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I find his post incredibly uncompelling.  I believe he's arguing against a straw man; economists in the real world doing real work involving real dollars are painfully aware of the issues he brings up.

My guess is that his experience in economics is heavily influenced by his PhD work and that he's arguing against "economics as he experienced it at universities" as opposed to "economics as practiced by professionals in a real economy".

Covid vaccine safety: how correct are these allegations?

One other thing to consider is that even small differences in replication rate might actually matter.  Consider that it takes a week for the virus to really ramp up, and that's a large number of doubling periods.  Even just getting a larger or smaller initial dose seems linked to how sick people get.  Even a few percent difference may allow the immune system to stay ahead in the arms race, and result in a nonlinear change in death rate.

Note that I'm not saying this happens; I'm saying that because this is an exponential growth attacker (the virus) versus and exponential growth responder (the immune system), even small differences in growth rates might have a large impact.

Looking for reasoned discussion on Geert Vanden Bossche's ideas?

Yeah, his second claim is bogus.  That's not how it works, and that's not what we've been seeing with existing mutations.

As an example, look at E484K - this mutation changes the amino acid polarity, so that antibodies trained against the E variant will have a much harder time attaching to the K variant.  If an antibody fails to attach, it doesn't 'crowd out' anything.

In the case where an antibody attaches but doesn't actually "inactivate" the virus due to a mutation, that's because the virus' attack surfaces are still present and exposed (otherwise, it would be inactivated.)  Again, we wouldn't expect to see "crowding out" of other antibodies.

And lastly, there's the extremely unlikely scenario of sufficient mutation that existing antibodies give us Vaccine Enhanced Disease. This is both something vaccine designers explicitly focus on to minimize the risk of, and would require an extreme amount of change to enable.

Looking for reasoned discussion on Geert Vanden Bossche's ideas?

#1 is where I would hinge a lot of objection.  Specifically:

"The vaccines are targeting outdated variants, and some vaccines are already only partly efficient. This creates the perfect conditions for further viral evolution."

Yes, the vaccines are targeting outdated variants, and yes, the vaccines are only partially efficient.  But the mRNA vaccines, even partially efficient, are still hugely overkill.  From previous posts here on LW, even partially effective mRNA vaccines likely cut transmission by a factor of 100 between the reduced infection rate and reduced infectiousness when infected.

On the other hand, "perfect conditions for viral evolution" require a much, much weaker vaccine response, one that barely keeps up with the spread of the virus.  For maximum evolutionary pressure, you'd want a continuous rate of infection, with a spreading factor very near 1.0, so even slight changes in the virus can be strongly selected for.  And it just so happens that this is exactly what we were doing prior to vaccine rollout.

Of course, even the mRNA vaccines aren't a guarantee that we'll eradicate the virus.  There's a handful of marginally effective vaccines out there (Sinovac anyone?) which will be much easier for mutations to overcome, and there's areas which will be infection hotbeds for years, and there's antivax communities which will likely be infection centers forever. But by broadly rolling out strong vaccines, there's every reason to believe that the 'nightmare scenario' of Bossche will be less likely, not more.

Looking for reasoned discussion on Geert Vanden Bossche's ideas?
Answer by DentinJun 06, 202111

The core issues I had with it are that the scenario he's envisioning just isn't playing out in the real world.  He has a mostly coherent model he's working with, and he's making the valid claim that "for some set of parameters and constants, terrible things happen!"  It's just that in real life, the parameters and constants are nowhere near what's needed for the badness he's claiming.


  • His scenario requires a much higher mutation rate than we're seeing;
  • His scenario assumes vaccine immunity isn't very strong, but what we're seeing is incredibly strong immune responses;
  • His scenario assumes that natural immunity (from being infected) is significantly stronger than the vaccine generated immunity, which doesn't appear to be the case.

Basically, none of his assumptions are valid, and so his final prediction is for a reality that isn't ours.

Why I Work on Ads

These extremely short responses discarding the bulk of my content feel less like you're attempting to understand, and more like you're attempting to get me to draw bright lines on a space I have repeatedly indicated is many different shades of grey.  Disconnecting from the discussion for now.

Why I Work on Ads

Publisher, advertiser, the distinction does not matter.  The point is that the target does not get to decide.

Why I Work on Ads

You might find it unpleasant, but it's it the job of Simurgh Followers to spread the Truth Of The Endbringers to everyone!  Surely if people just watch enough of it, they will be converted.

The point is that the target gets to decide what's acceptable and what isn't, not the advertiser. The current system makes the advertiser the judge, and that's not ok, even if we have managed to construct a sorta functional system that mostly takes care of the worst abuses.

Why I Work on Ads

I'm not convinced I fully understand your distinction, let alone that we could codify it sufficiently to make it into law.

Regarding 'codify into law', that's not an excuse, and it disregards how the US legal system works.  If we can codify slander, if we can codify "harm", if current advertising companies can codify "unacceptable ad", we can codify this.

If you visit a model railroading site, are ads for model locomotives push or pull?

Firm push, but only because of the physical realities of the current system.

The fact of the matter is that by default, visiting a site isn't a directed action.  Clicking on links may take you anywhere, and links may be obfuscated.  My preference would be that any/all landing pages should be clean, and ads only shown for explicit searches requesting explicit content.  As a second best, I'd take 'only show ads on explicit navigation after page landing'.

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