EnglishLingQ 2.0 Podcast #1, Conspiracy Theories with Steve Kaufmann!

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It’s an especially interesting time right now for conspiracy theories as the world navigates the COVID pandemic. In episode one of the new LingQ English Podcast Steve and Jahrine talk about some of the most pervasive theories.

Jahrine: Hello everyone. And welcome to episode one of the English LingQ podcast. So Steve and I today we’ll be talking on a pretty interesting topic. I think, uh, conspiracy theories. So Steve, would you mind actually, would you mind defining conspiracy theories for us? G

Steve: Oh geez, you’re going to make me think. So, first of all, I should say, Jahrine, this is a great idea to have these conversations and we’re going to talk about topical subjects and maybe people have a subject that they want us to talk about.And we’re happy to do that. Uh, the objective is not for us to have a soap box, as we say in English, you know, but it’s to have a sort of a, intermediate level type of content, talking about a wide variety of subjects that hopefully people find interesting and can listen to and then read on LingQ and improve their language and so forth.Conspiracy theories, I think conspiracy theories, um, you know, the, the word conspiracy suggests that there’s a plot. Okay.So typically in a conspiracy theory, there’s a suggestion that what you see what appears to be the situation is not true because secretly, uh, there are people involved in a conspiracy in a plot that, uh, you know, results in some, something other than what you think is in fact, the situation.Uh, for example, apparently in the United States, there are something like 40% of the people believe that 9/11 was an inside job or was not committed by the people who identify as the perpetrators. In other words, The people from Saudi Arabia primarily. And I think one from Egypt, I can’t remember which countries they were from, but they, they went to the United States.I mean, there’s a whole description of the process that the investigator discovered, that they had been to the United States, they took flying less, flying lessons and that they, you know, committed this dastardly deed. But for whatever reason, 30 or 40% of the people believe, no, this was a, you know, the CIA or it was George Soros or whatever, they got all kinds of other theories.So that’s a typical conspiracy theory.Jahrine: That’s high. I didn’t realize it was so high that 30 to 40% of Americans…Steve: It’s this whole idea of not believing what appears to be the standard accepted explanation.Uh, and, and throughout history, you know, it’s become more of an issue today because these weird conspiracy theories can spread so much more quickly using social media, but throughout history, there have been conspiracy theories, theories.You know, the family on the edge of the village, uh, who just moved in and whose daughter is a, you know, a cripple, therefore must be some evil spirits in her. They poisoned the well and pretty soon the whole village is over there, burning down their house. People are very susceptible to, to this kind of thing. The witch trials, you know, the whole witching controversy, you know, that there is no evidence of people having witchcraft powers.There’s no evidence of that at all.And yet massively people believed in this stuff to the point of, of persecuting these women and, and, uh, whatever, burning them at the stake and so forth. So it’s not a new phenomenon. But it’s kind of, uh, picked up, uh, power and the ability to spread more quickly because of social media.Jahrine: Mmhhmm, most definitely. I think, um, right now, of course there seem to be tons of conspiracy theories with everything that’s going on in the world. I wonder what you think about some of the theories surrounding COVID especially. I mean, there are so many with the masks and the vaccine, big pharma, and wow.Steve: Obviously I think a lot of people feel sort of powerless.Uh, you know, you have government, this kind of big and powerful, big corporations are big and powerful. I have no power, so probably they’re doing something bad. Uh, th th that kind of feeling is quite widespread. Uh, I, you know, and, and I, I was reading somewhere that, that apparently this guy Rush Limbaugh, who is a, uh, radio, uh, host in the U S said that the four sources of information that you must avoid are the government, scientists, the media…and what was the fourth? Scientists? You don’t listen to them. You don’t listen to the media, you don’t listen to government. And, uh, there was a fourth one, uh, at any rate.Whereas to me, I prefer to listen to the experts. That’s not to say that the experts are always 100%, right. And it’s not… the scientists change their mind on things, science by definition.And most explanations are theories. Theory suggests that if someone comes up with a better theory, then that will become the new science, but it’s always open. They’re supposed to be relying on evidence. So in the case of COVID, for sure there have been, you know, initially it was thought it was this way or it was that way, or it came from a bat or something else.There is no evidence that COVID was, you know, the, the, uh, Americans suggest that it was cultivated in this lab in China, the Chinese suggest that it was a, the CIA or the American army that did it. Uh, you know, there’s all kinds of stuff, but I I’m a great believer in our comes Occam’s razor. Occam, Who was a famous, I guess, philosopher, monk in the whatever 14th century in Britain.He said, you know, basically you should use the simplest explanation. That’s most likely to be correct because