The problem with the line of argument that mask mandates don't work because people don't comply is twofold:

First, there are many places with nearly perfect compliance where they also didn't work (Japan, China, blue state school districts above the elementary level, etc.)

Second, mask advocates will read NOTHING from this conclusion other than "we need to force people to comply harder." (And you get scenes like teachers taping masks to kids' faces, which really happened.)

I think masks just don't work at a community level even under nearly perfect compliance, and it is important to emphasize that.

Great inaugural piece though and I look forward to reading more!

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One more point. Some people in PH still can't let go of masking. So instead of just dropping this, they're demanding more study on an 'individual' level, since the population data is so damning that they don't work.

This is beyond stupid. There is a whole field for studying individual protection. It's called Industrial Hygiene, and no one in the field would recommend ANY of the masks in use for COVID for actually protecting against viruses. This question has been definitively answered. Industrial hygiene assumes that people have been trained to use some version of PPE, and are using it correctly.

The question was really "if we use these things which we KNOW would never pass muster on an individual level, on a population level, might they mitigate viral spread?" The answers clearly (as you wrote) "NO". People will continue to demand masking studies that are pro-mask, because as I have written, it is a deep psycho-social hack into their brains. They HAVE to ask.

They are in The Matrix. And no -- they don't know it. The behavior is emergent.


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Yes. It's frustrating to live in a world where people don't think and act exactly the way you want them to, but the alternative is frightening and typically has horrifying ends. We're supposed to understand this in 2023, but I guess fear can turn even a pacifist into an authoritarian.

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What's most alarming about the Mask hypothesis, is that studies objectively show bias of outcome and no one seems to care. Traditionally this was an easy way to spot pseudoscience. Whether you believe masks work or not, you can't dispute that when you graph results of outcome against study quality, you see a clear inverse correlation between quality and efficacy. The worse the study, the more effective masks are shown to be.

We agree on the hierarchy of evidence. RCT > Observational > Surveys > Models > Opinions. Everyone on both sides of Mask Hypothesis does not dispute this.

Make X axis the study quality, Y axis the efficacy, and you see a clear relationship that mask efficacy is a function of study quality.

That's why "2 hairstylists in Missouri" and the "Kansas Mask Study" find them 100% effective, as do the models, opinion pieces, and Epi Ellie Boston School Mask study, but nothing can be found in RCT.

If the science was disinterested in outcome, as it should be, then there would be no correlation between study quality and outcome. The bad studies if done in good faith would have an array of outcome findings. Some positive, some negative, some neutral. Instead, we are "file drawing" the studies that don't conform to our expectations, p-hack and data drudging where we can, and then craft elaborate explanations on why every single pre-registered RCT isn't finding anything. Crazy.

This is replication crisis 101 stuff here. It's obvious to anyone with a basic familiarity with Meta Science, which makes it so depressing to see today, in the age of EBM, we are still falling for pseudoscience as Carl Sagan warned.

"I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time – when the United States is service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hand of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscope’s, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness."

The Demon-Haunted World

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Glad to throw a few shekels your way, David.

We're not through this yet. Here's the latest 'Chuck Attack' Op-ed written by a local group I call the Cowardly Codgers. https://dnews.com/opinion/anti-mask-and-anti-vaccine-columns-affirm-insanity/article_1585be4f-3ad2-5ccf-8473-e3938cdb731b.html

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yup. I owe David shekels for sure. Happy we can now subscribe via pay route.

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