Award-winning journalist and podcaster Andrew Gold joins us for this edition of Skeptical Sunday to examine the spread of conspiracy theories linking 5G technology to COVID-19 and debunk these claims with actual science.
On This Week’s Skeptical Sunday:
- 5G is the latest generation of wireless technology that offers significantly faster data speeds, lower latency, and increased network capacity — leading to enhanced connectivity and improved efficiency in our daily lives.
- Conspiracy theories linking 5G to COVID-19 have gained significant attention and, like the virus itself, spread across the world — helped by Russian state-backed media outlet RT.
- Misinformation and conspiracy theories tend to exploit newsworthy events to further ulterior agendas.
- Conspiracy theorists often seek comfort and certainty during uncertain times, leading to the popularity of such theories.
- The good news: there is no credible evidence or scientific basis supporting the idea that 5G radiation depletes the immune system or spreads COVID-19.
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you have something you’d like us to tackle here on Skeptical Sunday, drop Jordan a line at email@example.com and let him know!
- Connect with Andrew on Twitter and Instagram, and check out On the Edge with Andrew Gold here or wherever you enjoy listening to fine podcasts!
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Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
If you haven’t heard our interview with Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of the peer-to-peer lodging service Airbnb, make sure to catch up with episode 566: Brian Chesky | Lessons Airbnb Learned to Survive the Pandemic here!
Resources from This Episode:
- What Is 5G? Here Is a Short Video Primer | Scientific American
- Humanity Has Always Feared Technology. In the 21st Century, Are We Right to Be Afraid? | ZDNET
- When Was the First Mobile Phone Made and Released? | ASDA Mobile
- Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health: Mobile Phones | WHO
- Cell Phones and Cancer Risk Fact Sheet | NCI
- Do Cell Phones Pose a Health Hazard? | FDA
- Huisarts Waarschuwt Voor Gevolgen 5G en de Krant Pleegt Censuur | Verminder Electrosmog
- Woody Harrelson Sharing Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory Tied to 5G | NY Post
- Radiation Studies: Non-Ionizing Radiation | CDC
- Twitter Suspends Account of Chinese Virologist Who Claimed Covid-19 Was Man-Made in Wuhan Laboratory | News 18
- How the 5G Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory Tore through the Internet | Wired UK
- How Many People Really Watch or Read RT, Anyway? It’s Hard to Tell, but Some of Their Social Numbers Are Eye-Popping | Nieman Journalism Lab
- Your 5G Phone Won’t Hurt You. But Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise. | The New York Times
- Coronavirus: 5G and Microchip Conspiracies around the World | BBC News
- Conspiracy Theories: The Reptilian Elite | Time
- David Icke Has YouTube Channel Deleted after Linking Coronavirus to 5G and ‘Jewish Cults’ | The Independent
- Kobe Bryant’s Ritual Murder to Fuel Wuhan Coronavirus Hoax Caused by 5G and Incinerator Pollution | Holistic Health Education
- Coronavirus: Scientists Brand 5G Claims ‘Complete Rubbish’ | BBC News
847: 5G | Skeptical Sunday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Maybe you've stayed at an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "This actually seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. Find out how much your place is worth at airbnb.com/host.
[00:00:21] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger and this is Skeptical Sunday, a special edition to The Jordan Harbinger Show. And eventually, I'm going to have to stop saying that because we're going to be doing these so regularly. But today, I'm with journalist and podcaster Andrew Gold. We're going to break down a topic that you may have never thought about, open things up and debunk common misconceptions — topics such as why the Olympics are kind of a sham, why food expiration dates are pretty much complete nonsense, why tipping makes no sense, recycling, banned foods, toothpaste, chemtrails, and a whole lot more.
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[00:01:31] On this episode of Skeptical Sunday, alright, not long ago, if I told you I had 5G in my pocket, you might imagine a stash of a hundred dollar bills that add up to $5,000. Things seem somehow simpler back then because now 5G, whether it's in my pocket or not, conjures up images of a COVID apocalypse, rivers of blood, decimate populations, demons run amok, and the world is infected by, well, it's infected by something all right. And here to discuss the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories with me is British journalist, Andrew Gold.
[00:02:02] Once again, Andrew, does that description of 5G sound about right?
[00:02:06] Andrew Gold: Well, it certainly sounds exciting and scary, doesn't it?
[00:02:09] Jordan Harbinger: It does.
[00:02:10] Andrew Gold: And I think that's part of the thrill of conspiracy. We are, as you say, talking about the hoo-ha around 5G and the coronavirus, as well as the history of bad stuff coming from phones. Basically, are phone signals bad for you? And given your own history with intercepting calls as a kid, Jordan.
[00:02:27] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:02:27] Andrew Gold: You better hope not.
[00:02:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I did wonder why I have six fingers on each hand.
[00:02:32] Andrew Gold: All the better for counting all those Gs in your pocket. You were talking about.
[00:02:35] Jordan Harbinger: True that. So we'll get into whether 5G and other cell phone-related signals are bad for us, but first, I want to know where this kind of thing started.
[00:02:43] Andrew Gold: Okay. Well, the first thing to say is that we as humans are big scaredy cats, and that's a good thing. It helped us evolve and survive. As skeptic, Michael Shermer, who's been on both of our shows, says, if you hear a rustling and a bush and imagine it's a snake, you'll be better prepared, even if it's just the wind. If you are not scared and think it's the wind, the next thing you know you're infected with snake venom.
[00:03:06] Jordan Harbinger: Ah. So like a prehistoric version of COVID always air on the side of fear.
[00:03:11] Andrew Gold: Right. And we absolutely do, or at least some of us do. And we call them conspiracy theorists. New technology is one of the closest things we have to rustling bushes because they're unexpected sudden changes to our environment. For example, remember that guy Socrates?
[00:03:28] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, yes, the famously level-headed philosopher.
[00:03:31] Andrew Gold: Right. Well, he said that the newfangled technology of writing, so the written word, would introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it.
[00:03:41] Jordan Harbinger: Ah. Right. He was afraid that books were going to get rid of people learning things because you apparently had to memorize everything otherwise you didn't know it.
[00:03:48] Andrew Gold: Exactly. So even back then, there was this idea that any new technology would somehow corrupt something ethereal and human, the soul, something like that. Millennia later, it was feared that the printing press would also bring about the apocalypse through the distribution of fake Bibles.
[00:04:05] Jordan Harbinger: Not a bad business idea. Good old fake Bible.
[00:04:08] Andrew Gold: Sorry. Yes. It didn't quite take off that way. And yes, I ran a search for fake Bibles, but it was mostly websites debating the validity of the scriptures.
[00:04:16] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:16] Andrew Gold: So the gap in the market is there for any entrepreneurial listeners looking to sell fake Bibles. Now, the telephone, we're getting closer to modern-day cell phones and today's topic of 5G, was also thought to disconnect us from deeper connections with disembodied voices carrying off into the ether. It would remove the need to meet face-to-face. We'd become lazy, deaf, or mad.
