TRANSLATE THIS ARTICLE
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
"The peer reviews [of the Corman-Drosten Review Report] overall come to the same conclusion as experts who have published their 'reviews' of the retraction request (see some examples: Beyer 1, Beyer 2, Visser, Wilson)." —Andrea Ammon, Director European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, www.asktheeu.org, 2021-06-14.
|The Corman-Drosten PCR test is flawed and cannot be used as diagnostic intrument||Initial flaws were corrected resulting in a test that was comparable to other tests|
|Even a perfect PCR test could not be used as a useful diagnostic instrument||PCR tests can't detect infection but are useful to monitor the spread of the virus|
|PCR tests produce 30-50% false positives anyways, so this debate is now obsolete||This is a minority view spread by Sin Lee which got published in a spurious journal|
Borger spends a lot of words on Beyer's rather innocent introductory statement that "By the end of 2019, a novel corona virus, SARS-CoV-2, was transmitted from animals to humans in China and quickly spread out from there over the globe." He claims that the virus emerged much earlier (even "concurrently with the SARS-CoV virus" of 2003), that SARS-CoV-2 is actually a variant of SARS-CoV and that there is still no conclusive evidence it emerged from animals. All this, however, is still hotly debated, so I would say at the moment it is anybody's guess. Circumstantial evidence surrounds us on all sides (be it for a natural or a lab origin of the virus), and I can't see the relevance to the issue at hand of the PCR test and its practical use. What is more, nobody denies a family resemblance (not identity) of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.
On a more positive note, Borger writes "We do not deny that Beyer's essay contains a number of interesting (theoretical) comments, neither do we ignore his points of concern." But then he questionably adds: "They have all had our attention and we addressed them extensively in the addendum." This glosses over the many shortcomings Beyer found in the very Addendum Borger refers him to. This is not even the start of the real scientific debate, guys.
Then Borger comes up with his newly found hobby horse, the work of Dr Sin Lee who presumably has proved beyond any doubt that 30-50% of the COVID PCR test results are false positives, because in the PCR products no SARS-CoV-2 sequences could be detected with Sanger sequencing (an older sequencing technology). Now, this is again a very technical issue, but the really important and interesting fact would be how Sin Lee's and Borger's strong claim has been received by the scientific community—if at all. His manuscript was rejected by PCR-guru Stephen Bustin (who was one of the reviewers of the Review Report for Eurosurveillance, as it turned out), and got published online on a dubious researchinfotext.com website. An earlier paper by Lee with the same thesis was published in a journal of geriatrics and rehabilitation. Not really confidence inspiring, if you ask me.
Warning: Scientific Ghost Riders
Finally, Borger suspects that Beyer, who defends not only conventional PCR technology but also the neo-Darwinian paradigm, is driven by an anti-theistic attitude, Borger himself being a creationist working for the Christian organization Wort und Wissenschaft (as "research associate"). "Could it be that Beyer attacked our ICLSS [sic] group, because he identified me and another coathor as staunch opponents of the Darwinian narrative— the most tested and failed hypothesis to explain the origin of species? If so, his attack may be explained by an inability to differentiate between operational and historical science— a deficit which I have observed by several members of the Darwinian community. In contrast to historical science, operational science can be tested and falsified through empirical experimentation." Here, Borger echoes creationist arguments advanced by Young Earth creationist Ken Ham, who also claims that evolutionary theory is not an observational science but a historical science. This amounts to saying "Nobody was there when the dinosaurs walked the earth." Of course, we have dinosaur fossils at our disposal and can reconstruct the evolutionary history based on these findings.
Borger's final comment is self-revealing: "When scientific criticism of a paper that was not peer-reviewed, is regarded as conspiracy, as Beyer does, it is obvious that there is something severely wrong with his understanding of science." What's wrong with criticizing a scientific paper, Borger naïvely asked Beyer in one of their exchanges. To which Beyer drily commented: "Nothing, and that's exactly what I am doing with your Review Report." Clearly, Borger isn't aware of his conspirational mind-set at all.
