• Merkwurdichliebe
    1.8k
    the race is in decline. Which is saying something as I did not have a high opinion of it prior to this.Book273

    We are on unprecedented territory. It is pretty bad. That is the topic.

    But at least it sucks enough to seem mildly interesting, instead of outright horrifying, as it actually is.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.8k
    I appreciate the world and all it's wonders, but people...not so much.Book273

    I hate people. The concept of people is completely played out and lame. But nothing is more wonderful than the existing human beings that I encounter directly in life.
  • tim wood
    5.9k
    We are on unprecedented territory. It is pretty bad. That is the topic.
    But at least it sucks enough to seem mildly interesting, instead of outright horrifying, as it actually is.
    Merkwurdichliebe

    You should meet my friend Candide. As to "unprecedented territory," on the assumption that different territories may share some commonality, I commend to you a consideration of history beyond last year's football scores. By any reasonable comparison ours really is the best of all possible worlds, or at least of those already sampled. Can you say electricity, washing machine, microwave, supermarket, vaccinations?
  • Book273
    209
    Can you say electricity, washing machine, microwave, supermarket, vaccinations?tim wood

    You effectively capture a great deal that I dislike about people in one short sentence. 4 out of five items enhance laziness, the other, while beneficial, has also been used as a bludgeon on those who oppose it. Many people, intelligent people, with different values than, presumably, yours, would suggest that nothing you mentioned has a great deal of value to them. Certainly not enough value to be added to the list of things that make this "the best of all possible worlds."
    There are more things under heaven than are considered in your philosophy.
  • Book273
    209
    The cause of any substantial population decline, in any population, will not be pleasant to observe, let alone partake of. It is an interesting study of global panic and the sociological responses to massive information, accurate or not, overload. Certainly popcorn worthy while watching.
  • tim wood
    5.9k
    You miss the point. I recommend a book, The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense, Mortimer Adler
    https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/0823216705/ref=cm_cr_unknown?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=five_star&reviewerType=all_reviews&pageNumber=1#reviews-filter-bar

    One of the least points he makes is that pretty much now is the time of greatest freedom to get about what you should be getting about in this life. For many people more freedom now than in the past from want, fear, need, early death, the need for incessant labor, being governed by available sunlight, and on into whatever level of detail you like. If all of it makes you lazy, that's you. If some of it gives you unusual opportunity to be stupid, that's you. If any of it at all that is positive and contributes to human well-being at all is a negative or a drag for you, that is you.

    And if many people feel morally superior walking instead of riding, or wish to churn their own butter, wash their clothes by hand, devote hours each day to mindless labor - especially when none of this is necessary, that is them. And to be sure, if you or they truly wish to live in such unnecessary straits, there are people on this planet profoundly less well-off and without those opportunities and privileges eager to trade places with them, they at least recognizing pearls.
  • Book273
    209
    if you exclude everyone that disagrees with you as having a personal issue, and then use an assumed perspective that everyone that does not have what you have must, for an unknown reason, want everything you have, then your position; that this is the best of possible worlds, needs the simple qualifier "according to me". As for that, I cannot gainsay you: clearly you believe it is.

    It is unfortunate that you seem to look down on those who would do manual labour for the value of it. With respect to freedom from need...where exactly is that? I have never lived there. Freedom from want? Same question. Freedom from early death...define early. Also, where is that again? Incessant labour? North Americans work 2000 hours a year. Feudal serfs worked approximately 1600. So once more, where are you referring to? As for being governed by available sunlight; thanks to the electric bulb we can get in another 400 hours of labour a year. YEAH! of course that shoots your "reduced need for incessant labour" theory to crap eh.

    Swing and Miss!
  • Todd Martin
    139
    @tim wood Being well-off physically is not necessarily being so in a broader or more grand sense. It is said that Lincoln, when he wished, as a boy, to educate himself, read Euclid, the Bible and Shakespeare...by dim firelight, sitting on the hearth, unellumined by incandescent or fluorescent light...

    I say this not to give fodder to those with whom you currently spar in this debate, for one of them is irrational, the other sub-human. I only wish to broaden your notion of well-being, for your own benefit if indeed what I have to offer is of benefit.
  • frank
    6.2k
    I say this not to give fodder to those with whom you currently spar in this debate, for one of them is irrational, the other sub-human. ITodd Martin

    Nobody's subhuman. They're just boneheads looking for somebody's chain to yank. Think of them as children. They're kinda cute.
  • Andrew M
    1.2k
    Yaneer Bar-Yam provides a great summary of the COVID strategies that countries employed during 2020. Hopefully the lessons can be learnt for 2021.

