Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Knowledge and the Illusion of Knowledge

 

Although it’s impossible to say for sure, Trofim Lysenko probably killed more human beings than any individual scientist in history. Other dubious scientific achievements have cut thousands upon thousands of lives short: dynamite, poison gas, atomic bombs. But Lysenko, a Soviet biologist, condemned perhaps millions of people to starvation through bogus agricultural research—and did so without hesitation. Only guns and gunpowder, the collective product of many researchers over several centuries, can match such carnage.

Lysenko forced farmers to plant seeds very close together since, according to his “law of the life of species”, plants from the same “class” never compete with one another.[14] Lysenko played an active role in the famines that killed millions of Soviet people and his practices prolonged and exacerbated the food shortages.[14] The People’s Republic of China under Mao Tse-Tung adopted his methods starting in 1958, with calamitous results, culminating in the Great Chinese Famine of 1959 to 1962. At least 30 million died of starvation.[14]

On the one hand, this rehabilitation is shocking. Genetics almost certainly won’t be banned in Russia again, and the rehabilitation effort remains a fringe movement overall. But fringe ideas can have dangerous consequences. This one distorts Russian history and glosses over the incredible damage Lysenko did in abusing his power to silence and kill colleagues—to say nothing of all the innocent people who starved because of his doctrines. The fact that even some “qualified scientists” are lionizing Lysenko shows just how pervasive anti-Western sentiment is in some circles: Even science is perverted to promote ideology.

Again and again, we hear the question “Don’t you believe in science?” This is an odd question because pure belief isn’t necessary for science. One must understand the process of confirming empirical results against a hypothesis. If the empirical results (the facts) don’t confirm the hypothesis (the narrative) then there is no science whether you want to claim to believe in science or not. Of course, one believes in Religion because it will by definition go beyond any empirical result. In the 20th century, we have something called ideology. This has the unfortunate quality of looking or sounding like science but it isn’t. One believes in the narrative but not the facts. There is no science in ideology. This can be a very dangerous phenomenon. Lysenko had a powerful understanding of Stalinist Communist Ideology. His theories of crops adapting to the environment were completely false scientifically. Yet, because these theories so pleased the Soviet Idologues he was put in charge of Soviet Agriculture with disastrous results. Not only did it cause huge numbers of deaths in the Soviet Union but his ideological idea was also persuasive in China and caused even more deaths there.

From 1970, the first Earth Day, until about 2003, there were a variety of sophisticated hypotheses about Man-Made Global Warming. Unfortunately, the accuracy of the empirical data available was so weak that it wasn’t possible to confirm or deny these hypotheses. Yet, the ideology of Made-Made Global Warming insisted on belief without any actual scientific confirmation. Massively draconian legislation was drafted and put into effect on these unconfirmed hypotheses. The economy of the United States and the rest of the World was severely restricted by this legislation.

In 2003, after multiple satellites with well-proven look down infrared temperature measuring technology had been in orbit for a few years, accurate measurement of the surface temperature of the earth was finally available. What was announced was that there was a pause in Global Warming. As the models, now long in use, had relied on the surface temperature of the earth in their measure of Global Temperature did not match the hard reliable empirical data now coming from the satellites, these hypotheses would be rejected as scientifically invalid. In short, to the extent we understood the science at the time, Man-Made Global Warming did not exist. Certainly, all of the draconian legislation resulting in the massive restriction of the economy in retrospect looked completely unwarranted.