Then Borger shows he likes to play the role of scientific revolutionary (isn't he a Darwin-improver himself, as author of the self-published Darwin Revisited, Scholar's Press, 2018?):
Beyer seems to think that science and knowledge progress by democratic voting or that scientific truths are determined by defending and spreading mainstream opinions. It is hard to believe that Corman, who apparently read and commented on Beyer's essay, did not notice the anti-science attitude expressed in it. The history of science shows that following the mainstream has always been a science stopper, and consensus science, i.e. the collective opinion of a community of scientist [sic], was always wrong. Group thinking and copying main stream opinions is anti-science. That science nevertheless progressed was because of paradigm shifts induced by individuals and out-of-the-box thinking.
Science commits suicide when it adopts (political) creeds, ideologies, dogmas and group thinking. Science can only move forward through free debate and scrutiny of dubious science by critical thinkers. And the only way to move science forward is by experimentation and empirical evidence. In contrast to scientific work performed by our supporters, Beyer's essay does not fullfil any of these criteria. It needs no further attention. Emperical [sic] science refuted his theoretical musings.
The world is full of Einstein-improvers or Darwin-improvers who don't feel heard by the scientific community and decide that "science" has become corrupt. "The collective opinion of a community of scientist[s], was always wrong." Really? These scientific ghost riders, as we may call them, always think they are driving on the right side of the road, and wonder why everybody else is breaking the rules. Calling the neo-Darwinian paradigm "the most tested and failed hypothesis to explain the origin of species" while advocating a creationist alternative (in which created species or "basic types" and even created and frontloaded genomes or baranomes are seen as more scientific and believable than evolved species and genomes) makes one wonder if there isn't "something severely wrong with his understanding of science."
Appendix 1: Beyer Replies to Borger
Andreas Beyer replied to Borger's statements in a brief article on Researchgate.net. It is, again, an embarrassing exposure of Pieter Borger's style of argumentation, full of truths, half-truths and lies (as is the case of so much conspirational pseudo-science). Here's a brief summary, but please read through the full article:
- Beyer's article, in which he thanks Victor Corman for his helpful comments, was not an "official reply" from the scientific establishment, as Borger assumes.
- SARS-CoV-2 virus is a novel virus that emerged at the end of 2019, which reflects the mainstream view of science, stating otherwise is semantic quibbling.
- The syndromes of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 are not identical, as any intensive care specialist can tell (and Borger's citing of his own article is imprudent).
- Nobody denies these two viruses have a lot in common, after all they are both sarbecoviruses, so this is only to be expected when comparing the two.
- Contrary to Borger's claims Beyer has read and extensively dealt with the Addendum, which the Borger team posted to prove their theoretical points.
- Dr. Sin Hang Lee does not provide a credible account of qPCR producing "built-in" false positives, his argumentation is puzzling and the journal is questionable.
- Dr. Sin Hang Lee has severe conflicts of interest, since he is producing and promoting his own PCR test (a rather painful conclusion, since that same accusation was prominently directed by the Borger team at Christian Drosten).
- Borger's rant devolves into misplaced ad hominems of Beyer's credentials, which would a forteriori apply to the members of the Borger-Kämmerer team.
- Borger's wild claim to have refuted neo-Darwinism is largely obsolete, since the Modern Synthesis has now largely been replaced by the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.
- Beyer's non-theistic and Darwinistic worldview is irrelevant when it comes to discussing PCR, which after all formed the main topic of the Review Report.
Once again there is nothing but misstatements, false assertions, misinterpretations, biased citations, smoke grenades, cynicism, impertinence, ad hominem arguments and some more fallacies. And Borger contacted the administration of my university complaining of "religious offence" by my publications (of course without any proof / citation). Well, try to find any remark offending religion in [my two articles on Borger]... But I do understand very well that pseudoscientists feel "offended" when they are unmasked and debunked. And so the administration did not react ...
Borger and the complete Borger-Kämmerer group up to now still have not understood what degenerate primers are and how contemporary qPCR works... Explaining it to him is like discussing something with a parrot who always is repeating the same nonsense over and over again. An unjustified verdict? Well, Borger, Kämmerer & Co are cordially invited to do real experiments, collect real data and publish them scientifically. Then we'll see...
