Professor Gigi Foster: Australians for Science and Freedom

Professor Gigi Foster joins me in this episode, where we delve into a topic that has been a recurring theme in my work and discussions: the influence of industry on policy, particularly the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries, and their impact on healthcare. The pandemic has served as a wake-up call for many, highlighting issues that have been present for decades but are often overlooked. Joining me is Professor Gigi Foster from the University of New South Wales School of Economics, a returning guest whose insights into the economics of wellbeing, the effects of societal policies, and the importance of science and freedom are more relevant than ever.

This conversation is a deep dive into the critical issues facing our society, the importance of questioning mainstream narratives, and the need for a collective effort to promote science and freedom.

Whether you've been following these issues for years or are new to the conversation, this episode offers valuable perspectives on navigating the complexities of health care, policy, and societal well-being in the face of industry influence. Join us as we explore these pressing topics and consider the path forward for a healthier, more informed society.

Professor Gigi Foster: Australians for Science and Freedom

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:00:47] Hello and welcome to Unstress. My name is Doctor Ron Ehrlich. Now, before I start, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land I am recording this podcast on the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. I truly believe we have so much to learn from our indigenous people about connection and respect for land and country, as we should know and we do know. If you’re a regular listener to this podcast, the two are inseparable.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:01:23] Well, a subject that I have discussed many times on this podcast and I have written about in my own book, and that is the, influence of industry on policy. In particular the influence of the chemical, food and pharmaceutical industry on all levels of health care. And to that, I would now add all liberal, media as well. And the pandemic was certainly a wake up call for that. This is a story that I’ve been aware of and been following for at least the last 30 plus years. But for many people, the pandemic was a moment, a wake up call, to this very problem, which is very easy to miss. But once you hear it, it is very difficult to ignore. My guest today, actually returning because we did a podcast with her, last year, is Professor Gigi Foster from University of New South Wales School of Economics. Gigi works in diverse fields including education, social influence, time use, lab experiments, behavioural economics and Australian policy. In 2019, Gigi was named Young Economist of the year by the Economic Society of Australia. She publishers in both specialised and cross-disciplinary outlets, and her innovative teaching was awarded a 2017 Australian Awards for University teaching citations for outstanding contributions to student learning. She filled numerous roles of service to the profession and engages heavily on economic matters with the Australian community. Is one of Australia’s leading economic communicators in the media and at live events. And as you will hear, she is passionate. She is a co-author of The Great Covid Panic and also another book, Do lockdowns and border closures serve the Greater Good? Both are very thoughtful assessments, independent of industry. And that, as I’ve already said, is hugely important in health care in general and the pandemic in particular, but society at large. With that in mind, she’s co-founder of the much needed Australians for Science and Freedom, which brings together a diverse group of Australian clinicians, academics, lawyers, public into mental and public intellectuals who united in a growing disquiet at federal and state government responses to the Covid 19 pandemic. And there was much to be concerned about. I spoke to Gigi, some time ago about the economics of wellbeing and her book, The Great Covid Pandemic. But in this episode, we talk about the Australians for Science and Freedom. I hope you enjoyed this conversation I had with Professor Gigi Foster. Welcome back.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:04:41] Thanks so much, Ron. Thanks for having me on the show today.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:04:44] We spoke a few months ago, earlier in 2023, and we’re talking about the economics of, a wellbeing. It was the first time I’d ever had an economics professor on my show, but, it’s clearly very important. But then you’ve also got this, this other group that you have helped form called the Australians for Science and Freedom. I wondered if we might start there. What? How did that come about? What is it about?

