I’m afraid to even mention “Plandemic”

Yikes. My social media are squirming with the maggoty indignation of cranks lit up by this pseudo-documentary, Plandemic, which is actually nothing but an overlong trailer that was live on YouTube and Facebook briefly, before it got shot down and banned for spreading misinformation. I’m not going to encourage anyone to watch it — I haven’t bothered myself — but will instead tell you all to read Orac’s thorough takedown, “Judy Mikovits in Plandemic: An antivax conspiracy theorist becomes a COVID-19 grifter”. I’d heard enough about the lies in Plandemic before this, but Orac puts them all in one place.

Unfortunately, I also read the comments.

Double-yikes. The anti-vax, science-denialist crowd is out in full force in that comment thread. The conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites (???) are howling. It’s kind of informative to see the bad arguments they’re making, but I’m sure glad we don’t have any of those people here.


  1. leerudolph says

    The anti-vax, science-denialist crowd is out in full force

    It’s happening to Retraction Watch too:

    Over the past few days, we’ve noticed a spike in traffic — sometimes so large that it crashes our site — to older posts about Judy Mikovits. It appears that Mikovits is once again in the news. […]

    The older posts go back to 2011, and are about retractions of various bogus papers she wrote about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

    I expect the a-v/s-d crowd will be showing up here any minute now. Good luck, PZ!

  2. markme says

    I’ve been following the analysis that’s been coming out in the last few weeks. This virus was most likely created in a lab. It has a curious cleavage sequence mysteriously inserted which is not consistent with natural mutations and the virus has only a distant relationship with others that have this sequence. The sequence enhances the ability of the virus to enter the cell and increase its infectivity. And ironically the Wuhan lab at the epicenter published papers about doing these kinds of genetic modifications!
    Whether it was intentionally released or not is a whole different question though, we don’t have enough info yet to say.

  3. raven says

    Every single sentence markme wrote is a lie.
    The reality deniers are here.

  4. raven says

    Wikipedia Judy Mikovits

    Judy Anne Mikovits (c. 1958) is a discredited American ex-research scientist[11][12][13][2][3] who is known for her anti-vaccination activism,[14][13] promotion of conspiracy theories, and scientific misconduct.[6][7][8][9][10] She has made false claims about vaccines, coronavirus, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).[11][12][15]

    The name was vaguely familiar until I read about her wildly wrong chronic fatigue syndrome claims.

    She is a polykook with a long history of crackpot claims and scientific work that is haphazard, sloppy, and plain wrong.
    Not a credible source for anything.

  5. says

    One (portion of a) comment that does deserve to be preserved:

    …Have you listened to the conspiracy theories that are floating around about coronavirus? They contradict each other, so they can’t all be true. But people seem to have no problem believing ones that contradict each other at the same time. I mean, the virus can’t both be fake or hyped to give cover for the government to steal your liberties and at the same time be a bioweapon released by a Chinese lab by Bill Gates or whatever to depopulate the world, right? Those can’t both be true. Why would you create a bioweapon that doesn’t work? But people seem to be able to believe both these things at once without theirs heads exploding. I don’t get it. How do you decide which brand of nonsense you’re going to believe?

    It’s like some people are so desperate not to get fooled that they guarantee they’ll get fooled by believing every wrong thing at once, not because it’s true, but only because it contradicts “The Official Version”. Thinking like that doesn’t make you “awake”, it makes you a gullible rube.

  6. markme says

    @raven. Really? Can you explain why everything is a lie? Can you explain how the PRRA sequence arose as pointed out by Yuri Diegin? He started out not believing the lab origins hypothesis but after digging deeper he now allows for the possibility.


    Chris Martenson has taken it further over the last week to show how it is highly unlikely that this virus could have arisen naturally. His videos are on YouTube under the Peak Prosperity channel.

    I’d like to encourage a more meaningful discussion here this time rather than the typical anti-conspiracist ad hominem mud slinging. More science please. This is allegedly a science blog right?

  7. says

    Right at the top of that medium page:

    Anyone can publish on Medium per our Policies, but we don’t fact-check every story.

    Yuri Deigen (who?) babbles at length about technical details of the virus sequence, but he’s just trying to bury you in jargon and irrelevant facts. The only point you have to read is this one:

    To be clear, many coronaviruses have naturally occurring furin sites, and they are very diverse. Obviously, they can appear as a result of random mutations.

