every step along the way, on both the left and the right, was either maliciously misleading or sufficiently incompetent to look maliciously misleading". And so, wouldn't the Republicans screaming "fake news" actually be correct? (ignoring for the moment that they would likely not call their own side just as fake)

Way back in the day, I read a post on an old LiveJournal, the dude was yva-something, called "Epistemic Learned Helplessness". This post has been formative for my thinking on issues like this. The argument in the original post went, roughly: "If you are aware that people smarter than you are capable of generating convincing-sounding arguments for a position, and you are not equipped to be able to tell truth from falsehood (because you are not an expert in the relevant field, but they are), then it is a reasonable position to take to say something like 'yes, that appears to be a rational argument for position X, but I'm just going to ignore it'"

For years now I've felt the same way about the news, and this ACX post reinforces that I made the correct decision. Per your sleuthing to write this article, it is overwhelmingly clear that if I go and read the news on this issue, whatever I walk away thinking, it will be factually wrong. I could spend hours of my day doing a deep dive, phoning hospitals, and doing journalists' jobs for them, and maybe hit on the truth. But it will be a massive investment in time and effort, and at the end of it I will have nothing of value to show for it (since this story affects my life zero). I assert that, in the face of an environment so hostile to establishing truth, the correct response is to write it all off as noise and ignore it. It may be correct, it may not be, but I will not be able to tell the difference between correct reporting, and correct-appearing-but-actually-manipulative reporting. So I choose epistemic learned helplessness

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Re: Scout Mindset. Also use the replacement experiment Galef recommends.

Instead of "Hospital in Oklahoma Turns Away Gunshot Victims Due To Ivermectin Patients Overcrowding ERs", try "Hospital in California Turns Away Gunshot Victims Due to Severe Covid-Vaccine Side-Effect Sufferers Overcrowding ERs".

I'd assume most people here and ones that bought the Oklahoma Ivermectin story would immediately look for the URL of the latter California Vaccine story and guess it came from a conspiracy site--rightfully so. Yet, so many people instantly were sold on the OK Ivermectin story because it fit the narrative neatly.

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This is a brilliant post. After reading it I immediately bought "The Scout Mindset".

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> Did you believe that?

> Did you believe that?

> Did you believe that?

It's like the levels of Inception in blog form! Beautiful!

But I did believe the third time. Repetition bias on my part?

"Law Of Rationalist Irony" just sounds like a special case of Murphy's Law, which in turn is just a popular instance of confirmation bias enshrined in "law". So I checked: you made it up just now!

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Dr. McElyea does explicitly link overcrowding with ivermectin abuse.

There were 11 cases of "ivermectin exposure" reported to the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information since the beginning of May.

Three hospitals that Dr. McElyea has worked at, NHS-Sequoyah, Integris Grove Hospital, and McAlester Regional Health Center, have issued statements that do not support his statements.

This started with a ZOOM meeting of the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition (affiliated with the Oklahoma State Medical Association). They published a video of it on their Facebook page on 8/31. Dr. McElyea appears in the video beginning at 12:38. He explicitly links ivermectin abuse to the overcrowding beginning at 15:01.


He repeats that ivermectin abuse is one of the causes of overcrowding in his interview with KFOR. Here is the most complete version of Dr. McElyea's interview with KFOR that I could find:


Scott Schaeffer, managing director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, says there were 11 cases of ivermectin "exposure" reported to them since the beginning of May (as of 8/25).


Here are links to stories about the hospital statements that contradict Dr. McElyea's account:



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I love the fact that just the starting seed for this essay still needs explaining (for anyone who hasn't been following along obsessively). There's a word that's become popular in China recently to describe companies that spend all their time grinding their gears on administrative processes without actually producing any more stuff: convolution. Information these days is convoluted, i.e. it's all information about information.

The thing is, I think that it's always been this way. The job of digging through the information to real stuff, unmediated by human concepts, is exactly what science is, and it's really really hard. Information is by its nature convoluted.

(I'm a translator, and this occasionally bites me in the ass. If I'm translating a sentence from Chinese, standard procedure is to think about what the sentence means in the real world, and then write that in English. But surprisingly often, the Chinese sentence doesn't refer directly to the real world, but to some other linguistic artifacts (in Chinese); and you then just have to do your best to recreate the many-layered, or even infinite regress.)

I'm not sure what to do with this knowledge. But it certainly supports the whole echo-chamber idea, that we're mostly trapped reading ideas about ideas that we already have.

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I suspect the root error is that writers are using "people taking ivermectin" as a metonym for antivaxxers in general. Like, it's not true that ivermectin poisoning is directly putting people in the hospital to the extent that they're crowding out other patients, but it *is* probably true that people taking ivermectin are disproportionately likely to wind up in the hospital... with COVID, because they're taking ivermectin instead of getting vaccinated.