Professor Gigi Foster [00:05:10] Yeah. I mean, ASF is not the only new organisation that sprung out of the ashes of the last few years, Ron. But, but I’m very excited about it for a number of reasons. So the people who have founded Australians for Science and Freedom. Started variously talking to each other. Probably a couple of years ago, honestly. And it’s all different people. It’s not just economists. Don’t worry. Although I’m not sure we have any dentists.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:05:34] Well, you know the man.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:05:36] I don’t like the job.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:05:37] Just putting it out there. That was. That was a, you know, I’m trying to. I’m auditioning to go on. Oh, wonderful.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:05:43] Wonderful. Well, the more the merrier. So that is one of the hallmarks of our service. We really do want diversity of background, diversity of perspective, diversity of experience. It’s a huge strength. And we have under utilised that strength as a society, particularly during Covid. And so yes, we started speaking with each other, and throughout the Covid period idiotically and in, you know, groups of 3 or 4 and then introducing each other to other people. And, you know, one of the big problems we had in the, shall we say, dissident movement or the people who didn’t agree with Covid policies during that time was that we were prevented from connecting. We didn’t organise very well, partly because a lot of mechanisms of organisation were blocked to us. So we we weren’t allowed to to meet in public and in spaces, we had to be in our homes. A lot of our, the internet chatter and stuff was being monitored. People were being cancelled for expressing their views, and a lot of people had views that they feared expressing because they thought they would be cancelled. So we didn’t find people because they were just in the woodwork. So it took a while to get organised. And as I was definitely not the first organisational, sort of product of the Covid period, but in my view it is the most interdisciplinary and the most, practical in terms of focus on real solutions. So at the conference that we just ran, as you mentioned, UNSW, you went to my employer, gave us the rooms for free and gave us some money towards the catering as well. I emphasised many times to the attendees that we, really very much wanted this to be an event that was both horizontally and vertically integrated, by which I mean horizontally is across disciplines, across professions. So psychology, law, education, economics and policies, lots of different things. Media people, eggheads and thinkers, and just doers across all of these professions with different perspectives to bring to bear and vertically integrated meaning, not just the people who were thinking high thoughts and abstract clouds, but also the people who were on the ground building community, re-establishing links between people which had been, either neglected or actively destroyed by, by government policies and, and bureaucracies that were really not servicing people’s needs anymore. And the theme of the conference, the title was progress through Science and Freedom. We had a very strong focus on solutions moving forward in all of these different areas. So the sessions, each session was two hours long and each one had a theme education, media, health. Some, some two of them were community. So it was how to build community. And in each of these sessions we had speakers speaking who, had experience in these areas, had ideas about what would work, as alternative systems or different approaches or a tweak to an existing institution. Sometimes also had a fight with the current institutions, but very much recognising that, yes, we have a lot of problems, but not just dwelling on that, really wanting to think forward, using the knowledge that we have about how humans are and the kinds of potential that we have in different kinds of organisational structures, the weaknesses of, of different kinds of systems, trying to draw up pathways to, to improve and to move forward in all of these different areas. And so we had, I think, about 140 registrants, all up and, and, you know, each each of the two days, Saturday and Sunday, we would have had maybe 100, 120 people. So it was actually about twice the size I was expecting, which was wonderful. And and as you said, we had over 40 speakers from across the Australian Resistance and Restoration Movement and really, I think, planted the flag of ASF as a kind of umbrella organisation in that movement that is interested in solutions and that is champion as champion for post-enlightenment thinking. Really, science and freedom are ideas that come out of the enlightenment and the things we’ve kind of forgotten the importance of in the modern age. And so we very much want to take a principled but radically tolerance approach. So we’re not going to accept, you know, hate speech, but we are going to want to listen to people who disagree with each other. And because that’s a source of strength, we can learn from each other when we exchange our ideas, that is how learning happens. And you, you’re not going to learn if you’re in an echo chamber. So we tried to model that at the conference. I think we did a pretty good job. We’re now waiting for all the videos to come out of all the sessions, and we do plan to share those, wisely when they come out.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:10:01] Yeah, great. And they’ll no doubt be available on your web page, which we will share. But it’s interesting to think that a lot of people, well, maybe not people listening to this podcast, but a lot of the general public. In fact, I daresay the majority of the general public would say, what is it to worry about , we handled the pandemic really well and I know you’ve written on this, and we touched on this in more detail last time we met, but I think it might be worth, you know, reiterating over, you know, what the problem was. Yeah. And I think this is one of those things, once you hear it, you can’t unhear it.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:10:41] Very true. It’s it is a through the looking glass kind of phenomenon. I think many people were trained from an early age. I certainly was to trust the institutions that were handed down to us from our forebears to trust, systems of the legal system, the health system, the education system. You know, I mean, I send my kids to public school, for example. I had my children in a hospital, proper hospital in the United States. Right. I gave birth in hospital. And, you know, I’ve taken pharmaceutical products, you know, many times when I’ve been acutely ill. And so, in some sense, you know, we implicitly trust that the institutions that deliver these products and services to us kind of have our best interests in mind in some sense, right, that there are mechanisms to keep these organisations which are massive, by the way, right. Somehow tethered to the mission of actually serving the needs of the people in that area, whatever that area is, at least in a democratic society like Australia. And sort of the notion is that we keep tabs on this through the voting mechanism and that if we really don’t like our society’s going, then we would vote out whoever is in charge, the politician, and vote in some new politician. But the reality is, of course, even when politicians change, the bureaucracy of the state generally stays the same. And the heads of the bureaucracy generally don’t, you know, change that much? Sometimes you might get the new politician appointing some new person to lead that organisation. But, you know, many, many of the people in the public service are the same regardless of the administration. So we’re not really voting for the people who lead the heads of the organisations that are supposed to service us in these very important ways health, education, infrastructure, defence, these things are really important, right, to a functioning society and what we discovered during the Covid period and what to say we I mean, kind of myself and others who were looking aghast as we saw policies implemented in Australia that had never been implemented before on grounds that we were very dubious of. We saw that this was this lack of accountability of particularly the health bureaucracy was just in shining red, glaring neon lights. There was no way that we, the people were asked whether or not these policies were a good idea. There was no movement through Parliament. There was no, you know, legislative adjustment or, you know, a referendum on whether these lockdowns were a good idea. For example, you know, people were voting in politicians who were delivering lockdowns, and that was something we’ll come back to. But there was no kind of real dialogue with people who might disagree with the lockdown policy to allow a platform to have a conversation about it and decide whether this was really the right policy since Covid. Actually, one of my co-author, Sanjeev Salak, has been doing a deep dive into the history of public health and has discovered, and I’m writing a paper about this now that actually quarantines, which is the word that they used, used for lockdowns back in the 1800s, were rejected as a very, very costly and ineffective policy back in about 1850 by the sanitarium movement, with whom you may be aware of, that was basically the movement that discovered that clean water, clean air hygiene basically was what kept people alive for longer. And that’s what gave rise to the great increase in living standards and life expectancy from the middle of the 18th century, 19th century onward. And it wasn’t actually the antibiotics and all the other things that came along, you know, 100 years later or 50 years later, it was very much those, those sanitary practices that really gave the books. Now, you know, a few things that were discovered afterwards really helped. Certainly, the original antibiotics, aspirin, you know, a few things really did help. But sanitary measures were just far more important than quarantine. So I was looking at this, along with many of the other dissidents and looking at the lack of discussion about these policies, which were completely unprecedented, and not just the lockdowns, but these vaccine mandates that came up, based on a vaccine that was clearly under-tested, compared to other vaccines that we’ve accepted. I mean, I was completely vaccinated in childhood. I even clamoured to get the HPV vaccine. And to my kids, you know, they were the first cohort. I mean, I’m not an anti-vaxxer, but I looked at what had happened there, and I thought, well, that’s a really novel technology that had real problems in the animal studies. And previous to this was only used in humans who were near death’s door. That’s what mRNA technology looked like in 2021, because I did some research on it. And I just thought, why are we doing this? Why are we pushing this out to the whole population? And then, of course, being an economist, the penny dropped. They’re extremely profitable. All right. And why was ivermectin suppressed. Because it’s a no off patents cheap drug that’s very safe and very effective. Right. So big pharmaceutical companies are not interested in that. They’re interested in the pricey poison, unfortunately. So putting together all of these sorts of. Signals, about the corrosion in our society in different areas. Both in the public sector and in the private sector, and in politics. I also thought about what was happening in science. I was one of the very few economists, academic economists, who actually put my head above the parapet and said, this is not a good idea. And I looked around at myself and thought, well, where is everybody else? You know these policies are not maximising total welfare, which is what our idea is in economics. Or at least that’s what I thought it was. Right. But people were not interested in talking about it. They were just going along with the program and basically being complicit in the loss of huge amounts of human life. And, I just thought, well, okay, that maybe start thinking much more about the corruption and science that I had seen previously but hadn’t been so keenly, drawn to, I suppose, as I was at that moment. And so all of these different features combined with the psychology of the whole thing, you know, seeing the formation of the Covid crowd, it was like a cult, which is why everybody was pushing for the lockdowns. People were so afraid. They were so scared that. And I just wanted, to be given a sacrifice that, that would plausibly be connected to a reduction in the fear. And that sacrifice was to lock everybody down. So it was basically a religious calling. People were asking for a religious leader, and they got that in, in Anthony Fauci and many other bureaucrats and politicians around the world. And so that wasn’t science. That was not science. Nothing. Nothing to do with science, all to do with politics, power. And of course, power, of concentration of power is something that naturally threatens the freedom of the individual. And so that was part of why we thought of science and freedom as, as two important pillars to kind of resurrect and remind people of, of how important they are, how important they’ve been throughout Western civilisation, and how much they are are integral to building a healthy Western society in the modern world. And if when we forget about them, we forget to keep our eye on the ball, keep our eye on the people who have power, and make sure that we fight for and and stand ready to defend our freedoms. We will lose them that that it that happens all the time happens throughout history. So, you know, as much as I know this is the unstressed podcast, I don’t like to add to people’s stress. No, no, no, there is, you know, there’s good stress. And that’s I think it’s a good stress to be given the responsibility, of being the steward of your society’s health. And every single person in Australia is that steward, whether they want to be or not. And so I think we’ve forgotten that duty a bit. So we need to remember.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:17:54] I get the sense that, 2020, when the pandemic hit, was a real moment for you. That kind of shocked you? But actually, when one starts to look at it, one realises that this is a story that’s been going on for quite some time. I would say at least the last 30 or 40 years particularly, which means there’s been a long time going where you perhaps haven’t been as aware of this issue as you are now. And would that reflect very much what the majority of the public are experiencing still.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:18:33] I think, well, I mean, I don’t know what the majority of people, believe.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:18:38] Well, they’re not getting, shining red neon light signs questioning.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:18:43] No, that.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:18:44] Is going on quite the opposite.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:18:45] That’s true. But on the other hand, they’re not getting the boosters either. The fifth shot’s.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:18:49] That is true. So although I have to say I have to say Gigi, was it a I was out for dinner with a friend recently and, they said to me, yeah, we had our booster, our fourth booster. We went overseas, got Covid, came back, had the antivirals, and we were all set to have our next booster in a few weeks time without any hint of irony, without any question about it, they would be what I would describe as the perfect customer.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:19:19] Yeah.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:19:20] You know, because they’ve not only gone for the booster, contracted Covid, had the expensive antiviral, but are backing up for another booster without asking any questions.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:19:30] Exactly, exactly. It’s very scary how easily people can be turned into sheep. It’s very, very scary. I mean, on your point of, you know, was this a completely new thing? I mean, I had been studying corruption, the dynamics of power, love and loyalty, and social influence for 15 years before Covid hit. And so I had looked at these issues, but in a more narrow way, I suppose I hadn’t seen how comprehensive the corrosion has been. Right. That’s I think that’s probably the best way to put it. The reason why I was able to spot the dynamics early on is because I already had been looking at similar kinds of things, just in more narrow kind of areas. And so then it was kind of, oh, well, put this piece together with this piece, together with this piece. Well, this is what’s happening. Right? And it just was shocking the degree to which the society had obviously lost its bearing and, and also the degree to which people were just going along with it. So that crowd dynamic that. Was the thing I think I may have mentioned on our last show together. That was the thing that really surprised me, because I hadn’t seen a crowd in action, you know, like I haven’t lived through it myself. Obviously, we’ve read about them, 1930s Germany, the witch hunts, you know, even prohibition in the US, the Dreyfus affair, early and early 1900s. So there are examples from history of, people just becoming obsessed about something and just pushing, you know, for one solution that they have been told is the only way. And, you know, destruction be damned. Like they just will destroy huge amounts of wealth, health and life. And so we’ve heard about it, but I suppose there was this kind of post-modern, conceit that we were better than that, right? We would never become Nazis, you know? That could never happen again. No, never. Right. Whereas my daughter, who is an avid history buff, I remember very distinctly one night and in Covid, she came home and she looked at me over the dinner table and she said, mom, I understand now how the Nazi rise occurred. I get it because I see it in my prayers. All right. And that’s that is really sobering. And how educative, right, for a young person to see that up close now, she will always be on alert. She’ll always have that kind of, you know, smell test with anything that comes out from any position of authority. Is this actually the right thing to do? Is this actually in the interest of the people, or is it in the interest of some elite? And is it science-based, or is it really more, a call to some sort of religious sacrifice? Which is, you know, that this the material world is not the place for that.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:21:54] Well, you know, the conference that was on in November 2023 had over 40, speakers. And I looked through the program and I was away at the time. But I looked through the program and it’s fabulous. And there was one there’s a couple that I wanted to pick out and just talk about because one was very prescient in its name. It said, David versus Goliath the power and influence of individual ethical behaviour against corrupt global forces and global. I mean, I think to me, I can understand the way the world works if I use two words, that makes it all make sense. And that is business model. Yeah, it’s a business model. Yeah. We may have a public health system. We may have an education system, we may have a, whatever it is, if you just preface the words business model, you understand, then you understand it.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:22:48] It’s so true. And this is why I’m glad you’re having an economist on your show for the second time. Maybe I’m the only one who’s been. But I do think that, you know, the human’s innate desire to get ahead to make money, to gain power is just undeniable and barely manipulable. It’s just hard wired. And it’s not a bad thing. What is that impulse that Adam Smith wrote about being best harnessed? When we have free markets and people can pursue what they’re best at, and they can produce something and they can sell it in the marketplace, and that’s all wonderful. But, you know, Adam Smith was, not as he wasn’t in a time when we had the kind of concentration of power that we have today and that kind of concentration of power leading to this Goliath, not just a Goliath in government, but Goliath in any big organisation. Now, these massive bureaucracies, it’s more like the the Austro-Hungarian Empire, right? It’s more like what Franz Kafka wrote about right now, waking up and like the trial, right? Waking up and realising, oh, I’m supposed to be on trial for something. I had no idea what I did. And you know, you’ve spent your whole day trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do. You end up in some attic somewhere, or some bureaucrats yelling at you, saying you’re late already for something you don’t even know. I mean, you know, we’ve probably all had experiences that have an echo of that with our large organisations. I certainly have, you know, and universities and government departments, I’ve seen that kind of thing happen. And it’s, it’s this divorce between the process and the protocol and the standardised, you know, way of doing things versus the actual needs of the people or whatever it is, the production process that you’re trying to deliver. So when you have that concentration of power, that gap starts to widen. Because you have the creation of this kind of band of people in authority who are basically out of touch with the coalface operations of whatever the organisation is. That can be, you know, a government bureaucracy, or it can be a big company or a university or anything else. And that is one of the biggest problems we have today. So when I say David versus Goliath, yeah, it’s the individual versus these, these massive organisations which have basically forgotten about the individual. They’ve forgotten that the whole reason we had these organisations was to try to cater for the needs of individual human beings, and it’s they who should be the ones being served, rather than the people bending over backwards to serve the organisations. Right. That’s not how it should work. Just like with politics, the politicians are supposed to serve us, right? They’re supposed to serve us. They should have a hard life, you know? They should make so much money. They shouldn’t have too much status. Just like I should not have too much money. I, you know, as a social scientist, paid by the taxpayer, you know, I should have sort of a nice, a reasonable lifestyle. Like, I don’t want to be, you know, scrounging for bread crumbs, but the kind of data and prestige that’s available for superstar social scientists these days. It is dangerous. That’s not good. That’s part of what has caused the corruption of science.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:25:33] But for many politicians of the Parliament, not for every but for some, it is a stepping stone into the very lucrative corporate world. Very much they and it’s a kind of a revolving door here. Isn’t it really?

