The Darkener's Console

On the ground is a large platinum bar.

Modern Survival —

I feel like we’re all playing a game of survival.

I used to play “war” with my friend John Ortiz in 2nd grade. We would walk around the school’s field at recess, pretending to shoot bad guys, and occasionally get blown up by a grenade. I guess you could call it a survival game.

Fortunately we had “do-it-yourself surgery kits” back then when I was 7.. which, well, …you get it. :) “My stomach is blown up by a grenade! I’ll get my do-it-yourself surgery kit. Ok, I’m better, AH! Another bad guy! *machine gun sounds*”

There are many more dimensions to the modern game of survival. Personal beliefs of whether or not COVID-19 is “just a flu”, political affiliation (and degree of said affiliation which determines your level of sanity or insanity), whether you root your beliefs in science and fact.. well, you get it.

Darwinism used to be “Survival of the fittest”. Now it seems it’s “Survival of the smartest”. When taking a few steps back from the situation, it seems as though the ones who think they know better than the experts are getting systematically wiped out.

Stay safe. Use common sense. Masks work. Science and medicine is real. The Earth is round.

You get it.

Categorised as: blogs | philosophy | political


  1. Gnor says:

    If you strip people of their human dignity, their comforts and their rights and lie to them enough times, under duress even the toughest among us can believe we see five lights when there are only four.


  2. Gnor says:

    “W.H.O.” indeed! =)

    That’s quite rare but riddles are so much more fun when that happens. Here’s another much easier one:

    What has almost everyone in the developed world been convinced exists “because science” that has never been actually isolated (in the true scientific meaning of that term) in the lab and therefore never been proven to actually exist?

  3. Gnor says:

    “…the only scientific method that exists. Culture cells, find a particle, isolate the particle, take it to pieces, find out what’s inside and then prove those particles are able to make more of the same with the same constituents when they’re added to a culture of uninfected cells.”

    “The technology is complicated but the concept is extremely simple. You prepare a test tube containing a solution of sucrose, ordinary table sugar. But it’s made so the solution is light at the top but gradually becomes heavier, or more dense, towards the bottom. Meanwhile you grow whatever cells you think may contain your retrovirus and if you’re right retroviral particles will be released from the cells and pass into the culture fluids. When you think everything is ready you decant a specimen of culture fluids and gently place a drop on top of the sugar solution. Then you spin the test-tube at extremely high speeds. This generates tremendous forces and particles present in that drop of fluid are forced through the sugar solution until they reach a point where their buoyancy prevents them penetrating any further. In other words, they drift down the density gradient until they reach a spot where their own density is the same as that region of the sugar solution. When they get there they stop, all together, or to use virological jargon, that’s where they band. That band can then be selectively extracted and photographed with an electron microscope… In the sucrose solutions [retroviral particles] band at a point where the density is 1.16 gm/ml.”

    Dr. Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, a biophysicist and leader of a group of HIV/AIDS scientists from Perth in Western Australia

    • The Darkener says:

      I feel like what you’re saying is simply a formality. The evidence is apparent. Maybe I’m missing what you mean?

      • Gnor says:

        The scientific method is not a formality for science, it is a “sine qua non.” Without which, it is no longer science. Modern medicine and science are based on the philosophical underpinnings of positivism, and despite this system of thought’s limitations, it at least demands proof (in this sequence) that (1) the virus exists and can be isolated, (2) it is capable by itself of infecting and replicating in previously healthy human cells, and (3) that it is the cause of human disease using proper controls. It has to be in this sequence because otherwise you’re only working from assumption and inference which is not positivism, science, nor modern medicine.

        When the scientific method is not followed, you don’t have science anymore, or you have it in name only. I’m not really sure what to call it, but it contains elements of faith-based systems like propaganda and religion. If that’s what people want, that’s fine- but let’s be honest about it and let’s not call it science.

        To call it science at that point is disingenuous at best. At worst, demanding that people “follow” that kind of “science” is intellectual totalitarian authoritarianism. True science never demands a following. True science demands first skepticism, then proof preceding belief.

        If we’re living in a post-scientific world, so be it. But I just wish we could be honest with ourselves about it and not try to pretend faith is science.

        • The Darkener says:

          I understand where you’re coming from. What you say makes total sense, and maybe you’re right to not call it “science” if what you’re saying is true about the scientific method and that it hasn’t technically been isolated yet.