[00:04:40] Jordan Harbinger: Why would people think that talking on a phone where you absolutely need to listen would make you deaf? That part I don't get, that's maybe a different Skeptical Sunday. You and I talk over the phone, or the equivalent essentially professionally, I'm certainly not lazy or deaf yet.
[00:04:53] Andrew Gold: Not lazy or death, but mad as hatters.
[00:04:55] Jordan Harbinger: Indeed.
[00:04:56] Andrew Gold: It won't surprise you to learn, Jordan. Similar concerns were raised with the invention of the television. Just think of the movie Poltergeist or The Ring and how those movies echo very real societal fears about the destruction of the soul through the tech itself. TV and film are often a mirror held up to reflect the fears of society. In 2001, a Space Odyssey in the '60s with its evil computer Hal. It was another movie that had technology held up as the end of mankind.
[00:05:23] Soundbite: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
[00:05:27] Jordan Harbinger: You know, I never thought of The Ring as social commentary. I just thought it was a dumb horror movie, but now that you mention it, I kind of get it. Right. So the snake rustling in the bush.
[00:05:36] Andrew Gold: Right. And snakes are very real dangers, especially if you live somewhere like Australia.
[00:05:40] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:05:41] Andrew Gold: But for most of us, most of the time it's just the wind. No snakes. This leads us to 5G or at least wireless connections. One thing I should cover is what a G is. It merely stands for generation.
[00:05:53] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:05:54] Andrew Gold: Amazing. How few of us know that despite engaging with and talking through 5G daily, we have very short memories, but 5G is obviously not the first iteration of G, but it's not the fifth either because the OG of G was OG or 0G. Then, there were other versions like 2.5G, 2.75G and GPRS, whatever the heck that monstrosity is.
[00:06:17] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Yeah. What is that?
[00:06:18] Andrew Gold: General Packet Radio Service. Thanks for asking. It's just a different type of data transfer. GPRS transfers packets of data at less consistent intervals compared to 2G, which is a constant transfer of data.
[00:06:31] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, I suppose I get it.
[00:06:33] Andrew Gold: Yep. You don't need to know that.
[00:06:34] Jordan Harbinger: I regret now knowing that.
[00:06:36] Andrew Gold: Me too.
[00:06:37] Jordan Harbinger: So why didn't we have the same pervasiveness of fear and conspiracy around the early G's? I mean, we've had these G's for a while. Why do people only care now that there's five?
[00:06:46] Andrew Gold: Well, we did care.
[00:06:48] Jordan Harbinger: Uh-huh.
[00:06:48] Andrew Gold: But the irony is that the very people, most frightened of cell phone technology were also afraid of the Internet, so they didn't post anywhere about their cell phone fears. And even those who did post about it had nowhere near the same kind of reach online that people do today. The first of what we'd recognize as a cell phone with 0G was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X in 1983. It was a big brick. It took 10 hours to charge and gave you 30 minutes of talk time, and it cost the equivalent accounting for inflation of $10,500.
[00:07:21] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:07:21] Andrew Gold: It wasn't until the arrival of 3G in the early 2000s, then 4G and 5G, that social media was pervasive and powerful enough to make a real dent in our culture.
[00:07:31] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, but hang on. As a kid, I remember being told that radiation from cell phone use would cause brain tumors and all sorts of other malevolent things. That even predates the Internet. So it's not like these rumors of this being bad for you were not around before.
[00:07:46] Andrew Gold: Correct. Even if fears and conspiracies didn't spread at quite the same rate, they still existed and the brain tumor fears weren't entirely unsubstantiated. The World Health Organization reported in 2014 that the electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
[00:08:10] Jordan Harbinger: And that sounds pretty scary. I mean, we're holding these things up to our head, at least until the invention of the earbuds that came with the iPhone 3G or whatever.
[00:08:18] Andrew Gold: Yeah. Well, it is and isn't scary because the WHO also reports that no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use. And results from long-term animal testing — I guess they give a dog a phone — has shown no adverse effects.
[00:08:31] Jordan Harbinger: Knick knack paddy whack give a dog a phone. Continue. Go ahead.
[00:08:35] Andrew Gold: Exactly. That said, animal testing is not always a good enough indicator of what is harmful for humans. So we could do a Skeptical Sunday on that.
[00:08:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:43] Andrew Gold: So it's all a bit vague. It appears that cell phone use does not cause cancer, but that it's not beyond the realms of scientific theory, but it could on some tiny, tiny level, have some effect. Many cancers take decades to crop up, and phones have only been around in a big way for two or three decades.
[00:09:02] Jordan Harbinger: So how do we clear up this confusion? Is there any reason to even try?
[00:09:06] Andrew Gold: Well, the overwhelming consensus today is that mobile phone use does not cause cancer or other health problems. There's simply no known reason to believe that it does. The confusion comes because ionizing radiation has been known to cause certain cancers, and we hold our phones pretty close to our heads when we don't have those headphones plugged in.
[00:09:24] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:09:24] Andrew Gold: However, ionizing radiation is far higher than the radiation emitted by cell phones. To be clear, cell phones emit non-ionizing radiation, also known as radiofrequency energy. The National Cancer Institute stated there is currently no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk in humans. The only consistently recognized biological effect of radiofrequency radiation in humans is heating.
[00:09:52] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. No, it's still I'm sticking to headphones.
[00:09:55] Andrew Gold: As long as they're not Bluetooth.
[00:09:56] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, no.
[00:09:57] Andrew Gold: No, I'm kidding. Bluetooth doesn't.
[00:09:59] Jordan Harbinger: I was like, and they're Bluetooth.
[00:10:00] Andrew Gold: Yeah, no, Bluetooth doesn't have any adverse health effects either, as far as we know.
[00:10:05] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:10:06] Andrew Gold: But you're onto something because even though radiofrequency energy is absolutely not harmful for you. It does drop off dramatically — the levels of it, I should say — the farther you hold your phone from your head. So if you are feeling conspiratorial or you don't like to feel hot and have a hot ear, then certain headphones or loudspeaker is the way to go. But you'll notice that once the cancer debate around cell phones began to clear up and consensus was formed, that phones were fine, the focus among conspiracy theorists switched from phone radiation to cellular networks, and now we're talking about influenza and today's topic of 5G and coronavirus.
[00:10:45] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:10:45] Andrew Gold: There's a difference in the kinds of conspiracies too, because the former, the concern about brain tumors appears to have been framed by understandably worried people as an undesirable, to say the least—
[00:10:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:10:56] Andrew Gold: —side effect of technology. The talk in the dark corners of the Internet around 5G, however, is led by paranoia. That big dark actors are using cellular networks to spread illness and ultimately control the population.
[00:11:10] Jordan Harbinger: The brain tumor thing freaked me out for a long time, right? Because it's like benefits. Call your wife from the grocery store. Cons, you might die at age 50 from a brain tumor. I'm like, you know what? I'll just go home without the right sausage. We'll be fine.
[00:11:23] Andrew Gold: Yeah.
