Thoughts on Joe Rogan
I must admit that I rarely pay attention to cancel culture because empty vessels are unworthy of my attention. As a professional guy, who is constantly working, researching, and preparing for my Youtube interviews, I can’t afford to indulge headless chickens. Currently, the world is fixated on the exodus of creators from Spotify to protest Joe Rogan’s apparent promotion of Covid Vaccine Misinformation, and although twitter is plastered with commentaries the truth is that most people are only polluting the internet with their unbearable inanity.
Now, some editors charge that my writing is theoretical, but don’t worry, this will be a non-technical piece explaining why even if you agree with Joe Rogan, you are still mistaken. Before exposing the deficiencies of Rodroids, we are going to reflect on the ineptitude of his critics. After Neil Young delisted from Spotify due to its failure to dump the Joe Rogan Experience, a flurry of creators decided to show solidarity by following in his footsteps. To see who could best demonstrate the blind conformity of cancel culture like mindless goats, Rogan’s critics went to Twitter to post stale messages accusing him of propagating lies.
None of these rants cite evidence of misinformation and for obvious reasons. It’s quite likely that Rogan’s critics are unaware of what they are opposing and are only doing so to appear enlightened. Some could argue that repeating Joe’s claim would make them equally culpable of disseminating misinformation, but at best this is a superficial position. On social media, Rogan’s critics are yet to present intellectually competent responses. Clearly, twitter isn’t the place for cerebral debates, but the allegation against Rogan is that he is undermining science by promoting COVID misinformation; therefore, if his critics are truly defenders of science then they must state the inaccuracies in Rogan’s statements.
Remember, Rogan did not introduce an implausible hypothesis, he expressed arguments skeptical of vaccines and the efficacy of lockdowns. People are particularly infuriated because in a commentary on vaccines on April 23 Rogan said: “I’ve said, yeah, I think for the most part it’s safe to get vaccinated. I do. I do. But if you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated, I’ll go no.” Rogan’s conclusion is based on risk assessments.
Compared with the 18-29 year age-group the rate of death is 340 times higher among those who are 85 and older. By reducing the viral load vaccines help to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 however, vaccinated people are still able to transmit and contract the disease. Neither do vaccines slow the spread of Covid-19, so Lancet is right to suggest that stigmatizing the unvaccinated is unjustified. Undoubtedly, young people can contract the disease, but they are less vulnerable compared to the elderly and the ailing.
The key message of Rogan is that young people should feel less pressured to take the vaccine. Taking the vaccine as a young person must be determined by specific circumstances – like one’s health status or proximity to the elderly or the ill. Unvaccinated young people are not villains in this scenario. The frenetic response to Rogan illustrates that most people don’t know how to properly assess risks.
According to the narrative of mainstream pundits by lowering the viral load, vaccines prevent hospitalizations thereby reducing the burden of Covid-19 on the healthcare system. We have known that underlying conditions complicate Covid-19 and research shows that most hospitalizations stem from four conditions: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Another characteristic of patients that increases the severity of Covid-19 is Vitamin D deficiency.
The risk factors associated with Covid-19 are well-documented and being young and healthy does not fit the bill. Covid-19 is problematic because of the risks it imposes on society. Overwhelming the hospital and the fear of fatalities are legitimate concerns, but such fears can be alleviated by ensuring that the right people are vaccinated. Most Covid cases don’t entail hospitalization, so promoting the indiscriminate use of vaccines will only succeed in wasting resources.
Moreover, Rogan is also being attacked for discussing the side effects of vaccines. I find this quite hilarious since medical advertisements often list side effects. People are so delusional in thinking that critiques of Covid vaccines imply that one is an anti-vaxxer. Of course, vaccines are linked to heart inflammation, and neurological conditions and as such the relevant populations ought to be aware of these risks. Normally, doctors inform patients of the downsides of medications and surgeries, and the similar principles apply to Covid-19.