    The rest is noise, and the signal to noise ratio in that past is exceptionally low. He’s got no evidence at all that the virus was designed except, golly gee, there sure are a lot of nucleotides in that there sequence, and some of them show up in related viruses, and he goes on and on about bits and pieces and comparisons, all with no definitive conclusions, all gimmicked up to make him sound authoritative.

    Longwindedness is not evidence.

    Conspiracism is not a virtue.

    Now fuck off.

  8. raven says

    @raven. Really? Can you explain why everything is a lie?

    You guys are so predictable. I knew you would say this.
    I knew you would cite a crackpot source like Breitbart, Alex Jones, or random kook from a random place.

    Yes it is trivially easily to show that you lied in every sentence.
    It’s already been done by many qualified people.
    Cited by PZ Myers in the OP.
    I’m not going to waste time on an obvious kook, repeating what multiple people have already said.

  9. says

    Here you go.
    The ones just under 30,000 bp are the genomes.

    People willing to push the story that the virus was created you should be able to directly show the evidence for themselves.

    The stuff in brackets is stuff you should have already shown or explained, but you didn’t and no one has to be nice about baseless accusations.
    “I’ve been following the [analysis that’s been coming out in the last few weeks]. This virus was [most likely created in a lab]. It has a [curious cleavage sequence mysteriously inserted] which is [not consistent with natural mutations] and the [virus has only a distant relationship with others that have this sequence]. The [sequence enhances the ability of the virus to enter the cell] and [increase its infectivity]. And ironically the [Wuhan lab at the epicenter published papers about doing these kinds of genetic modifications!]
    Whether it was intentionally released or not is a whole different question though, we don’t have enough info yet to say.”

    How do you consider yourself a decent human being when you feel comfortable saying such things without any effort to show it?

  10. raven says

    Two of the original authors of this paper subsequently reanalyzed the samples used in the research and found that the samples were contaminated with XMRV plasmid DNA, leading them to publish a partial retraction of their original results.[22][10][31] In December 2011, after a request by first author Robert Silverman, the editors of Science retracted the paper in its entirety.[9][16]

    Lo and Alter, in their 2010 paper titled “Detection of MLV-related virus gene sequences in blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and healthy blood donors”, stated “Although we find evidence of a broader group of MLV-related viruses, rather than just XMRV, in patients with CFS and healthy blood donors, our results clearly support the central argument by Lombardi et al. that MLV-related viruses are associated with CFS and are present in some blood donors.” This paper was also later retracted by the authors.[32]

    This is what Judy Mikovits is most famous for.
    A decade ago, she made claims that chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by a retrovirus, XMRV, Xenotropic Murine leukemia virus-Related Virus .
    It turned out to be a lab artifact due to sloppy and haphazard research work.

  11. says

    Marshall Allen at ProPublica – “I’m an Investigative Journalist. These Are the Questions I Asked About the Viral ‘Plandemic’ Video.”:

    …Ultimately, we’re all going to need to be more savvy consumers when it comes to information, no matter how slickly it’s presented. This may be but a signal of what’s to come in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, when memes and ads of unknown origin come across our social media feeds. There are standards for judging the credibility of the media we take in every day, so let’s apply them.

    (I wish Allen had asked Willis for the names of the – alleged – doctors in the video to follow up with them.)

  12. markme says

    PZMyers, you didn’t answer my question. Where did the PRRA sequence come from? You have not refuted my claim. If you watch Chris Martenson’s videos, you’ll see it explained in detail how this sequence enhances the virus’ ability to enter the cell after cleavage at the receptor. And this is exactly the kinds of modifications the virologists have been doing to these viruses over the last 10 years! They have papers published all about it. Furthermore, there were concerns raised over the last couple years about the effectiveness of the Wuhan lab’s biosecurity protocols!!

    He then goes on to explain the family tree of this virus and how it is basically impossible for this to have happened naturally.

    However, I don’t expect you to watch the videos because you are more comfortable sitting behind your ad hominem attacks.

    Are you going to ban me now for challenging your scientific superiority? Is my thought too “free” for you?

    Lol, it’s like the old adage, “every person is created equally. But some are more equal than others.”