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One of the most frustrating outcomes of this whole ivermectin controversy is how difficult it is for patients who actually NEED it to get it prescribed. For the past year, I've been dealing with a serious case of treatment-resistant scabies, and it took 8 months until I was finally given a proper dose of ivermectin from a dermatologist - and only then after all other possible causes for my skin condition had been ruled out (I'd tried all other treatments more often than I can count and none of them were effective). During this time I was so itchy that I got less than 4 hours sleep on most nights and scratched so deeply that I now have permanent scars on my skin. I also had to defer my doctoral studies and neglected important relationships in my life, being too physically and mentally exhausted. I think this is quite a serious consequence of doctors being reluctant to prescribe ivermectin that has been ignored. Hell, I even had to split my prescribed dose with a friend of mine who had caught scabies off me, who was also not responding to standard treatments, and who could not get an ivermectin prescription of her own no matter how hard she tried. Thankfully we're both past this horrible infection, but I'm still recovering from the impact that it has had on my life.

(I'm located in a country where you can't get ivermectin OTC, even for 'veterinary' purposes, so getting a prescription was my only option)

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1. In New Zealand, ivermectin was first approved for treating roundworm in sheep. When I hear of it being used in humans, an overused portmanteau of "sheep" and "people" inevitably invades my mind.

2. The post confirmed my bias that Twitter should be taken round the back of the barn and shot.

3. The post is also rather click-baity. This makes me sad.

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Alright, I'll bite: what is the relevance of Achilles and Chiron to this article? Is it just free association between medicine, people and horses, or is there some clever joke I'm missing?

(For those who are confused by the question, the front page of the substack illustrates this article with a painting of a centaur and a man, it doesn't seem to be visible on this page.)

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Good summary. Though the whole thing is dwarfed by unvaxxed Covid patients filling up hospitals and ER's. I saw 2 ivermectin overdoses, for the first time ever in my 20 year ER career. Gunshots are rare, so two rare things occurring is unusual, but absolutely does happen in the ER. Also there are never lines in an ER. The chair space just fills up, and people starting sitting outside. Though right now, with such a young Covid cohort, people check in, wait 10 minutes, then decide to leave. The sickest just sit in chairs because to walk around takes too much air.

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I do wonder how much of this issue can be avoided by just avoiding polarizing topics ala politics.

Most things I <try> to read about outside of SSC and the subreddit, which I use as my dose of US politics, are kinda boring factual-o-theoretical claims about things.

And while I agree observation is theory-laden and theory is made by the gullible trusting bad observation and so on, reading papers and /r/molecularbiology or lobste.rs requires a much lower level of scepticism than dealing with politics.

Most conclusions are tentative and non-committal and at most incentive for further readings or self-experiments. And the ROI is pretty good in terms of happiness due to changed behaviour, money, better conversation.

Armadillos penises, when erect, are around half the size of their torso, but they are not as intimidating as those of e.g. Rhinos, because they are thin and conical. More interestingly, their erect penis will likely be spotted when sleeping, because they sometimes sleep on their side or back. But here's the kicker: Unlike most animals, this erection happens during non-REM sleep


This is 100% more relevant to my life than whether or not X hospital in county so-and-so couldn't admit what-and-what because who-and-who bad and won't follow doctors advice. This is a fact that has ramifications in my ontology of sleep. I learnt this fact 5 days ago and I already used it once as an intro into a dirty conversation, and those are super hard to come by, for me at least. It's funny, cute, interesting.

And I'm pretty sure nobody's lying to me about it. Am I ~100% confident? No. But I'd bet you 80/20 that if you set up a camera to look at sleeping armadillos at the zoo we'll notice them sleeping with their belly exposed and we'll see their arms twitching when their penis is inert, and their members being steady when their member is erect. And I can ultimately increase that confidence in a really straightforward way. There's no partizanship to this, how could there be?

That's the beauty of science and engineering and of ""intellectual"" pursuits in general. And if the past is to generalize, 100,000 sleeping armadillo style facts at some point cumulate into nuclear energy, and it all pays off. And if it doesn't ? What's the harm, look at how cute the Armadillo is

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You left out the angle that the only reason people are getting poisoned taking the horse de-wormer is because their paternalistic, New York Times reading doctors refuse to give them a prescription for the (harmless) human version of the medicine...

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Here’s one way to think about it: if you cared about what was really going on in hospitals in Oklahoma (like maybe you live there or have relatives there) you would investigate. If you notice that you’re not actually investigating, that’s pretty good evidence that you’re not actively curious about it. Better to admit there are questions you don’t have good answers for, and that you’re just going to let them remain unanswered.

(Of course if you *are* actively curious, please do investigate and get back to us.)