Professor Gigi Foster [00:25:49] Yep. No. Sure. And if your listeners are interested, there’s a really good book about this called Rigged, which is the update of a book called Game of Mates, which essentially just documents corruption in Australia. And corruption in the sense of kind of great gift exchange, you know, because it’s not as obvious as just some one guy takes a bribe, right? That would be pretty easy to find. It’s more that there are these whole groups which in various ways signal that they’re willing to play the game. And, you know, other groups then start to trade with them. And they trade favours of various sorts, which are technically illegal, but they end up in collective defrauding the Australian people of billions of dollars. And that’s done through all sorts of different mechanisms, a lot of collusion between the state and private sector, favours given to particular, industries, things approved that really should never have been approved. I don’t know if, you know about this in Sydney here, but the Rozelle Interchange just opened up, massive infrastructure project, apparently riddled with problems, poorly designed, never should have been built. We are apparently, according to an inside source, I have, the only country that’s still building large freeways to get people into the city. And why? Because the companies that collect tolls have a really powerful lobby. And they’re the ones who asked for these infrastructure projects. And the politicians roll over now, are those projects in the interests of the people? What’s the mechanism? What’s the mechanism to say to guarantee that that’s true, right? No, these projects are decided by a small number of people who have skin in the game, who think of it as a business model. As you said, that’s the problem. So, in that area of polity basically and voice, we need people to be a lot less apathetic, you know, instead of just sort of, you know, everything will be fine. I’ll, have a barbecue on the beach, which is kind of, you know, the Australian attitude a little bit. We need people to say, no, that’s not okay. I have the right to have a voice in this democracy. One man, one vote and one man, one, one voice to speak my mind on these various different matters. So there’s a number of proposals to try to increase essentially direct democratic elements in our society that we’re talking about at the conference. And the David versus Goliath thing, I think probably, you know, would have fit in under that umbrella. There were many other situations of David versus Goliath, including in the healthcare industry and in the education sector, even in the media sector. Right. So that was a theme that kind of, or I suppose, a metaphor that you could use in a lot of different areas today.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:28:13] Well, I know I’ve been following this story of the role of the chemical, food and pharmaceutical industry in all levels of health care. But to that I would now add media, because and, and it comes back to this small concentration of power.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:28:31] Yep. That’s right. That and then that’s why we had this conference again, to alert people to the other players. Because it’s not that you have to do business with, you know, the one like you know, one supplier. I mean, we know in economics that’s bad, right? A monopoly is bad, is bad for consumer welfare, and the supplier who is a monopolist is not kept on his toes. He gets lazy. He doesn’t have to keep the costs really low because nobody else is supplying the goods. So everybody’s going to come crawling to him. Right. So that’s a corrosive dynamic. So we want more competition and we want more competition in the economic sphere. We want more competition in education and in health and in the political sphere and in the sphere of ideas. We want people to be challenged, you know, not in a nasty way, but we want the opposite of cancel culture. You know, if you say something that’s different, well, maybe you’re the next innovator. You know, every single thing we use today, a piece of technology was at one point the idea of some guy who had a new idea. Right. I’m a minority view. So we stop people being able to express minority views. We basically stop innovation. And that means we stop growth. And that means we stop living standards going up. Right? So it’s just nuts that we are in this situation that’s completely different from what the people in the enlightenment were able to embody and manifest in their societies. We’ve basically regressed, and we need to resuscitate some of those, those norms.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:29:52] You mentioned cancelled once or twice already, and I know that’s quite a hot topic in academia, is it? Not that, you know, if you offend somebody, you know, that’s tantamount to being. Well, you could lose your job. I mean, intent has no meaning anymore. It’s impact that all that counts. Is that your perception of it?

