• Hanover
    5.7k
    If Joe Biden wins, will the media forget the pandemic after January 20th 2021?ssu

    Absurdly parochial, ssuBanno

    It's not a parochial question as much as a political one. The emphasis of attention paid to covid, just like any issue affecting a population, is determined by political concerns. There are all sorts of issues impacting American society today that could be targeted like covid based upon the havoc they wreak. For example, we could look at the daily charts associated with motor vehicle injury and texting and driving and then rake our politicians over the coals in daily briefings asking why this tragedy should be permitted to persist. We don't though, as a political decision has been made to emphasize covid and the pain caused by it, but not so much with texting and driving.

    @ssu's question recognizes a reality to covid, which is that its "cure" entails the disruption of the American capitalistic economic status quo, allowing its detractors an opportunity to make efforts to change the economic system and to attack Trump and his attempts to protect it. Should Biden win the election, covid will no longer be necessary as a catalyst for economic change, and perhaps, as SSU asks, will there still be a political demand to emphasize covid over other problems affecting American society.
  • ssu
    3k
    Absurdly parochial, ssu. The pandemic is not an issue only for 'mercans. It's just that they have been, tragically, the least able to deal with it.Banno
    And the reason why have they been so unable is an important question.

    Other countries, including mine, could find a political consensus on how to deal with the pandemic. In the US it just used a political campaign tool.

    And let's say we had now a Clinton administration. Think the consensus would have been found then? Would all those Republican governors gone with what Hillary would have declared with Fauci standing next to her? Even if the fight against the pandemic would have been better, I think still even without the inept and utterly incapable Trump this wouldn't have been an outstanding success for the US.

    will there still be a political demand to emphasize covid over other problems affecting American society.Hanover

    I raised this question because I don't see the partisanship going away. In fact partisanship is just incited more and more and every decision made by the political leadership is made to be an ideological decision.
  • NOS4A2
    3.6k


    At present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID- 19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
  • Michael
    9k
    Coronavirus: Oxford vaccine can train immune system

    A coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appears safe and trains the immune system.

    Trials involving around 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and white blood cells that can fight coronavirus.

    The findings are hugely promising, but it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection and larger trials are under way.

    Go Oxford.
  • Professor Death
    468
    The UK rules virology. And also the waves.
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    They probably engineered it to distract from Brexit...
  • Punshhh
    2k
    We can hold the world to ransom and make Britain great again.
  • boethius
    761
    There is no circumstantial evidence, only a hypothesis which is not supported by any type of evidence.Benkei

    I'm not sure what you are disagreeing with.

    The very definition of circumstantial evidence I cited from wikipedia is that it is very weak and compatible with mutually exclusive hypothesis. I am using circumstantial evidence in the way wikipedia describes.

    Your issue with my statements seem to be you want to gate-keep the word evidence for the lawyer community.

    If someone brings up a fact, and it seems plausibly tied to the case, I simply see no problem calling it evidence and analyzing from there. Questioning whether it counts as evidence or not seems a sterile debate. A detective tries to collect or record all the "evidence" in a case, without prejudice as to what's important enough to be called "evidence".

    I have no problem saying "we have evidence" and concluding "based on the evidence, no scenario seems more likely", which is my position.

    So, if you want to set yourself up as arbiter of what counts as evidence (what premises people are even allowed to propose for making an argument), then I am happy to continue there.

    If we ignore the debate about evidence, our real difference, however, is you seem to think a lack of evidence proving (or even establishing as more slightly more likely) that the pandemic is a lab accident or purposefully released, means it's more likely it's natural.

    Though I agree there's no evidence indicating a lab accident or purposeful release of the virus is more likely, I disagree that the natural occurring hypothesis is by definition the default hypothesis.