[00:11:23] Jordan Harbinger: So what is the conspiracy belief around 5G? Because again, because people were burning things down and screaming and there was crazy YouTube videos that had millions of views about this. I mean, it was really, really outsized.
[00:11:34] Andrew Gold: Yeah, it really is something, it's really mad. And the more I looked into it, it was like, oh yeah, there was some sort of kooks talking about 5G. And you look back and you're like, wow, this was really on a national global scale.
[00:11:43] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:11:44] Andrew Gold: So the links between COVID-19 and 5G can be tracked back to one doctor in one newspaper article on the 22nd of January, 2020, an interview with Belgian GP Kris Van Kerckhoven appeared in Belgian newspaper, Het Laatste Nieuws and the title was "5G is life-threatening and no one knows it." It came out right at the start of news about the coronavirus, just when it had taken nine lives in China. It hadn't even spread to Europe yet, or America, I suppose it was just in China at this point. So this kind of reinforced the idea in the minds of conspiracy theorists because as 5G became more prominent in the West, so did COVID.
[00:12:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. We are nothing if not pattern seekers, and I think Michael Shermer, who you mentioned earlier, talked about this. If we see patterns in everything, we connect dots, even if there are no dots to connect.
[00:12:33] Andrew Gold: Yes. And all the doctors said was, I mean, he started with, "I have not done a fact-check."
[00:12:38] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, well, thanks. That's a solid start. "Hey, this might be complete nonsense, but here's the thing that's going to set off this unstoppable bullsh*t."
[00:12:45] Andrew Gold: It's quite a common thing among conspiracy theorists. Like, "I'm not saying it, I'm just putting it out there."
[00:12:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. "I'm just asking questions and making it sound like I know what I'm talking about, but then putting a question mark at the end so I don't get sued." Yeah.
[00:12:57] Andrew Gold: And running an ad for, you know, some sort of conspiracy tech thing.
[00:13:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:13:00] Andrew Gold: But yeah, and the doctor continued, "But it may be a link with current events." It immediately spread across the Dutch-speaking online world, the rumors and the conspiracy theories, Facebook and the like. Something that wasn't as prominent, of course, in the earlier iterations of G, like 1G and 2G. I tracked down a forum with a post about it the day it came out, and it was entitled, "Doctor warns of 5G consequences and the newspaper commits censorship." This is what's in the post, "A wonderful article appeared in the newspaper today, an honest piece, a relief for the people who know what it is." Half a day later, however, the entire article has disappeared. It's a bit, hey, that truth, I think that truth must be like a Belgian way of saying like, um, you know, oh, there's some true stuff that's being taken down.
[00:13:45] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I mean, that's a common refrain among conspiracy theorists is they're trying to censor me and it's like, well, we're trying to make sure you don't spread bullsh*t, but hey, you know, fine, whatever. Potayto, potahto, I suppose.
[00:13:55] Andrew Gold: Potayto, potahto. You're exactly right. And you can see that conspiratorial tone right away. The idea that there's a brave truth to teller coming out to tell the truth about the phone companies. And here's what I find really interesting. One of the things about conspiracy theories is that to believe in just one of them, you often have to believe in all of them at the same time, people can believe in seemingly incongruous conspiracies. One example, Michael Shermer, again, he cites, is that those who believe the moon landings were fakes are also more likely to believe we've hidden structures on the far side of the moon.
[00:14:26] Jordan Harbinger: I see. So not only did we not land on the moon, but also we built a base on the other side of the moon, but we didn't land there. But also there's a base there, and if you think about it too hard, your last remaining two brain cells implode.
[00:14:39] Andrew Gold: Yeah. Well, and by that exact same token, the very people most likely to call COVID a hoax were probably the same, who believed it was very real.
[00:14:48] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:48] Andrew Gold: And being spread by 5G towers and the way they make that work in their minds, the mental gymnastics required is by stating that coronavirus is fake.
[00:14:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:14:57] Andrew Gold: The 5G towers are the cause of the deaths, but 5G has been deployed to make you ill. And then give the government or Bill Gates access to your information through the microchips in the vaccines to cure the coronavirus. So there are all sorts of online comments from people who fear losing their privacy and autonomy and so on.
[00:15:17] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, so those who think coronavirus doesn't even exist are also more likely to believe that 5G spreads Corona. So what they're saying is not that coronavirus doesn't exist, but that. It's not what we say it is or that's what science says it is, but that it's caused by 5G. So it's not a virus, it's a radiation-induced syndrome that can only be cured by Bill Gates microchips that go in your blood.
[00:15:39] Andrew Gold: Yeah. I mean, it depends on the person, the conspiracy theories you speak to.
[00:15:42] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:15:42] Andrew Gold: But that's pretty much it. Yeah, there'll be slight variations, so it could be the coronavirus doesn't exist, but there's some sort of other virus, as you say. Or the whole thing is fake, but we just have to get vaccines and you've just got a cold. All those kinds of things, and the human mind never ceases to amaze, and our social media hive mind is just as incredible. So the 5G Corona links spread to English language, social media, and websites, and to the rest of the world.
[00:16:05] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:16:05] Andrew Gold: The Belgian newspapers' editor expressed regret at publishing the article and that it took off so fast before they could take the article down. But that was enough, it spread. The magazine Wired writes that the conspiracy was propelled by engagement algorithms that were smart enough to spot a viral trend, but dumb enough not to notice the idiocy of its content. And then, celebrities, obviously, got involved and started piling in. So even Woody Harrelson shared the conspiracy theory on Instagram and he started with, "I haven't fully vetted it."
[00:16:36] Jordan Harbinger: I'm sensing a trend. Yes, okay, that's starting to become something of a theme. I haven't checked the facts, I haven't fully vetted it. This may or may not be true, but here I'm going to spread it anyway.
[00:16:44] Andrew Gold: Exactly. It's the precise opposite of how we operate on Skeptic Sunday. But Woody continued, "I find it very interesting." So again, it is that thing of like, this is interesting. I'm just putting it out there and spreading it like wildfire. What Woody was sharing, I should say, was a piece about how 5G was helping spread the contagion. So online petitions were signed by hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens, dozens of telecommunications masks were burned down.
[00:17:08] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:17:08] Andrew Gold: So this got pretty heavy. And then the worst possible thing for the containment or curbing of a conspiracy theory happened.
[00:17:15] Jordan Harbinger: Uh, what would that be?
[00:17:16] Andrew Gold: Politicians denied it. So you can imagine.
[00:17:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Right.
