NOW ON KINDLE: The Corona Conspiracy: Combatting Disinformation about the Coronavirus
INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
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).
Frank Visser brings light and sanity to the miasmal confusion of suspicions and misinformation. (David Quammen, November 23, 2020)
How the Coronavirus Conquered the World
The Corona Conspiracy, Part 12
ANDREW KAUFMAN REVISITED
This is a huge triumph of science, conclusively refuting the breathless inanity of the virus denialists.
Always on the look out for responses from science to virus denialism, I recently stumbled on two YouTube videos created by Richard M. Fleming, a nuclear cardiologist specialized in inflammation and heart disease. He had approached Andrew Kaufman with the aim to debate with him on the existence of viruses, but Kaufman seems to have declined the invitation. Apparently he prefers to do monologues with people who don't question his views in any way. Fleming offers sane and sensible talk about Kaufman's virus denialism and the Terrain Theory Kaufman represents (as an alternative to the germ theory of the medical establishment).
Let's hear what he has to saythis is his introduction to the first video:
Dr. Andy Kaufman has repeatedly asked to debate anyone interested in debating Germ Theory versus his belief in the Terrain model - a belief that claims viruses don't actually exist. Dr. Kaufman has decided he does not want to debate me as I am unwilling to change my point of view. Apparently he is only willing to debate those who will let him win the debate. The video explains just a few of the flights of ideas associated with Terrain theory and Dr. Kaufman's beliefs. Decide for yourself what makes more sense.
Here's a brief summary of the points Fleming lays on the table:
Richard Fleming correctly exposes the mistaken ideas Kaufman has spread around viruses and exosomes. However, this doesn't mean Fleming represents the medical establishment, far from it. Perhaps that makes his critique of Kaufman even more valuable and relevantso he can't be easily dismissed by the alt-med community as indoctrinated by conventional medicine.
In his other YouTube videos you might learn Fleming is against developing a vaccin for SARS-CoV-2 (it won't really be effective), is against the current testing craze (it should only be done in a clinical context), advises to use Hydroxychloroxine (at least in the early stages of COVID-19), is against wearing masks in public (just stay at home if you have symptoms) and so on. Furthermore, he has had his encounters with the law concerning his unorthodox approach to heart disease medicine, a period of his professional life he deals with in a separate video as well. He has also participated in a Round Table session for the Transparent Media Truth channel called "Medical Mafia Manipulation", which included Judy Mikovitsthe front women of the Plandemic narrativeand he seems to feel at home in this anti-establishment company. So this points to disagreements within the field of alt-med, where Kaufman and Lanka represent the more extremist view when it comes to viruses (denying viruses even exist).
He also thinks the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been manufactured, because it contains sequences of HIV and Rabies around its spike protein (without disclosing his source for this claim). What is more, he mentions in passing that there's a patent for the 2003 SARS-CoV virus, which in his opinion clearly shows this was a man-made virus (but still a virus). As you may recall from Part 2, I listed 12 claims of science that can be challenged, and claim #4 was "The virus has a natural origin." I found the following patents at patents.google.com: patents US7220852B1 and the more detailed US7776521B1 related to "Coronavirus isolated from humans":
However, the patents seem to be related to the methods of isolating, sequencing and detecting SARS-CoV, not to the creation of an artificial virus. In those days (2003), sequencing the whole genome of a virus was quite an expensive and time consuming accomplishment, and patenting this sequence makes sense. As we will see below, at the moment almost 50.000 sequences of SARS-CoV-2 have been assembled, with infinitely less investment in time and costs, so patenting this sequence is no longer relevant. The detailed information in these patents about methods, results and the like is usually found nowadays in scientific publications, instead of a patent.
Besides, if SARS-CoV was really a man-made virus (the patent was filed by the CDC), this would most certainly have been hotly debated in the past 17 years. Viruses of this size can't just be created from scratch, at most an existing virus can be tweaked through a so called "gain of function", a controversial area of viral research practiced by many countries. But that's a different story.
A funny detail: the status of both of these patents is: "Expired - Fee Related". Somebody hasn't been paying his bills...
