In favor of epistemic trespassing

by Judith Curry

On the importance of expertise from other fields for COVD19 and climate change.

This post is motivated by a tweet from Steve McIntyre, with comment from Ken Rice:

Here is the link to Annan’s post Dumb and Dumber, its actually quite good.  The money quote:

“All these people exhorting amateurs to “stay in their lane” and not muddy the waters by providing analyses and articles about the COVID-19 pandemic would have an easier job of it if it wasn’t for the supposed experts churning out dross on an industrial scale.”

McIntyre responds:

Epistemic trespassing

Shortly after spotting this twitter exchange, I spotted a link to a new paper entitled (tweeted by Oxford Philosophy) entitled Epistemic Trespassing.  Excerpts:

“Epistemic trespassers are thinkers who have competence or expertise to make good judgments in one field, but move to another field where they lack competence—and pass judgment nevertheless. We should doubt that trespassers are reliable judges in fields where they are outsiders.”  In other words, stay in your lane.

“Trespassing is a significant problem in an age of expertise and punditry, but it’s not new. In Plato’s Apology, Socrates tells us he tracked down citizens in Athens who had reputations for being skilled. He met politicians, poets, and craftsmen and tested their mettle. As Socrates says, he ‘found those who had the highest reputation were nearly the most deficient’ . Socrates diagnosed the problem: because these men had been so successful in their particular crafts, each one ‘thought himself very wise in most important pursuits, and this error of theirs overshadowed the wisdom they had’ . Puffed up by their achievements in one domain, the successful Athenians trespassed on matters about which they were ignorant.”

“First, trespassing is a widespread problem that crops up especially in the practice of interdisciplinary research, as opposed to what we might call ‘single-discipline’ research. Second, reflecting on trespassing should lead us to have greater intellectual modesty, in the sense that we will have good reason to be far less confident we have the right answers to many important questions.”

“Epistemic trespassing of the sort I’ve noted is easy to recognize. Experts drift over a highly-visible boundary line and into a domain where they lack either the relevant evidence or the skills to interpret the evidence well. But they keep talking nonetheless. Experts on a public stage are cast in the role of the ‘public intellectual’ or ‘celebrity academic’. They may find trespassing all but impossible to resist. Microphones are switched on, TV cameras zoom in, and ‘sound bites’ come forth, coaxed out of the commentators by journalists. So what do you have to say about philosophy, Neil deGrasse Tyson? And what about arguments for the existence of God, Professor Dawkins? I don’t think trespassing is exclusively a problem for scholars in the limelight, however, and one of my goals here is to explain why ordinary researchers often risk trespassing, too.”

“But first we must understand what the epistemological problem with trespassing is. There is not only one problem. Consider three types of problematic trespassing cases, where two different fields share a particular question:

  1. (a)  Experts in one field lack another field’s evidence and skills;
  2. (b)  Experts in one field lack evidence from another field but have its skills;
  3. (c)  Experts in one field have evidence from another field but lack its skills.

“I will examine three strategies to justify acts of trespassing and thereby preserve rational confidence in trespassers’ answers to hybridized questions. Again, we are assuming some trespassers are experts in one field but encroach on another field.

  • (D1) I am trespassing on another field, but that field does not feature any relevant evidence or skills that bear on my view about p;
  • (D2) I am trespassing on another field, but my own field’s evidence conclusively establishes that p is true;
  • (D3) I am trespassing on another field, but my own field’s skills successfully ‘transfer’ to the other field.”

“I suspect we must trespass to answer most important questions. Perhaps this means we should never trespass alone. Instead, we must rely on the expertise of others. What we need, to extend the trespassing metaphor, is an ‘easement’ or ‘right of way’ for travel beyond our fields’ boundaries. The right of safe passage could be secured by our collaboration with cross-field experts. Imagine your colleague is a representative source of evidence, skills, and potential criticism from another field. Even if you don’t have direct knowledge of that field, if your colleague tests out your answer to a hybridized question and tells you it sounds right to her, then your view is appar- ently more reasonable than it would have been otherwise. Trespassers may gain reasonable beliefs by engaging in certain kinds of discussion with cross-field colleagues.”

While this paper raises some interesting issues, its main goal seems to be protecting the turf of academic subfields.

COVID19 and climate change

Complex issues such as COVID19 and climate change, with massive policy implications, introduce a whole host of additional issues related to epistemic trespassing.  I’ve written many blog posts on expertise [link].

Here is a pet peeve of mine:  many academics who label themselves as ‘climate scientists’, even though their degrees might be in economics, biology, whatever, have no compunction about speaking publicly, and responding to reporters’ queries, on climate topics well outside their expertise.  They use their status as ‘climate scientist’ to expound on aspects of climate science, economics, policy, whatever, that they know next to nothing about.

The flip side of this coin is the dismissal by academics of the likes of Steve McIntyre, who has brought much needed expertise in statistics and data probity to the field of paleoclimate.

Moving on to COVID19, the problems with COVID19 projections were summarized in a number of posts in the most recent CoV Discussion Thread:

  • Don’t believe the COVID models – that’s not what they’ for [link]
  • Mathematical models to characterize early epidemic growth: A review. [link]
  • On the predictability of infectious disease outbreaks [link]
  • Dramatic reduction in COVID disaster projections [link]
  • America’s most influential COV model just revised its estimates downward – but not all models agree [link]
  • How can COVID models get it so wrong? [link]

James Annan has another good blog post: Model calibration, nowcasting and operational prediction of the COVID19 pandemic

“Turns out that calibrating a simple model with observational data is much the same whether it’s paleoclimate or epidemics. The maths and the methods are much the same. In fact this one is a particularly easy one as the model is embarrassingly linear (once you take the logarithm of the time series).”

“The basic concept is to use the model to invert the time series of reported deaths back through the time series of underlying infections in order to discover the model parameters such as the famous reproductive rate R. It’s actually rather simple and I am still bemused by the fact that none of the experts (in the UK at least) are doing this. I mean what on earth are mathematical epidemiologists actually for, if not this sort of thing? They should have been all over this like a rash. The exponential trend in the data is a key diagnostic of the epidemic and the experts didn’t even bother with the most elementary calibration of this in their predictions that our entire policy is based on. It’s absolutely nuts. It’s as if someone ran a simulation with a climate model and presented the prediction without any basic check on whether it reproduced the recent warming. You’d get laughed out of the room if you tried that at any conference I was attending. By me if no-one else (no, really, I wouldn’t be the only one).”

While I haven’t dug into COVID models at all, with regards to model calibration and nowcasting my experience in weather forecasting is even more relevant here than climate modeling.  For operational weather prediction (say for hurricanes), there are several components to calibration of the forecasts.  You can calibrate the model inputs and/or the model outputs.  You can calibrate the model based on historical forecasts for previous epidemics (compared with observations). You can also calibrate the model based on recent error statistics (in model inputs and/or outputs).  The experiences/outcomes of each country impacted by COVID provides data to be used in calibration.

It appears that the weather/climate community has much to offer in terms of COVID modeling.  Fortunately, weather and climate scientists haven’t been ‘staying in their lane,’ we’ve seen a number of COVID analyses from this community (including a few at Climate Etc.

Postnormal pandemics

The postnormal science group (Funtowicz, Ravetz, van der Sluijs et al.) have written an article PostNormal Pandemics.

“Despite the truly historic mobilization of science, our knowledge in crucial areas is still swamped by ignorance, especially on the sources of the virus but also on its progress and future outcomes. The expertise employed in COVID-19 policy advice builds on speculative assumptions on the virus itself, and how far it’s possible to control and predict how people behave.

Known unknowns include the real prevalence of the virus in the population; the role of asymptomatic cases in the rapid spread of the virus; the degree to which humans develop immunity; the dominant exposure pathways; the disease’s seasonal behaviour; the time to deliver global availability of an effective vaccine or cure; and the nonlinear response of individuals and collectives to the social distancing interventions in the complex system of communities interconnected across multiple scales, with many tipping points, and hysteresis loops (implying that society may not be able to rebound to the state it was in before the coronavirus interventions took place). These deep uncertainties make quantitative predictions speculative and unreliable.

Instead, following a pattern well known to PNS practitioners, predictions which purportedly “jarred the U.S. and the U.K. to action” can only be obtained by mathematical models that produce crisp numbers, even though these numbers have been obtained at the cost of artificially compressing the associated uncertainty. “There is no number-answer to your question,” explodes an angry medical expert to the politician trying to force a number out of him.

It would be much more effective to run our societies under the assumption that our resources should not be allocated according to a strategy of prediction and control.

More data (even ‘reliable data’) and better predictive models cannot resolve the ‘distribution of sacrifice’ which involves, among other things, the arbitration of dilemmas that appear at every scale. This cannot be delivered by artificial intelligence, algorithms and models alone. We need to pursue an adaptability based on preserving diversity and flexible management.”

 

 

323 responses to “In favor of epistemic trespassing

  1. In climate change, most of the indigenous “experts” play very narrow roles in their field, and do not have the global perspective that many interlopers have, who are not bogged down with a demanding, narrowly constrained job. Steve McIntyre is able to do the deep analysis he does because he doesn’t have to write proposals, get funding, support students, teach classes, attend meetings, and publish or perish.

    • Richard Feynman and Freeman Dyson strayed from their lanes to great effect. Just two examples. But Freeman’s views on climate led some of the towering intellects in the field to question his mental status (whether he’d “lost his marbles”). And Feynman was a bit of nuisance, at least for the politicos, in the Challenger investigation.

      • Keith A Rowe

        Stephan Hawking said Earth will turn into a new Venus because of global warming. Crazy stuff but nobody question his marbles. Depends on which side of the fence you are speaking to. https://www.livescience.com/59693-could-earth-turn-into-venus.html

      • Stephan Hawking said Earth will turn into a new Venus because of global warming.
        Even the alarmist establishment begged to differ, that article says.

      • Lowell Brown

        Once I got into an argument with Hawking about an aspect of renormalization in quantum field theory which I knew a lot about. Hawking was wrong. He certainly knew General Relativity 10 times better than I did, but he had a very shallow understanding of quantum field theory. His “marbles” were not well arranged on topics that he did not know much about.

    • Climate science crosses at least 7 disciplines: paleoclimatology, meteorology, atmospheric physics, climate modelling, geology, oceanography, solar physics

      No one is master of all. All pundits are trespassers.
      I’ve been told no geologist ever contributed to an IPCC report. I know of no solar physicists who did either.
      Which makes IPCC reports in general: a binge of epistemic trespassings.

      • > ” … no geologist ever contributed to an IPCC report”

        They contributed all right, but always, these contributions remained on the cutting room floor.

        I cannot begin to imagine why.

      • excellent comment Mark, which follows on from Lowell’s comment about Hawking. Some of these people are of course brilliant in their own field, but in adjacent ones much less so. There is no one with the complete master of all the subjects you mention as regards climate plus of course statistics.

        So the ‘editor’ has the responsibility to assemble all the knowledge according to guidelines agreed in, amongst other places, govts influenced by activists, the UN, individual activist scientists and of course the IPCC itself.

        Are they an independent minded and objective organisation? No. They have a defined role to fulfil as the ‘editor’. . They are assembling their reports according to a guideline that increasingly seems to have political objectives.

        As regards trespassing, Can those from other disciplines provide invaluable insights into something that is not in their field? Of course they can. Their scientific training should be invaluable in seeing how bits of the jigsaw might fit together even if they can’t complete the whole jigsaw themselves.

        All helped by realising they are trespassing and not thinking they know everything about the subject-such as climate-when clearly, as Rumsfeld might have said, we know much less than we think we do, and even those things we do know about with certainty are probably wrong

        tonyb.

      • “ a binge of epistemic trespassing” of type D1.

    • The one discipline that is missing from this discussion is Statistics. Steve McIntyre understands Statistics whereas many so-called experts do not. Statistical skills allow a researcher to draw reliable conclusions from messy data when it is possible to do so and to understand the pitfalls of the DIY statistics used by many researchers. Such pitfalls include Spurious Regression. This occurs when there is a large proportion of the variance at low frequencies due to integrating effects. It means that quantities such as temperature (the integral of heat exchange) commonly exhibit false trends over short time scales which disappear as more data becomes available. Likewise the growth of Covid-19 is widely described as “exponential” when that is clearly not the case.

  2. Richard Feynman strayed from his lane from time to time with mostly salutary results.

  3. As an immunologist with medical training, it’s been tedious watching people say the same contrarian nonsense on COVID-19 that they said on man-made climate change. That includes here on Climate Etc. [ https://judithcurry.com/2020/03/14/coronavirus-discussion-thread/#comment-910962 ]
    Just because you like to be different and challenge conventional wisdom, doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about. People are offering distortions that would be corrected in an introductory-level course in infectious disease or public health.

    If you’re not willing to do the work to understand the science (that means reading the peer-reviewed literature, not just random non-peer-reviewed blog musings) and are just saying whatever suits your political/policy bias, then you’re better off just keeping quiet. There’s enough misinformation as it is.

    “How to be Curious Instead of Contrarian About COVID-19: Eight Data Science Lessons From ‘Coronavirus Perspective’ (Epstein 2020)
    […]
    Science is about being curious about the true state of the world, and through application of evidence and methods, forming new more true beliefs than we held the day before. Contrarianism is not a search for truth, it’s a search for political influence in a market that rewards diversity of opinion for diversity’s sake. Performative controversy, fake horse races, hypotheses that don’t follow from theory, no examination of model fit or out of sample performance, and so on, are immediate red flags the author doesn’t actually care what the right answer is.”

    https://rexdouglass.github.io/TIGR/Douglass_2020_How_To_Be_Curious_Instead_of_Contrarian_About_Covid19.nb.html

    • “Just because you like to be different and challenge conventional wisdom, doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about.”

      Does this mean that anyone who challenges the conventional wisdom doesn’t know what they are talking about? Or if someone challenges the conventional wisdom we should make that assumption? Should no one ever challenge the conventional wisdom? If they do they are then labelled a contrarian, a new version of “climate denier”.

      Contrarianism is a straw man. Why not stop the name calling and just challenge the challenge to the conventional wisdom on its merits.

      • Stopped watching the video when the narrator said mortality is

        “simple maths, you just divide the number of deaths by the number of cases “.

        He neatly does just what in a previous breathe he had accused Trump of doing : comparing annual figures to part time results and in this case worse, not all cases since we have no idea of cases outside A&E. He is thus not comparing like with like.

        Hoist with his own petard.

        If other fields of science had called out corruption in climatology they may have been able to maintain the almost unquestioning authority which most people had for scientists.

        Instead they kept quiet for fear that the spotlight may be turned of their field of study. They are now reaping what they sowed in remaining silent.

        Trespass is a word charged with notion of the defence of a domain, one’s “patch”, not of open scientific enquiry.

      • It means what I said, not the straw men you introduced via questions (‘implication by question’). And yes, contrarians are often a lot like deniers; in fact, they often are deniers. Deniers stick to positions contradicted by overwhelming scientific evidence, as contrarians often do. Many contrarians don’t bother to read up on the peer-reviewed evidence rebutting their position. It’s not everyone else’s responsibility to debunk what the contrarian says; it’s the contrarian’s responsibility to do their homework, so they know what the evidence shows. Hence lesson 4 from the link I posted:

        “Lesson 4: Form Meaningful Prior Beliefs with a Thorough Literature Review”
        https://rexdouglass.github.io/TIGR/Douglass_2020_How_To_Be_Curious_Instead_of_Contrarian_About_Covid19.nb.html

        A great example of this is Donald Rapp, who commented earlier above. Neither Rapp nor I are experts in climate science. But Rapp still felt confident writing blogposts contradicting mainstream climate science. For instance, he suggested that it was still an open question whether tropical tropospheric amplification occurred with non-AGW causes of warming:

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/10/29/tropospheric-and-surface-temperatures/#comment-131825

        This, of course, is dead wrong. It’s been well-established since at least the 1970s that such amplification occurs with any strong warming of the tropical oceans, whether it’s ENSO, solar-induced, greenhouse-gas-induced, etc. That follows from the mechanism via which the hot spot forms, as per the negative lapse rate feedback. It’s been observed with ENSO-induced warming since at least the 1990s. I learned that because, unlike many contrarians, I did a literature review before forming a belief on a topic in which I lacked expertise. For example:

        1975:
        “The effects of changing the solar constant on the climate of a general circulation model
        […]
        In lower latitudes of the model, the warming is greater in the upper troposphere (~336 mb) than near the surface. Qualitatively, the same feature was present in Fig. 4b of MW75 [“MW75″ is a 1975 paper that presented a model-based projection of CO2-induced warming] and results from the predominance of moist convection which adjusts temperatures in a vertical column toward the moist adiabatic lapse rate. Since the moist adiabatic lapse rate decreases with increasing temperature, the temperature of the upper troposphere increases more than that of the lower troposphere in lower latitudes where moist convection predominates [page 2048].”

        2001:

        (from page 707 of: “Climate change 2001: The scientific basis; Chapter 12: Detection of climate change and attribution of causes”)

        2017:
        “Comparing tropospheric warming in climate models and satellite data”
        […]
        In the tropics, moist thermodynamic processes amplify surface warming […]. Such tropical amplification occurs for any surface warming; it is not a unique signature of greenhouse gas (GHG)-induced warming, as has been incorrectly claimed (Christy 2015) [page 383].”

        So, contrarians: do your homework; it’s not everyone else’s responsibility to do it for you.

      • Atom-san
        It seems that your literature review missed this one:

        Click to access wwww-ths-rr-091716.pdf

        This study’s conclusions include:

        Adjusting for just the ENSO impacts via only MEI variables, NOT ONE of the Nine (9) Tropical temperature time series analyzed above were consistent with the EPA’s THS Hypothesis.

        That is, adjusting for just the natural ENSO Impacts over their entire history; all tropical temperature data analyzed above have non-statistically significant trend slopes – which invalidates the THS theory.

      • Here’s the title and abstract:

        On the Existence of a “Tropical Hot Spot”

        The Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding
        Abridged Research Report
        Dr. James P. Wallace III Dr. John R. Christy Dr. Joseph S. D’Aleo
        August 2016

        ABSTRACT

        These analysis results would appear to leave very, very little doubt but that EPA’s claim of a Tropical Hot Spot (THS), caused by rising atmospheric CO2 levels, simply does not exist in the real world. Also critically important, even on an all-other-things- equal basis, this analysis failed to find that the steadily rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on any of the 13 critically important temperature time series analyzed.

        Thus, the analysis results invalidate each of the Three Lines of Evidence in its CO2 Endangerment Finding. Once EPA’s THS assumption is invalidated, it is obvious why the climate models they claim can be relied upon, are also invalid. And, these results clearly demonstrate–13 times in fact–that once just the ENSO impacts on temperature data are accounted for, there is no “record setting” warming to be concerned about. In fact, there is no ENSO-Adjusted Warming at all. These natural ENSO impacts involve both changes in solar activity and the 1977 Pacific Shift.

        Moreover, on an all-other-things-equal basis, there is no statistically valid proof that past increases in Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations have caused the officially reported rising, even claimed record setting temperatures. To validate their claim will require mathematically credible, publically available, simultaneous equation parameter estimation work.
        The temperature data measurements that were analyzed were taken by many different entities using balloons, satellites, buoys and various land based techniques. Needless to say, if regardless of data source, the results are the same, the analysis findings should be considered highly credible.

      • No, I actually didn’t miss that. It’s a non-peer-reviewed web article that would not be part of a literature review, anymore than a non-peer-reviewed flat Earther web article would be part of a literature review in Earth science.