the more complicated explanations usually have so many rabbit holes that you can’t really… pursue it to determine whether it’s true or not. Whereas a simple explanation, you go there and you look at the evidence behind the simplest explanation.That’s where you go first. And the likelihood is that you’ll find that that’s the correct explanation. So on this COVID thing, I totally accept the idea that… that, uh, you know, I’m not a scientist, but it did come out of China. Uh, people were aware of it. It, you know, not just in China, but if they were aware of it in Taiwan, late December, early January, they were aware of it in every country.They knew about it. And it wasn’t done deliberately. And, uh, and as far as the masks are concerned, uh, there was maybe eight studies that say that masks are effective, and two studies that say they’re not very effective.But, but again, you have to look at the information like the study that says they’re not very effective.When was it done? How widespread was COVID at that time? Are they talking about the ability to protect you or are they talking about the ability to prevent you from spreading it to others? You have to look at the actual information that’s there. So I think there’s a lot of conspiracy theories out there based on,you know, information, that’s not very verifiable. So if you get back to Occam’s razor, complicated explanations, but you can’t actually go there to prove or disprove any of these suggested explanations. Whereas the simpler, the simpler explanation, uh, is easier to track down.So in the case of masks, okay, there’s been Google, uh, you know, scientific studies on masks and you’ll find eight go on way and two go the other way.So then read them carefully and make up your own mind. But most of the people that are saying masks don’t work, they haven’t done any of that work.Jahrine: Exactly. I think there’s a lot of distrust in the fact that a lot of governments, the Canadian government being one of them, at the beginning of this whole thing said that masks weren’t effective.You don’t need to use a mask. Um, Maybe… there’s talk now of that being maybe because there weren’t enough masks to go around, there were… weren’t even enough masks for healthcare providers at the time.So maybe that has something to do with it, but then maybe there’s that distrust and the government from then onwards and then maybe confirmation bias.I feel like too, you know, there are certain groups of people who, like in America, the whole movement “it’s my freedom”. “It’s my body”. “I shouldn’t have to wear a mask”. And so those people kind of seek out sources of proof that the masks don’t work and they latch on to that. Even if, like you say, there is way more information saying the opposite that they actually do work.So. It’s interestingI mean, uh,Steve: I remember in March we were in Palm Springs, my wife and I, and we flew home.We both wore masks the minute ever, even in early March, most of the information I saw said that masks are effective. I do remember that our chief, uh, sort of health officer in Canada, and even the messaging here in BC was, well, you can wear one.Uh, it won’t protect you, but it’ll prevent you from spreading it to others. But the most important thing is social distancing, washing hands and so forth and so on. So it was like a soft suggestion to wear a mask. And that reflected the position of the World Health Organization. Subsequent to that, there were a lot more studies done, particularly in Hong Kong and Taiwan.Where they’re used to wearing masks. It’s culturally there, they have, they have a cold, they wear a mask.So as not to spread their cold, so it’s much more acceptable there. Uh, but then they have very, to my mind, uh, persuasive studies showing that masks actually worked both ways. In other words, the suggestion was that if you wear a mask, you’re going to catch 70% of what you might spread to another person you’ll catch 30% of what another person is going tospread to you. So if you combine the two, it’s actually quite effective. If, if the infected person has a mask and the non-infected person has a mask, right, you’re significantly reducing the spread. But if you’re all standing together, they’re, uh, in a crowded space and the air isn’t moving, uh, chances are, it’s not a hundred percent.And I think that was part of it.And I think you’re right, that they were afraid when there was a run on these surgical masks and there weren’t enough surgical masks for healthcare workers. They didn’t want, you know, like these long line ups at Walmart to buy toilet paper, they didn’t want there to be a run-on surgical masks, but the fact that they’ve changed their position, I don’t see why that’s… people change.They learn more and as they learn more, they provide different advice.Jahrine: Mmhhmm… mmhhmmSteve: Yeah, go ahead.Jahrine: I was going to say nowwith the, uh, these vaccines. So I think we have, is it two or three that on the horizon that are 95% success rates, which is great.And now you read or I’ve been seeing more and more people saying that, Oh, I definitely won’t take it. I think. Three. I don’t remember the statistic.I actually think I read this earlier, but people are unsure and it makes sense for many reasons. One and I, I have to say I’m in this camp too, you know, it has it, it’s quick, it’s quicker than usual. So there’s a little trepidation there, but then you hear of people saying that, you know, Bill Gates is putting nanotechnology in the vaccine to track,track us or he’s, someone’s making money. The person who started the whole thing is making money on this vaccine.And so I won’t, I won’t buy into that.

