A Journal of the Plague Year (56)

May 11, 2020

As I pointed out yesterday, “follow the science” doesn’t mean much when the scientists and medical officers don’t really know what they’re talking about.

As Dr Campbell notes in his daily video, the Chief Medical Officer for the UK has been saying for nearly seven weeks that large-scale testing was not required. Now he has changed his tune entirely arguing for testing and isolating. But South Korea and Taiwan did this from the beginning with excellent results. Why only now do the “experts” change their minds? These facts about testing and isolation are not new, they have been known all along. Where’s the accountability?

The same is true of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr Theresa Tam, who was saying everything that communist China wanted the WHO to say until we found out that they were lying all along. Her job was supposed to be oversight of WHO’s actions. Obviously, not much overseeing was going on. Where’s the accountability here?

In the field of epidemiology, where the science is uncertain much of the time, it does not pay to put too much trust in “experts”. It was Richard Feynman, the great physicist, who said famously that “…science is demonstrating the ignorance of experts.”

Moreover, the track record of many of these experts is pretty poor. Professor Ferguson comes to mind. Basically, a government putting its trust in a computer model and the advice of one expert is absurd. As for an outdated computer model, with secret code, and a novel virus resulting in a decision to destroy the country’s economy for years—this is folly of the first order.


A very interesting article on Lockdown Sceptics quotes some computer coders and virologists thus:

“Sue Denim” has been in touch to point out that several other people with similar levels of coding expertise have posted analyses of Neil Ferguson’s code that are as scathing as his. Take this one, for instance, by Chris von Csefalvay. He is an epidemiologist specialising in the virology of bat-borne illnesses, including bat-related coronaviruses. “It is very difficult to look at the Ferguson code with any understanding of software engineering and conclude that this is good, or even tolerable,” he writes. He notes that Ferguson apologised for the poor quality of the code on Twitter, explaining that he wrote it more than 13 years ago to model flu pandemics. Csefalvay responds as follows: “That, sir, is not a feature. It’s not even a bug. It’s somewhere between negligence and unintentional but grave scientific misconduct.”

Rebel Yell

Arran Gold

A few random thoughts.

1. It is well known in legal circles that a good witness can destroy a carefully contrived story. These models had a similar issue. There was no input at all from the empirical data based on the experience of S. Korea, Taiwan & Japan. The Korean data was especially instructive because it was the first one to point out that age was a major factor in relation to the mortality rate. Early on, similar data was collected from a small sample in Italy which was published in Italian in late March.

2. Problems relating to group-think are well known which is why the concept of Red Team was invented.

3. I think it is time to start handing out awards. Largest $ damage: Trump. Largest number of people made miserable: Modi. Latter shutdown a country of 1.3 billion and the total death toll there is 2,294.

4. I am not sure this debacle could have been prevented. Mass hysteria occurs on a regular basis and that is why there are over 400 pages in the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Le Bon’s, The Crowd is particularly instructive.

5. It is time for the chattering classes to STFU because they are unable to fathom that if one is going to take these drastic measures one has to have very high degree of confidence in the conclusion. And there is the key point. They are full of confidence even though they know very little.

Duggan's Dew of Kirkintilloch

Gold, would you have a moment to discuss the economic impacts of Trump’s response, in language selected for an intelligent four year old?

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