    This site is purportedly about free thought. “But only free thought that conforms with and doesn’t challenge the blogger’s world view” lol.

  13. markme says

    “How do you consider yourself a decent human being when you feel comfortable saying such things without any effort to show it?”

    Pretty simple, I provided references showing the line of reasoning and analysis to back it up.
    I’m not a viral geneticist but I don’t need to be. I know my way around genetics and it’s a free world, allegedly. There is no law excluding non PhD geneticists from the discussion. It should be about the science, not the person.

  14. says

    You mean the link dropping you engaged in?

    You haven’t shown shit. You haven’t supported your claim. No one has to do shit until your lazy ass can show the reasoning and evidence yourself.

    “Here internet scientist, I saw someone say some stuff is true and I want you to disprove it even though I can’t actually engage with the material myself.”

    I do this with people paranoid about trans people too. If you claim there are facts and you can’t work with the facts I’m fine assuming your fear is irrational.
    Yeah, governments could do shit like that, but it’s on you to show they did you incompetent random collection of black lines on a white background.

  15. says

    He then goes on to explain the family tree of this virus and how it is basically impossible for this to have happened naturally.

    The insertion of a 12-nucleotide sequence is “impossible”? Bullshit. Right there I can tell that you and Martenson (a “personal finance advisor”) are full of shit.

  16. robro says

    These “origin of the virus” conspiracy stories are a distraction, of course. It’s still killing people and the Trump admin isn’t doing its job to mitigate this crisis and help save American lives, much less the lives of people in other stricken areas of the world.

    Clearly the 14% unemployment rate is scaring the bejesus out of them because November 3rd is right around the corner. Meanwhile, there’s a definite uptick in cases and deaths as the various government agencies are pushing to “reopen” the US economy in a desperate ploy to save Trump’s ass and the Republican juggernaut.

    It’s not looking too good for them. A couple of weeks ago, the IHME was projecting about 74,000 deaths by August 4th. We blew right pass that one a few days ago, and now the projection is 134,000 deaths by August 4th.

    Incidentally, the latest hot spot seems to be the White House staff: 11 Secret Service employees, one of Trump’s personal valets, Ivanka’s personal assistant, and Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller (Stephen Miller’s wife), have tested positive in the last few days.

  17. nifty says

    I actually am a viral geneticist, looking at evolution and prediction of protein structure in bacteriophages. As PZ says, once a person says a 12 bp insertion is impossible you know they are full of crap. Most viral genomes are amazingly mosaic, and often contain new assortments of large blocs of coding information from unrelated viruses. It is so common in the groups of DNA viruses I work with that is not worthy of mention but just an assumed normal part of their evolution. Often, entire new blocs of DNA for coding for multiple new functions end up being added to their genomes.

  18. horrabin says

    That cartoon by Ben “Trump-Has-An-Amazingly-Fit-Physique” Garrison is hilarious. Evidently the Greatest President Ever is just a helpless bystander while the deep state imposed the shut-down and the social distancing guidelines. I’m assuming in step 5 that martial law will be imposed by…Bill Gates? George Soros? If only Trump was like, president or something, maybe he could do something about it.

  19. says

    I ran into a similar problem with a facebook friend. The existence of the changed sequence without any context is treated as sinister. Meanwhile anyone familiar with viruses and evolution know they’re sloppy as hell and mutations of all sorts are common.

  20. says

    Matthew Gertz:

    YIKES! OAN ran a segment last night on “mounting evidence of a globalist conspiracy” by the Clintons, Soros, Gates, Fauci, & Chinese gov’t to use coronavirus “to establish sweeping population control” by backing remdesvir over hydroxychlorquine. It cites Plandemic’s Mikovits!

    The OAN segment concludes, “There is concern that the deep-state Democratic cabal and the Big Pharma are working to derail President Trump’s reelection, and force the American people into total submission and control.”

    Trump has repeatedly endorsed this network.

    Hand to God, this is a real screenshot from OAN….

    This is the nuttiest shit I’ve ever seen, and I watched Glenn Beck in his prime.

    “@OANN is Great News, not Fake News. Everybody should be carrying them!” — President Donald Trump

    (Video and screenshot at the link. This guy’s voice sounds like a robocall.)