Steve: So, so. If we compare, if we look at that, Bill Gates did this on purpose to put nano technology in our brains. So is there any proof of that? Has anyone ever nanotechnology inside anyone? Uh, any proof that Bill Gates all by himself managed to orchestrate this pandemic on all continents? Like that is just such a totally implausible explanation. The simpler explanation, an explanation then can be tracked down to this, you know, market in China. Deal with that one first, if you can disprove that fine, but don’t bring on this other extraneous stuff. The, um, yeah, I think unfortunately in the States I think something like 40 or 45% of the people, uh, are willing to take the vaccine in Canada 60 or 70%. That’s partly because of the messaging from political leaders. And I think it’s very damaging, uh, to, you know, uh, spread, uh, well again, in the States, it’s kind of a, you know it kind of goes both ways. On the one hand, uh, the political leadership is saying that the, the, uh, coronavirus is a hoax. Don’t worry about it. There’s this guy, Scott Atlas, who is the advisor to president Trump said, have it, cause it’s American Thanksgiving this week, go and have Thanksgiving with your grandparents cause it might be their last Thanksgiving. I mean like, what kind of reasoning is that? Make sure it’s their last Thanksgiving. You know, go to your grandparents’ house. I mean, it’s just unbelievable. Uh, so on the one hand, it’s a hoax, but on the other hand, Trump is trying to claim credit, like as if he’s single-handedly discovered the vaccine or as if he was the only, uh, the US government was the only government in the world that put money into vaccine development. Every government has put money into a vaccine development. Every scientist has been working as hard as they possibly can. And there are vaccines coming out of Germany, coming out of Israel, coming out of wherever. Even in Canada, we have two or three different projects to find a vaccine. So, um, but my suspicion is that once the vaccine is there and people start taking the vaccine, more and more people will want to take it because they’ll see that people got inoculated. Uh, but it’s, it takes like six weeks before it takes effect, right? Even if you get there’s two shots, three weeks between, and then it takes another week or two for the antibodies to build. But if they start to see now, let’s hope that there are no problems, but if there are no problems and all of a sudden… you’re going to see, uh, I wouldn’t be surprised if you get, you know, establishments saying you can’t come in here unless you show me a, uh, certificate of vaccination. That’s going to get people vaccinated pretty quickly. So asking people theoretically now about a vaccine that is still not yet approved in a situation where no one has taken it, do you want it? I don’t think what people say has that much significance. We’ll see when it’s out here, we’ll see what’s happening in February. I suspect most people will be aligned up to get it. I think

Jahrine: so. I, I read, uh, Bonnie Henry then, uh, BC top doctor said that realistically here in BC in Canada, we can expect the vaccine this time next year. Which seems a long way off to me. I don’t know if you’ve read that, but I think that’s maybe, you know, it has to, we have to get it. It has to go to maybe healthcare workers first, and then…

Steve: I hope it doesn’t take that long. Canada has been the most aggressive country in terms of pre-ordering the vaccine we have, yeah, we have, I don’t know how many billion doses or whatever the number is, but we have twice as many as the States. So we have by… canada has the biggest position on these vaccines. And they have a portfolio that includes Pfizer, Moderna and so forth and so on. So we will have it available to us. Now whether the manufacturers will give Canada a fair share of whatever they put out, I don’t know. I hope that Health Canada isn’t, as Canadians typically are, so bureaucratic that even after every other country has approved it, we’re still sitting in committee trying to figure out if we’re going to approve it for Canadians. That could happen, but I, I hope that doesn’t happen. So I would think that, you know, Dr. Fauci and the States said, uh, you know, by May, we would be, you know, close to living as normal. Time will tell, time will tell. But Dr. Bonnie Henry has been very, I would say moderate, moderate in what she says. And so she’s, uh, and she’s not also not, you know, we haven’t had the hard lockdowns here in BC. And her messaging has been very good and encouraging people to be patient. And so she’s done a good job. And if she says that she’s certainly knows a lot more than I do. So hopefully it doesn’t take that long.

Jahrine: So Steve, are there any conspiracy theories that you see a shred of truth in?

Steve: Mm, well, none comes to mind right now, but perhaps there are, but when you say a shred of truth, um, in all the conspiracy theories, there are… elements that are possibly believable, but, uh, the question is, are they verifiable? And, um, so I can’t immediately think of something. You might have some in mind where, where there is, you know, taking something that’s conceivable, possible. Uh, but not verifiable, uh, you know, I can’t think of any. It’s like, I’ll give you an example. So, uh, the, uh, President Trump’s legal team put on a, with Rudy Giuliani and this, uh, What was her name? Sidney Powell, put on a press conference where they talked about this machine, you know, technology developed by Hugo Chavez and the communist party of China and all this kind of thing. And I tweeted something to the effect of this is this is amazing that, uh, the legal team of the president is spewing such nonsense. And somebody came back and said, well, you know, it’s quite possible. Uh, look at the stats. So like, so, so then what can you go there and verify? You know, the, the point being that so many people in Detroit voted for Biden instead of Trump, that’s not possible, or when the votes came in was past a certain point. And there are actually very valid explanations of why that is. In fact, fewer people, the support for Trump in Detroit went up compared to the previous. But so, so that’s not so anything that’s put forward as a, as a reason why it might be the case. You know, if it is verifiable, you chase it down. If it’s completely unverifiable, I just dismiss it. So I don’t know. Maybe you can give me some examples of somewhat believable conspiracy theories.

