It's over - Ivor Cummins discusses the data (Let's stick with COVID) - this title got UNfiddled

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#61

I found this section of an interview where Ivor explains his motivations for moving into the COVID19 critic space. I have time stamped it, so it starts at the relevant point.


@Consistency the commentator does not mention ongoing chronicity and healing from a COVID19 infection. His subject matter pertains to the mortality statistics not being clearly communicated in main stream media. Your point is interesting but out of context to the video clip. Your point does not demonstrate what the commentator presents as false. It does show that a wider context needs to be considered.


I like that the shutdown happens in my sleeping hours :slight_smile:


I’m glad @thefatemperor has had a swoop through this thread. Best wishes. :bacon:


#63

I’ve appreciated Ivor’s contribution to this discussion not because I agree (or can validate) every detail of his videos, but because he’s playing what I think is an important role of pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. Maybe (once all the data are in) it will turn out that the emperor has some clothes, maybe none, or maybe it will turn out that he’s fully clothed - but I appreciate the voices that are questioning the official story because they make me think.

To have Ivor (as a non-doctor) bring into question the work of all non-doctors in the health field seems ludicrous to me. There are many many doctors who will turn out to be very wrong about Covid. Do we then question that doctors have anything valid to say about disease?

There are two underlying assumptions that I think Ivor critics are making: that taking the virus not seriously enough is dangerous AND that taking the virus too seriously is fine. I agree with the former but I think the latter is seriously misguided and under appreciated (in fact probably not even recognized).


(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #64

@PaulL thanks for moderating. This is been productive and you may have helped keep things civil.

@richard, bless you and the work you are doing. Thank you for being the voice of reason.

TLDR: I did not intend for this post to become so long, because frankly all I mean to say is that I’m very happy with the results of this discussion. I wrote about this issue as long ago as May, and the distance we’ve come in how it seems the comments are shaking out really fills me with optimism. Look at the anti-science stuff that was being said back then: Really disappointed with the amount of anti-science nonsense coming out of some LCHF/keto folks

Anyway, here goes:

I think at this point, there’s not a lot of substance left to be said. I am not a nutritional expert, nor am I a climate scientist, nor an epidemiologist, nor an evolutionary biologist. So I don’t feel the need to be drawn into debates by fringe dissenters against the scientific consensus on the substance of these matters. Evolution is very well-established, anthropogenic global heating is overwhelmingly supported by an unheard-of majority of climate scientists, and the pandemic epidemiologists have told us broadly what the parameters of this pandemic are. And their recommendations have worked. Look at Taiwan, China, NZ, Australia, etc.

In other words, we have the best experts in the world on hand telling us their view of the science. I see no reason to enter into a debate about their conclusions and their recommendations. I’ll listen to them, and hell I’ll listen to the fringe dissenters too. But nothing compelling has been presented that convinces me that the so-called “mainstream” view is somehow fundamentally flawed, no matter how much killer evidence the dissenters think they have. And I’ve listened to them, on each of this issues.

So why is it that some low carbers seem to be so susceptible to questioning authority and ignoring good science in other fields?

I think the confusion arises because this whole nutrition science thing has been so fraught and we’ve all had the experience of seeing a low carb diet work despite decades of misinformation. This feels to me like a totally different field than many others. Perhaps @richard or someone else here can help me articulate why, but I suspect it is because it has become clear that there never really was any scientific consensus around “the” correct diet for humans; as much as we tell ourselves that LCHF and ketogenic diets seem to be the one true way (and one which I have been doing for over 4 years now), and we point to certain indigenous cultures with keto diets like the Masai, aren’t there also island culture (the Maldives? Fiji?) where the diet is fish, coconut, and starches, and this led to a perfectly healthy outcome.

