To My Friends @Medic007 And @blbronco

Ponca Dan

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I saw this essay/opinion piece and thought it was nearly flawlessly perfect. For some reason I’m very curious what you two think of it.


 

blbronco

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Not really sure what you are wanting an opinion on. My first thought is that he must have been paid by the word all to say that computer models are bad. I generally agree with that statement as it relates to development of policy. They are overly susceptible to inputs based on too many unknowns. The entire article seems to be a long-winded diatribe that lockdowns/shutdowns are bad. I also agree with that. The rest is half-truth and rambling. Early models (including the Ferguson model) and predictors were based on presumptions that COVID would act similarly to SARS-1 and MERS-CoV in mortality and spread in addition to assuming information out of China was accurate. Suffice it to say that the first two assumptions were very wrong (hint, ignoring kappa value and only focusing on R0 is a mistake with COVID-19) and that last is most likely inaccurate. populations are made up of individuals, and models that cannot adequately account for that are not that reliable (my outlier view, I suppose).

He makes many comments or notes throughout that long-winded article that certainly brings up some good discussion. The comments about Sweden certainly opens a whole can of worms (far different culture than our own, universal healthcare system, etc) that I am sure he would rather avoid as it is unlikely to support his overall views.
 

Ponca Dan

Heisman Candidate
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Dec 7, 2003
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Not really sure what you are wanting an opinion on. My first thought is that he must have been paid by the word all to say that computer models are bad. I generally agree with that statement as it relates to development of policy. They are overly susceptible to inputs based on too many unknowns. The entire article seems to be a long-winded diatribe that lockdowns/shutdowns are bad. I also agree with that. The rest is half-truth and rambling. Early models (including the Ferguson model) and predictors were based on presumptions that COVID would act similarly to SARS-1 and MERS-CoV in mortality and spread in addition to assuming information out of China was accurate. Suffice it to say that the first two assumptions were very wrong (hint, ignoring kappa value and only focusing on R0 is a mistake with COVID-19) and that last is most likely inaccurate. populations are made up of individuals, and models that cannot adequately account for that are not that reliable (my outlier view, I suppose).

He makes many comments or notes throughout that long-winded article that certainly brings up some good discussion. The comments about Sweden certainly opens a whole can of worms (far different culture than our own, universal healthcare system, etc) that I am sure he would rather avoid as it is unlikely to support his overall views.
Thanks for your input. Of all the people on this board your opinion on this matter is most influential with me.

I would edit this to add that I found your use of the word “diatribe” in describing the tone of his voice to be excessive. The voice I read it in was calm and rational in his explanations of the errors he sees in the computer models that have been used. I found him to be persuasive both in his rationalizations and his tone of voice.
 
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blbronco

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Thanks for your input. Of all the people on this board your opinion on this matter is most influential with me.

I would edit this to add that I found your use of the word “diatribe” in describing the tone of his voice to be excessive. The voice I read it in was calm and rational in his explanations of the errors he sees in the computer models that have been used. I found him to be persuasive both in his rationalizations and his tone of voice.

I use “diatribe” as he takes several swipes at Ferguson and his team’s model. I think the Ferguson model was used excessively early on and do not disagree with the author on that aspect. More rambling than diatribe, maybe.
 

Ponca Dan

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I use “diatribe” as he takes several swipes at Ferguson and his team’s model. I think the Ferguson model was used excessively early on and do not disagree with the author on that aspect. More rambling than diatribe, maybe.
Yes I would say rambling is a better description than diatribe. But IMO it is in error to call it rambling. He has taken pains to explore the possible results had other “scientific” methods been used or coupled with the technological computer models that were used. Since there are multiple scientific possibilities, and since he wants to explore each one in kind, it necessitates the essay be lengthy. I do not see him rambling. I see him explaining possibilities about which he has given long thought. I’ll say it again, I found him persuasive.
 

blbronco

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Jan 9, 2002
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Thanks for your input. Of all the people on this board your opinion on this matter is most influential with me.

I would edit this to add that I found your use of the word “diatribe” in describing the tone of his voice to be excessive. The voice I read it in was calm and rational in his explanations of the errors he sees in the computer models that have been used. I found him to be persuasive both in his rationalizations and his tone of voice.

I am separating this reply form the last one to keep the points from blurring.