Jahrine: Just speaking from… personally the recent one, the Jeffrey Epstein suicide in prison. Um, I mean, we can’t prove that it wasn’t a suicide. He was supposed to be on suicide watch and the camera was mysteriously not working. And the guy who was supposed to be watching him was asleep or something. It’s all very suspicious. Of course, the conspiracy theory being Jeffrey Epstein can ruin the lives of many, many powerful and rich people in the world. And so they don’t want him to get his chance and his day in court, they don’t want him to reveal them. So they had him killed.

Steve: I think that is, uh, that is I think possible because it’s very strange that those cameras were not working. It’s very strange that such a high profile prisoner was allowed to take his own life. Very strange. That… th… you know, there, you have a situation where the conspiracy theory, you know, it’s not possible to prove it not true. And the explanation that he just, yes, the guard was asleep. Yes. It just so happened the cameras weren’t working. Uh, and I apparently there’s more in terms of the bruises on his neck and stuff. So I think there, the official explanation has as many question marks in it as the conspiracy theory. So it’s not a, an open and shut, uh, situation, you know, it’s not completely implausible. I mean, in a way. Uh, but yeah, so I would say that there, yeah, I would say that, uh, I’d be looking to find… you know, I think there should be an inquiry, a proper inquiry, and I suspect they could find certain things. It’s like, you know, whether Lee Harvey Oswald is actually the person who shot Kennedy. I find that. Yeah, that your why? Maybe, maybe, but I think that those things, but I wouldn’t immediately, I wouldn’t go out spreading the theory that actually he was shot by someone else, nor would I go out and say with regard to Epstein that it was either Trump or Clinton that had him killed. I don’t have any evidence of that. But I would take with a great deal of skepticism, the official explanation that he just happened to commit suicide, and everybody just happened to be asleep. And the cameras weren’t working, I find that difficult.

Jahrine: Yeah, me too. Yeah, for sure. I

Steve: mean we have every right to be skeptical. We have every right to question. And, but in order to avoid going down, but then now the popular term “rabbit holes”, you know, I prefer to deal with explanations that where there’s some possibility of, of, uh, verifiability. And I wouldn’t go out and spread rumors based on essentially no evidence. Yeah. So…

Jahrine: Like the whole, that flat earth thing. That to me is… when I thought of the topic “conspiracy theory”, for me, the most recent, there have been many wild conspiracy theories out there, but it is amazing to me that in today’s age of science that something so… we, we know that the earth is not flat. We’ve known it for a very long time, but there are groups of people, and if you watched documentaries and look online, there seem to be quite a few people who truly believe that the earth is flat and they were all being lied to. For what reason? I’m not sure. It’s amazing.

Steve: Well, I mean, that’s a good example of how conspiracy theories work. In fact, the Ancient Greeks and probably the, the Egyptians, uh, 3-4,000 years ago, knew that the earth was round. Uh, they had a sense of, uh, our galaxy. They had a sense of, they, they devised a calendar based on these things 4,000 years ago. Uh, however, there are people who feel, you know, that, that sort of what they really don’t want you to know. Like I know, but everyone else is pulling the wool over your eyes. So it almost doesn’t matter what the issue is. People find a sense of, of, um, self-worth. In, in taking these positions. So they, the conspiracy theory is almost like a, you know, it’s, it’s a, there’s a psychological need to appear to be a, you know, someone who is smarter than the herd, you know, “I’m not lied to. I think for myself”.

Jahrine: Right. Yeah. And then they find community with other people like that. That is yeah.

Steve: The flat earth. Yes.

Jahrine: There’s a very interesting. I think it’s a Vice documentary. If you really want to, they go deep into that world into a, they go to a convention and…

Steve: Flat earth convention?

Jahrine: Yep. Yeah. Somewhere in the States. It’s a really interesting documentary, but yeah.