    I have been working on pandemic outbreaks for 15 years. There is a misunderstanding of the difference between the response in much of the West, versus successful countries (including New Zealand and Australia)

    Summarizing:

    1. Reactive versus proactive and goal oriented.

    2. Mitigation (slowing transmission) versus elimination (stopping transmission)

    3. Gradually responding to increasing levels of infection by imposing greater restrictions which enables the infection rate to grow (red zone strategy), versus starting with high restrictions to arrest transmission and relaxing restrictions only when the number of new cases is so low that contact tracing or localized short term action can stop community transmission (green zone strategy, including localized “fire fighting”).

    4. Trying to keep economic activity and travel as open as possible but perpetuating the economic harm and imposing yoyo restrictions, versus making an initial sacrifice of economic activity and travel in order to benefit from the rapid restoration of normal economic activity.

    5. Focusing attention on the few individuals resistant to social action because of shortsightedness or selfishness, versus recognizing the vast majority do the right thing if given clear guidance and support, which is what matters for success, as elimination is a robust strategy.

    6. Incorrectly thinking that this is a steady state situation where balance between counter forces must be maintained versus a dynamic situation in which rapid action can shift conditions from a bad losing regime to a good winning one.

    7. Naive economic thinking of a tradeoff between economics and fighting the virus, versus realizing a short time economic hit will enable opening normally and restoring the economy (as recognized by McKinsey, BCG, IMF and other correct economic analyses)

    8. We have to “live with the virus” versus we can eliminate the virus and return to normal social and economic conditions.

    9. Waiting for high-tech vaccination to be a cure all, versus using right-tech classic pandemic isolation/quarantine of individuals and communities to completely stop transmission

    10. Considering the virus as primarily a medical problem of treating individuals and individual responsibility for prevention of their own infection, versus defeating the virus as a collective effort based in community action, galvanized by leaders providing clear information, a public health system engaging in community-based prevention of transmission, and the treatment of patients is, by design, as limited as possible.
    Yaneer Bar-Yam, Unsuccessful versus successful COVID strategies, New England Complex Systems Institute (December 13, 2020)
  • Todd Martin
    139
    @frank yes, mr. frank, I’m inclined to agree with you.

    I actually felt bad about calling Merky subhuman, so much so that, milling it over this morning, I forgot to put a slice of tomato on my egg sandwich, which I always do...

    If I had it to say over again, I would call him rather “insufferably vulgar”, and I think his preceptor, who wished for a rejuvenation of civilization like a phoenix from beneath the debris of the Enlightenment would have considered him to be as repulsive as I do...

    ...but we are justly prohibited from upbraiding others’ children.
  • ssu
    3.7k
    Why that indicator of excess deaths is important as obviously the statistics are just a rough estimate. Yet the differences in the statistics do come up...like this:

    Excess deaths are the difference between the total number of deaths registered and the average over the previous years for the same period. Official figures say 55,827 people have died with Covid-19 in Russia. The deputy prime minister said excess deaths would take that to 186,000. Countries use different methods when reporting deaths related to the virus, which makes international comparisons difficult.

    Russia has been criticised for calculating its official deaths from Covid-19 based on the number of post-mortem examinations that list coronavirus as the main cause of death. However, this means that other deaths linked to Covid-19, which did not list it as the main cause of death, will not have been included.

    The new numbers mean Russia's coronavirus death toll could be the world's third-highest, after the US with 335,000 deaths and Brazil, which has had 192,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

    Hence the argument that Covid-19 deaths would be inflated seems at least that in Russia have been deflated. Which would be typical to Soviet Russian authorities.
  • Wayfarer
    10.9k
    Sydney’s freaking out, because our current outbreak is at 18 new cases today spread across a pretty wide area. There’s the fear that the beast is going to escape into the wild again. But even so, it’s a world away so far from what is happening in the UK or US. What made the Australian response successful was putting the health scientists in charge, or rather, allowing them to direct policy, and not politicising the epidemic, like what obviously happened in America. (Being an island helps also, obviously, but overall I think Australia has been one of the most successful at handling it.)
  • frank
    6.2k
    ...but we are justly prohibited from upbraiding others’ children.Todd Martin

    True. :blush:
  • Benkei
    4k
    I'm really curious what's up with the UK strain now. There's news it's popping up in different parts of the world. At the same time we see it also popped up earlier in the Netherlands and now also confirmed in November in Germany. My money is still on human stupidity but I'm not so sure anymore.
  • boethius
    806


    My money is still on human stupidity but I'm not so sure anymore.Benkei

    What do you mean by this?
  • Benkei
    4k
    That the strain is not particularly more infectious but mostly the result of lax lock down rules in the UK.

    I just realised my earlier comment in this respect was in the Brexit thread. See here : https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/482007
  • boethius
    806
    That the strain is not particularly more infectious but mostly the result of lax lock down rules in the UK.Benkei

    The evidence the strain is more infectious is that it displaces the previously dominant strain.

