An Open Letter to Plan B

March 17, 2021

Categories: Skepticism , Tags: COVID, Vaccines

A new group called FACT (Fight Against Conspiracy Theories) has published an open letter (opens new window) to Plan B about their connection with Voices for Freedom (opens new window). The letter calls on Plan B (opens new window) to distance themselves from Voices for Freedom (opens new window) and the groups anti-science stance on COVID related issues:

The letter is signed by scientists such as Siouxsie Wiles, Des Gorman and Alison Campbell, as well as activists like myself and a few organisations including the NZ Skeptics and the Humanists.

Plan B have always framed themselves as a group of evidence based academics who disagree with the idea that lockdowns are an acceptable solution to the COVID pandemic. However their flirting with Voices for Freedom includes promotion of Voices for Freedom content and Plan B’s Dr Thornley giving the keynote talk at a Voices for Freedom event, and this sows doubt on the idea that Plan B are evidence driven. Rather, it suggests that their beliefs are more of an ideology than a rational conclusion, and that anyone who agrees with them is a worthy ally, no matter how dangerous their ideas may be.

For example, Voices for Freedom’s recent misinformation spreading, on their website, includes suggesting that COVID vaccines are unsafe, vitamins can help lessen COVID symptoms, wearing a mask is ineffective, Invermectin is a "miracle drug" for treating COVID and PCR testing is ineffective. Of course none of this is evidence based, and much of it is likely to be dangerous.

They also accuse scientists of "flip flopping" when they change their minds. This one really gets me. As science is a continual process of gathering evidence and making tentative conclusions, scientists changing their minds as new evidence comes in is expected, and perfectly reasonable. Trying to frame people who are willing to change their opinion based on new evidence as flip floppers is pretty galling, and shows either a lack of understanding of science or a deliberate attempt to malign it.