The problem with science denial is that the truth is the truth, no matter what your opinion on the subject is. Not to worry, the chances are it won’t make a difference in your daily life — but beware, it can kill you. The moral is, pick your stupidity wisely. Denying evolution makes you look like an idiot, but physically leaves you unharmed. Denying climate change might kill your descendants, but you’ll probably make it. But thinking COVID is a hoax can be fatal. And so it was for Hans Kristian Gaarder. On April 6th he died — aged 60 — of COVID.

Gaarder — although not an Amerian —  certainly believed like a certain kind of one. He was an aficionado of 2020 US electoral conspiracy theories. He had a beef with the Illuminati. But his real passion was COVID denial. As late as March 18, he was on social media criticizing the “massive measures” aimed at preventing infection of “something that will be like a cold or light flu.” He wondered whether the measures really were a means of “camouflaging that the Coronavirus does NOT spread from person to person.”

Identifying himself as an independent researcher of suppressed information, he reminded his followers to remember that the “lying and weak media’s job is to trick its readers into blindly and obediently being led into the mud by lying and weak politicians.”

On March 26th and 27th, undeterred by local ordinances enacted in the face of new virulent viral strains, he had two house parties. In at least one, the guests discussed the topic of “Trump, Biden and the way forward for the United States and the world”. A dozen attendees have now come down with the disease. Gaarder ignored his symptoms, refused a COVID test, and denied having coronavirus until he expired.

Gaarder is not new to the denial game. In 2009, he took the same dismissive approach to swine flu. Over the years he explored his passion for conspiracy in an online magazine and TV interviews. Gaarder also wrote for a Norwegian website known for reporting on alternative health care and spreading conspiracy theories. Many of its writers and readers are also highly skeptical of vaccines. As late as Monday, April 5th, the day before he died, the site reported that news of Gaarder’s infection was fake and he was completely healthy.

Ironically, a cynic might say that the best evidence to discredit the theory of evolution is the continued existence of morons like Gaarder. It is hard to see how the perpetuation of this kind of insanity points to ‘survival of the fittest’. But better minds than mine will easily explain the seeming inconsistency. 

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