Would it be fair to suggest that, as lay persons, we do not know shit about the CV-19? Would it be further advisable, considering the lack of consensus among the researchers, to err on the side of caution? Is there definitive, rock solid information upon which we can make informed decisions other than the suggested cautious approach?
I need someone to tell me what I need to know. I need the certainty. I need succor.... "
Everyone is a layperson at something, in fact, at most things.
The bigger problem is that most people stopped doing science somewhere around high school.
So they forget (if they ever learned) that there's no such thing as "settled science". Nor "scientific consensus".
As Michael Crichton famously said in a lecture I refer to and quote from frequently:
"In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There's no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus."It's fair to say that the experts don't know shit about COVID-19. If anyone looked at the JAMA Online website on a recent post where I linked to it, one of the papers published was a list of all the things that were known and unknown about Kung Flu, specifically with the purpose of jerking people's chains in the research biz about things that they should be trying to nail down, to the extent possible.
At this point, most of the map of Kung Flu is marked "Here be dragons." Most of what we know is extrapolated or interpolated from other versions of coronavirus, and prior pandemics. Science is a tool for exploring the unknown. It provides clues, and a framework for learning. What it isn't designed to do is provide philosophic certainty and ontological comfort.
Actual honest science is but a framework, just as certainly as a latticework of 2x4s begins a house.
Science is not, nor was ever intended to be, a paneled living room with nice paint and wallpaper, cozy décor, and a comfortable chair next to the fireplace.
This is why people who do science are generally lousy at building houses, and people who actually build houses are lousy at doing science.
And the people who cannot cope with things they don't like, because they don't like them, are usually lousy at both things. Rich people have choices in that, and can order life to conform to their wishes in many instances. Those less financially fortunate have no such options, and end up living in cardboard boxes, because life refuses to bend over and kiss their ass. Those of us between the two extremes pick our battles, and try to ignore the things we cannot change and cannot stand to deal with, if we don't have to do so.
What's kicking most peoples' asses now is that they cannot ignore Kung Flu, and don't want to deal with it, nor will it conform to how they wish the world was. Hence the massive amount of hitherto sensible people who are serially and collectively losing their shit.
They just can't cope, and they're not resilient enough to deal with uncertainty and chaos that seemingly never ends.
The rest of this year, and this crisis, will not go well for them, and their responses thus far bode poorly for their eventual status.
Darwin snickers in the wings.