Appendix 2: Borger's Second Reply to Beyer
Within a few days Borger posted a second reply to Beyer on his researchgate page. Here's the abstract (assuming it summarizes the main points):
After publication of our Corman-Drosten Critique, a small group of dyed-in-the-whool [sic] Darwinians gathered around Dr. Andreas Beyer, germany's most vocal defender of the Darwinian narrative (the most tested and failed hypothesis of biology[9a]). Why did Beyer include them? They are not PCR experts at all, so what could the reason be? It appears that they all adhere to the same Darwinian religion. Beyer's attack on our ICLSS [sic] is religiously motivated as illustrated by his second rebuttal, in which he keeps referring to me as "young earth creationist". It should be clear that scientific arguments should be independent of religious ad hominems. What matters it that Maxwell or Pasteur were creationists? Their argumentation was excellent. They were great scientists. Beyer once more demonstrates that he is unable to address my comments without referring to religion. That Beyer is unable to do so, signifies his unscientific bias against poeple [sic] with different opinions than his own Darwinian belief
Apparently, it now is all about a spiritual battle for Borger. Read both pieces by Andreas Beyer and you will find only a passing reference to Borger being a creationist (and a Young Earth one at that—not irrelevant for his general stance towards science). And nothing at all about Darwinism. Beyer explicitly tells him:
Please read [my two articles] and look if you find any argument concerning evolution or Borger's book. My publications both deal solely with the horribly flawed criticism of the Borger Kämmerer group of the Corman-Drosten-qPCR test.
And for the record, there is no "group gathered around Dr. Andreas Beyer" (is Borger getting paranoid?). I just asked Beyer to respond to Borger's wild and ever-changing claims around the PCR test and he graciously complied. I happen to be interested (as a layman) in this PCR-Gate debate. One last comment about myself being a non-export on PCR:
[Beyer's] bias is illustrated by the names of two staunch Darwinians, who both are absolute laypersons in the PCR field, but which he included in his acknowledgement (as "experts").
You don't need to be an expert on PCR to see that many professional PCR experts disagree with the conclusions of the Borger-Kämmerer team. I do have some expertise when it comes to conspiracy and religious worldviews, especially when they try to include and/or refute science.
Appendix 3: Reply by the ECDC to Van Dijk
The journal Eurosurveillance is published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In April 2021, Klaas van Dijk filed a FOI request to the ECDC at asktheeu.org to make both the external reviews of the Corman-Drosten Review Report and their corresponence with Pieter Borger public, but the ECDC refused to do so, to protect the privacy of these reviewers. Now, Van Dijk did in fact do the Borger Consortium a great service by doing this—has he received any credit for this? I think not. Especially given the fact that he is very much opposed to the retraction request project in the first place, but still advocates transparency.
Be that as it may, at the end of the ECDC response, which was signed by Director Andrea Ammon, there is an interesting comment that gives us more than a clue about the content of these external reviews:
I cannot identify that releasing privileged communication of the journal (here in form of peer reviewer's comments or correspondence with authors) is the only means to refute arguments publicly presented by Borger et al. as the authors of the retraction request have made their request publicly available. The journal has responded with publicly available editorial notes (3 December 2020 and 4 February 2021). And in the meantime, scientists have also responded to the public review from Borger et al. in several ways during the last months. There is no identifiable added public interest brought forward by you that would substantiate the need to disclose e.g. the peer reviews that overall come to the same conclusion as experts who have published their "reviews" of the retraction request [see some examples: Beyer 1, Beyer 2, Visser, Wilson]. (italics added) 
Appendix 4: Additional PCR-skeptic papers
At the end of 2022, Pieter Borger has been involved in two additional PCR-skeptic papers (with co-author Rogier Louwen, a Dutch former employee of the Erasmus MC)—one paper quite conspirational, the second more neutral (or should we say diplomatic, to get published in a mainstream scientific journal?):
- Kämmerer, Pekova, Klement, Louwen, Borger, Steger, "Major Shortcomings of the First Who-Recommended RT-QPCR to 'Detect' SARS-CoV-2 and to 'Diagnose' COVID-19. NGS Provides Evidence that Successive Waves of SARS-CoV-2 Variants Lack Genomic Relationship", Under review at Helyion, 26 Oct 2022.
