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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Frank Visser, graduated as a psychologist of culture and religion, founded IntegralWorld in 1997. He worked as production manager for various publishing houses and as service manager for various internet companies and lives in Amsterdam. Books: Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion (SUNY, 2003), and The Corona Conspiracy: Combatting Disinformation about the Coronavirus (Kindle, 2020).
TABLE OF CONTENTS | REVIEWS
David Icke and the Method in the Madness
The Corona Conspiracy, Part 11
By seeing evil intent everywhere Icke is reinforcing the very demon-haunted world he aims to overcome.
This Corona Conspiracy series started off with David Icke being interviewed for London Real back in early April 2020. We have focussed mostly on Andrew Kaufman's brand of virus denialism, but now it's time to return to Icke himself. He has been interviewed by London Real several times now, and the fifth installment has just gone live. It is modestly called "Icke 5 - The Answer", after the title of Icke's latest book. Icke has also released an animated movie about the global pandemic, called "How They Pulled Off The 'Pandemic'". Mark the quotes around "pandemic", because in Icke's view, there is neither a pandemic nor a virus, but just a planned hysteria around a supposed virus, aimed at enslaving and poisoning humanity through vaccination. All this has been concocted by a hidden dark power elite, whose only goal is to feed on fear and anxiety, and seems to have succeeded in literally scaring everybody to death. But there's hope. We can resist all lockdown measures, mask wearing and social distancing, to free ourselves from this enslavement and take back our individuality.
Evil intentions everywhere
Now this is quite a gloomy worldview. In Part 1 we learned about Icke's affinity with a semi-Gnostic worldview, in which the world as we know it is ruled by evil powers, headed by Lucifer or Satan or the Demiurge ("different name, same force") at the top, and a host of demons or archons at the lower levels of the invisible worlds. When it reaches the earth, this sinister entity is known as the Elite, the Spider, the Cult, the Illuminati, the Cabal, the 1%, and other illustrious names. Far above both are Sophia and the Godhead, divine realities that can be contacted through individual spiritual experience, but are unrelated to worldly affairs. Hence Icke urges us to no longer cooperate with the dictates of the government, which has imposed a lockdown on us to prevent a "virus" from spreading.
And here is where Icke's message gets dangerous and irresponsible. By denying the reality of the virus, all global attempts at eradicating it can only be understood as a nefarious conspiracy against humanity. So all depends on this question: does the SARS-CoV-2 virus—or any virus—actually exist?
By seeing evil intent everywhere Icke is reinforcing the very demon-haunted world he aims to overcome. Carl Sagan's famous book by the same title, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1997), celebrated the skeptical approach of science instead of the comforting views of religion and pseudo-science. Modern man no longer believes in demons and higher or lower worlds, he is content to deal with human beings as such, who can act as demons or saints at times. Science no longer offers the type of salvation promised by religion, be it of an eternal afterlife, an ideal heaven on earth or an absolute state of being. It aims at gradually improving the human situation with the help of medicine and technology. Sagan quoted Albert Einstein at the start of his first chapter as saying "All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have." That indeed should be our stance towards science.
Icke, by contrast, has no such faith in science, and derides its efforts to both understand the nature of this global virus and fight off its devastating effects on humanity at large. His alternative is decidely religious, for he has a message of consciousness and love, which will free us from all restrictions. He effectively demonizes science to a very large extent. He fears a future in which AI and trans-humanism have taken over and reduced us to sub-humans, not trans-humans, devoid of individuality and the capacity to think, or even to choose what to think. In his grim, dystopian worldview, "we are at the cusp of the end of human freedom", envisioned by both Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. According to Icke, these hidden powers see China as the ideal model of society, with its firm grip on its citizens, its face recognition camara's, and through this fake pandemic, measures of track-and-tracing individuals has become possible at a global scale.