Of course, as they say, the story wasn’t over. Dealing with an ideology is not like dealing with normal scientific inquiry. The ideologues will cling to their hypothesis, claiming and acting, as if their naked hypothesis, without confirming data, had been science. Now, these idealogues realized that their game was up. The new data threatened the existence of their ideology. So they tried first to undermine the new data. From NOAA, an organization never designed to be collecting such data, new data was referred to as showing that Man-Made Global Warming was still happening. Of course, the scientific community asked to see the actual data set as would be customary. NOAA refused to release the actual data set. A freedom of information lawsuit finally forced them to release the data set. It was soon discovered that as one might have assumed, NOAA had no new data but had repackaged the old data available before the accurate satellite data had become available. With this scheme exposed now the ideologues’ ideology was in real jeopardy. They were forced to try to do real science. First, as would be their right, they constructed new hypotheses that involved the temperature of the deep ocean. However, immediately, they moved to their non-scientific, ideological, interpretation. There was no accurate data on the temperature of the deep ocean to confirm their hypotheses (same old problem). The ideologues went ahead and claimed that Man-Made Global Warming did exist even though, once again, they had not proved this scientifically. If the Biden administration, irrespective of massive proof of massive fraud, is allowed to take office it is likely that this ideological unconfirmed hypothesis will once again be accepted as scientific proof when it is not. Then a new round of unjustified draconian legislative measures will be applied and the world economy will be crushed needlessly.

We have been hearing the term “Excess Deaths” in the media over and over. It sounds simple enough but is it? Look up the CDC definition and it is anything but simple.

Counts of deaths in the most recent weeks were compared with historical trends (from 2013 to present) to determine whether the number of deaths in recent weeks was significantly higher than expected, using Farrington surveillance algorithms (1). The ‘surveillance’ package in R (2) was used to implement the Farrington algorithms, which use overdispersed Poisson generalized linear models with spline terms to model trends in counts, accounting for seasonality. For each jurisdiction, a model is used to generate a set of expected counts, and an upper bound threshold based on a one-sided 95% prediction interval of these expected counts is used to determine whether a significant increase in deaths has occurred. Estimates of excess deaths are provided based on the observed number of deaths relative to two different thresholds. The lower end of the excess death estimate range is generated by comparing the observed counts to the upper bound threshold, and a higher end of the excess death estimate range is generated by comparing the observed count to the average expected number of deaths. Reported counts were weighted to account for potential underreporting in the most recent weeks.

Comparing these two sets of estimates — excess deaths with and without COVID-19 — can provide insight about how many excess deaths are identified as due to COVID-19, and how many excess deaths are due to other causes of death. These deaths could represent misclassified COVID-19 deaths, or potentially could be indirectly related to COVID-19. Additionally, death certificates are often initially submitted without a cause of death, and then updated when cause of death information becomes available. It may be the case that some excess deaths that are not attributed directly to COVID-19 will be updated in coming weeks with cause-of-death information that includes COVID-19. These analyses will be updated periodically, and the numbers presented will change as more data are received.

Estimated numbers of deaths due to these other causes of death could represent misclassified COVID-19 deaths, or potentially could be indirectly related to COVID-19 (e.g., deaths from other causes occurring in the context of health care shortages or overburdened health care systems). Deaths with an underlying cause of death of COVID-19 are not included in these estimates of deaths due to other causes, but deaths where COVID-19 appeared on the death certificate as a multiple cause of death may be included in the cause-specific estimates. For example, in some cases, COVID-19 may have contributed to the death, but the underlying cause of death was another cause, such as terminal cancer. For the majority of deaths where COVID-19 is reported on the death certificate (approximately 95%), COVID-19 is selected as the underlying cause of death.

These estimates are based on provisional data, which are incomplete. The weighting method applied may not fully account for reporting lags if there are longer delays at present than in past years. For example, in Pennsylvania, reporting lags are currently much longer than they have been in past years, and death counts for 2020 are therefore underestimated. Conversely, the weighting method may over-adjust for underreporting, given improvements in data timeliness in certain jurisdictions. Unweighted estimates are provided, so that users can see the impact of weighting the provisional counts. However, these unweighted provisional counts are incomplete, and the extent to which they may underestimate the true count of deaths is unknown. Some jurisdictions exhibit recent increases in deaths when using weighted estimates, but not the unweighted.