Professor Gigi Foster [00:30:13] Well, I mean, I have to say, I’m speaking from a very privileged position of still having my job at a mainstream university after three years of, of, you know, calling. Well, on, basically all the mainstream Covid policies to which the university implicitly or otherwise signed up. Right? So somehow I have managed to keep having an income. And I think it’s partly my strategy. I’ve tried to be very useful to the university. I mean, it comes naturally to me. I’m kind of a person of service. Anyway. So as it happened, I was the director of education for the School of Economics during the Covid era, so I think it would have been difficult for them to get rid of me at that moment. I also run the Australian Economics Olympiad for high school students. It’s a nationwide competition, and the Australasian Economics Olympiad, which is an international version of the same thing. I run the consortium for Inclusive Economics Education. I’m a nationally awarded teacher. So, you know, these things are kind of ticks in one side of the call, you know, one call and I guess write the protocol and then I can that that gives me enough capital that I can spend some in what the university might consider kind of unwanted territory, which is basically what I think is what the university should be doing anyway, which is talk about policies that are bad and, and just talk about policies generally and try to incite more discussion, rather than suppression of, of, you know, hot topics and things that might be offensive. Okay. Well, let’s work through it. You know, let’s let’s figure this out and let’s be tolerant. Let’s learn how to speak with each other again across the aisle. I mean, that’s what universities are supposed to be about. So in my view, I’m doing everything the university was, you know, was sort of founded to, to achieve. But that’s not necessarily, an opinion that I think would be shared by all the people in the hierarchy at my university. But, you know, apart from the fact that I haven’t personally been cancelled in that way, certainly I was defamed on Twitter, even though I’m not even on Twitter in 2020, according to a friend of mine. And you certainly see a time and again people stating some opinion and maybe not with a perfect nuance. Maybe they make a bit of a mistake. You know, we’re all human. But then they just have this, outlandish consequence of, you know, being deplatformed and unable to reach anybody anymore. They’re basically it’s like a digital version of pointing a bone, you know, and that’s horrific. Right? What a horrible way to treat another human being.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:32:26] Hmhm do many of your academics, fellow academics, feel under siege or are aware of the tenuous line that they walk? Is that a conscious thing in an academic and academics consciousness?

