I do not suppose I’ve ever had a dialog that lengthy with anybody. Significantly — take into consideration that. We sat in a windowless podcast sales space with two units of headphones and microphones, and some toes between us. Not a single interruption. No cellphones. No distractions. No toilet breaks.
At a time when there’s a want for shorter, crisper content material — responding to abbreviated human consideration spans — one of the crucial standard podcasts within the nation options conversations that final exceptionally lengthy and go significantly deep.
Many associates cautioned me in opposition to accepting Joe’s invitation. “There may be little room for affordable conversations anymore,” one particular person advised me. “He’s a brawler and does not play honest,” one other warned. In reality, after I advised Joe early within the podcast that I did not agree along with his obvious views on vaccines in opposition to Covid, ivermectin and lots of issues in between, a part of me thought the MMA, former Taekwondo champion would possibly hurtle himself throughout the desk and throttle my neck. However, as a substitute he smiled, and off we went.
OK, I’m embellishing right here, however Joe Rogan is the one man within the nation I wished to alternate views with in an actual dialogue — one that would doubtlessly be among the many most essential conversations of this whole pandemic. After listening to his podcasts for some time now, I wished to know: Was Joe merely a sower of doubt, a creator of chaos? Or was there one thing extra? Was he asking questions that begged to be requested, fueled by mandatory suspicion and skepticism?
Into the lion’s den
It wasn’t what Joe Rogan thinks that the majority me, it was how he thinks. That’s what I actually wished to grasp.
Reality is, I’ve at all times been a naturally skeptical particular person myself. Considered one of my private heroes, the physicist Edwin Hubble, mentioned a scientist has a “wholesome skepticism, suspended judgment and disciplined creativeness, not solely about different individuals’s concepts but in addition about their very own.”
It is a great way of fascinated about the world — stuffed with honesty and humility. I dwell by that, and I believe Joe could to some extent as effectively. He would be the first to level out that he’s not a health care provider or a scientist who has studied these matters. As an alternative, he appears to see himself much less a rapscallion and extra of a kind of guardian of the galaxy, stating the missteps made by giant establishments resembling the federal government and mainstream medication, after which questioning aloud if they will nonetheless be trusted to make suggestions and even mandates for the remainder of us. To many, he represents a queen bee in a hive thoughts, advancing free will and private liberty above all else.
The free will of your fist ends the place my nostril begins
Once I mentioned this to Joe, the MMA fighter, he paused, sat again and listened for some time. I requested him: Is it not attainable to advocate strongly for private freedoms, but in addition acknowledge the distinctive risk a extremely contagious illness represents? He appeared to agree, however then shortly countered with a standard false impression in regards to the total utility of the vaccines.
If vaccinated individuals transmit simply as a lot because the unvaccinated, why are they actually mandatory?
Vaccines should not good, however he needed to agree they’re definitely a worthy device to assist management the unfold of the virus. And, they’re significantly efficient at protecting individuals from getting severely in poor health or dying. Additionally they could assist stop the event of lengthy Covid, a persistent state of sickness that some individuals develop after pure an infection, even when their bout with the acute section of an infection was delicate.
What he mentioned subsequent stunned me
So, it seems that Joe Rogan practically received vaccinated. That was a headline. It was a number of months in the past when he was in Las Vegas. He had an appointment scheduled however had logistical hurdles and could not make it. He provided up this story as proof he’s not essentially “anti-vaccine,” even when he does persistently elevate points questioning their legitimacy.
It is this kind of backwards and forwards that makes it laborious to pin Joe Rogan down, each in martial arts and a podcast interview.
Regardless of a downplaying of Covid dangers usually heard on Joe’s podcast, his personal studio prioritizes security. A nurse was current to carry out a speedy Covid check earlier than we started. We had been even checked for the presence of antibodies with a finger prick blood check.
Each of us carried antibodies — his from pure immunity, mine from the vaccine. I used to be vaccinated in December of final yr and Rogan contracted Covid on the finish of August. Regardless that this antibody check may solely detect the presence of antibodies and never their energy, Joe took nice satisfaction in his check, insisting the thickness of his traces should imply stronger immunity. I’m pretty sure he was joking. And, I did not have the center to inform him that my antibody line was considerably thicker than his anyway.
The nuance of immunity
So the query Joe raises, as do many others: Why ought to those that have beforehand had Covid nonetheless get the vaccine?
One other concern with pure immunity is that it could differ considerably primarily based on the age of the person and simply how sick they received within the first place. Milder sickness in older individuals usually resulted in fewer antibodies being produced.
I assume a small a part of me thought I would change Joe Rogan’s thoughts about vaccines. After this final alternate, I noticed it was most likely futile. His thoughts was made up, and there would at all times be loads of misinformation on the market neatly packaged to help his convictions. Reality is although, I’m nonetheless glad I did it. My three-hour-long dialog wasn’t simply with Rogan. If only a few of his listeners had been satisfied, it is going to have been effectively value it.