A new academy to allow “the free exchange of ideas” has been set up by scientists who say they were “silenced, censored, and slandered” for questioning the handling of the pandemic. Lucy Johnston in the Express has more.
The Academy for Science and Freedom, at Washington’s Hillsdale College, is expected to be running within months, with the aim of combatting “the recent and widespread abuses of individual and academic freedom made in the name of science”.
Professors Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya who are involved in the academy were two of the three creators of the Great Barrington Declaration, which called for a focussed protection approach to Covid rather than blanket restrictions.
Both men faced heavy criticism for the proposal, with trolls branding them ‘alt-right’ and even ‘climate change deniers’. Harvard’s Prof Kullfdorff suggested a ‘cartel system’ had seized control of scientific debate, resulting in scientists being too scared to speak against the then-accepted narrative.
“No scientists have a monopoly on the truth”, added Prof Bhattacharya, of Stanford University.
He said: “The level of suppression of freedom of discussion has been a shock to me during the pandemic. Big tech and the government have worked together to ensure voices were suppressed. Many scientists remain silent for fear of being smeared.”
Sir Jeremy Farrar – director of the Wellcome Trust and a senior Sage member – claimed in a recent book that Government adviser Dominic Cummings “wanted to run an aggressive press campaign against those behind the Great Barrington Declaration and others opposed to blanket COVID-19 restrictions”.
Prof Bhattacharya said: “The goal was to create an illusion that the scientific community was united in its favour of lockdown policies and disagreement with this did not exist.”
“We want to create this academy of freedom of discussion in science and make sure that Science keeps its proper place in society.”
“No scientists have a monopoly on the truth and no scientist is omnipresent.”
Worth reading in full.