[00:17:20] I want to take a quick break. In the meantime, grab that radiation device in your pocket that's heating up your junk and support one of the fine products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:17:32] This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. So we used to travel a lot for podcast interviews and conferences, and we love staying in Airbnbs because we often meet interesting people in the States are just more unique and fun. One of our favorite places to stay at in LA is with a sweet older couple whose kids and moved out. They have a granny flat in their backyard. We used to stay there all the time. We were regulars always booking their Airbnb when we flew down for interviews. And we loved it because they leave a basket of snacks, sometimes a bottle of wine, even a little note for us. And they would leave us freshly baked banana bread because they knew that I liked it. And they even became listeners of this podcast, which is how they knew about the banana bread. So after our house was built, we decided to become hosts ourselves, turning one of our spare bedrooms into an Airbnb. Maybe you've stayed in an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Hey, this seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. You could be sitting on an Airbnb and not even know it. Perhaps you get a fantastic vacation plan for the balmy days of summer. As you're out there soaking up the sun and making memories, your house doesn't need to sit idle, turn it into an Airbnb. Let it be a vacation home for somebody else. And picture this, your little one isn't so little anymore. They're headed off to college this fall. The echo in their now empty bedroom might be a little too much to bear. So whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills or something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.com/host.
[00:18:55] And now back to the show.
[00:18:58] Okay, so we've tracked how this came to light, but what are the belief systems of the anti-5 G protestors? What do they believe 5G is actually doing to the body, right? It's not zapping us with germs. What do they surmise is the method here?
[00:19:11] Andrew Gold: Yeah. I'm glad you asked this cause it's just so hard to find anything on it. And that is the thing I wanted to know as well. And you look into it. It does appear to be scientifically, surprise, surprise.
[00:19:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:19:20] Andrew Gold: Completely baseless.
[00:19:21] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:19:21] Andrew Gold: But like any religion and belief system, there are actually several spinoffs, several different iterations of this and versions. The central tenet is always, 5G is somehow dangerous, as vague as that is.
[00:19:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:33] Andrew Gold: But some believe it worsens the effects of coronavirus by weakening our immune systems. Others say it causes coronavirus, or at least coronavirus-like symptoms. For a bit of variety, others say that it doesn't cause coronavirus, but coronavirus was faked to keep everyone inside so that they could install the 5G networks, and then there might be some nefarious overlord who wants to use those networks to control the populace and steal our phone data. Then, we get into the really exciting stuff that links Bill Gates or even the Illuminati and some dark evil people to all of this.
[00:20:08] Jordan Harbinger: You can see how quickly this falls apart, right? We got to keep everyone inside so we can check notes, climb up the telephone pole and screw a little thing into it. I mean, people are doing work outside all the time. You don't have to keep the entire population of the world inside to do this.
[00:20:22] Andrew Gold: Right.
[00:20:22] Jordan Harbinger: And steal our phone data. I mean, it's routed through the server of whatever cell phone company you're using. So don't worry. The NSA and the company and everybody else who wants to get their copy of your data is basically going to be able to do that 5G or no.
[00:20:36] Andrew Gold: Exactly.
[00:20:37] Jordan Harbinger: All right. Is there even an inkling of truth in any of these conspiracy theories? Is 5G bad for us? Because sometimes, you know, there's a little bit of truth and then they just kind of stretch it until it breaks. But maybe there is a little kernel in here. I don't know.
[00:20:49] Andrew Gold: Well, that's the thing, when I started researching this, I guess I was hoping to find kernels of truth.
[00:20:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:55] Andrew Gold: Because I personally, as an investigator, I find that much more interesting when I start looking into something and then something unlikely or unexpected happens and there's a gray area. And you know, even looking into cults and things like that, cult leaders become cult leaders because they have grains of truth in what they say typically. And that appeals to a large group of people. And I live for those kinds of moments, discovering what those bits of truth are. And we must also remember not to dismiss the concerns of conspiracy theorists because however, rarely, sometimes that rustling bush will be a snake.
[00:21:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:21:27] Andrew Gold: Think of the Epstein Island, think of Watergate. Erin Brockovich had to fight against exactly that kind of skeptical reaction when she said the Hinkley groundwater exposure had caused illness to the people who lived by it. So it's important we properly investigate these kinds of claims, as we did with the link between phones and brain tumors. However, there is just no scientific evidence that 5G has or ever had anything to do with coronavirus. Like the old phone concerns, the Internet keyboard warriors have also linked 5G to non-ionizing radiation, which can cause damage to tissue, but isn't strong enough in phones to cause damage according to the FDA and most sources. And the rest of the more out there 5G conspiracy stuff is about chemtrails, which are clouds left by planes that people believe contain secret chemicals. And there are also deep-state conspiracy theories that the government is controlling us and out to get us.
[00:22:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we did a whole Skeptical Sunday on chemtrails so people can go have a look at that. There's also a Skeptical Sunday playlist in our starter pack, so if you go to jordanharbinger.com/start, you'll see the whole playlist there and you can find it easily.
[00:22:29] Andrew Gold: The chemtrails thing, yeah, where it's really water condensation and people think, "Oh, they're spraying these metals and chemicals." It's kind of a spinoff of the 5G tower logic only sprayed from planes and helicopters.
[00:22:41] Jordan Harbinger: All right, so what if the deep state and the government really are out to get us? Like I said, we did one on emtrails and there were quite a lot of unreasonably angry people in my inbox. I had some Instagram comments from people that were totally loony tunes. What's interesting about this is conspiracy theorists really behave as if they are personally attacked when their beliefs are contradicted. It's like a religion for them. If somebody says, "Hey, Jordan, this thing you believe is not true." I'll go, "Huh, okay, well how do you know? Can you send me evidence?" But if I say, "Hey, chemtrails are not a thing, it's air condensation." People are like, "You know what? Screw you. I hope your family dies. I better not ever see you. I'm unsubscribing. I'm leaving you one-star reviews where I'm going to curse out your wife." I'm just like, "What?" They're just taking it completely to a new level and it's so personal for them.
[00:23:27] Andrew Gold: It's funny because you were sort of elevating the things they said, each one and you started with, 'I hope your family dies," and then you got to, "I'm going to leave you a one-star review." It's like, that's the worst one.
[00:23:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, you can hope all you want, but don't be negatively reviewing the show. That's real-world consequences for me.
[00:23:43] Andrew Gold: Yeah. I'd rather put my family in danger, but don't give me a one-star review.
[00:23:46] Jordan Harbinger: How dare you. Yeah.
[00:23:48] Andrew Gold: For the sake of my own reviews and stuff, then I won't say anything more about chemtrails. They're fine. What I believe what you want about that everyone.
[00:23:54] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:23:54] Andrew Gold: When you have a go at someone's belief, uh, you challenge someone's belief, we make our beliefs a part of our identity, and that's when you can't challenge them. So I think, Jordan, you probably hold many beliefs, probably quite disparate beliefs, and one of the core tenets of your personality, just from listening to your podcast and from knowing you, is your curiosity and your willingness to be proved wrong.
[00:24:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:24:13] Andrew Gold: So that is what your identity is about. Whereas if that wasn't your job and that wasn't your identity, and your identity was somebody who believes in chemtrails, if somebody then came and said, "Oh, that's all rubbish." Then, that is going to hurt and people are going to defend themselves however they can.
[00:24:28] Jordan Harbinger: You're right, there's a lot of community around conspiracy nonsense too. So if you look at flat earth, which is another topic we should probably address.