We have learned from the very first sentence that I have quoted above that excess deaths is an estimate completely dependent on the number of deaths that historically occurred from 2013 to the present. The validity of this depends first on the statistical pure model that is employed. There are three questions. First, does the data actually conform to the model and thus verify the hypothesis? Second, is the model itself a valid model of reality or is there some inherent flaw in its logic? Third, was the data gathered properly and reliably? For this discussion, I am most concerned about the third question but does not imply that the first two can be dismissed. For me, an old instrument salesman, the really glaring problem is in the empirical measurement itself. COVID doesn’t seem to kill anybody all by itself. It kills very elderly people with compromised lungs and multiple comorbidities. Thus, determining the actual cause of death would be a very murky process. Add to this that there is a financial incentive for the hospitals to name the cause of death as COVID one really must look very carefully at the results. There is going to be a reevaluation of all of this at some point and I expect cooler heads may have a very different interpretation. From above:

Additionally, death certificates are often initially submitted without a cause of death, and then updated when cause of death information becomes available. It may be the case that some excess deaths that are not attributed directly to COVID-19 will be updated in coming weeks with cause-of-death information that includes COVID-19. These analyses will be updated periodically, and the numbers presented will change as more data are received.

The CDC comments as if the fact that weeks after a death was recorded as “not attributed directly to COVID” it is then changed to a COVID death, means that COVID is being underreported so keep watching as the numbers go up. This completely fails to accept the possibility that the hospital administrator may have visited the physician and mentioned offhand the amount of money the hospital would receive if the death in question would be attributed to COVID. He then asks the physician to “reconsider” his finding. This would mean that the COVID death numbers we will end up with will be very high, not too low, and will be adjusted down. This also points out just how difficult it is to judge the cause of death because COVID isn’t capable of killing all by itself and will always be part of a team effort with other causes. Again, to me, this suggests a weak virus and not a strong one. By the way, it should only take one visit for the administrator to make it clear that the physician should get with the program and bend his judgment so as to record the death as COVID.

I haven’t got to all of the “fudge factors” that are being baked into these “Excess Death” calculations. We know that such fudged models are prone to confirmation bias. The famous “hockey stick” curve that tried to prove Man-Made Global Warming was a result of multiple fudge factors that were adjusted and even then the data was cherry-picked to produce the hockey stick.

Hysterical headlines that scream about deaths caused by COVID, which can only mean the estimated Excess Deaths, should be classified as some sort of ideological belief system and not science. Even more hysterical headlines about new outbreaks of COVID cases, which mean that many more people have been tested and show anti-bodies, is used to imply that more lockdown is justified. This too is not science but an ideological belief system at work.

We have seen this before. Lysenko is on the loose again. There are two Krakens that have been recently released to harass the American public. First, a massively fraudulent election, and second, a massively overhyped pandemic. Perhaps not so oddly enough, the same people have perpetrated both.

Regards,

Jim

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  1. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EXTRA CONTENT:

    Just saw an interesting video. Not specifically on the exact topic of this post but relevant to the general atmosphere of false hype that the pandemic has been presented with from the very top and on down.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
    • December 1, 2020, at 8:24 AM PST
    • 1 like
  2. Henry Racette Contributor

    Do you want Lileks? Because this is how you get Lileks.

    He’s a huge Lysenko fan.

    • #2
    • December 1, 2020, at 8:29 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  3. Unsk Member

    “We have seen this before. Lysenko is on the loose again.”

    The Lysenko’s of the bureaucracy have been on the loose for decades doing their damage, but today’s Lysenko’s have upped their game to achieve a near society ending consequence. As the Dems gain greater confidence in their ability to do just anything they want, ever greater damage will be done to our nation until they are stopped. A Supreme Court ruling to abolish the Administrative State ability to make law, adjudicate and enforce law would be a good place to start. Of course that same Supreme Court will have to take this Election Fraud to the woodshed or all will be lost in any case.

    Great Post. 

    • #3
    • December 1, 2020, at 8:38 AM PST
    • 1 like
  4. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Do you want Lileks? Because this is how you get Lileks.

    He’s a huge Lysenko fan.

    Henry,

    I didn’t know that Lileks was a huge Lysenko fan. Actually, my father, a working professional scientist, who rarely commented on things political in general terms, specifically expressed the greatest contempt for Lysenko. He saw Lysenko’s “contribution” as a total perversion of the enterprise of science and thus maximally dangerous.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
    • December 1, 2020, at 8:41 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Henry Racette Contributor

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Do you want Lileks? Because this is how you get Lileks.

    He’s a huge Lysenko fan.

