As a disclaimer, I have to say I am against any kind of censorship. That being said, academics also have a responsibility to their audience.
An academic with a few thousand citations purposefully perverts statistics on covid vaccinations. His statements are all "technically true, but what is the point" kind of statements which might mislead the population gravely.
Had it not been the case that he has a good track record, I wouldn't take any action. It is impossible to reply to everyone who doesn't understand statistics. But having a good track record and a good affiliation, his impact might cause confusion in public. Moreover, he uses twitter in his native tongue, while his affiliation is at a different country, so there is a good chance that his supervisors have no idea what is going on.
If he published these thoughts on a journal, anyone could have make a counter publication, or simply write to the editor after which the editor would request an errata. Yet, these statements are published on Twitter.
I personally feel responsible due to the dissemination of such misleading information. I mean, I am not disseminating them but I might stop this hurtful process. So, what is the correct way to approach here? My options are:
- Mind my own business. Maybe block him for a peace of mind and let him cast doubt in people without scientific reasoning.
- Write an anonymous email to his institution stating my concerns, as he flaunts his affiliation on his twitter bio.
- Write an email with my name on it. I seriously don't want this as it might affect me getting a job after my PhD.
Thanks in advance!
PS: I know that some of you will want to know how he perverts statistics. Here is a few of statements:
If you are vaccinated, have covid and pass it without complications, it means that vaccination was 0% effective against infection but 100% effective against hospitalisation. (Technically true, but who uses statistics when sample space is 1?)
We can't know if an unvaccinated person admitted to ICU due to Covid wouldn't be admitted if he were vaccinated. (Again, technically true. Either he wants to tell correlation does not mean causation, which is not obvious from the rest of the thread, or he wants to apply statistics to an individual case for a definitive answer, like he did above.)
Edit: Actually there is a bigger question here: "Are academics responsible for their statements in public domain pertaining to their field of expertise other than their publications?".