Apocalypse Not # 5 Argumentum ab Auctoritate

Argument from authority is defined as “Insisting that a claim is true simply because a valid authority or expert on the issue said it was true, without any other supporting evidence offered.” It is a classic logical fallacy that is used to stifle conversations that are becoming uncomfortable to those in authority.  There are technical areas that I know little about, and in those areas my observations are worthless, we all have that problem. One of the areas where I am not rank amateur is epidemiology, thus I feel comfortable weighing in on this important topic.

HM2 Tim Lynch ashore in Beirut hunting down the source of a nasty typhoid outbreak in early 1984. How many men do you know with real world pathogen hunting experience?

In fact, back when combat helmets were made of steel (as were the men who wore them), I was dispatched ashore at the Beirut International Airport to find the source of a para-typhoid bug that had damn near killed several artillerymen. I was an advanced lab technician  and my job was to obtain samples from sources the Environmental Health officers ashore had identified as potential problems. I obtained the samples, put the them in transport medium to take back to the ship (USS Guam LPH-7).  I then attempt to isolate the pathogen so we could target it with effective antibiotics instead of shotgunning every antibiotic we had into the fallen Marines.

I never isolated the bug, about a week into my attempt we pulled out of Beirut and headed for liberty call in Haifa, Israel.  Once we pulled the plug on the Beirut I autoclaved all the samples and prepared to fly back home. We clearly knew the problem Salmonella Paratyphoid but we never isolated or identified the strain.

I had forgotten all this until I started the Apocalypse Not series and got so much pushback from my liberal friends that I concluded I might be an asshole for writing what I was thinking. But I know a lot of assholes and I also know I’m not like any of them, so I’m continuing my attempt to explain why what you are seeing, has little resemblance to what the experts are telling you is happening.

The pushback from my earlier posts can all be summed up with “are you an authority? No? STF up then”.  The classic argument for authority response. Turns out I am an authority, I even have a degree (associates but still a degree) in medical technology and had mad, cutting edge, microbiology skills back in 1984. So, from this point forward remember that everything I say comes from a position of authority.

Now look at this:

Graph by John Hinderaker at Powerline

And this:

I believe what we are about to experience demonstrates the limitations of modeling. I have never believed the man-made climate change hysteria because it was based on models. The United States Marine Corps is about to become completely irrelevant as it sheds infantry, tube artillery and attack helicopters in favor of missiles, and that plan is based exclusivly on modeling. The lesson we are all about to learn is that modeling and reality are different things. In reality there are too many unknowns we cannot explain or anticipate that are never captured in computer models.

A relevant example of this can be seen in the reality of our current heavy handed public health measures. The biggest concern of every emergency management official when discussing the implementation of quarantines is public unrest. Yet around the country the public has accepted these extreme measures, have cooperated with authorities, and have caused no unrest (yet). The public unrest may yet surface but to date the American public is handling the destruction of their lives and livelihoods with remarkable equanimity.

What happens in two or three weeks when the crisis we have been told is eminent fails to materialize? What about the citizens who have been ruined by lockdowns and forced closures for a bug that was no worse than a flu bug? How will we look at “the experts” in the future when, once again, they were not a little wrong, but dead wrong about the nature of this pandemic?

The overreaction to this flu should drive a stake through the heart of man made climate change because the models supporting that theory are based on more speculative data then epidemiological models. That may be the only silver lining in this crisis.  I doubt identity politics, political correctness, open borders, and encouraging homelessness have long shelf life now either.  Those are issues of concern for affluent, educated people who have the time and resources to spend a lifetime worrying over shit they can’t change or understand.

I forgot where I found this but it speaks truth to current progressive power

My 1 virus 2 strain theory is surfacing again as people who are not experience virus hunters like myself catch up.  People are starting to understand the Pandemic has failed to materialize outside of New York City and the Pacific Northwest. The fatality rate in those two areas remains low, well below the morbidity and mortality of a regular flu bug. I understand that those numbers can shoot up and the bug suddenly start killing people in Ghenghis Khan type numbers because the New York Times told me so in this nifty graph they made to explain a complex event you cannot see out in flyover country.