    Henry,

    I didn’t know that Lileks was a huge Lysenko fan. Actually, my father, a working professional scientist, who rarely commented on things political in general terms, specifically expressed the greatest contempt for Lysenko. He saw Lysenko’s “contribution” as a total perversion of the enterprise of science and thus maximally dangerous.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Well, the “fan” part was facetious. James has mentioned Lysenko a couple of times when commenting on why “trust the science” is such a dumb line. But given that so few people know who Lysenko was, I figure even such criticism should make one a member of the fan club.

    • #5
    • December 1, 2020, at 8:44 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Do you want Lileks? Because this is how you get Lileks.

    He’s a huge Lysenko fan.

    Henry,

    I didn’t know that Lileks was a huge Lysenko fan. Actually, my father, a working professional scientist, who rarely commented on things political in general terms, specifically expressed the greatest contempt for Lysenko. He saw Lysenko’s “contribution” as a total perversion of the enterprise of science and thus maximally dangerous.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Well, the “fan” part was facetious. James has mentioned Lysenko a couple of times when commenting on why “trust the science” is such a dumb line. But given that so few people know who Lysenko was, I figure even such criticism should make one a member of the fan club.

    Henry,

    I knew what you meant. Mr. Lileks has a wonderfully jocular style but he also has a very good aim when it comes to hitting the left where it deserves to be hit.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
    • December 1, 2020, at 8:49 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EXTRA CONTENT:

    David Mamet Calls Out ‘Experts’ and Questions Lockdowns: ‘The Virus Here Is Government’

    In a recent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, the Glengarry Glen Ross playwright slams the so-called “experts” and advisers whose counsel has led to the destruction of large swaths of the U.S. economy. These people will likely never pay the price for their errors, but everyone else will, he noted.

    The virus here is government—or at least the incompetents who advise our rulers and cannot admit the legitimacy of dissension. Absent intervention, this virus may eventually kill the host organism,” Mamet wrote.

     

    Here’s a guy with a resume even Rob Long could like. Mamet is totally on target.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
    • December 1, 2020, at 9:08 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Stad Coolidge

    James Gawron: Although it’s impossible to say for sure, Trofim Lysenko probably killed more human beings than any individual scientist in history.

    My money is on Rachel Carson . . .

    • #8
    • December 1, 2020, at 9:47 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge

    The common thread between the Covid Plandemic and the Global Warming Hoax is a dodgy science combined with unwarranted and extreme predictions of doom and a fix that involves some globalist control of all aspects of life. Bad science, very bad economics, and horrible policies. One fast and one slow.

    • #9
    • December 1, 2020, at 11:30 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DonG (Biden is compromised) (View Comment):

    The common thread between the Covid Plandemic and the Global Warming Hoax is a dodgy science combined with unwarranted and extreme predictions of doom and a fix that involves some globalist control of all aspects of life. Bad science, very bad economics, and horrible policies. One fast and one slow.

    DonG,

    Your summary is spot on. Fast or slow the amount of damage done to millions, even billions, of lives, is very terrible to contemplate.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
    • December 1, 2020, at 11:36 AM PST
    • 1 like
  11. David Foster Member
    David FosterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “Add to this that there is a financial incentive for the hospitals to name the cause of death as COVID one really must look very carefully at the results.”

    My understanding is that insurance reimbursements are based on the CPT codes assigned for the treatment, *not* for what is shown on the death certificate if the patient should die. So if a Covid diagnosis and treatment code is applied to a particular patient…along with other codes for the injuries he suffered in a motorcycle accident…but the death certificate shows the cause as the motorcycle accident, then the reimbursement would not be affected.

    Does anyone know if the above is correct?..or is there some special Covid reimbursement which is tied to the death certificate rather than to the treatment codes?

     

    • #11
    • December 1, 2020, at 1:52 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Does anyone know if the above is correct?..or is there some special Covid reimbursement which is tied to the death certificate rather than to the treatment codes?

    Are there incentives for hospitals to make money from COVID?

