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Do you know why they NEVER want a live debate?
For some people, it's because they communicate better in writing. For other people, it can be because they aren't an expert on the topic and don't want to be exposed in public.
Christine Massey, whose background is in biostatistics (cancer research) wrote an open letter claiming my post which claimed that the experts I talked to say that virus has been isolated are wrong and that the virus hasn’t been “isolated.”
Here’s my original post:
First of all, this is silly. I’m hardly the first person to believe there is a virus. Why isn’t she challenging (nearly) all the world’s virologists? I should be just about the last person on Christine’s list of people to convince. She should start with Nobel prize winning virologists if she wants to make an impact.
I responded to her open letter by offering up to a 5 hour zoom call with a few of my friends who do work in this area so we can settle the matter in one meeting. If she’s done early, we end early. I thought I was being generous with the time offered, but was accused of being disingenuous. The reason for 5 hours is having done this before on other topics, it takes hours, so I allow for plenty of time on both sides. Not offering sufficient time could be seen as “ducking” her challenge. She can bring as many people on her side as she wants but for something like this, I suggest a limit of 3 per side. If she wants less time, I’m fine with that!!! She can leave the room at any time if we are done early.
She writes back:
What I don’t get is this: how is it that she can discuss this on a video with Tom Cowan for an hour, but refuses to have the same video discussion with people who disagree with her (who work with the virus as their day job)?
And the discussion I propose is not with me. It is between her and some of the experts whose advice I relied upon. I’m not trying to hide here, but I’m just the middleman. This is not my core expertise as I clearly wrote in the original post.
If Christine thinks viruses don’t exist, I’m happy to assemble a forum for her to discuss that with qualified experts in a recorded setting just like she did with Tom.
Insisting on a debate in writing is problematic:
it’s really easy to avoid answering questions
easy to change the topic and what we’ve seen in other instances is the responses get longer and longer and longer and go nowhere. I see this over and over.
it’s easy to fool people. For example, her open letter goes on and on. How many readers know enough to challenge her on each point? Very few.
Others are camera shy like those 270 so-called experts who want the Malone interview censored on Spotify. No response so far to my debate offer. Who’d have guessed? A written discussion with up to 270 people is impractical. Who will read the hundreds of pages of documents? Pretty much nobody.
I’ve played this game before and it never goes anywhere. I don’t think the folks I’d ask to do this would want to spend time writing papers to Christine. They don’t even have the time to prepare their own papers. Doing written documents is much more time consuming than talking because people spend the time to make it bulletproof.
None of the people on our team require that all discussions be done in writing only.
One of the commenters wrote this:
But when someone really knows their shit they would much rather handle it in a live conversation; it's much more efficient (you don't spend hours writing) and it reaches a wider audience, and that audience has the benefit of tone and body language to affirm (or negate) the veracity and substance of what is being said.
I agree with that.
For example, here’s what happens on Telegram when you try to debate this particular topic in writing. As of Jan 20, 2022, there are 1,004 comments on this thread, and this is just one of the threads. On the substack article, there are over 1,400 comments. I let others argue both sides.
That’s the written debate. At the end of the debate, none of the debaters from either side switched their opinion as to what is meant by “isolate the virus.”
How many people read all 2,402 comments to follow the discussion? Very few.
So what does that get you? Not very far.
I have no interest in repeating the points that were made there. They have already been made on both sides. Again and again. It is much simpler to read the summary at the end of this article which was written by a PhD molecular biologist.
I offered Christine a live discussion with the experts I relied on. She initially refused. Now she is looking into it.
If Christine Massey wants an interactive discussion that we can repurpose, great, let’s do it. I’m not interested in yet another written rehash of what has been hashed out before.
I am not the only person who thinks the virus has been isolated. If Christine wants to debate those people on her terms, she is free to do so.
Christine is free to find other people to engage in the debate on her terms. She can debate the CDC, for example. She doesn’t need me for that. She can debate top virologists. That would have more weight if she won.
As I said before, I am not interested in written debates. We have done this on other topics and it takes extraordinary amounts of time and always ends up going nowhere. Even video debates don’t resolve the issue. They have the advantage of being time bound and you can hold people accountable. The downside is that if the document is short, it’s faster to read it.
