Saturday, 8 May 2021

'Totnesians' Is Broken - And It's A Symptom Of The Global Crisis Of Reason

From the start of the pandemic, we have been rightly encouraged to 'follow the science'. However, it has become increasingly clear that the dissemination of actual scientific data and the asking of scientifically minded questions are unwelcome in the virtual public square - places such as the 'Totnesians' Facebook page. Instead, what is promoted and aggressively defended there is not science, but a particularly strident form of dogma which some describe as 'Scientism'.

Each of us deserves a well informed and open debate on the actual data and on health measures that so drastically impact our physical, mental and economic wellbeing and the very fabric of our society. Lives are being put in danger in the name of protecting life. Great risks are being taken in the name of reducing risk.

True scientific method relies on incessant scrutiny, freedom of thought and expression. Dogma is inherently unscientific. But what we find on Totnesians, as in many other online spaces, is a culture of intimidation, mockery, and censorship of the most basic data and questions. This is an embarrassing state of affairs. But it signifies something far more serious and troubling than that.

Following a solid year of panic-inducing media coverage I was amazed and reassured in January to come across the Office of National Statistic's Interactive Map which displays COVID deaths by postcode. I couldn't help but wonder if the people of Totnes would ever have consented to forced wearing of masks, queuing outside shops, the closing of venues and pubs, the end of almost all communal activities and all the other measures we have seen had they known how minuscule the local death rate would turn out to be. All these measures would surely seem patently ridiculous and destructive. While the faithful will always claim that the numbers are as low as they are because of the measures imposed on us, none of the actual science that I can find backs that claim up (see extensive resources linked below). Repeated assurances to the contrary, without any substantial evidential basis, amount to blind faith. If you believe you have evidence of this claim, please provide it below.

Of course, death rates are not the only measure of the progress of the pandemic, but I was nonetheless buoyed up by the news that they were so unexpectedly low and I decided to share this discovery on Totnesians. I thought it would be a welcome respite to a year of gloom and despair. Here is the post I shared there:

Some perspective. 
According to the Office of National Statistics, there has been 1 death in Totnes and Dartington attributed to COVID19. [As of this writing, the total is 3] 
That's 0.01% of us. If you include the wider local area that is completely free of COVID attributed deaths, which stretches between and includes Broadhempston, Marldon, Ashprington, Harberton, Avonwick, South Brent and Buckfastleigh, this local percentage shrinks considerably. Torbay has a higher death rate at approx 0.06% 
I don't know who this unfortunate Totnesian was and I wish them all the best in the next life and commiserations to the bereaved. What we do know is that the average age of deaths attributed to COVID is 82.4, which is older than the average age of death from all causes (81.5), and that more than 95% of deaths attributed to COVID involve pre-existing or multiple pre-existing conditions. 
All figures based on NHS or ONS data.

The post received several likes and a few comments, both positive and negative - which was a surprise. I logged on, intending to respond to these a few hours after posting. But my post had been removed. As I had no explanation for its removal and no way to contact admins directly, I posted again asking why the initial post had been removed. Eventually, after being blocked from posting or commenting in the group for 3 and then 10 days, I received a terse anonymous note informing me that the post consisted of 'COVID denial' and had broken the group rule prohibiting 'false or misleading' posts. You've just read my post. Did it deny COVID? Was it false or misleading? I was dumbfounded.

I eventually managed to engage an admin in a frustrating dialogue in which he failed to explain why NHS and ONS data could be viewed as misleading, false or in 'denial' of anything. How could a report of a death be a denial of it? During our exchange, this admin informed me that 'posts which seek to minimise or play down the threats posed by COVID' are not allowed in the group. I'm sure you can see the problem with this policy. In practice, what it amounts to is a ban on good news on the topic of COVID. As throughout the media, the steady deluge of fear must never be interrupted.

The same admin has now banned me again, this time for 2 weeks. As far as I can tell, my misdeed on this occasion was either the asking of a question about vaccine ingredients or the suggestion that another Totnesian was rude in their response to my question. Apparently, this amounts to an 'attack and an insult'. My original query about vaccine ingredients was met with sustained mockery by admins and the suggestion that 'ignoramuses' cannot be reasoned with. Though some admin appear to be well-meaning, there is a common theme on Totnesians of certain admins bullying and trolling. selectively applying group rules and arbitrarily making and breaking rules. Many Totnesians have abandoned the page for this reason.