It might seem somehow wrong to admit that you’re not curious about something. Social media often convinces us that we care about all sorts of things, but reading articles that show up in your newsfeed is only a weak, passive, opportunistic curiosity.

In some sense that’s okay. It would be impractical to investigate everything that goes by. Knowing what you’re actively curious about is useful self-knowledge.

But I wonder about the things we passively absorb without investigating, so we think we know things that we haven’t checked out. How does this affect your priors?

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I believed part 1 hook, line, and sinker, without so much as three seconds of research. Having this pointed out was very valuable, I am updating by adding "don't believe stuff automatically, you dimwit" to my wishlist of mental reflexes. Thank you!

(At least I didn't believe the second part automatically.)

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I’d make two points. Firstly the more right wing perspective that the media are sloppy click hungry entertainment outlets masquerading as news outlets which can be relied upon to report even basic factual information is by and large true. It is hard to clock at this or many other stories as anything other than fake news. It is fake in that it is not true and is presented as though it were true. The silliness comes from thinking any body exists on the right or anywhere that has any interest in reporting the truth.

Their own fake news criticism is itself wrong in that it implies some source of truth exists. But if any story matters to any powerful player, then it will almost certainly have extreme bias in its reporting with a filthy myopic lens used. Marketing, propaganda, ownership models, manufacturing consent, etc it has all been there all along like Cesar’s reports of his glorious conquests of the barbarian armies of he north which mostly consisted of slaughtering and enslaving small villages.

Secondly I’d point to the quite pessimistic and seemingly uninformed views on ivermectin presented. The FLCCC cited by others is simply putting information together and they have dozens of peer reviewed and double blind etc studies along with large National or large region implementations.

One even needs zero studies when looking at the raw figures which came out of India where a ‘natural’ experiment happened with their big covid wave a few months ago. These are extremely positive results and we should be trying whatever we can in a pandemic as long as it is safe. There is even passive evidence from lower covid rates in some parts of Africa, quite possibly matching up well with existing use of ivermectin for its well known and longstanding use against parasites which can cause blindness.

In states which used ivermectin Emma’s bs those thst didn’t, dramatically different outcomes in terms of the spread of the disease and deaths in hose states. A similar large scale rollout and use of ivermectin in, I think, Columbia o had dramatic effects. Unless covid waves just randomly fell apart in places using ivermectin in ways dissimilar to other places.

Looking at the evidence and arguments put forward to use a drug in a pandemic where we cannot wait or rely on stupid ideas of waiting around for 5 years or 20 years for large bodies of evidence to accumulate thorough the regular channels. This is a safe drug, which has saved millions of people from blindness and is a WHO essential medication used over 4 billion times in humans and if it helped even 10% of what people claim we should use it and let the studies and whatever play out over time.

Instead we have an insane and bizarre and inexplicable wave of health policy bodies and media censorship and smear campaigns. Here is no charitable argument left for the wide scale and systematic attempts to suppress this safe drug which has been widely used for decades. And like with the idiotic and horribly evidence free war on drugs, it is the illegal or non offical nature of it which has caused nearly all the problems. No one would be using the veterinary drug supply or confused on dosages if every GP in the land were allowed to freely proscribe it to anyone who wants it.

What criteria and standards should we use when combating a pandemic? Should we go with anything that is safe to use and see what sticks or should we wait around for clinical trials? His isn’t the standard of a big pharma company trying to get more profits from their drugs by getting long slow approvals that come with patent and profit protection…this is more like with cancer where people try all sorts of things and a certain amount of non standard ethics comes into pay with open human experimentation fuelled by personal choice.

In the context of a pandemic, if people want to volunteer to take and try various already approved drugs…what possible argument could exist to stop the, or not to study them? If here is one, I’d disagree with it. We must find rapid fire ways to try things out. Overall it shows massive wholes in the current system of drug development and usage approval. We cant use a 5 year process for something we need to know immediately and could easily be found out in 3 months or 6 months with willing participants. We certainly did this exact thing with the extremely high profit vaccine development, so why the complete hypocrisy? Could billions and billions of dollars and existing systems which are almost entirely reliant on big pharma possibly lead to double standards? Is a person an insane conspiritard for thinking any of this?

According to news media whose board members sit on none big pharma and big media companies…we should forget everything and accept government mandated multi vaccines of covid boosters and flu shots forever and ever under penalty of not being allowed to work or go to public places as enforced by a National monitoring system.

Even 3 years ago THAT would be the crazy person narrative. If I said 3 years ago that our freedom of movement be limited for years at a time or huge monitoring systems would be put in place, then that’d be Alex Jones level stupid person ideas. But now 2 years into covid, you are now considered insane NOT to openly embrace using a fast tracked vaccine made by companies who obtained total legal immunity and which doesn’t stop the spread of the virus and a total media ban and open assault on ‘misinformation’ about drugs which may or may not work on a brand new disease…when no one can know before hand what will work or not.