- Voogd, Liampa, Borger, Dourou, Arhondakis, Louwen, "Reliable detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using RT-(q)PCR critically depends on primer design and PCR test parameters: an evaluation study of novel primers", Zenodo, December 30, 2022. (working paper, and to be submitted to a scientific journal such as BMJ)
Helyion is an "all-science, open access journal" (article publication charge of $2,100 USD), Zenodo is a CERN-based platform for "open science".
Of the first paper, Kämmerer, Klement and Borger are members of the ICSLS consortium. Sona Pekova is a Czech PCR-skeptic. Note the quotes around "Detect" and "Diagnose", which gives the story away. One of the results: "Neglected principles of good scientific practice resulted not only in the publication of the WHO-recommended Charité RT-qPCR protocol, but also in multiple health-related problems." The paper concludes: "Both our own results and data from available literature confirmed that validation of any PCR-based diagnostic test by sequencing is mandatory, not only during the initial phase of establishment, but also on a regular basis during the following time. To prevent future misconduct, science needs a reality check and must re-initiate the scientific dialogue and liberate itself from political influence and dogma." It is unclear to me why the "successive waves" issue is included in this paper which is highly critical of the Corman-Drosten PCR (this seems to be Pekova's contribution).
The second paper states, under the heading of "Comparison with other studies": "Of note, it is important to clarify that our work does not aim to criticize the work performed by Charité Berlin, where the primers design and the test were developed in an emergency state and without any prior genomic knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 as well as the lack of patient samples. Our findings were solely compared to the above test, due to the availability of data and results from other studies." (lines 413-417). And it concludes: "our work shows that the newly developed primers, despite outperforming the ones designed by Charité Berlin in PPA, are still suboptimal to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA." (lines 442-446). For sure, this is a different mindset than usually found in Borger's papers or social media communications ("science is dead!"). Also note that even an "improved" primer set was still considered as "suboptimal" by these authors. That means in retrospect, that the Corman-Drosten accomplishment, given the circumstances they had to work with, is all the more admirable.
Appendix 5: Stephen Bustin on the Drosten PCR
In this context it is worthwhile to check what Stephen Bustin, a world authority on PCR technology, has written about the Corman-Drosten PCR test. Lucky for us, he wrote a paper on this topic:
- Bustin S et al., "RT-qPCR Diagnostics: The "Drosten" SARS-CoV-2 Assay Paradigm". International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(16):8702.
The abstract is worth quoting from—he acknowledges the controversy around this particular SARS-CoV2 assay protocol (hinting at the Borger-Kämmerer paper without quoting it):
This [rt-qPCR] technology has been pushed to the forefront of public awareness by the COVID-19 pandemic, as its global application has enabled rapid and analytically sensitive mass testing, with the first assays targeting three viral genes published within days of the publication of the SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequence. One of those, targeting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene, has been heavily criticised for supposed scientific flaws at the molecular and methodological level, and this criticism has been extrapolated to doubts about the validity of RT-qPCR for COVID-19 testing in general.
However, he continues in a measured way:
We have analysed this assay in detail, and our findings reveal some limitations but also highlight the robustness of the RT-qPCR methodology for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Nevertheless, whilst our data show that some errors can be tolerated, it is always prudent to confirm that the primer and probe sequences complement their intended target, since, when errors do occur, they may result in a reduction in the analytical sensitivity. However, in this case, it is unlikely that a mismatch will result in poor specificity or a significant number of false-positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnoses, especially as this is routinely checked by diagnostic laboratories as part of their quality assurance.
