Back in the 1960s, the British academic establishment was rather excited about the work of Karl Popper, the philosopher who developed the concept of empirical falsification. Popper was keen to define the demarcation between the scientific and that which only mimics empiricism and scientism. A theory, according to Popper, can be considered scientific if, and only if, it is potentially falsifiable by experiments or its predictions. Popper attempted to create criteria that would deny psychoanalysis, Marxism and astrology any scientific status based on the fact that these theories are not falsifiable.
One may wonder what Popper would have to say about the science of Neil Ferguson, the man who predicted up to 550.000 Coronavirus dead in the UK and 2.2 million dead in the USA.
On 29 April, Off-Guardian published what I believe to be the most insightful criticism of the lockdown policy so far. In the article Iain Davis digs into the work or shall we say, blunders, he attributes to Ferguson. Davis writes, both Public Health England (PHE) and the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) were satisfied that COVID-19 (C19) presented a low risk of mortality and downgraded it from the status of a High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) on March 19th. The ACDP board members include Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College. Presumably Prof. Ferguson was among the dissenting voices on the ACDP board as he completely ignored the majority opinion of his scientific colleagues.
There is nothing wrong in holding a dissenting scientific view, however, this specific dissenting view and the way it was implemented by the UK and the USA governments appears to have led America, Britain and the rest of the world to respond in a way that created a catastrophe of a previously unknown scale.
In an interview on 13th February, widely reported by the mainstream media , Davis writes, he (Ferguson) stated his predictive models were not absurd. He said that infection rates of 60% of the population with a 1% mortality rate were possible. Standing by his prediction of 400,000 C19 deaths in the UK. The Imperial College computer model report was released to the public on 16th March, predicting huge numbers of deaths from C19. By the 19th March Prof. Ferguson must have known a majority of his peers disagreed with him.
Davis points out that Ferguson failed to implement the most basic of scientific procedures, namely allowing a peer review of his predictions, making sure that one or more people with similar competence in epidemiology evaluate what we now know to have been the grossly exaggerated Imperial College models and predictions.
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