          BUT, the fact that humans all around the world have been studying this new sickness, collaborating and have developed a vaccine that eliminates it, means that it is ‘a thing’. Time obviously is a factor, not to say there aren’t enough scientists in the world to isolate it, or that I know how long or with what resources that happens. COVID-19 may not be *proven* by the scientific method yet according to you.. but what happens to your viewpoint when it is? Will you be satisfied or is there something else that’s bugging you about the situation that’s causing you to feel this strongly? Are there other topics that bleed into you taking this stance?

          • Gnor says:

            Honestly, the main thing that bothers me is the “honesty” part. =)

            If someone could actually prove the thing exists scientifically (which really wouldn’t be that hard), then I think a rational basis for a debate on what to do about it would be established.

            But maybe I just need to accept the fact that the world has changed and “proving” things just isn’t that important to people anymore. That instead, blind faith in whatever authority figures say is what’s expected instead. Then I’ll need to adapt to the new situation and come up with an appropriate response, which would be a “Yes, sir”, a “Fuck you”, or something in between.

            But first must come the honesty. Without that, even that simple of a relationship with those people is impossible.

  4. Gnor says:

    Here’s another perspective in a more digestible format:

  5. Gnor says:

    What they did is not isolation in the technical, scientific meaning of the word. Neither is it isolation in the common, popular use of the word. Isolation requires separating something from everything else around it.

    Read, in their own words, the process they call “isolation”:

    How does taking a nasal swab (snot) from a patient and dabbing it onto a cell culture, then doing a “molecular test” (testing for something they haven’t isolated yet, so they don’t know what it is they are testing for by the way) … how that constitutes *isolation*. Combining one thing with another thing is not isolation, it’s combination. It doesn’t prove anything except “something” is killing those cells. But those scientists who did this still don’t know *what* is killing their cell lines, let alone real humans…

    ..because they still haven’t isolated it. But for some reason they want people to think they have. Think about it. How many people out there will go beyond the popular story you linked to? How many of the people who see the story even read further than the headline? It only works until you start fact-checking their story. Then the illusion fades away.

    • The Darkener says:

      What’s the collective motive then? With a literal world of independent scientists who seek to disprove each other in the name of science and fact – what do they have to gain from creating the illusion of isolation? I.E., is there an evidence-based motive to all of this controversy that’s being created by the illusion of isolation? I’m all for a good conspiracy theory but I really don’t see what could be gained by what you’re suggesting. And if there’s nothing to gain, there is likely very little motive to create such an elaborate illusion in the first place.

      • Gnor says:

        This is a true story. When we were moving into our apartment we live in now, it was advertised as having “hard-wood floors”. We were moving in a hurry, and when we came to check the place out, on a superficial tour, everything checked out and we paid the deposit.

        A few weeks later when we moved in, we realized the floors were actually made of a plastic called “luxury vinyl”. When we inquired about this, they said, matter of factly, “oh, that what we call hard wood floors.”

        What do you think was their motivation? Further, from my understanding this is common practice in the biz. What do you think the “collective motivation” is there?

        • The Darkener says:

          I find your comparison intriguing.

          It’s hard to accept as parity w/COVID + ‘proven to exist’ though, since the context is so much different. So at the least, the managers/landlords fudging the term ‘hardwood floors’ to make things seem more attractive to potential occupants is true I’m sure. “The industry” tends to want to make money, and doing things like this ultimately makes them more money. They don’t care about their customers as much as they care about making money, so there’s the “us and them” perspective. Not to mention fear and competition with others.

          COVID-19 is a virus that is killing people without bias or motivation. It’s simply what it is ‘coded’ to do.

          The scientific world has no reason not to believe this is a virus as its characteristics match and THEIR motivation is to create a cure to save lives. The vast majority of scientists, I would have to believe, are true to their lifelong careers. Of course there are bad guys out there too, but I couldn’t imagine an entire world of scientists with a specific corrupt motive linked to people believing it is a virus when it’s not. You can’t compare it to profit because science really does operate outside of economies. At least I’d like to believe that.

          • Gnor says:

            I think that’s going to be the most difficult hurdle to jump then. The truth is, scientists are people just like you and me and everyone else. They are not angels, demons, heroes, or villains. They aren’t grown in the lab (at least not yet I think, haha!). They have the same motivations, desires, strengths and weaknesses as the general population because that’s where they come from.

