Response to Steve Kirsch's ad hominem attack, and clarifying the key sleight of hand in his argument

Here I am pulling out an Appendix to a recent blog post that responds to Steve Kirsch's substack post he wrote in response to that blog post, that tries to personally attacking me, and yet never responds to my substantive points that discuss why the Medicare data shared by a whistleblower mentioned by their representing lawyer Renz demonstrate Kirsch's claims of 388,000 deaths caused by SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in the USA must be wrong. I split out in its own blog post here, not just to respond to his attacks, but to demonstrate why the issues I raise in that post have everything to do with Kirsch's arguments, and highlight the sleight of hand that Kirsch uses in his calculations that many do not see.

I will respond here, since he only posted on his substack, to which I cannot post responses unless I pay him a monthly fee. I am not interested in paying him a monthly fee. So hopefully anyone interested in my response will find it here.

Here is his substance post:

This post is supposedly in response to this blog post here, although he never addresses my points:

  1. The very CMS data that Steve cites in his own substack articles and claims supports his arguments on vaccine-caused deaths, when adjusting for their denominator problem, suggests that the death rates after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination are the same (or a little lower) than the death rates seen after Influenza vaccination in 2018, 2019 or 2020.

  2. As Steve has emphasized repeatedly, it is clear that more deaths after vaccination are reported to VAERs this year than previous years, by a lot.

  3. These two together show that, whatever the underreporting factor (URF) for death is, it is much lower than it was in prior years (2018, 2019, 2020 in particular when flu shots were the main ones given to adults in the USA).

  4. If Steve was concerned about finding the true levels of vaccine-induced deaths, he would put more focus on rigorous data sources like these CMS data than VAERs, given its known limitations, instead of completely ignoring these sources and basing his argument almost entirely upon his VAERs projections and anecdotal reports.

Well, he doesn't directly respond to any of these points at all (as he has NEVER responded directly to the many points I have brought up suggesting he is using erroneous arguments and flawed logic in constructing his narratives in my long critiques of his written documents here and here). He says all of these points are "off topic" and leading to a "rat hole":

He says my points here are a distraction from the "real" issue of estimating the URF. No, Steve, the real issue is not estimating the URF, it is evaluating the veracity of your dramatic claims -- which right now is that 388,000 people in the USA have deaths caused by the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. As I will explain below, the URF is a secondary factor to this key question, and the issues I bring up in this post get at the key fundamental assumptions you make about background death rates that really drive your conclusions. As I describe in the previously referenced blog post, you get your estimate of vaccine-caused deaths in a simple fashion:

  1. Assuming ALL VAERs reports of deaths in 2021 above 2x the typical number in pre-pandemic years MUST be caused by the vaccine. Using this number as the "background reporting rate", you only filter out a small number of VAERs-reported reported deaths as background based on what was reported to VAERs in pre-pandemic years.

  2. Then you multiply this number of "assumed causal deaths" by an URF estimate, 41x before, and 44x now to extrapolate that number up to your (implausibly) high estimates vaccine caused deaths in the USA, which you recently claimed to be 388,000.

