|When Wassamatta U. beats John-Hopkins at anything,
it's a measure of how far the mighty have fallen.
By now, somewhere on the 'net, you've probably seen someone, somewhere (perhaps here), make reference to the Johns-Hopkins economic study that purports to show that "COVID lockdowns had no impact on COVID mortality". And in 99.9999% of all instances, whoever was blogging or reporting on it did so in the vein of "Aha! J'accuse! I told you it was all a bunch of horseshit!"
If you saw/heard/read anything to the contrary in regard to the study, raise your hand.
Everybody with me so far? Good.
Now, for the benefit of the TL;DR crowd, and Common Core grads in the audience, we will provide a summary of what I'm about to tell you about this "study", just like they do in the extract:
Still with me? Great. Now, to the fisking, wherein we illuminate why we just said that, and why it is so.
This phenomenon was coined into the lexicon in a well-known lecture by the late Michael Crichton. The guy who graduated Harvard Medical School, went to Hollywood instead, and went on to become an author, screenwriter, director, and science lecturer, who gave you everything from Westworld to Jurassic Park, and at one point simultaneously had the number one best-selling book, number one TV show, and number one movie in the world, all at the same time. He was a true renaissance man, gifted in a host of fields of endeavor, not least of which, the ability to make science understandable and relevant to all, simultaneously educating you while holding your interest and entertaining. That's some world-class multi-tasking. But I digress.
"Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray [Gell-Mann]'s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward -- reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I'd point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means "untruthful in one part, untruthful in all". But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn't. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia."
Why does this apply here?
Because this is the same Johns-Hopkins many of you, and likely 100% of the people pointing to this craptastic survey with sh*t-eating grins, have railed your asses off against, with levels of bitching, whining, and moaning that dogs could hear in space, for their dashboard of COVID cases and casualties, a tally which no small number of you (I've seen you say it) think must actually be somewhere between 1 and 0, worldwide, from 2019-five minutes ago, worldwide, inclusive.
So which is it, kids? Are they all a bunch of world-class frauds and liars, all in on the conspiracy? Or earnest researchers speaking truth to power? You can't have it both ways here, and many of you are world-class cynics about pointy-headed academia, but when it tickles your confirmation bias, you become a busload of whores dogpiling a $20 bill blowing by on the day your supplier has a fresh batch of crack on offer.
50-yard penalty, and loss of possession.
2) The Economics Department? Why Not The Volleyball Coaches?
This is a study purporting to examine the medical effectiveness of lockdowns. By economists. Do you also consult your bank tellers for medical advice? Get your stock tips from your barber? That's a Gropy Dopey Biden level of dumbassery, right there.
If we wanted to know the economic effects of the lockdowns (like hundreds of businesses that went out of business didn't make that trip a total waste of time), these would be the guys to call. For medical efficacy, not so much. But if it's all just numbers, why not Bill James and the stat crunchers from ESPN? Hell, it's Black History Month: Why not get those black cleaning ladies from Hidden Figures? Or call math whiz Evita Guevara-Castro? Or Heidi Fleiss and the Mayflower Madam? Anybody that can run hookers in Manhattan and L.A. must have a head for numbers, right? (Or was it numbers for head? Sorry, I couldn't help myself there.)
While you're up, you may as well tune in to The View and ABCNNBCBS for news of the world and how things really are. Get ChuckU Schumer on the line and ask him for advice about the Second Amendment. Call Whoopi Goldberg to explain the Holocaust to you. Consult Marie Antoinette about bread distribution to the peasantry. Consult the German safety analysis on hydrogen-lifted airships. Ask Biden and the Pentagon whiz kids about the best way to evacuate and abandon a country. That's stupider than all the anchors at all the networks, plus the NYTimes, combined.
That obvious lack of any expertise or credibility alone should be enough torpedoes beneath the water line to sink the Yamato, let alone this silly-assed report. But wait! There's MOAR!
3) Wet Streets Cause Rain.
Funny Crichton should mention that. They were studying how lockdowns affect COVID mortality.
For those with memories shorter than your wedding tackle, here's a funny thing: the lockdowns weren't instituted to "decrease COVID mortality". You could look it up.
Here, let me jog your flagging memories. Fill in the blank:
"Two weeks to make less people die from COVID.."
BZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzztttt! WRONG! Hey, thanks for playing, but wait right there, and we'll have a lifetime supply of COVID vaxx, and a scorching case of herpes for you.
Try "Two weeks to SLOW. THE. SPREAD."
It doesn't matter that it did no such thing, and worked about as well as a screen door on a submarine, the point remains that lockdowns weren't instituted to keep people from dying from COVID AT ALL. They were instituted to keep people from dying from COVID ALL AT THE SAME TIME. By spreading the outbreak over weeks, rather than days, and delaying its spread from ports of entry to the hinterlands.
(Nota bene that any city with a large Chinese expat (Chinatown) population did notably worse, initially. All those people crowing about how well FL, or Iowa, or Montana did: got a big Chinatown in Miami, do ya? Or Des Moines? Or Missoula? Or BFE? No?!? Color me shocked. Boston, NYFC, Frisco, Seattle, L.A.: all screwed, from the get-go. This virus came from where, again?)
File this under: Duh! Spreading is how a viral outbreaks become pandemics. And with the original strain of COVID, the death rate was always going to be what it was going to be: 1-5% historically, with 3% as the no-shit dead-on balls average, since ever. Ten to fifty times worse than common flu, but two to ninety times better than Ebola, for reference. (And I'm telling you experientially and anecdotally, subsequent strains of Kung Flu aren't even in the same ballpark as the initial one. Which probably has more to do with milder infections than the not-a-vaxxes ever did, just like with every other virus in history, AFAIK.)
If 10,000 people got the initial strain of Kung Flu, no matter when they got it, 100-500 of them were going to die. A minimum of 9,500 of them, and a maximum of 9900 of them would live. Staying at home wouldn't make them healthier, FFS. The very concept that one thing could affect the other is idiotic.
The whole point of the exercise was to make sure that Friendly Acres Mega Hospital didn't get all 500 of the sickest of the sick all in the same week.
Trying to flip the study around to see whether or not lockdowns did something they were never intended nor instituted to do is asinine, recockulous, and fucktarded. And I'm soft-soaping how jackassically moronic the very idea is, by orders of magnitude. It's like studying whether parachutes prevent plane crashes. It's asking how fast the brakes make your car go. It's looking at whether trains go faster if the conductor is right-handed or left-handed. If Gilligan, Goober, Larry, his brother Daryl, and his other brother Daryl all came up with this study, it still wouldn't be as fucking retarded as this.
(The fact that the lockdowns were extended and expanded wholly as an excuse and a means to steal an election in plain sight, and institute a bloodless coup, bears no small amount of the rationale for their continuance, either, but is beyond the scope of the moment.)
And yet, this jackassical farce of a topic is EXACTLY what they set out to study, on purpose, and we're only up to the opening introduction.
Only 60 more pages of this abominable bullshit to go. We've tortured you (and ourselves) enough for one day. You'd already be demonstrably dumber just reading the introduction to the paper in question, and doubtless can hardly wait to dig into the meat and bones of the rest of this enormous offal souffle.
And we will continue. Just not today.