            There are good ones and bad ones, just like in every profession. Some have integrity and some don’t. And, like everyone else with a job, a paycheck, credit card bills, mortgages, and families to feed, they will generally do what they are told to do, and what they can discern is expected of them. Also like the general population, almost none of them will be willing to jeopardize their career, reputation, and future to “rock the boat” and be a whistle-blower. Those kind of people are far and few between no matter if they are a janitor or a congressperson. Most people just do a job that they don’t really like, do what is expected of them, collect their paycheck, and try to enjoy what’s left of their lives on the weekend.

            But more than all of that, consider the hard evidence in front of you. You now know what isolation is. You know they didn’t do it. You also know they claim to have done it. We can speculate all day and night, but what you have to face right now is the fact that you’ve been tricked. Proof has never been given, it has been substituted with a false and empty claim of proof- a placebo if you will. What does *that* tell you about their motives? Hopefully more than my speculative musings.

            It’s probably obvious what I believe but I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I strongly believe everyone has the right and responsibility to “make up [their] own damn mind” (and would appreciate it if everyone reciprocated). I’m just trying to open up your mind to different possibilities you probably hadn’t considered.

  6. The Darkener says:

    1) There are good ones and bad ones


    2) Some have integrity and some don’t


    And, like everyone else with a job, a paycheck, credit card bills, mortgages, and families to feed, they will generally do what they are told to do

    I don’t agree with that. Scientists are competitive by the nature of their field – if a fellow scientist publishes a paper claiming something is true, others will actively attempt to prove them wrong. This vetting is inherent to science itself and someone would have to concoct be a pretty damn smart operation to orchestrate something that will put the blinders on an entire world of scientists.

    And honestly, in my life I feel like I’ve learned that nobody is truly that evil. Essentially, the world’s richest and most powerful people are also the most naive and ignorant. It’s just that their focus has always been about money and/or power (or in many cases, they’re born into it). They may have more resources to pull from but they’re no smarter than you or me. And I can’t imagine even the worst kind of industry leaders actively trying to be evil – they’re just trying to “win” in a game where we’re all supposed to be on the same side, IMO.

  7. Gnor says:

    I agree with almost all you said, and think there was a mis-understanding. I don’t think there are any powerful people literally telling a whole world of scientists what to do, or pulling the blinders over a whole world of scientists. I think what’s going on is much more subtle and nuanced than that.

    Here’s where I disagree: Scientists are not un-biased, and they don’t decide on their own to try to prove each other wrong for the sake of the truth.

    The world of noble scientists with no conflicts of interest, who decide on their own what to study or disprove for the sake of truth does not exist. They are given assignments. By their superiors. Who pay them. Who get funds from somewhere else. In medical science, usually from huge, very profitable pharmaceutical companies.

    But as LeVar Burton used to say on “Reading Rainbow”, “don’t take my word for it.” =)

    Here are two quotes from the editors-in-chief (or former editors-in-chief) of the two most prestigious and respected medical journals on the planet: The New England Journal of Medicine (USA) and The Lancet (UK). So they are in the best position of anybody to know about how science really happens in the real world because they held in their hands the editorial control of the publications the scientists all seek to have their studies be published in.

    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” (Dr. Marcia Angell, NY Review of Books, January 15, 2009, “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption”) (paywalled)

    “…much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness… The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data… Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication. National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.” (Dr. Richard Horton, The Lancet, April 11, 2015, “Offline: What is medicine’s 5 sigma?”)

    • The Darkener says:

      Ok, but you’re talking about a couple of people (albeit well positioned) dismissing a worldwide, distributed community of practicing scientists that started their careers with aspirations of helping mankind. From my perspective, it’s like Steve Ballmer trying to convince the world that Linux is a cancer. I’m sure you have other references but the fact is, there are millions of scientists that adhere to the standards and will fight for what is scientifically true and correct despite a paycheck. The majority, I would assume. It’s the entire premise of the scientific community.

      I think I still don’t understand your position on COVID-19 being a virus. I agree with your position that if they hadn’t isolated it (which they have, refer to my earlier link, unless you are dismissing it as well) it may not be “officially” proven to be a virus. But does your position go further than that? Do you believe COVID-19 is not actually what the world of scientists are calling it? Or do you simply want the proper procedure to take place, and you’ll be good?