        “Like the vast range of other non-peer-reviewed material produced by the denial community, book authors can make whatever claims they wish, no matter how scientifically unfounded.”
        https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0002764213477096

        Anyway, years ago I read the source you cited, and even wrote about it. It’s nonsense of the sort that’s typical for Joseph D’Aleo and John Christy. Their non-peer-reviewed blog article tries to argue that ENSO and changes in total solar irradiance (TSI) caused surface and tropospheric warming, while changes in CO2 didn’t cause a significant amount of warming. One obvious problem with that is that the stratosphere cooled, with the cooling increasing with increasing height, as you would expect from CO2-induced global warming, but not from solar-induced global warming. The lower stratospheric cooling mitigated in the 1990s in response to the Montreal Protocol helping to stabilize ozone levels, while cooling continued higher in the stratosphere, where CO2’s impact is relative larger (ozone depletion’s effect is relatively larger lower in the stratosphere).

        So how do the authors of the nonsensical non-peer-reviewed blog article you cited get around this? Simple: they pretend warming of the troposphere is warming of the stratosphere.

        In the first edition of their web article, they willfully ignore the stratosphere, going only going as high as an altitude that corresponds to an atmospheric pressure of 150mb. They label that as the upper troposphere, which is OK since that’s right at the border of the bottom of the tropical tropopause and the top of the tropical troposphere. Here’s the first edition of their web article where they state that:

        page 59: http://archive.is/rros6

        The tropical stratosphere starts higher up, at around 70mb. Here’s the second edition of their blog article, where they switch to pretending 150mb is part of the tropical stratosphere:

        “For comparison to the rest of the results presented in this report, Tropical Stratospheric 150 mb Balloon Data is shown next in Figure VIII-3. Interestingly, the 1977 shift is still evident. But not surprisingly, the overall model explanatory power is lower […]. Nevertheless, no impact of CO2 is evident […] [page 24].”
        http://archive.is/Ef3FM

        Thus they managed to remove one of the fingerprints of CO2-induced global warming, by pretending that tropospheric warming is stratospheric warming. Why didn’t you catch their sleight-of-hand there, Phil? Why did you fall for a non-peer-reviewed blog article like that? Is it because you saw it on silly, contrarian websites like WattsUpWithThat?

        It gets even worse. Christy and D’Aleo conclusions require them to use a cumulative indices for ENSO and TSI. They have to, because using the more appropriate non-cumulative indices would show that changes in TSI and ENSO did not cause most of the global warming, as shown in paper after paper. Of course, it’s ridiculous for Christy + D’Aleo to use these cumulative indices, and John Christy even admits as much when writing in his peer-reviewed (but still misleading) work for a lower-tier journal. The climate scientist Timothy Osborne makes a similar point:

        “The statistical models used in this report co-authored by Christy are flawed and thus do not support his statement that Mother Nature can cause the observed warming trends on her own. They suggest that these trends arise from cumulative anomalies of ENSO or cumulative anomalies of solar irradiance, but offer no compelling physical basis for this hypothesis. There is no consideration that a warmer climate would cause increased loss of radiative energy to space, nor that a cooler climate would decrease the emissions of radiation to space. […]. Furthermore, a cumulative variable must have a physically-defined baseline from which the anomalies are defined, which has not been done in this case. Otherwise, the baseline can be changed to produce an entirely arbitrary upward or downward trend in the cumulative variable, and thus support a false claim that the cumulative variable can “cause” a trend in the climate.”
        https://climatefeedback.org/scientists-reactions-us-house-science-committee-hearing-climate-science/

        “The amplitude of the 11-year [solar] cycle has diminished since the peak in 2000 and, in our residual time series, there is indeed a slight slowdown in the rise after 1998. One may arbitrarily select an accumulation period of TSI, so that a peak occurs near 1998 so the TSI coincides with (explains) variations in [lower tropospheric temperature] (e.g., a 22-year TSI trailing average peaks in 2000, though other averaging periods do not), but this would compromise the independence between the predictors and predictand [the predictor is the factor used to predict the predictand] [page 514].”
        https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13143-017-0070-z

        So, Phil, I suggest you stop peddling this type of non-peer-reviewed tripe from Christy, D’Aleo, etc., and instead do a competent review of the peer-reviewed literature. Because there are plenty of papers showing the hot spot exists (i.e. tropical tropospheric amplification occurred), regardless of how much contrarians online might like pretending otherwise. For example:

        “Removing diurnal cycle contamination in satellite-derived tropospheric temperatures: understanding tropical tropospheric trend discrepancies”
        “Atmospheric changes through 2012 as shown by iteratively homogenized radiosonde temperature and wind data (IUKv2)”
        “Westward shift of western North Pacific tropical cyclogenesis”
        “Common warming pattern emerges irrespective of forcing location”

        There are so many that I have a running thread on the subject:

      • Atom-san
        So an immunologist is schooling a team of atmospheric satellite physicists on how to do their job. You win the prize for this thread (epistemic trespass).

        The statistical models used in this report co-authored by Christy are flawed and thus do not support his statement that Mother Nature can cause the observed warming trends on her own.

        CO2 warming of climate may well be true. The tropospheric hotspot may be true. But my own main objection to the alarmist warming narrative is that it considers it necessary to argue for the nonexistence of internally generated climate change. The idea that climate is passive and that change only comes from atmospheric or insolation forcing. This is false. The combination of three factors:
        – the massive heat capacity of the ocean
        – the sharp vertical temperature gradient in the ocean, freezing at the bottom, 30 C at the surface
        – chaotic dynamics and nonlinear pattern formation within the circulating atmosphere-ocean system.

        The combination of the above 3 mean that, as Richard Lindzen put it, if thermal and radiative input and output at sea level remained in perfect balance for a thousand years, climate would nonetheless change continually, in a manner similar qualitatively to the spontaneous non stasis demonstrates by Ed Lorenz in 1963 in “Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow”.

        To demonstrate CO2 against a background of natural climate fluctuation, alarmists have tried to make their own job (falsifying the null hypothesis) unnaturally easy by denying any unforced climate change. In the real world the challenge is much harder. Climate change is the null hypothesis.

      • Re: “So an immunologist is schooling a team of atmospheric satellite physicists on how to do their job.”

        Nope. An immunologist is citing peer-reviewed evidence from actual experts in this field (after doing a literature review), which debunks the non-peer-reviewed blog nonsense from a group of contrarians who blatantly contradict themselves.

        Re: “CO2 warming of climate may well be true. The tropospheric hotspot may be true. But my own main objection to the alarmist warming narrative is […]”

        I’m not interested in your attempts to move the goalposts when evidence is cited to you debunking what you cite and say. The topic you introduced was the hot spot, and the article you cited on it. Address the evidence you were cited on that, instead of wasting my time with new batch of evidence-free ideas you have.

      • Atom-san
        All of geology is evidence for what I propose, what any normal and honest and even half-intelligent scientist would take as given but what you and Steve Schneider and your other mates ridiculously deny – that climate has always changed, is changing now and always will change. Without any human help. Look at an exposed rock strata? See any stripes? I rest my case. Quite likely they show 22 kyr precession related climate oscillation, or some other oscillation.

        But I forgot – you’re the world’s leading geologist as well, aren’t you?

        As for your hot spot – the place for that is one in which insolation reaches negligible values.

      • Re: “As for your hot spot – the place for that is one in which insolation reaches negligible values.”

        I’ll take that evidence-free attack as your tacit admission that you have nothing of value to say on the hot spot, on the peer-reviewed scientific evidence showing it exists (from more than a dozen papers), and on the blatant contradiction + distortions in the non-peer-reviewed contrarian blog article you cited.

        Re: “All of geology is evidence for what I propose, what any normal and honest and even half-intelligent scientist would take as given but what you and Steve Schneider and your other mates ridiculously deny – that climate has always changed, is changing now and always will change. Without any human help.”

        As asinine as saying that since forest fires occurred for at least millions of years before humans were around, humans can’t cause forest fires now and we can’t know a recent forest fire was due to arson. Please take off your politically-motivated contrarian glasses, and learn to reason about science honestly:

        “These examples illustrate that different climate changes in the past had different causes. The fact that natural factors caused climate changes in the past does not mean that the current climate change is natural. By analogy, the fact that forest fires have long been caused naturally by lightning strikes does not mean that fires cannot also be caused by a careless camper.”
        https://web.archive.org/web/20200419032942/https://archive.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-6-1.html

        Re: “But I forgot – you’re the world’s leading geologist as well, aren’t you?”

        That’s nice, random person on the Internet. People with actual expertise in this subject acknowledge the role of CO2-induced climate change in Earth’s geological history, and how human release of greenhouse gases (such as CO2) is causing large amounts of climate change, despite your ideologically-motivated contrarianism on this subject. So no, I don’t find your evidence-free ranting to be impressive. Your assigned reading is below:

        “Climate sensitivity in the geologic past”
        “Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °C anthropogenic warming and beyond”
        “CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate”
        “Changing atmospheric CO2 concentration was the primary driver of early Cenozoic climate”
        “Atmospheric carbon dioxide linked with Mesozoic and early Cenozoic climate change”
        “The impact of Miocene atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuations on climate and the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems”
        “The role of long-lived greenhouse gases as principal LW control knob that governs the global surface temperature for past and future climate change”
        “Atmospheric CO2: Principal control knob governing Earth’s temperature”

        But since peer-reviewed sources seem too hard for you, here are some layman-level sources from geology experts dumbing this down for you:

        The Geological Society of America:
        “Human activities (mainly greenhouse-gas emissions) are the dominant cause of the rapid warming since the middle 1900s (IPCC, 2013). If the upward trend in greenhouse-gas concentrations continues, the projected global climate change by the end of the twenty-first century will result in significant impacts on humans and other species. The tangible effects of climate change are already occurring. Addressing the challenges posed by climate change will require a combination of adaptation to the changes that are likely to occur and global reductions of CO2 emissions from anthropogenic sources.”
        http://archive.is/CQGTe#selection-971.151-975.38

        American Geophysical Union:
        “Based on extensive scientific evidence, it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. There is no alterative [sic] explanation supported by convincing evidence.”
        http://archive.is/kvZyJ#selection-979.495-979.766

      • Sanakan,

        “As asinine as saying that since forest fires occurred for at least millions of years before humans were around, humans can’t cause forest fires now and we can’t know a recent forest fire was due to arson.”

        It’s actually warmists’ argument that’s asinine – they seem not to be able to understand simple logic. Skeptics point put that climate has always changed and that evidence for modern change is not evidence for anthropogenic influence, not that the change can’t be caused by humans. Warmists do it very often – they show some evidence for warming as if it was evidence for human influence. Now that’s asinine.

    • Atomsk’s Sanakan: People are offering distortions that would be corrected in an introductory-level course in infectious disease or public health.

      Could such a course tell us whether hydroxychloroquine would be effective in treating COVID-19? I brought my experience (proficiency, not “expertise”) in clinical trials and pharmacokinetics into the discussion, mainly questioning the adequacy of extant published information. Was that “trespassing”? No, the substantive fields were pertinent to the question.

      How about false positive and false negative rates in diagnosis, prevalence, and Positive Predictive Probability and Negative Predictive Probability? Would those be covered and the vexing problem that we do not now know how many people have the virus or have died of it?

      You cite one comment, but we have trespassed the field across different boundaries, and some of the comments were pertinent.

      • Re: “Could such a course tell us whether hydroxychloroquine would be effective in treating COVID-19?”

        It would be helpful in telling you the mechanisms of action for the drug, why it might help with a hyper-inflammatory response in the context of viral pneumonia, why it’s a risky treatment especially if you give too high a dose), why you should give it as standard-of-care only after sufficient testing, how to evaluate peer-reviewed papers investigating it, etc. I already covered this:

        https://judithcurry.com/2020/03/14/coronavirus-discussion-thread/#comment-914377

        It’s amazing how many non-experts think they can lecture experts about this medication, without having a darn clue what they’re talking about.

      • “why you should give it as standard-of-care only after sufficient testing, how to evaluate peer-reviewed papers investigating it,”

        What is the standard of care for COVID 19 that has been sufficiently tested?

        Thousand of doctors are using HDQ as their first line treatment. International poll found plurality of docs doing so. Many docs report clinical experience that indicates they are not being irresponsible, or stupid. Right now, it seems that HDQ is as good a drug for treatment than any other. Do you know of a drug or treatment that is being used that’s safer or more effective? Or are you like so many others just talking out of the TDS side of your mouth?

      • Atomsks’s Sanakan: I already covered this:

        https://judithcurry.com/2020/03/14/coronavirus-discussion-thread/#comment-914377

        Thanks, sorry I missed that.

        However, there’s currently insufficient evidence for thinking hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine would be effective treatments for COVID-19, outside of emergencies or experimental contexts. More testing needs to be done before giving a medication (as standard of care) that suppresses the immune system. After all, in principle it’s possible to suppress the immune system so much that you just make the disease worse. And you need to know how patient’s bodies will respond to drug doses in the midst of this specific type of viral pneumonia.

        Would that be in an introductory course?

        Insufficient evidence is what I wrote elsewhere.

        A part I wrote that you didn’t address was the likely change in pharmacokinetics in COVID-19 patients.

        Now onto false negatives, false positives, prevalence, PPV, and NPV.

    • Yes let’s go back to gullible acceptance of authorised orthodoxy.
      We simply have to believe the organised self-interested corruption and coverups of Climategate will never happen again, or we won’t be able to sleep at night.

      • Paula

        We have the right to distrust any human being except ourselves, and accept no help of any kind from anyone. Robinson Crusoe showed us the perfect life of the skeptic 🤨

      • Re: “Yes let’s go back to gullible acceptance of authorised orthodoxy.
        We simply have to believe the organised self-interested corruption and coverups of Climategate will never happen again, or we won’t be able to sleep at night.”

        The HIV/AIDS denialists called. They’d like you to return their paranoid, nonsensical rhetoric that you borrowed:

        “HIV denial in the Internet era
        […]
        Deniers argue that because scientists receive grant money, fame, and prestige as a result of their research, it is in their best interest to maintain the status quo [15]. This type of thinking is convenient for deniers as it allows them to choose which authorities to believe and which ones to dismiss as part of a grand conspiracy. In addition to being selective, their logic is also internally inconsistent.
        […]
        Portraying Science as Faith and Consensus as Dogma
        Since the ideas proposed by deniers do not meet rigorous scientific standards, they cannot hope to compete against the mainstream theories. They cannot raise the level of their beliefs up to the standards of mainstream science; therefore they attempt to lower the status of the denied science down to the level of religious faith, characterizing scientific consensus as scientific dogma [21].
        […]
        Deniers also paint themselves as skeptics working to break down a misguided and deeply rooted belief. They argue that when mainstream scientists speak out against the scientific “orthodoxy,” they are persecuted and dismissed.”

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1949841/

    • Atomsk – Your choice of the video shows more about your biases and political beliefs.

      “Ready for a Global Pandemic? – The Trump Administration May Be Woefully Underprepared” Dated Nov 21, 2017.

      Do you seriously believe the CDC and the Obama Administration, etc went from being prepared in January 2017 to under prepared in 10 months, or became unprepared in a mere 1 month from the start of the first fiscal year of the Trump administration (oct 1 2017 which is when the and funding changes in the CDC would have taken place – which funding change was up, not down fyi)

      • “Do you seriously believe the CDC and the Obama Administration, etc went from being prepared in January 2017 to under prepared in 10 months”

        Preparation isn’t a once and done proposition. I could seriously believe that the Trump administration could completely undermine any preparation that had been done by previous administrations by marginalizing the CDC, firing people or letting jobs remain vacant, and refusing to update preparations.

      • James Cross.
        You can certainly ‘believe’ all that. But you have not yet presented any evidence that the current administration somehow undid, in a few short months, all the preparations that supposedly existed.

        A recent pandemic New Scientist: Six months after swine flu first shot to world attention, US President Barack Obama declares the virus a national emergency.

        FLASHBACK: The Obama-Biden Administration Scrapped WH Health and Security Office in 2009

        Fact check: Did the Obama administration deplete the federal stockpile of N95 masks? Our rating: True

        When you assign causality of everything to the actions of the same exclusive entity every time, you are wrong all the time.

      • His bias was made clear in his first sentence:

        same contrarian nonsense on COVID-19 that they said on man-made climate change.

        Since he is of medical training he is “trespassing” into climatology. His ignorant blanket dismiss of ” the same contrarian nonsense” tells us how worth to accord his cock sure opinions.

      • Dan,

        Even if you are right, you are wrong.

        We’re over 3 years into the Trump Administration, you can’t blame where we are at on Obama. It is a complete Trumpsaster.

      • I did not intend to indicate that the Obama administration was solely responsible for the lack of preparedness for the present situation.

        I intended, instead, to try to indicate that states of preparedness are on a continuum. It is a continuing process, not a one-shot procedure that is attained at the last minute. By the same token, a properly formed state of preparedness cannot be undone in a matter of a few months. That clearly would not be a state of preparedness.

        All previous administrations, up to and including the present time, hold some responsibility for status of preparedness for dealing with a pandemic, and other massive calamities. The Strategic National Stockpile, which is very frequently mentioned in very recent times, was established in 2003, by the George W. Bush administration.

        A call for preparedness for a pandemic was last issued, as far as I can find, by President Bush in November 2005, after the SARS and Bird flu outbreaks.

        “Scientists and doctors cannot tell us where or when the next pandemic will strike, or how severe it will be, but most agree: At some point, we are likely to face another pandemic. … Our country has been given fair warning of this danger to our homeland and time to prepare.”

        “But the national stockpile was depleted in 2009 during the H1N1 outbreak and never fully replenished. “We didn’t receive funds to replace those masks [and] protective gear … that we used for H1N1,” former stockpile director Greg Burel told CBS News, leaving hospitals scrambling today.”

        Evidence for existence of potential, is not evidence for existence of outcome. Still waiting for evidence of your assertions.

    • Mr. Sanakan – do we know how many people are naturally immune to this virus, and how many simply show no symptoms? Please share your professional wisdom with us.

      • I’ve dealt with your comments elsewhere, so I know better than to think you’re asking questions in good faith:

        https://judithcurry.com/2020/03/14/coronavirus-discussion-thread/#comment-910991

        You’re instead asking ‘gotcha questions’ that have no bearing on the cogency of the points I made; I’m under no obligation to answer random questions you ask, in order to know what I’m talking about with respect to the points I made.. But here’s your introductory immunology / infectious disease for the day anyway, taken from material posted elsewhere:

        Specify what you mean by “naturally immune”.

        Your body makes proteins called ‘antibodies’ that help you fight infections. Each antibody is specific to a particular region of a particular pathogen (ex: a particular virus, bacteria, etc.). At first the antibodies your body makes are not very good. But once you get infected with a pathogen, your body makes even better antibodies (if you want the technical details on that, look up “somatic hypermutation”, “class switching”, and “positive selection of B cells”). Your body also stores some extra cells for making those better antibodies in case you’re re-infected later. So the next time you encounter that pathogen, you make better antibodies even faster and in a greater quantity. That’s one meaning of “immune” means in this context: you’ve seen the pathogen before, so you make a better response. And that’s not even touching on the role of other memory cell populations, such as memory CD8+ T cells. This, by the way, is one way vaccines work. They expose you to components of the pathogen, so you make a rapid + better response the next time you see the pathogen. (Not that you would know that, since you made no honest attempt to understand the vaccine research cited to you before, as per the link above)

        So, by definition, people cannot have immunity to a pathogen they haven’t been exposed to before. Thus none of the people initially infected were naturally immune. What seems to be happening is that you’re unclear on different uses of the term “immune”, such as the meaning I discussed above vs. ‘having a better immune response to the pathogen in general’. Even without humoral immunity (what I discussed above, and the memory cellular immunity I hinted at), different people will have better or worse responses to a pathogen based on other components of their immune system besides antibodies, how old they are, how healthy they are, the specific variant of the pathogen they were exposed to, etc. Now, “immunity” is sometimes used to mean something different in other contexts, such as people who are resistant to a pathogen they have never been exposed to before (ex: people who have a mutation in the receptor HIV uses to enter cells, limiting HIV’s ability to enter their cells). So, again, specify your meaning.

