I count myself among those who lack knowledge about human biology and epidemiology. I know little about it, and I know only slightly more about statistical analysis of large scale data.
I share this deficiency with many. Yet that has not stopped some from making conclusive judgments about both human viruses and the emerging data surrounding the virus.
Nevertheless, it is not good to cite data without rightly interpreting it *AND* using that data for some good end (informing, helping, etc.).
We sometimes cite data for political ends which in themselves are often not good. We often cite data to agree with our position without understanding it.
Both of the above actions lack wisdom. To be clear, it is not wrong to use evidence for a political end; nor is it wrong to cite evidence for your position.
I am specifically talking about using evidence/data for a purely political end regardless of the nuance or meaning of that data. I am also talking about citing bad interpretations of data like the CDC data which “proves” that only 6 percent of people died for COVID-19 who were reported to have died from it.
Most of us (myself included) lack the requisite ability and expertise in statistical analysis to interpret such data; we also do not have the epidemiological expertise to make sound judgments based on the data; we also often lack the formal reasoning ability to infer conclusions based on data.
I do not mean we cannot make any judgments. I do mean that we need to upgrade our knowledge on (1) statistics, (2) epidemiology (which includes knowing our limits), and (3) formal logic.
Items 1 and 3 are much easier to gain. Item 2 is much harder. I suspect it’s possible to know enough, however, to understand rightly what experts say. Almost none of us can at this moment.
We need to listen to Solomon: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.”
So let’s start. And while we gain it, let’s be quick to listen and slow to speak on these matters.