As one of the commenters wrote, “isolation of the virus is not even the key issue.......the scientific factual/proven data & analysis of the mRNA safety & effectiveness, big pharma credentials are the real key here.” I agree.
Regardless of whether you think the virus has been “isolated” or not, the resolution of that question in a debate between two parties will not change anyone’s behavior in government nor will it change our behavior. What matters is that we are mandating a medical intervention that is more likely to kill people than to save people.
It’s been isolated, but it has not been purified. So what? You can buy it. People have done that and it works for them.
People I’ve talked to claim that the virus has been isolated. They buy it at ATCC. That proves it exists and has been isolated because they report it matches the virus taken from people who are sick with COVID symptoms. So we have our own QA. If the virus didn’t exist, why are people paying ATCC thousands of dollars for something that doesn’t exist?
Some people need a paper describing the process. I don’t understand why that is needed if you have an existence proof (the ATCC virus). Papers can make mistakes or be fraudulent. But it is harder to fake something in front of you that you can test for yourself against patient samples.
Papers showing how the virus was isolated. In peer-reviewed journals. In plain sight.
See the papers referenced in this Reuters fact check
The CDC admits the virus was isolated: They wrote: “SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was isolated in the laboratory and is available for research by the scientific and medical community.” At the bottom it references an article discussing the isolation and characterization of this virus specimen is available in Emerging Infectious Diseases. EID is a 6.8 impact journal that is peer-reviewed.
Bioxrv preprint (earlier paper above)
You can see a TEM picture here.
For even more, read through the Telegram thread.
Christine has issues with the process used. Great. I’m the wrong guy to discuss that with.
I get that people don’t accept stuff that disagrees with their belief system.
I don’t understand why I must produce papers that are in plain sight of anyone who cares to look. I’m sure these aren’t the only examples.
If Christine doesn’t like the derivation, I think she should get the paper retracted by the journal. She should publish her request.
As for the FOIA requests, these are carefully contrived as to elicit a negative response. But only an expert would know that.
What kind of a person would send such a contrived FOIA request to 164 institutions that she knew would always fail? She did that to make it appear to the public that the virus didn’t exist. But experts responding to the FOIA responded just as expected. Christine didn’t point out that the whole thing was gamed to elicit a null response. That is very misleading. Her followers respect her. I don’t.
How much does this matter? What will it change?
Clearly, the answer to the question “have we isolated the virus” is of immense interest to certain people. I am not one of those people.
The virus has been isolated per the definition of the term described below. I do not believe it changes anything. None of the people who I work with have said, “we have to resolve the question of whether the virus has been isolated first.” The topic never comes up at all in the group of people I work with. It seems very important to Christine and her followers though.
Is this a trick?
I have offered to gather a few experts to debate Christine for up to 5 hours. If you think my offer is a trick, you are welcome to your beliefs. If Christine wanted to test my veracity, all she had to do is accept the debate and show up.
What’s the answer to the question “in writing”?
I like ipsofacto’s response (in the comments below) as one of the best answers I’ve seen to the question. Read it and ask yourself, did it change anything?
PhD molecular biologist here. Many of the techniques being discussed are ones that I have done, in some cases, on a daily basis.
The idea that no viruses of any kind exist is false. Bacteriophages are probably the most numerous and common biological entities on earth. They are viruses that infect bacteria. The field of molecular biology owes its very existence to bacteriophage research, particularly the T4, T7, and lambda phages.
I understand that some people have an issue with the terms "isolation" and "purification". It might seem that they ought to mean the same thing, but in practice they don't. One problem is that there is considerable overlap between the meaning of the two words. Here’s an example from protein purification: you lyse a culture of cells, and separate out the various fractions depending on what you're looking for. This can take many steps, and at each step, you are enriching for your target protein. When 50% of the total mass of a fraction is your protein, have you "isolated" it? The answer is yes, you have. But, have you "purified" it? The answer is no, because it is only at 50% purity; there is another 50% of stuff in your fraction. Let's say you continue your purification process and now reach 99%. Have you "isolated" the protein? Every working scientist will say "yes", it has been isolated.