      • Curious George

        As an “immunologist with medical training”, you may be unaware that a gene for sickle cell anemia protects its bearers from malaria. That’s an example of natural immunity. Just in case a medical training (in Cuba?) uses other formulations, here is one from
        https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/natural+immunity:

        “natural immunity The ability to resist infection that does not depend on prior experience of the invading organism and the resultant production of antibodies or amendment or selection of LYMPHOCYTES. Natural immunity is a general and non-specific resistance to infection possessed by all healthy individuals. Also known as natural resistance.”

        Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us: “So, by definition, people cannot have immunity to a pathogen they haven’t been exposed to before.”

      • Congratulations on learning how to use a medical dictionary on a topic you don’t understand, to go along with your ‘gotcha’ questions. Let me know when you can actually address the points made to you, and move beyond your habit of misrepresenting work in medical science (ex: vaccine research) that you don’t understand.

      • Curious George

        How many people are naturally immune to this virus, and how many simply show no symptoms? These parameters are are not yet known to a good precision, but they control the spread of the disease. It would be nice to have them. I considered myself curious, but you made me a contrarian.

      • Re: “How many people are naturally immune to this virus, and how many simply show no symptoms? These parameters are are not yet known to a good precision, but they control the spread of the disease. It would be nice to have them. I considered myself curious, but you made me a contrarian.”

        No, you already showed yourself to be a contrarian in your misrepresentation of the vaccine research, as per the link given before. Like I said, I’m not even going to pretend you’re asking questions in good faith. You’re just asking “gotcha” questions; your questions don’t need to be answered to control the spread of the disease. Social distancing will work with a disease this infectious, regardless of how many people are naturally immune, and regardless of how many people show no symptoms. It’s simple biology that you either don’t understand, or pretend not to understand. If you limit the route the pathogens uses to spread, then the spread of the pathogen is limited. Period. Deal with it.

      • Curious George

        By definition, immunologists who deny a natural immunity are extremely rare. Thank you very much for spending so much time on a guy who was unfamiliar with pertussis and was unhappy with a vaccine which protects only 12% of recipients. George out.

      • Re: “By definition, immunologists who deny a natural immunity are extremely rare. Thank you very much for spending so much time on a guy who was unfamiliar with pertussis and was unhappy with a vaccine which protects only 12% of recipients. George out.”

        Nowhere did the paper in question say that the vaccine protects only 12% of recipients:

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19482753
        https://judithcurry.com/2020/03/14/coronavirus-discussion-thread/#comment-910989

        In reality, the vaccination is about 80 – 90% effective:

        In general, DTaP vaccines are 80% to 90% effective.”
        https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/faqs.html

        So you blatantly misrepresented the paper. I don’t care how much you pretend you’re a “vaccine believer”; your willful distortion of the evidence (even after repeated correction) shows you’re a vaccine denier. Thanks for again showing why you should be treated as one who operates in bad faith. As I said before:

        “The purpose of the paper was to see if there was an association between parental vaccine refusal and the risk of pertussis infection. There was. So you basically moved the goalposts and attacked a straw man regarding what the paper was about, to avoid admitting to the conclusion it supported.
        […]
        If you people read climate science papers as badly as you read medical science papers, no wonder you remain faux “skeptics” on climate science.”

        https://judithcurry.com/2020/03/14/coronavirus-discussion-thread/#comment-910991

    • Sorry, the video is repeating trash talk. The figure of 3.4% case fatality rate spit out by the WHO and repeated here is just plain nonsense. Other experts have spoken up: the case fatality is likely far lower than the simple fatality/tested positive because there are so many people out there with the disease who have mild or no symptoms and haven’t been tested. Although these experts have the facts on their side– facts that any ordinary citizen can grasp– their opinions are being sidelined in the rush to panic and to turn to government coercion to solve this pandemic, something we’ve never done before.

      Dr. Ioannidis, Stanford: “Early reported CFR figures also seem exaggerated. The most widely quoted CFR has been 3.4%, reported by WHO dividing the number of deaths by documented cases in early March. This ignores undetected infections and the strong age dependence of CFR. The most complete data come from Diamond Princess passengers, with CFR = 1% observed in an elderly cohort; thus, CFR may be much lower than 1% in the general population, probably higher than seasonal flu (CFR = 0.1%), but not much so.” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/eci.13222

      Dr. Fauci: “This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS….” https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2002387

      Dr. Katz: “Coronavirus severity and mortality are, again based on the best available data we have thus far, massively concentrated among the already chronically ill, and especially among the elderly, as I’ve noted before. Where the denominator data are most reliable, roughly 99% of cases are reported as mild, posing no threat to life and not requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is highly concentrated among those over age 70 and especially 80, meaning the likelihood of exposure and recovery in the rest of us is considerably better than 99%, and more like 99.9%. Unlike the flu or measles, this infection has shown no tendency at all to cause death in children.” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/coronavirus-mortality-reality-check-david/?trk=portfolio_article-card_title

      Drs. Bendavid and Bhattacharya, Stanford, in the Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2020: “The true fatality rate is the portion of those infected who die, not the deaths from identified positive cases.

      “The latter rate is misleading because of selection bias in testing. The degree of bias is uncertain because available data are limited. But it could make the difference between an epidemic that kills 20,000 and one that kills two million. If the number of actual infections is much larger than the number of cases—orders of magnitude larger—then the true fatality rate is much lower as well. That’s not only plausible but likely based on what we know so far.

      “Population samples from China, Italy, Iceland and the U.S. provide relevant evidence. On or around Jan. 31, countries sent planes to evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China. When those planes landed, the passengers were tested for Covid-19 and quarantined. After 14 days, the percentage who tested positive was 0.9%. If this was the prevalence in the greater Wuhan area on Jan. 31, then, with a population of about 20 million, greater Wuhan had 178,000 infections, about 30-fold more than the number of reported cases. The fatality rate, then, would be at least 10-fold lower than estimates based on reported cases.”

      • Re: “Sorry, the video is repeating trash talk. The figure of 3.4% case fatality rate spit out by the WHO and repeated here is just plain nonsense”

        Actually watch the video this time, especially from 4:09 to 7:02. It’s clear from your comment that you didn’t bother to.

      • “Actually watch the video this time, especially from 4:09 to 7:02. It’s clear from your comment that you didn’t bother to.”

        OK, twice now. Nothing there refutes what I said. You might want to review what Dr. Fauci said in the NEJM, before he decided it was best to blow things all out of proportion. You might also want to bother yourself with reading some of what Dr. Ioannidis has written about this. That nonsense about asymptomatic cases being fewer than we thought is just plain unadulterated BS, because if anything they’re significantly higher than we thought.

    • You don’t understand marketing. People don’t like the product. That’s your fault.

    • Just because you like to be different and challenge conventional wisdom

      Small problem, Atom-san.
      In climate, there is no conventional wisdom to challenge. This plenty of convention, but no wisdom. We’re all really in the dark together. For a brief moment a light was shone on climate reality by Ed Lorenz and DNF 63, but this was snuffed out very quickly.

    • Atomsk’s Sanakan (@AtomsksSanakan) | April 14, 2020 at 10:07 pm |

      Not a trick question: What do you think about the various “stay at home” orders given by the diverse Governors. Gov of Michigan was rather severe, Gov of S. Dakota much less so. Can you offer an opinion of whether any of them worked to “bend the curves”?

      • Matt,
        We need some studies on how many people still going to work; in grocery stores, amazon warehouses, postal employees, police, food chain workers etc. are contracting COVID 19. I keep asking when I go to the usual food stores and nobody knows of anybody getting the virus.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Don Monfort,Matt,
        We need some studies on how many people still going to work; in grocery stores, amazon warehouses, postal employees, police, food chain workers etc. are contracting COVID 19.

      • Joe - Dallas

        Matt – interesting question of effect of lock downs –

        Here in Dallas Tx, we are under lockdown with exemptions for “essential businesses” The county is operating about 30-35% capacity based on my observation of morning commute time auto traffic. Personally, I am ignoring the lockdown, as are a lot of others. New infection rates are about the same 3 weeks into the lockdown as before the lockdown. A lockdown probably has to get down to less than 15%-20% oeperating capacity before the infection rates really start to decline (or at least decline because of the lockdown) . With any exponential growth pattern, it seems nature has put brakes into the system to prevent catastrophe. (negative feedbacks, maybe?)

      • Re: “Can you offer an opinion of whether any of them worked to “bend the curves”?”

        What my opinion is is irrelevant, unless it’s based on evidence. I’m not going to treat the science like so many of the contrarians on Climate Etc. treat climate science, where they offer their ideologically-motivated, evidence-free, contrarian opinion on a scientific topic. So people should wait until there is a reputable, peer-reviewed evidence on this subject, before they decide definitively whether it worked. There’s plenty of research currently undergoing review.

        “Scientific and ethical basis for social-distancing interventions against COVID-19”
        “Evaluating the effectiveness of social distancing interventions against COVID-19”
        “Effectiveness of social distancing strategies for protecting a community from a pandemic with a data-driven contact network based on census and real-world mobility data”
        “The effectiveness of Social Distancing in Mitigating COVID-19 Spread: a modelling analysis”

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: What my opinion is is irrelevant, unless it’s based on evidence.

        Fair enough. My first question was better, “What do you think … .”

        Thanks for the titles.

      • joe - dallas

        Atomsk – “So people should wait until there is a reputable, peer-reviewed evidence on this subject, before they decide definitively whether it worked. There’s plenty of research currently undergoing review.”

        Peer reviewed Studies –

        FWIW – There are far too many variables to account and control for along with conflicting data to reach any conclusion other than the authors preferred conclusion – ir-respective of the authors political or scientific leanings.

    • Anyone who uses the term “peer-reviewed literature” as if it means quality science is a fool. Science has no quality control. Peer review isn’t quality control. It was never intended to be. It is this lack of quality control that results in most published studies being flawed. And why public policy dependent on such studies is such a failure.

      Only in science (or academia) do people assume that all unchecked work must be accurate and sound simply because some journal published it. What fools. No wonder professionals in other fields have lost respect for scientists.

      It’s about to get much worse. Society is about to punish science for the disastrous COVID modeling. COVID Science is in the process of costing the US trillions while destroying businesses and lives, All because “experts” lacked humility. Their hubris destroyed them. And wrecked us.

      • Re: “Anyone who uses the term “peer-reviewed literature” as if it means quality science is a fool. Science has no quality control. Peer review isn’t quality control”

        Whatever. Your baseless, non-expert opinion is noted.

        “Like the vast range of other non-peer-reviewed material produced by the denial community, book authors can make whatever claims they wish, no matter how scientifically unfounded.”
        https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0002764213477096

        “Denialism is a process that employs some or all of five characteristic elements in a concerted way. The first is the identification of conspiracies. When the overwhelming body of scientific opinion believes that something is true, it is argued that this is not because those scientists have independently studied the evidence and reached the same conclusion. It is because they have engaged in a complex and secretive conspiracy. The peer review process is seen as a tool by which the conspirators suppress dissent, rather than as a means of weeding out papers and grant applications unsupported by evidence or lacking logical thought.”
        https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/19/1/2/463780

  4. Howard Dewhirst

    Don’t let Michael Mann hear about this as he is always very certain that only climate scientists like himself can have anything useful to say about the climate … perhaps he is wrong?

  5. David L. Hagen (HagenDL)

    Many inventions are patented by inventors working at the boundaries between disciplines.

  6. Note that Stephen McIntyre is an expert in statistics. If there was “trespassing”, it was by Michael Mann straying into statistics where his expertise was something else.

    • bingo

    • Analogous: climate modelers straying into the realm of integrating PDEs, which they know absolutely nothing about.

    • Good points all. Another example is our atomic powered “epidemiologist” who refuses to be named so we can find his credentials tresspassing in all areas of climate science.

      Given the replication crisis and how wrong experts have been about COVID19, skepticism should be the default position unless you believe firmly in “scientism” and sacredness of its white robed practitioners.

      Matt linked elsewhere Ioannidis’ scathing editorial on all the errors and distortions of the early science.

      • We’ve been over this before:

        https://judithcurry.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-uncertainty/#comment-911457

        Stop abusing work you neither read nor understood, to suit your ideological position. Ioannidis, the so-called “replication crisis”, etc. are not magic wands you can wave to dodge replicated and reproducible scientific point you find inconvenient for your contrarian ideology. That won’t work on those of us who (unlike you) actually read Ioannidis’ work.

        You can now use your usual excuses for not reading or addressing points (‘oh my goodness, so many words; my attention-span can’t keep up!’).

        From John Ioannidis:

        “Many fields lack the high reproducibility standards that are already used in fields such as air pollution and climate change.
        […]
        Moreover, they have not used science as much as they should. This is particularly worrisome when the evidence is strong, yet governments have not acted forcefully enough. […] It is a scandal that we continue to allow companies to make money from selling tobacco products, despite expecting about 1 billion tobacco-related deaths in the next 100 years, a Holocaust equivalent of lost lives repeated every year. It is a scandal that the response of governments to climate change and pollution has not been more decisive.”

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5933781/

        Humans causing climate change is on about the same level of certainty as the idea that smoking is killing people:
        17:17 to 18:30 : http://rationallyspeakingpodcast.org/show/rs-174-john-ioannidis-on-what-happened-to-evidence-based-med.html
        http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/f/8/9/f89584694d653aa6/rs174.mp3?c_id=13577443&cs_id=13577443&expiration=1584648769&hwt=736ba1cc30e54af900f17b584b4685ec

      • More tripe from Wiley Coyote. You are deflecting from your own lack of expertise by attacking me. A typical tactic from the school yard. I see no reason to believe you are an “epidemeologist.” You are probably a lab tech who works for Center for American Progress off hours trying to promote the party line.

        Climate change is real but climate science has been totally incapable of providing information on which to base policy. ECS has a broad range of uncertainty based on current science and things like patterns of change are essentially totally unknown.

      • I thought he said “epididdlymologist”. Makes more sense.

      • Re: “Climate change is real but climate science has been totally incapable of providing information on which to base policy.”

        Which you own source, John Ioannidis, explicitly disagrees with, as shown in the quoted work from him that you willfully ignore. So stop pretending his work (including on the replication crisis) supports your contrarianism on climate science.

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: Humans causing climate change is on about the same level of certainty as the idea that smoking is killing people:

        That is an interesting wording. Just as most deaths do not result from smoking, most of climate change does not result from human activity.

      • Re: “That is an interesting wording. Just as most deaths do not result from smoking, most of climate change does not result from human activity.”

        Your non-expert, ideologically-motivated, personal opinion is noted. The views of the experts tend to be better informed by the published evidence.

        “An overwhelming majority of AAAS [American Association for the Advancement of Science] members across all major disciplines believe that climate change is mostly due to human activity. Those domain experts with a primary specialty in the Earth sciences hold about the same views as all AAAS members surveyed (89% say climate change is mostly due to human activity). The figure rises to 93% among Earth scientists with a doctorate degree who are currently in the full-time workforce.”
        https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2015/07/23/elaborating-on-the-views-of-aaas-scientists-issue-by-issue/

        “Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC [anthropogenic climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.
        […]
        Preliminary reviews of scientific literature and surveys of climate scientists indicate striking agreement with the primary conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century (1–3).”

        https://www.pnas.org/content/107/27/12107.long

        (Both cited in table 1 of:
        “Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming”)

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: “An overwhelming majority of AAAS [American Association for the Advancement of Science] members across all major disciplines believe that climate change is mostly due to human activity.

        The AAAS opposition to CO2 (and repeated solicitations from them to contribute money to their campaigns against CO2) prompted me to drop my membership after about 40 years. You’re an immunologist and I am a statistician (PhD) with experience in non-stationary multivariate time series analysis. You can download a few of my papers from ResearchGate. You have your moments, but mostly you sound half-witted to me.

      • Re: “The AAAS opposition to CO2 (and repeated solicitations from them to contribute money to their campaigns against CO2) prompted me to drop my membership after about 40 years. You’re an immunologist and I am a statistician (PhD) with experience in non-stationary multivariate time series analysis. You can download a few of my papers from ResearchGate.”

        Once again, your non-expert, politically-motivated opinion is noted. It’s not the AAAS’ job to cater to contrarians like you, anymore than it’s the WHO’s job to cater to the views of people who are annoyed that the WHO accepts the science on HIV causing AIDS + that the WHO seeks ways to prevent the damage HIV causes. If contrarians want to whine in the face of evidence showing they are wrong and whine about people acting on that evidence, then they’re free to leave. Good riddance.

        Re: “You have your moments, but mostly you sound half-witted to me.”

        You can make up as many evidence-free insults as you want. It doesn’t change the reality that:
        1) you’re a non-expert in the topic,
        2) the vast majority of the informed experts disagree with your ideologically-motivated view on this topic,
        3) there’s abundant peer-reviewed evidence supporting what the experts say, and contradicting what you say.

        Ranting about how you think someone sounds “dim-witted” to you, doesn’t change that reality. Deal with it, pseudoskeptic:

        https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/tops.12179

      • Lowell Brown

        I was a fellow of the AAAS. I stopped my membership in AAAS several years ago because its journal promoted an anti-science, political point of view.

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: politically-motivated opinion is noted.

        What evidence do you have that my opinion is politically motivated?

        Up til about 8 years ago I went along with the majority opinion, and then I got interested in reading more about it. There are large gaps between partial knowledge of the mechanisms and knowledge of the rates of energy transfer..

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan: anymore than it’s the WHO’s job to cater to the views of people who are annoyed that the WHO accepts the science on HIV causing AIDS + that the WHO seeks ways to prevent the damage HIV causes.

        Whom are you addressing? Have I ever written that HIV does not cause AIDS, and what does that have to do with this topic anyway?

      • Re: “Up til about 8 years ago I went along with the majority opinion, and then I got interested in reading more about it. There are large gaps between partial knowledge of the mechanisms and knowledge of the rates of energy transfer.”
        “Whom are you addressing? Have I ever written that HIV does not cause AIDS, and what does that have to do with this topic anyway?”

        Always telling when someone pretends not to get an obvious and clear-stated point.

        “Manufactured scientific controversy: Science, rhetoric, and public debate
        […]
        This article examines three cases that have been identified by scholars as “manufactured” scientific controversies, in which rhetors seek to promote or delay public policy by announcing that there is an ongoing scientific debate about a matter for which there is actually an overwhelming scientific consensus. The comparative study of argumentative dynamics in the cases of AIDS dissent, global warming skepticism, and intelligent design reveals the deployment of rhetorical traps that take advantage of balancing norms and appeals to democratic values.”

    • Mike Mann is an oceanographer. And not a bad one at that.

  7. Was Socrates an “epistemic trespasser”? No, he asked pointed questions of those who claimed knowledge on one subject or another. So, an informed person can add, subtract and compare without epistemic trespassing. Also, I am fond of seeing a music psychologist apply her understanding of sound to linguistics and tonal language. Her ‘trespassing’ provided a worthy complimentary perspective to this area of linguistics. Further, the field of anthropology is noted for ‘trespassing.’ Oftentimes ‘experts’ working in social and psychological phenomena extrapolate their findings beyond what cultural boundaries provide. Blinders? Thank the heavens for such trespassing.

  8. Strikes me that “experts” have a habit of getting wrapped up in their own hubris. I’ve found that amassing different viewpoints leads to better solutions than sole reliance on experts with limited conventional vision.
    The idea of epistemic trespass should be dismissed as an attempt by the arrogant to stifle wide ranging inquiry.

  9. I like being a generalist and a contrarian! Treading in all sorts of expert fields and asking stupid questions, that no expert would ask of their own field. Bringing ideas from one field into another. It caused seriously heated debates. But in the end we moved forward. Its how I moved between Haematology, finance, retail, manufacturing, cancer research, systems design, software architecture. Thus, I became an enterprise architect, were I had little expertise to nothing in any specific field, but knew how to get others to work co-operatively, look outside their fields and move mountains. I’m proud to be a generalist and a contrarian.