So your estimate depends COMPLETELY on your explicit assumption that there is NO higher reporting to VAERs in 2021 than previous years (and neglects to perform any real calculation of background death rates in the vaccinated population, which are the scientific way to adjust for background death rates). The tables from Renz's post of CMS Medicare data that YOU shared in your blog post as evidence for your URF, suggest that this assumption is patently false. Given we know that the death reports to VAERs are orders of magnitude higher in 2021 than ANY previous year (and the highest number of reports are deaths within 14 days of vaccination), if the CMS validated death rates in the 65yr+ USA population within 14 days of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in 2021 are equivalent to the CMS validated death rates in the 65yr+ USA population within 14 days of Influenza vaccination in 2018, 2019, or 2020, then it MUST be true that a MUCH higher proportion of deaths within 14 days of vaccination have been reported to VAERs in 2021 than in previous years. If these CMS data are accurate, the only conclusion is that your pivotal assumption that VAERs underreporting was just as high or higher in 2021 than previous years must be false. If your assumption were right, then we would see MUCH higher death rates in a population data source like these CMS data, but we don't. They are not higher at all. This has EVERYTHING to do with your URF argument, and most importantly, your pivotal assumption that all VAERs death reports above reporting levels from pre-2021 years must be vaccine-caused deaths. Your unwillingness to engage with this question and respond to it, and instead try an ad hominem attack against me (again) in which you never address the substantive issues I bring up, says a lot. As I went through your original 47-page document providing "support" for your DarkHorse podcast claims and your 32-page document making your case for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine deaths line by line, you also never responded to any of those substantive points. You complained my document was "too long" (ignoring the fact that any point by point response to a 47 page or 32 page argument is bound to be long), and claimed your followers would not have the attention span or interest in reading a written response to my critique. Instead, you repeatedly challenge me to a Zoom debate, privately and publicly, calling me "chicken" like a junior high schoolboy, offer me thousands of dollars, even threatening to sue me for "defamation" for critiquing your claims unless I agreed to debate you. What would a verbal debate accomplish if you are not willing to respond to any of my substantive points? Why would I think that you would use logical scientific arguments and fair debate in that setting? What would that accomplish when after 6 months you still have not responded to any of my substantive critiques? I am not holding my breath that you will respond to any of these fundamental critiques I raise about your approach for estimating number of vaccine-caused deaths. I can't confirm that the CMS data posted by Renz are accurate, since I (sadly) do not have access to the full data set myself. But giving him the benefit of the doubt that they were indeed accurately extracted from CMS, these data are MUCH more appropriate for assessing the potential of deaths caused by vaccines than VAERs. VAERs is an open reporting system, and it is well known that it is not possible on the basis of VAERs alone to determine causation -- there is no control group against which to compare. Your purported arguments of causation are not scientifically rigorous or valid, as anyone working in causal inference can tell you. Not only can we not determine causation from VAERs, but from VAERs we cannot even accurately estimate the actual death rate AFTER vaccination in the population, much less which deaths were FROM vaccination, since we do not know the denominator. So given you value these CMS Medicare data enough to highlight them in a recent blog post, why don't you consider what they tell you about vaccine-caused deaths? Do you not recognize that the fact these data are covering essentially the entire 65yr old population, are not subject to reporting or underreporting bias, and have a natural control group (influenza vaccinated in pre-pandemic years) from which to compute background death rates? These data are MUCH more valuable than VAERs in answering your purported question -- finding the "truth" about vaccine-caused deaths. Why do you insist. on only considering VAERs in addressing this question? Is it because using the steps I highlight above you can concoct a super-high and dramatic death estimate that fits your narrative? Why don't you think for a second about what these CMS data say about the (in)feasibility of your 388,000 death estimate? If there were 388,000 deaths caused by vaccines in 2021 as you now claim, how can it be true that the CMS Medicare database show similar rates of death from influenza in 2020, in 2019, in 2018 as SARS-CoV-2 in 2021? The only way you can believe that is if you think that 388,000 people were also killed by influenza vaccines during those years as well (keeping in mind that in a typical year there are ~2,800,000 total all cause deaths in the USA). Otherwise, a rational and open-minded person seeing these data would think that maybe the assumptions underlying your VAERs-based projections are wrong. How can you say that this issue is off-topic and irrelevant?

As I show above, the rate of deaths in Renz's posted CMS data after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in 2021, and after Influenza vaccination in 2018, 2019, or 2020, are in line with the typical rate of background deaths in the population. So where are these hundreds of thousands of excess deaths supposedly caused by vaccines? How do you account for this? The URF is a secondary issue here.

The key issue with your vaccine-caused death estimation is your assumption of an artificially low background death rate in the vaccinated population that allows you to claim nearly all VAERs reported deaths are CAUSED by vaccines. The way you do this is to strongly assume that VAERs reporting rates have not changed during the pandemic, and so any additional reporting in 2021 over previous years is ONLY explained by causation -- deaths caused by vaccines. This is your sleight of hand and the driving factor of your conclusions, and these data show how erroneous this assumption is.

The URF is a secondary issue relative to this, and even if you are correct on the URF of 41 or 44, the VAERs death repots are still within background rates if you compare them to life table based death rates in the population, as scientists do. I showed this in a step-by-step transparent presentation in my previous critique to your "2 dead for every 1 saved" claims, -- even assuming an URF of 41 as you claimed back then (or 44 as you claim now), there is still not evidence that the death rate after vaccination is any higher than the expected rate of background deaths in the population based on a 1 month time horizon for reporting (of course you never replied to this or explained what was wrong with my methodology or calculations). The key issue is not the URF. It is whether it is possible to estimate the number of vaccine-caused deaths from VAERs in the first place (it's not). And it is what other more rigorous data have to say on the question of vaccine-caused deaths. These can serve as a feasibility check or validation of your VAERs-based estimates. Data like these CMS data covering essentially the entire 65yr+ USA population, lacking the reporting bias problem, and with a natural control group. Data like all-cause death data, including the UK all cause deaths data with deaths split out by vaccination status and age group, as I have posted on recently here and here and here. Data like all-cause death data showing total excess deaths in 2020 and 2021 over time, data that for many countries show the lowest excess death rates in the pandemic during the months when most vaccination was done. Certainly, you must understand the uncertain nature of your VAERs based projections given their strong dependence on your assumptions about the URF and the background death rate, and should welcome these rigorous data to serve as potential validation of your conclusions. If you were serious about getting to the truth of this question you would engage these data sources, not keep making your argument based solely on VAERs data that depends completely on your strong assumption that all of the higher reporting to VAERs is from vaccine-caused deaths.

You talk about truth and truth-telling. Truth is unknown, that is why we perform studies and collect data. The data contain the truth. As a data scientist, my goal is to use scientific and mathematical principles to evaluate and aggregate the available data to try to discern the uncertain truth from the data on hand. To interpret the truth as best we can with all available data. To do that, we need to consider all data sources, account for known and potential biases, and use legitimate scientific principles of statistical analysis and inference. That is how we interpret truth. If that process revealed the vaccines were causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, I'd be shouting that from the rooftops. But it doesn't. The available data strongly refute that and show it to be completely infeasible.

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