Steve: Well, I mean, people will believe all kinds of stuff. You look at religion, all these different religions that claim that, you know, the world was created, uh, at such and such a time. And, uh, uh, mankind, uh, lived at the same time as dinosaurs and stuff, or, I mean, there’s stuff that has… science has proven to be incorrect and people, that’s why I say Rush Limbaugh said, don’t listen to science. Oh, that was the one Rush Limbaugh said, don’t listen to academia. Don’t listen to the media. Don’t listen to government and don’t listen to science.

Jahrine: Who should you  listen to then?

Steve: Not that any of those sources of information are infallible. We are all human and we all make mistakes. And, and within any of, with every group, there are better actors and not so good, you know, so they, and they may make, make mistakes. And I agree with you. I have a criticism of our health officials here in Canada, who didn’t move quickly enough, who could have prevented the loss of life. But I mean, who’s perfect? You know, every profession has some people who perform better than others and people who make mistakes. And, and then some people admit their mistakes or change their opinions. So the fact that they, you know, to me, that’s not a con… to me, th that doesn’t justify a conspiracy theory around masks. They’re just trying to control us and you can’t control me. The whole mask anti mask thing to my mind is, is so irresponsible. Uh, you know, I I’m okay. You know, look at me. I’m okay. Um, and almost suggesting that anyone who gets sick from COVID, you know, must be sick or had a preexisting condition, or is…was just about to die anyway. And, and yet the reality is in our hospitals, our, our medical, um, professionals and nurses and doctors and stuff, they’re overburdened. They’re not going to make it. If we continue to increase the number of admissions to hospital for COVID, there won’t be enough people to look after these people. And there won’t be enough doctors and nurses for people who have cancer and heart attacks and everything else. So, so you would sort of… exerting your right to not wear a mask, you’re actually condemning other people to death. So that’s not freedom. I don’t have the freedom to just plow through a red light, uh, because chances are I’ll survive. Yeah. But there’s also a good chance you’ll hit someone. So to me, that is just a perverted sense of freedom. Now we’re straying from the subject too conspiracy theories, but it’s, you know, you can’t tell me what to do. You can’t tell stuff to me. I’m smarter than that. I know the earth is flat. All of this kind of thing is yeah. And people who don’t think that, that, that the hospitals are full of COVID patients. We’ve had that here, they go to the hospital and say, show me where, you know, the emergency room is empty. It’s all a hoax.

Jahrine: Yeah. I read that in the States that doctors have reported that COVID patients are dying and telling them even as they’re dying of COVID, that COVID is a hoax. I heard that…

Steve: we have some of those here in Canada, but we haven’t had as much of that kind of messaging. We don’t have a doctor Atlas spewing nonsense about, about the thing. The reality is, you know, vaccine is around the corner. The more lives you say between, save between now and say June the better. So if we save 10,000 lives, a hundred thousand lives, that’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. So why wouldn’t you… now, unfortunately, the government is telling people to shut down their business and not providing them with enough assistance. So that’s another thing. If you’re going to force this on people, that the restaurant owner has to sacrifice for the good of the rest of the community, then the rest of the community should support the restaurant owner. You know, or, or the, the, the waitress who’s lost her job. Like you can’t just force sacrifices on people without any support or, or compensation. That’s just not just not on. But, but the total number of dead from coronavirus is going to be right up there with, if we look at the United States, the United States lost about 450,000 people in World War II, and they’re on track to lose 450,000 people to coronavirus. So if you look at.. The sacrifices that people made during that period of World War II, not just the soldiers who went to war, who risked and in fact did get killed, but also on the home front, the people who worked in factories, uh, you know, uh, a tremendous, tremendous effort. And people are not prepared to do that now? That’s, uh, not, uh, all in the name of some conspiracy theory. That’s pretty sad actually.

Jahrine: Well, we did veer off the topic a little bit, but that’s okay.

Steve: We will see what sort of reaction we get and, uh, see what people want us to talk about. We may get the, uh, anti-maskers are coming at us full… we’ll see.

Jahrine: Yeah.  anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, we’ll see. Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Steve.

Steve: Ok, I enjoyed it.

Jahrine: Yeah, we will, uh, for anyone listening and watching we’ll have, uh, different speakers every week, different topics. If you have an idea for a topic, please drop it in the description. Um, sorry, drop it in the comments. And, um, yeah, we can talk about anything interesting that comes up. And

Steve: there will be transcripts available at LingQ, right? Yes.

Jahrine: There will be a transcript and lessons created on LingQ, uh, with the transcript too. So. Great content for learning English.

Steve: Thank you.

Jahrine: Thanks. Steve.

Steve: Thank you for listening. Bye.

Learn English: English LingQ Podcast Episode 1 with Steve Kaufmann! (2)

Steve: So, so

If we compare, if we look

at that, Bill Gates did this on purpose to put nano technology in our brains. So is there any proof of that?