Professor Gigi Foster [00:32:39] I wouldn’t say that they feel, uncomfortable in the way that I might because they don’t. I mean, you know, 95% of academics are still going along with the line, right? But I think they feel increasingly beleaguered by the overweening, large bureaucracy. So over the last ten years, we’ve had useful services like, you know, like a departmental finance officer and a departmental travel officer and a departmental, you know, reimbursements person or whatever, taken away from us, centralised. We’ve had more and more, mass standardisation in the areas of digital technology. And, we now have to handle so many different. We’re supposed to be submitting our own marks, through some system that is hopeless and hangs and hangs. I mean, it just not workable. And everybody knows this, so we all complain about it, but we just sort of, you know, roll our eyes and throw up our hands and keep chugging on. And unfortunately, the administrators who are left locally end up bearing most of the burden. So I always try to, you know, go out of my way to talk to them and support them because they’re doing an amazing job in the context of an organisation that basically doesn’t like them and doesn’t like that model of decentralised power or decentralised responsibility, you know, for the reasons we’ve been talking about. Right? That takes away from the grandiosity and the central at the top. Right. So, so that I think people do feel in academia, and I think some also feel that there may be some slipping standards. I mean, I wrote about that ten years ago. You know, even, you know, after that it’s probably gotten worse. But, you know, that’s not, none of these problems are unique to you. And you, I mean, this is sector wide. In fact, you know, isn’t nearly the worst example of these kinds of, phenomena. So. So, yeah, I think there is a sense of being exhausted, kind of, but, you know, and, really in that sort of situation, can you blame people for not, I guess, resisting further the encroachments of more and more bureaucracy? I mean, they’re already exhausted. Right. This is part of the playbook that people who want power have used over many generations. Right? They just wear people down and eventually they won’t fight back anymore.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:34:50] Have you noticed a difference in the cohort, in the student cohort post-pandemic to pre-pandemic? Is there a different kind of student experience there?

Professor Gigi Foster [00:35:02] Well, we definitely had, a difficult time getting people back into classrooms. And even now we have difficulty getting them to come to lectures. We are I think the university has finally realised that it’s not a good idea to, continue to indulge students preferences, to just stay home in their pyjamas and zoom in to their lectures. Tutorials. And so we’re trying to transition away from that. But it’s difficult because once you establish bad habits, you know you got to break them right on them. We all know Breaking Bad habits is way harder than forming good habits. So that’s been a challenge. I have definitely sensed this year that there are there’s a small minority of students who are extremely alert and aware of what’s going on and smell that something’s not right. And I have had them visit my office hours and basically after having done research on me, you know, and coming and saying, you know, please, can I work for you for free to do anything you want, right? And I’m like, yeah, I can’t say yes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:35:55] Right. And when you were saying, when did you when you’re saying not right, we’re not just talking about within the course. We’re talking within society.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:36:02] Within society. I don’t.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:36:04] Right.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:36:04] At all. No. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:36:05] Of course.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:36:05] Yeah. We didn’t I mean, they just think they’re a citizen of Australia, of the world. And they’re looking around and saying something isn’t adding up and it could be personal experiences. You know, maybe somebody has gotten very sick, recently and then they’re putting pieces together or, or maybe their education is not really living up to what they thought. Or, maybe they just don’t trust the mainstream media anyway anymore. They’ve caught out lies or whatever it is. But there’s a sense of a hunger to hear an alternative story, an alternative viewpoint and, and figure out how to be really useful again to their societies without just getting ideologically indoctrinated. So, you know, that’s great to see.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:36:41] It’s the would I think doing a little bit of a word play is a very quick way of assessing a person’s, where they’re at on this whole subject. And I’ve done that recently at a dinner party where there was a few people, and I said, okay, I’m going to say a word, and I want you to say the first word that comes into your mind. And I and I use the word ivermectin. Great. I go ivermectin and one person goes, hosty worm. Wow. Okay, okay, okay, there it is. Next person host to the next person. Nobel Prize in medicine for human health. Yep. Now the answer to that question, that word association tells you so much about the person, doesn’t it? About their perception of the problem.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:37:30] And where they’re at. And again, this is a huge problem for our movement. If I can say it that way, is that there are so many people still caught in this web of nonsense that’s been woven around us over the last few years, and they have personal investments in these things being true. I remember visiting my half-brother and his wife in 2022. So then July 2022, in Southern Maryland, and we had exactly that conversation about ivermectin. I mean, I, I hadn’t gone to the whole Covid thing. I just wanted to have a nice social visit, you know, and do you know how this goes?