  10. My many years experience in assessing undiscovered oil and gas resources has taught me that often a simple model is as good as one with lots of unknown inputs that are estimated with little actual data. Inan Dogan’s expertise is in financial economics (you can look him up on LinkedIn), but he has come up with a simple model that has done a very good job estimating the important factors related to COVID-19, and forecasting its spread. Read the following in chronological order: https://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/recession-is-imminent-we-need-a-travel-ban-now-817736/; https://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/hell-is-coming-here-is-the-mathematical-proof-822824/; https://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/hell-is-coming-and-we-sold-out-our-national-security-for-a-few-dollars-826614/; https://finance.yahoo.com/news/100-times-safer-now-early-204833052.html.

  11. The lanes overlap. For example if a statistician finds statistics errors in climate science should he stay in his statistics lane and not meddle in thw climate lane?

  12. “Hooray for Hollywood!” Why did I immediately think of singing this? 😉

  13. surprised there was no mention of the Santa Fe Institute in this discussion … it having been formed to encourage cross-disciplinary exchanges & work …

  14. Hi, I would like to see a law that said if you present a lie as science you go to jail. I don’t think it would keep people in their lanes but I do think it would kill the idiot journalists who hype anything out of the range of possible. It would restore the faith people have in science. The same level of come back that a used car salesman has surely would not stop any honest science.

    Tim A Plumber in Sheffield

  15. The basic model (SIR – Susceptible, Infected, Recovered) for epidemics is fairly simple. The complexity is in modelling human interactions and their responses. Countries with large expanses and sparse populations (Australia) are affected less than those with high population densities (UK). Countries which test, impose quarantine and track cases (Hong Kong) recover faster than those which tend to trust individuals to respond (US,UK)

    The biggest uncertainties remain the true death rate because we don’t know the total number of infected asymptomatic cases.

    I have a very simply python Mickey Mouse model for SIR.

    http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=9374

    • Now do South Korea…

    • “Countries which test, impose quarantine and track cases (Hong Kong) recover faster than those which tend to trust individuals to respond (US,UK)”

      Assume we can trust the numbers someday. Key values seem to be hard to know. Trusting individuals is the point. But suppose the virus hits those countries harder. Do we change the US because of the virus and future similar versions of it? To what? We change it to closed borders. Which would be just perfect. We are tracked as in China with social credit or whatever that deal is.

      Being a libertarian has a new meaning these days. Protectionism is coming from the Republicans. But so are trade offs. Some people will die. What is encouraging is one of my clients is going to protest at the Governor’s Mansion in MN. He was holed up issuing directives or some such thing.

      The United States, its people, need to respond in a good enough way, to further distance itself from the rest of the world as the best country. The best country to live in and invest in. We don’t want to come out of this as more average. We want to be less average and win. We do not want to cry and hide under our beds.

  16. Seems to me that the failures are not so much of the models but of the measurements. Why still no large randomized general population numbers?
    What is the denominator?

    The population studies from Germany and Iceland indicate fatality rates similar to those of the influenza oubreaks of 1957 and 1968, which were significant, but didn’t shut down the global economy.

    Another aspect is this. Experts have detailed experience and knowledge, but the values of the general population may be quite different.

    And values are not correct or incorrect, and the values of the experts are no more valid than anyone else’s.

    Even if we could accurately predict the course of the disease with certain measures, we come to the unpleasant task of assigning value to human life ( or more accurately, hypothetical life-years extended ). Naturally, we tend to become emotional about this and imagine infinite resources to save a life. But we don’t have infinite resources, and at some finite amount, expending resources for the ill harms the well.

    • TE
      Good logical perspective. Predictions are hard to make accurately, especially about the future. This won’t end well with controversies driven by political game ship of the coming presidential election. Faucci and Birk projections to lower the curve already accomplished. Time to open up economy with risk appropriate precautions for those most at risk
      Scott

    • TE,
      I agree with the spirit and logic of your post but argue that complex models with many degrees of freedom are not suitable for precise prediction. Complex models are sensitive to the selection of input parameters and even internal model uncertainties. If multiple inputs must be chosen the modeler can make reasonable choices for each input and the model will still not produce accurate predictions. It is sensitive dependence on initial conditions without chaos in many cases.

      In my field we skew inputs in a manner to maximize a desired output parameter, or we sample the inputs (seed the model) and run many model realizations. For the seeded model we then select a high order realization to establish a certain probability and confidence. The models are used to develop a high confidence inequality, e.g. temperature will be no greater than “x”.

  17. “The population studies from Germany and Iceland indicate fatality rates similar to those of the influenza oubreaks of 1957 and 1968, which were significant, but didn’t shut down the global economy.”

    And the reason is obvious. The conflation of this with seasonal flu is just bonkers.

    • No, JCH, the case fatality rate of COVID-19 is, to the best evidence we have, comparable to that of a serious flu. We hear stories of bodies backing up in NYC, but what we don’t hear is that cemeteries are cutting down on burials. We hear of huge death rates in NYC, but we don’t weigh that against the “just-call-it-COVID” mentally that the CDC itself has fostered in their guidelines. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvss/coronavirus/Alert-2-New-ICD-code-introduced-for-COVID-19-deaths.pdf

      This is a media circus whose aim is to instill panic, not calm and perspective. Panic is fully supported by those at the top who should know better, and this hysteria had been strenuously argued against by physicians, disease specialists, and epidemiologists who have been sidelined and prevented from trespassing on the dominant narrative.

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857920300972

    • And the reason is obvious. The conflation of this with seasonal flu is just bonkers.

      ’57 and ’68 were pandemics, not seasonal flus, so no conflation.

      These pandemics killed 100,000 Americans, something COVID is still aspiring to, though it’s possible.

      Would we achieve herd immunity faster, and is the actual fatality rate from COVID-19 less than or equal to that of the 1968 influenza?

      We still don’t know.

      Do you remember ’68?
      There was a recession in ’69, but my memory of second grade doesn’t recall getting out of school.

      • Worried about Tet Offense in Vietnam in ’68. Crowded out concerns about the flu.
        Scott

      • stevenreincarnated

        100,000 deaths in a much smaller and younger population even.

      • The whole problem with covid19 is not the numbers that die but the manner in which the virus ki11s people. By a viral pneumonia that necessitates prolonged intensive care with respiratory support – while remaining highly infective. (Plus the permanent lung damage in some survivors.) All this puts unique stresses on hospitals and families of patients.

        Yes everyone’s got to die sometime. That’s not the point here.

    • My recent comment on Dr. Raoult treatment of confirmed cases treated with HDQ 10 deaths/ 2500 cases = .004 These are folks who are sick enough to seek treatment. How many are infected that never seek treatment? Factor that in and you very likely got a much lower death rate.

      https://judithcurry.com/2020/04/09/cov-discussion-thread-iii/#comment-914480

  18. Photon Powered, Sideways, HIgh Side Racer

    Assigned lanes exist? Who did that?

  19. I think even defining the issue as ‘trespass’ to start with, seems wrong. Knowledge and discovery are an open field. Trading within that field upon reputation, or group-think, or selling unjustified certainty regarding any sub-domain therein, is a big problematic issue no matter what the sub-domain happens to be and whether or not the trader has (even plenty of) previous experience in it. Albeit trading while ignorant of sub-domain basics, is often problematical too. Both are exacerbated and potentially costly where they impact major public policy.

    This isn’t an either / or thing. Optimal advance needs wide-ranging efforts to prevent social effects from bogging down the enterprise of science (group-think, bias, reputations, whatever). But there is a cost of this in the distraction of inappropriate / unfounded conclusions. Likely, that cost is much lower than the cost of major dysfunction in the mainstream enterprise of science, for whatever domain. But at any rate, the cost / benefit needs a best balance.

    I don’t know, but *perhaps* if we lent less personal authority (and indeed often celebrity) to scientists, and more to the anonymous process of science, this would be helpful.

  20. What I use as antidote to intellectual trespassing are the following considerations or questions:

    [1] do I think someone has even read any scientific paper from a certain scientific field
    [2] do I think someone has read a good number of scientific papers from that particular scientific field
    [3] do I think someone has sufficient knowledge about that particular scientific field to be able to explain the dominant theory or dominating theories in that particular scientific field
    [4] do I think someone has sufficient knowledge about that particular scientific field to be able to explain to pros and cons of the dominant theory or dominating theories in that particular scientific field
    [5] do I think someone has sufficient knowledge about that particular scientific field to be able to explain to pros and cons of the dominant theory or dominating theories in that particular scientific field, is willing to do so [hidden agendas] or actually actively does so [understands that a scientist has an obligation to communicate what he/she does or doesn’t know and understand].

    One can ask those questions directly (mind you, most scientists will be annoyed and upset by posing those questions), or apply them to writings and comments of particular scientists to see how to where they end up. It helps with quickly sifting out those who are worth listening to..

    • zerobuayancy, everything you say is truth.

      [5] do I think someone has sufficient knowledge about that particular scientific field to be able to explain to pros and cons of the dominant theory or dominating theories in that particular scientific field, is willing to do so [hidden agendas] or actually actively does so [understands that a scientist has an obligation to communicate what he/she does or doesn’t know and understand].

      I underline it, it is very important:

      [understands that a scientist has an obligation to communicate what he/she does or doesn’t know and understand].

      Thank you, zerobuayancy.

      http://www.cristos-vournas.com

  21. What we are seeing is an attempt, so far, to stop narrative trespassing, not epistemic trespassing. Experts in any field disagree. Experts in epidemiology can and do disagree. In matters of public policy, it’s up to citizens and politicians to take the views of experts and weigh both sides and make a reasonable determination of what policies make the most sense in the light of the evidence, and it’s up to the experts, in turn, to stoop to the level of common understanding to represent their points. Instead, the authorities are inducing panic by focusing only on an alarm narrative.

    We’ve heard from many experts that the coronavirus doesn’t warrant the extreme measures that are being imposed on societies, but those views are being sidelined for a view that argues that lock down is the only way to bend the curve and ensure that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. This alarming narrative is based on a case fatality rate (CFR) in the neighborhood of 3.4% which was originally announced by WHO. But this CFR measured only tested cases, and we already knew (from data from the Diamond Princess, among other sources) that a good 50% of cases are asymptomatic and a good many of the other 50% have mild symptoms. Children have far fewer bad outcomes that do adults, and it’s partly for this reason that Sweden has opted to leave schools open and allow children to become infected, and by doing so, become immune. Remarkably, even Dr. Fauci, who is now leading the charge to induce panic in the US, has said that COVID-19 was akin to past flu pandemics:

    “On the basis of a case definition requiring a diagnosis of pneumonia, the currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 2%. In another article in the Journal, Guan et al. report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity. If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS ….” https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2002387

    The original numbers used to induce fear were wild over-estimates of “millions” dying in the UK and the US. The damage had been done, and the narrative of panic instead of calm and reasoned perspective has persisted. A precedent has been set for lock-down and for curtailing the right to earn a living, assemble and travel freely at the slightest hint of disease, relying not on citizen good-sense but on dictates from above, and reinforced by ensuring that any narrative trespassing is sidelined.

  22. Dr. Ravetz then reveals his aversion to the concept of “truth”:

    “There is another unsolved problem, Truth. I realise that I have a case of what I might call ‘Dawkins-itis’ in relation to Truth. Just as Prof. Dawkins, however learned and sophisticated on all other issues, comes out in spots at the mere mention of the word ‘God’, I have a similar reaction about ‘Truth’. I must work on this. It might relate to my revulsion at the dogmatic and anti-critical teaching of science that I experienced as a student, where anyone with original ideas or questions was scorned and humiliated. I happily use the terms for other Absolutes, like ‘beauty’, ‘justice’ and ‘holy’; so clearly there is something wrong in my head. Watch this space, if you are interested.”
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/12/dr-ravetz-posts-normally/

  23. Definitions are important in all discussions about anything.

    I would propose that trespass only takes place when the trespasser is making public judgements (predictions, assigning causes) on complex topics far outside his/her field of expertise and demands or expects to be taken seriously based solely on their public reputation. Think Al Gore.

    Applying one’s intellect, the source of one’s expertise, whatever it is, to a broader field is what all the greats in science and science journalism (science popularizers) have always done. Think Azimov, Feynman, etc.

    Trespass takes place when the media falls for the premise that the Opinion of Dr. X about some current topic is important and should be considered as scientific evidence because Dr. X is a household name or has a lot of degrees.

    That said, IBM’s first Webmaster, tasked to bring the corporation onto and into the Internet world, was qualified for employment by his degree in Shakespearean literature.

  24. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us …

  25. In favor of epistemic trespassing
    Hands up, all bloggers.

    relating to knowledge or to the degree of its validation.
    I guess it is the trespassing word that is the issue.

    Better to trespass at times rather than be immune to knowledge?
    not sure.
    Arguments both ways.
    Socrates could not see the flaw in his own investigation into other people’s expertise either.
    “The successful Athenian trespassed on matters about which he was ignorant.”

  26. We wouldn’t want to see politics creep into science and squeeze out the astrological sciences…

  27. Prof Richard LINDZEN’s UNIVERSAL PATTERN of Political Actionism contains EPISTEMIC TRESPASSING
    ═════
    “….Misrepresentation, exaggeration, cherry-picking, outright lying ….cover all the evidence….”

    “….Implausible conjecture, backed by false evidence …repeated incessantly becomes Politically Correct Knowledge [PCK]”

    LINDZEN is an Independent and Unfalsified World-Authority whose UNIVERSAL PATTERN incl:

    • LINDZEN-Mechanism plus
    • LINDZEN-Elites

    driving Dysfunctional Political-Actionism…..

  28. Facts about Covid-19 April 15 updates (scroll down):

    Some highlights:

    -In the British Telegraph, Professor Alexander Kekulé, one of Germany’s leading microbiologists and epidemiologists, calls for an end to the lockdown as it causes more damage than the virus itself.

    -The Luxembourger Tageblatt reports that Sweden’s „relaxed strategy on Covid19 seems to work“. Despite minimal measures, the situation seems to be „clearly calming down at the moment“. A huge field hospital that was set up near Stockholm remains closed due to lack of demand. The number of patients in intensive care units remains constant at a low level or is even slightly declining. „There are many vacancies in intensive care units in all Stockholm hospitals.

    -A direct comparison between the UK (with lockdown) and Sweden (without lockdown) shows that the two countries are almost identical in terms of case numbers and deaths per population.

    -A letter to the New England Journal of Medicine reports that in a study of pregnant women, 88% of test-positive women showed no symptoms – a very high figure, but one that is consistent with earlier reports from China and Iceland.

    -The British statistics professor David Spiegelhalter shows that the risk of death from Covid19 corresponds roughly to normal mortality and is visibly increased only for the age group between approx. 70 and 80 years.

    -Professor Karin Moelling, emeritus director of the Institute of Virology at the University of Zurich and an early critic of excessive measures, stresses in a new interview the role of local special factors such as air pollution and population density.

    -The British Guardian pointed out in 2015 that extreme air pollution in Chinese cities kills 4000 people per day. This is more than China has so far reported in total Covid19 deaths.

    -The German virologist Hendrik Streeck has defended himself against criticism of his pilot study. Streeck found a lethality (based on cases) of 0.37% and a mortality (based on population) of 0.06%, which corresponds to a strong seasonal flu.

    • Edim
      Sweden not looking so clever now, almost fastest growing Covid deaths in Europe. Today Sweden’s daily deaths per capita are equal to the UK, Spain and France, only Belgium is higher. And Sweden is the fastest growing.

      https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/new-covid-deaths-per-million?tab=chart&yScale=log&time=2020-03-12..&country=BEL+DEU+FRA+ITA+ESP+NLD+GBR+USA+SWE

      Plus the mantra-like “Covid is just like flu” sentience-collapse fails a very simple question. If it’s just like flu, why have ICU’s been filled by patients in respiratory distress whose lungs are shown by CT to be full of inflammation-edema and damage? This never happened before in any flu season since 1918.

      • Phil,

        Sweden IS looking clever, no lockdown and equal or lower deaths per capita than some countries with severe lockdowns, as you point out. In total cases per capita, it’s looking even better, and that is the point of lockdowns – to stop the spread.

        Regarding the unprecedented (there’s that word again) impact on ICUs,
        https://off-guardian.org/2020/04/02/coronavirus-fact-check-1-flu-doesnt-overwhelm-our-hospitals/

      • A Comparison of Lockdown UK With Non-Lockdown Sweden
        April 12, 2020

        “So far as I am aware, Sweden remains the only major Western country that has not imposed a strict lockdown on its citizens to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak. Other than a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people, and advice such as over-70s being urged to stay at home, Swedish schools, shops, restaurants and pubs all remain open. It almost seems to me that the Government there has decided to treat grown adults like they are … well grown adults.

        However, despite being a sovereign nation, with the right to set its own policy, it appears that this is not acceptable to the “international community”, and the Swedish Government is coming under huge pressure to change course. The World Health Organization (WHO), for instance, recently called for the nation to impose more restrictions, saying that it is “imperative” that Sweden:

        “increase measures to control spread of the virus, prepare and increase capacity of the health system to cope, ensure physical distancing and communicate the why and how of all measures to the population.””
        http://www.theblogmire.com/a-comparison-of-lockdown-uk-with-non-lockdown-sweden/

        For the record, I personally wouldn’t advice even the over-70s to stay at home – on the contrary, it’s very healthy to go out in the sun, walk… if possible.

      • Edim
        A simple coronavirus league table approach is not really appropriate, there are many factors that affect how fast cv19 will spread in a country. These would result in big differences even if all countries’ reactions were identical. These factors include:
        – Numbers travelling from China before March 2020 (e.g. Italy fashion business meant huge mutual travel between north Italy and Wuhan, direct flights)
        – Economic inequality and poverty: a poor underclass will have poor health and suffer disproportionately. A big factor in UK and USA.
        – Latitude. Cold countries in winter,people immuno-compromised due to cold. That’s why flu is also worse in winter.
        – Population density. Sweden is sparsely populated, less than the population of London, in a big country.
        – Quality of housing stock. Houses in UK are worse insulated than in Russia for instance. Poverty, overcrowding, drafty houses … good conditions for cv19.
        – Social customs – Mediterranean countries have large family gatherings more often than north Europeans who meet mostly indirectly via lawyers to fight over inheritance. Generally south European and Catholic countries more warm and gregarious while north European Protestant countries frosty and ascerbic. (Catholic countries also generally have better cuisine than Protestant.) Countries where habitual greetings involve kisses on both cheeks are all high covid countries: Belgium, Spain, Italy.
        – Public transport systems where passengers are compressed into physical contact – London, New York, Madrid, Paris etc.

        For the record, I personally wouldn’t advice even the over-70s to stay at home – on the contrary, it’s very healthy to go out in the sun, walk… if possible.

        Lockdown includes a walk outside every day, No-one’s saying stay inside 24/7.

      • Sweden clever after all?

    • *A huge field hospital that was set up near Stockholm remains closed
      *There are many vacancies in intensive care units in all Stockholm

      Hmmm….

      Seattle’s Army-built field hospital is coming down without treating a single patient

  29. Stay in you lane sounds like protectionism. Could some argue Medical Doctors have nothing to say about homeopathy? Biologists, physicists and Astronomers should not speak of astrology?

  30. I’m participating in an experiment where a group of non experts are pitted against experts with models to see if some of us are better than chimpanzees at predicting the future.

    I I would also like to point out that over the last 15 years of my career I was paid very well because I served as an integrator of several fields of knowledge. I wasn’t really an expert in a particular field, but i was better at seeing the forest.

    I’m now having to study a bit about different subjects to make my predictions. But I’ll give you an example as to why wuhan virus models are so bad: the WHO advised that wearing masks wasn’t a good idea, and that was definitely the wrong advice (could WHO be an agent in a bio warfare attack of convenience?)

    So my forecasts required me to try to understand how irrational would a country’s “experts” be sticking to WHO advice. I also had to gauge how the left wing media would influence the US public not to take hydroxychloroquine. My future visions have depended a lot on the level of polarization, idiocy, stubbornness, bureaucratic malaise and other human responses we really can’t put in a computer model.