He highlights the devastating consequences of the lockdown campaign, in terms of the disappearance of small businesses, the loss of homes, jobs and health by millions of people and claims the scientific evidence for this operation is flimsy. He denies the SARS-CoV-2 virus has ever been isolated and the tests used to detect the virus were never meant to do such (according to its inventor the Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis), they only detect for general human genetic material, which would explain the high number of false positives (following Andrew Kaufman's narrative). And given that the virus has been made up from the start, the list of symptoms of COVID-19 can be expanded at will by the authorities, to keep the number of "cases" at a level high enough to warrant strict lockdown and monitoring measures. When the WHO urges every government to "TEST, TEST, TEST", this has only one goal: to increase the number of "cases". Trump would love this analysis, for he too believes that the less we test, the less cases we will find, and the better off we would be.
The fact that Icke has been banned from social platforms like YouTube and Facebook does not surprise him in the least. "The narrative of the pandemic is so ludicrous, so full of holes, so unsupportable by the evidence, that the only way to defend it is by censoring anything that exposes it." So it becomes almost a matter of honour in these circles to get banned. "Anything that challenges the pandemic is targeted for censorship." But he sees it not as a sign of strength of these Powers, but of weakness: "the Cult is not powerful, that's what they are: 'frightened little boys and girls in short trousers'" And: "I see absolute desperation of the Cult." If only if we would simply refuse to cooperate, their power would vanish, because they lack the means to enforce the lockdown policies. He seems to envision a violentless resistance movement that will end this pandemic drama, and thus, the reign of the evil Powers. The refusal to wear masks is symbolic in this battle. In Icke's opinion, they take away our individuality and our health (by letting us breath our ow CO2 and depriving us of Oxygen). Again, Icke claims to have science on his side here.
‘A CANDLE IN THE DARK’
So let's turn to science now, to see if we can bring "a candle in the dark" in this demon-haunted Ickian world—leaving the decidedly occult and metaphysical aspects of his philosophy for what they are. Most of it has a fictional origin anyways.
Does the SARS-CoV-2 virus exist?
As we have documented in earlier parts of this series, the SARS-CoV-2 virus most definitely does exist. Its full genome of around 30.000 bases has been published within weeks of discovery, and in the following months thousands of SARS-CoV-2 genomes have been added to the international public virus database by numerous researchers in various countries all over the world (see www.nextstrain.org for a graphic representation). Icke and Kaufman have no clue about this extremly specialized and sophisticated field of biology. They are stuck in old school virology that knows nothing of these spectacular advances. By comparing strains of SARS-CoV-2 real time evolution of the virus has been documented, as it spreads to the various countries of the world. What is more, comparing this genome to that of other coronaviruses, or even viruses from other virus families as they live in bats and other animals, the precise location of the SARS-CoV-2 virus within the evolutionary tree of viruses has been established. Good luck if you want to simply dismiss this wealth of highly specific data.
Do the tests test for this particular virus?
This brings me to the next point: do the tests for this virus really test for this particular virus or just for some unspecified genetic material, as Icke and Kaufman suggest? If the latter case were true, these tests would be worthless indeed. And did its inventor Kary Mullis really state they were not supposed to be used to detect viruses? As you can read in Part 1, this is patently untrue. But again, as discussed before, in principle these tests are highly specific and can even distinguish between SARS-CoV-2 and its relative SARS-CoV-1, not to mention other coronaviruses or respiratory viruses, precisely because scientists can tell them apart by looking at their genomes (of course many different tests are out there which may vary in sensitivity and specificity). So instead of endlessly repeating their "no isolation, no test" mantra, they would do well to familiarize themselves with what science is able to do in 2020. This relates to the larger story we dealt with about the similarity and differences between viruses and exosomes, and more in particular if what is detected as a virus might in reality actually be an exosome, which can contain viral material. But even in that case, that viral material comes from a virus, which has entered the cell, so this in no way provides evidence for the non-existence of viruses—on the contrary. Icke and Kaufman complain that at no point have control tests been done, with healthy cell material, but this leads me to the next point.
Do these tests result in many false positives?
