Authority Versus Evidence

     It’s risky to reflexively attribute actual knowledge to persons who represent themselves as “authorities.” More Americans have been led badly astray by such “authorities” than have contracted the Wuhan Virus. Speaking of which, courtesy of Ragin’ Dave at Peace or Freedom, here’s a contemporary example:

     Last month, when Texas Governor Greg Abbott axed the state’s mask mandate and other COVID-related restrictions on businesses and people, Dr. Anthony Fauci called it “risky” and “potentially dangerous.”

     “When you pull back on all mitigation methods on all public health guidelines, that’s when you get into trouble and history has proven that,” Fauci told Chris Wallace of Fox News. “This isn’t just some kind of a theoretical, a point that I’m trying to make. It’s not theoretical. It actually happens.”

     But, there’s been no surge. In fact, cases have continued to decline.

     And Fauci, proven wrong, struggled to explain how Texas has defied his own predictions during an appearance on MSNBC on Tuesday, and tried to suggest that there might be a “lag.”

     “It can be confusing because you may see a lag and a delay because often you have to wait a few weeks before you see the effect of what you’re doing right now,” Dr. Fauci claimed.

     According to the CDC, COVID “symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.” It’s been 26 days since Texas reopened, which means that Fauci’s “lag” excuse doesn’t hold up.

     At the very least, Texas’s experiences call Fauci’s assertion into question. While asymptomatic infection by the WuFlu is not unknown (note the periphrasis), we would reasonably expect it to be proportional to symptomatic and therefore diagnosed infections. This has not been the case.

     Knowledge, or expertise if you prefer, should be attributed only to to those with a record of successful predictions:

     Expertise in any of the realms of knowledge that don’t involve problem-solving – e.g., physics, chemistry, astronomy, et alii — is founded on prediction. To establish oneself as an expert requires a series of successful predictions: the use of the knowledge one has claimed to create a demonstrable connection:

  1. From a specified context;
  2. Affected by a specified stimulus;
  3. To a consequence that arrives at a specified time.

     Once again, I have the pleasure of citing the late Sir Fred Hoyle’s novel The Black Cloud:

     “It looks to me as if those perturbations of the rockets must have been deliberately engineered,” began Weichart.
     “Why do you say that, Dave?” asked Marlowe.
     “Well, the probability of three cities being hit by a hundred-odd rockets moving at random is obviously very small. Therefore I conclude that the rockets were not perturbed at random. I think they must have been deliberately guided to give direct hits.”
     “There’s something of an objection to that,” argued McNeil. “If the rockets were deliberately guided, how is it that only three of ’em found their targets?”
     “Maybe only three were guided, or maybe the guiding wasn’t all that good. I wouldn’t know.”
     There was a derisive laugh from Alexandrov.
     “Bloody argument,” he asserted.
     “What d’you mean, ‘bloody’ argument?”
     “Invent bloody argument, like this. Golfer hits ball. Ball lands on tuft of grass — so. Probability ball landed on tuft very small, very very small. Million other tufts for ball to land on. Probability very small, very, very very small. So golfer did not hit ball, ball deliberately guided onto tuft. Is bloody argument, yes? Like Weichart’s argument….Must say what damn target is before shoot, not after shoot. Put shirt on before, not after event.”

     The prediction must come before the consequence to be predicted! Anyone can say “Just as I predicted!” after the event occurs. That doesn’t take knowledge, only a lot of gall.

     From that standpoint, Fauci is the reverse of an expert. His predictions have almost all failed. At this point, he’s been wrong so many times that his usefulness as a source of knowledge and guidance has dropped to zero. In truth, that was the case well before today. But he appears to want to be considered an Authority Beyond Criticism:

     There’s a reason why journalists should always keep their distance from priesthoods in any field. It’s particularly in the nature of insular communities of subject matter experts to coalesce around orthodoxies that blind the very people in the loop who should be the most knowledgeable.

     “Experts” get things wrong for reasons that are innocent (they’ve all been taught the same incorrect thing in school) and less so (they have a financial or professional interest in denying the truth)….

     “Authorities” by their nature are untrustworthy. Sometimes they have an interest in denying truths, and sometimes they actually try to define truth as being whatever they say it is. “Elevating authoritative content” over independent or less well-known sources is an algorithmic take on the journalistic obsession with credentialing that has been slowly destroying our business for decades.

     Of course, there’s worse than the single-subject Authority Beyond Criticism. There’s the Anything Authority… and the political version thereof:

     It might not be perfectly obvious (a break from tradition here at Liberty’s Torch), but any man who bids for a high political office must present himself to the public as a sort of Anything Authority: i.e., one who “has the answers” to a wide range of questions concerning the issues most prominent in political discourse. As distasteful as it sounds, arrogance is therefore a qualification for office. He who lacks the glibness and certitude required will be dismissed by a large fraction of the voting public. Seldom does the less glib, less arrogant of two candidates prevail in an electoral showdown.

     Be warned – and beware.


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    • robert on April 8, 2021 at 7:38 PM

    Your theory has stood the test of time in my humble opinion  . Of the half dozen examples of mostly low level politicians I have known personally or has been relation they were all narcistic

    • Alan Simpson on April 8, 2021 at 9:29 PM

    But he’s so good there gave him a million dollar bribe, oops, prize for his help in screwing us and ruining the economy.