    The paper "proving it's not engineered" is clearly bad faith. It is simply a non-refutable statement, as we cannot prove it's impossible to engineer a virus to not-appear-engineered, which would be a clear and strong motivation in the scenario where the virus is engineered. Indeed, it's fairly trivial to be convinced that such an engineering method is feasible, since both natural biology and biology manipulation are stochastic process so we can simply repeat techniques until they randomly appear natural.

    So, if it's non-refutable to begin with, it's not science whatever these so called scientists are doing in the paper.

    A scientifically valid approach would require, as a first step, a challenge to experts around the world to engineer viruses to appear natural and the team conducting the study trying to differentiate between these and other viruses actually taken from nature. If they are able to find the engineered virus in each challenge submitted by other labs around the world, then the idea they have such a detection ability becomes more credible. We would still need to wonder whether bio-weapons labs are not far, far ahead for such an exercise to be meaningful, but at least we have a starting point of a claim that has been properly submitted to refutation. So, this would be a refutable based framework for determining the engineered can be consistently differentiated from the natural by experts trying to defeat such detection, at least in the current state of civilian bioengineering.

    Without such an adversarial framework, the claims these academics are making are simply their opinions based on non-refutable reasoning; i.e. they are not doing science as is understood by their contemporaries.

    Now, that such academics are willing to squander their intellectual credibility and demonstrate they have either no basic critical thinking skills, no understanding of the scientific method or then they are simply liars, doesn't mean the virus is engineered, only that stupid is as stupid does.

    Be that as it may, to be abundantly clear, I have not claimed here coronavirus has a "HIV gene" only that the we can't simply ignore a Nobel Prize winner (for work on HIV) claim that it does and it proves it's engineered (we need to actually analyse what we can before determining that this Nobel Prize winner's analysis makes no sense, which I bother to do, and by extension the Nobel Prize makes no sense as a standard of the "true-true" expertise).

    I legitimately do not see any compelling reason to believe any of the scenarios (natural, accident, or on purpose) are ruled out in any significant way based on the information that's available.

    All arguments, presented here or elsewhere of what is "more likely", seem to be mainly about the world view of the person proposing the argument. If one's world view is that "China would, like, for sure never release an epidemic with pandemic potential on their own population" then one is likely to conclude it's either natural or an accident. If one believes that "scientists are, like, totally competent and there's never, ever any reason to question scientific institutions are for the public good, even in totalitarian China", then one is likely to conclude it's not a lab leak. If one "doesn't believe in coincidences" in these tense geopolitical times, then one is likely to suspect foul play.

    I realize Trump supporters are essentially rabid to believe it's not natural, so as to have a scapegoat. However, if there really is no compelling evidence one way or another, my view is that it only helps them to claim otherwise. Putting "credibility" behind the opposite of what Trump supporters, or Trump himself, believes simply because they believe it and entertaining the possibility "helps Trump", simply erodes the credibility put forth to back such counterclaims, and boost Trump supporters when they can show their basic ideas have not in fact been "ruled out" and alternative "debunking" has holes.

    In my opinion, it's more productive to accept there is no compelling evidence (we just don't know, and I think likely at this point we will never know; and if we do find out, it won't be from any analysis that happens on the internet) because there is no compelling evidence, in order to move onto what we can know: which is if US intelligence suspected a bio-attack or then a bio-weapon leak, obviously the US administration did not do anything about it, for instance contain it when it was still possible to have an effective containment policy (what I advocated when I first joined this thread many moons ago) and when they failed to act on that, followup with further failure to prepare; and, more importantly, the global system, and in particular the US, was knowingly vulnerable to such a pandemic threat because ignoring it maximized short term profits: In other words, the market is not efficient at allocating resources, and, in addition, the US security establishment does not bother much to ensure the US is secure from threats to US citizens that don't happen to coincide with arms sales and imperialism (i.e. either way, US citizens aren't the object of "US security"; well, not in the way the republicans previously liked to imagine). So, regardless of the scenario of the emergence of the pandemic, we can draw the same conclusions: If it was an attack then it's an easy attack exploiting a weakness elites in the West didn't care to fix because of money and they don't care about the poor as they can get top-notch care and just hide from the virus anyways. If it's a lab leak, then obviously far more regulation is needed about these labs and drastically or fully cutting plane travel ties with any dystopian totalitarian state which cannot be trusted to police best practices. If it's natural, then capitalism as we know it today, in particular in the US, was obviously unprepared for a known risk along with bad public health policies in general that amplify that risk, unwilling to do a flight freeze in the critical moment because "will someone please think of the airplane stonks!", lacking the institutions to keep society stable in such a health and economic crisis, yet unhesitating to bail out the wealthy while they huddled in their compounds and traveled to islands and yachts and New Zealand to insulate themselves from the consequence of their governing system. I.e. we can draw sound conclusions about our leaders and sound policy recommendations about the current system in any of the potential scenarios.
  • Outlander
    470