  31. As luck would have it I’ve been too busy following James Annan’s exploits to pop back in here for a while. He’s really putting the COVID-19 infected cat amongst the proverbial professorial pigeons now. By way of example:

    • Good afternoon (UT) Jim, thanks for sharing this, I found the tweet with the English subtitles in which Merkel described “R”. I also found the many positve retweets and as a German I’m also somewhat proud of our chancelor. Thanks!

  32. * (D4) I am a trespasser onto another field because that field is quite large, containing elements which I do have expertise.

    Parenthetically, the field, I believe is sufficiently large that there is no one person or group of people who can rightly claim expertise over the whole domain.

    I am just one mouse nibbling at the cheese. The cheese that is, seems to have attracted many mice.

    COVID-19 requires a certain vocabulary which is an essential first element in expertise.

  33. The “outsider” voice sometimes can elicit a thought or idea overlooked by the “experts”. Create a paradigm shift so to speak. The “experts” who think they are all knowing on a topic, can render themselves a degree of ignorance by being close-minded to others input or ideas. The simplest application of science begins with observation and questioning, that ability can be lost..

    • Alfred Wegner, a meteorologist, leaped lanes to suggest continents had drifted. Noting, for instance, the west coast of Africa’s shape’s similarity to South America’s east coast. Lots of other features such as similar stratigraphic sequences and similar fossil assemblages. The scientific establishment ridiculed Wegner. Eminent geophysicist, Sir Harold Jeffries and others, strongly opposed continental drift because no drift scheme could be imagined. Wegner was treated horribly by his peers. Decades later J. Tuzo Wilson and others proposed a mechanism – plate tectonics. And Wegner’s insights were proven. Sadly Wegner did not live to see this.

  34. UK-Weather Lass-In-Earnest

    If the science is good science does it really matter who sets out and does it?

  35. Many comments on “contrarians” and the other side (favorarians?), however, the original point being trespass which doesn’t necessarily imply being in favor or against but might simply be pointing out an overlooked variable or dumb mistake.

    A classic example in paleoanthro (my main area) is the Last Common Ancestor (Chimp/Human) which mitochondria indicated was an ape that lived some 6 Ma. The guys used a standard reproduction rate of 15 years, ignoring that this is a function of time, then used this as the x axis to date the LCA. Everone in the field knows this is wrong, but the community is reluctant to admit it, so the date gets pushed back by about 1 Ma per decade.

    Climate modelling is another: the variable of atmospheric mass is taken as constant and thus not included. Kapsi and others go to the extreme of modelling the massive atmospheres of an “exoplant” that just happens to exactly the same as Earth to avoid stepping on sensitive toes.

    The best idea on COVID 19 seems to be the real-time testing of a range of treatments in order to home-in on the ones that work on the lagests samples. This is classic engineering yet still draws flack from the medics who want to carry out the usual double-blind trials – in this case the trespass is an needed innovation. Not for or against.

  36. “Gavin Schmidt @ClimateOfGavin
    Can climate scientists provide useful epidemiological modeling? In general, I’d say no. But perhaps there are exceptions… Thoughts?”

    Can climate scientists provide useful Climate modeling? In general, I’d say no. But perhaps…… there are No exceptions…

    Not even the old SM line all models are wrong, but some are accidentally right because our checking processes fail can help this man.

    Too harsh, unmotivated Climate scientists could of course produce useful models

  37. So why are Taiwan deaths from the wuflu now 0.3 per mil and NY state deaths now 591/mil.
    Yet Taiwan is only about 29% the size of New York state ( sq klms) and has been/is operating in a fairly normal way, certainly no lock downs etc while NY has been operating under severe lock down for weeks.
    Also Taiwan is about 110 klms from the Chinese coastline and has about 4 million more people than NY state. What’s going on or as J S Miller would say , “why is it so”?
    Check it out for yourself. Then can anyone offer a rational explanation? Cuomo and De Blasio should be voted out IMHO.

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

    • This is really easy. Most Asian countries have a SARS plan. The SARS plan is total suppression: eradication. SARS is not influenza; it is far far more dangerous. China warned everybody in plenty of time. Taiwan does aggressive testing, contact tracing, and isolation. They jumped on it while we our magnificent leader slept on it.

      The province in China that is directly across the water from Taiwan is Fujian. They have ~38 million people, and have had 353 confirmed cases and one death.

      Why? China essentially locked its outbreak within Hubei. No province outside of Hubei has had more than 1500 cases. Compare that with US states. South Dakota, with around 900,000 people, is racing toward having more cases than any Chinese province outside of Hubei.

      On voting out Cuomo? That’s funny. DeBlasio is probably a goner, if a Democrat runs against him. Maybe AOC? She’s cute. Being the Mayor of New York would be a great launch pad once she’s old enough to run for President. The days of Republicans winning the Mayor’s office of NYC, with Rudy fresh in New Yorkers’ minds, are totally dead on arrival for at lest a decade.

      • “China warned everybody in plenty of time.” Obscene.

      • Good play by play. Wait for the recovery.

      • “China essentially locked its outbreak within Hubei.”
        So there’s no global pandemic?

        Your apologist stance deprives you of credibility.

      • No evidence – just rightwing attack mode. “Weapons of mass destruction hysteria II.”

        There is not one single province outside of Hubei that had more than 1500 cases, and the vast majority of them had less than 1,000.

        What did the attack machine in the west do in real time? They attacked China for its draconian lockdown. Which obviously saved a huge number of lives.

        And now the Chinese are free to go back to work and shop and shop and live normal lives whereas Trump is talking about forcing – he has the authority – Americans back to work in exchange for tens of thousands of more lives over the next year to two years.

      • jungletrunks

        Who was it that said early that COVID-19 wasn’t contagious? Again, who?

      • They did not say that. They said they had no proof, in the context of SARS, of human to human transmission. It’s epidemiologist and virologists talking to epidemiologists and virologists.

        It took close personal contact to spread SARS-1, and there was no pandemic because of that. That is what the concern and that is what was being communicated.

        It’s sort of like when I had to explain to the American media that almost every grocery store in America contains a wet market. They finally published an article admitting that.

        It was pointblank obvious they had several patients and it had spread to them, and we knew that. We were told. They told us that. And they quickly added they had patients with no contact with the wet market, and they had patients in other provinces, and then in another country.

        What does that tell an epidemiologist/virologist/infectious disease doctor?

        Or, remain ridiculous. I do not care.

        Can anybody name a viral respiratory disease that involves a lot of coughing and often bilateral pneumonia that does not transmit via droplets? We knew that early on.

        They have a language. They wanted to know if the disease was readily transmissible person to person, and nobody knew at that time that it was. When they locked it down they had 771 cases and 25 deaths, and the west bombarded them with criticism. That was their brilliant reaction.

        Oh great, the commies have handed us another reason to trumpet we’re superior.

        Why would they lock down an entire province and shut down a large percentage of their economy if it was not highly transmissible?

        Draconian. Suppressed freedom. Evil commies.

        You’re robots.

      • SARS is not influenza; True.
        Covid 19 is strongly related to SARS
        In fact calling it Corona virus has likely been done to distract from comparison with SARS.

        What we have in both cases is a highly dangerous for older people respiratory virus. Proper SARS was more dangerous in younger people than Covid 19.

        I never understood completely why SARS itself was dampened out so easily.
        Perhaps as a species jumping virus there was enough difficulty on attaching to human ACE receptors that it did not quite have what it took to survive and propagate in humans.

        16 years later and what a difference.

        Very similar virus with two differences, a much more favourable attachment to humans and human ACE receptors. This is why it has spread so much more easily.

        Second a different subgroup of effected people. Mainly the elderly or ill.
        Both were deadly in younger people if high loads were achieved as in exposure for long time periods, read health workers.

        The study of SARS is important but it is likely that the virus was being trialed in a laboratory and infected a worker..
        Poor bats and pangolins got the blame because they are known to host their own subsets of SARS like corona viruses.

        Suppression did work for SARS because it was not a true human host virus.
        Corona virus is a slightly different beast. Ity is much more human ready and can be truly considered one of our own now.
        Eradication might be possible because it is so severe in some people that it advertises it’s presence and hence contact tracing and shutdown measures can help.

        Can we put the genie back in the bottle?
        No.
        The peak and fall of cases suggests that we may not have to.
        An accommodation may have to be reached vis a vis a disease which preferentially kills older and sick people which is normally just a common cold or less in younger people.
        A combination of acceptance with a blend of social isolation of older people and Nursing Homes when it is active would seem to be the best management plan.

        Of interest medically has anyone one mentioned the ACE 2 receptor blocker blood pressure drugs as worthy of a trial as they might stop viral attachment??

        Just a thought.

      • jungletrunks

        JCH, enough of your self induced spinning vertigo:

        First death in China from COVID-19 came on Jan. 9. One epidemiologist told The New York Times that the information released could be seen as reassuring because “the majority of fatal cases are elderly and/or have a chronic disease that would increase their susceptibility to infectious diseases.”
        Jan. 14, WHO, channeling China disinformation: ” Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan”
        Jan. 23, WHO: “It’s ‘Too Early’ to Declare Coronavirus Outbreak a Global Health Emergency”
        It wasn’t until Monday, Feb. 17, that the Chinese came clean, that the virus is highly contagious: https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/19/health/coronavirus-china-sars-mers-intl-hnk/index.html What were concerned Democrats saying immediately after this Chinese declaration?

        Here’s what concerned Democrats were saying post China Feb 17 release, just after the nature of the contagion was abundantly clear:

        NYT: February 18; In Europe, Fear Spreads Faster Than the Coronavirus itself. Earlier, on Jan 23 the NYT’s said: “The number of cases outside China is small, and the disease does not seem to be spreading within other countries.”

        CNN: Feb 21; Racist Attacks Are More Threatening Than Coronavirus.

        February 26, Cuomo boasted about NY’s accessibility to foreign travelers, the governor said NY is the “front door” for visitors from around the world—while only instituting voluntary quarantines for suspected COVID-19 carriers. Tourists and business travelers continued to pour into the Big Apple through the first several days of March without any comprehensive screening or restrictions. “Everybody is doing exactly what we need to do,” Cuomo said on March 2. “We have been ahead of this from Day 1.”

        JCH, besides the concoction of syndromes that grip you; your relentless audacity is awe-inspiring.

        https://nypost.com/2020/03/17/chinas-new-top-priority-spinning-coronavirus-and-blaming-the-us/

      • In general, if a virus is lethal, it was also be a slow spreader: not good at spreading: SARS-1 (10% of positive tests) and MERS (34% or positive tests.)

        Rabies, for instance, is basically 100% lethal in humans, but fairly difficult to transmit to humans. Even before pet vaccines were developed.

        Right off the bat, pardon the pun, this one, SARS-CoV-2, exhibited slow spread. So why there were medical professionals who thought it was widely spread is beyond me. Rapid spreaders are generally benign. You cannot box them up, though Fauci has suggested stay in place would defeat the seasonal flu. Have my doubts there.

        Fauci’s initial reaction was in the context of seasonal flu. He characterized SARS-CoV-2 as being less lethal than SARS-1, and thought the lethality of it would be comparable to a bad seasonal flu: less than 1%.

        You can’t reach that speculative conclusion unless the CDC had also concluded it is readily transmissible H2H through droplets. So sorry war mongers.

      • jungletrunks

        JCH, unfortunately, you have crossed a lane and have gotten run over as you spill your guts.

      • shyster lawyer in a rumpled cheap suit defending Red China. obscene

      • JCH: And now the Chinese are free to go back to work and shop and shop and live normal lives whereas Trump is talking about forcing – he has the authority – Americans back to work in exchange for tens of thousands of more lives over the next year to two years.

        You undermine your credibility there.

        Trump can not force Americans to go back to work. He can not even overrule the Gov’s “lockdown” orders. He can overrule “compacts” between states, but compacts are allowable as long as the state legislatures debate and enact the laws separately. No one will go back to work who doesn’t want to, and no employer will hire anybody or restart work unless it wants to.

        We do not have independently verifiable information from China, only conflicting rumors and “official announcements”. Indirect evidence suggests substantial underreporting of case loads and total deaths.

      • Free to live normal lives proscribed only by tyrannical oppression.
        Shysters can defend anything.

      • JCH:
        The story I told was we have more experience in dealing with this because China had to deal with the emergence. The idea is to have time and knowledge. China had less of both. We are still gaining knowledge with statistics arriving daily.
        Because of China’s experience, we should do better with it, all things being equal. But they aren’t. They can control things better than us because we are not robots.
        Who to blame? Maybe nobody. We could have done better. China could have opened up. China could be open. It’s like dealing with some backwater POS country. What’s true? We don’t know. But such things may emerge from Africa in the future. Or some South or Central American trainwreck country. I guess it’s up to us to be ready.
        But let’s hide the data. Just like whoever the bleep that was with the climate data. Did China hide the data? Do we hide ours? Did Exxon?
        If we don’t know what’s going on in China, that’s an argument to isolate.
        There is a right bias. Blaming China. Might work. What’s a libertarian to do?

  38. Epistemic trespassing is not an option or a curiosity. Real progress in science will demand it.

    Biologists testing molecular-genetic cartoon-based theories, or pharmaceutical researchers with their drug candidates, will have to do translational work in the animal model and thus gain a working knowledge of the physics of MRI and microCT, for example, to be able to see what happens in an actual organism from noninvasive in vivo imaging. This can’t just be left to a technician.

    Ecologists illucidating how ecosystems work need to collaborate with mathematics in formulating analysis of chaotic nonlinear networks and attractor landscape analysis, for there to be the slightest hope of moving from the descriptive to the analytical in the study of multiple predator-prey dynamics and elemental and energy cycling.

    Physicists seeking unity between gravity – relativity and quantum physics will need to work with serious mathematicians in fields such as string theory and the S-matrix; what physicists call “maths” won’t cut it.

    If climate oceanographers wish to understand fractal timescale ocean circulatory oscillations, they will need to collaborate with chemical engineers to understand how positive and negative feedbacks along with external periodic forcing, can reduce the dimensionality of a turbulent chaotic system to the lower dimensional region of emergent pattern and oscillation with the appearance of attractors. And try to learn attractor landscape analysis from the ecologists and molecular geneticists.

    Those modelling atmospheric mixing and thermodynamics would benefit from talking to astrophysicists who model supernovas.

    And so on…
    The boundaries between disciplines are where the worthwhile future discoveries lie.

  39. The greatest risk of Epistemic Trespass as you call it is the Dunning Kruger effect. In fact, the Dunning Kruger effect as a cognitive delusion is at its most powerful with persons who have more skill, not those who have the least. This is not controversial and is recognized by everyone worth their salt from Kahneman to Thayer.

    Don’t you think if you are going to comment on the usefulness of “Epistemic Trespass” that you should describe in detail the psychological processes that are inherent in exactly that?

  40. I hope I haven’t misunderstood you. But the problem is not as you seem to have stated. It is smart people with knowledge of data but unqualified versus the qualified but less smart or knowledgeable.

    We could start with the Greeks, but let’s go to Galileo and then to
    Gregor Mendel, Thomas Edison, Robert Evans, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, William Herschel, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Mary Anning, Donald G. Harden and all the way to Freeman Dyson – no PhD, but important contributions to four different scientific disciplines. Not to mention geotectonics.

    In “climate science” the mantra is “What are your qualifications?” McIntyre is an excellent example.

    Why don’t we examine the results rather than the entrance requirements?

    • Wasn’t Albert Einstein a patents clerck with no PhD, when he published his relativity paper in 1905?

      Albert seems to have side-stepped Dunning-Kruger somehow.

      It’s easy to see how the Dunning Kruger effect could and no doubt does get routinely used as a trite abuse by establishment sinecured scientists defending themselves or politically mandated truths from criticism.

      Reading about the DK effect on wiki, it’s interesting how it relates to actual physical or mental disability:

      [The Dunning Kruger effect is …] a neurological condition in which a disabled person either denies or seems unaware of his or her disability.

      In relation to disability, this point blank denial of the reality of a disability would seem in today’s politically correct world, not to be a cognitive fallacy or problem at all. Quite the opposite – denial of disability is politically mandated, with extreme predjudice. Words like “cripple”, “blind”, “deaf” are airbrushed out of the dictionary. No-one is “retarded” but they may have “learning difficulties”. It is forbidden even to refer to the existence of any kind of deficit whatsoever. Instead the word “challenged” is as close as the PC pharisees will allow one to get to the unmentionable truth.

      • To put your example of Einstien in context, his “early years” hypothesis was ultimately validated and accepted by the institutional expertise . No, not by the professional engineers association or the Whats Up with That climate Blog…. they can’t validate anything, even when they guess right. They will always be guessing in the wind, unable to validate anything but some tiny bit of the problem that does fits into their own niche expertise yet is only peripheral to the problem as a whole. Yet amazed by their own cleverness, you ain’t going to convince Anthony Watts of that!

        Which is the Dunning Kruger effect: The divergence of confidence (an emotional intuitive effect) from demonstrable skill that is at its greatest with guys like anthony Watts or Bjorn Blomberg or Steve MacIntyre – people who have an exploitable skill that creates an “insight” into the problem, all the while blind as a bat to the vast extent that they have no exploitable skill at all.

        otherwise, we’d just have to be ace staticians and nothing else

      • I am impressed by Bruce’s elegant take on this one. Ignore the statisticians. Do-it-yourself stats is fine for climate science.

      • Bruce

        unable to validate anything but some tiny bit of the problem that does fits into their own niche expertise

        You’re contradicting yourself.
        According to Dunning-Kruger, “niche expertise” is the only kind of expertise any scientist can have and claim to have.

        Unlike a polymath like Greta Thunberg I guess.

      • you do realize I hope that you are offering yourself as a test case, with each reply?

        At the low end of the scale at least, which is better than the middle!

  41. Bjorn Lomborg cites an interesting paper that makes the case that social distancing is ‘worth it’, BUT – there’s a sweet spot.

    TOO strict requirements lead to MORE people being infected by a ‘second wave’.

    The sweet spot is 50% infected:

    • Most accept that social distancing may save some lives, but at what cost? Poverty is the leading cause of death in the world and contributes to the death of over 100,000 people each year in the US. We are increasing poverty both now and for years to come. The longer this lasts the less this will become a forced government shutdown and the more it will become a financial crisis

    • An aggressive lockdown could save lives now with not much additional cost in lives when the it is lifted if factors in the overall situation are different then. We could have treatments, a vaccine, robust testing and tracking – a lot of things that could affect lives lost in a second wave.

      • and what about the unintended consequences? If you are allowed to say “an aggressive lock-down COULD save lives…” then subsequently others are able to say that an aggressive lock-down COULD cost lives. The question remains, to what degree will this lock-down COST lives?

      • My comment to TEs post was lost in moderation.

        Poverty is the leading cause of death in the world and contributes to over 100000 per year in the USA. It is difficult to see how our actions have already not cost more lives than they have saved. The longer this goes on the less it becomes a forced shutdown and the more it becomes a financial crisis. 22,000,000 unemployed implying an unemployment rate of nearly 15%. The worst since the Great Depression.

  42. Preston Stronach

    I absolutely hate the phrase “stay in your lane” it basically is a not so polite way of saying shut up you know nothing in this area. It prevents dialogue from happening, creates totalitarian conditions, and is, in my view, anti-science. The reality is, experts in one field are well suited to critique or say something about many other fields; what they aren’t qualified to do is present their ideas as fact and is if it were assumed to be right simply on the basis of their credentials. People who say “stay in your lane” usually don’t have a good enough argument to bat away the low level critique and therefore resort to appeal from authority. I consider myself a fairly learned man, not an expert by any means, but I read, re-read, summarize, debate, etc many areas that I find interesting and yet get auto dismissed as a quack or an “arm-chair expert” for simply questioning the approved narrative. This covid19 situation will, I think, be very damaging to science and, more importantly, damaging to those that dare question it.