Has anyone ever nanotechnology inside anyone? Uh, any proof that Bill Gates all by himself managed to orchestrate this pandemic on all continents? Like that is just such a totally implausible explanation. The simpler explanation, an explanation then can be tracked down to this, you know, market in China.

Deal with that one first, if you can disprove that fine, but don’t bring on this other extraneous stuff. The, um, yeah, I think unfortunately in the States I think something like 40 or 45% of the people, uh, are willing to take the vaccine in Canada 60 or 70%. That’s partly because of the messaging from political leaders.

And I think it’s very damaging, uh, to, you know, uh, spread, uh, well again, in the States, it’s kind of a, you know it kind of goes both ways. On the one hand, uh, the political leadership is saying that the, the, uh, coronavirus is a hoax. Don’t worry about it. There’s this guy, Scott Atlas, who is the advisor to president Trump said, have it, cause it’s American Thanksgiving this week, go and have Thanksgiving with your grandparents

cause it might be their last Thanksgiving. I mean like, what kind of reasoning is that? Make sure it’s their last Thanksgiving. You know, go to your grandparents’ house. I mean, it’s just unbelievable. Uh, so on the one hand, it’s a hoax, but on the other hand, Trump is trying to claim credit, like as if he’s single-handedly discovered the vaccine or as if he was the only, uh, the US government was the only government in the world that put money into vaccine development.

Every government has put money into a vaccine development. Every scientist has been working as hard as they possibly can. And there are vaccines coming out of Germany, coming out of Israel, coming out of wherever. Even in Canada, we have two or three different projects to find a vaccine. So, um, but my suspicion is that once the vaccine is there and people start taking the vaccine, more and more people will want to take it because they’ll see that people got inoculated.

Uh, but it’s, it takes like six weeks before it takes effect, right? Even if you get there’s two shots, three weeks between, and then it takes another week or two for the antibodies to build. But if they start to see now, let’s hope that there are no problems, but if there are no problems and all of a sudden…

you’re going to see, uh, I wouldn’t be surprised if you get, you know, establishments saying you can’t come in here unless you show me a, uh, certificate of vaccination. That’s going to get people vaccinated pretty quickly. So asking people theoretically now about a vaccine that is still not yet approved in a situation where no one has taken it, do you want it?

I don’t think what people say has that much significance. We’ll see when it’s out here, we’ll see what’s happening in February. I suspect most people will be aligned up to get it.

I think

Jahrine: so. I, I read, uh, Bonnie Henry then, uh, BC top doctor said that realistically here in BC in Canada, we can expect the vaccine this time next year.

Which seems a long way off to me. I don’t know if you’ve read that, but I think that’s maybe, you know, it has to, we have to get it. It has to go to maybe healthcare workers first, and then…

Steve: I hope it doesn’t take that long. Canada has been the most aggressive country in terms of pre-ordering the vaccine we have,

yeah, we have, I don’t know how many billion doses or whatever the number is, but we have twice as many as the States. So we have by… canada has the biggest position on these vaccines. And they have a portfolio that includes Pfizer, Moderna and so forth and so on. So we will have it available to us. Now whether the manufacturers will give Canada a fair share of whatever they put out,

I don’t know. I hope that Health Canada isn’t, as Canadians typically are, so bureaucratic that even after every other country has approved it, we’re still sitting in committee trying to figure out if we’re going to approve it for Canadians. That could happen, but I, I hope that doesn’t happen. So I would think that, you know, Dr.

Fauci and the States said, uh, you know, by May, we would be, you know, close to living as normal. Time will tell, time will tell. But Dr. Bonnie Henry has been very, I would say moderate, moderate in what she says. And so she’s, uh, and she’s not also not, you know, we haven’t had the hard lockdowns here in BC.

And her messaging has been very good and encouraging people to be patient. And so she’s done a good job. And if she says that she’s certainly knows a lot more than I do. So hopefully it doesn’t take that long.

Jahrine: So Steve, are there any conspiracy theories that you see a shred of truth in?

Steve: Mm, well, none comes to mind right now, but perhaps there are, but when you say a shred of truth, um, in all the conspiracy theories, there are…

elements that are possibly believable, but, uh, the question is, are they verifiable? And, um, so I can’t immediately think of something. You might have some in mind where, where there is, you know, taking something that’s conceivable, possible. Uh, but not verifiable, uh, you know, I can’t think of any. It’s like, I’ll give you an example.

So, uh, the, uh, President Trump’s legal team put on a, with Rudy Giuliani and this, uh, What was her name? Sidney Powell, put on a press conference where they talked about this machine, you know, technology developed by Hugo Chavez and the communist party of China and all this kind of thing. And I tweeted something to the effect of this is this is amazing that, uh, the legal team of the president is spewing such nonsense.