My issue with many of these arguements is the picking and choosing of details to make a point. Not once have I seen a more global discussion. By “global” I mean looking at all feasible aspects. Much dishonesty or at least intellectual dishonesty is also brought in. I am not saying that one viewpoint is more or less guilty than others. The “experts” that claim you should wear a mask outside while jogging is as dishonest as those that claim masks do nothing at all or that the vaccines change one’s DNA (no RNA-dependent DNA polymerase is involved in the vaccine). On masks, the unreasonable recommendation to wear masks outside, when not in crowds especially, gives room for those to clamming masks do nothing. It also gives room for not believing the experts in other recommendations. In the area of lockdowns/shutdowns, a severe degree of “expert” myopia is a major issue. A theoretical life saved from COVID against a life lost due to suicide due to lockdown issues is a net loss. there were many unintended consequences, though that does not mean they were unexpected. Anyway, there are many more points that can be discussed on the COVID. As for the article, it is that picking and choosing that annoys me, but that is the norm on COVID topics!
 

blbronco

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Jan 9, 2002
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Yes I would say rambling is a better description than diatribe. But IMO it is in error to call it rambling. He has taken pains to explore the possible results had other “scientific” methods been used or coupled with the technological computer models that were used. Since there are multiple scientific possibilities, and since he wants to explore each one in kind, it necessitates the essay be lengthy. I do not see him rambling. I see him explaining possibilities about which he has given long thought. I’ll say it again, I found him persuasive.

I do not see him going in to depth on anything other than calling out, correctly and effectively, Ferguson’s mistakes. He carefully touches on other aspects without going in to detail. If he did, he would open many cans of worms that would not play in his favor. Sweden was able to get by with staying open for many reasons. To claim their healthcare system did not buckle or get overwhelmed is a bit dishonest. they hit their limits, but have a different system and population details that we do not have, and most do not want.

Where I agree with you in that he was persuasive was using models to develop policy is a fool’s venture. They can be helpful, but must be taken for what they are, tools.
 

Ponca Dan

Heisman Candidate
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Dec 7, 2003
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I am separating this reply form the last one to keep the points from blurring.

My issue with many of these arguements is the picking and choosing of details to make a point. Not once have I seen a more global discussion. By “global” I mean looking at all feasible aspects. Much dishonesty or at least intellectual dishonesty is also brought in. I am not saying that one viewpoint is more or less guilty than others. The “experts” that claim you should wear a mask outside while jogging is as dishonest as those that claim masks do nothing at all or that the vaccines change one’s DNA (no RNA-dependent DNA polymerase is involved in the vaccine). On masks, the unreasonable recommendation to wear masks outside, when not in crowds especially, gives room for those to clamming masks do nothing. It also gives room for not believing the experts in other recommendations. In the area of lockdowns/shutdowns, a severe degree of “expert” myopia is a major issue. A theoretical life saved from COVID against a life lost due to suicide due to lockdown issues is a net loss. there were many unintended consequences, though that does not mean they were unexpected. Anyway, there are many more points that can be discussed on the COVID. As for the article, it is that picking and choosing that annoys me, but that is the norm on COVID topics!
The reason I rely on your opinion is you are so much more knowledgeable about the “science” than me. So I’ll take your word that he is cherry picking in his analysis. I would say in his defense he goes to great pains to remain “scientific” and avoid politicization. He says more than once he believes Ferguson is well intentioned in the defense of his computer model (in spite of Ferguson’s refusal to show the foundation upon which it was built), that he thinks Ferguson is looking at it only through the prism of his personal expertise (although I have read elsewhere that Ferguson’s expertise lies somewhere other than computer modeling technology). I felt the whole purpose of the essay was an attempt to separate the science from the politics as much as possible, and as a scientist more branches should be discussed than the one the politicians and media have settled on.
 
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blbronco

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The reason I rely on your opinion is you are so much more knowledgeable about the “science” than me. So I’ll take your word that he is cherry picking in his analysis. I would say in his defense he goes to great pains to remain “scientific” and avoid politicization. He says more than once he believes Ferguson is well intentioned in the defense of his computer model (in spite of Ferguson’s refusal to show the foundation upon which it was built), that he thinks Ferguson is looking at it only through the prism of his personal expertise (although I have read elsewhere that Ferguson’s expertise lies somewhere other than computer modeling technology). I felt the whole purpose of the essay was an attempt to separate the science from the politics as much as possible, and as a scientist more branches should be discussed than the one the politicians and media have settled on.

Not one bit of argument here, and fully agree. Cherry-picking is all I have seen from anybody, so I cannot fault him for that. Again, that goes to the “global” view that I am looking for, which includes using multiple scientific branches/disciplines to achieve.
 
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