The science for how to deal with COVID19 is clear, and it clearly goes against all common sense. This may be a time when the best response to scientific recommendation is to dismiss it as ridiculous.
The biggest failing of science in the current COVID situation is its inability to react to new evidence that its original conclusions were wrongly decided, and the assurances to governments were incompetent. We implicitly accept that any initial science-based decisions attains some law-like status that is automatically presumed to be true until there is overwhelming evidence that it is wrong. In particular, such decision making does not permit a simple apology for making a mistake following new data that clearly disproves the original science.
The future-tense science is the risk-based decision making with the goal of a future that progresses from the past. The goal needs to be optimizing the benefits enjoyed in the future given the facts on the ground in the present. Memories of the past is not as important to this planning as is the current facts and the future opportunities.
We live an era of rapid succession of new challenges and opportunities as humanity continues to progress to a more capable population. There is no time to waste on clinging to old theories merely out of respect to the past science. We need a government that reinvigorates the true science of the activity of figuring out new truths of the current world based on recent measurements that our predecessors never encountered.
Perhaps the real agent behind this pandemic is science itself. Given a sufficiently dire circumstance, science can shut down our natural defenses of critically thinking about observations we can clearly see. Science tells us that if this is the disease it warned us would come, then we have no choice but place all trust on science at the expense of paying attention to what we are seeing.
We should study observations separately from derivations from theories. The deliberately ignorant takes the position that data is superior to science. There is a valid place for the deliberately ignorant when included in teams with domain experts representing each of the relevant scientific disciplines. In order to work, the deliberately ignorant needs to be skilled at his craft of being ignorant in the right way to propel the team towards a new solution without annoying everyone to the point of being expelled.
Over the four decades of my adult life there has been a recurring theme in my education and profession and that theme is that the world works on fundamental principles and atomic units. In college, I recall the confidence that we can understand everything from quantum mechanics if only we had the computing power to…
This is just a possible scenario of a synergy between humans and automation technology. We need technology for its mastery of the time-domain. Technology depends on us for survival due to our biologic advantages of solving problems in time-volume or in a frequency domain.
Time, as we experience it, has different components sharing a common unit (such as seconds). There is the scientific time that is analytic in a way that makes possible mechanistic models that are very successful at modeling the physical world. There is the historic time that allows for growing intelligence made possible by the additional evidence that comes inevitably from the passage of time. For intelligence to act upon the physical (mechanistic) world to exercise a free will, there is a component of time required for persuasion through some process that allows for selecting the opportunities presented by the otherwise indifferent physical world.
We should learn from recent experience of large data technologies the lesson that decision making can benefit from streaming data in addition to (and often instead of) the publication science of one-time experiments. It is clear now that policy making needs access to a continuous stream fresh data about old ideas, especially when that data accumulates over time. With access to the technologies to do this work, it is unacceptable to base policies on the failed approaches of the past that rely on published studies.