      • Gnor says:

        About scientists: I’m saying they are not necessarily the “good guys” you’re making them out to be. I’m saying they are normal people subject to the same temptations, foibles, and flaws that we all are. And that like virtually all professions, there are very serious “systemic” problems in their industry they chose to work in. That’s what the two editors in chief of the most well-respected medical journals in the world were bemoaning: not “they’re all bad” but “there are serious systemic problems leading to overall deplorable results, and it seems no one is interested in fixing it.”

        About SARS-COV-2: I’m saying I believe in science too damn much to believe it exists without proof. Your earlier link claimed to have proof, but that’s different than actually having it. They didn’t isolate it, which is required in science to prove a virus exists.

        After proof of (1) its existence via isolation, isolated pure virus (without any other junk that could cloud the results) must then be proven (2) to be able to infect otherwise healthy human cells in a culture and replicate in them, (3) be able to make a healthy animal sick with the suspected linked systems, (3) then with a few hundred humans for a statistically valid sample size with controls, and finally (4) all of this needs to be replicated by different teams in different places with the same results

        This is what the scientific method is. I’m a true believer in it. It can’t explain everything, but it can explain most physical, natural phenomena such as a purported virus. Until this centuries-old, time-tested process is followed properly, I will not believe any claims about a “novel” coronavirus that is going to kill us all. Proof first, then belief. Otherwise it’s nothing more than propoganda or a state-mandated religious belief.

        • The Darkener says:

          I admire and agree with your stance re: scientific method.

          “I will not believe any claims about a “novel” coronavirus that is going to kill us all. Proof first, then belief. Otherwise it’s nothing more than propoganda or a state-mandated religious belief.”

          So what about all of the crowded hospitals and morgues…?

          • Gnor says:

            I am no expert, but I understand hospital occupancy rates are normally high this time of the year. It’s well known that colder weather correlates with higher levels of sickness- usually colds, flue, pneumonia, etc.

            I am not aware of any evidence that hospitalizations or deaths are significantly higher this year, comparing to previous years at the same time of the year. I have seen graphs that indicate the contrary- that hospital occupancy rates and death rates are roughly the same as previous years. But I still haven’t seen anything to convince me firmly either way. Maybe you have some hard numbers with a solid statistical analysis?

            On average, from what I can gather, between 7-8000 people die in the US every day of various causes. If that were to jump up to 9000, then it could be something new or something (or some things) that was already a cause of death causing more deaths than normal. Also, historical trends, such as the average age of the population come into play. As the boomers age and hit their normal life expectancy, I would expect the death rate to go up (in a “boom”) just as much as the birth rate went up (in a “boom”) in the post-war years when they were born.

            At any rate, even if Year-over-Year hospital occupancy rates were significantly higher or deaths were significantly higher (and I don’t *think* they are), it still wouldn’t prove the existence of SARS-COV-2. Only the scientific method can do that, as I outlined in previous comments.

          • The Darkener says:


            I know (knew) people who have been infected by this, and one has died.

            So do (did) you.

            I have heard firsthand what is happening in hospitals. I hope I don’t sound rude but if you don’t believe this virus is an actual real thing, you are sadly mistaking.

            Take into account the millions of stories being told around the world regarding infection, hospitalization, death… Take into consideration the scientists that have been working to create a specific vaccine. How can they work on a vaccine when the target virus “doesn’t exist”? Do you feel the same way about the original SARS? How can you dismiss everything that’s right in front of you? The element of common sense is all but absent in your argument.

          • Gnor says:

            Here’s an interesting chart that shows the death rate (how many people die every year in the US per 1000 in population) since 1950. It kept going down from about 9.6 to a nadir at 8.1 around 2008-2010. After 2010, for the last 10 years it seems to have started rising much more sharply than the previous decline. Obviously I don’t think numbers are final, but according to the chart, the death rate for 2020 is expected to be all the way back up to 8.8 deaths per 1000 population based on historical trends.


  8. Gnor says:

    I’m sorry this bothers you. But “millions of stories being told around the world” is not science, it’s faith. It’s never been proven to exist. If you want to believe in it, that’s fine. If millions of people want to believe in it, that’s fine. It doesn’t bother me one bit.