Imagine a dystopic sci-fi world in which the public square is dominated by a group of fanatical bullies who meet any challenge to the prevailing narrative with a shrieking wall of abuse and ridicule. This self-appointed cabal of heavies has the miraculous power to rewind and delete anything spoken against them or which undermines their position so that the public has no memory of it and never learns that dissent is even possible. Imagine that dissenters can be instantly 'disappeared' without anyone knowing it has even happened - without explanation, due process or recourse. Something like the Soviet gulag system - except this one leaves no trace or evidence of its abuses and injustices. What has evolved in online spaces is absolutely comparable with this nightmarish vision.

This isn't really about Facebook or the 'Totnesians' group. I have used this specific example to illustrate the virulently anti-science, anti-debate, anti-reason environment we find ourselves in. It is truly disturbing in a culture that within living memory prided itself on rational and open debate, freedom of speech and scientific enquiry. What the hell happened? How can we continue to tolerate this wanton debasement of the very foundations of our society? The very rights our ancestors have fought for and held most dear?

As I see it, we are in a battle for the heart of our civilisation. In groups like 'Totnesians' around the world, the same narrative is being imposed, the same abusive and censorious strategies are being employed to silence, mock and vilify anyone who shares inconvenient data or asks reasonable questions. I implore anyone who values truth, justice and reason to take every opportunity to challenge these self-entitled gatekeepers and zealots of the fanatical ideology of Scientism. We have rushed headlong into a dark age in which willful ignorance and disrespect run rampant.

Reason must and will prevail. And it is up to the reasonable amongst us to ensure that it does.


There are legitimate scientific questions and vast quantities of data opposing almost every article of faith in the COVID dogma. Here are some useful resources:

Scientific evidence for the ineffectiveness of masks

Scientific evidence for the ineffectiveness of lockdowns

In-depth analysis of the ineffectiveness of UK Lockdown

Demolishing the validity of the PCR test on which the pandemic is founded

History shows how disastrously misleading the misuse of the PCR test can be

Current UK COVID fatalities exaggerated by 50%

The case for natural immunity

'British army creates team of Facebook warriors'. Could this be relevant to the content of this essay?

'How our Government funds 'Trusted News' sources to concoct a 'Single Version Of The Truth' - the antithesis of the scientific method 


A brief introduction to some of the most common logical fallacies.

Logical fallacies are the common parlance of the enemies of reason and are seen every day in places such as Totnesians so are worth learning how to spot. The function of logical fallacies in a debate is to avoid addressing the actual point your opponent is making and to score points by appearing to 'win' on grounds other than reasoned argument. They are a completely dishonest and unscrupulous means of fooling people who are not aware of these tricks into thinking that you have won an argument while avoiding any engagement with the actual issues in question.

Straw Man Argument: Misrepresent your opponents' argument in order to win an argument they are not making - and ideally mock them at the same time.

Examples: "You think COVID doesn't exist". "You think Bill Gates wants to inject microchips"

Argument By Association: Assert that a hated or mistrusted figure, movement or institution shares your opponent's viewpoint, thereby smearing them by association.

Examples: "You sound like David Icke/ Donald Trump/ Alex Jones/ Andrew Wakefield". "That website/ demonstration/ podcast/ writer/ virologist is far-right/ a flat earther/ a quack"

Appeal To Authority: Defer to a supposed higher source of knowledge or analysis on the basis that their status alone will win the argument rather than having to make the case yourself through reason and evidence. 

Examples: "All credible scientists agree." "Every government on earth can't be wrong."

Ad Hominem: The idiotic grandaddy of logical fallacies. Attack your opponent directly on the basis of motive or intelligence in order to bypass the need to address their argument. Often delivered with unabashed vehemence and arrogance, as if the culprit is hungry for an opportunity to showcase their extraordinary wit and wisdom.