    In April, during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Congress created a $100 billion fund under the CARES Act to assist hospitals and to provide Medicare reimbursements for COVID-related treatment. The amounts provided were 20 percent more than typical reimbursements.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
    • December 1, 2020, at 2:04 PM PST
    • 1 like
  13. David Foster Member
    David FosterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    In April, during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Congress created a $100 billion fund under the CARES Act to assist hospitals and to provide Medicare reimbursements for COVID-related treatment. The amounts provided were 20 percent more than typical reimbursements.

    Understand that…but is the reimbursement tied to the coding for the *treatment*, or to what is written on the death certificate? I would bet the former, since the objective was to insure proper attention to Covid patients with the hope that as many of them as possible would survive.

    • #13
    • December 1, 2020, at 3:15 PM PST
    • Like
  14. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Understand that…but is the reimbursement tied to the coding for the *treatment*, or to what is written on the death certificate? I would bet the former, since the objective was to insure proper attention to Covid patients with the hope that as many of them as possible would survive.

    Dave,

    This is a very good question but again it only serves to demonstrate the murkiness of everything involving COVID. COVID death patients almost all had many other problems for which they were receiving treatments. Some of the treatments could have been for COVID and many others not. I can’t know this for sure but I would think that if a patient was presumed to have died of COVID that it would justify a much greater coding of many more of the treatments to be for COVID. Thus one way or the other there was a de facto 20% financial incentive to claim more deaths as COVID deaths. My underlying complaint always goes back to why is it that COVID, the super pandemic killer virus, can’t pull off a murder all on its own. COVID always needs this gang of accomplice comorbidities to kill somebody. Seems fishy to me.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #14
    • December 1, 2020, at 6:11 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Estimates are valuable when full data is not yet available. The data is available for deaths in previous years. 2020 is nearly over, so this year’s data is nearly complete as well. An accounting of excess deaths only requires estimation where standards of recording have changed from year to year. 

    Undoubtedly, the data could be organized and considered in a variety of ways. But for the basic purpose of discovering whether or not many more people died of all causes this year than in previous years, relative to population size, no algorithm or estimate is necessary. A 6th-grader should be able to understand such a basic comparison. 

    • #15
    • December 2, 2020, at 9:05 AM PST
    • Like
  16. Bryan Van Blaricom Member
    Bryan Van BlaricomJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Gawron:

    We have been hearing the term “Excess Deaths” in the media over and over. It sounds simple enough but is it? Look up the CDC definition and it is anything but simple.

    Counts of deaths in the most recent weeks were compared with historical trends (from 2013 to present) to determine whether the number of deaths in recent weeks was significantly higher than expected, using Farrington surveillance algorithms (1). The ‘surveillance’ package in R (2) was used to implement the Farrington algorithms, which use overdispersed Poisson generalized linear models with spline terms to model trends in counts, accounting for seasonality. For each jurisdiction, a model is used to generate a set of expected counts, and an upper bound threshold based on a one-sided 95% prediction interval of these expected counts is used to determine whether a significant increase in deaths has occurred. Estimates of excess deaths are provided based on the observed number of deaths relative to two different thresholds. The lower end of the excess death estimate range is generated by comparing the observed counts to the upper bound threshold, and a higher end of the excess death estimate range is generated by comparing the observed count to the average expected number of deaths. Reported counts were weighted to account for potential underreporting in the most recent weeks.

    Comparing these two sets of estimates — excess deaths with and without COVID-19 — can provide insight about how many excess deaths are identified as due to COVID-19, and how many excess deaths are due to other causes of death. These deaths could represent misclassified COVID-19 deaths, or potentially could be indirectly related to COVID-19. Additionally, death certificates are often initially submitted without a cause of death, and then updated when cause of death information becomes available. It may be the case that some excess deaths that are not attributed directly to COVID-19 will be updated in coming weeks with cause-of-death information that includes COVID-19. These analyses will be updated periodically, and the numbers presented will change as more data are received

    Estimated numbers of deaths due to these other causes of death could represent misclassified COVID-19 deaths, or potentially could be indirectly related to COVID-19 (e.g., deaths from other causes occurring in the context of health care shortages or overburdened health care systems). Deaths with an underlying cause of death of COVID-19 are not included …

    Interesting. The first thing that I took away from that particular quote (I had to truncate it because of the 500 word limit) is the thought that if you have to get that far into the weeds of esoteric statistical analysis to determine if the “pandemic” has caused any excess deaths in the year… there haven’t been enough “excess deaths” in the year to qualify it as a pandemic. If there were, wouldn’t it be noticeable without the necessity of a statistical analysis (like with the Spanish Flu, for instance)?