So…we have to get the vax to stop the spread, but also it doesn’t actually stop the spread of the virus, perhaps slowing it down a little. Endless insane sounding double speak and you’re crazy for saying it sounds crazy. Meanwhile covid spreads like wildfire in 90% vaccinated Israel and across the UK…but we have to get it for public health reasons to protect others? Yet getting it does not protect other people…..round and round it goes and it is no deemed insane to question this?

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"But I really am reading Scout Mindset, and it really does have me thinking about the ways our irrationality is polarizing us."

You're making the assumption that polarization is irrational. When we're talking about contending classes, polarization seems to flow naturally.

Also, you have already read a book that talks about media inaccuracies at great length and explains them well - "Manufacturing Consent" by Chomsky and Herman. From memory you didn't really give it a good review? Perhaps in light of all this fretting about inaccuracy and polarization you should give it a re-read.

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I am so very glad that someone is writing articles like this one.

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I wonder if someone mixed up stories/details whether intentionally or not. There was an oddly similar story in the news in Texas, though it didn't seem to garner the same spotlight or attention.


There's the link to the story including an interview with the shooting victim.

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As you hinted at with this poison control database, it seems to be really important to have a reliable source that you don't have to perennially recursively check ad infinitum.

For example, if I already knew the poison database was reliable, I could go there and stop.

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What is the difference between ivermectin for humans and ivermectin for animals? Is it just the size of the dose, or are there other factors?

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Request to Scott:

Considering how often there are changes between the "newsletter" post and the actual final post, please consider prefacing your posts (either all of them, or at least the more probably edited ones like this one) with a boilerplate text like you do with the "Links for X" posts. Something along the lines of "I sometimes/often edit my posts after receiving feedback on them on the comments, so to read the latest version go to..."

I usually come to the web/blog version, but sometimes I read them on the mail when I'm in a hurry or on mobile. And when I do that, I often mentally check "Read" if not reminded of the fact that the blog is still out there. Come to think of it, maybe both a preface and a postface for each post, reminding of the possibility of the post being edited)

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I feel justifiably smug that I got more of this story here than I have anywhere else on the internet. My confidence I've gotten the whole story is low, but my attitude that Ivermectin is mostly a nothing burger has been confirmed. Similarly, my attitude that trusting the media is fraught with errors has been confirmed. If this story updated one thing, it's to further down rate information about covid, because it appears to have changed from credible threat to tool of fear.

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> An important controversial point to consider in any rationale is the 5 µM required concentration to reach the anti-SARS-CoV-2 action of ivermectin observed in vitro,17 which is much higher than 0.28 µM, the maximum reported plasma concentration achieved in vivo with a dose of approximately 1700 µg/kg (about nine times the FDA-approved dosification).24 25


Shouldn't this basic fact put an end to any debate? If a massive overdose puts you at 5% of the required plasma concentration needed for it to even work _in theory_, how could it possibly work in practice?

Unless another plausible mechanism of action has been found, why is this even still being studied? It's utterly bizarre.

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I volunteer in EMS. When I first heard about this story, my thought was "... that's not how ERs work". ERs are pretty much the masters of triage. My quick look through Wikipedia suggests that even severe cases of Ivermectin overdose are only going to require supportive care. The ER will need to rule out a bunch of stuff, but most of that work will be offloaded onto techs of one stripe or another. Then they get placed in an ICU for a bit. Situations which are truly able to "overwhelm" an ER involve mass-casualty incidents like airplane crashes or mass shooting incidents.

My assumption about the initial headline was a misunderstanding by the public. That some kid got a superficial wound from improper use of a pellet gun and got taken to the ER by their mother. The kid had to wait in the waiting room for like an hour or something and the mother got mad. At some point, she found out that (among the usual scrapes, falls, aches, pains, dizzy spells, med refills and prolapses) one of the ER beds was occupied by an Ivermectin patient. And then threw a hissy fit which eventually turned into "gunshot victim unable to be seen due to people taking horse dewormer".

My response to the initial denial was that the reporting was sloppy because they didn't phone and check. Because I hadn't read either the article or the denial. But more to the point, this wouldn't have been an issue if the initial reporting had gotten confirmation from a hospital, anywhere. And any hospital system is going to have PR/crisis communications people available, at least 5x8 if not 24x7.

If people are taking the horse dosage of Ivermectin, the issue really is with the availability of veterinary medicine OTC, but not human medication. Having human-rated medication available OTC would at least ensure correct dosage of the medication taken inappropriately.