Here's a second video by Fleming on Kaufman's erroneous ways:
And again, a quick summary of the points raised:
Incidentally, Fleming has his own ideas about how to best cure COVID-19. It is not by vaccines but by treating the inflammation and thrombosis it tends to produce, by the proper diet. This consists of "fruits and vegetables, and at a later stage whole grains, low-fat dairy and moderate servings of protein" (Publisher's Weekly). He is the author of How to Bypass your Bypass (1997) and Stop Inflammation Now! (2005).
But the point of all this isand I will repeat it for the very last timethe SARS-CoV-2 virus exists. And it is evolving right under our own eyes.
TRACK & TRACING THE SARS-COV-2 VIRUS
In this series I have many times referred to nextstrain.org as a website where you can trace the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus over the world in real-time. At the time I was writing Part 1, April 2020, there were some 4.500 whole genomes available. By July this number has exploded to almost 50.000! This huge data set enables us to find patterns by which the virus spreads to continents and countries, but also to analyze which strain of the virus is dominant at a given location. Two Italian researchers have collected all these genomes and created a matrix in which the 30.000 bases of SARS-CoV-2 are compared through all of the 48,635 genomes available at the time of writingresulting in a matrix of close to 1.5 billion cells:
Even if you can't read it, it is a veritable piece of art to behold and a testament to what science can do:
This is a huge triumph of science, conclusively refuting the breathless inanity of virus denialists like Lanka and Kaufman, who claim we have no clue what this genetic material actually refers to (so it might as well have been produced by our own cells). Wrong. We know this genome to the letter, and it is not part of the human genome.
The authors conclude:
Our analysis shows the prevalence of single nucleotide transitions as the major mutational type across the world. There exist at least three clades characterized by geographic and genomic specificity. In particular, clade G, prevalent in Europe, carries a D614G mutation in the Spike protein, which is responsible for the initial interaction of the virus with the host human cell. Our analysis may facilitate custom-designed antiviral strategies based on the molecular specificities of SARS-CoV-2 in different patients and geographical locations.
The authors have found three clades or groups, called V, S and G (with GR and GH as sub-groups within G). The original lineage, which started in Wuhan, China, is called L, and the group O is used for sequences that fit none of the other groups. This process of splitting and diverging is of course typical for all evolutionary processes of speciation. It's an ongoing process so this is just a snapshot.
While few, the existing detected mutations allow to group the samples into five distinct clades, G, GH, GR, S, and V, characterized by a collection of specific mutations. The clades can be further characterized by most recent mutations and will likely be split even further in the future.
Europe and North America present a strikingly different picture. Worldwide, the three clades G, GH and GR represent 75% of all genomes. In Europe, we see a predominance of G (pink) and GR (red). In the United States, the situation is quite different. Clade GH (orange) is clearly predominant, followed by the older clade S (green). In South America, it again GR which predominates. In Asia, we see the older clades, but the G clades are gaining momentum there as well.
Of course the more interesting question is: do these mutations reflect differences in harmfulness or contagiousness of these viral clades? And are all bases equally likely susceptible to mutations, or do these happen in certain areas of the genome. And what effect does the host cell have on the RNA mutations? Even given these minor differences, the SARS-CoV-2 seems to be able to maintain its integrity under various circumstances. This is promising for the development of antiviral therapiesbut nothing is guaranteed. I refer to the article for these tantalizing but technical details.
The authors present the following time table for the G clades. This is how the coronavirus conquered the world:
The three clades that originated in Europe (pink, orange and red) are now the most frequent in virtually the whole world (with the exception of Asia and Oceania). And the virus strain in North America (GH) is different from that in Europe (GR). It remains to be seen what impllications this has for the treatment of COVID-19.
As a bonus, do check out the most recent Situation Report from Nextstrain.org (as of August 14th, 2020), which examines "the global genomic epidemiology of COVID-19 broadly and provide[s] specific updates for each world region."
 See: Jason Pontin, "The 19th-Century Crank Who Tried to Tell Us About the Microbiome", Wired, June 15, 2018, for an appraisal of this forgotten medical tradition, which is now resurfacing as microbiome research.
 Daniele Mercatelli and Federico M. Giorgi, "Geographic and Genomic Distribution of SARS-CoV-2 Mutations", Front. Microbiol., 22 July 2020.
83 Vaccine Myths from docbastard.net
To all those who claim SARS-CoV-2or any virusdoes 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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