[00:24:35] Andrew Gold: Yeah.
[00:24:35] Jordan Harbinger: There are a lot of people that go to conferences, they write books, they make money, they make fake globes, they that are flat and models of this, and they do their live streams. So they're making money. It's part of their job, their egos caught up in it. So when you say, "Hey, by the way, an elementary school student can prove you wrong, using very simple experiments." They don't go, "Oh, I'd like to see that." They go, "You're part of this conspiracy. How dare you, Neil Degrasse Tyson, you're an enemy of the people."
[00:25:01] Andrew Gold: Yeah.
[00:25:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Because you're attacking their income stream, their friend circle. Not just something that they kind of believe because they watched a YouTube video. They're too wrapped up in it.
[00:25:10] Andrew Gold: That's the thing. And I wonder sometimes, and again I won't labor the point, but I wonder sometimes if it's when we don't have enough else going on in our lives. I think back to when I was 18 or 19, most of us would go to universities and things like that or, or your first house, your first apartment, whatever, you put posters of the kinds of movies you like around the room to express your identity.
[00:25:25] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:25] Andrew Gold: Because you don't have much more. And then, if somebody says like, "Huh, you like The Godfather? That's terrible, that film, again." That's the closest thing to a core belief system you have is like, "I like The Godfather," you know? And as you get older, you start to develop other interests and other things, and you're not too worried about what your identity is. I think that's when it becomes a problem if you don't have that.
[00:25:42] Jordan Harbinger: That's a really good point. If you make fun of someone's favorite band in high school—
[00:25:45] Andrew Gold: Ooh.
[00:25:45] Jordan Harbinger: —them's fighting words.
[00:25:47] Andrew Gold: Yeah.
[00:25:47] Jordan Harbinger: But if you tell me now that you don't like whatever DJ or EDM in general, I'm not going to be like, "Wow, we can't be friends anymore. because you don't like the kind of, I just don't even care. It's a non-issue, completely."
[00:25:57] Andrew Gold: I liked Coldplay before they were cold.
[00:26:00] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I thought the Earth was flat before I started making live streams about it on YouTube. Yeah.
[00:26:04] Andrew Gold: I don't know, we shouldn't have a go too much at conspiracy theorists because we do need them. Without the conspiracy theorists, we'd never uncover the small percentage of them that are actually happening, the small percentage of conspiracies.
[00:26:14] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:26:14] Andrew Gold: So I think they are wrong about chemtrails and 5G, but they're right about some stuff. There's no doubt that the whole point of being in government is to control the people.
[00:26:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:23] Andrew Gold: There's no doubt that while many want to do good, there are bad actors out there who would like to tell you how to live your life, who'd be willing to make you ill to suit their purposes. Just think of the tobacco industry. But the evidence linking 5G to coronavirus is just not there. So if dark secret people are controlling us and making us ill, it appears that 5G is not their weapon of choice.
[00:26:44] Jordan Harbinger: So why did this particular theory capture the public imagination so much? Was it just timing?
[00:26:50] Andrew Gold: It was during a time when the word coronavirus or COVID-19 was just so viral, you know?
[00:26:55] Jordan Harbinger: I see what you did there. Okay.
[00:26:57] Andrew Gold: Yes. And it puts social media platforms in a really difficult position because on the one hand, it's perhaps their duty to prevent this kind of misinformation from spreading the kind that causes wild hysteria. On the other hand, in so doing, they've at times jumped the shark and banned tweets, Twitter users and so on for reporting on what turned out to be potentially true with regards to coronavirus.
[00:27:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:20] Andrew Gold: In 2020, Twitter suspended a Chinese virologist who claims to have proof coronavirus was made in a lab. We still don't know for sure the origins of COVID, but only a year later that possibility was being seriously considered by mainstream scientists. So what was initially an attempt by social media platforms to censor misinformation, now looks, especially to conspiracy theorists, but also to the rest of us, like an attempt to shut down open dialogue and prevent people getting to the truth, and that's a real problem for free speech. And then we can get really philosophical and say, do even those propagating misinformation have the right to free speech? And even when that speech is promoted and amplified on social media, and even when that information is absolutely wrong. All I can say is I don't envy the people in charge of the social media platforms who are being tasked with adjudicating on this.
[00:28:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, agree. I'm no expert on this, and I'm obviously very strongly against misinformation and disinformation. It's one of the major missions of this show in the first place that said, people, frankly, they should have the right to post idiotic stuff online, but I digress.
[00:28:27] Andrew Gold: You're right. And I think the only valid opinion to hold on this is that no one opinion is a hundred percent right.
[00:28:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:28:33] Andrew Gold: It's how we choose to live as a society together, I suppose. But whatever the reasons, and they are myriad, the coronavirus-5G fake link penetrated society and captures the imagination as much as any other conspiracy in recent years. Coronavirus was and still is really scary. One of the key parts of conspiracy theories is the fact that the only thing scarier than the idea that the government are controlling us and making us ill is the concept that the government doesn't actually know what it's doing, that nobody does, and no one's in charge.
[00:29:04] And when everything's shut down for almost two years, we were faced with that existential crisis in a very raw way. Suddenly, we were seeing that nobody knew what the virus was exactly how to stop it spreading, how many of us would die, how long we should stay in our homes. The government, the people in charge of us all, were exposed as what they are just humans like us who don't necessarily know what they're doing. An odd wager that that is as scary as any conspiracy theory.
[00:29:33] Jordan Harbinger: So the conspiracy theorist linking 5G to coronavirus thought they were uncovering a scary, apocalyptic vision, but maybe they were really just trying to console themselves. This has occurred to me, right? They want to make the world seem less scary to believe that somebody is in control of the ship, pulling the strings, even if it's secret to dark, nefarious, whatever, not just, "Hey, we don't have any idea what's going on here." You're right. It does make you feel better in a weird way, to think there's a very well-organized enemy that's keeping things really secret and pulling the strings rather than we are just at the mercy of nature and it's completely unpredictable.
[00:30:08] Andrew Gold: Exactly. There could be a solar flare in a second and we'd all die so quickly that we wouldn't even have known about it. In fact, that's scientifically probably completely inaccurate.
[00:30:16] Jordan Harbinger: I was going to say, is that what solar flares do? I thought they just knocked out electronics, but, okay, speaking of wild instantiated claims, Skeptical Sunday, where we just say whatever random crap comes into our head without checking, I haven't vetted this, but there could be a solar flare.
[00:30:31] Andrew Gold: There could be one that knocks stuff out and we don't have electricity. All right. That could happen at any moment, so we should be concerned about it.
[00:30:39] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[00:30:39] Andrew Gold: But yeah, and this is a thing, you know, we can make wild claims and things, but by the end of the sentence that I'm saying it, I hope to rectify it and think, actually that's probably not true. That's a sci-fi movie I saw. But as you say, you know, we all want or need to believe that someone is in charge. And the belief among many who subscribe to the COVID-5G conspiracy is that if we just take down the towers.