    If that power is held what's stopping that from happening. Couldn't be more than ignorance or laziness. Self indulgence and realizing greatness really isn't a thing you do once and forget about resting on laurels for all time perhaps after deciding it's too much for you. But that's not the point.

    If there's a problem find out why and where and solve that problem. You have to make that great again first or as some will say for the first time... surely we're not afraid of a selfless challenge that really isn't. Otherwise. In a word. Entropy. As shown.
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    I'm not sure what you are disagreeing with.

    The very definition of circumstantial evidence I cited from wikipedia is that it is very weak and compatible with mutually exclusive hypothesis. I am using circumstantial evidence in the way wikipedia describes.

    Your issue with my statements seem to be you want to gate-keep the word evidence for the lawyer community.

    If someone brings up a fact, and it seems plausibly tied to the case, I simply see no problem calling it evidence and analyzing from there. Questioning whether it counts as evidence or not seems a sterile debate. A detective tries to collect or record all the "evidence" in a case, without prejudice as to what's important enough to be called "evidence".

    I have no problem saying "we have evidence" and concluding "based on the evidence, no scenario seems more likely", which is my position.

    So, if you want to set yourself up as arbiter of what counts as evidence (what premises people are even allowed to propose for making an argument), then I am happy to continue there.
    boethius

    The problem is that even on the basis of those wiki links, you are not using the term correctly. Your idea of circumstantial evidence is simply wrong.

    Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact—such as a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. — wiki

    You are willing to entertain that because Jane was murdered in her bedroom and because John's handprints are all over the house but not yet found in her bedroom that this is circumstantial evidence of John having murdered Jane. This is an inference you're not allowed to make for obvious reasons.

    Some viruses are engineered, there's a virus, therefore it is engineered... is not a valid inference.

    Some viruses escaped labs, there's a virus, therefore the virus escaped a lab... is not a valid inference.

    Some viruses are engineered, there's a virus, therefore it might have been engineered... is a valid inference but it's not a conclusion of fact and therefore not (circumstantial) evidence.

    That has nothing to do with gate-keeping a word but everything to do with properly using words in their ordinary meaning and logic.
  • boethius
    761
    You are willing to entertain that because Jane was murdered in her bedroom and because John's handprints are all over the house but not yet found in her bedroom that this is circumstantial evidence of John having murdered Jane.Benkei

    I haven't used circumstantial evidence in this way.

    I'm willing to entertain a Nobel Laureate's (for work on HIV) claims about HIV and coronavirus, in the sense that claims by such a person warrants some analysis; otherwise, it's just picking and choosing experts.

    I'm willing to assign the label of "circumstantial evidence" to facts about circumstances that are at least somewhat connected to the case, even if it doesn't help draw conclusions as to likelihood, now or in the future. This is how wikipedia describes "circumstantial evidence": weak evidence that is compatible with contradictory accounts; wikipedia does not say circumstantial evidence needs to make a scenario "more likely" (it's a fact of the case compatible with a theory; doesn't mean that theory is more likely).