  43. Warning! Value of life discussion ahead…

    Interesting also, US HHS values a year of life saved as $0.5 million.
    Average life-years extended by averting COIVD via social distancing: 7.8

    So +$3.8 million per COVID death averted does NOT reach the -$5.85 million cost of COVID deaths averted by social distancing .

    • The economic costs of CV-19 are not merely a function of deaths. Serous illness is also a cost. There are myriad others.

      • There are myriad others.

        Yes.

        Probably so many others that are so poorly constrained that we are not making strictly logical decisions.

        But value judgments can never be so.

      • > Probably so many others that are so poorly constrained that we are not making strictly logical decisions.

        Agreed:

        > But value judgments can never be so.

        Well, it’s a relative kind of thing. There’s no black/white distinction between “strictly logical” and “value-judgments.” Hopefully we can strive to inform our value judgments with logic.

      • “The economic costs of CV-19 are not merely a function of deaths.”

        True, but this is true for all illnesses. The particular characteristics about death and severe illness for COVID 19 make it less economically impactful than most other illnesses in large part because the vast majority of the deaths and serious illness are in people who are no longer in the labor force.

        Also, COVID 19 is less impactful because the specific life years lost are lower for this than even seasonal flu. Flu kills the old and the young, this kills almost exclusively only the elderly. The 2009 flu pandemic killed relatively few, but resulted in a disproportionality high number of life years lost.

      • “Hopefully we can strive to inform our value judgments with logic.”

        Amen

      • > The particular characteristics about death and severe illness for COVID 19 make it less economically impactful than most other illnesses in large part because the vast majority of the deaths and serious illness are in people who are no longer in the labor force.

        There are some 10 million people over 65 in the work force. And plenty of people younger than that who have co-morbidities and thus are at a fairly high risk of mortality.

        But then there is hospitalizations, and the numbers of working older and younger people in those categories who are quite ill with potentially life-long health complications. And those who are very ill and would be unable to work for an extended period, even if they recover completely.

        And then there’s the 7.4% of hospitalizations between ages 50-64. And those people who might be ill enough to miss serious times at work.
        Admittedly, that’s not a huge number, and the impact would be small compared to the impact of the shutdown. But relatively higher rates of absenteeism from work would no doubt have an economic impact.

        https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6915e3.htm

        Who knows what the actual numbers will be – but it seems to me that people are largely focusing almost exclusively on mortality, and that doing so misses an important part of the picture.

      • More recent estimate of hospitalizations:

        https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/COVIDNet/COVID19_3.html

  44. The proverbial, black swan event – e.g., not just a bat-to-human transmission of a ‘novel’ virus that humans can spread to other humans but that, it first occurs in a totalitarian state of over a billion people, run by people who will do and say anything to cling to power…

  45. Here’s the person who should’ve been in charge of the US response to COVID. But the major problem with his take is that it’s too reasonable, too based on evidence, too clear, and too thoughtful. No chance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK0Wtjh3HVA

    • Greetings, Zoe. Thank you for all of your work on this climate topic. I hope that your insights do receive a proper consideration. Could you please post a brief summary of your analysis here, as that may help more readers to understand the importance of your work?

      • From Zoe’s lonely blog:

        “Zoe Phin
        March 8, 2020 at 6:50 pm
        So NASA labeled it wrong? and you derived an alternative thing, and want to label it the same thing and then claim I’m wrong? Ben, if you don’t shape up, you will only get one more comment.”

        That’s all we need to know about you and your homebrew nonsense.

      • You can criticize the way I treat pests that repeat the same nonsense.

        Lonely blog?

        I’ve had 26,246 views since I started it Oct 31, 2019.

        Thank you very much.

      • You don’t know nonsense from Shinola. Willful ignorance is your forte. Why don’t you go back to your very popular blog where you foolishness can be propagated without challenge.

      • Thank you, Zoe. The idea that geothermal is irrelevant and basically nil was conveyed by Fourier (1824) in his often cited, much revered but little read, paper which appears to be maybe just a lecture and probably never peer reviewed. Perhaps it is time for a formal peer review…. better late than never. Without that, Fourier should not have been cited in journal articles, except as noting historical interest.

        Fourier, Joseph (1824). “Remarques Générales sur les Températures Du Globe Terrestre et des Espaces Planétaires.” Annales de Chemie et de Physique 27: 136-67. Translation by Ebenezer Burgess, “General Remarks on the Temperature of the Earth and Outer Space,” ”American Journal of Science 32: 1-20” (1837) . . . . http://fourier1824.geologist-1011.mobi/

      • I have empirical evidence at the end of this article:

        http://phzoe.com/2020/02/20/two-theories-one-ideological-other-verified/

        I never censor people that disagree with me. I prefer to have them embarass themselves while the empirical evidence shows them all to be wrong.

        Do have anything to add to my research besides nasty comments?

      • Indeed, scirev18,
        I point out that climate scientists are herdish and foolish followers of a geothermal denier (Fourier) all the time in comments at other sites.

        Why so many ‘experts’ made a non-expert an expert is mystery to me, other than it supporting their ideology? Some don’t even understand the false paradigm box they’re stuck in.

        Fourier never debunked James Hutton, but ignored him completely. Fourier, the mathematician, may be forgiven for his ignorance, but his followers … not so much.

      • I agree with sciencereview18, on this one. Zoe’s insights should receive proper consideration. I did my share.

  46. > Let’s look at the facts.

    The US government had a member on the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee for Pneumonia due to the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV which advised the WHO on declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). That individual is Dr. Martin Cetron, Director of Global Migration and Quarantine at the Centers for Disease Control.

    According to the WHO, at the coronavirus advisory committee’s first meeting on January 22, 2020,

    “the Committee expressed divergent views on whether this event constitutes a PHEIC or not. At that time, the advice was that the event did not constitute a PHEIC, but the Committee members agreed on the urgency of the situation and suggested that the Committee should continue its meeting on the next day, when it reached the same conclusion.”

    The very same day, President Trump was interviewed by CNBC and made his first public comments on the corona virus. Trump told CNBC: ““We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

    https://rogerpielkejr.com/2020/04/15/did-the-trump-administration-delay-the-who-emergency-declaration/amp

    • That was the advice he was given by Fauci et al, joshie. Look for the multiple videos of Fauci saying it was nothing to worry about. Do you not have any criticism of Fauci? You are a hypocrite and a partisan hack.

      • 1) I have plenty of criticisms of Fauci.

        2) It’s funny how Trump wins praise from his fans for going with his gut instead of listening to “experts,” and then when his gut leads to failures on a massive scale, all responsibility is lifted and its the “experts” fault. No matter what, he deserves fealty and praise from the cult members.

        To top it off, he alternately claims total authority and zero responsibility. And yet, his fans adore.

        No criticism can be valid. All criticisms are a clear sign that we all want to die along with our friends, families, and fellow citizens, just to fabricate some delusion that Trump is fallible.

      • No one said what you are fantasizing they said.

    • Xactly. The Red China thugocracy shut off Wuhan from the rest of China, while they were telling the world that the virus was not transmissible human-to-human. At the same time, they were exporting the virus to the world through direct flights from Wuhan. The WHO was complicit just repeating the deliberate disinformation they got from the CCP.

      According to polls, joshie’s crowd want to replace old sleepy senescent Joe with Cuomo. Yes, the Governor of NY who is presiding over half the deaths in the whole country. The Governor who alternates between begging Trump for help, joining Dems and their numerous birds of a feather in blaming Trump for NY’s debacle, and claiming Trump has no authority to tell NY what to do. It’s obscene.

  47. I am primarily an economist with training in computer science. Economics is pushed forward by “interlopers.” Pareto being a well-known example.

    The climatologists’ puzzlement at 1975 “Pacific Climate Shift” is an example. People who knew fisheries, particularly Canadians were able to help the understanding. The message has not been spread, a well-known climatologist said he could find no signal for Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

    That is sad. For the people who study the fisheries, the signal is clear in takings of fish.
    We had a similar case in economics where two economists analyzed the Canadian economy. Their math, “priniipal minors (used to find maxima)” were right, so they said that iron and steel were the cause of economic growth. The iron and steel were used make rails to carry wheat to the world. That was the cause of growth in Canada
    Wheat was the motive force, not iron and steel. Their growth was induced by the need to grow, ship, and wheat (and other grains).

  48. Everything started with error.

    And here is why.

    The planet’s old incomplete effective temperature formula:
    Te = [ (1-a) S / 4 σ ]¹∕ ⁴
    is defined as a planet’s equilibrium temperature in the absence of atmosphere.

    When calculated, the Earth’s Te = 255 K, instead of the satellites measured actual Te = 288 K the cause was obvious.

    Earth’s surface was considered warmer by +Δ33oC because of the planet Earth’s atmosphere.

    It was error.

    http://www.cristos-vournas.com

    • https://www.cristos-vournas.com/
      Here is a brief overview:

      Christos Vournas proposes an improved formula for estimating the planet’s effective temperature, without atmosphere. Using the new formula, the new estimate of the Earth’s effective temperature 288K closely matches the estimate from satellite observations, so that there is then no missing 33C to attribute to some factor such as the alleged greenhouse gas effect.
      The improved formula accounts for the fact that “when a planet rotates faster the nighttime temperature rises higher than the daytime temperature lessens” so that “a faster rotating planet is a warmer planet”, and the “understanding of this phenomenon comes from a deeper knowledge of the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.”

      So, what was the error in the old formula used by everyone until now?
      Christos Vournas said, “The old formula considers planet absorbing solar energy as a disk and not as a sphere. “

  49. When people stay onto areas in which they are not experts, they may well lack some of the presumed knowledge in those areas. But they may also lack some of the preconceptions and rooted in errors that plague many formal structures. So it’s both good and bad. as such it should never be promoted based only on the good, or dismissed only on the bad, but allowed with caution and restraint.

  50. stevenreincarnated

    I wonder how much per epidemic modeler this fiasco has cost the world. A trillion dollars?

    • The climate modelers who screwed up will never have to face the music (assuming they don’t live to be 150).
      These guys receive immediate feedback and get to be quizzed with “tell me again how you FU?

    • But do the govts believe there has been a mess up? Or will they dare to admit it? . They are claiming they are following the science and they will support modellers, who in turn will point to the precautionary principle. So both sides will follow the narrative that it was the right thing to do in case they collectively get the blame.

      Also the consequences of science being discredited has enormous implication for climate change agendas so I can’t see it happening

      tonyb.

      • stevenreincarnated

        Under normal circumstances perhaps. Our press will have no problem at all going from Trump is over-reacting to Trump is under-reacting and then back to Trump over-reacted. There is nothing that won’t eventually come out in the wash. The only question will be who loses the spin cycle.

      • Should we be relieved to be governed by the scientists? Asks Robert Peston
        What we learned on Thursday is that, at least while the Prime Minister is convalescing, the boffins of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies are – in effect – running the country.
        Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Boris Johnson, made it crystal clear that he and his fellow ministers – who met on Thursday in Cabinet and the Cobra committee – simply followed the advice of SAGE, which is chaired by Sir Patrick Vallance, in extending total lockdown for a minimum of three weeks.
        As other ministers have confirmed to me, there was no pushing back on SAGE’s view that easing any of the current unprecedented constraints on our basic freedoms would lead to another surge in Covid-19 infections that would damage health and the economy.
        “SAGE is the clear arbiter/adviser,” said a senior minister.
        This is not government by our elected representatives as we conventionally know it. And maybe, given the gravity of what’s happening, that is both understandable and sensible
        https://www.itv.com/news/2020-04-16/coronavirus-scientists-governed-robert-peston/

        Six questions that Neil Ferguson should be asked
        https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/six-questions-that-neil-ferguson-should-be-asked

  51. We have this branch of science whose experts (for example) tell us that California is going to experience either more drought or more floods because of climate change, but can’t tell us which or when with any confidence.
    Or to pick a more tangible example, that all glaciers in the Himalayas will have melted away by 2035.
    Or that all the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by2020.
    If us non-experts are expected to “stay in our lane”, is it still okay to point at the lane-full of experts and laugh at them?

  52. Geoff Sherrington

    Is there a lane for the logician?
    How does a logician do work without trespassing?
    By analysis of the science of logic and nothing more? Geoff S

  53. COVID-19 is continuing, though decelerating,

    but cold and flu overall hit -zero- according to digital thermometer time series.

  54. Wuhan revised death toll 50% higher his morning.

    • There never has and never will be any credibility in reported statistics out of China. They could report 500% higher and it wouldn’t change a thing. The only reason they released that information is because the ChiComs recognized that the world has their spears pointed at them and they need to maintain “some” world credibility in order to continue their program.

    • Revise recent death tolls upwards, revise recent temperatures upwards.

      Simples.

  55. Pingback: Coronavirus + Climate Change: How Trump went from "It's a hoax" to ‘I’m a wartime president" in 3 weeks. | Red, Green, and Blue

  56. Tonyb
    In the US the shutdown sold on a justification to flatten the curve w 100,000 to 200,000 deaths estimate and running out of critical care ventilators and ICU resources.

    Now down to 33,000 deaths of old compromised elderly and so many ICU beds and ventilators that hardest hit states laying off nurses and shipping ventilators out of state.

    Moving the goalposts as they already achieved all the goals, but elite powers reluctant to relinquish control of populace. Authoritarianism pops up again.

    Give us back the bill of rights!
    Scott

    • scott

      our new Nightingale hospital in London created by the army in 8 days has some 3000 beds and last weekend only 19 patients. The authorities say of course it was due to their planning that most beds are not needed, not due to an initial overreaction

      If anyone dies WITH CV they are counted as having died FROM it. As you say the vast majority of deaths have been the compromised elderly, many of whom would unfortunately have died of flu or existing illnesses this year..

      Quite how the west will get out of this largely self induced economic disaster in the making that they chosen to tie in with CV is anyone’s guess.

      tonyb

      • Curious George

        Insufficient data. The best data we have is the number of deaths from CV, and even that number is highly unreliable. But the government has to do something – that includes nothing – and they can always put a scientific veneer on their decision.

      • Tony
        If the deaths are from viral pneumonia (not responding to antibiotics) then it’s quite clear that the covid19 infection is the cause of death.

        How do you know that flu deaths are caused by flu?

        Talk to clinicians dealing with covid19 cases. They’ll tell you how they know a death is from the virus. Quite a few distinguishing features.

      • Phil

        “If the deaths are from viral pneumonia (not responding to antibiotics) then it’s quite clear that the covid19 infection is the cause of death.”

        This is clearly wrong.

        “As pneumonia can be considered somewhat a final common pathway of infection, especially for those who are immune-compromised, a great number of viruses can cause pneumonia. In general, these viruses can be divided into those containing DNA or RNA as their nucleic acid…”

        Viruses causing viral pneumonia are:

        -Influenza viruses,
        -Rhinoviruses, which cause common cold,
        -Coronaviruses, which also cause common cold
        and many many more…
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513286/

        Not to mention that SARS-Cov2 tests (the basis upon the whole panicdemic stands) are unreliable and not very specific.
        https://off-guardian.org/2020/04/15/has-covid-19-testing-made-the-problem-worse/

  57. stevenreincarnated

    Antibody study in CA by Dr. Bendavid estimates that between 50 and 80 times more people infected than official counts in Santa Clara county.

    https://abcn.ws/3bdATmK

    • Just saw this. Paper linked in my recent comment on end of CV discussion III thread.

      • stevenreincarnated

        I think there’s more than enough evidence out there for us to exit crisis mode now.

      • Don –

        Another point:

        These studies that extrapolate from data from particular locations to estimate national or global fatality rates rest on an assumption that there are no different strains and/or there is no significant difference in fatality among different strains.

        Maybe that’s viable. I don’t have the technical knowledge to know. But my guess is that these researchers are basically ignoring a huge uncertainty.

      • I haven’t seen the researchers extrapolating to whatever, joshie. But since you have spotted some miscreants doing so, it’s your duty to let them know that they need to stop it. Right now. Check back in with us in a week and let us know what they tell you to do with your advice.

    • Good to see the results of a proper investigation with an attempt at a representative sampling. The limitations in that regard should be noted:

      > This study had several limitations. First, our sampling strategy selected for members of Santa Clara County with access to Facebook and a car to attend drive-through testing sites. This resulted in an over-representation of white women between the ages of 19 and 64, and an under-representation of Hispanic and Asian populations, relative to our community. Those imbalances were partly addressed by weighting our sample population by zip code, race, and sex to match the county. We did not account for age
      imbalance in our sample, and could not ascertain representativeness of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in homeless populations. Other biases, such as bias favoring individuals in good health capable of attending our testing sites, or bias favoring those with prior COVID-like illnesses seeking antibody confirmation are also possible. The overall effect of such biases is hard to ascertain.

      Seems odd to me that they didn’t discuss limitations (or adjusted weighting) with respect to SES. I would hope that a weighted adjustment for SES is buried in the methods section.

      • I wonder if they adjusted to make the sample nationally representative, or just representative for the Santa Clara community. I suspect it is the later:

        –snip–

        The population density in Santa Clara is 2504% higher than California.
        The median age in Santa Clara is 5% lower than California.
        In Santa Clara 44.09% of the population is White.
        In Santa Clara 3.70% of the population is Black or African American.
        In Santa Clara 40.40% of the population is Asian.

        –snip–

        Median income in 2018 was @ $116,000. About four times the national median income…

        Hmmm. I hope that they are clear to establish that if they were seeking a sampling representative for Santa Clara, it is in no way representative for the nation.

        That would likely be much less relevant for infection rates – but it’s extremely important for mortality rate numbers.

      • > Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, agreed that the findings likely align with what overall national exposure may look like.

        https://www.foxnews.com/health/coronavirus-antibody-testing-finds-bay-area-infections-85-times-higher-reported-researchers

        I think that Gottlieb is good. I lean towards trusting his opinions. Here’s a good (f perhaps somewhat discouraging) interview with him:

        https://www.vox.com/2020/4/14/21219021/scott-gottlieb-coronavirus-covid-19-social-distancing-economy-recession

      • stevenreincarnated

        They tested a homeless shelter in Boston with the active infection test with 146 testing positive. All were asymptomatic at the time of testing. 1 eventually needed hospitalization. That wasn’t an actual study but the bottom line is this pandemic was way overblown and now we are just trying to figure out if it was overblown by a factor of 10 or a factor of 50.

      • If it was a hotspot, which a homeless shelter likely would be, that tells you nothing that would be generalizable.

      • I don’t recall seeing this posted here:

        https://www.businessinsider.com/testing-reveals-most-aircraft0-carrier-sailors-coronavirus-had-no-symptoms-2020-4

        Almost all of the the crew of 4800 has been tested and 660 are positive. 60% of those who tested positive were asymptomatic.

        “While some sailors were asymptomatic, others were not. Among the infected sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, more than half a dozen have been hospitalized. Two have been placed in the ICU. One died Monday, and the other remains in intensive care.”

      • stevenreincarnated

        Perhaps you can’t glean much about the infection rate but you can extract a little information about the hospitalization rate of people that are probably not overburdened with social privileges. If it had been an antibody test instead of a molecular one it probably would have shown a lot of the people there had already recovered.

      • Anyone trying to draw conclusions from the Santa Clara study, about the implications to the larger public, really ought to read this excellent peer review:

        View at Medium.com

      • I fear that Josh (as if often the case) selects a small set of facts and ignores a much broader set of facts.