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OK, I dug up the actual poison data center pdf https://piper.filecamp.com/uniq/ZO3aGrYGXdIUhiJ7.pdf

Yes, it says they handled 459 incidents for August, but the pie chart makes it more interesting. There are four categories on the pie chart that sound very much like they imply "nobody would be going to a hospital for this". Those categories make up 78% of the cases. If my interpretation of that is correct, and you would need to fall into the "minor effect" category to wind up at a hospital, that means for all of 2021, you are looking at ~252 cases that might include hospitalization. Assuming it remains proportional to the total cases, that would be about 101 cases hitting hospitals in August. So the claim is hospitals are being crippled by between 101 and 252 cases of ivermectin OD.

Then you can go look at actual Oklahoma ER capacity here https://data.oklahoman.com/covid-19-hospital-capacity/oklahoma/40/

While some counties are getting their asses kicked, most of them are not at max er capacity. ICU is worse, but more than half of them have space for a gunshot victim. Additionally, you can see that the ICU capacity is almost 100% COVID use because it literally tells you the number of ICU beds being occupied by COVID patients.

This isn't an oops, this was straight up lying.

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You write that the hospital press release changes nothing, but you point out earlier in your article that one hospital in the same region having zero overdose cases makes it unlikely that nearby hospitals are overwhelmed with overdoses.

It sounds like you're stretching really hard to make a lame both sides are wrong argument.

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Thank you for this piece. I find it very helpful.

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Thank you for writing this piece. It’s very helpful.

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Say what you want, the MSM, and public health institutions, are clearly smearing IVM every chance they get. India's "FDA" just approved the drug as essential for treating covid19. Taken in proper doses, it is one of the safest drugs in the world. Safer than aspirin. It's founders were given a Nobel prize in 2015 and the WHO lists IVM as an essential drug.

If you are ignorant to the truth about IVM, and read USA legacy media, chances are high you think it's a horse dewormer only, and crazy cooks are eating horse paste because of a "conspiracy theory".

The truth is closer to this. USA health regulators are suppressing info on IVM, and instructing doctors not to use it. Some pharmacies refuse to fill scripts, from doctors, for IVM. Therefore, some people are taking the livestock version. This of course can be dangerous, because doses for 2000lb+ animals are obviously much higher than for humans.

Japan has recommended it's use for COVID-19, and India has lowered it's price and listed it as an essential treatment for COVID-19.

Skeptical or not, to completely ignore the use of the drug around the world to treat COVID-19 shows bias and adds to the lack of trust many Americans have in major news outlets.

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Am I the only one who remembers Rolling Stone's breathless front page article on rape at the University of Virginia, the one that RS had to retract in its entirety?


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You: This…turns out to be completely true. The story never mentions Sequoyah Hospital! Dr. McElyea has worked at Sequoyah in the past, but he’s a traveling doctor and works lots of places

Me: Dr. McElyea listed Sequoyah Hospital on his LinkIn. To the best of my knowledge, he did not name any other hospitals that he worked at in his LinkIn profile.

Regardless of where he worked, a reasonable story would have said "we contacted Hospital X for comment, and they said ..."

But none of the stories said that.

None of the places that ran with this called up so much as a single hospital anywhere in OK to get a check on the story.

None of the "news organizations" that claim to have talked to Dr. McElyea asked him what hospital that was at, and then called up the hospital to get a comment on the matter.

Every single "news" organization that ran with the story utterly failed to display even a shred of journalistic ethics, or even competence.

You: None of these sources mentioned that the original article had never claimed Sequoyah Hospital was involved.

Their story was - I guess - too good to check.

Me: No, their story was true. The claims were garbage. The only hospital he was publicly linked to denied the story, and the none of the people pushing the story had any hospitals quoted defending the story.

Could they have said "we contacted Sequoyah Hospital, which is the only hospital in his LinkedIn profile, and they said the story is garbage"? Yes, they could have.

But, did they essentially get every detail correct, unlike the people they were attacking?

Yes, they did

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Recent study: https://news.mit.edu/2021/crowd-source-fact-checking-0901

TLDR: random people in small groups are as good at quickly recognizing fake news as "fact checkers".

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So what seems to have happened is a doctor was asked about whether taking a drug for an off-label purpose without a doctor's advice was a reasonable thing to do, the doctor said something in the spirit of "No, that's dangerous, the hospitals are already nearing a breaking point with COVID and all the other health problems people have, please don't risk having to go the hospital because you poisoned yourself unnecessarily", and everyone subsequently lost their minds like it was the last fifteen minutes of a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Do I have that right?

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**A Democrat reads some fraction of this story, and sees a bunch of idiot conspiracy theorists taking deadly horse medication to cure COVID.**

So, the Democrat story so far is completely contrary to the facts.

**A doctor warns people that his hospital is overcrowded with poisoning cases, and the media dutifully reports on this. **

Still completely false to fact

**Then an unrelated hospital puts out a press release saying they’re not involved and - even though this changes nothing - Republicans seize on this to declare the entire media is “fake news” and nobody should trust anything they read and the horse dewormer conspiracists were right all along.**

The hospital IS related to the case, because it's the only hospital listed on the Dr's LinkedIn profile.