    • Georgiaboy61 on April 9, 2021 at 12:01 AM

    Re: ” From that standpoint, Fauci is the reverse of an expert. His predictions have almost all failed. At this point, he’s been wrong so many times that his usefulness as a source of knowledge and guidance has dropped to zero. In truth, that was the case well before today.”

    It is risky to trust such self-anointed “experts” as Dr. Fauci for a number of reasons, some specific to this episode, and some not.

    Fauci is a physician by training, it is true, but he is essentially a bureaucrat whose experience with front-line, in-the-trenches medical care (especially acute care) is relatively small and probably not in the recent past, in comparison to his peers actually practicing hands-on medicine.  He’s “out of his lane,” as they say in the military, straying far away from what he does every day and knows best. That’s strike one against him. It is disingenuous at best, dishonest and unethical at worst to let the public believe you are an expert when you know full well you are not.
    Fauci is not only not a working physician, he is not a working scientist. Given his current position and station in professional life, it is highly unlikely that he has set foot in a working laboratory – with the intent of doing actual R&D – in quite some time. Nor is it likely that he is up to speed on the latest knowledge in virology, immunology, genetics, etc. Yet he still is A-OK with being taken as some sort of “expert.” That verges on professional malpractice, but because Fauci is a bigshot with powerful friends, he gets away with it.
    Medical training is arduous. In order to get into medical school, perform well there, and then get licenses as a physician is no small undertaking, and it requires a strong ego and belief in one’s self. Provided these things are kept in check and within normal bounds, there’s no problem – but it is a fact (one which can be verified by anyone who has spent time in the company of physicians in a professional setting) that in some physicians, their egos get out of control and they start believing that they are incapable of being wrong, not just about questions of medicine, but about anything! Moreover, many take extreme pleasure in being seen as “experts” and men above-beyond other men. This phenomenon is so common within medical circles, it even has a name in psychiatric circles, i.e., the “God Complex.” Fauci has it, a bad case of it.  That’s another strike against him.
    Dr. Anthony Fauci is “owned” by billionaire Bill Gates. If it got any more obvious, Fauci would have to wear a dog-collar and chain and go on walks tethered to Gates, his benefactor. The buying/selling of influence, of the sort these two are doing, is supposed to be a felony, but apparently not anymore, or maybe “laws are for the little people” now.  One more strike….
    Fauci has been caught in so many errors and falsehoods, not to mention out-and-out lies, that only a “true believer” trusts the guy now. Most of his remaining credibility comes from his somewhat lofty title and the prestige which goes with it…. plus coverage by a sympathetic MSM. That five against him….
    “Experts” in medicine and public health exist in a fish-bowel of like-minded people, and are accustomed to having their opinions and ideas agreed with…. which is to say that if they listen to disagreement or dissent, they certainly aren’t accustomed to the ‘proles delivering it! In other words, in an outraged tone of voice, “Who are you to disagree with me!?” I’m Dr. _____, and I attended ____, have an M.D., and __ years of experience. Etc. Etc. Logicians call this fallacy “the appeal to authority” fallacy, and it boils down to “You can trust me because I’m an expert, and you aren’t!”

    Physicians are supposed to listen to their patients and those in their care, regardless of station in life, education or the like. Not insult and degrade them. Dr. Fauci is betraying his Hippocratic Oath, and ought to have his license to practice medicine revoked.

    It is germane to note how many fellow physicians and other professionals – including world-renowned scientists and researchers among them – have dissented from the official covid-19 narrative so carefully-constructed and zealously enforced by the good doctor and his fellow would-be tyrants. Sort of restores ones faith in humanity, that there are still ethical and highly-principled doctors and scientists out there who aren’t for sale to the highest bidder…. or nearest computer software billionaire!

    I’ll close by noting that if the “scientifically-approved” narrative of Fauci et al. doesn’t work in certain times and places, the backstop is simply the resort to authority, in other words raw state power. Wear your mask – or you’ll get arrested. Prescribe Hydroxychloroquine and you’ll be charged by the nearest DA with violating the governor’s edict, and so forth. Governors Pritzker (IL), Cuomo (NY), and Whitmer (MI) have already used this approach numerous times.

    • sw on April 10, 2021 at 7:15 AM

    I’ve said it before that I’m smart enough to know I ain’t that smart.  But, citing myself as an example, I contracted the sinovirus in the first part of December.  Symptoms were alot of sneezing.  Nothing else. No fever, no body aches, no coughing, no trouble breathing.  Went through the protocol of a 10 day isolation.  Why?  I’ve been taking doses of vitamin C, D, and B6, zinc and elderberry since the start of the panic.  Did all that lessen the symptoms?  I think so, since it’s been established that 80 percent or so of fatalities have been those poor souls who had a vitamin D deficiency.  Hydroxycholroquine has been shown to be a weapon against the virus, even though little Tony said the evidence was “anecdotal.”  It wasn’t for those who recovered.  Now ivermectin is showing promise in fighting the sinovirus.  The governors who banned prescribing HCQ all have blood on their hands.  Will they have to answer for it?  Nah.

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