Who Is Being Gaslighted?: On Viral Conspiracies and Religion

When confronted with the simple truth that the coronavirus pandemic is real and that vaccines save lives, some of my Christian friends are quick to question my spiritual sanity. On Facebook they tell me: “You should preach the gospel and not the vaccines.” Frequently I’ve been asked: “Do you trust in vaccines, or in God?” I’ve been called an idiot, asked to repent, given Bible verses and other quotations meant to open my eyes—all that and more because I have dared encourage people to be vaccinated. Am I being gaslighted?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11572
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The gaslighting goes both ways. This virus has nothing do with any spiritual/religious positions. It’s purely a medical condition, explained and treated with medical knowledge that science has provided.
Opportunists exist on both sides of the vaccine issue. Politicians didn’t miss a beat either, taking opportunity to further their agendas, with their brand of “gas lighting”.

There are questions the myriad mandates never address:

  • What’s happened to natural immunity? Why is it being ignored?
  • What 's happened to curative medications that prevent deaths and even hospitalizations?
  • What is the point of testing everybody when the test becomes invalid as soon as we step outside?
  • Why are the unmasked such a danger to the vaccinated and masked?
  • Why are people who were never elected to their positions, able to make laws for the country?

Gaslighters operate in all spheres of religions, governments and ideologies. The world runs on gaslighting.

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Absolutely agree on that, but why are you then stating in your first sentence that gaslighting goes “both ways”? The ones having facts on their side cannot be “the other side”. Knowledge about viruses and vaccines isn’t a plausible discussion topic like some religious or philosophical matter. All your questions, with exemption of the last one, have very good evidence based answers. If some people don’t agree wit those answers they should do their own research based on scientific and medical principles. Before doing it they can’t question the findings by simple “taking of the other side position”.
Some people, like the author of the above article, are annoyed by constant questioning spiced up with pious talk and spiritual misleading. That is how I understand this gaslighting.

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This is the kind of thinking that is encountered constantly over vaccinations, the pandemic, the 2020 election, etc., even on this website. Not that there is causation, but there seems to be a high degree of correlation between those who embrace a conspiratorial, apocalyptic eschatology (in the evangelical, conservative Christian, and Adventist worlds), and an embrace of anti vaxx conspiracies. It is an entire misreading of biblical apocalyptic, which is essentially understood as a global conspiracy theory, complete with the properly decoded images by those in the privileged few, that can predispose such people to see conspiracies under every rock (e.g. The pope is setting up Sunday laws because he has conscience about climate change). It’s all leading up to the mark of the beast, the appearance of the anti Christ, etc., according to one’s peculiar brand of apocalypticism.

Then we wonder why educated, sane people look upon the conservative Christian, and even Adventist world if they know of it, as insane? But of course, elephants do disguise themselves very well in the treetops!

Frank

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All relevant and related questions. I’d like to see a reasoned, evidence-based conversation in response. Let me start with a research letter addressed to JAMA from Johns Hopkins:

Waning serum antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 have raised questions about long-term immunity. Lower antibody levels to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein are associated with breakthrough infections after vaccination, prompting consideration of booster doses.[1] Prior infection may enhance protection from vaccination, stimulating inquiry about hybrid immunity.[3]
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2785919

Two years of Covid-19 suggests all of us must have been exposed to the virus. Presumably, vaxxed and unvaxxed, masked or not, we all have developed some degree of immunity to the infection which is associated with quantities of antibodies circulating in our system. My question is: What’s one test that, perhaps, should be required or recommended prior to suggesting vaccination or masking for the unvaccinated?

Leaving the religious ideologies out of it, science is not monolithic. Ever since Einstein challenged Newton, science has been at war with itself. That’s how progress is made. Whatever your position is according to science, you will find scientific corroboration for it. It depends on who’s paying for the scientific information. The tobacco industry had a good run for a long time, to be followed by the cell phone industry, and it’s denial of radiation. My prediction is that the mandates, based on science, will endeavour to continue at least through next November, election day. Let’s see if they can draw it out that long.

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Perhaps instead of testing those who have no symptoms, we should count the numbers that need hospitalization. I think you’ll find a pretty large disparity between number getting ill and those who need the hospital. Perhaps that should control the mandates.

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The problem is any source of information in support of vaccination becomes part of the conspiracy. It is just like flat earthers, “it looks flat to me” so it must be so. No measurements, no investigation will change this thinking.

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As a scientist for more than 45 years I am ashamed at the low debate level here at Spectrum. There are numerous good studies, not sponsored, showing dramatic benefit of covid vaccination.

Sirje writes about science being at war with itself. Please clarify. This is a nonsensical statement. Just adding to worthless conspiracy thinking.