But has it been purified?
Now that depends on who you're asking. Some protein preparations need to get to 99.9% "purity" before they can be used reliably (e.g., high-fidelity DNA polymerases).
But I think most working scientists would say that 99% is pretty darn good, and yes, “purified”. Most discoveries in enzymology and molecular biology were done with far less pure isolates, back in the day.
Back to virology...and I'll use bacteriophage as a starting point:
1) You can see bacteriophage under an electron microscope. It is common, and I have done this myself. A quick search for T4 and T7 phages will show you some really interesting pictures, especially the one that looks like a lunar lander.
2) You can purify bacteriophage particles by growing them in a culture of cells. This is actually easy to do. In fact, educational supply company Carolina Biological sells E. coli bacteriophage kits for anyone to do this at home! You can buy for $10 a vial of "pure" bacteriophage.
Here's the crux of this discussion: A "pure" preparation of bacteriophage probably has some fragments of DNA from its host bacterial cells. According to some people on this board, this is evidence that any DNA sequencing done from this preparation cannot be trusted because of contaminating DNA from the host bacterial cell culture.
This view is incorrect, however. One way (among several) to show that DNA sequence of the bacteriophage DNA is real and not contaminated by the host bacterial is simply to dilute the sample. To do DNA sequencing properly and reliably, you need enough starting material of sufficient quality to do the sequencing. So to avoid picking up the bacterial DNA, you can do serial dilutions by factors of 10, with each dilution being 1/10 the previous. You can reach whatever dilution level you're comfortable with, and then sequence away. If you repeat this dilution and sequencing a bunch of times, and your resulting sequence is always the same over each run, you can safely say that you're sequencing the phage DNA, not the bacterial contaminant.
The problem with the terms "isolated" and "purified" is that in a laboratory working context, "isolated" is sufficient for many experiments, and "purified" is almost never 100% pure. If you look hard enough (and have the methods even to do so), you'll always find some impurities. Even in a 99.9% pure protein preparation, there will always be molecules of other stuff present (by definition), not to mention the water and buffers in which the protein is dissolved.
If one insists that you must have 100% purification to prove anything, where 100% of the mass of your sample is ONLY your substance of interest, this is a hypothetical standard that does not exist and has never existed in molecular biology. It barely even exists in chemistry, as most compounds you buy from Sigma Chemical Co. only reach 99.9%. The very best you can get is (probably) 99.99%, and that is exceedingly rare. Most of the research upon which molecular biology is built over the past 60 years was done with experiments using "purified" samples of maybe around 80% - 95% purity. But molecular biology is real, even if the edifice on which it rests was built using stuff that were only 80% - 95% pure.
3) You can infect naive cells with your purified bacteriophage sample. In fact, that is one of the experiments described in the Carolina Biological kits for high school kids to do.
In other words, the things seen under the electron microscope most certainly did infect the bacterial cells in subsequent experiments. You can see pics of this in any molecular biology textbook.
So…onto SARS-COV2 that your order from ATCC (American Type Culture Collection, a great resource from which I’ve ordered many times), is it “isolated” and/or “purified”?
Here’s the description of one of them on ATCC’s site: “Each vial contains approximately 0.25 mL of heat-inactivated, clarified cell lysate and supernatant from Calu-3 cells (ATCC HTB-55) infected with SARS-CoV-2 strain USA/MD-HP05285/2021.”
What this means is that the original clinical isolate (yes, probably snot from a patient) was put into cell culture and grown up. The lysate and supernatant (i.e., the cell growth media) are present in the sample they sell to you.
OK, so is the said sample “isolated” or “purified”? Answer: “isolated”. So why didn’t they actually purify it to, say, 99% purity? Because it’s expensive, laborious, and possibly dangerous, and the method used is a standard method and has been used for decades. Can purification to 99% be done? Yes. Will it be done? That’s another question for another day.
