The Church of Science

How Science Lost the Public’s Trust

From climate to Covid, politics and hubris have disconnected scientific institutions from the philosophy and method that ought to guide them.

“Conformity,” Mr. Ridley says, “is the enemy of scientific progress, which depends on disagreement and challenge. Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts, as [the physicist Richard] Feynman put it.” Mr. Ridley reserves his bluntest criticism for “science as a profession,” which he says has become “rather off-puttingly arrogant and political, permeated by motivated reasoning and confirmation bias.” Increasing numbers of scientists “seem to fall prey to groupthink, and the process of peer-reviewing and publishing allows dogmatic gate-keeping to get in the way of new ideas and open-minded challenge.”

Dear Sweet Saint of San Andres

Hear my prayer.

Two nuclear reactors at the Diablo Canyon plant in California are being forced to shut down in 2024 and 2025. When nuclear reactors are taken off the grid, fossil fuel use and the emissions that go along with them consistently increase. Independent groups have estimated that California will emit an extra 15.5 million metric tons (MMT) of global warming emissions due to the retirement of Diablo Canyon. In an attempt to prevent that from happening this time, bill SB 1090 was passed in 2018 requiring Diablo Canyon electricity generation to be replaced with clean energy.

Tommy Douglas, Not Dead Enough

Since the early 1960s, Canada’s population has more than doubled, rising from 18.2 million in 1961 to 36.6 million in 2017. Meanwhile, per capita spending on health care during that same period has increased more than sixty times — it was less than $100 per person in the early 1960s while it is a whopping $6,604 per person in 2017.

In 1961, 57 percent of health care in Canada was privately funded, while the rest was covered by government. Today, roughly 70 percent of health care is funded by the government, leaving approximately 30 percent to be covered by the private sector. At the same time that government coverage of health costs has been increasing, Canadian life expectancy has also increased. Over the past fifty-plus years, it has risen from sixty-eight (males) and seventy-nine (females) in 1961 to eighty (males) and eighty-four (females) today, while infant mortality rates, considered by many to be a key indicator of how healthy a country’s population truly is, have fallen from 27.3 per 1,000 in 1961 to less than 5 per 1,000.

With the rise in life expectancy, there has been an out-of-control growth in chronic disease in the last few years; today, it eats up more than 70 percent of health care costs in Canada.

If one couples all of that with the sobering news that three health care “tsunamis” — diabetes, obesity, and dementia — are waiting, just around the corner, to swamp our health care system, you’ll begin to get some idea of the trouble we find ourselves in.

h/t KP

The Woke/Covid Olympics

Welcome to the weirdest of Olympics — not exactly what Tokyo first had in mind

The days and weeks leading up to the curtain-raising have often felt somewhere between parody and farce. The director of the opening ceremony was deposed this week over a Holocaust crack he made in a comedy act in 1998. He had replaced the original director, who resigned when he made a pig joke about a woman who was to take part in the show. One of the show’s composers also resigned recently over admissions of horrible bullying of a disabled classmate and, of course, all of this has been taking place amid a COVID surge in the city, one that scuttled plans to have Olympic venues at least partially full of spectators. On Friday here came news that a typhoon is presently on track to reach Tokyo next week. Of course it is. By the weekend, locusts. Before the closing ceremony, Godzilla.

Related and let the complaining begin!

The narrative takes a hit

A bit of concerning news out of Scotland.

The latest data from Public Health Scotland also indicates that there were nearly as many admissions in fully vaccinated patients as unvaccinated patients last week, reflecting the high prevalence of the virus in the community and the Delta variant’s ability to cause breakthrough infections.

Note the sudden emphasis on underlying health conditions, something that was deemed irrelevant prior to mass vaccinations.

Fully vaccinated patients are disproportionately older and more likely to have underlying health conditions which mean that, if they do become infected, they are much more likely to require hospital care.

We Don’t Need No Flaming Sparky Cars;

General Motors said Friday it is issuing a new recall for nearly 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles (EVs) worldwide for fire risks after reports of two fires and will replace defective battery modules as needed.

The Bolt EVs were recalled in November for fire risks and at least one of the two new fires was in a vehicle that had already had the software update released as part of that recall.

The latest recall comes after GM and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulators last week urged Bolt owners to park their vehicles outside and away from homes after charging.

The largest U.S. automaker said “experts from GM and (battery maker) LG have identified the simultaneous presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell as the root cause of battery fires in certain Chevrolet Bolt EVs.”

GM said it will replace defective battery modules in the recall population, although it is not clear how many are defective. The recall includes 50,925 U.S. vehicles.

h/t Chris

Canadian Universities: Idea-free zones

Wilfrid Laurier professor William McNally has published a comprehensive article in the National Post:

It’s a classic catch-22: the issue we wanted investigated was deemed outside the scope of the only body able to provide a remedy. As Pardy said, a right without remedy is useless. The government’s policy is useless.

The “woke” crowd controlling our campuses are very much awake to this fact. They know they can censor and harass their ideological opponents with impunity, and they are. We need another solution.

Until change occurs, universities in Canada are not safe places … for ideas.

This comment from Trevor Wesley is spot-on:

Basically everything Jordan Peterson warned us about has come true. Particularly his insistence that when we are forced to pretend we believe things that are absurd so as not to offend, we offend our own conscience. This is a slippery slide that is in line with what Communist states DO. They make you adopt positions you personally do not agree with, and hence pretend. We now have a whole host in Ottawa who pretend, according to how the wind blows. Not an authentic soul to be found anywhere. This is not the way to lead a nation, or a university, or how to train up young people in the world. Free speech, free thought, and the ability to digest and assess truth claims should be at the fore. If something must bully its way into the room, it likely cannot withstand rational argument. We can easily see from that, we have been overthrown by some quite unworthy people and unsound ideas. Me, I refuse to join the confused. Time to take back the nation.

I’m Going To Miss The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is showing signs of recovery with some of the best coral coverage recorded in years, according to a survey of the natural wonder conducted by the commonwealth’s chief independent marine science agency.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science assessment – which found “minimal impact” from last year’s coral bleaching and increases in hard coral across 85 per cent of the reefs surveyed year on year –

No Evidence is No Reason to Stop

Science Table calls for vaccine certificates they admit have no scientific backing

“There is currently no scientific evidence of the direct impact of COVID-19 vaccine certificates on SARS-CoV-2 transmission or population vaccination rates, and there are important ethical, legal, accessibility, and privacy considerations concerning their development and implementation,” the group says as they call for the government to implement this useless idea.

Speaking of Ontario, “what is a –fatal asymptomatic vaccinated case– of COVID-19?”

JERUSALEM, July 22 (Xinhua) — The effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 has dropped to 39 percent in Israel, the country’s Ministry of Health said on Thursday.

French Guiana, We describe a COVID-19 Gamma variant cluster with a high attack rate even in fully vaccinated persons. The Gamma variant is the predominant variant in French Guiana which, as of July 2021, caused a third epidemic wave, threatening to overwhelm the hospital capacity (11). Such a low vaccine efficiency against infection by the Gamma variant was not expected

Did you hear the one about the fully vaccinated super spreader? It’s got a pretty good punch line. And does anybody remember Sweden? How’d they make out?