Article 26

Knowledge Versus Covid-19 Beliefs And All Other Belief-Only Topics.

Now, that we face localised and tiered restrictions on social contact and a threatened return to national lockdown, despite its previous failure to achieve anything other than economic damage and a reduction in hospital treatment of non-Covid conditions, and having had nothing resolved in four and a half years of Brexit negotiations with the EU, is it not now time for the public to recognise the need to abandon all  belief/counter-belief debates and to call for the application of debate-terminating conclusive knowledge wherever and whenever possible?  

To this end, I now remind my readers that this recognition and application is achievable only by reference to my newly definitive differentiation of the knowledge/belief dichotomy and with it those truth/falsehood, wisdom/folly right/wrong and good/bad; that otherwise we will continue to treat all problems as topics for belief/counter-belief debate to one or other transient belief-consensus pending the resumption of debate intended to reverse the previous belief-consensus; that we must thus recognise that the debate of opinion/counter-opinion is never more than the debate of belief/counter-belief supported by partially selected facts/counter-facts, evidence/counter-evidence, and/or news/false-news, no set of which ever amounts to debate terminating conclusive knowledge; that definitive knowledge, whether positive or negative, is thus preferable to any definitive belief-consensus; that where and when such knowledge is ignored or is as yet unavailable, we have only belief/counter-belief; that transformation of belief to positive or negative knowledge is achievable only by direct observation of cause-effect relationships in reality or by laboratory experimentation designed to isolate the hypothetical (believed) cause from all other possible causes; and that when the actual cause is thus determined, such experimentation enables the known cause to be altered in magnitude, and the corresponding magnitudes of the effect to be measured, and their relationship to be expressed by a mathematical equation which ever-after enables the magnitude of effects to be calculated from measured magnitude of causes and vice versa; but that if the necessary apparatus cannot be designed and built for practical reasons at any time, then the hypothesis remains belief-only, until the means of its reality-validation or reality-refutation can be designed, built, and operated.

Thus, I remind my readers that the term ‘science’ is properly applied only to knowledge, reality-validated by direct observation such as is practised in craftsmanship by observing the causative effect of the applied tool to the work piece, or in science by designed cause/effect experimentation; and that those who propagate conclusions as to cause and effect without bothering to verify the actual cause by isolating it experimentally from all other potential causes, are not scientists, though they describe themselves as such to increase their credibility with voters, politicians and bureaucrats, no member of which categories has ever yet recognised the difference between science and non-science (nonsense) either for themselves or for their colleagues.

A favourite stratagem of pseudo-scientists (those who never reality-validate or reality-refute their beliefs by experimentation) is to clothe these beliefs in mathematical models and to tout their belief-only outputs as knowledge. However, if the input to a mathematical analysis or treatment is belief, then the output must also be belief; mathematics neither adding to nor subtracting from the initial equation or its derived model, otherwise the sequential signs of equality which advance the analysis or the treatment to the model would be invalid as are all rational/philosophical analyses which purport to derive reality-valid conclusions in the absence any reference to reality. That is why the pursuit of validity through metaphysical (rational) reasoning is entirely futile, as Socrates attempted to explain to his audiences almost 2,500 years ago, failed to do so, was required to drink the proffered hemlock, and has been ignored ever since, even by practicing scientists who do not properly recognise the need for reality to be directly observed as in all craftsmanship, or through designed experimentation as in all science.

Thus, as to the present Covid-19 infection, we need to recognise the knowledge that the percentage death  rate is too low to have justified the first lockdown, let alone a second, third or fourth. . . ; that this is presumably why Sir Patrick Vallance tells us that infection numbers are doubling every so many days despite our knowledge that they are not now, and never have been even at their highest recorded level. Indeed he recently calculated on this basis that we would have new infections and subsequent deaths at rates by mid-October which enabled Chris Kirk-Blythe of Manchester to calculate by extension (c.f. Letters to the Editor, The Daily Telegraph 22/9/20) that the entire population of the UK would have Covid-19 by Christmas Day; and would all be dead shortly before New Year’s Day. I have never before heard a more devastatingargument against reasoning in the absence of knowledge of reality.  However, I have often wondered, why we have heard nothing of the conclusions reached by the Cygnus study of potential pandemic response conducted in the UK in 2016.  I had thought these conclusions were too problematic to publish, while I now think the conclusion was that a lockdown would be needed; but that this was best kept under wraps until its need was deemed to have arisen.

In contrast, as I have previously said in this website and in an unpublished letter to The Daily Telegraph, there have always been two options for response to infections: the first is to isolate the infected from the non-infected for treatment, and the second is to isolate the non-infected from the infected to minimise transmission; that the first has hitherto been preferred for its minimisation of the numbers isolated and for its minimisation of the economic damage arising from their removal from the workplace, while the second maximises both. I now add the possibility that the second was adopted in the current case because it may have been the covert choice arrived at by Cygnus. Nonetheless, this choice was clearly not justified by the known death rates and age distributions exhibited by Covid-19, the young being only mildly affected if at all, and the susceptible elderly, being no longer part of the workforce, could have self-isolated with minimal effect on the economy, and while adequate provision of PPE for isolation wards in hospitals and in their Nightingale extensions could have prevented the former from becoming major sources of public infection. Again, we now know that lockdown not only failed to rid us of the infection, it caused damage to the economy and failed to maintain  NHS treatment of symptoms other than those of Covid-19.                                                                                   24/9/20.          

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