As for people who might now accept that bacteriophage viruses exist but are still doubtful about other viruses, I’ll conclude with a virus we’ve all heard of: smallpox. This was isolated, purified, photographed via electron micrography long ago. One medical school in England (Birmingham) had been continuing to do research on the smallpox virus and an accidental leak occurred in 1978. A woman working there died, and her body had the characteristic sores of smallpox. So if no human viruses exist, then smallpox (variola) does not exist. But then how do you explain that someone working at the University of Birmingham, where they were researching smallpox virus, got sick and died with exactly the known symptoms of smallpox? Was that really just a coincidence?
Ipsofacto addendum (long section)
If you already get the argument above, you can skip this section. If you still have questions, here is more detail…
There are people who believe that SARS-COV2 (or even any virus) does not exist because no one has purified enough of it to sufficient quantity and purity, and conducted further experiments on said purified sample. While my previous comment addressed this in-depth, one idea keeps coming back: the sequence obtained from the (alleged) virus is not real because the sample was contaminated with human DNA. Therefore the human DNA is the source of the (alleged) virus sequence, or so the thinking goes.
Here's a way of thinking about this issue that I hope will clarify things for people...
Most people are aware that the genome of an organism is comprised of a very long polymer(s) composed of four molecules which we designate with “letters”: A, C, G, T. They are all strung together much like beads on a necklace. Within the long necklace/genome, we can observe sections which have patterns (i.e., genes) that can be translated by cellular machinery into proteins.
Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine that the sequence of the human genome was Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. In this example, sequencing the human genome from beginning to end would start with:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us
[And ~750,791 characters later (including spaces), would end with:]
It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."
So in our hypothetical example, If you got a human DNA sample (of sufficient quantity and quality), via DNA sequencing, you’d eventually be able to produce the full text of A Tale of Two Cities.
Now consider that an (alleged) virus has infected someone we’ll call Person A, and he has had all the typical symptoms of a respiratory infection. You are skeptical about the existence of this virus, but you get some snot from Person A and you sequence the sample. Strangely, the sequencing machine produces the following 162-character sequence:
SEQ-A: “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
What? You say to yourself that this couldn’t possibly be from our (hypothetical) human genome. So where did it come from?
You ask yourself the following:
1) Could some section of the human genome have mutated into SEQ-A?
The answer to this is, for all practical purposes, “no”.
2) Is it a random artifact/error of the sequencing process?
a) No, because random artifacts would produce a string of nonsensical characters, such as “asdxcf zsa oaijo apoen spme ne ppwe a o, !! ekne a mvnaoen oainln oei ne”.
b) No, because you repeat the sequencing a few times and come up with the same SEQ-A text.
3) Is it a DNA sequence from some other organism, like a bacterium, or…maybe a virus?
If it's not from human DNA, and it's "sensical" (as opposed to non-sensical), then it must have come from some other organism.
So how do you answer Question 3?
You get more snot samples, from Persons B, C, and D (all having shown the same respiratory infection symptoms as Person A). And…the sequences they produce are identical.
Then other laboratories around the world, running their own independent DNA sequencing machines (of different brands, models, and even technology), all start reporting sequences they’ve found. These sequences all say the same thing:
“that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
When independent sources of DNA sequencing all report the identical DNA sequence, one that is most certainly not already present in the human genome, you can conclude that this DNA sequence is real and not an artifactual result of the sequencing process using human DNA as its template.
While a “freedom” virus of our thought experiment would be a good thing, let’s step back to the real world.
People who believe that the SARS-COV2 virus sequence is an artifact of the sequencing process appear not to understand how DNA sequencing works. An artifactual/screwed-up sequencing process cannot produce DNA sequence that makes sense (as opposed to a non-sensical jumble of characters) with “words” that are completely absent from the possible contaminating human DNA present in the sample. In other words, the messed-up sequencing process cannot get you from A Tale of Two Cities to the Gettysburg Address. It might produce a corrupted Tale of Two Cities with lots of misspellings and errors, but it will not produce a perfect, sensical, new text.
And when multiple labs independent of each other from around the world all report the same sequence, the only logical conclusion is that there is something (i.e., a virus), that is infecting all these people around the world producing similar symptoms AND yielding identical DNA sequences that cannot possibly be produced by an artifact of sequencing with human DNA in the sample.
I would say that purification of the virus itself would be a good thing, but not critical to proving that it exists. You can detect things you can’t see, and know these things exist.