As the articles don't name the hospital where this is supposedly happening, and NO hospital has come forward to say it is happening (because it isn't), this is, at best, a complaint that the Republicans did not dot all their i's and cross all their t's while taking about the Democrats' narrative

**A Republican reads some fraction of this story, and sees the media falsely reporting that ivermectin is overcrowding local hospitals, even though the hospitals themselves are denying this.**

True assessment of the situation (do you have a hospital claiming that "ivermectin poisoning is overcrowding local hospitals"?)

**Also, using a fake photo of something else to imply that lines at local hospitals are stretching out the door.**

Again, a true assessment of the situation.

**Also, declaring that 70% of poison incidents are due to ivermectin when it’s really 2%.**

Finally, a true assent of the situation.

So, the final score is:

Democrats: two flat out falsehoods, one complaint about a technical detail that doesn't actually help them

Republicans: Three true understandings of the situation.

We're all scoring this as "the GOP is the reality based community", right?

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I would've loved to take a look at what studies and why they were fraudulent if you cared to link the information. Also, is this really the right time to criticize Fox? Remember when Trump was criticizing the left at Charlottesville and that really wasn't the right time to do it? This is like that. This article struck me as lazy and biased.

Here's a drug that all those awful anti-vax people (or you know, people who maybe don't like the government using their basic human rights to blackmail them into taking experimental drugs) would actually take. If it works, even to some degree, that would benefit both sides and save lives. Wouldn't that be great? Why not have a sane review of ivermectin instead of beating the 'media sucks' drum? Like how come countries authorize the use of ivermectin to treat covid at least in Europe, Asia, and South America? Why were the studies fraudulent? What about other studies? Why not just let people take the drug if it's safe (so they know how to take it safely and don't have to overdose on the horse version or whatever)?

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With all this talk about drugs for livestock, I feel like we're living in a Seinfeld episode right now:

KRAMER: Ehh.. No expiration date on this.. (Opens it, then starts coughing directly onto the food)

JERRY: There is now. Kramer, you should really get that cough checked out by a doctor.

KRAMER: Nah, no, no, no. No doctors for me. A bunch of lackeys and yes-men all towing the company line.. Plus, they botched my vasectomy.

JERRY: They botched it?

KRAMER: I'm even more potent now!



GEORGE: What's with the dog?

KRAMER: (Petting Smuckers) Yeah, this is Smuckers. I borrowed him. (Starts coughing)


(Smuckers coughs)

KRAMER: (Pointing at the dog) Yeah, we share the same affliction, so I'm gonna have a vet check us out.

GEORGE: A vet?

KRAMER: Oh, I'll take a vet over an M.D. any day. They gotta be able to cure a lizard, a chicken, a pig, a frog - all on the same day.

GEORGE: So, if I may jump ahead - you're gonna take dog medicine?

KRAMER: (Smiling) You bet we are! Huh, Smuckers? (Smuckers coughs. They turn to leave) I'll see ya.

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Naturally, this will be cleared up by the expert "fact checkers" whose mission is to tirelessly debunk exactly such inaccurate facts on the internet! Here goes.

I just ran a Google search for "Fact Check - Oklahoma hospitals deluged by ivermectin overdoses," which is the exact title of the Guardian piece that is still up. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/04/oklahoma-doctor-ivermectin-covid-coronavirus

The first result is the Guardian's misinformation article itself. Second, is the Rolling Stone's weaselly "clarification" to its original misinformation article that says "**One Hospital** Denies Oklahoma Doctor’s Story of Ivermectin Overdoses Causing ER Delays for Gunshot Victims." Third result is a Reason magazine article (not an official "fact check"), arguing that "The Media Fell for a Viral Hoax About Ivermectin Overdoses Straining Rural Hospitals."

Fourth through Seventh are news reports that uncritically parrot the original disinformation and conduct no fact checking whatever: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58449876 ; https://www.wionews.com/world/oklahoma-hospitals-deluged-by-ivermectin-overdoses-410858 ; https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/oklahoma-hospitals-deluged-by-ivermectin-overdoses/ar-AAO7rqv ;

Eighth result is a really good article on Merck suppressing Ivermectin generally, but not addressed to the Oklahoma story specifically. https://trialsitenews.com/mercks-deadly-vioxx-playbook-redux-a-debunked-smear-campaign-against-its-competing-drug-the-fda-approved-nobel-prize-honored-ivermectin/

Ninth result is an article criticizing the "left's science denial" generally, but only mentioning the Oklahoma story in passing. https://unherd.com/2021/09/the-lefts-science-denial/

Finally, (for the first page), the Tenth Result is a site that links to the Reason article (#3, above) but with a caveat that it is "From the Right," and that Reason "Leans Right."