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:38:01] As you know, as you.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:38:02] Yeah, but they one of them asked me if I get it was my, my half brother or his wife. I actually I said, well, so you know, tell us more about this whole Covid stuff that you’ve been doing. Gee, what’s the deal with this? And I sort of gave a little bit of a description and then, my brother’s wife, bless her heart, she was like, yeah, you know, I can see sometimes that. And she’s not the brightest person in the world. Right. But anyway, she’s a lovely lady. She said, I can see that, you know, sometimes people get it wrong, but, you know, it was really, amazing when everybody got that, you know, started taking that horse to a warmer, you know, and, and I said to her, just straight look to the right. Me. I said, well, actually, Pam, that drug was developed, a long time ago and won the Nobel Prize for its developer. And it’s been used as a human anti-parasitic for decades and is very, very safe and effective. Basically, much, much more safe than the mRNA vaccines or many other new inventions that the big pharmaceutical companies have, thrown our way in the last ten years. And he sort of looked at me and just said, oh, is that right? I had no idea. Right. So she was always willing. So I mean, she didn’t fight, you know, fight tooth and nail for the narrative, but she, she just had never been exposed to an alternative view. She’d never research. And again, partly because she’s not a bookish person. She’s just, you know, a very good hearted, warm, wonderful person, but just not, you know, doesn’t think that she needs to take responsibility for verifying, claims that come out of the mouths of people in authority, unfortunately. All right. I mean, that’s, we weren’t really taught that. I mean, you know, those of us in Gen X, I mean, I think we were born at about the the best moment in history for, you know, for the functioning of markets and the West and just, you know, creations of all sorts of new technology. And things were so great, right? For a lot of time now, some people will argue that things started to go downhill and maybe the 50s, 60s, but in any event, you know, sometime in that period was probably the high point. And then afterwards it really slipped. And I think for some of us just, you know, we’ve been shocked at how much we need to retrain the whole society, really to, to think differently about what they’re being presented with. And, and the fact that they’ve, the people during Covid were personally complicit in enforcing the narrative means that they have an ego-based reason not to see a different view. That is a huge, huge problem for our movement. Because, you know, ego is, you know, it’s one of the things people protect with the most ferocity. Of anything. Why? They will not. They don’t want to feel that they’ve made the wrong call. Certainly not. If that call led to damage to themselves, their kids, their parents, their friends, their family members. Right? That’s just too painful, too horrific to bear. I mean, imagine somebody who, you know, said to their child, you must get this vaccine. The child got the vaccine and now has myocarditis or something to accept you as the parent. You didn’t do your research. You just accepted mutually what the government was saying. And, you know, let this child get this vaccine that was against something that was hardly a danger to the model if they were, you know, healthy. I mean, that’s just so hard. Horrific. I mean, you have children wrong. You know how it is I do. That’s a huge.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:41:04] Problem. I have grandchildren, too. And actually, coming back to that dinner party, one of those people was a professor of infectious diseases. But I’ll let that one go. And back to making an informed choice for your child. I remember asking you, a professor of paediatrics who’s been a guest on my podcast years ago, how can you justify giving an experimental, medication gene therapy? How can you call it a vaccine? But how can you justify giving that to a child who has such a ridiculously low risk? Right. And will reinfect anyway? And you know what he said? This is professor of paediatrics. How will we know it works if we don’t try it?

Professor Gigi Foster [00:41:50] Wow.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:41:52] Wow indeed. So I should I wouldn’t be too hard on the average person in the street because at the higher levels and I know professors, I mean, I’m having the pleasure of talking to one right now, but, you know, it it does. It leaves you almost speechless.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:42:10] Look, the smarter you get, the more fancy and sophisticated and seemingly robust the rationalisations that you can create for doing what you have an ego-based incentive or a power incentive or money incentive to do it. That is basically what happens. That’s what our brain is used for most of the time anyway, you know? So to be a good scientist, you have to learn. I mean, you have to have training in this. And we don’t explicitly teach kids this in graduate school, but this is what you have to do. I mean, as a scientist, I can tell you, you have to put your ego on the shelf. You have to be completely not emotionally involved. You have to allow yourself to think anything. Whenever you have the beginnings of a hypothesis, don’t invest in it too much. Immediately think of what’s the alternative? What would potentially go against this hypothesis? Let me find all the data that could possibly be going against this, not let me collect everything that would confirm it. Right? The opposite. Because as humans, that’s, you know, that’s how we often use our brains. We just think up reasons why what we already think is correct. Right. And that’s a very, very dangerous way to think, particularly for somebody who is in a position of authority, you know, professor of immunology or whatever, all these people who have the big titles after their names and of course, the person on the street is going to be like, well, I guess they’re right. I don’t know. I mean, that’s another thing we need to change. Science is inherently democratic. Science is just the process of looking at the world in front of you, coming up with some rough idea of maybe what causes what and what is related to what. Testing out that theory, seeing where you’re wrong, adjusting your theory, testing it out again. Always tethered to data, always looking at the reality in front of your nose. Right. That can be done by anybody. You don’t have to have a Ph.D.. We’ve all been scientists in our little world. Babies are scientists, right? The scientist in the crib isn’t the title of a book from the 90s. I think, you know, we are scientists innately. We have to make sense of our world and the idea that somehow you’re not good enough to think about things. You shouldn’t do your own research because you know you’re not worthy. I mean, how elitist, how conceited, how insulting. So we need to we need to recapture science for the people, which is again part of the ASF thing. Right? We are trying to bring with this vertical integration people who are just working at the coalface and they don’t have much confidence but are doing great things, like objectively great things to improve quality of life in their local area, to bring them to the table and say, what do you think? What are your ideas? And let’s exchange, you know, some information between the eggheads. You get to be protected in their ivory towers all the time with their cushy little paycheques and the people who are fighting to put bread on the table because maybe they lost their job because of a mandate or whatever, and are really just trying to do the best they can. We who are being paid by their tax dollars, we should respect them enough to bring them to the table.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:44:53] Well, Gigi, you know, a professor of economics could say such a thing, but I have a serious doubt that a professor of medicine ever would. I mean, I think ignorance is a wonderful thing. You know, I practice it regularly. It’s why I have this podcast. I get to ask people who know more than I do questions, and they answer them. But when ignorance is combined with ego, arrogance and hubris and worse than that informs public health. Policy. Oh my God. And there’s plenty of them around. Then we have a real problem, Houston. And we do have a real problem. Another paper that came up at the conference in November, was about an evidence-based approach, to smart technology. But in the evidence-based approach, the word evidence-based takes on almost a religious, once the words are uttered that this is evidence-based, then nothing else needs to be questioned about it. This, you know, is that the perception you have?