        The review looks to me like it is itself cherry picking numbers out of the air. 1. They don’t consider false negative results only false positive results. Previous tests have had up to 30% false negative results.
        2. They cite H1N1 as showing that widespread infection is unlikely. They fail to mention that H1N1 is vastly less contageous than covid19 with R0’s ranging up to 5.9 in the literature. Even Annan’s model shows that above 3 is likely. That’s vastly more contageous than the flu.
        3. There are now at least 4 other studies out there that show a high infection rate. In Boston, a random sample of 200 showed I think about a 30% infection. In New York, testing of delivering mothers showed about a 15% infection rate. A town in Germany showed a 15% infection rate, and in Iceland while the infection rate is low, its still much higher than expected based on those hospitalized. This all lends credance to the Santa Clara study.
        4. As the Oxford epidemeology group points out in the their lengthy analysis, in all past epidemics, “case fatality rates” early in the epidemic were always dramatically inflated by selection bias. That’s likely to be the case here. Many countries only test those who show up with symptoms at a hospital.
        5. Quoting top line CFR numbers is classic yellow journalism. Everyone knows they are worthless for informing either personal decisions or public policy.

        What Josh is doing here and elsewhere is what he accuses others of, i.e., cherry picking the information he points to. Worse still not being a scientist he ignores fundamental experience in the field readily accessible for example in the excellent Oxford University writeup.

        https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/global-covid-19-case-fatality-rates/

      • stevenreincarnated

        It does appear that the test kit gets a lot more false negatives than false positives percentage wise.

      • dpy, has this one. Cherry picking and there is the high probability that joshie wouldn’t know an excellent peer review, from Shinola.

      • David –

        In that Boston study, they recruited people who were out walking on the street, in a hotspot (Chelsea).

        That isn’t random and representative sampling. Not even close.

      • All scientific studies have limitations Josh. It’s the accumulated evidence that is important. I mentioned 4 studies that tend to indicate vastly wider infection rates than the laughably biased numbers you see in all the media.

        And these yellow journalism practices do immense harm by scaring people. There is some evidence in Britain that people are delaying needed medical care and non-covid related mortality is spiking.

      • David –

        > All scientific studies have limitations Josh

        Precisely. Thst is why you should look at their limitations before you extrapolate as you have done.

        Especially when your extrapolation serve to confirm your ideological predispositions.

        Once again, you shouldn’t try to extrapolate from non-random and non-representative sampling. Especially when you’re doing so to confirm your ideological predisposition.

        You are the easiest person to fool.

        Is that so hard to understand?

      • Josh,
        Your criticism of these studies does nothing to diminish their conclusions. It just confirms that you use motivated reasoning to selectively criticize studies whose conclusions you don’t like.

        And please stop telling me about my ideological biases when you are largely ignorant of them. It’s condescending and arrogant and childish.

      • David –

        > Your criticism of these studies does nothing to diminish their conclusions.

        You misunderstand. I’m not “criticizing” the studies. They are what they are. Their limitations are what why are. I’m critiquing how people use the studies to confirm their biases.

        For example, the Chelsea study is a study of rates in Chelsea. It utilizes a method thst generates a non-random and non-representative sample, even for Chelsea let alone for MA, or for the country. It is what it is. It’s information about rates in a certain population in a particular location. It’s information.

        The problem is when people foolishly extrapolate from that study to infer an infection rate for broader populations.

        Even more when they do so in order to confirm their pre-formed, politically-influenced opinions about the economic impact of policies made by politicians.

      • Here David –

        Have fun with Andrew Gelman’s take on the Santa Clara study. Lol.

        https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/04/19/fatal-flaws-in-stanford-study-of-coronavirus-prevalence/

        > think the authors of the above-linked paper owe us all an apology. We wasted time and effort discussing this paper whose main selling point was some numbers that were essentially the product of a statistical error.

        I’m serious about the apology. Everyone makes mistakes. I don’t think they authors need to apologize just because they screwed up. I think they need to apologize because these were avoidable screw-ups. They’re the kind of screw-ups that happen if you want to leap out with an exciting finding and you don’t look too carefully at what you might have done wrong.

        +++++++++++

        Ouch!

      • Josh, This Gelman is a nothingburger. He admits he’s not an expert on serological testing and that he doesn’t know if the Ioannidis paper is right or not. I think I’m done with your low value references.

      • Joshie, There is a lot of evidence that infections are vastly more common than official numbers indicate. That’s a fact period end of story. As much as you childishly want to make it about my thought processes of which you are ignorant, its not about that.

      • David –

        I’ll wrap this up with this: it certainly does seem likely that there are going to be a lot more people with antibodies than people we have seen identified with infections. That is certainly important.

        It’s also a reason why the failures with testing are meaningful, and the constant lying about the testing consequential.

        Its also a reason why extrapolating from studies of non-random and non-representative sampling should not be done – because accuracy in examining a pandemic disease is critical.

      • And I’ll add that I certainly hope that the estimates of much lower fatality, and potentially higher immunity, are correct. It would be very encouraging.

      • dpy6629: This Gelman is a nothingburger.

        Andrew Gelman is actually a highly respected statistician, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.

        His comments are pertinent, but I think he overreacted. When you get past the details, and the difficulty of estimating the actual seroprevalence (e.g. the unreliability of the confidence interval estimate), the main message is that the seroprevalence is quite high, and worth more studies.

        Nobody that I know of has yet comprehensively addressed the effects of the false positive and false negative rates of any any of the tests in the attempts to estimate prevalence, and subsequently the Negative Predictive Values and Positive Predictive Values of the tests.

        Gelman has written what I shall call a “precautionary warning” that the result of the Stanford study should not be regarded as definitive. In consideration of how hard it is to get any studies up and running, I think it should be regarded as first step and a teaching example of what has to be improved upon in the next study of the same topic.

      • I’ll just wrap this up by saying that you Josh have behaved in a condescending and arrogant way. But that’s not new. You did the same to Judith some years ago despite the fact that you appear to have zero scientific training. You have been doing your best to cast doubt on the science by cherry picking sources amenable to your ideological preferences. That’s motivated reasoning, something that you accuse others of. Hypocracy is a common denominator of anonymous internet “personas” who have too much time on their hands.

        The only up side is that others may have learned the truth from sources I’ve posted.

      • Gelman looks like someone who likes to hold forth on subjects he is ignorant of such as serologic testing. He then tries to shame other scientists who know much much more than he does. Typical blog thrill seeker whose conclusions can’t be trusted.

      • dpy6629: Gelman … . Typical blog thrill seeker whose conclusions can’t be trusted.

        That is absurd.

      • More than one thing can be true Matt. Gelman may be a top statistician and he may also be an internet blogger holding forth on things he knows nothing about like serological testing. His post on the Santa Clara paper is very long and technical and then the conclusion is “the results could be right. They are the experts on testing but they owe us an apology.” That’s childish.

      • A discussion of the potential for self-selection bias in the Santa Clara study recruitment:

        https://analytica.com/adjusting-the-santa-clara-county-antibody-prevalence-results-for-self-selection-bias/

        The LA Country recruitment was a bit better than just running Facebook ads,

        > A random sample of these residents were invited to participate in the study on April 4 with the goal of recruiting 1,000 participants for testing. Quotas for enrollment in the study for population sub groups were set based on age, gender, race, and ethnicity distribution of Los Angeles County residents. Participation in the study was restricted to one adult per household.

        ++++++++++

        Still, seems to me there would be a pretty good chance of self-selection bias.

      • Tell us about the possible effects that self selection bias might have on the study results, joshie. And then tell us why the possibility of the various effects of possible self-selection bias should keep us awake at nights. Get back to us in about a week. That should be time sufficient for you to go down that rabbit hole and re-emerge with some more trivial foolishness.

      • Don –

        The article does a pretty good job of outlining the issue, although the designation of “5” is obviously arbitrary.

        I realize the authors might well have felt pressure to get this information out, but introducing an article into such a charged context without proper reviews and without addressing the massive inflience of self-selection bias seems pretty irresponsible to me.

        I used to have mad respect for Ioannidis, but he and the co-authors have injected themselves directly 5 onto the political aspects here with all their interviews, and I think they’ve done so in a questionable manner.

        For example, Ioannidis was in thsr video talking about the uncertainty caused by the “with COVID” deaths vs. “of COVID” deaths. OK. A legitimate issue. Bid he said absolutely nothing about the uncertsinty caused by people dying in their homes and hecee being tested. Here check this out.

        – – snip–
        Uros Seljak says:
        April 21, 2020 at 2:13 pm
        We studied precisely this effect for Italy in
        https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.15.20067074v2

        using raw mortality data from any cause and we see a large excess in the data of March 2020 against a counterfactual prediction (we use Gaussian process conditional mean method and Synthetic control method). We see no excess against official COVID-19 below age of 70, but a large excess above 80: people were dying at home and did not get tested. Our total number of deaths in Italy is more than double the official number.

        So this contradicts Ioannidis claims that official numbers are inflated, it is the opposite, they are underestimated, at least in Italy.

        –snip–

        https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/04/20/more-coronavirus-testing-results/#comment-1312166

      • Don –

        Did you even read the article I linked?

        Aren’t you even a bit curious about the weaknesses of their study?

        Just ignore the political ramifications. Just as a matter of intellectual curiosity.

      • stevenreincarnated

        French aircraft carrier: 1081 infected, 8 hospitalizations, 1 in ICU, 0 deaths. If the low case fatality rate is a fluke then at least it is a consistent fluke. The most memorable quote from 2020 will be an epidemic modeler saying, “Oops.”

      • Fatality numbers are highly uncertain too. There are lots of biases and absent testing and autopsies for everyone, those uncertainties will not go away. The one thing I think is pretty certain is that infections have been dramatically underestimated. This is confirmed by 5 or 6 studies around the globe and has been verified in virtually all past epidemics. I think New York is undertaking population serologic testing. Shouldn’t take too long to get results.

      • Joshua: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.15.20067074v2

        thank you for that link and the more recent Gelman link.

      • The study is what it is, joshie. Do you think they lied about anything? It’s one small study. They are not making any extraordinary claims about it. Get a freaking grip. You want me to lose over it? Think about what TF you are doing here and get back to us in a week.

      • David –

        > Fatality numbers are highly uncertain too.

        That was my point. That’s why i think that Ioannjdis et al. should be more circumspect until more data come in, and certainly shouldn’t be extrapolating nationally from a study with so many problems.

        > There are lots of biases and absent testing and autopsies for everyone, those uncertainties will not go away.

        Epidemiologists have ways to adjust got the biases – although if course here will never be no uncertainty.

        > The one thing I think is pretty certain is that infections have been dramatically underestimated.

        And probably dramatically overestimated.

        > This is confirmed by 5 or 6 studies around the globe

        No it hasn’t. I think you dint know what it means to. “confirm” such things.

        > I think New York is undertaking population serologic testing. Shouldn’t take too long to get results.

        New York data, without adjustment, wouldn’t be nationally representative either.

        Interestingly, w/r/t the Santa Clara study

        https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/press-release-04-21-20-early.aspx

      • Josh, There is data from Diamond Princess, Germany, Iceland, Chelsea, Boston, New York, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, the American aircraft carrier, the French aircraft carrier all pointing to the same conclusion. Each dataset is relatively small but it is quite unlikely that all of them would be off by an order of magnitude. IFR’s are dramatically overstated and infections are dramatically understated by the official numbers.

        In any case, Ioannidis and his by now at least 10 collaborators are experts with long track records. You are an anonymous internet persona with no visible qualitications any subject.

      • David –

        > Josh, There is data from Diamond Princess, Germany, Iceland, Chelsea, Boston, New York, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, the American aircraft carrier, the French aircraft carrier all pointing to the same conclusion.

        Nine of them are representative samples. Some have self-selection bias problems.

        There is representative sampling going on. That’s a good thing. It is a bad idea to extrapolate from non-representative sampling – especially if you’re going from infection rates to extrapolate in one community to mortality rates in vastly different communities.

        > Each dataset is relatively small

        It’s not the size of the dataset that’s the problem.

        > but it is quite unlikely that all of them would be off by an order of magnitude.

        They don’t have to be off for the sample they’ve studied for them to be improper for broader extrapolation.

        > IFR’s are dramatically overstated and infections are dramatically understated by the official numbers.

        That may be true, but you don’t have the proper data to reach such a conclusion.

        >In any case, Ioannidis and his by now at least 10 collaborators are experts with long track records. You are an anonymous internet persona with no visible qualitications any subject.

        Nice apppeal to authority. I notice that in your constant appealing to authority, you neglect to mix in addressing the actual criticisms of the study. How about addressing the self-selection bias in the Santa Clara study? What do you think about a renown expert using a study with such a bias as a basis for broad extrapolation.

        I’m not saying that a study with those problems is worthless. Observational studies with convenience sampling are of value. They are what they are. But careful scientists should be circumspect about extrapolating broadly from such studies.

        The main problem with your appeal to authority is that there are plenty of authorities who are critical of these studies. What’s funny is that when presented with such an expert’s criticism, you discounted his expertise.

      • Once again…

        I don’t remotely question that have been many more infections than the identified cases.

        I don’t doubt that in certain areas, the infection rates are quite high.

        I agree that there is a lot of uncertainty in infection fatality rates – especially across different geographical and demograph contexts.

        In my opinion, aggregating mortality a rates across vastly different demographic or geographical parameters, even if it can be done accurately by extrapolating from representative (and randomized) sampling is pretty worthless in a practical sense. The data suggests it is almost as if COVID-19 is a completely different disease for people under 40 than for people over 70.

        It’s unfortunate to see scientists outpacing their evidence. It’s understandale that people do that when the issues at hand are so compelling. I don’t condemn them for doing it. But it deserves critique and criticism.

      • BTW, another important problem with respect to aggregating (and extrapolating from unrepresentarive sampling).

        > R0 is a fine measure in a homogenous network, but that’s not what we have. Note, for example, the vast difference between infection occurrences in nursing homes vs. the general population (even the general population of elderly people). As another example: 90% (!) of Singapore’s spike of new Covid-19 cases are in worker dormitories.

        Banning large gatherings etc lowers R0 for the “average” set of people, but that R0 is already low, and the average R0 is not the average of the network’s subgroups. Imagine one group with R0=0, and another with R0=2; in the overall population that is the two groups together, each infection leads to two new infections, so R0=2, not 1.

        https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/04/22/analysis-of-excess-coronavirus-mortality-also-a-question-about-poststratification/#comment-1316684

      • David –

        Another example why scientists like Iioannidis should be circumspect about extrapolating fatality rates from non-representative sampling:

        https://www.ft.com/content/67e6a4ee-3d05-43bc-ba03-e239799fa6ab

        What’s curious to me is that a renown expert like Ioannidis spoke about the uncertainties related to the “died with” vs. “died of” designation (sure, that’s an important uncertainty), but he didn’t even reference uncertainty that runs in the other direction.

        Why not? Selective treatment of uncertainty is bad science.

      • BTW –

        Ioannidis argues that rhe excess deaths aren’t due to high fatality rate if the disease, but due to hospital acquired (nosocomial) infections.

        Hmmmm.

        That FT article talks about an unprecedented jump in mortality largely due to people dying in their homes.

        Hmmm

        Paging Dr. Uncertain T. Monster. Paging Dr. Monster.

      • The link to the FT is very weak Josh. The Times of London pointed to the same death statistics and interviewed a number of experts, most of whom attributed it to people not going to hospitals even in life threatening circumstances, people unable to secure medications, etc. It is indisputable that in the US, these effects are real based on the fact that most hospitals are half empty.

        It just illustrates how ignorant we are. Ioannidis is an expert with an excellent track record. I therefore tend to trust him in the absence of credible contrary evidence.

      • He was supposed to take a week off to think, but he’s singing the same old song to the tune of axes grinding. Maybe he would volunteer to make a door to door testing census of the whole freaking Santa Clara County.

        The problem with these surveys, which are constrained by present conditions, is that they want the fatality rate to be as high as possible, to maximize the shameful blame it on the Big Orange Fella campaign strategy. Pathetic.

      • Don –

        > they want the fatality rate to be as high as possible, to maximize the shameful blame it on the Big Orange Fella campaign strategy. Pathetic.

        You know me so well. I want as many of my friends and family to die as possible. Because that would hurt Trump. I want as many American citizens to die as possible, because that would hurt Trump. If I die from the virus it would be a worthwhile sacrifice to hurt Trump. I love that my tenants are having trouble paying rent. I love that I lost money when the stock market dropped. I love that so many people are unemployed. I love that so many hero healthcare workers are getting sick. I love that my state’s budget is getting hit. I love that I am avoiding going shopping for favorite itemsz that the movie theaters are closed. Hey, the more the merrier, right?

        You know me so well! How did you attain such gifts of insight?

      • Joshua: New York data, without adjustment, wouldn’t be nationally representative either.

        There isn’t going to be a nationally representative sample. At best we shall eventually have a lot of local convenience samples.

      • You see, joshie. It didn’t even take you a week of introspection to get you to recognize the error of your ways. Does this mean that you are going to stop with the redundant trivial reminders that local data is not representative of the whole country? Or, do you need to reflect on that one a little bit longer? I am here to help.

      • Here Don –

        A gift for you.

        https://bit.ly/2RQwj6f

      • Matthew –

        > There isn’t going to be a nationally representative sample. At best we shall eventually have a lot of local convenience samples.

        As I’m sure you know, epidemiologists and statisticians have ways of stratifying and weighting datasets to adjust them for representativeness. It’s not perfect., but it works better than just a string of non-representative datasets. Representativeness isn’t exactly a binary state, there are degrees, and some datasets are certainly not suitable for broad extrapolation.

        Obviously, for health outcomes SES is a very important variable to control for. I would guess that geography and thinks like population density are also key variables. Cetsinly scientists will be conducting studies with far better control for those variables (from the perspective of national representativeness) than what we’ve seen this far.

        Further,pat of what we’ve seen is convenience sampling or at least sampling and recruitment thst are far from random. That is also a key factor and there is little doubt that we will soon be seeing studies that are far better in that regard.

        I certainly hope that the extrapolations that suggest very high infection rates and very low fatality rates are correct – but trying to extrapolate broadly from the studies we seen this far, even if they are of value for specific populations or “hot spots,” looks to me like pretty much just guess work.

        BTW, here’s something I thought was pretty intersting.

        https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/04/22/analysis-of-excess-coronavirus-mortality-also-a-question-about-poststratification/#comment-1317003

      • So NY did some sampling…larger dataset.

        And the results reported this far:

        21.2% in NYC, 16.7% in Long Island, 11.7% in Westchester/Rockland, 3.6% upstate

        I let someone smart do the math:

        > An estimate of 1’750’000 people infected in NYC and 15’000 deaths gives an IFR (with the usual caveats) of 0.85%

        Or about 8.5 x.Ioannidis’ “like the seasonal flu” of .1%

        Should we just take the .85% and run with it, or should we caveat it with specifics about the representativeness of the sampling?

        I go with the latter. These are important estimates and we should treat them scientifically not based on hunches.

  58. Curious George

    This reminds me of my MD auntie. In preparation for each Five-Year Plan (yes, socialism), she had to plan what diseases she would fight in three, four, five years.

  59. As a trespasser from engineering to artist I would like to thank fellow trespasser Lomborg (statistician) leading me to enlightenment on climate change from the dark world of Gorism.
    I am in the middle of reading ‘Born to Run’ by C. Mc Dougall, where he delves into the human origin findings by a mathematician and physicist Luis Liebenberg. He hung out with the Kalahari bushmen for years and found homo sapiens’ brainy origin in being able to channel wild animals when tracking them, and being able to perspire without having to rest and cool down.

  60. The infection rate appears to be 50-85x higher than the recorded cases.
    Looking like the mortality rate is very similar to a standard flu:
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14.20062463v1

    • In addition, it is very likely that the lockdown had the effect of taking an already widespread infection and making sure that more people got it and that it killed more elderly because everyone was locked into a petri dish with the infected.
      This is great news on the one hand but severely disturbing when the implications are fully thought through, including the economic ramifications.

    • … infections corresponds to an infection fatality rate of 0.12-0.2%.

      • That’s based on a projection that deaths in SC county will be 100 on 4-22. Deaths for the last week have been a little over 3 per day. If that holds then there should be about 85 on 4-22. Mid-point of the early April case estimates is about 65,000: 85/65,000=0.13% seasonal flu territory

    • Excellent article. I did the extrapolation to the entire state of California and got CFR of 0.04 – 0.07%. Perhaps if we assume twice as many Californians will ultimately die that gives their numbers.