    • #16
    • December 2, 2020, at 9:08 AM PST
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  17. David Foster Member
    David FosterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “Dealing with an ideology is not like dealing with normal scientific inquiry. The ideologues will cling to their hypothesis, claiming and acting, as if their naked hypothesis, without confirming data, had been science.”

    Arthur Koestler, himself a former Communist, wrote about the nature of intellectually closed systems:

    A closed system has three peculiarities. Firstly, it claims to represent a truth of universal validity, capable of explaining all phenomena, and to have a cure for all that ails man. In the second place, it is a system which cannot be refuted by evidence, because all potentially damaging data are automatically processed and reinterpreted to make them fit the expected pattern. The processing is done by sophisticated methods of causistry, centered on axioms of great emotive power, and indifferent to the rules of common logic; it is a kind of Wonderland croquet, played with mobile hoops. In the third place, it is a system which invalidates criticism by shifting the argument to the subjective motivation of the critic, and deducing his motivation from the axioms of the system itself. The orthodox Freudian school in its early stages approximated a closed system; if you argued that for such and such reasons you doubted the existence of the so-called castration complex, the Freudian’s prompt answer was that your argument betrayed an unconscious resistance indicating that you ourself have a castration complex; you were caught in a vicious circle. Similarly, if you argued with a Stalinist that to make a pact with Hitler was not a nice thing to do he would explain that your bourgeois class-consciousness made you unable to understand the dialectics of history…In short, the closed system excludes the possibility of objective argument by two related proceedings: (a) facts are deprived of their value as evidence by scholastic processing; (b) objections are invalidated by shifting the argument to the personal motive behind the objection. This procedure is legitimate according to the closed system’s rules of the game which, however absurd they seem to the outsider, have a great coherence and inner consistency.

    The atmosphere inside the closed system is highly charged; it is an emotional hothouse…The trained, “closed-minded” theologian, psychoanalyst, or Marxist can at any time make mincemeat of his “open-minded” adversary and thus prove the superiority of his system to the world and to himself.

    • #17
    • December 2, 2020, at 9:19 AM PST
    • 1 like
  18. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Estimates are valuable when full data is not yet available. The data is available for deaths in previous years. 2020 is nearly over, so this year’s data is nearly complete as well. An accounting of excess deaths only requires estimation where standards of recording have changed from year to year.

    Undoubtedly, the data could be organized and considered in a variety of ways. But for the basic purpose of discovering whether or not many more people died of all causes this year than in previous years, relative to population size, no algorithm or estimate is necessary. A 6th-grader should be able to understand such a basic comparison.

    Aaron,

    What if the 6 separate year counts are spread across a wide range with no trend. Then just accepting the average as the base of comparison is a very dicey proposition. Excess deaths are excess over a projected number of deaths that should have taken place. If the six years are widely spread then the excess calculation is just a guess based on a statistically inadequate projection. The seventh-year projection could have easily been higher or lower than the average of the six years and not by an insignificant amount.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
    • December 2, 2020, at 9:39 AM PST
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  19. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    What did Lysenko do exactly? The example of putting seeds close together, what else. I know nothing about him. Great post.

    • #19
    • December 2, 2020, at 9:57 AM PST
    • Like
  20. RichardKoenig Coolidge

    You will be familiar with the controversy over PCR testing to determine whether people are carrying a viral load big enough to be transmissible, or possibly no virus at all but only the RNA detritus of prior infection: If you have to go through X number of amplification cycles–opinion varies over exactly what that number should be–in order to detect RNA from SARS-Cov-2, then the virus, if any, must be present in such a small amount that likely it isn’t transmissible. My question is this: If the viral load is so small it isn’t transmissible, then is it also so small that it can’t cause disease in the host, even if the host has co-morbidities? And might learning the cycle threshold used to produce a positive or negative test result–a threshold which often isn’t reported to the treating physician–help to discriminate between death due to Covid-19 and death due to co-morbidities?