Professor Gigi Foster [00:45:53] Yeah, it’s very much I think it’s one of those words that is, that has been corrupted. I mean, this is another whole problem. In fact, Naomi Wolf had a brilliant article about this recently. And I and I think she’s absolutely right that we’ve, we’ve had we shouldn’t put it this way. Exactly. But the way I’d say it is that we’ve had a, growth in the distance between the term and the meaning of the term. So you can say evidence base now and people just sort of assume that, you know, there’s all these assumptions about what that means, and you can kind of get away with a lot of nonsense, just like you can say, oh, this is green technology. And, you know, you can get away with a lot of nonsense that has nothing to do with protecting the environment under that label. Right? So choose the right label and inclusive, for example. Right. Inclusive. What does that mean? I don’t know, it sounds good, right? ESG is another one. Right. Environmental social governance. Oh that sounds great right. So all sorts of funny business can be hidden under these beautiful terms now because we’ve divorced meaning from terms. So we need to recapture language. I actually suggested at the conference that one of the projects we might embark on is just a simple dictionary. You know, one of the things mean, you know, what is a woman, by the way? I’ve decided what a woman is. I mean, from the way we actually use the term, a woman is a person who is perceived to be an adult female. Now the reason I say proceed, right? So when you’re walking around right, and you’re trying to make sense of your world, as we all do, and you’re being scientists and everything, you come up to something and you say, well, that looks like a tree. Okay, we’ll call that a tree. That looks like a dog, that looks like a chair, that looks like a coffee cup, all these things. And if somebody walked towards you who looked like an adult female, you’d say to yourself, well that’s a woman. Even if in fact that person was not biologically female. Right. It could be that that person just appeared to be a woman. So a woman is something that is not decided by the person who is the woman, but rather by those who perceive her. Yeah. And so it is also possible to have a biological woman versus a trans woman. These things are not, you know, a biological woman isn’t a redundancy because woman itself is the product of perception. It’s not the product of necessarily reality. And this is true for many, many things. Right. So I was thinking of this idea of a dictionary because we need to re-establish and reclaim some words. Evidence-based okay evidence. What is evidence and how do we actually construct evidence in terms of the scientific process? And, what are the standards of rigour that we are going to apply in different cases? And you know, what’s appropriate? All of these details, which seriously determine the actual thing going on, are basically swept under the carpet by that one term. So I would never actually use that term anymore. That was another person at our conference who used it. I would never use it because for me, it’s meaningless. Like, I don’t even know what that means anymore. It’s like left and right on the political spectrum. I don’t know what it means anymore. I don’t even use those terms most of the time, because they’ve just lost all of their former meaning from my perspective.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:48:35] I know my wife is also in academia, and she prefers to use the term evidence informed.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:48:42] Yeah, yeah.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:48:44] You know, it has a little less religious zeal attached to it.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:48:49] Yeah, I can see that. I mean, you still have this problem of what is evidence, what’s going to be considered to be good enough evidence. And those judgements are really where the, you know, the details are buried and where the reality lurks. And we don’t really talk about those anymore because people don’t have very long attention spans and they don’t really want to be bothered and they’re lazy. And, you know, we’ve created this generation of people who just cannot stick with our argument for very long. You probably get not very many millennials listening to your podcast, I’d imagine, because you just can’t sit through an hour of talking heads. Right.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:49:18] And I don’t know. That’s true. I think the long form podcast has found it’s, you know, in minds not all that long. It’s only an hour, but some of the myths two, 3 or 4 hours long. And I think there are many millennials that listen to that. So but, but and you’ve also raised the whole issue there about what is a woman. And we could go down a whole we could go down a rabbit hole with that one. I want to come back. Maybe we’ll come back and talk about that another time. But you also went on the, to a conference in the UK, and this was one that Jordan Peterson was speaking at. And what was the general tone? What was the general premise of the conference, what you discussed.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:49:57] So this was the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship Conference, or Alliance for Responsible Citizenship Forum, I suppose they call it, inaugural conference the first time. And I was privileged to have been extended an invitation to attend by John Anderson, who put together, quite a number, I think, of the people who were in the Australian delegation. I think there were about 150 Australians there out of 1500 or so people from around the world, you know, referred to as world leaders in various different areas. But, I mean, I don’t know, I think it was mainly kind of friends of people who kind of thought it was a good idea to have this conference, many of whom were pretty high up. So there was certainly an old guard of Australian, political, leaders. So John Anderson himself, John Howard, Tony Abbott, Mark Latham, few other people. And then there were, were sort of, a small layer of new politicians or sort of, you know, up and coming people who probably were being groomed to be the new guard. And then there was a pretty significant, delegation from sort of church or faith based organisations from Australia. And then there were a few people like me who are kind of, you know, something else. And then people from, as I say, all, all sorts of other countries and essentially the idea and this was something that Philip Stroud and Jordan Peterson and, a number of other people worked on for quite a while in the lead up was to implant the idea in those who were thinking different thoughts during the Covid era, that what we need to do is resuscitate some of the values of Western civilisation that we have lost in the modern culture, and chart a new path forward that was explicitly different from the path being charted by the WEF, the UN, the, you know, this kind of, internationalism, the globalist sort of story where we have to all be digitised and we have to have, you know, the surveillance state and sort of making everybody be do certain things the way that works best, supposedly, where we have this kind of, totalitarianism of, of leaders, in the public and private sectors coordinating together. You know, so a lot of kind of trends that are negative for actual human thriving, what they call human flourishing. That’s Jordan Peterson. And so the whole idea of the conference was, let’s think about new directions in all of these areas. Now, I will say, I like that the idea that I’m looking at multiple different areas. So they gave out some books at the conference, which were writings by various people associated with art, in relation to energy and economics and philosophy. And, and that’s what stuff. I would say economics was one of the thinnest, so they need to do a little more work there. But one thing they didn’t have was really the sort of practical kind of workshops. There was it was a lot of grand speaking. And, I mean, the speakers were unbelievable. I mean, unbelievable, right? Incredibly articulate, totally across the material, world leading, you know, in, in their, in their fields. But it was a lot of pretty words and a lot of sort of, you know, presentations that many of us already knew the gist of because, you know, we kind of are thinking people and we’re kind of awake to what’s going on. And so, you know, when Michael Shellenberger put up his slides, for example, I was like, yeah, there’s a slide on this, there’s a slide on that. You know, kind of we knew what I think a lot of us knew what roughly was going to be said. And it was great as a networking event. Right. I met many people there, exchanged lots of business cards. I still haven’t followed up with a lot of them. But, you know, that’s nice. They had a lovely app where you could, you know, exchange views with people and all this, but there wasn’t much practical, you know, material assistance. And there was no clear pathway to getting assistance from the org forum organisation for initiatives like HSF, for example, where I think HSF would be exactly in line with what our forum people would say they want. But, you know, we’re struggling to get money, right? Like, I mean, this conference that we just ran, I mean, the people who founded HSF and the main people who funded that, we had ticket sales were for maybe 12,000, but the event cost 40,000, right. So where’s the balance coming from? Right. It’s people’s pockets, right? It’s a tax payer basically through my salary. Right. And through the salary of other people who are, you know, working in various areas. And sometimes it’s private clients because we had some health professionals who also contributed. So, you know, we could really use a bit of an infusion of cash. It would allow us to do so much more, so many more of the things we want to do. But there was no real pathway to that shown. So the practical side was a bit missing. Which is not to say that, you know, I think it was useless thing at all. I think it was there was definitely a space for that to be done, and I’m glad that it happened. But as I was saying to one of the people there who was quite involved in it, I think for forum to not become part of the problem moving forward, it needs to get real, it needs to get real really fast and it needs to become, in future years, focussed on practical solutions, trial and error, the dirty work, the stuff that nobody is going to get a Nobel Prize for. It’s all just roll up your sleeves and deal with, you know, the inefficient back and forth of ideas on some topic, like how do we deliver a better health service and get serious? Like how many hospitals do you think we need for this area? Do we really want to do it in hospitals? Okay, what it should be, what about a travelling doctor serve as well. We have these problems with that. The doctors are really like okay, what can we can you fix it in this way? You know, just it’s just stuff that needs to be done, right? Problem solving at the local level. That is how we are going to get out of this mess without bloodshed. Because in history, right, it’s revolutions that have stopped the kind of corruption that we see now, revolutions that have cost lives. And none of us wants to see that. And we have so much knowledge, right? We have so much knowledge there for the rediscovering right. It’s like it’s like having a banquet laid out in front of us. All we need to do is walk up to the table and pick out the the meal we want. Right? I mean, all the history of the West is available to us, but we need to actually go to the table and get that. And if we don’t, if there is the risk that the whole table gets overturned by the violence, by the anger that is breeding in people. And I think, you know, we’ll keep reading, particularly because of the vaccine side effects. But also just, you know, the economic stress that people are under, you know, the cost of living crisis. We haven’t talked about that. But now that’s a big deal. And people’s disenchantment with various different education systems and health systems and, and other systems they see in Western societies, and that unchecked just festers and festers and festers. And then we could get a revolution. So we need to be proactively charting pathways, practical pathways, now in order to have those things ready to put on the table to try to forestall bloodshed later.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:56:09] Well, I think this is exactly why and that’s probably a good note for us to finish on that, that, you know, why I wanted to get you on to talk about, you know, Australians for Science and Freedom and, you know, thank you so much for all the work that you’re doing and have done and continuing to do now, how do people find it, how do people get involved?