Do these tests really mostly produce false positives? A "false positive" in medical jargon means you are called sick when you are healthy. (A "false negative" is the opposite: you are called healthy when you are sick). With viruses there's the complication that you might have the virus and not feel sick, or become ill in a matter of days, or have been sick a while ago, or even that the test has detected a fragment of the virus (for which it has been designed). Leaving these complications aside, it is time to put to rest the suggestion so popular in alt-med circles that "everybody will test positive." As the RIVM, the Dutch CDC, reports: "The percentage of positive tests in the Netherlands increased this week from 1.1% in the week of 20 July to 2.3% in the week of 27 July." This relates to people with (mild) symptoms who have asked to be tested. When people with no symptoms are tested this percentage would of course be even lower—but not zero due to possible asymptomatic cases. Really healthy people would not test positive. So suggesting most tests are positive, implying many of these are false positives (Kaufman mentioned 80% false positives in his presentation, Part 1) is ludicrous. Comparing these data with other countries is meaningful, the US for example has an average of 7.7% at this moment, indicating the virus has spread more widely there. In April only hospitalized patients were tested, hence the high positive rates of 20%.
Let me ask a simple question: if the PCR tests would result in false positives most of the time, as virus denialists like Kaufman, Icke and others continuously claim, why are the percentages of positive test outcomes usually less than 10%, where one would expect them to be 80-100%? And even if these 10% were all false positives, that figure would completely destroy their claims.
And if virologists have failed to do a proper control experiment when sequencing the virus, as these pseudo-scientists also suggest, then the reality of these very low positive test outcomes also destroys that claim. When healthy people are tested negative, that's the very control that proves the PCR test only detects viral material and nothing else, let alone general genetic material.
Do more tests result in more cases?
Furthermore: does more testing result in more cases, as Icke (and Trump) claim they do? Of course! But tests don't produce cases, nor does doing less tests make the virus go away, as many have interpreted Trump's confused tweeted utterances. That's not the point of doing more tests. By doing more tests you get a more accurate picture of how the virus has spread in a given country. It is the percentage of tests that are positive that is the more interesting indicator. Said differently: how many tests should be performed before a positive case is found. This is different per country, hence these relative comparisons between countries are meaningful. And it makes a lot of difference if you randomly test people from all over the country, or only in areas that are more heavily affected, or IC-patients or people who self-select themselves to be tested because they think they have Covid-19. This is a statistical Walhalla I don't want to go into now, nor would I have the skills for that.
Are the lockdown measures appropriate?
Are the global lockdown measures appropriate? This is the most difficult question to answer. It involves estimates of the contagiousness and harmfulness of this virus, otherwise known as the "case fatality rate" (the chance of dying from the virus when you have it), not to be confused with the mortality rate. It involves comparisons with how many people die on average, from the flu or otherwise, and also data about excess deaths in a given period. Icke suggests that hospitals get paid for reporting as many deaths as Covid-19 deaths, thus artificially inflating its death rate, but the really interesting figure is how many more people die in a given period compared to previous years, regardless of the cause of death. Almost all countries have shown a peak in number of deaths (regardless if they have been classified as Covid-19 related or not). Then the vast social and economic costs of a lockdown should be taken into account, a most difficult task because it amounts to assessing how many surplus deaths are acceptable. But Icke does have a point that these costs might be very high indeed. That's for politicians to decide, not for scientists, let alone virologists.
Is the wearing of masks bad for your health?
Since Icke makes much of mandatory mask wearing and its health consequences—at the start of the video he rants for a full hour about why he is refusing to comply—let's touch briefly on that one. While it might sound plausible that a mask interferes with both Oxygen uptake and CO2 disposal, this can easily be debunked. As the BBC mentions on its Reality Check page related to corona (so I refer to that page):
Icke also floats the peculiar claim that 5G somehow interferes with our Oxygen uptake, as described in Part 1. It turns out that Oxygen resonates with a frequency, 60GHz, that is used by 5G (it uses a whole band of frequencies, but this is one of them), a fact known to the tech industry. I have not found replies from science to this particular claim yet, but I always take heart knowing that the band of visible light in the electromagnetic spectrum is measured, not in MHz or GHz but THz (which stands for "teraherz", one trillion or 1012 hertz or 1.000.000.000 kilohertz), and nobody has yet complained about being daily exposed to that highly "dangerous" radiation. Of course, UV-light, at the "bad" side of that band, is known to be unhealthy in large doses, but we are far, far away from the non-ionizing radiation which includes 5G.