  21. grahamjones says

    “I have found a probable source of the putative insert that adds the RRAR furin site to SARS-CoV-2.Ten of the 12 nucleotides in the RRAR insert are identical to a sequence in the spike protein gene of Bat Coronavirus HKU9 isolated from a Rousettus fruit bat in Guangdong province in 2011.” Bill Gallaher,

    The pangolin data is dubious:

    Contrary to Yuri Deigin’s argument “… the bat and pangolin strains must have met in the same cell of some animal in Wuhan, since the outbreak occurred there (otherwise we would have seen other outbreaks along the path that animal would have taken to get to Wuhan).”, it turns out that there is an animal which can travel long distances very quickly.

  22. nifty says

    Thanks for the Bill Gallaher link- that is an excellent supporting argument presented very well.

  23. hemidactylus says

    Given the reflexive tendency here to bash Gates (which is understandable) I found this from Orac’s article PZ cites irresistible: “ (OK, you likely know that it’s Bill Gates, whose advocacy for public health and vaccines have made him one of the most reviled people in existence to the tinfoil hat conspiracy crowd, particularly the antivaccine contingent. Basically, to them, he’s a sweater-wearing Darth Vader, Lord Sauron, and Voldemort all rolled up into one, except that he’s working behind the scenes like Frank Underwood in the first couple of seasons of House of Cards before he became President to enslave us all with vaccines and pharmaceuticals.)”

    Now given other comments in this thread if the conspiracy nutters are dragging Soros into this one too they are pretty much mailing it in at this point.

  24. raven says

    YIKES! OAN ran a segment last night on “mounting evidence of a globalist conspiracy” by the Clintons, Soros, Gates, Fauci, & Chinese gov’t to use coronavirus “to establish sweeping population control” by backing remdesvir over hydroxychlorquine. It cites Plandemic’s Mikovits!

    Cthulhu, these lunatics are dumb.
    They said the same thing in 2009 about the Swine flu pandemic and vaccine.

    Alex Jones Inforwars 2009

    The eugenicists are back with their latest program to kill an untold number of people under the cover of the “swine flu pandemic.” If you line up for a vaccination contaminated with mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde and other toxins — and a possible agent for future cancers designed to decimate world population — you need to have your head examined.

    However, as Ron Paul indicates, you may not have a choice — the government may force you to choose between a toxic vaccine and a FEMA camp.

    None of this ended up being true.
    The Swine flu vaccine was a triumph of modern biomedicine and helped save thousands of lives.

    The lunatic fringe was wrong then and they are wrong now.

  25. unclefrogy says

    the loonytick fringe want so bad for magic to exist that they are forced to believe in Hollywood style science fiction to a vain hope to make the world understandable and themselves important in it.
    they must have some conscious element involved human, alien or eternal god or demon be the cause and not just the normal processes of nature going about the normal activities that have been doing for 13. some odd billions of years
    uncle frogy

  26. robro says

    Two more White House faces are going into self-quarantine because they had contact with someone who has tested positive: Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, and Stephen Hahn, FDA Commissioner. No word who the person was, of course. Trump is sure the virus will not spread in the White House…my god, given the result of his assurances about the virus back in February/March, I would run for the hills if I worked there.

  27. robro says

    Now there is a report that Dr. Fauci is entering “modified quarantine” for “low-risk” COVID-19 contact.

  28. chrislawson says

    COVID-19 must have been made in a lab because there were zero epidemics before genetic engineering. Right?

  29. chrislawson says


    Thanks for those links. Great stuff. If only the markme’s of the world would actually read them…

  30. blf says

    COVID-19 must have been made in a lab because there were zero epidemics before genetic engineering. Right?

    But but but… yer forgetting, in yer blind worship of Big Pharma’s money, that there is no such thing as either Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2, it’s all a fake, ‘cuz, ah, well, er… I know, I know, there are magical towers being put to um, ah, irradiate us will with SARS-CoV-2-rays so we become ill with Covid-19 allowing the reptilians to more easily isolate teh true resistance forces of the biblel and… and… and… (wipes spittle from the screen, keyboard, and basement walls) amd so clearly it’s all plot by Bill Gates and teh Illuminati!!!!1!