    Due to the network-effect, the dominant strain in an area is highly likely to remain the dominant strain with respect to equally infectious strains. I.e. that google displaced yahoo was evidence google had a strong competitive edge over yahoo.

    That being said, this is only "likely the case" and so on the scale of the whole world we can expect by pure chance novel yet not-more-infectious strains to take the lead in some regions (if this is 1 in a thousand chance ... well maybe there's a thousand regions we're looking at).

    So, if a new stain displaces the dominant strain in many regions and ultimately the world, only then that's conclusive evidence it's more infectious.

    Right now, from what I can tell the new strain is appearing in many regions, but it's not yet clear if it's really displacing the dominant in these regions.

    It's also expected that new strains still spread and are very unlikely to just fizzle out (once sufficiently large for the law of large numbers to be in play). If they are the same infectiousness as the dominant strain it still means that they should grow just as the dominant strain does (there's just less "principal" to grow, so stays much smaller in absolute terms even if growing at the same rate; and indeed, that a new strain needs to catch up to the dominant strain means it's not only more infectious but much more infectious if it does so rapidly).

    So simply detecting the new strain all over the place fits both hypothesises. It's not yet clear if it's really headed towards world domination. The recent spike is adequately explained by cold-season > Christmas shopping season > actual Christmas vacations starting.

    However, the new strain is still bad news even if it's not more infectious as it provides a more diverse genetic base to get to something more infectious or then that can defeat the vaccines (which, to be clear, there's currently no evidence the current vaccines will actually reduce the harm of the pandemic, but rather, not even mentioning side-effects and the money and credibility invested, data so far is compatible with zero-reduction in transmission and zero-reduction in hospitalizations and death; vaccines could even increase these though vaccinated--super-spreaders, which have yet to be ruled out, as well as the socio-political effect of the media basically declaring victory way ahead of time, which may have both lead to policy makers believing the vaccines would "solve the issue" and no other policy responses were needed as well as regular people losing the anxiety edge required for effective compliance as "it will all be over soon").

    As for the increase in cases generally speaking, I agree with your point it's just stupid people, although I would put the stupid label on the policy makers and not the general public (other than voting for the stupid people in charge). The countries that have contained the virus did so with better policy and not more spontaneous individual efforts.
  • magritte
    190
    The evidence the strain is more infectious is that it displaces the previously dominant strainboethius

    Statistically, perhaps. 50% of one, 30% of another, and 20% more undiscovered. We have lots of black birds, some years more of one kind then in other years more of some other kind. They just come and go due to unknown circumstances, like someone feeding them corn or dry cat food a mile away.
  • boethius
    806
    Statistically, perhaps.magritte

    If by "statistically perhaps" you mean "yes I agree" then we agree.

    Your bird analogy is dissimilar in some critical regards, as the birds are not growing exponentially, birds are a sexual species, and your only observing your local bird population and not globally.

    (And though perhaps you won't make this objection, for the benefit of those that are itching to, all mathematical curves are only followed by natural phenomenon to some approximation over some finite time; nothing "grows exponentially" but nothing grows "linearly", or "logistically" either, other than to some descriptively useful approximation for the time period of interest; all data only follows some curve "for now ... sort of ... enough to make a useful prediction".)
  • Garth
    112
    This thread is too long.

    Also this Zizek article didn't age well:

    https://www.welt.de/kultur/article205630967/Slavoj-Zizek-My-Dream-of-Wuhan.html
  • magritte
    190
    mathematical curves are only followed by natural phenomenon to some approximation over some finite time; nothing "grows exponentially" but nothing grows "linearly", or "logistically" either, other than to some descriptively useful approximationboethius

    No doubt, mathematical models are projections built upon other numbers, data which originally had reasonable connection to the real world at the time these were collected. But things can change.

    For Covid, I found a description for mutations history in Nature, Sep.2020
    Viruses that encode their genome in RNA, such as SARS-CoV-2, HIV and influenza, tend to pick up mutations quickly as they are copied inside their hosts ... But ... coronaviruses change more slowly than most other RNA viruses, ... a rate of change about half that of influenza and one-quarter that of HIV ...
    Before March — when much of the continent went into lockdown — both unmutated ‘D’ viruses and mutated ‘G’ viruses were present, with D viruses prevalent ... In March, G viruses rose in frequency across the continent, and by April they were dominant ...
    But natural selection in favour of G viruses isn’t the only, or even the most likely, explanation for this pattern.

