Coronavirus: International Facts and Figures

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jatz14

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Dec 13, 2011
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Unfortunately there is also the problem of herding and the fact big, wrong ideas sometimes only die with their revered originators. It’s a minefield but we should at least respect the process and the people who follow it in good faith.
This is true, but the idea you can avoid this by reading a few research papers and forming your own opinion is a nonsense. Its avoiding error, by embracing even more error. We have to be content with knowing we are going to be wrong about some things, and there isnt a way to avoid this.
 

jatz14

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I don't agree.

There are enormous amounts of scientific research papers out there that don't mean sh*t to me. Can't make any sense of them. In those instances, I realise and accept that I in fact don't know sh*t. It's a humbling experience and one that makes you very wary to jump on internet forums or Facebook and scream at people that you know the facts and they don't!!

There's nothing wrong with not knowing, and not having an opinion.

I'm smart enough to know that I don't know much.

However there are plenty that I do understand. In many cases though, it's not my opinion that matters anyway. It's just the facts of the study that are relevant. The why and how often don't matter. It's just understanding what the study actually was, and what the results were.

Just for example, here is the headline from the Foundation for Economic Education website:

"New Danish Study Finds Masks Don’t Protect Wearers From COVID Infection"

And these are the results of the actual study they're referring to:

A total of 3030 participants were randomly assigned to the recommendation to wear masks, and 2994 were assigned to control; 4862 completed the study. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 occurred in 42 participants recommended masks (1.8%) and 53 control participants (2.1%). The between-group difference was −0.3 percentage point (95% CI, −1.2 to 0.4 percentage point; P = 0.38) (odds ratio, 0.82 [CI, 0.54 to 1.23]; P = 0.33). Multiple imputation accounting for loss to follow-up yielded similar results. Although the difference observed was not statistically significant, the 95% CIs are compatible with a 46% reduction to a 23% increase in infection.


Note the limitations:
Inconclusive results, missing data, variable adherence, patient-reported findings on home tests, no blinding, and no assessment of whether masks could decrease disease transmission from mask wearers to others.


So the headline that most Facebook Users would come across during their 'research' would get them all riled up that it's a fact that the science says that masks don't work. However if you bother to actually read the study, it's not the case at all. It shows that there was a difference between wearing a mask and not wearing one.
But given that all participants were socially distancing anyway, and participants provided the results themselves, and it was never verified if they actually wore masks or not - there's not a heap you can really take from it.

Point being, there's often a huge gap between 'research' and actually doing your research.


I don't have an issue with people following scientific consensus, as long as they too are aware that it's just that - the consensus of opinions. Granted they are educated opinions - but it's not fact. And as such, jumping on internet forums or Facebook and screaming at people that you know the facts and they don't is very foolish.
But this bit 'So the headline that most Facebook Users would come across during their 'research' would get them all riled up that it's a fact that the science says that masks don't work.'

Isnt being done by the people that do this bit 'I don't have an issue with people following scientific consensus, as long as they too are aware that it's just that - the consensus of opinions.'

Its being done by the people that `do their own research, form their own opinion`, which in most cases doesn't extend beyond, reading the headlines of research they do not understand.

Its like, I have a complex medical condition, and I have gotten the opinion of 4 medical experts, and I did my own google research, and consulted original research papers. Whats my best hope, trying to come up with a consensus from the experts, or going with my research with Dr google? There is no guarantee, experts can be and are often wrong, and lay people can be right, but if its in your interests to get the right answer, the highest probability play is the experts.

I guess my take home point is, experts can and are wrong. But, if you do your own research, review research papers to draw your own conclusion, your going to be more wrong than the scientific consensus, the vast majority of the time, and even when the consensus turns out to be drastically wrong, its highly likely your still more wrong.

So, I would rather find a handful of scientists I trust, and review their opinion, than bother with the research their opinion is based off.
 

Thai Hawk

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Wow, I have been living in the US for the last few years and now am trying to make my way back to Aust, though Dubai and Thailand. I was hoping to return to a place where political and scientific discussion was less toxic and extreme

WTF happened to our country
 

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Chief

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