    (The mildly deranged penguin points out there is INSufFIceNt rANDoM CAPSItAls ,, teh spel is two goder and the; puntUATi0n tol.erab!e¡ .{,

  31. wzrd1 says

    What amazes me is that the idiots didn’t also bring in chemtrails and evil space aliens while they’re at it.
    Still, everyone in the universe is part of some souper seekrit Democratic cabal and lying about the genetics of the virus and no geneticist or virologist with a good reputation manages to notice the alleged oddities that are not present in the genome, which is available for free online.

    Just learned that our youngest daughter has COVID-19. She’s been working in housekeeping at a hospital, covering the COVID floor.
    Her employer told her to file for unemployment and that her benefits would end. I sent her the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Workman’s Compensation page data and suggested that her employer find a good attorney.

  32. says

    wzrd1, best wishes to your daughter.

    The crowd has broken into chants of ‘arrest Bill Gates’ at the anti-lockdown protest at Parliament House in Melbourne…. The crowd has grown considerably since midday.”

    Video at the link. Quite a few seniors. Several people have the same sign reading:

    & RIGHTS”

    and I’m having a hard time understanding why they didn’t print them horizontally. They’re also in front of a banner that says “Thank you to all of Victoria’s frontline workers,” so it’s an even worse look.

  33. unclefrogy says

    that is as wide as the wide format printer they were using could go and they are not creative enough to figure out any better not being used to thinking and all.
    since they are asking for the freedom to die for “the market”
    one of the things they do get right is the rich through the government do not want to give them any money so they can continue with waiting out the pandemic living indoors and eating regular so they demand the right to go back to work. the choice they see is work with a chance to get sick and die or do not work and starve and be left homeless and then get sick and die. It is clear to them and many others that the rich do not care what happens to ordinary people as long as the economy keeps growing.
    I am wondering if they will ever realize it does not have to be that way and change their mind on what the problem is.
    uncle frogy

  34. leerudolph says

    @37: They’re looking for a FREE DOM? Let them pay like the (well-closeted) SUBs they are!

  35. Jazzlet says

    wzrd1 I hope your daughter has a mild case, and that she gets her employer to take responsibility for giving her sick pay. It amazes me what you have to put up with in the USA, our UK politicians are doing a shit job – the latest slogan is “Be Alert” which has led to a lot of people asking how they can be alert for something they can’t even see – but they have not yet completely destroyed our employment rights, including to sick pay.

  36. wzrd1 says

    @Jazzlet, was just talking to her. Her supervisor at the hospital told her that her manager (she’s a contractor) is wrong. Violating the law would be more accurate.
    Fortunately, the hospital is reading the company the riot act over it and it’ll be settled without my bothering a few neighbors who work at the Bureau of Workmans’ Compensation. There are advantage in living just across the river from the state capital!
    I learned a long time ago, never let incompetent law violating managers get anywhere close to getting away with violating the law. Largely, as if I did, I’d become an accomplice after the fact and I’m not going to prison for them.
    She’s not coughing much now, but her toes have gone purple. That suggests capillary bed injury, similar to what occurs with chilblains. Respiratory effort was less than yesterday. She is fatigued and still has a fever.
    She moved in with our eldest, who is an RN.

    Be alert, reminds me of an old tee shirt from my teen years. “Be alert, the world needs more lerts”.
    Be alert would send folks in the UK scurrying away from me while I’m panting in the store. Recovered from the virus, but the hyperthyroidism is still uncontrolled, leaving me tachycardic, hypertensive and experiencing muscle and fat wasting.
    Fortunately, my medicaid cards are on the way! I’ll also have to alarm our new physician by requesting an ultrasound of my abdominal aorta, as it’s already dilated to near aneurysm size before this mess started.
    Sigh, all is suffering in life.

  37. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    What I love is how often these right-wing-imagined coup d’etat schemes are so obviously not even a good idea for the people to take on. Right now they’re floating a shotgun conspiracy involving Flynn and Manafort and a bunch of folks, and it is funny that this is the kind of “coup d’etat” that a) doesn’t pick something that Trump unequivocally was doing (violating the emoluments clause), b) waits for investigations and such to get done, and c) can only even in theory lead to a Pence presidency even if the other side plays along with your coup attempt. (Just like the claim that Obamacare is just reparations. The kind of reparations that benefits whites and that you have to be sick to get). The same applies here. So you either fake or take advantage of a pandemic to… win an election at the same time that you were going to run anyways? With the disadvantage that your opponents can take advantage of the pandemic to limit the voting of your party?