Professor Gigi Foster [00:56:30] Look, just go to our website, Science and Very easy to find. And then we have blogs. We have videos. We have, places you can sign up for our newsletter we’re going to be releasing, as I said, the video from the conference, which is about 26 hours of footage very soon, Matt Wong from Discernable Studios is putting that together for us. So that’ll be out before Christmas, I hope. Pretty short and so people can peruse that in their free time over the holidays and then, and write us an email if you’re interested in getting involved, just, you know, there’s a way to contact us. Please just send your interest level. What what would you like? What areas would you like to be involved in, we’re going to be setting up some workshops that are specific to particular domains, particular themes in 2024, around the country and bring together people who are prepared to do that kind of brass tax work, roll up the sleeves, think about different solutions, and then think about how to actually get traction on piloting them, seeing whether they would work, starting up alternative institutions, education, health, etc., media all across the country. So if you’re interested and you want to do something productive for your society, you know, please send us an email and we’ll link you up with those groups. And, and obviously we also appreciate monetary donations, but word of mouth is really helpful at this stage for us. Because we just want to get to know more. We want the Australian resistance and restoration community to know that we are here. We’re willing to help. We’re kind of, you know, a free think tank as well. We think about ourselves. Really? We’re independent of politics. We’re independent of any religion, of any ideology other than enlightenment thinking, science and freedom, tolerance, openness, experimentation and improvement in the living standards and, and the joy of people. So that’s what we want.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:58:09] Thank you so much.

Professor Gigi Foster [00:58:11] It’s my pleasure to be on. Thanks.

Dr Ron Ehrlich [00:58:12] It is interesting to, reflect on that term, evidence based medicine. Now, you know, when, because it’s abused, it’s abused, and it’s used in a way that once it’s said everything that follows is almost unquestionable because it is evidence based. The problem is that over 70% of evidence based medicine is actually funded by industry, and there is a conflict of interest, even though the declarations of conflict of interest often say otherwise or is rather, neatly hidden. Evidence based medicine has been corrupted. And I’m not the only person saying that. The most cited researcher in medical history is Doctor John Ionnidis from Stanford University. Now, when a researcher publishes, an article and they get cited ten, 20, 100,000 times, that is considered, really exceptional. I remember being the emcee of a conference, about 2 or 3 years ago. And, the people would get up and mention how many citations they’ve had. 5 or 6000 was impressive. Dr Johnny Ionnidis has been cited 250,000 times. So when he says something, it is obviously, worth reading. And what he has said repeatedly is that evidence based medicine has been hijacked. Now, one of the tools, to combat that conflict of interest was the Cochrane Collaboration. And the Cochrane Collaboration was formed to try and make that conflict of interest less relevant. And it is been held up as the gold standard in, in health care, research. But when one of the founders of the Cochrane Collaboration, Professor Peter Birch, a professor in experimental medicine, experimental science and epidemiology, he was one of the co-founders in in the Cochrane Collaboration when he writes a book in 2014 called Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Health Care. That’s another wake up call to us all. And for busy health practitioners, your own health practitioner, perhaps it is a story that is very easy to miss because there is an avalanche of research. When a doctor says there is no evidence to support something, it implies that they have read all the evidence. Unfortunately, it’s been estimated that you need around 600 hours a week just to keep up with all the evidence. So evidence based medicine has been corrupted. There is no question about that. And that is why, organisations like Australians for Science and Freedom are so important, bringing together people from a variety of disciplines that are, independent of industry. And as I said, this is a story I’ve been following for a long time. But even I, being so aware of this, was shocked by the way industry captured the approach to the pandemic. And as I keep saying, it’s a story that’s easy to miss. But once you read it, very difficult to ignore. We will, of course, have links to the Australians for Science and Freedom. It is actually science and freedom. All one word lower case science and So very easy to find, but we’ll have that in our show notes. I hope this finds you well, until next time. This is doctor Ron Ehrlich. This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects.

The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences and conclusions.