I also ran the identical search on Duck Duck Go, which unlike Google, returns the most relevant results without the Orwellian gaslight filter. The first result is a "fact check" that unequivocally reports the claim as "false" and actually provides the relevant facts to prove it:

"It turns out the story is fake. Northeastern Health System, which Dr. McElyea used to work with as a staffing agency said his report is completely false. * * * * According to the National Poison Data System, there have been 1,143 cases of ivermectin exposure. While cases of ivermectin exposure are up, 102 of the 1,143 cases recorded by the NPDS showed patients who experienced moderate or major effects from misusing the drug. 13% of patients reported with ivermectin exposure had minor effects. 66% had no effects. Each year, the NPDS says ivermectin cases range between 400 and 500. This year’s total is more than a 100% increase, but the numbers are so few. In reality, the ivermectin story appears to be more media hype than an actual medical emergency and most Americans probably won’t be going to their local feed store to buy a ‘horse dewormer’ to prevent COVID-19. But that’s what they want you to think because it makes a great headline."


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Scott, fantastic article thank you. Very clear demonstration of an *incredible* problem that exists in today's media and public discourse. I will be recommending this piece widely.

The fact that there are so many comments below about whether or not ivermectin is effective is surprising. The efficacy of ivermectin is not the primary purpose of this piece yet that is all 50% of the commentators below want to discuss.

I've never seen anything like this. There are literally thousands (tens of thousands?) of fringe treatments for various medical ailments. Psychiatry in particular is a mine field of conflicting studies, insufficient evidence, and experimental treatments.

I'm interested in what is going on here. The obvious answers:

1. Covid-19 is affecting more lives than any of those other items, so its medical treatment is receiving more widespread discussion.

2. Politicization of the handling of COVID has spiraled out of control. People who once cheered for project warp speed now think it was secretly a government effort to poison them / Big Pharma attempt to graft the public. Somehow Trump's participation in funding this graft is not part of the conversation.

3. Aggressive misinformation for political (international or domestic) reasons is being latched onto by the media. This is leading them to act like the sky is falling and huge swaths of the population believe it. If you believe this, then the only difference between Flat Earthers and horse dewormer users is MSM attention, not actual threats.

I think all 3 are true. I hover not far from "nothing to see here". I don't actually believe faith in ivermectin is preventing meaningful #s of people from being vaccinated (correlation != causation). The data makes it clear poisoning/ODs from this are insignificant (likely about equal to the spike in Tide Pod poisonings when that fad was around).

So what are we left with? In my opinion a coordinated, intentional campaign to drive further division in our country.

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Nice job with the jiu-jitsu moves in this post. I came to the same conclusion this weekend, that the doctor made two separate statements that were willfully or accidentally conflated. It’s such an unnecessary tempest in a teapot when we should be focused on what’s really important right now - fiddling while Rome burns. Make that California.

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In case anyone wants a little time off from Ivermectin, was that story about a hacker taking control of a chastity cage actually a hoax?


I don't know, all I've got is a comedian claiming he invented the story, Vice picked it up, and so did a lot of other news sources.

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Please stop doing this Scott.

The first two sections of this piece are lies, designed to deceive. They do a good job, as intended. But: People *will* stop reading partway through the first section, or the second, and you'll have left them with a false narrative that they'll spread further. This isn't just people who can't be bothered to read a whole article (though they are worth being concerned about) it's also the many people face distractions or obligations that take them away from this article.

Don't be Andy Borowitz. Don't spread fake news under the justification that the dupes should have known better.

(As an aside, even as somebody who read the four linked articles and made sure he had time to read to the end [I could see what you were doing], this was unpleasant. I don't enjoy people lying to me. And if I were duped by either or both of the sections, I imagine I would feel worse and maybe stop reading. It's clever, Scott, but is it worth it?)

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Scott says "this story doesn’t make me feel smug and superior to everyone else". However in my case, it totally makes me feel smug and superior to everyone else. Seemingly ALL of the Republicans who populate my social media feeds were tripping over themselves to highlight Sequoyah Hospital's ***perfect*** debunking of the original story, and piled on with the fact that Dr. McElyea hasn't worked lately at that hospital, claiming that it made the debunking even more debunkier - e.g. I saw one Facebook denizen deducing from it that Dr. McElyea was therefore providing information that was out of date (!?!). Such positions could've made some sense if the original story had attached its specific claims to that particular hospital. "Too good to check" indeed. And some of them were indeed musing on that whole thing about not scrutinizing the stories that are all too convenient for one's preferred political faction. But in their case the checking that they skipped was just reading the articles that they're attacking - a whole lot easier than the checking that they expect from their opponents.

