The Scourge of ERRD-16

Evident-Resistant Reasoning DIsorder can strike without warning.

A stubborn disagreement. A misguided tweet or facebook post. A lame remark. Those things can be normal behaviors. But they could be signs of something much more serious: a syndrome called Evidence-Resistant Reasoning Disorder or ERRD-16. This disorder has expanded explosively since a mutated form was introduced by a super-spreader in 2016.

This super-spreader is thought to have transmitted the disease directly or indirectly to tens of millions of Americans, including many in Congress. The super-spreader’s symptoms remain the gold standard for diagnosing ERRD-16.  Within a relatively short period of time, the super-spreader transmitted contagious statements such as the following to 42% of the U.S. population:

  • Climate change is a Chinese hoax.
  • President Obama was born in a foreign country.
  • COVID-19 infection can be cured with an anti-malaria drug.
  • Windmills cause cancer.
  • The Paris Accord would have cost the U.S. “trillions and trillions of dollars.”
  • The coronavirus is no more dangerous than ordinary flu.

As of mid-April, this patient had spread a remarkable 18,000 provable falsehoods in little more than a thousand days. Many took hold in the brains of the recipients and spread to yet others. Despite aggressive forms of treatment, these falsehoods resist correction through even the most powerful factual evidence or analysis.

Some experts theorize a weaponized form of ERRD-16 escaped from a Russian cyber warfare lab. Others are skeptical, positing a domestic U.S. origin somewhere in the mid-town area of Manhattan.  The mechanism behind the disease is also mysterious.  Some experts believe that an overdose of misinformation damages the fact receptors in the brain.  Others blame memes that interfere with the unfolding of new ideas. For unknown reasons, some subpopulations seem especially vulnerable to this disorder.

Experts have no idea when, or if, a treatment or vaccine for ERRD-16 will be available. Until, they advise social-media distancing from sources of infection.

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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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