Lots of people have tried to explain this, but frankly we just don’t know. Taubes wrote a book about sugar because he was baffled by the fact that, say, Asian cultures traditionally eat bucketloads of white rice and remain in fine shape. Robert Lustig also focuses on sugar, while other doctors have argued that in fact both sugar and vegetable oils are the real bogeymen. This doesn’t mean keto is wrong; what these people are looking for is a more general theory to explain all human dietary experience, because it’s clearly more complex than we thought it was.

The science is far from settled on nutrition. There is so much we don’t know. We have some relatively new evidence suggesting that saturated fat is actually beneficial; we have evidence that seed oils are terrible for us. But as Gary Taubes will tell you, if you go to a nutritional science conference, the low carb buffet lunch looks very similar to the high carb buffet brunch. Because when you strip away the processed food and bread and sugar and white rice, what are you left with after all?

Nearly 2 decades ago, I went to the diet/nutrition section of the book store. It was absolutely full of obvious unscientific bullshit fad diets. The closest thing I could find to anything remotely scientific was The Zone, and in hindsight that guy was more advanced than just about anyone out there except Dr Atkins himself!

So there are some people in our community who are susceptible to the claim that because nutritional science is so immature, therefore we ought to toss out expertise in all realms of science and just listen to whichever random conspiracy theorist engineer fancies himself an expert on Twitter.

I think the fallacy here is kind of obvious. Nutritional science may be very immature, but that doesn’t mean the epidemiologists don’t have some idea about viral pandemics, nor does it mean that other scientists in other fields aren’t at a far more advanced state of knowledge.

Easy enough for me to say; I’m in Australia and my country has all but eliminated the virus, twice, despite endless stuff-ups and scandals. I understand that other countries have had tougher times of it. So I can understand the pull of theories that suggest that restrictive measures are pointless and we should’ve just let the virus run.

So I am delighted that so many people on these forums now seem immune (see what I did there?) to the unscientific claims made by some of these so-called “experts.”

I wish us all good health and wisdom in the months ahead so we can pull through this thing together.


(I admin it, that’s a terrible pun.) #65

Very, very true.

Excellent points, Gabe.


(bulkbiker) #66

Death rates unadjusted for population increases/decreases are a bit pointless don’t you think? Also medical advances from 1970 to 2018 may have made a significant difference… smoking… etc etc your graph in the context we were talking about is meaningless.


#67

@gabe You almost made it through your comment without a side swipe. But you bolded it for good measure.

The problem I have with your snipe (as I read it) is that the particular engineer we are talking about in the context of this thread is very inclusive of the data that is available. Antithesis to “tossing out” he does draw on the opinion of scientific experts from a variety of fields to help interpret the data. Then we fall into that mud hole of whose experts are most expert. He can be brash. Maybe I’m reading that incorrectly? You meant a compound of conspiracy+theorist+engineer, one who engineers conspiracy theories?

Either way, the thread is about Ivor Cummins discussing data. So I’ll stay on that tack.

I need some clarification on what the conspiracy theories are that are being pedalled in the video?

The parts where Ivor drifts toward opinion, rather than analysis, is commentary on the actions of politicians and police acting on rushed policy making and implementation of whole of population mandatory social actions. Is that where the conspiracy lies? This whole libertarian label that is being blown up larger than the actual data interpretation.

I do appreciate you having a lengthy think about the changes since May, and I can appreciate that your point of view will be different from mine, if you have been in the conversation that long. I’ve been generally avoiding the COVID chatter. But the conversation went a bit awry when we started harming the messenger. Like Paul Kelly wrote:

One day you might hear someone knocking loudly at your door
And you know it must be bad news-absolutely sure
You must realise before you strike the very first blow
He’s the one who only tells you what you already know
Lay not a finger on him
Beat not, oh bruise not, his skinny skin skin
No don’t ever harm the messenger

There is so much more to unpack in your comments. There is good stuff there to get us all thinking and discussing. But they would work better as seed topics to new discussion threads. So, I won’t opine on them here.