Meanwhile I knew all along that the original story was crap anyway. So I've got this situation where the only discernable difference between me and all those smelly people in my political outgroup is this horrendously dumb and hilariously stereotypical mistake that they all made. Yes, their mistake was pretty incidental to the particular real-world referent - but if they're all going to go around acting as if the real message here is about which political faction is more trustworthy, then OK fine, mine is.

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I would at least believe this post to a much greater extent (perhaps 10x or so) than I would believe claims from the other publications mentioned in this article, so it's clearly a strong step in the right direction (the fun part is where my initial confidence is like 5%, so 10*5% is still only 50%!)

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"Did you believe that?"

My stomach dropped, my face got hot, and I started looking around my physical environment for some kind of excuse.

...Thank you for the experience points.

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Way down the thread when discussing the various studies, someone asked what variant were they studying in Peru?


Turns out it's a new one - Lambda:

"This variant was first detected in Peru in December 2020 but was not considered a VoI by WHO until June 14 this year.

By April 2021, Peru reported that 81% of Covid cases sequenced were associated with Lambda.

To date, cases of Lambda have been reported in 40 countries around the world with the majority located in Peru, Chile and the US. It is now considered the dominant variant in Argentina, Chile and Colombia.

...Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, said the organisation is tracking the strain as some have warned it could be more transmissible than the Delta variant."

Oh, and we've got Mu as well!

"Mu was designated a VoI by WHO on August 30 and has been reported in 45 countries to date.

Mu was first detected in Colombia in January 2021 and has since seen some sporadic reports of cases and some larger outbreaks reported in South America and Europe.

"Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1%, the prevalence in Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has consistently increased," WHO said in its weekly Epidemiological Update."

And they've both turned up in Ireland, so more fun to come for the rest of the year.

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I have found that the "Law of Rationalist Irony" tends to generalize. When I catch myself making a social judgement, it almost inevitably reflects how I am feeling about myself in the moment. So when I call someone stupid, I am usually feeling stupid, when I call someone selfish and mean, I am usually feeling selfish and mean, etc.

Curiously, I think this rationalist principle (or at least the principle combined with the injunction not to be like this) may be most succinctly expressed by the Bible verse, Matthew 7:4:

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get."

At least for me this advice has been surprisingly useful in avoiding the judgement trap.

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IMHO, the right wing framing is much more correct.

The Rolling Stone twitter headline is "Gunshot victims left waiting as horse dewormer overdoses overwhelm Oklahoma hospitals, doctor says."

The addition of "doctor says" saves the statement from being literally false, but the fact is that horse dewormer overdoses are not overwhelming Oklahoma hospitals, and Rolling Stone didn't do the rudimentary fact checking that would have revealed that they weren't.

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I first read the phrase "Too Good To Check: A Play In Three Acts" in the context of the Duke rape hoax ("A Rape on Campus'). That hoax also involved Rolling Stone. You would think they would learn. You would think...

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This piece articulates why I feel stupid all the time

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"Did you believe that?"


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apropos comments downthread, there are several registered clinical trials or ivermectin use in treating Covid in the USA, and many more internationally. Most are recruiting: https://clinicaltrials.gov/

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I think the underlying issue is that news organisations are incentivised for clicks not truth. As long is that is the case we won't get a truthful media.

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I find it kind of weird that Scott hasn't yet looked into IVM and made a post about it. It seems like it's exactly his domain: a drug that has showed some promise and that has sparked controversy and confusion. How has he not done a piece on this?

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Of course 70% of the hospitalized cases are using the vet formulation. I'm surprised it's not higher. No doubt many of the vaccine deniers are pure and simple(minded) cheapskates who won't pop for a doctor's visit to get a scrip. Especially since he may tell them they're loony. Is the human version more expensive, Damned if I actually know...just presumption on my part. Stuff we get for Sheila the dog is cheaper than similar for me.

Disclaimer: I withdraw the simpleminded term for commenters at my own blog who all are smart and well-educated enough to come up with truly complex excuses for copping out on vaccines. Some are even long-term friends. :-]. Hope none of them die.

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I'm still left wondering how many people are trying ivermectin, and how many — in total numbers, not dodgy percentages — are ending up sick enough to report it.

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When media outlets report that "Oklahoma hospitals are overwhelmed" by ivermectin poisoning cases and a regional hospital in the quoted physician's practice area issues a release saying it hasn't seen _any_ such cases, how is that in your view an "unrelated" hospital?

Why on earth didn't Rolling Stone or the Guardian (to pick two offenders) pick up the phone and confirm this startling information? Blaming "both sides" is pretty lame.

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I had never heard of the Law of Rationalist Irony, but I love that framing as a way of curbing your biases. It certainly makes me wonder how many times I've fallen into that trap.

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Oh, the punch line of this one hit me right in the face.

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