Examples: "You Trump-supporting/ anti-vaxxer/ conspiracy theorist/ far-right/ hate-filled/ denier/ contrarian/ attention seeker/ tinfoil hat wearer". There are many ways that ad hominem attacks can be 'smuggled' into the discourse. For example: "I suppose you think the queen is a lizard as well", or simply peppering the debate with random mentions of 5G, Elvis, moon landings, Bill Gates, gammon, chemtrails or whatever you fancy. Anything to discredit and/ or humiliate your opponent whilst neatly sidestepping any requirement to argue your case.


If you'd like to respectfully debate any of the issues raised here - without resorting to cheap tricks such as those described above - please feel free to comment below.


Update: This article was posted on Totnesians today 17/05/21. within a few hours my 2 week ban was escalated and I can no longer view the page at all. Of course admins don't inform members on such decisions other than with snarky comments such as one suggesting this article was either satirical or a fan-post. This is the kind of expected mockery I describe above. I suppose mockery comes below even the ad hominem attack in the pecking order of fallacious argumentation, suggesting as it does that the argument is unworthy of serious attention. It really is a foul tactic.

Before I was blocked from viewing the page, I was able to read a few comments. One smearing this article on the basis that one of the links was 'dubious'. No explanation of this was forthcoming, so it amounts to a fallacious argument by association (described above). This comment ended with the invitation to 'enjoy your rabbit hole' - a classic ad hominem attack (described above).

Another comment read simply 'Spreadneck blathering'. Probably like you, I had no idea what this horrible term meant and had to look it up. Suffice to say, it was another ad hominem attack, intended to discredit this piece without engaging with any of the substance of it, using a baseless accusation that the author has no concern for the safety of others.

It's been ironic to see the zombie-like clown world described above playing out in the comments of a post consisting of this article. It would be foolish of me to imagine that the inhabitants of such a world will actually take the time to read, comprehend and engage respectfully with what I've written here.


  1. Yzabelaah Samahra Rose11 May 2021 at 15:43

    Yes, the level of control of the narrative on our local sites is shocking, i have met it on numerous occasions and literally felt sick to the stomach with the gaslighting i received. i steer clear of these "community" pages now, freedom of speech is dead. This video essay on communitarianism documents just where we are in this moment of time. My prayers are for some serious penny dropping moments for the masses in the coming days/weeks but with a play on going back to 'normal' folk may be too busy enjoying their little new freedoms to think deeper about what is really at play here.

  2. There is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. Aspartame, the ingredient of many products labeled "sugar free," has a devastating effect on brain function. Aspartame is an "excitotoxin" which if you Google it, gives the definition, "can alter the chemistry of the brain." There are many such products added to our food, air & water which can affect brain function. Add to this the hormone disruptors added to our air, food & water which can turn men into spineless cowards, & an understanding can be formed about this phenomenon.

    It appears that such behaviour as demonstrated above, can be attributed to mental illness. Many people are in an hypnotic trance, perpetuated by the telly & it's constant repetition of scientism-based fallacies passed off as "science." I have found that many of the "scientists" I get into abusive covid discussions with, are alcoholics which is very telling. Alcohol is one of the most powerful dumbing-down weapons in the arsenal of the powers that would seek to deceive us.

  3. I absolutely agree and applaud this piece!

  4. Yes to all of what you share here. Yes I experience this wretched silencing mocking and and on the high street...even whilst walking the dog or swimming in the dart...this propagandised group think, cognitive dissonance, people policing people and rampant censorship....this gaslighting seems to be showing up in various conversations, my heartaches.....especially when I hear how our young people may be under the influence of this...and when I hear people saying that it feels unsafe and too risky to speak up...I am so grateful for your this blog and for your other facebook posts- within which I hear such clarity, integrity and reason and I appreciate your questions and your invitation to comment. I am really feeling this urgent call to action for our local community invite more open dialogue about this...within safe space to support speaking up, asking questions sharing reasons and raising concerns without being shot down in flames/named/shamed/blamed/or set upon by a pack of savage jackals. Yes I agree with you that this feels does feel as if we are all in this battle for the heart of our civilisation. Thank you for your reasoned voice.

  5. Spot on and well said. There's some seriously Orwellian vibes going down.

  6. I've had direct threats for sharing very peaceable, fact-based posts: ‘Expect a knock at the door’ was one sent by DM regarding a post I made reminding people that an exemption from mask wearing was available. Other delightful textual offerings included ‘you fucking nazi bitch’ .