And he concludes:
In conclusion, the reverse primer mismatch in the RdRp component assay of the first published SARS-CoV-2 test affects the performance of that assay. In contrast, the mismatched probe has no appreciable effect on the assay sensitivity. Importantly, it is possible to ameliorate the effects of the primer mismatch through a combination of optimal RT, reagents and protocols. Whilst we would continue to stress that it is important to design assays carefully from the start, our findings hold an important lesson for RT-qPCR assays in general, as they highlight the flexibility and robustness of this methodology, where even a suboptimal design can be rescued by intelligent optimisation.
Such as world of difference with plandemic-crying Covid contrarians like Borger and Louwen! It is important to stress that Covid contrarians usually reason: flawed first PCR test => generates false positives => casedemic or plandemic. In contrast, Bustin saw no reason to suspect "a significant number of false positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnoses" due to the Corman-Drosten PCR test.
 "Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker", New York Times, Updated Sept. 28, 2021
 Rita Jaafar et al., "Correlation Between 3790 Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction-Positives Samples and Positive Cell Cultures, Including 1941 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Isolates", Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 72, Issue 11, 1 June 2021.
 See: SH Lee (2021) qPCR is not PCR Just as a Straightjacket is not a Jacket-the Truth Revealed by SARS-CoV-2 False- Positive Test Results. COVID-19 Pandemic: Case Studies & Opinions 02(03): 230-278. Posted on: researchinfotext.com, June 2021, and Sin Hang Lee, "Testing for SARS-CoV-2 in cellular components by routine nested RT-PCR followed by DNA sequencing", International Journal of Geriatrics and Rehabilitation 2(1):69- 96, July 17, 2020.
 See also: Andreas Beyer, "COVID-19 und Kreationismus: Widerlegen Borger et al. die Drosten-PCR?", ag-evolutionsbiologie, January 2021.
 Original publication in Dutch: Terug naar de oorsprong: Hoe de nieuwe biologie het tijdperk van Darwin beëindigt, 2009. [Back to the origin: How the new biology ends the era of Darwin, Scholar's Press, 2018]. A review of this book in Dutch by atheist (and former Christian) Bart Klink can be found here: Bart Klink, "De wetenschappelijke dwaalwegen van een creationistisch bioloog" [The scientific stray roads of a creationist biologist], deatheist.nl, 10 December 2009. Borger labels his theory "GUToB", generale en universele theorie over biologische verandering [general and universal theory of biological change]. In physics GUT means "grand unified theory". Clearly, Borger's ambitions aim high indeed.
 Gert Korthoff, "Common Descent: It's All or Nothing", This is an updated version of chapter 3 of Matt Young and Taner Edis, Why Intelligent Design Fails, Rutgers University Press, 2004.
 Peer Terborg (alias of Pieter Borger), "Evidence for the design of life: part 2 - Baranomes", creation.com, from: Journal of Creation 22(3):68-76, December 2008
 Andreas Beyer, "P.Borger and corona, pseudoscience and science - a comment", researchgate.net, October 2021.
 Pieter Borger, "How the Darwinian narrative, adopted as religion, led a German teacher astray -- A second reply to Andreas Beyer", researchgate.net, October 2021.
[9a] A direct reference to the back cover of (the Dutch edition of) Borger's Darwin Revisited, from John A. Davison, Professor Emeritus of Biology, University of Vermont, USA:
With this book Peter Borger has produced a very interesting and up to date alternative to the Darwinian thesis, the most tested and failed proposal in the history of science [emphasis added]. Hopefully this book will help ensure its long overdue demise as a rational explanation for the great mystery of organic evolution.
Davison was quite a character—obviously he has been a role model for Pieter Borger:
Towards the end of his life Davison would spend hours spamming websites and blogs about how Darwin's theory of evolution was wrong and unscientific and how the neo-Darwinists had ruined science. Davison was banned from many forums and even banned from intelligent design websites for his constant trolling. He was known for sending abusive emails to scientists who he claimed were "brainwashed" by Darwinism. (RationalWiki)
 Andrea Ammon, "Re: Your confirmatory application for access to documents - Ref 21-2523-1", Stockholm, 14 June 2021. This is an attachment to: Klaas van Dijk, "correspondence with Eurosurveillance", asktheeu.org, April 28, 2021.
83 Vaccine Myths from docbastard.net