    I've gone to some lengths to demonstrate the same circumstantial evidence can be accounted for in all 3 scenarios, and that none of the circumstantial evidence (at the moment) makes any of the 3 scenarios "more likely" in any meaningful statistical sense (every "this is more likely" theory I have seen so far simply expresses the "feeling" of the theorizer based on their world view).

    For instance, I go to some trouble to explain that even distance to the lab maybe no more significant than the null hypothesis (both in the distribution of labs, population centers, and likely pandemic virus reservoirs; as well as the sense that novel viruses are likely to be first noticed near a lab). However, that the first notable outbreak was at some distance to a lab is still "circumstantial evidence", just doesn't tell us much at the moment of what conclusion is more likely (i.e. it's circumstantial evidence an intense amount of statistics would be required to plausibly interpret).

    When I describe a scenario and the circumstantial evidence that's compatible with such a scenario, it's not to say that scenario is more likely because there is "circumstantial evidence", it's just to show such a scenario is compatible with what we know so far; I do so for each scenario to demonstrate my opinion that no scenario can be ruled out as far as I can tell. To say one scenario "is more likely" would be an amazingly complicated statistical exercise, and so I don't have an opinion on likelihood either; I'm sure such studies will be done, but I doubt very much the authors will claim to have actually increased confidence in one conclusion or another (the "models of history" that would be needed are beyond our grasp to make; i.e. the best we can do is very simplified assumptions of how the world works, so simplified that it doesn't really tell us anything).

    So, I am not providing any analysis of what's "more likely" but I am interested to analyse arguments that do make such claims (whether the Nobel Laureate claiming it's spliced from HIV; claims that it's for sure not engineered; claims that it's likely an accident; all three I am willing to analyse, and all three I find unsound; which is why I don't care about what we label "circumstantial evidence" or not, in each case the conclusions don't follow from the circumstantial evidence offered as premises, so who cares about whether the circumstantial evidence in question is even true; it doesn't matter if there's an HIV gene as it's presence tells us nothing since HIV is already a pandemic and we can expect it will spread successful genes around in co-infection events; it doesn't matter if there's no "telltale" signs of bio engineering as a bioweapon engineer may go to some lengths to remove such telltale signs (i.e. making sure the genome accomplishes the task at hand within the bounds of what peers will view as "statistically normal"); it doesn't matter the distance to the lab if we don't have the null hypothesis expected radius of such pandemic outbreak to such labs in our particular moment in history).
  • tim wood
    4.9k
    At present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID- 19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.NOS4A2

    You realize, don't you, that you have said exactly nothing here.
  • praxis
    2.5k


    I think that’s why he used bold type, trying to make it appear meaningful.
  • NOS4A2
    3.6k


    It was a direct quote from the WHO. What it says is “ there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID- 19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.”

    You don’t think that means anything?
  • ssu
    3k
    You don’t think that means anything?NOS4A2
    Lol.

    Obligatory mask use everywhere hardly is the rule anywhere. The reason why we use masks is that one can be spreading the virus without symptoms, for starters.

    Just what the WHO wants is quite simple:
  • tim wood
    4.9k
    It was a direct quote from the WHO.... You don’t think that means anything?NOS4A2
    Of course it does. Did you not read my comment? I wrote:
    You realize, don't you, that you have said exactly nothing here. (Bold and italics added.)tim wood
    It says, putting masks on healthy people shows no direct evidence of preventing rabies, uh, sorry, leprosy, uh, carpal tunnel syndrome, glanders - wait, the Covid-19 virus! That's right! Healthy people don't have these things and therefore don't transmit them.

    I'm sure WHO had more to say, and had you paid more attention to what you were reading, or had you understood it, you might have included more.
  • NOS4A2
    3.6k


    You can get the same effect by wearing a bag over your head. Or maybe one can simply refrain from spitting on others.
  • jorndoe
    1k
    So, ? Don't stop there, as if that's the be-all-end-all conclusion.

