Friday, January 20, 2012

Three things people don't know

Here are three things people don't know about the pandemic:

  1. Severity (see also {Severity}). The suffering and death. The outbreaks.

    The scale of the pandemic.

  2. Breadth of facts. The diversity of the signs, symptoms, and diseases that must be explained if you are to explain the underlying disease.1

    Surprisingly, the facts to pay closest attention to are not the ones that most sufferers are dealing with.

    Samuel's Law:

    If you cannot explain the facts of late-stage disease, then you cannot explain the disease.

    If your explanation does not fit the facts, then it fails and does not apply to even the mildest sufferer.2

    The vast majority of claimed explanations (and assumed ones) fail by this principle.

    The similarity to AIDS. You don't just get AIDS or The Pandemic; you get a cluster of diseases in their own right. Opportunistic infections — viral, fungal, bacterial.

    Multisystem. Many parts of the body are affected.

    Mild and severe stages. Disease progression. Wishing that you will not get sicker does not protect you.

    The scale of the facts of the disease.

  3. Politics. The resources and tenacity of the forces arrayed against efforts to do rigorous science.

    The failure to study late-stage sufferers. The erasure of them from discourse.

    The fake studies that exclude subjects who have the disease.

    The corruption. The lies that are told to doctors and the public (and parliaments and scientists and sufferers). The funding irregularities.

    The explanations that never made sense. The fallacies. The moronicity. The bigotry. The PR campaigns. The bought-and-paid-for false advocacy. The human rights violations.

    The scale of the politics.

Samuel

Footnotes:

1 We can add epidemiology and other facts.

2 I will call it Samuel's Law, for lack of an existing term or snappy non-eponym. It has two variants. The general variant is that any explanation must fit the facts. (You'd think the general variant would have an existing name.)

A distinction for advocates:

This is different from the problem in which unrelated diseases are conflated.

Here we are talking about sufferers who have the same disease. A 100% genuine cohort can still violate Samuel's Law.

It is a way of eliminating bad hypotheses. In many cases, it can do so before any new study is performed.

I'll go deeper in future posts (and tell you a story).

In the meantime, do you think HIV would have been discovered if 1980s AIDS scientists had violated Samuel's Law?

4 comments :

  1. If you cannot explain the facts of late-stage disease, then you cannot explain the disease.

    If your explanation does not fit the facts, then it fails and does not apply to even the mildest sufferer.
    -Samuel's Law

    A lot of advocates have been making this point over the years, but it has not been named I don't think. Its nice to have a name. :-) The science must fit the facts. Too many theories, particularly psychobabble, fit a tiny number of facts and ignore the majority - as they refute their hypothesis. That is not science as I like to see it.

    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  2. My guess is that kindergartners reject explanations with the general variant all the time :). I needed a snappy name to use in future posts, because things that are named can be talked about much more easily. Other names are of course welcome if there's a better one.

    What can we do to make real scientists understand Samuel's Law? How do we get the relevant facts to them?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wonder how "ADHD" relates to what you speak of.
    As someone who "suffers" from "adhd", it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that I have a myriad of other disorders at varying degrees + at different times. Things seemingly unrelated. Mental problems across the scale and axes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Sam,

    Not sure what you are asking. Are you saying that ADHD might be another disease in which breadth of facts is not being taken into account when people try to explain it? It is possible.

    ReplyDelete

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