      • Is thst sample from Santa Clara is representative of the population for the entire state? Did they weight things like median income such to justify such an extrapolation?

      • You are allowed to read it, joshie. I dropped the link and so did somebody else. But I don’t think anybody claimed it is representative of the whole state. And Trump had nothing to do with it, so you would be wasting your time trying to find flaws.

      • > But I don’t think anybody claimed it is representative of the whole state.

        > I did the extrapolation to the entire state of California and got CFR of 0.04 – 0.07%.

        Oh. OK. I thought that “extrapolating to the entire state” is something someone only does with a representative sample. Must be my misunderstanding. Lol. Prolly due to my wanting everyone to die.

      • David –

        Before you extrapolate from that study to the entire state of California (without, apparently, considering whether data from Santa Clara is representative), you ought to read the following:

        View at Medium.com

        Anyone who doesn’t fully account for the false positives and false negatives when trying to confirm their biases from these studies is fooling themselves. And anyone who tries to extrapolate from non-random and non-representative sampling (as you did in the thread over at Judith’s by directly extrapolating from Santa Clara to calculate numbers for the whole of California – an obviously invalid thing to do) is fooling the easiest person to fool.

        Who’s the easiest person to fool, David?

        As I’ve posted elsewhere:

        If you are looking to find something that happens 1 case in 1000, Assume you always find it when it is there. Assume that your false negative rate is 1%. Then in 1000 cases you find 1 true positive and 10 false positives, so the probability that you have a true positive given a positive test is <10 %

      • Sometimes we need benchmarks – allowing for crude approximations. When I was involved in a forecasting analysis some 40 years ago, DEFM – demographic and economic forecasting model- those running the model said that the results were to get policymakers into the ballpark. A humble exercise. Turns out when the 1980 census came out, our estimate population pyramid for undocumented immigrants was eerily similar. Curious result. Here, we are likewise looking for workable frameworks until better data sets are developed. We can’t wait and do nothing unless you don’t mind running out of supply chains and risk popular unrest. Be heads up about how the world works.

      • Now you are nit picking showing your tendency to cherry pick. I did a rough BOE extrapolation and observed that the numbers were consistent with state wide data.

        I looked at your “review” and critiqued it above. It’s transparently biased.

      • Those doing the study didn’t claim it was representative of the whole state, joshie. Dpy is free to extrapolate. He isn’t claiming any science in that. You have been trying to discredit the study, for reasons only a fellow traveler of yours would understand. Very silly.

    • But then, there’s this:

      • Not a relevant study in any way. Testing sick people does not create an estimator for total infections.
        The Stanford study is the only study in the world right now that creates a statistical estimate of infected people.

        Your link:

        ● SCAN is designed to include a higher proportion of people experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms than in the general community. However, even within this group, SCAN differs from nearly all other SARS-CoV-2 testing being conducted in the United States in that the individuals we are testing are generally ​not​ presenting to medical care.

    • My brother says the peak in Oklahoma has arrived. Idiot modelers changed their model today. Old prediction was peak in 12 days. New model says peak has occurred and 359 total deaths out of a population of probably 4 million. Absolutely an epsilon. Hospital beds available = 5457. Needed beds = 359. Hospitals closing and laying off people due to lack of demand. The back side of hyperpartisan panic is massive harm.

      I guess only in New York where Comrade DeBlasio told people to go out and mingle with other people was there any sign of an overloaded medical system. DeBlasio’s commissioner of public health said absolutely the same thing. Hey nothing at all to worry about. But according to Joshie, each one of us here has to address Trump’s failures or Joshie will write 50 rambling comments demanding we do so. What tripe. I believe a lot of people should pay a price for this phoney data driven panic.

      Panic was not needed and has caused huge harm. A strategy aimed at protecting the vulnerable would have prevented medical system overload while not triggering a recession. We live in a propagandistic age reminiscent of the Gilded Age with a partisan and deeply dishonest media dominated by a few large corporations.

      • Lol.

        David –

        We lack the testing capacity needed to get the economy back to functioning at a reasonable level.

        Trump says that anyone who wants a test can get a test. In other words, he’s saying that current testing capacity is just fine. And so people think it’s just fine to just open the economy again.

        Trump says that our testing is the best in the world, and that other leaders are calling him, amazed at how successful we’ve been with the testing:

        –snip–

        An average of 146,000 people per day have been tested for the coronavirus nationally so far this month, according to the COVID Tracking Project, which on Friday reported 3.6 million total tests across the country. To reopen the United States by mid-May, the number of daily tests performed between now and then should be 500,000 to 700,000, according to the Harvard estimates.

        That level of testing is necessary to identify the majority of people who are infected and isolate them from people who are healthy, according to the researchers. About 20 percent of those tested so far were positive for the virus, a rate that the researchers say is too high.

        “If you have a very high positive rate, it means that there are probably a good number of people out there who have the disease who you haven’t tested,” said Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “You want to drive the positive rate down, because the fundamental element of keeping our economy open is making sure you’re identifying as many infected people as possible and isolating them.”
        The researchers said that expanded testing could reduce the rate to 10 percent, which is the maximum rate recommended by the World Health Organization. In Germany, that number is 7 percent, and in South Korea, it is closer to 3 percent.

        –snip–

        We are at 20%. We currently have a shortage of the equipment to reach the needed level of testing. We have no real plans for contact tracing. It is virtually non-existent at this point in many parts of the country. We lack the infrastructure for thorough contact tracing.

        Trump is lying about all of this. That he’s lying, in itself, isn’t rally the most important thing. It’s that his lying has real consequences. It encourages complacency about life and death issues. That’s a high price to pay for a president pursuing political expediency so he can get reelected. Presidents have always done that, but here the stakes are high. It’s only when people who might consider voting for Trump make it clear that they find such political expediency unacceptable that this will change. The consequences of the failures of testing in this country are real.

        Meanwhile, we can hope that public health functionaries and state and municipal governments will get it together well-enough to address the failures of the federal government that Trump is lying about. I guess that’s more likely than it is that potential Trump supporters will end this absurd fealty and faithfulness to dear leader.

      • To trespass a bit myself…

        Here’s what I don’t get about these estimations of massively more infections than the identified infections. Granted, there must be more with the high rates of asymptomatic infections, but along with more of those we’d also have many more cases of pneumonia or other illnesses associated with the disease prior to when the testing started. Additionally, I’d think there would be many more deaths. Where was the spike in mortality, cases of pneumonia, etc., prior to the onset of widespread testing and prior to the mandated shelter in place orders (but which were not identified as being caused by COVID-19)?

        Presumably, these spikes would have occurred on top of the typical morbidity rates associated with the flu? I have yet to read of any surveys to detect a signal in prevalence of pneumonia prior to testing and shutdowns.

      • Josh, You are such a case study in motivated reasoning. You cite the New York Times about testing which has openly admitted a strong political bias. What’s wrong with Fauci and Birx? I know, Orange Man Bad Syndrome makes people cherry pick their sources.

        In the past contact tracing has been done by the state health departments. And why is that a problem?? OMBS leads to a lot of BS I guess.

        I know the “Trump lied” meme is the last refuge of political hacks. Grow up. As children are told when they are behaving the way you are now: Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names (words) can never hurt me.

      • Joshua: We lack the testing capacity needed to get the economy back to functioning at a reasonable level.

        We have enough testing capacity to start removing restrictions on “the economy” at least a few percent per week, and testing capacity is increasing.

        We do not need uniform standards for re-opening the economy any more than we needed them to close it. It can be done state-by-state.

        We do have to accept that we have no assurance that we can reduce the new fatality rate to 0 any time soon.

      • David –

        Which of the numbers in the NYT article do you dispute. What are the correct (unbiased) numbers, and what is your source for those correct numbers?

      • I don’t have a number Josh and asking me for one is a rhetorical trick. I do have some confidence that Trump’s task force will not go beyond what is reasonable given the number of tests available. Look this is territory where uncertainty is large and experts have widely divergent opinions.

        I also think the New York Times article assumes every state and locality is reopened all at once. That’s an assumption that is so stupid it suggests it is motivated by a desire to criticize the Times’ political enemies no matter what the truth is.

      • David –

        It seems to me that to say with confidence that the NYT numbers are biased/wrong, you should have other numbers which are correct.

        Or you could reasonably say you have no idea what the correct numbers are but you don’t trust the NYT to provide accurate numbers.

        I don’t implicitly trust the NYT numbers with respect to the skint of testing currently occurring, but I assume they come from reputable and verifiable sources.

        As to assessments of the need for testing going forward, I certainly think that much if that is speculative and subject to the influence of biases – but I wouldn’t dismiss the opinions of people far more informed than myself simply out of some kind of general principle

        Certainly, it seems thst rhe best way forward is with massive testing and comprehensive contact tracing. My opinion is that the federal government does not inspire confidence in that regard. For example, lying about whether anyone who wants a test can get a test, and continuously and demonstrably over-promising about the amounts of tests that would be available, and how they’d be made available. I have seen little evidence of the infrastructure to conduct the kinds of contact tracing being done with good success in some other countries. And floating the responsibility for testing onto states who are strapped for resources and under extreme economic pressure with much of their tax stream (state sales taxes) extremely hamstrung seems like a bad way to go.

        I’m glad that you are so confident in our federal government. I hope your confidence is well placed.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Joshua: And floating the responsibility for testing onto states who are strapped for resources and under extreme economic pressure with much of their tax stream (state sales taxes) extremely hamstrung seems like a bad way to go.

        Nevertheless, States have the authority under the Constitution. They had the authority to place restrictions, or not place restrictions on their own initiative (you have doubtless read criticisms of the gov of S. Dak who did not impose restrictions); and they have the authority to remove the restrictions in the times and manners that they choose. They don’t have the revenue streams because they shut down so much of the work that produces the wealth that they tax.

      • Joshie, You can’t even get straight what I said. I don’t know if the NYT’s numbers are “correct.” There is a range of professional disagreement about it. Their premise is really very stupid and looks designed to allow criticism of Trump. After the Russian collusion hoax the NYT has zero credibility.

        What you can’t seem to acknowledge is that the corporate media with the NYT in the forefront is acting (in the words of Jonathan Karl) like an opposition political party and destroying their credibility. The natural reaction to anything in the Times critical of Trump should be to question it. You are so biased and into motivated reasoning that you won’t acknowledge this obvious truth. Pretty dishonest for someone who throws stones at others. (See two can play your mind reading games). Please just grow up and learn to read and respond to what people actually say.

      • Matthew –

        I missed this earlier

        > We have enough testing capacity to start removing restrictions on “the economy” at least a few percent per week, and testing capacity is increasing.

        Probably, in specific locations.

        > We do not need uniform standards for re-opening the economy any more than we needed them to close it. It can be done state-by-state.

        The CDC, and even Trump seem to think that the standards should be uniform, at least in a sense. What isn’t uniform is the ability of localities to meet those standards.

        > We do have to accept that we have no assurance that we can reduce the new fatality rate to 0 any time soon.

        Agreed. Just as, imo, we should accept that based on measures that require massive testing to evaluate, such as % of tests that come back positive, we have the resources to act locally, accordingly (comprehensively contact trace, monitor and assist with quarantining, etc.)

      • Matthew –

        > They don’t have the revenue streams because they shut down so much of the work that produces the wealth that they tax.

        There isn’t only one reason why they lack the resources. They’ve spent a lot of money fighting this disease also.

        But regardless, should the feds just say, “well it’s your fault you don’t have the money, you figure it out”?

        Imagine the impact to the country as a whole if either (1) NY (just as one example) becomes insolvent because it spent so much money to test, trace, and isolate or, (2) becsuee it lacks the resources, NY fails to contain the exponential spread of the virus.

      • Joshua: But regardless, should the feds just say, “well it’s your fault you don’t have the money, you figure it out”?

        We have infinite discussions on Federalism. Should CA, TX, and FL pay for the mistakes made by NY and NJ?

        The Feds have in fact provided money to citizens and businesses throughout the US. So the question becomes: How much more support does Orange County deserve to get to help it arrest people sporting alone along the sea shore or dumping sand in the skateboard parks? I say none; those are complete wastes of taxpayer money.

      • Matthew –

        > We have infinite discussions on Federalism. Should CA, TX, and FL pay for the mistakes made by NY and NJ?

        Well, “mistakes made by NY and NJ” is a bit broad, and rhetorical. Much of the explanation for the high infection rates in those states is due to things which are not “mistakes.” Higher population density being primary among them. Hi rates of travel from China and Italy would be another. Would you expect states to shut down travel from those countries? That’s something that would have to happen at the federal level, no? And it did happen to some extent. Unfortunately it wasn’t extensive enough and it only came after there were many infectious travelers from those locations already in the country.

        > The Feds have in fact provided money to citizens and businesses throughout the US. So the question becomes: How much more support does Orange County deserve to get to help it arrest people sporting alone along the sea shore or dumping sand in the skateboard parks? I say none; those are complete wastes of taxpayer money.

        Sure. But surely you know that’s a rhetorical spin. NY contributes a lot of money to the federal coffers from which many other states have a net negative balance. A collapse of the NY economy would have huge, economic ramifications for the economy in the rest of the country. My guess is that for all the money that might be saved from the feds not supporting NY in the short term, over the long term the losses in the rest of the would be a produce a net negative. By a long shot.

        Now maybe you think that would be a worthwhile sacrifice. Take the economic hit in the rest of the country and let NY collapse as well. I guess that’s a personal judgment. I think it would lead to a lot of suffering in NY and longer term lead to increased suffering, on balance, throughout other parts of the country as well.

      • Matthew –

        Related, an interesting on unemployment benefits graphic here:

  61. A new phylogenetic network analysis of covid19 suggests it originated (from bats) in South China not Wuhan, as early as September 2019:

    https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/04/07/2004999117

    • According to this there was also worldwide spread from the South China location, possibly starting before covid19 even reached Wuhan. I assume the biggest circle is Wuhan.

  62. Epistemic trespassing as an art form (check out 1m 7s)

  63. Of possible interest for the DIY epistemic trespassioner,

    Click to access SIR_Equations.pdf

  64. The fact of the matter is that in climate science and the like, NO-ONE is an expert. Every ‘expert’ has a niche of expertise, but they are no more wise in unrelated niches than someone who is a biologist, an engineer, a statistician etc.

    So you have to ask a simple question: who IS capable of interrogating a wide array of ‘experts’ in various niches whilst maintaining an appropriate big picture focus and being able to bring the implications of the specialists into a coherent whole?

    I remain to be convinced that that should be research specialists.

    Far more likely to be successful are those used to doing that sort of thing in their daily work. Good farmers would have relevant experience, so would CEOs, so would those running a museum etc etc.

    There is no guarantee that such folk would succeed, but being a generalist is imperative, being open to changing conditions and evidence bases is another worthy trait and not being beholden to the IPCC for funding is a third one.

  65. As many of our resident Robinson Crusoe’s have pointed out, the covid19 lockdown is much ado about nothing. It’s nothing different to the flu.

    Here’s an account from an Italian doctor about an dealing with routine flu cases during an average winter. It could have come from any winter in the last half century.

    “The situation continues to be very, very difficult in the hospitals of northern Italy because of the lack of intensive care units,” she said, reporting that the hospital system in Bergamo “is in a state of collapse.” In the hospital where she works, she recalled, “We had four intensive care units before the emergency, but we had to increase the number to 17 and to achieve that we had to close the operating theaters and reduce other sectors, including the cardiological unit.”

    “If the virus attacks the lungs, it is lethal, and without intensive therapy it cannot be cured.”

    Dr. Ghelardi agrees on the vital importance of the I.C.U.s in this battle. Before the virus hit, she said, “When a patient was put in the I.C.U., they stayed for two to three days, but this is not the case with those who enter with severe coronavirus symptoms. They have to be intubated, and each patient can remain for up to three weeks.”

    She recalled that in her hospital “so many arrived all at once due to this emergency, we could not cope with the influx. Right now, we have no beds free in I.C.U., so we’ve had to send patients to I.C.U. units in other regions of Italy, and even to Germany, which offered assistance.”

    She admits life is hard on the frontline, but she said “all the staff” in her hospital “are working with immense generosity. As doctors, we work eight hours per day in normal times, and in emergencies up to 12. In this emergency, however, many doctors work 16 hours a day; they don’t stop, and some even sleep in the hospital instead of going home.”

    But this leads to another problem. “When you are under pressure like this,” she said, “you are not able to give the best care to the patient; you just do what you can.”

    – deciding which patients live or die due to lack of ventilators?

    – entire expanded intensive care units filled with critical pneumonia cases of all ages, with never-seen-before symptoms?

    – patients requiring weeks or months, instead of days, on ventilators and if they survive a strong chance of permanent lung damage?

    All this happens every year in every major hospital, as we all know. All of us know someone with permanent lung damage from flu after a whole month on a respirator.

    So yes – Covid is nothing more than a flu strain.

    • Curious George

      The recovery seems to be much longer than a recovery from influenza. Why isn’t it just a strain of common cold? A symptom here, a symptom there ..

    • stevenreincarnated

      The survival rate of people on ventilators is pretty poor so it is more a choice of dying with a ventilator on or off than it is a matter of living or dying. There could be several different reasons and any combination of them to cause a different work load on hospitals while having the same case fatality rate. The infection rate of CV-19 could be higher so you get more cases all at once. Fatality could be slower so you have more people making it to the hospital to die as opposed to dying at home. There could be a psychological component as people may blow off worrying about the flu but head to the hospital right away since they are worried about CV-19. You could have a virus that is more suited towards making a particular portion of the population seriously ill and that demographic might be over represented in the area in question. My guess is all these things played a part on Italy’s disaster.

  66. Actually it’s simpler than that.
    A worldwide conspiracy of Marxists stole most of the respirators from all the world’s major hospitals just before the covid19 story broke.

    This allowed the clinicians to fraudulently claim that the Covid19 outbreak was overwhelming the hospitals capacity to deal with acute respiratory distress.

    It’s all a conspiracy to impoverish the capitalist west. Now I’m going back to hacking at my skin with a scalpel to find the microprocessor that the police state implanted in me while I slept.

  67. Phil,
    Come back to earth.

    NY Gov said he needed 30,000 to 40,000 respirators.
    They have 6,000, many unused and are sending them to other states.

    Wait for the data and see the red states go back to normal and the blue states remain locked down. Testing is ramping up. Santa Clara County in California shows many already exposed w minor or no symptoms. So we shall see. Widespread swift testing coming online.

    Go ahead and panic. Bill of rights practice run nullification by autocratic Governors like Michigan, Illinois and NY.
    Scott

  68. 2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

    24,000 – 62,000
    flu deaths

    Or something like that. We’ll let you know, if we ever find out.

  69. Pingback: Weekly Local weather and Power Information Roundup #406 – Daily News

  70. An OpEd of mine was just published. The objective was to provide the generally informed reader a framework for understanding scientific models and about the leap from epidemic to climate models. I hope you have the opportunity to read it.

    https://timesofsandiego.com/opinion/2020/04/20/what-coronavirus-teaches-us-about-using-mathematical-models-to-predict-the-future/
    Opinion: What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Using Mathematical Models to Predict the Future
    . . . . .
    Excerpt: Climate scientist Dr. Judith Curry, who understands models from her work, describes what epidemic models are supposed to do:  “The experience with the COVID19 epidemic models, and their rapid evaluation, highlight that the value of models of a complex system is not for predictive purposes, but rather for learning and for contemplating future scenarios. We should not be fooled into thinking that just because some model calculation has completed, that we have any certainty about what is going to happen in the future. Models are best used as tools to help us explore our understanding and think carefully about uncertainties.”

  71. stevenreincarnated

    LA County antibody test preliminary results indicates 28-55 times more people have had CV-19 than the known cases.

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