In relation to lockdowns, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that they are inept at slowing the spread of Covid and are actually harmful to public health. The economic damage induced by lockdowns adversely affect mental health and wellbeing. Ari Joffe articulates this case in his paper titled, “COVID-19: Rethinking Local Group Think.” He explains: “The public health goal of lockdowns was to save the population from COVID-19 cases and deaths, and to prevent overwhelming health care systems with COVID-19 patients…Over time, important information emerged relevant to the modeling, including the lower infection fatality rate (median 0.23%), clarification of high risk groups and lower herd immunity thresholds…In addition, information emerged on significant collateral damage due to the response to the pandemic, adversely affecting many millions of people with poverty, food insecurity, loneliness, unemployment, school closures, and interrupted health care. Considering this information, a cost-benefit analysis of the response to COVID-19 finds that lockdowns are far more harmful to public health (at least 5-10 times so in terms of wellbeing years) than COVID-19 can be.”
And the latest meta-analysis to invite controversy is a report from John Hopkins saying that lockdowns in Europe and America yielded a 0.2 percent reduction in fatalities on average. Such a minuscule figure cannot be used to justify lockdowns since their cost is greater than the lives saved.
Finally, we can discuss why even though Rogan’s fans are not as pretentious as critics, they are equally intolerable. That Covid vaccines have side effects has a long pedigree, however rehashing this point does not constitute an argument against the vaccines. Risks are inherent in all medical treatments, so the debate is really about the degree to which treatments cause impairments and the probability of contracting these ailments. Although studies show a link between vaccines and heart inflammation, they also contend that the risk is low, and most people fail to suffer from inflammation. In December 2021, Reuters ran the following headline “Moderna COVID-19 Shot likelier to cause heart inflammation than Pfizer’s: study.” The article explored the findings of a Danish study and the reporting is quite balanced: “Vaccination with mRNA-1273 (Moderna’s vaccine) was associated with a significantly increased risk of myocarditis or myopericarditis in the Danish population…However, the overall risk of getting heart inflammation from the vaccines, both of which are based on mRNA-technology, was low, according to the study, conducted by researchers from Denmark’s Staten Serum Institute.”
In fact, the author Anders Hvid notes that “the alternative infection with COVID-19 probably also involves a risk of inflammation in the heart muscle.” The best data available suggests that Covid-19 elevates the risk of myocarditis and case counts are higher in unvaccinated populations. These findings fit neatly with the data on Covid-19. If vaccines tame the severity of Covid-19, then logically they should reduce the intensity of complications associated with the disease. For one to discredit the Covid vaccines, we would have to establish that the risks associated with these vaccines are greater than the risks typically linked to vaccines or medical treatments more broadly.
To Joe Rogan’s credit he did invite Josh Szeps to clear up confusion but judging from social media posts it’s unlikely that this gesture altered the thinking of his fanbase. Additionally, Rogan’s fans and critics are alike, but the bigger picture is that it’s unwise for people to measure comedians using academic standards when their platforms are not presented as such. Joe Rogan is a charismatic personality selling an alluring experience and as a result, his show is called the “Joe Rogan Experience.”
The genius of Rogan is that people think that he is a counter-cultural figure hence the reason for his popularity. At no point did Rogan portray himself as a pundit running an academic program or as a serious journalist. Commentators holding him to such unrealistic standards are just unserious. Rogan’s show is more reflective of hype, rather than intellectual substance.
Furthermore, creators who remove content from Spotify to signal disapproval are quite inane or maybe there is a possibility that they are doing so to attract attention. Rogan is a superstar and Spotify is a multi-dimensional streaming service so unlike news outlets Spotify isn’t obliged to comply with journalistic standards. Even if Rogan is willfully misinforming his audience this is immaterial to Spotify, since the platform is in the business of entertainment. Lastly, people must appreciate the art of thinking and desist from consuming information without context and failure to do so cannot be the problem of Spotify.
The shallow debates ignited by this fake controversy indicate that intellectual standards are truly receding.
Some figures have the gall to be smearing Joe Rogan, when mainstream outlets persistently promote the falsehood of male periods.
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