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Coincidences, Conspiracies and Occam’s Razor

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“Just the facts, Ma’am,” was Joe Friday’s signature phrase.  Jack Webb played the LA Police Sergeant (later a Lieutenant) in the 1950’s Dragnet radio series.  His “Just the facts” kept witnesses from embellishing their stories and speculating about crimes.

We could use more facts and less speculation today about Covid, energy, climate, other issues and related policy mistakes and crimes.  And, less government and social media censorship, manipulated data and demonization of independent thinkers who question government narratives.  And, who also expose mistakes and hidden agendas.  Instead, we have activist journalists embellishing and furthering their narratives and agendas.

Who you gonna believe: Politicians, informed sources, experts, models, talking heads, advocacy journalists – or your lying eyes and common sense?  We may be appropriately skeptical about what we read, hear, and see.  (The most recent Gallup poll shows high public trust for TV news at 4%.  That high?)  But how do we deal with censorship, distortions and spin in real time.  Subsequent events often confirm conspiracy suspicions and link correlation and causation.  But the damage has already been done.  Is a reckoning coming?  Maybe.

We are now seeing amnesty appeals for vaccine and lockdown zealots despite the harm they caused.  Wry insightful humor is also emerging.  Example: a cartoon with two doctors examining charts and this caption: “New study shows alarming link between being a conspiracy theorists and not having myocarditis.”  Litigation may be coming too from those who do have myocarditis or other adverse vaccine events and from families of those who died from them – despite government immunity for vaccine companies.  But courts are Calvary to the rescue long after grass has grown over graves of the massacred.  Fines and judgements are just a cost of doing business for profitable drug companies – which don’t die.

Occam’s Razor to the rescue of reality vs. narrative?  Maybe.  In the vernacular, this historic wisdom says: “The simplest explanation is usually the best.”  The 14th century Latin version from William of Ockham was: “Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.”  Now it’s just: “Keep it simple, stupid.”

Thus, we dismiss complex explanations and speculations that don’t make common sense or pass a smell test.  Some trusting souls may still defer to models because they imply mathematical precision.  But all models incorporate the modeler’s assumptions, speculations and biases.  And models only say what they are programed to say (William Briggs “Statistician to the Stars”).  They can be wrong – to ten decimal places. A model from a prestigious sounding university and its serial panic huckster kicked off Covid mass hysteria.  It overstated predicted Covid deaths by a factor of 2.  It was programed to do that.  It fooled many with help from Doctor Scarf Lady and wee Doctor I Am Science.  Politicians overreacted.   Public Health credibility may not recover from Doctors Birx and Fauci.  Their Covid hysteria may be the greatest Public Health disaster ever.

Interesting that Covid’s adverse events and excess deaths are worse in the U.S. and Europe

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