Consider the example of sub-atomic physics. Do you believe that sub-atomic particles exist? If so, how do you know sub-atomic particles exist? Have all the known ones been been isolated, or just detected? How many have been purified? I know you can buy electrons, but is there anywhere you can go to buy some Higgs Bosons? Does that mean the Higgs Boson doesn’t exist because it hasn’t been purified?
We know these particles exist because we can detect them, and that detection technology is well-understood and has been in-use for decades. In the same way, while SARS-COV2 has been isolated (but maybe has not been purified in large quantity to 99.9% purity), it can certainly be detected by technology that is well-understood and has been in use for decades.
Experts relied on by Christine
One commenter recommended I speak with people like Andrew Kaufman and Sam Bailey.
Let's take Andrew Kaufman. He admitted on a clip that “I’ve never done virus research.”
As for Sam Bailey, read this article.
Stefan Lanka lost his $100,000 bet in the lower court because someone found 6 papers that together proved Lanka was wrong. He was able to get that overturned in a higher court because the bet said it had to be proved in a single paper. But still, the damage was done. His view that the measles virus ‘doesn’t exist’ was clearly wrong. Six papers collectively proved it. Just because it couldn’t be proven in a SINGLE paper is not proof that the measles virus doesn’t exist. It is only proof that it required 6 papers instead of 1. Big deal.
Forgive me for not trusting those sources, but I don’t. Lanka made a huge mistake and was discredited.
Christine is fundamentally asking for proof that the virus exists. That is the key point. She demanded it be in writing.
Basically, “SCIENTIFIC PROOF that the alleged virus has been properly isolated and purified” per one of her followers.
But just like her FOIA requests, this is a contrived request which in today’s world, will always fail since nobody is interested in the purification step.
One commenter wrote, “I've worked in all kinds of labs. Organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, structural biology, and some others. Just because something is difficult to isolate to 100% purity doesn't mean it doesn't exist.”
As ipsofacto wrote above, what is important is only that the virus was isolated, not that it was “properly” isolated or purified.
So if you keep asking me for papers showing both isolated and purified, I will keep responding, there aren’t any for both, and that’s irrelevant.
What is “properly” isolated? There is no standard understanding of “properly.”
So some would say, “oh, the CDC paper is not “properly” isolated.”
OK, fine, then it wasn’t. That’s your opinion. You can define “properly” however you want.
But most virologists would say that the virus was “isolated” using the meaning of the term as described by ipsofacto above.
In the text above, I’ve included the CDC web page which confirms that the virus has been isolated and the paper published in a peer reviewed journal shows the method used. Nobody is claiming it has been “purified.” Nobody is claiming it is “properly” isolated since I don’t know what that means.
So yeah, it was isolated and the method described. But Christine doesn’t like the method used for isolation. Got it. She’s entitled to her opinion. It isn’t proper.
This is hardly the only example of isolation. If you search for “Isolation of Wuhan Virus” you’ll find many papers in PubMed and NIH in many countries with details on how isolation was done (for example this one and this one). You can see a TEM picture here. Here are more references. For even more, read through the Telegram thread. It’s all there, in writing, in great detail, explained multiple times.
As our PhD molecular biologist wrote, it doesn't need to be purified or “properly isolated.” That’s something that is rarely done nowadays. It’s unnecessary. I've personally talked to scientists who have used the ATCC product and verified it matches the genetic sequence of samples taken from patients who are infected with the virus and have COVID symptoms. I wasn’t able to find any scientist (other than Christine’s friends) who demands a purified virus to accept the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is real.
I’m baffled as to why this is not a sufficient answer and this is precisely why interactive conversations work better than written requests and precisely why I wanted a video discussion. Christine will engage in video conversations with Tom Cotton, but not with people in the field who disagree with her. She doesn’t say why.
For Christine’s followers, it’s clear my answer won’t satisfy you. It seems clear to me at this point that no matter how much I write, it won’t satisfy you.
Perhaps you can convince Christine to accept the video discussion and we can clarify it then and we can finally resolve the issue. Otherwise, we will be going back and forth till the cows come home.