And somebody came back and said, well, you know, it’s quite possible. Uh, look at the stats. So like, so, so then what can you go there and verify? You know, the, the point being that so many people in Detroit voted for Biden instead of Trump, that’s not possible, or when the votes came in was past a certain point.

And there are actually very valid explanations of why that is. In fact, fewer people, the support for Trump in Detroit went up compared to the previous. But so, so that’s not so anything that’s put forward as a, as a reason why it might be the case. You know, if it is verifiable, you chase it down. If it’s completely unverifiable, I just dismiss it.

So I don’t know. Maybe you can give me some examples of somewhat believable conspiracy theories.

Jahrine: Just speaking from… personally the recent one, the Jeffrey Epstein suicide in prison. Um, I mean, we can’t prove that it wasn’t a suicide. He was supposed to be on suicide watch and the camera was mysteriously not working.

And the guy who was supposed to be watching him was asleep or something. It’s all very suspicious. Of course, the conspiracy theory being Jeffrey Epstein can ruin the lives of many, many powerful and rich people in the world. And so they don’t want him to get his chance and his day in court, they don’t want him to reveal them. So they had him killed.

Steve: I think that is, uh, that is I think possible because it’s very strange that those cameras were not working. It’s very strange that such a high profile prisoner was allowed to take his own life. Very strange. That… th… you know, there, you have a situation where the conspiracy theory, you know, it’s not possible to prove it not true. And the explanation that he just, yes, the guard was asleep. Yes.

It just so happened the cameras weren’t working. Uh, and I apparently there’s more in terms of the bruises on his neck and stuff. So I think there, the official explanation has as many question marks in it as the conspiracy theory. So it’s not a, an open and shut, uh, situation, you know, it’s not completely implausible.

I mean, in a way. Uh, but yeah, so I would say that there, yeah, I would say that, uh, I’d be looking to find… you know, I think there should be an inquiry, a proper inquiry, and I suspect they could find certain things. It’s like, you know, whether Lee Harvey Oswald is actually the person who shot Kennedy. I find that.

Yeah, that your why? Maybe, maybe, but I think that those things, but I wouldn’t immediately, I wouldn’t go out spreading the theory that actually he was shot by someone else, nor would I go out and say with regard to Epstein that it was either Trump or Clinton that had him killed. I don’t have any evidence of that.

But I would take with a great deal of skepticism, the official explanation that he just happened to commit suicide, and everybody just happened to be asleep. And the cameras weren’t working, I find that difficult.

Jahrine: Yeah, me too. Yeah, for sure.

Steve: mean we have every right to be skeptical. We have every right to question.

And, but in order to avoid going down, but then now the popular term “rabbit holes”, you know, I prefer to deal with explanations that where there’s some possibility of, of, uh, verifiability. And I wouldn’t go out and spread rumors based on essentially no evidence. Yeah. So…

Jahrine: Like the whole, that flat earth thing. That to me is… when I thought of the topic “conspiracy theory”, for me, the most recent, there have been many wild conspiracy theories out there, but it is amazing to me that in today’s age of science that something so… we, we know that the earth is not flat. We’ve known it for a very long time, but there are groups of people, and if you watched documentaries and look online, there seem to be quite a few people who truly believe that the earth is flat and they were all being lied to. For what reason? I’m not sure. It’s amazing.

Steve: Well, I mean, that’s a good example of how conspiracy theories work. In fact, the Ancient Greeks and probably the, the Egyptians, uh, 3-4,000 years ago, knew that the earth was round.

Uh, they had a sense of, uh, our galaxy. They had a sense of, they, they devised a calendar based on these things 4,000 years ago. Uh, however, there are people who feel, you know, that, that sort of what they really don’t want you to know. Like I know, but everyone else is pulling the wool over your eyes. So it almost doesn’t matter what the issue is.

People find a sense of, of, um, self-worth. In, in taking these positions. So they, the conspiracy theory is almost like a, you know, it’s, it’s a, there’s a psychological need to appear to be a, you know, someone who is smarter than the herd, you know, “I’m not lied to. I think for myself”.

Jahrine: Right. Yeah. And then they find community with other people like that. That is yeah.

Steve: The flat earth. Yes.

Jahrine: There’s a very interesting. I think it’s a Vice documentary. If you really want to, they go deep into that world into a, they go to a convention and…

Steve: Flat earth convention?

Jahrine: Yep. Yeah. Somewhere in the States. It’s a really interesting documentary, but yeah.

Steve: Well, I mean, people will believe all kinds of stuff.

