The presentation of both argument and counter argument (and sometimes counter counter argument) can be very helpful to the lay person because if there is weakness in the original argument that the lay person is unable to appreciate the counter argument may point it out in a way that is understandable while obvious weak counter argument can aid confidence in the original argument.
With the alleged COVID-19 pandemic the configuration of items for the argument claiming scientific fraud vs those for the argument against claims of fraud strongly favours the credibility of the argument claiming fraud over the counter argument:
1. Argument showing scientific fraud - Jun 27, 2020
2. Alleged debunking - Jul 7, 2020
3. Rebuttal of debunking - Jul 31, 2020
4. Absence of response to rebuttal
A very detailed and thorough case is presented by two independent journalists, Torsten Engelbrecht and Konstantin Demeter, in their article, COVID19 PCR Tests are Scientifically Meaningless, published in OffGuardian in June 2020, showing that PCR tests are scientifically meaningless and although it's not stated bluntly, we can infer from their article that there is no scientific evidence supporting the existence of the alleged virus, SARS-CoV-2, or the alleged illness it causes, COVID-19. This article supports other evidence of a non-scientific nature that also suggests that there is no special virus and all death and illness ascribed to COVID-19 is from other causes, that is, the usual.
Summary of article but recommend reading it
--- No distinctive specific symptoms for COVID-19
--- Admitted lack of gold standard test for COVID-19
--- PCR test used inappropriate for viral testing (its purpose was manufacturing not testing). Clear example: Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t.
--- No clear evidence of origin of RNA used in test
--- Authors of scientific papers claiming isolation of virus admit that purification of virus not actually done and seasoned virologist admits lack of awareness of any paper showing purification of virus
--- No evidence of what is said to be the virus, SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19
--- Test results are irrational (many individuals producing different results on multiple tests) which would only be expected when the testing method used is against scientific testing protocol
--- The test contains "q" in its name, RT-qPCR, which should stand for quantitative, however, it is admitted the test is qualitative meaning it cannot test viral load which means they cannot test how many viral particles are carried in the body. For people to be considered infected a viral load needs to be determined.
--- High Cycle Quantification (Cq) values undermine validity of test and some PCR tests have high Cq values (Drosten test has 45). The inventor of the test, Kary Mullis, has this to say: "If you have to go more than 40 cycles to amplify a single-copy gene, there is something seriously wrong with your PCR."
--- Before starting with PCR, in the case of presumed RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the RNA must be converted to complementary DNA (cDNA) with the enzyme Reverse Transcriptase—hence the “RT” at the beginning of “PCR” or “qPCR,” but this transformation process is “widely recognized as inefficient and variable,”
Daniel Funke is a staff writer covering online misinformation for PolitiFact, a fact-checking site, published by the Poynter Institute. His article, COVID19 PCR Tests are not 'scientifically' Meaningless, attempts to debunk the OffGuardian article with such abysmal argument that it's hard to credit.
Torsten Engelbrecht and Konstantin Demeter have written an open rebuttal of Politifact's alleged fact check ... and most unsurprisingly have not received a reply.
Open Letter: Refuting Politifact’s “fact check”
I was unaware of this rebuttal and posted my own rebuttal below. If you want a layman's dumb version you can read it but I recommend the reading the authors' instead.
Very basic rebuttal
Let's through its four points one by one.
1. Politifact assertion: OffG article makes inaccurate claim: '"Kary Mullis, "regarded the PCR as inappropriate to detect a viral infection."'
Politifact response: 'In a fact-check, Reuters rated that claim false — the source is a 1996 article about HIV/AIDS. It does not say PCR tests are ineffective for detecting viruses.'
From Reuters direct: 'Social media users have been sharing a quote attributed to the inventor of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, currently being used to detect COVID-19, which says “PCR tests cannot detect free infectious viruses at all”. This quote has been falsely attributed to the inventor, Kary Mullis, and has been taken out of context to falsify its original meaning.'
Failure of debunk: The debunk is not related to the claim made in the article.
The OffG article doesn't claim Mullis made this statement or any particular statement. When it says "he regarded the PCR as inappropriate to detect a viral infection" we can infer this comes from a quote in the article they link to made by David Crowe, who says:
“I’m sad that he isn’t here to defend his manufacturing technique,” he said. “Kary did not invent a test. He invented a very powerful manufacturing technique that is being abused. What are the best applications for PCR? Not medical diagnostics. He knew that and he always said that.”
One might argue, although the alleged debunking doesn't, that we only have David Crowe's word for it but it is true that PCR wasn't developed as a diagnostic tool and it has obvious limitations in that function thus there is no particular reason to doubt Crowe's claim about Mullis's thinking on PCR used as a diagnostic test. We might also argue that the article authors have slightly misrepresented Crowe's words but hardly worth a debunk and the debunking doesn't argue that point in any case, its argument is a strawman.
2. Politifact assertion: OffG article makes inaccurate claim: 'There are no distinctive specific symptoms for COVID-19.'
Politifact response: 'The CDC says otherwise.'
Failure of debunk: The CDC doesn't say otherwise at all.
In fact, quite the opposite. Nothing could scream "no distinctive specific symptoms" more than the CDC's webpage and it is very unsurprising that Funke simply puts a link without analysing how the CDC "says otherwise". There is a large array of symptoms that apply to many illnesses and diseases and the CDC makes no specifications about symptoms always suffered and rarer symptoms. Elsewhere, of course, we are told that sufferers can be asymptomatic.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
3. Politifact assertion: OffG article makes inaccurate claim: 'The existence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA is based on faith, not fact.'
Politifact response: 'Several researchers have analyzed the genetic material of the coronavirus — including its RNA.'
Failure of debunk: The authors point out that there is no paper showing the virus has been isolated which is a prerequisite for analysing genetic material and thus the claim that "Several researchers have analyzed the genetic material" simply does not stand up.
4. Politifact assertion: OffG article makes inaccurate claim: 'Between 22% and 77% "of the ‘positive’ tests are false ‘positives.’
Politifact response: 'Currently, about 92% of tests in the United States produce negative results.'
Failure of debunk: The authors are talking about the percentage of positive tests that produce false positives while the debunk simply states the percentage of tests in the US that produce negative results. The statements are completely unrelated.