There Is No Short Path Back to Institutional Credibility

Years. Institutional trust is developed over time. Decades. Centuries.

It only takes a few seconds for dishonesty to undermine institutional trust.

Hotez responded by accusing Rogan of spreading “misinformation” — to which Rogan quite correctly replied that if Hotez wished to rebut this “misinformation” in debate with RFK Jr. on his show, he would be happy not only host but also contribute $100,000 to a charity of Hotez’s choice. Hotez then accused Rogan of spreading misinformation. Rogan responded with a perfectly reasonable response that if Hotez wanted to debate RFK Jr. in a debate on his podcast, he would be happy to not only host the show but also donate $100,000 to whichever charity Hotez chose. Hotez declined the invitation. He appeared on MSNBC where he stated that “anti-vaccine misinformation… has now become a deadly force in the United States.” I was willing to appear on Joe Rogan, but not if it meant turning the show into a Jerry Springer-style show featuring RFK Jr.

It is still a country of freedom; no one has to debate others. Hotez, however, argues that he is exempt from the requirement to defend himself in public debate because of his credentials. It was possible that this would have worked in the past: Even 20 years ago few people expected a virologist, such as Jenny McCarthy, to debate her. Why? The scientific community can point to decades’ worth of successes in the health sector — healthier, longer lives and fewer childhood illnesses among others. Scientists acted like scientists, primarily concerned with following the evidence and finding functional solutions to human issues.

Scientists then decided to spread garbage, hiding behind their credentials. The scientists claimed that COVID-19 could not spread if all children were covered in masks. They also said that schools should be closed so that COVID-19 cannot kill large numbers of children. At the same time they also said that protesters for “racial equality” could gather close to the school. They used science credibility to promote political nonsense.

In just a few short years, our scientific institutions have lost all credibility. Only 41% of Americans believe that the Centers for Disease Control is doing a good or excellent job. This distrust was entirely deserved, considering the CDC’s egregiously bad performance during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This means that the people who claim to speak on behalf of science – the same ones who used this label to avoid debate – must now return to the field. The public cannot trust them because they lack credibility. Earn it.