As a European I see the ”conspiracy virus” spreading all over the globe with devastating negative effects.

How can we vaccinate us against this ugly disease?

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Testing only those who are symptomatic may yield a high positive rate, though not 100% true positive but close. That also means we’re going to miss finding those that are pre-symptomatic as well as the post-symptomatic but are infected and are contagious, right? So, am I suggesting vaccination for everybody? No. I believe recommending, not mandating, vaccination should depend on one’s level of neutralizing antibodies against Covid-19. This is presently not being done nor recommended by the CDC.

Antibody tests
These are not considered diagnostic tests that can determine if someone has an active COVID-19 infection. They use blood samples to look for antibodies produced by a person’s immune system to help fight off COVID-19.
These can detect if someone had a past COVID-19 infection but not if they still are positive for the virus. Tran said antibody tests may have more value once an effective vaccine becomes available. Different types of COVID-19 tests explained

From Robert P. Jones, head of Public Relations Research Institute (a polling firm on religious questions):

“In my own extended family, I’ve seen repeated vaccination appeals from elderly members with underlying health conditions flatly rejected by younger healthy members who are also blithely foregoing masks and social distancing—all while happily attending their evangelical church. There is no cognitive dissonance. There is no hint of awareness that their actions are a mockery of the central biblical injunction to care for the orphan, the widow, the stranger, and the vulnerable among us.

While Southern Baptists have always had massive blindspots—created in part by self-righteous, arrogant claims to be the exclusive bearers of the Truth—there is a hardening I see today among many white evangelicals that is unrecognizable to me, even against the backdrop of the conservative churches of my youth.

It’s important to say this straight. This refusal to act to protect the vulnerable—particularly because of the low personal costs involved—is raw, callous selfishness. Exhibited by people I love, it is heartbreaking. Expressed by people who claim to be followers of Jesus, it is maddening.”

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Scientific theories and even laws are being challenged on a regular basis. Scientific laws are rock solid until more information comes along and proves the previous laws wrong, or at least incomplete - unless you think we know everything and there’s no need for further investigation?

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It good to read the articles in Spectrum but the reply always seem to be the same, not matter which direction the writer comes from or speaks too. I just shake my head and wonder why christianity so often misses the point. Others first, me second. If Christ had followed the logic of many anti this or that, where would we be today? No future.

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Your answer is not serious, but nonsensical and pseudorhetoric.
Not surprised so much turns into fake news and conspiracy.

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@Sirje @Jaray

Slant might be better than gas lighting. Nevertheless, tell me, please, why in your opinion Sirje’s response is irrelevant and “non-sensical”. Won’t it be nice if the original writer were to engage us in a reasoned, evidence-based conversation? Not regarding one’s spirituality or lack of the same, but about current medical knowledge.

Natural immunity plus or minus vaccine-induced immune protection? Does that make sense or not?

At present, the messaging from regulatory agencies states that “antibody tests should not be used to evaluate a person’s level of immunity or protection from COVID-19.”9 If there is no detectable antibody response after vaccination, the vaccines may still offer protection through cellular immunity. Although this may be true in some cases, cellular immune responses and antibody responses often correlate to some extent[10]… Having an established correlate of protection would allow healthcare providers to manage the vaccination of immunocompromised individuals more efficiently, such as by recommending booster vaccinations if antibody titers are too low, or recommending non-pharmaceutical interventions for protection if no immune response is detected.

Having a correlate of protection would also allow healthcare and governing bodies to efficiently determine what percentage of the population is protected. Although seroprevalence is currently used as a crude measure of community immunity, having a correlate of protection would allow more-precise estimations that could then trigger interventions such as vaccination campaigns if the percentage of immune individuals is deemed to be too low.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01432-4

What does my answer have to do with fake news. Your comment is a non sequitur. Scientific pronouncements are contradicted on a regular basis. Just listen to Fauci for a couple of days.

BTW, what is pseudo rhetoric mean?

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Depends on how one views science. Negative or positive. As more data comes in science is able to modify its output. The constant acquisition of data that is happening with covid, ensures that we can have the latest/best advice for an ongoing changing situation. If one looks at ‘updating’ as ‘contradiction’, then…I don’t know what to say. Failure to see progress, maybe?

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That was my initial point when accused of “pseudo rhetoric” - don’t know what that means, but it can’t be good.

It would seem new scientific information keeps coming in at record pace based on the changes Fauci is mandating. Or might that be about something else. …

Look, I’m all for science but when science mixes with politics and is used to manipulate, people lose trust, even in the science.

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Pseudo rhetoric = logical fallacy (hundreds of them)

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Simple answer is that science is not at war with itself.

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