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Why I’m a Skeptic – Religion and Politics

Many people are prone to look at a person like me and immediately chant the “No negativity” mantra.

The funny thing is, I’m not a particularly negative person. What I am is a “skeptic.” In my mind, the most important thing about something one does or says, is that it should be treated as suspect (with notable exceptions of things about which I really don’t care).

That may seem like a negative posture to you, but to me, it’s simply common sense. As it is, periodically, I repeat, or take action based on the words and deeds of others, that prove in the long run to be badly incorrect at worst, or moderately unreasonable at the least.

In fact, so possible is this, that when Facebook recently “fact checked” something I reposted and declared it to be untrue, I really wanted to tell them that what I put out there, was deposited with the caveat that I had not taken the time to fact check what was said. This is something I now often provide as a warning, since fact checking everything is not something one can really do.

You might ask, “Why repost something you’re not absolutely sure of?” To begin with, read the previous paragraph again! Sometimes, you will post something that looks correct, and there will be issues and errors with it. Even so, some of the information contained will be valid, relevant, and worth knowing—and the fact that it’s not perfectly correct doesn’t mean none of it is.

In this case, it was a simple post surrounding the idea that every election cycle, there is a new virus or other “health crisis” to keep you thinking the “politicians must do something,” and that, “the opposition politician(s) isn’t(aren’t) doing enough.” It may well be true that not every election cycle has such a “scare.” It may also be true that some of the supposedly horrible illnesses and diseases talked about were not discussed directly in the “election cycle.”

The real  question though, is, “Why were those stories given so much press?” This is particularly the case when the vast majority of them proved to be a “flash in the pan.” For those unfamiliar, the point is, the “health threat” never amounted to much. If the post in question did nothing more, it served to highlight how very many such “concerns” there have been of late (and how little overall effect they tended to have).

I saw recently, an allusion to an expected problem with the “most recent” viral event—you know, the one that has basically closed down (in my view, for little to no reason) large parts of the U.S. and, indeed, the World? To wit, COVID-19.

The essence of the meme (a largely useless form of “communication” in my opinion—I try to avoid reposting or creating them) was, “If we don’t make everybody stay home, hospitals will be overwhelmed with the ‘victims!’” Based on Worldwide infection rates, this idea is total hogwash.

Besides that the infection rates are relatively low (nowhere I am aware of, has there been a tenth of a percent infection rate), the number of cases that require even emergency room or acute care facility visits is less than a tenth (probably closer to a hundredth) of those infected.

Face it, it’s very easy to get “swept up in” such a thing. It’s even easier for that to happen where folks with “vested interests” are concerned (for example, someone caring for in some sense, one or more immunocompromised individuals). It get it! You want to protect your loved ones (or faithfully shield those over whom you have charge). That’s admirable. As I said in my previous article though, stopping the Word from spinning for something that in the worst cases, has not proven to be as bad as, much less worse than the seasonal influenza that happens pretty much every year in countries around the World, is unreasonable at best. And mandating this occur can, in my view, be termed nothing less than an abuse of power.

I said also in my last post, that it’s understandable that you want to keep those in your charge who have immune system issues for one reason or another, “out of the fray.” I reiterate that here and now. That’s not a problem for me. Further if I can help to keep them from getting infected without being expected to halt my life (even for a short time), and put myself and others in financial jeopardy or need as a result, I’m more than happy to do just that.

Say, for example, you indicate that you’re unwilling to have visitors at your house while various events surrounding wellbeing are occurring without definite reason, that’s entirely fine by me and I’ll do everything I can to comply with your request(s).

On the other hand, when you tell me that I can’t eat in a public place, or go to work when I can’t avoid doing so without potentially suffering financial catastrophe, you need to know, I’m not going to be nearly so willing to concede.

I’m going to say it again, you’re concerned, I get it! You want to glom onto things that support your perspective. I get that too! But you’ll permit me my skepticism, when people say things for which at best, facts are not in evidence, and at worst, they’re making outright false statements to attempt to “cover” unreasonable acts by themselves or others.

I know that many will remain unconvinced by what I’m saying here, but I have hope that sanity will prevail and that people will come to understand that what’s occurring at the present moment, is untoward at best and potentially despotic at worst.

I urge you to “take a challenge.” Wait until after this has all “blown over.” When it has, ask yourself just how many cases of COVID-19 you have personally witnessed folks having. Having done that, then ask yourself this question, “Do I know anybody who knows anybody who had COVID-19?” Then ask just one more question, “Do I know anybody who knows anybody personally who died of COVID-19?”

If the answer to “all of the above” is, “No.” Maybe you should reconsider your stance(s) on such things, but even if it’s, “Yes.” You may still be being a bit overzealous about your perspective(s).

As usual, may your time be good, and thanks for reading.

2 replies on “Why I’m a Skeptic – Religion and Politics”

There is a lack of mathematical rigor in your questionnaire. For outbreaks that grow exponentially, you are guaranteed to have most of the population answer “No” in the early phases. Trying your questionnaire in areas where outbreak could not be contained will result in a resounding “Yes.”. Exponential growth is contrary to human intuition, upon which your reasoning appears to be based. In the “Yes” case, being overzealous doesn’t seem too damning.

Britt,

Firstly, I want to thank you for reading. I know you did so, because without having done so, you would have made a far less apt comment.

The first point I want to make in response is, “That’s why I indicated that people should ‘wait until things had blown over’ before asking the questions I posed.” Doing so at early stages would assuredly give an unreasonably low number of resultant “yes” responses.

But my point is to say that, even if you check in the areas where the virus “could not be contained” it’s my expectation that you would still hear far more “no” than “yes.” There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is, I very much doubt the “virility of” the virus in question is as strong as certain people want to intimate. Secondly, even if I happen to be incorrect in that, everything I’ve seen, indicates that the percentage of people displaying severe symptoms–much less dying as a result–of the disease are quite low (the higher numbers presently being in places like the U.S., China and maybe Italy). The point here is, even if people actually have met somebody who has been “afflicted with” COVID-19, the chances are good they will be entirely unaware that is the case, since the person will likely not seek medical attention in many instances, much less have an actual diagnosis of COVID-19.

So part of the point of my statement is to indicate that, even if far more people contract COVID-19 than will ever be known, the reason this is true probably is not an increased death rate, but rather, that the effects of the virus are generally not particularly severe.

To your point, the fact that people are being so overzealous makes it so less people are likely to be infected to begin with (since people are being forced to “self-isolate”). I agree this is the case, and can only really offer the point that you make–that places where the virus outbreak could not be contained for some reason are the best, most meaningful testbeds for the survey.

All of this aside though, essentially telling the rest of the world that they must bend to your desires in any but the most extreme circumstances almost always very quickly turns to dictatorial and despotic behavior. It’s not an accident that despotic regimes make a habit of disarming their detractors before fully taking power in most cases.

I welcome comments–particularly ones that either require I respond to counter, or accept I am mistaken in my position. As such, I was happy to see yours.

As an aside, I haven’t heard much about you for some time (the last I heard having been from Mr Bodini, who has also taken time to comment on my blog a time or two). I hope you and yours are doing well.

Again, thanks for commenting, and hopefully, inducing consideration on the part of others (it has already done so on mine, though you might not guess it was the case).

Thanks again,

Kurt.

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