    As posted by :

    • There is no shortage of mechanistic evidence and observational studies that affirmed the benefits of wearing a face mask in the community, which should drive urgent public health policy while we await the results of further research.Universal masking for COVID-19: evidence, ethics and recommendations

    Inconsistent messages from the experts and policy makers about the rationale for the recommendation has led to confusion in the community.Universal masking for COVID-19: evidence, ethics and recommendations

    Notice the ethics part as well.
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    Yes, and as he remarks as well absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This is especially true if randomised controlled trials aren't really possible for these types of issues.
  • NOS4A2
    3.6k


    The problem is there are downsides to wearing masks, for instance a false sense of security, more face touching. So public health officials need to weigh the pros and cons.
  • jorndoe
    1k
    Or maybe one can simply refrain from spitting on others.NOS4A2
    Won't do. Nothing new.
    public health officials need to weigh the pros and consNOS4A2
    Sure, we already know, including your re-response to Banno. And, say, it's not like some to whom wearing such head gear would be detrimental are both being forced to go out in public and wear detrimental head gear, rather protecting them is of importance here. Get real. Don't be such a childish contrarian. :) Why wouldn't you want to protect when it's so simple and cheap, and we've already had people preventably suffering and dying?

    Incidentally, we just a worker come by, that respectfully/considerately was wearing head gear (per public recommendation). (y)
  • NOS4A2
    3.6k


    I’m not opposed to wearing a mask. It’s just that I prefer when it’s a matter of choice rather than mandatory, and for the same reason I oppose any mandatory article of clothing. You could easily get the same effect by standing a meter away, covering your mouth when coughing, sneezing, talking etc.i find that the mask finger-wagging is largely done at the expense of other preventative measures, which rarely enters the discourse around the topic.
  • Baden
    10.7k
    Even the orange fuckwit has been wearing a mask recently. If he can learn, anyone can. Recently made mandatory at my local store. I have no problem with that. It's certainly preferable to being locked down again.
  • praxis
    2.5k
    i find that the mask finger-wagging is largely done at the expense of other preventative measures, which rarely enters the discourse around the topic.NOS4A2

    Well, it’s kinda hard to tell how often others wash their hands, touch their faces, social distance, etc. from just looking at them. A mask, on the other hand, is quite obvious.

    People can wag their fingers and do... other preventive measures? at the same time, btw.
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    Plus, there are instances where the obvious measure of social distancing isn't possible such as crowded spaces. Mandatory mask wearing in public transport and stores makes perfect sense.
  • Punshhh
    2k
    The problems is if Trump supporters wear a mask they are wearing a badge that they are admitting his weakness. If he is in denial they have to be too and wearing a mask betrays that stance.
  • darthbarracuda
    3k
    Colorado made masks mandatory in public spaces, thanks Polis. Late is better than never I guess.
  • Baden
    10.7k


    We will probably need blanket mask wearing rules too as, after having got down to single figure new cases, the government decided to let American tourists come here under self-policing quarantine. That has predictably not worked out too well and cases are up again. Thanks, Trump virus.
  • Benkei
    3.3k
    You're right you didn't use it like that. I'm sorry for giving you the benefit of the doubt for making a wrong inference but if I go by the literal text you wrote it's even worse.

    If there is an HIV gene in coronavirus that is evidence, a "fact of the case" (and, please note, I say "assuming this is true" in my analysis), that would need to be established if one wanted to argue that the virus was genetically engineered with HIV (if other evidence came to light, such as testimony of a researcher claiming they were involved in mixing HIV and coronavirus, it would of course be necessary to establish whether HIV genes really are in coronavirus in the first place, because it's important evidence to such an argument). — boethius

    You're using a proposition here, the truth value of which you do not know, assume it as true and then conclude that that is any type of evidence.

    That's even worse for obvious reasons.

    If we were hit by a large meteor, we would be dead. Assuming it's true we were hit, that's "evidence" for us being dead. Except we're not.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.