[00:30:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:30:59] Andrew Gold: Get rid of 5G, go back to simpler times, we can cure everyone. It's a desperate belief, and I suppose we shouldn't mock these people because they just want answers and certainty in an incredibly uncertain time.
[00:31:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:31:13] Andrew Gold: Nothing scares them and the rest of us more than the reality that COVID is very complex and has left us facing some really tricky philosophical questions around risk, sacrifice, and certainty.
[00:31:24] Jordan Harbinger: Now, you mentioned before that a Belgian newspaper deleted the article that caused a lot of this, or kicked a lot of this off. Have any mainstream broadcasters actually stuck with a conspiracy theory linking 5G to coronavirus?
[00:31:36] Andrew Gold: Maybe not mainstream publications as such, but the Kremlin-backed RT or Russia Today has pushed the 5G-COVID links more than any other big broadcaster. In fact, RT's correspondent Michele Greenstein said as far back as 2019 that 5G has just one catch. "It might kill you."
[00:31:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a pretty big catch. But then again, look how fast my email downloads now, and I can just share dick pics with absolutely blazing speed.
[00:32:03] Andrew Gold: From what I've heard, Jordan, that must use up a lot of bandwidth.
[00:32:11] Oh, great. But anyway, the journalist, Michele Greenstein has repeated 5G COVID claims according to Wired at least 10 times, while RT itself has linked 5G not only to coronavirus, but cancer, nosebleeds, and learning disabilities.
[00:32:26] Jordan Harbinger: Does anyone watch RT anymore? I know that used to be a thing, but is that still a thing?
[00:32:31] Andrew Gold: It is pretty popular. At least, we think it is. There's been debate even at Harvard's Neiman Lab that was set up to ensure quality journalism about how many of RT's apparent viewers are real. Some call it a news channel. Some claim it is state propaganda. Maybe that's another potential Skeptical Sunday unto itself. But in terms of popularity, it's parked a little outside of the mainstream publications, but still gets a few percent of viewers and readers, particularly in France and Germany, and particularly on social media where it has a relatively large impact. But on YouTube, Russia Today was getting over a million views in many of their videos.
[00:33:09] Jordan Harbinger: You are listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:33:13] This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. We used to travel a lot for podcast interviews and conferences, and we love staying in Airbnbs. We often meet interesting people. The stays there are more unique, more fun. One of our favorite places to stay in LA, a sweet older couple, their kids moved out. They've got an in-law unit in their backyard. We used to stay there. We used to book that place every time we flew down for interviews, and it's great. They had parking, they had snacks, they would bake banana bread for me because they knew I liked it. They listened to this podcast, which is a great way to become one of my favorite people. So maybe you've stayed in an Airbnb before, you thought to yourself, "Hey, this seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." We built one in our house with a separate entrance because we thought we would utilize the space. It could be as simple as starting with a spare room, your whole place while you're away. You could be sitting in an Airbnb right now and not even know it. Maybe you live in a city with a music festival, an epic sporting tournament, and that noise isn't your cup of tea. Get out of town. Make a quick getaway. Leave the chaos behind. Meanwhile, Airbnb your home, earn a little extra cash while you're at it. Or maybe you're in the work-from-home club and now you're back in the office. The home office well equipped, ready for use, so it doesn't have to sit there and gather dust, turn it into an Airbnb. Earn a neat little sum on the side, so whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills or something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.ca/host.
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[00:34:45] Now for the rest of Skeptical Sunday.
[00:34:49] To clarify here, RT used to be called Russia Today, now it's just RT. It is Kremlin-backed. It is Kremlin funded. So what they do is quite clever here. They report a lot of real news. Then, they also report tons and tons of nonsense. So it's probably 80/20 real news, 20 percent, completely made-up nonsense. At least that used to be kind of how it is. So it is a propaganda channel, and it is, or was one of the most watched news channels on YouTube, which is actually kind of scary. The reason they mixed real news and fake stuff is so that you would watch something and go, "Well, I know this happened because it's being reported on mainstream news." And then you'd see some crazy nonsense that was fake and wasn't reported elsewhere, but you would go, "Well, I mean, they just reported on this flood I saw on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. So this is probably true also. And the mainstream's just not covering it because it's unfavorable to the US or the West or whatever."
[00:35:37] Andrew Gold: Mm-hmm.
[00:35:37] Jordan Harbinger: So a lot of conspiracy wonks, they don't seem to realize this. They think it's a credible channel when much of it is really fabricated by design to make the West look bad and to create distrust in Western media.
[00:35:51] Andrew Gold: Well, as we were touching on before, I mean that's the perfect recipe, a mixture of grains of truth—
[00:35:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:35:56] Andrew Gold: —with some of the sort of stuff that's quite attractive to a certain mind. And I know you and I have on our podcast done a lot on cults over the years.
[00:36:02] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:03] Andrew Gold: If you think about Scientology, a lot of the stuff they say is actually quite helpful and useful to a lot of people. A lot of it is like, you know, go basically to therapy. They hate psychiatry, but they basically do therapy all the time. They say you are responsible for your life a lot of bit, Jordan Peterson, you know, make your bed. You know, just, you got to go and make your bed. There's a lot of that stuff in Scientology.
[00:36:22] Jordan Harbinger: It's a pretty good accent. I got to tell you.
[00:36:24] Andrew Gold: Well, you, you know, it's, uh, listen up Buckle.
[00:36:29] Jordan Harbinger: Not bad.
[00:36:30] Andrew Gold: You've never seen him and Kermit the Frog and Bill Gates and Ray Romano in the same room.
[00:36:35] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[00:36:35] Andrew Gold: Oh, they've all got this kind of, you know, uh, voice. But that's my Jordan Peterson anyway. But Scientology gives you a lot of this like really interesting stuff and like philosophy that works for a lot of people.
[00:36:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:45] Andrew Gold: And then they go, "And have you heard about Lord Zenu, the alien overlord who comes over yet," you know?
[00:36:50] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:36:50] Andrew Gold: But it's, of course, all fallen apart for Russia Today, or RT now because their American arm disbanded after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
[00:36:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:59] Andrew Gold: It is also blocked on British TV and YouTube has banned them. And as for Michele Greenstein, she appears to have left journalism altogether, so she's no longer on our screens.
[00:37:08] Jordan Harbinger: You know, RT, I've told this story on the show before, they tried to recruit me as a correspondent a million years ago.
[00:37:14] Andrew Gold: Shut up.
[00:37:14] Jordan Harbinger: I think they go for people that are either total kooks. Michele Greenstein is a complete kook. I've looked up her recent stuff and she's just, she'll believe or spread anything. I'm not sure if she's a true believer or just going for the clicks, but they also try and get people who look like they have real journalism chops, not that that's me, or people with an existing audience that are willing to spread baloney or just be edgy. I can't remember what my original point was, but the point is that basically pay above market, if you're willing to just sacrifice your credibility.