    You say I’m lacking “common sense”. Well, whether or not that is true, common sense is not what medicine and science are based on. They are based on proof. No proof = no science. No isolation = no virus.

    They can have a software program generate an RNA sequence of nucleotides if they want, then encapsulate it in a lipid layer and inject it into people if they want, but that doesn’t make it a vaccine, either. It’s innovative, but it’s not a vaccine. And I think you and everyone else knows this. A vaccine is dead or attenuated virus. But you see, they have no virus. That’s why they have to create something from scratch using algorithms. This is called a “clue”.

    In conclusion, it doesn’t bother me if you or anyone else disagrees with me. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. They can base their opinions on emotional attachments, faith, their facebook echo-chamber, government authorities, or whatever. I’ll base mine on science, and a stubborn, white-knuckled, absolute, and un-yielding requirement of proof via the scientific method.

    The very fact that they are either unable or unwilling (or both) to provide said scientific proof tells me more than all the words in all their “stories”. However, if this changes in the future, I am fully willing to change my opinion 180-degrees. I will not hold my breath.

    • The Darkener says:

      I’m glad it doesn’t bother you because I’m not trying to push your buttons.

      You’re dismissing the worldwide community of scientists’ work and in the same breath pledging allegiance to science. I admire your adherence to methodology but I think you’re missing some mundane detail about what has been accomplished in regards to SARS-COV-2.

      • Gnor says:

        I read both article’s descriptions of what they call “isolation” and it is far from isolation. They didn’t separate the supposed virus from the the other materiels in patient sample. Instead, they combined the patient sample with monkey kidney cells (aka Vero cells) and fetal bovine serum (harvested from the blood of a slaughter-house cow’s fetus), antibiotics, penicillin, and plenty of other stuff; thus contaminating the samples. To be fair, in the first article, the Heidelberg study does appear to have isolated a virus after the contamination, but by contaminating the samples first, they have cast doubt as to the source of that virus.

        I also read the protestation in the first article that they can’t isolate viruses directly from the patient sample because viruses “cannot grow on their own and can only replicate in the presence of host cells”, but this ignores both decades of the history of virus isolation and the fact that the sick patient has already incubated the virus in their body and therefore the sample will have plenty of the virus, assuming there is one to be found. There’s no need to artificially “replicate” the virus (again) before isolation if the patient was truly sick from the virus. That’s exactly what the virus was supposedly doing in the patient already without their help before they took the sample.

        Fact Check Determination: Mostly False.

        • The Darkener says:

          Ok. So you’re saying the CDC, multiple independent research groups and which is a member of the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Safety Net are wrong… and you, with zero science credentials are right about whether or not Sars-Cov-2 has been isolated? Really?

          • Gnor says:

            I’m saying I know enough science that I don’t have to accept what scientists say if they show me a porcupine and claim in an article that it’s actually a moose. And you do now, too. You don’t always have to be “smarter” than somebody or have credentials superior than theirs to know if something they are saying is wrong. You just have to know enough about the particular thing they are talking about.

            Although I’m not an expert mathematician, I know enough about math that a group of career mathematicians can’t write a paper that can convince me 1^42=42.

            And while I’m not an expert virologist, I know enough about virology to know that culturing a virus is not isolation. And that combining a sample with cellular materials from other animals irrevocably contaminates your sample and invalidates a claim to have isolated anything from the original specimen.

            I know enough about virology to know that for decades since the advent of electron microscopy, scientists have isolated viruses directly from sick patients’ samples and positively identified them via electron micrograph using the procedure I outlined earlier. This is for the obvious reason that in order to be made sick by a virus, a human or animal has to have a tremendous viral load already replicating and spreading throughout their body. If there isn’t, either they would not be sick in the first place, or the cause of the sickness is not that virus.

            If there is a virus causing disease, the scientist will find not just one or two of them in the patient specimen, there’s no need to create special conditions for reproduction, they will find a lot of it everywhere in the sample, and they will easily be able to isolate a whole bunch of it from the other materials.

            That’s how isolation works. If they did not follow that procedure, they haven’t isolated it. No matter how many of them claim combination is isolation, it just isn’t so.

            Combination will never be Isolation, War will never be Peace, Freedom will never be Slavery, and Ignorance will never be Strength. No matter how many lettered, credentialed people claim they are.

  9. Gnor says:

    There are four lights.

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