The current pandemic is already bad enough, but to imagine that it is all a farce stretches the imagination of even the most ardent science fiction fan.
Is the banning of David Icke c.s. justified?
And last but not least: are social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook justified in banning David Icke (and other alt-meds) because he "violated its policies by posting misleading information about the coronavirus pandemic"? It is perfectly understandable that Icke takes this as even more evidence for the correctness of his paranoid suspicions about Big Tech being on the wrong side of history. It all depends on how you think about the virus and its existence. If you believe there really is a virus, then all forms of virus denialism are in the end harmful and should be counteracted, because they advise against taking the necessary precautions. For sure, Icke is not calling for violent resistance, but only for non-compliance with the lockdown measures. Incidentally, if the mere fact of wearing a mask is capable of destroying our individuality, as Icke laments, instead of being a gesture of solidarity and protection, that is not much of an individuality in the first place. But if there is no virus, as Icke maintains, then these measures can only be seen as yet another way to suppress his subversive ideas, and it will only strengthen his conviction he is right (and hundreds of thousands of fans will agree with him on that). Now who are we to believe regarding this fundamental question? Self-appointed experts and visionaries, or people who have spent there professional lives studying these matters?
Icke sees a pattern in this pandemic, "a method to this madness", to quote Shakespeare's Hamlet, but it is a delusional pattern, far removed from the realities of science. Quoting Einstein again, science is: "the most precious thing we have." The method to Icke's madness is the result of ignoring basic facts of science, to fabricate a story of hidden evil powers that are out to get us. The current pandemic is already bad enough, but to imagine that it is all a farce stretches the imagination of even the most ardent science fiction fan.
With David Icke, who mixes eloquence with lunacy, I am always left with the following question: if it is really true that for the past three decades he has exposed the hidden plans and workings of the Elite (which he seems to know in detail like a creationist claims to know the will of God), why do they leave him alone? Why is he still alive? Are these powers really just 'frightened little boys and girls in short trousers'? Certainly one of the most curious descriptions for the Adversary and his minions I have ever seen.
 "David Icke - The Answer - full length interview", www.davidicke.com, August 3, 2020.
 David Icke, The Answer, David Icke Books, August 14, 2020.
 "How They Pulled Off The ‘Pandemic’ - An Animated Film Explanation By David Icke", www.davidicke.com, August 4, 2020.
 "The Illuminatus! Trilogy", Wikipedia. "The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a series of three novels by American writers Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, first published in 1975... In particular, the regular use of the Illuminati in popular culture as shadowy central puppet masters in this type of fiction can be traced back to their exposure via The Illuminatus! Trilogy."
 "Daily Stage-by-Stage Testing Trends", John Hopkins University, August 4, 2020.
 "Coronavirus: 'Deadly masks' claims debunked", www.bbc.com, 24 July 2020.
 "Coronavirus: David Icke's channel deleted by YouTube", www.bbc.com, 2 May 2020.
Check out: Ian M Mackay, PhD (EIC), "Yes, PCR tests can detect "the COVID virus", virologydownunder.com, August 4, 2020, which discusses the following frequently heard myths:
83 Vaccine Myths from docbastard.net
To all those who claim SARS-CoV-2—or any virus—does not exist: the virosphere consists of 4 realms, 9 kingdoms, 16 phyla, 2 subphyla, 36 classes, 55 orders, 8 suborders, 168 families, 103 subfamilies, 1421 genera, 68 subgenera, 6590 species. Take that. https://talk.ictvonline.org/taxonomy/
A summary of early parts of this series has appeared in the Dutch magazine Skepter 33(3), September 2020, as "Viruses don't exist" (covering Parts 1-5). German: Skeptiker (December 2020); English: Skeptic.org.uk (January 2021)
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