[00:37:44] Andrew Gold: Yeah. Well, I mean, how much would you need to be paid? And it's a real question because I know everyone says, you know, oh, integrity and stuff, but everyone's got their price, even if it's like a billion. So what price would it be that you would then be willing to be their journalist and have to sometimes say stuff where you're like, "I'm not sure this is true"?
[00:38:00] Jordan Harbinger: I'm going to be completely honest. You know, my whole thing is integrity, but it depends on what it is. If I'm starting to spread stuff that's like, "Jews, da, da, da, da," that's pretty bad. You know, I don't know if I could be paid to do that. I don't think I could sleep at night if I was promoting genocidal stuff. I don't think I could do that. But if it was like I'm just saying are, "Is 5G bad for you? Just asking questions." Pull the old Tucker Carlson. I mean, I don't know, 50 million goes a long way these days. And you know what? Who am I really hurting? I'd start to rationalize like, "So what? People have slower data on their cell phones? I'm just asking questions." I think once I start hurting people, I don't know, man. The money goes way, way, way, way, way, way up. Not that I wouldn't have some price, but you're right. I'd have to be like hundreds of millions of dollars because really it's not going to increase my quality of life to have five million more dollars. It's not worth it. And that's frankly not what RT was offering.
[00:38:49] Andrew Gold: Yeah. Well this is the thing I think I never want to moralize and I never want to look at those people who do do those things and think, oh, they're bad people. And they're worse than us because I think we're all bad in some ways. We're all selfish, and that's what makes humans so great. Like we're really interesting and unpredictable. And I think what has to happen is you have to be approached when you are not already wealthy in any way and suddenly you get a bit of a claim. There are people watching your show and you're like, oh my God. And then it starts slowly. So it starts with like the vitamin juices and things or ones that don't work or do. And you know, it starts with that. And then someone says, look, you know, your numbers are starting to go down. You panic. You need to do something about 5G and coronavirus. And then you're going, uh, well I guess it won't hurt any, like you say. And I think gradually you get to that point and you're holding onto your channel or your news status or whatever, your career and people would do a lot to hold onto their careers. And I think that's how they get really fine. You get to a Tucker Carlson point, or sometimes Piers Morgan or one of these people, I think they've just done it for so long now, you just stop caring. It's just work for them, you know?
[00:39:47] Jordan Harbinger: I would agree, and I think, I'm not even saying that all those guys are always acting in bad faith. I think if you have beliefs in the left or the right and their good faith beliefs, then fine. But I think a lot of times when you get on television or you're doing something for ratings or clicks, you start to move the line of what you believe, frankly. That's part of the game and media, unfortunately. And I think it's positive that RT can no longer spread misinformation. I'm not a censorship guy, of course, but I think the fact that they're no longer on air plays into the hands of the conspiracy theorists who say they were gagged.
[00:40:18] Andrew Gold: Well, exactly. And they're right that if this was the case, that the deep state were trying to control us with COVID D as they believe, then a channel that was shedding light on that would be taken off the air just like they were. So they have a point in that sense, and they're going to become even more conspiratorial because of it. Let's play the conspiracy game ourselves because there are plenty of reasons why the Russian State might have wanted to spread 5G misinformation. And the New York Times believes it was as a way to hinder the global rollout of 5G while Russia caught up with the technology.
[00:40:49] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:40:50] Andrew Gold: Historically, Russia from the Bolsheviks to the Cold War has placed huge importance on being seen to be technological equals with the West. And a European Union report has highlighted 150 instances of pro-Kremlin disinformation about the pandemic. Russia, of course, denies this. But look, the 5G conspiracy is way beyond Russia now. It's all over the Internet, and as you can imagine, Alex Jones and Infowars jumped at this.
[00:41:17] Jordan Harbinger: Of course.
[00:41:17] Andrew Gold: They ran with a title, "5G launches in Wuhan weeks before coronavirus outbreak, and they made those leaps. Essentially, we find it hard to deal with coincidence and the idea that things just happen sometimes. We add two plus two and we make five. Just look at Bolivia. People there read about the 5G coronavirus conspiracy and started pulling down and setting fire to the towers. But the country didn't even have 5G or 5G towers, so it was just their old cellular antennae they were destroying. And it gets really murky as you delve deeper into the darker corners of the web. There's a lot of blame on Bill Gates, for example, and it tangles up with QAnon. Infamous conspiracy theorist, David Ike, who believes in reptilians and has a huge support base linked 5G and coronavirus to Jewish cults, which is not surprising, although it implicates me as I am Jewish.
[00:42:07] But you are involved too, Jordan, because one social media influencer, Amandha Vollmer, an anti-vaxxer and mumpreneur, even managed to somehow link coronavirus and 5G to Kobe Bryant's death. I gather Kobe means a great deal to you and you got to interview him before he died. Well, Amandha believes that 5G in some kind of pollution caused his helicopter to go down.
[00:42:28] Jordan Harbinger: So the reptilians, because people are probably like, wait, did he say reptilians? Yeah. Uh, David Icke, who is, just a nonsense kooky knucklehead. He thinks that people such as Margaret Thatcher, I think was one of them, Anderson Cooper, that they are actually aliens who travel through underground tunnels and are reptilian-like, not human, and that powerful people are all these reptilians and—
[00:42:51] Andrew Gold: Yeah.
[00:42:51] Jordan Harbinger: —I can't tell if he believes it or if he's just a sociopath that gets off on the fact that he has power in an audience. Just spouting the absolute maximum level of nonsense bullsh*t. I'm not sure.
[00:43:00] Andrew Gold: Well about that, whenever I've spoken to fans of his and there are a lot, there are a lot more than you would think. It's not that out there to be a David Icke follower. I'm sure some of the listeners here will be and will be offended the way I'm talking about him. That certainly happens if I ever speak about him on my show and I get comments all the time saying, "Hey, why don't you have David Icke on?" And whenever you challenge them and you're like, 'Well, he does believe in like lizard people dressed up as Margaret Thatcher or whatever." They always say, "Well, okay, I don't believe that bit, but I like the rest of what he says." And you're like, "Oh, f*ck."
[00:43:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:27] Andrew Gold: How can that, you know? I would just dismiss that out of hand, but—
[00:43:30] Jordan Harbinger: Of course. I don't even want to go down this rabbit hole. But if somebody believes something that is so completely insane that like, uh, Joe Biden is an alien and a body double, and the real Joe Biden never existed or died in the '60s or whatever it is. And then says, "But something so da, da, da." And you go, "Well, you know, he believes that such and such are reptile people and aliens and da, da, da. But he also believes this other thing, which seems totally credible." It's like, how do you take the person whose brain contains this one totally ridiculous belief and say that that same brain, it's fine that he says these other things? Now, look, people hold weird, different conflicting beliefs all the time, but they don't make those beliefs part of their identity. If your doctor said, "You know what? The problem is, you have alien DNA, oh, but also you have influenza," I'm going to go ahead and get a second opinion before I take any medicine from this guy or undergo any surgery from this guy. And by second opinion, I mean immediately get a different doctor and report him to the medical board.
