Articles to 2020-08-16

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Arpino et al. is a complete and utter nonsene. Intergenerational contact can and conceivably will have a large influence on the rate at which elderly people become infected with Covid. That's not what Arpino et al. are looking at here. After having become infected (and thus counted as cases) in the first place, what possible influence can contact have on the case fatality rate? None directly and the indirect one, through emotional support, can only be negative. All Arpino et al.'s results are utterly meaningless. What can they have been thinking about?


I haven't the faintest idea, what Mousa believes it is, she's doing here. We have a persecuted minority, a large number of whom have recently been murdered and the remainder who managed to flee are displaced far from home. They are surrounded by members of a majority who in the main did little against the aggressive fanatics in their midst perpetrating those crimes. So Mousa’s largest fear is that this minority, trying to put their lives together again, might have reservations against and less than perfect trust in members of the majority living in or coming to their new area?

If anything I find it reassuring that top-down organized brainwashing is less than perfect in manipulating basic attitudes and in changing behaviour in less closely observed and controlled circumstances. What does make me afraid – and not for the first time – is Paluck & Clark's uncritical applause for the rising number of these kinds of studies establishing the science behind and perfecting Orwellian thought control. The last sentence and conclusion of 1984 comes to mind.


Speer et al. is not new. In principle they repeat the result by Greene et al. (2009, no. 18 in the references) but it's still very important. You may be proud of honesty, but only in the sense you would be of talent or beauty, not achievement through effort. The moral dilemma posed here is obvious.


The scientific method is a new idea, developed only in the 17th century from early precursors. It is never innate and has to be learnt. Universal schooling has become the norm from the 19th century onwards. What Heck et al. demonstrate is the complete and utter failure of our school systems. This is one more glaring example of C. P. Snow’s two cultures. When nearly all teachers live in a mental world of magic and superstition acquired by rote learning and authority alone, this has to be the outcome. When the Friday truants chant "listen to the science", what they really mean is "don't think, don't question, don't try to understand – submit to the divine priesthood and follow prescribed ritual". This has long been known from informal observation, Heck et al. present the quantitative proof. Questioning revealed truth is evil, trust belongs to the anointed priesthood alone.

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