Learn English: English LingQ Podcast Episode 1 with Steve Kaufmann! (3)

You look at religion, all these different religions that claim that, you know, the world was created, uh, at such and such a time. And, uh, uh, mankind, uh, lived at the same time as dinosaurs and stuff, or, I mean, there’s stuff that has… science has proven to be incorrect and people, that’s why I say Rush Limbaugh said, don’t listen to science. Oh, that was the one Rush Limbaugh said, don’t listen to academia. Don’t listen to the media. Don’t listen to government and don’t listen to science.

Jahrine: Who should you  listen to then?

Steve: Not that any of those sources of information are infallible. We are all human and we all make mistakes. And, and within any of, with every group, there are better actors and not so good, you know, so they, and they may make, make mistakes. And I agree with you. I have a criticism of our health officials here in Canada, who didn’t move quickly enough, who could have prevented the loss of life. But I mean, who’s perfect? You know, every profession has some people who perform better than others and people who make mistakes.

And, and then some people admit their mistakes or change their opinions. So the fact that they, you know, to me, that’s not a con… to me, th that doesn’t justify a conspiracy theory around masks. They’re just trying to control us and you can’t control me. The whole mask anti mask thing to my mind is, is so irresponsible.

Uh, you know, I I’m okay. You know, look at me. I’m okay. Um, and almost suggesting that anyone who gets sick from COVID, you know, must be sick or had a preexisting condition, or is…was just about to die anyway. And, and yet the reality is in our hospitals, our, our medical, um, professionals and nurses and doctors and stuff, they’re overburdened.

They’re not going to make it. If we continue to increase the number of admissions to hospital for COVID, there won’t be enough people to look after these people. And there won’t be enough doctors and nurses for people who have cancer and heart attacks and everything else. So, so you would sort of… exerting your right to not wear a mask, you’re actually condemning other people to death. So that’s not freedom. I don’t have the freedom to just plow through a red light, uh, because chances are I’ll survive. Yeah. But there’s also a good chance you’ll hit someone. So to me, that is just a perverted sense of freedom.

Now we’re straying from the subject too conspiracy theories, but it’s, you know, you can’t tell me what to do. You can’t tell stuff to me. I’m smarter than that. I know the earth is flat. All of this kind of thing is yeah. And people who don’t think that, that, that the hospitals are full of COVID patients. We’ve had that here, they go to the hospital and say, show me where, you know, the emergency room is empty. It’s all a hoax.

Jahrine: Yeah. I read that in the States that doctors have reported that COVID patients are dying and telling them even as they’re dying of COVID, that COVID is a hoax. I heard that…

Steve: we have some of those here in Canada, but we haven’t had as much of that kind of messaging. We don’t have a doctor Atlas spewing nonsense about, about the thing. The reality is, you know, vaccine is around the corner. The more lives you say between, save between now and say June the better. So if we save 10,000 lives, a hundred thousand lives, that’s pretty good.

That’s pretty good. So why wouldn’t you… now, unfortunately, the government is telling people to shut down their business and not providing them with enough assistance. So that’s another thing. If you’re going to force this on people, that the restaurant owner has to sacrifice for the good of the rest of the community, then the rest of the community should support the restaurant owner.

You know, or, or the, the, the waitress who’s lost her job. Like you can’t just force sacrifices on people without any support or, or compensation. That’s just not just not on. But, but the total number of dead from coronavirus is going to be right up there with, if we look at the United States, the United States lost about 450,000 people in World War II, and they’re on track to lose 450,000 people to coronavirus.

So if you look at.. The sacrifices that people made during that period of World War II, not just the soldiers who went to war, who risked and in fact did get killed, but also on the home front, the people who worked in factories, uh, you know, uh, a tremendous, tremendous effort. And people are not prepared to do that now? That’s, uh, not, uh, all in the name of some conspiracy theory. That’s pretty sad actually.

Jahrine: Well, we did veer off the topic a little bit, but that’s okay.

Steve: We will see what sort of reaction we get and, uh, see what people want us to talk about. We may get the, uh, anti-maskers are coming at us full… we’ll see.

Jahrine: Yeah. anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, we’ll see. Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Steve.

Steve: Ok, I enjoyed it.

Jahrine: Yeah, we will, uh, for anyone listening and watching we’ll have, uh, different speakers every week, different topics. If you have an idea for a topic, please drop it in the description. Um, sorry, drop it in the comments. And, um, yeah, we can talk about anything interesting that comes up.

Steve: there will be transcripts available at LingQ, right?

Jahrine: There will be a transcript and lessons created on LingQ, uh, with the transcript too. So. Great content for learning English.

Steve: Thank you.

Jahrine: Thanks Steve.

Steve: Thank you for listening. Bye.

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