[00:44:24] Andrew Gold: Mm-hmm.
[00:44:24] Jordan Harbinger: All right, so this is actually a more subtle point. Kooks who want attention and Internet clout, they're going to hijack something that's newsworthy, e.g., the death of a celebrity like Kobe Bryant, and they're going to make it about their agenda. Look, at how many people took the Queen's death, the football player who collapsed on the field recently, and they just made that about what whatever caused du jour, whether it was the vaccine or whatever, it's, even though there was zero evidence for any of that, they just wanted to be heard. So they made up a link. Of course, many of those people are kooks, but even more are just grifters, right? They're selling you things to protect yourself from whatever it is. COVID, 5G radiation, your testosterone levels going down. I mean, Alex Jones himself sells all these stupid masculinity things, right? It's nonsense.
[00:45:10] Andrew Gold: Frogs.
[00:45:11] Jordan Harbinger: Did you say frogs?
[00:45:12] Andrew Gold: Yeah. Something about frogs, wasn't it?
[00:45:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, he said, he goes, "They're making the freaking frogs gay." And you know what's ironic about this is they are putting chemicals in the water that are making amphibians change because they can change sexes depending on temperature and mating things. So, they're not making the frogs gay, but there are things that are changing the way that these things breed. So it's like the soundbite that everybody says, makes Alex Jones look crazy, is like one of a few things that he actually is not totally, totally wrong and ridiculous about.
[00:45:40] Andrew Gold: That's amazing.
[00:45:40] Jordan Harbinger: It's so funny.
[00:45:41] Andrew Gold: I love that.
[00:45:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And so people will go, "He's kind of right about that, so maybe he is right that some school shooting was a false flag." And it's like, no, no, and no.
[00:45:50] Andrew Gold: Yeah.
[00:45:51] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[00:45:51] Andrew Gold: Horrible.
[00:45:52] Jordan Harbinger: So as I understand it, Something that started with one article in a Belgian newspaper was propagated by the Russians and is now out of anyone's hands. It's just gone viral online and nobody can control it. Kind of just like the virus itself.
[00:46:04] Andrew Gold: That's right. It's across social media and anti-5G forums and it's part of the zeitgeist. It's a little bit like that Streisand effect when she didn't want her house to be shown, Barbara Streisand, and by complaining about it, more people saw the house.
[00:46:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:17] Andrew Gold: Well, the more we talk about 5G misinformation as we're doing right now, it's possible that a small percentage of listeners forget the missed part of misinformation. And in years to come, have some vague memory of there being something inherently dubious about 5G.
[00:46:31] Jordan Harbinger: And if you think it's bad now, wait until 2030 when 6G is out. I don't know when that's coming out. That's a speculation, but I assume we're going to get Gs.
[00:46:40] Andrew Gold: From what I've seen, it is around 2030, but it is all speculative right now, but it's supposed to be about, then when 6G is coming, I think we can almost guarantee there'll be some variation of conspiracy and fear and the unknown when 6G does come out. I for one, I'm a bit of a techno file. You're the same as I am, aren't you, Jordan? I'd imagine.
[00:46:57] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, yeah. I mean, we rely on this to make a living as well. That's why we're biased in part of the deep state because we're using our Gs to make money. Just like David Icke.
[00:47:05] Andrew Gold: Exactly. Oh, man. So yeah, so we are looking forward to the next generations of speeds and things, but because of that Streisand effect, I do think it's important for us to end on this. I've searched long and far and found no evidence whatsoever. No real tangible theories even, which was a bit surprising for me that link 5G to COVID. Dr. Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading told the BBC that the notion that 5G either depletes our immune system or spreads corona are complete rubbish. He said, your immune system can be dipped by all sorts of things by being tired one day or not having a good diet, sleeping poorly for some reason. Those fluctuations aren't huge but can make you more susceptible to catching viruses. Radio waves can disrupt your physiology as they heat you up, meaning your immune system can't function. But the energy levels from 5G radio waves are tiny and they're nowhere near strong enough to affect the immune system. There have actually been lots of studies on this and as we're spreading the virus through 5G, that's just not how viruses work. They can't live long outside the human body and certainly can't hop for a ride on the back of a cell phone network.
[00:48:14] Jordan Harbinger: Well, it sounds pretty categorical. The links between coronavirus and 5G are, uh, hereby debunked, at least for now and at least until further real science, find something that we should take note of.
[00:48:26] Andrew, thank you so much.
[00:48:27] Andrew Gold: Thank you for having me.
[00:48:29] Jordan Harbinger: Again, thank you so much everybody for listening. A lot of positive feedback. Please do keep that coming. Keep the negative feedback to yourself, but suggestions for topics here on Skeptical Sunday, always welcome. You all know how to reach me. We might not get everything right on any given one of these shows. If you hear something that's way off, definitely let us know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Give us your thoughts.
[00:48:48] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. And you can of course find Andrew Gold on his podcast On the Edge with Andrew Gold anywhere you get your podcasts.
[00:49:04] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jasee Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who needs to hear it. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:49:35] You are about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with Airbnb's co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky.
[00:49:42] Brian Chesky: One day, I had this moment in my life where the metaphor is as if the road I'm going to travel looks exactly like the road I have traveled. This is the rest of my life. And I had this moment like, I need to make a change. I don't want to work for a company, I want to be an entrepreneur. So one day, I pack everything the back to seat of old Honda Civic and I drive from San Francisco.
[00:50:00] I get to San Francisco and Joe tells me the rent is $1,150. So I don't have enough money to pay rent. It turns out that weekend though, an International Design Conference was coming to San Francisco, and so that's when we had this idea. We said, "Well, what if we just turned our house into a bed and breakfast for design conference?" Joe had three air beds, so we pulled the air beds out of the closet, we inflated the air beds, and we called it airbedandbreakfast.com. People said this idea will never work, strangers will never stay with other strangers but three people did that one weekend.
[00:50:31] The name Airbnb was purchased on GoDaddy for seven dollars and 99 cents. This summer, we had about four million people every night staying in a home on Airbnb, and these people came from 220 countries and regions staying in a hundred thousand cities. Imagine all the different cultures living together for the first time in human history. In a world, on Zoom, in a world more flexibility is a world where while you're working, you can travel. So suddenly, the calendar is open 365 days a year for a number of people. But even more profound than that, people aren't just traveling Airbnb, they're now living on Airbnb. This is a profound shift.
[00:51:10] I actually think this is one of the biggest shifts in travel since the invention of the airplane, which is to say that the whole nature of travel is blurring with living now. People are just nomadic wait until borders open up. Suddenly, people aren't just going away to, you know, Colorado for the summer. They're going to another country for the summer. And so I think you're going to have this fundamental shift in where people live, where people work, where people travel. And this is probably the biggest change to our daily living at one time since World War II.
[00:51:40] Jordan Harbinger: For more on the idea that took Airbnb to a billion-dollar company, check out episode 566 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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