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Crowbars and Horseshoe Crabs

September 8, 2020

WSJ: Here’s why SARS-CoV-2 is such a tough nut for scientists to crack. “The coronavirus pries the cells open with a molecular structure called a spike protein that it uses like a crowbar to force entry.”

Big Pharma has concluded that Trump’s vaccine promises are not good for consumer confidence, and therefore not good for business. Indeed, voters are saying they are suspicious of a vaccine perceived to be rushed. The FDA claims that it is “insulating the agency’s vaccine reviewers from outside political pressure.”

LA Times‘s Hiltzik: “The confusion from Washington is presenting the anti-vaccination lobby with a golden opportunity to sow more doubt about the safety and effectiveness of all vaccines.”

And here’s the thing, says Jeremy Farrar at The Guardian: Any new vaccine will not be a “magic bullet” that solves the whole pandemic.

The UK’s Center for Countering Digital Hate says social networks are failing, and in many cases not even trying, to deal with COVID-19-related anti-vaccination content.

AP: An mRNA vaccine will not alter your DNA.

Rolling Stone: Apparently anti-vaxxers and homeopaths have their ambassador to rap audiences with Big Sean: “This shit the antidote, this the ‘cure cancer’ flow/Stop a pandemic and the globe.”

Anti-vaxxers are opposed to a COVID-19 vaccine because, ew, horseshoe crabs.

UPDATE: Yes, I accidentally used “hermit crabs” instead of “horseshoe” in this item and in the original headline for this post. Yes, I’m a genius.

Harriet Hall reviews the new book Anti-vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement by Jonathan Berman.

Harvard study: Misinformation about COVID-19 aided by use of top-level website domains that look official (though I certainly wouldn’t trust anything called “”)

Yahoo News: Currently-favored White House COVID-19 adviser Scott Atlas says stuff that “[calls] into question his understanding of the virus”

Joseph Uscinski: Don’t panic about conspiracy theories and QAnon. Stephen Buranyi: Actually, do.

The Quint profiles some of India’s volunteer COVID-19 fact-checkers and debunkers.

Wired: Doctors and nurses take to TikTok to fight misinformation.

“GOD IS NOT DONE WITH CALIFORNIA!!!” 12,000 folks (it is claimed) showed up for a prayer-protest against pandemic prevention measures at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Sunday.

God is also not done with Israel, where ultra-Orthodox communities are resisting prevention measures as well.

This is unexpected: The transitional government of Sudan “shall not establish an official religion. No citizen shall be discriminated against based on their religion.”

According to Michael Cohen’s new tell-all book, after all those evangelical leaders laid their hands of Trump, the president said, “Can you believe that bulls–t? Can you believe people believe that bulls–t?”

By the way, you can own the Bible that Trump gassed a bunch of people to pose with for the low, low price of $37,500. That’s just 1,880 easy payments of $19.95 per month.

Sociologist Samuel Perry: The negative effects of pornography use are strongest among committed Christians.

The Albany Times Union profiles the good works of the Capital District Humanist Society.

Theo Hobson, reacting to Alice Roberts’ new book on humanism, says, and I’m paraphrasing, Well actually, everything you like about humanism is actually because of Christianity, neener-neener.

#StrikeAPause! Hello Kitty, how are you so wise?

We’re keeping track of COVID-19 pseudoscience, snake oil, fake cures, and more at CFI’s Coronavirus Resource Center. Separate fact from fiction and inoculate yourself from misinformation at

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.