    Mutations are random and all viable versions of the virus will continue to spread into the foreseeable future. If one mutation spreads faster then it will become statistically 'dominant' but the others are still around. For comparison, influenza doesn't go away and flu vaccines are updated and re-administered each year.
  • Merkwurdichliebe
    1.8k
    As to "unprecedented territory," on the assumption that different territories may share some commonality,tim wood

    Unprecedented territory is a reference to ground that has never been covered and is unmapped. It would take the greatest of fools to assume one could navigate an unkown space by referring to apparent commonalities with previously known spaces.

    By any reasonable comparison ours really is the best of all possible worlds, or at least of those already sampled. Can you say electricity, washing machine, microwave, supermarket, vaccinations?tim wood

    You said: "By any reasonable comparison ours really is the best of all possible worlds, or at least of those already sampled."
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    -Of those already sampled from history: it is all garbage
    -of those that are possible: you really believe that "ours really is the best of all possible worlds"? Really?

    The naivete of a child is always charming. How old are you? Eight?
  • tim wood
    5.9k
    -of those that are possible: you really believe that "ours really is the best of all possible worlds"? Really?Merkwurdichliebe
    The number of people who do not, perhaps cannot, read, here on a site where text is grist, amazes me. Try reading the whole, entire, complete, every-word of the sentence. Be reminded from elementary school that every sentence is supposed to be a complete thought, implicitly then an incomplete sentence an incomplete thought. And if you do not know who or what Candide is, both your bad and my bad. .
  • frank
    6.2k

    Voltaire was misunderstanding Leibniz in that work.
  • tim wood
    5.9k
    Voltaire was misunderstanding Leibniz in that work.frank
    Above my pay-grade, my acquaintance being more casual. Hmm. Actually, you do us all a favor and a service by adding a brief how, that in grade school may have been called a C&C, compare-and-contrast - maybe a few excellent sentences?
  • frank
    6.2k

    I think the main takeaway is that it's appropriate to be a condescending ass about Candide when Voltaire was being a condescending ass when he wrote it (and misinformed on top of that).
  • StreetlightX
    6.7k
    https://eand.co/why-freedom-became-free-dumb-in-america-4947e39663f2

    This article is childish and understates by far the shallow, callous, conservatism of Europeans, but in the main it is exactly right:

    "America became obsessed with free-dumb: the idea of freedom as the removal of all restraint, the right to harm others, the ability to do anything you please, no matter how destructive, toxic, foolish, or inane. Covid’s a jaw-dropping example of it ... The logic of why Canada and Europe provide basics to all goes like — it’s about freedom, but in a much, much deeper, more elegant, thoughtful, sophisticated, and beautiful way than Americans understand. If I am fighting for the basics — bitterly battling everyone else for the food, water, money, medicine, to survive, what does that make of me? I become embittered, hostile, angry, resentful. I grow callous and cruel. I become suspicious and distrustful and isolated and alone. I don’t grow as a person — I shrink and wither into my worst self. The Greeks would have said: I grow weak, morally, intellectually, socially, culturally. And people weak like that are not capable of sustaining a democracy.

    What happens, on the other hand, if I do have the basics? Then I’m free. Not just free in the superficial, narrow American way: free to have stuff. I’m free in an existential, social, emotional, cultural, human way. I’m free to cultivate, develop, nurture higher values and virtues. I can be trusting, kind, generous, empathic. I can be thoughtful, critical, reflective. I can be humble and warm and appreciate beauty and truth. I am free to be a genuinely good person. Human goodness has been freed in me.

    ...Why are Americans so violent, cruel, ignorant, destructive, thoughtless, selfish, careless? Because Americans are not free to be the kinds of people Europeans and Canadians are. Europeans and Canadians are free to be thoughtful, kind, gentle, wise, loving, concerned, considerate people because they enjoy the basics of life. Therefore, they are not consumed with the desperate battle for survival. But American do not enjoy the basics. For them, life is a constant, perpetual battle for self-preservation and survival. Not just for the poor, but for more or less everyone now, because America is effectively a poor society, made of one giant underclass. ... In short, we’d expect people to become violent, stupid, selfish, as they grow poor — not because they are such things, but because that is what poverty does and is. Intellectual poverty is ignorance and superstition. Social poverty is mistrust and hostility. Cultural poverty is cruelty and aggression. Americans are poor in all these ways now".
  • frank
    6.2k
    Dr Fauci face-palm bobblehead:

    33353632-0-image-a-142_1600458019617.jpg
  • Benkei
    4k

    It's just interesting already to read through the press releases of the World Food Programme and compare December 2019 and December 2020: https://www.wfp.org/news?text=&page=11

    the shallow, callous, conservatism of Europeans,StreetlightX

    Oi. We're not callous just... cavalier. Also, our economy is tanking so who cares about a bunch of nobodies dying of hunger in a place I can't even correctly point out on a map?
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