    • #20
    • December 2, 2020, at 10:09 AM PST
    • Like
  21. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    What did Lysenko do exactly? The example of putting seeds close together, what else. I know nothing about him. Great post.

    JimGW,

    In charge of all of Soviet Agriculture, he enforced belief in a false theory of how crops might mutate to adjust to the climate. Instead of improving Soviet Agriculture his theories caused widespread famine killing millions. If you questioned his theory it was off to the gulag for you. There really are “Blessings of Liberty”. Take Liberty away and you get the “Curse of Tyranny”.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #21
    • December 2, 2020, at 10:38 AM PST
    • Like
  22. Old Bathos Moderator

    Science is now a political pawn. There is almost nothing that can be published that does not implicate some invasive political notion now.

    Government by emergency is at hand. 

    We can’t have prudent advisories and market incentives for clean, efficient, cheap energy. It has to be about the end of life in a decade if we don’t [insert stupid idea involving a greatly expanded role for government here].

    We can’t keep working to make our legal system fair and just. There is a “systemic” racism problem so it all has to go.

    We can’t make more of an effort to include people who are sexually misprogrammed for some reason. We must believe that there are 57 genders and/or that sex is a construct or whatever will by dogma by the time I hit “Comment” and post this.

    And we had to base our COVID policies on the worst, least-competent epidemiology modeler of all time (Neil Ferguson) solely because he is always willing to overstate real risks by a factor of 10 to 100 times over which makes government overreach seem more reasonable. 

    And all of this is treated as religion such that debate, discussion, discordant facts are a form of heresy and once science is bound and gagged and kneeling before the new priests they point to it and tell us that The Science agrees with them.

     

    • #22
    • December 2, 2020, at 11:34 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. David Foster Member
    David FosterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    When the writer Rose Wilder Lane visited the Soviet Union in the 1920s, she was still a Communist.

    In Russian Georgia, the villager who was her host complained about the growing bureaucracy that was taking more and more men from productive work, and predicted chaos and suffering from the centralizing of economic power in Moscow. At first, she saw his attitude as merely “the opposition of the peasant mind to new ideas,” and undertook to convince him of the benefits of central planning. He shook his head sadly.

    It is too big – he said – too big. At the top, it is too small. It will not work. In Moscow there are only men, and man is not God. A man has only a man’s head, and one hundred heads together do not make one great big head. No. Only God can know Russia.

    This man’s insight prefigures Hayek’s writing about the role of knowledge in society, not to be published until 1944.

    A lot of people still haven’t figured it out.

    • #23
    • December 2, 2020, at 11:50 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. cirby Member

    Every once in a while, I run into Russians online who think Lysenko was given a bad reputation by everyone else, and that all of his stupid policies were made up by foreigners.

    One guy was completely convinced that Lysenko had basically discovered genetic engineering, but that he’d done it with his policies, not with technologies (paraphrased, this fellow wasn’t making much sense).

     

    • #24
    • December 2, 2020, at 12:10 PM PST
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  25. Henry Racette Contributor

    Science is a useful servant but a terrible master.

    • #25
    • December 4, 2020, at 1:37 PM PST
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  26. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Science is a useful servant but a terrible master.

    Henry,

    Well put. Another analogy might be that science is like a very good set of tools. However, what good is a good set of tools in the hands of a crazy man? Good tools or bad he will just wreck everything he touches. What good are precision surgical tools to someone who never studied anatomy and has a severe drinking problem?

    The left says it “believes in science”. It neither understands science nor knows how to use it. It just worships it like a cult fetish. Disaster is bound to ensue.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #26
    • December 4, 2020, at 1:48 PM PST
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  27. Barfly Member

    I wonder if it’s always been like this. Is this how civilizations fail – they become infested with big lies? CAGW, the Russia hoax, the 1960 election, “the New Deal saved the economy” – how far back does it go? What if the big lie is the natural state of civilization?

    • #27
    • December 5, 2020, at 6:34 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member