Catholic Economics Podcast: William Briggs on Corona Data and Statistical Theory

Catholic Economics Podcast: William Briggs on Corona Data and Statistical Theory

Levi Russell a fellow from the Leonine Institute for Catholic Social Teaching interviewed me on my views of coronadoom, which he calls “the affliction”, and even wee Ps and the massive uncertainties in both the “hard” and “soft” sciences.

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  1. john b()

    Always good to hear your voice

    I was waiting for your 2020 prediction at the end … or is it too early

  2. acricketchirps

    Hey, could we have a podcast interview with the lady from yesterday?

  3. DavidC

    Super interview Mr Briggs and many thanks – I’ve commented here before about doubting my own thoughts on this disease because of the continual panic mongering barrage but it’s sites like yours (and Lockdown Sceptics here in the UK) that have confirmed my own scientific and rational thoughts. Many thanks.


  4. Joy

    I was glad to hear Briggs sounding happy and not morose.

    When you understand a pathological cause, statistics DON’T come into the discussion, what a shame you were unclear about who is making that mistake.

    What was claimed was that it ‘shouldn’t’ but it does.
    I am saying that is doesn’t happen the way you say…starting to wonder about your medics!

    The cause is never understood in its entirety. Pathology deals with a section of the living organism. Even in routine matters one is supposed to keep an eye for the unexpected.

    It is patients, like your interviewer, who bemoans the fact that there was not a statistic for HIM. Once it’s personal, people behave very differently. It is the misunderstanding and misapprehension of what medicine can and cannot do AGIN which finds a sympathetic ear of the thinker who believes there’s a choice between science and God or truth.

    So either there’s a statistic or there isn’t one! for a given thing! You can’t have it both ways.
    If patients ask future related questions, you are supposed to explain that there is no way of predicting the future. Along with other supporting truthful information. Reassurance is always paramount and NOT instilling fear or dependancy. There’s no place like the NHS for that. It’s their strength. Money isn’t the driver of patient encounters. I’m speaking about all kinds of predictions including diagnosis and prognosis. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this argument which seems to assume that the ‘science’ is pure and mathematical in some way or that there is somehow an absence of knowledge. It is called practice for a reason. There are elements of science, engineering which help progress as well as a lot of mistakes to inform future decisions. Those providing the care are not the same as those doing the counting, thankfully.

    We never give patients statistics unless there is a simple count. So it is never given in terms of a prediction! That seems to me to be an entirely American thing. Too many movies showing patients being told horrific ‘chances’…In terminal illness, patients are always informed about the level of certainty or confidence, for example, and efforts are made not to tell patients if it is understood that they do not want to know. You do a total disservice to the medical field. Perhaps it is the statisticians who have built expectation into people’s minds including their own, then projected.

    In the NHS and in private medicine (unless you’re dealing with a charlatan) such ‘statistics’ are not told to patients to leave them hanging. Decisions are made always finally by patients. Yes, influenced by medical staff and assisted by the same.
    Are bad decisions made? Of course. Is it because of simply statistical predictions? No. Like in all professions it is down to the character of the individual. Some are good, some bad.

    Ironically you can rely on a medical member of staff for cynicism about statistics and the latest study showing… There’s nothing like the real thing to discover that applied mathematicians don’t always know the way forward! I thought it was supposed to be about learning From historical information and mistakes?

    What happened to “all models are wrong but some are useful”?

    The podcasts depiction of how things work in clinics is facile. I also wonder why the interviewer was Wanting an ultra sound to predict Downs syndrome given his professed religion. Unhappy with the ultrasonography who was going to make NO difference to his decision? That makes no sense except that the sudden realisation that it might happen to ‘them’ has left its mark. It must be the Dr’s fault, naturally, he didn’t know enough about the future. On such an emotive topic, too. We were frightened by uncertainty…That’s what I took from what he said.

    Statistics used in wholesale management and health provision are far removed and separate from those used in individual clinical decision making. Yet again, the mistake is being made by far too many that the two are one and the same.

  5. Joy

    This video, posted previously but think it is very instructive of the current state of the science from a professor in paediatrics, who is also a Christian. I think it gives hope for a change of public discourse on the subject of abortion, quality of life and end of life/palliative care.
    Which was part of the topic discussed on the podcast.

    At minute 19:20, John discusses the conflict of the two departments in the hospital.

  6. Johnno

    The media is back at it. 200,000 DEAD IN THE USA OF THE COVID!!!

    Tried looking for more details, but the Washington Post story was just a bunch of emotional sob-stories of those who lost someone attributed to covid. They were very careful not to mention the precise ages of many of these victims or anything about their other health conditions. Just know that they are dead, so please feel bad, put on the mask and know that this is all the fault of that Donald Drumpf!

  7. Joy

    Worldometre says 203,000 and looking like 204 by morning.
    Johns Hopkins registers less by about five thousand.

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