What the experts cannot explain is how a virulent pathogen arrived in the country last November but waited until now to start replicating.

Even the Huffpo took a break in their 24/7 Trump Derangement Syndrome outbursts to publish “Is It Possible That You Had The Coronavirus Earlier This Year?” This article mirrors comments I’ve been seeing on Facebook as thousands of people speculate the flu bug that burned through the population in December/January was most likely the Wuhan flu. We will not know if that theory is true until we develop a test for COVID-19 antibodies. But the observations of my fellow citizens matches mine and I have to remind you I am an authority. My 1 virus 2 strain (which I’m unilaterally modifying to a 1 virus multiple strains because of expert reasoning I can’t explain to you damn laymen)  theory has more fact behind it than the NYT’s graph.

I am concerned about the millions of Americans who are stuck at home with no money, no food, no job, and bored children. The measly 1400 bucks that may show up in a few weeks is too little, too late to help them. What happens when the people understand that we have been fooled again by charlatans who will weather the storm they created without a problem or concern in the world? The people who are posing the unreasonable restrictions on every aspect of your life do not have to worry about getting tested, access to a ventilator if they fall ill, not having any money in the bank, or food in the house.  In fact they will make money buying stock at fire sale prices and (of course) rewarding themselves by allocating more tax money to themselves.

This analysis by the ever prescient Kimberly Strassel, writing in the Wall Street Journal, which you can now read because the paywall is down, sums up the new stimulus package nicely:

‘Missing from their list is an important category, which underlines an inescapable fact: Government mostly “Cares” for government. Bills that hand out money are written by appropriators. And appropriators never miss an opportunity to expand departments, agencies, bureaus and commissions. A rough calculation suggests the single biggest recipient of taxpayer dollars in this legislation—far in excess of $600 billion—is government itself. This legislation may prove the biggest one-day expansion of government power ever.”

Talk about never letting a crisis go to waste.

There is good news from this crisis; celebrates, professional athletes, and social influencers are no longer important or relevant. I like that because I find celebrity and pro sports culture unappealing.

Joe Rogan the actor/comedian is now irrelevant, Joe Rogan the podcaster is very relevant.   On the 10th of March he had on Michael Osterholm, an internationaly recognized expert on infectious disease, and the podcast was downloaded 17 million times. It unquestionably freaked out a large proportion of his vast audience. Here are some quotes from the interview:

First of you have to understand the timing of it in the sense that is just beginning and so in terms of what hurt pain suffering death is account happened so far is really just beginning. I think what people don’t quite yet understand and is this really is acting like an influenza virus something that transmits very very easily through the air we now have data to show that you’re infectious before you even get sick….I brought some numbers and we estimate that this could require 48 million hospitalizations, out of 96 million cases actually occurring and  over 480,000 deaths over the next three to seven months with this situation so this is not one that to take lightly.

Seventeen days later do any of those predictions sound likely to you? Granted maybe we dodged the bullet because of the lock downs and social distancing. My expert opinion is that is unlikely, the bug has been here since November and not one expert I know of can explain the curious lack of bilateral pneumonia cases that should be evident around the country given the virulence of the pathogen and delay in its detection (thanks to China, not Trump).

My county in South Texas is now on lock down,  if you leave the house for an unofficial reason and you could be fined 1000 bucks.  We have no Wuhan Virus cases in the county and the “shelter in place order” is scheduled to last two weeks. President Trump said he wanted to get the country back to work by Easter Sunday but we are on lockdown until the day after Easter Sunday….. maybe that is a coincidence, or maybe that is a dig at a President the elites despise, but who is growing more popular with the people by the day…you decide.

For now the only thing we can do is “shelter in place”, cooperate with the authorities and watch out for our neighbors. This is the land of the free which is why we should support our civic leaders but at the same time express our alarm at the destruction of our economy. Arguments from authority are a cowards way out of explaining what is increasingly obvious, cannot be explained.

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