Question the science

Rowina Seidler writes in the Evangelical Times that the science concerning the pandemic should be questioned. She argues there are two streams of thought. There is Professor Neil Ferguson who says the disease is unprecedented and only lockdowns can control it. Then there is the Nobel Laureate Professor Michael Levitt of Sanford University and professor Sunetra Gupta of Oxford who say covid-19 is less severe than was originally thought.
Who knows which train of thought will prove to be correct. If Ferguson is correct then churches and businesses are wise to conform to government advice and those who practice civil disobedience are irresponsible and endangering others by spreading the virus. However, if Levitt is correct, the government has grossly over reacted and pushing people into unnecessary poverty.
These assertions she argues need to be tested. Does what they predict actually happen? Other scientists argue that it is not either-or. Science constructs models of human behaviour to predict outcomes, but what if people do not behave in the manner assumed. For example, pubs and restaurants in England have been ordered to close at 10pm. The assumption is that their customers go straight home. However, we now see scenes on TV of vast crowds pouring out on to the streets and going to the off-license. We have also seen a large crowd in Liverpool dancing in the streets. None of this was factored into the models.
Science rarely speaks with one voice. There are usually ar least two points of view but that is not the way it portrayed on TV. The government says they follow the science as though all scientists agree. However, facts need interpretation and it is governments who make decisions. Scientific advice has to be debated. Weighed up and conclusions drawn.
In the UK Boris Johnson must feel that he questions the science and there will always be someone to tell him he is wrong.


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