(bulkbiker) #68

That’s your main problem though isn’t it?
Anything that goes against the consensus has to be wrong… even if it isn’t.
How many times do we need to see that the consensus is very often incorrect before we at least suspend our belief in it having to be true.
You make bold claims about climate science being settled when in fact there are many dissenting voices. You might not have come across them but many make very strong cases.


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #69

I’d just like to add to that my sister’s response to the idea of letting the virus run (she’s a public health worker): “Take a look at those photographs of the refrigerated trailers outside the morgues when the virus was first getting going.”

Not sure what you mean here. Death rate is already per capita, so what further adjustment is necessary? All other factors being equal, the number of deaths per thousand (or whatever) should remain stable as population goes up or down. The absolute number of deaths, however, is a different story.


(Gabe “No Dogma, Only Science Please!” ) #70

Hey Franko,

Look, I don’t get into debates about evolution with creationists. I don’t get into debates about global heating with ideologues who claim it’s a hoax. And parenthetically:

No, this is just not correct.

Anyway, I also don’t get into debates with 9/11 Truthers, even when they urge people to engage with them on the science behind Building Seven or some graph they have about controlled demolitions. They’re as passionate about their conspiracy theories as some low carb “experts” are about COVID, but so what?

I don’t get into debates about viral pandemics with engineers and other unqualified civilians who, honestly, are very much out of their depth and make claims that I find to be absurd using various graphs and articles and other “proofs.”

The trouble with such individuals is that they more often than not have begun with a conclusion and worked their way backwards to find the evidence that confirms what they already believe.

I don’t operate that way. When COVID first emerged, in February, I thought this would just be SARS and MERS all over again. I was unconcerned. And then when I read what expert doctors and pandemic epidemiologists had to say, I changed my mind. It’s called intellectual honesty.

Yeah, I read Tomas Pueyo’s articles. But I didn’t just look at his math and his graphs; I made sure I contented myself that truly qualified experts that I respected shared that view.

I can’t get into every flimsy bit of evidence introduced by someone with no qualifications nor any knowledge about pandemics. Sorry if that’s disappointing to you, and I’m sorry if it sounds harsh, but I don’t know how else to put it.

I expect the low carb community to follow the lead of most of us here. Knock it off with the non-experts. It’s irresponsible to put every random self-promoter up there on the same stage as Tim Noakes and Paul Mason. I’m sorry if that offends people.

Someone asked earlier if I wanted people censored. No, it’s called curation! Happens all the time.


(bulkbiker) #71

Sorry Gabe but just because you believe it is doesn’t make it “settled”.


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #72

The climate is certainly changing. I thought the debate was about how much of the change is the result of human activity, and regardless of cause, how are we going to cope? In the U.S., the Republican party is mostly on the side of the notion that climate change is a hoax, but even the Republican administrations of towns along the Mississippi River are making contingency plans to deal with rising sea levels and their effect on the river.

The idea I object to is the one that says, “It’s not our fault, so why should we have to pay for it?” Reality is reality, and to fail to deal with reality is generally to die. Of course, as Keynes said, “In the long run, we are all dead,” but I’d rather get there later, than sooner.


#73

In the context of what Ivor is presenting in the video. He agrees the initial responses were warranted, especially faced with a novel virus. So he is not one of the theorists.

He is pointing out that the increased restrictive measures put in place after the fact, after the peak of the epidemic, made and continue to make no difference to the progress of the mortality rate of the disease. The initial response and restrictive measures are not “pointless” as they help mitigate the initial epidemic peak.

Ivor does point out that the key data points are death and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions. The information is skewed when people consider COVID testing results as a key data point. It is an interesting piece of data to keep collecting. But mainly for it’s variance from the key data points.

As for “letting the virus run”. That implies that we can control it. To control the virus that is spread by human vectors means controlling humans, controlling the actions of the human population. And right there we have some friction. For we are witnessing that compliance by people has a limit.

If we recognise, ultimately, casting a longer term view, that the SARSCov2 virus has joined the pantheon of the human respiratory viruses, then logically (to me at least) we need to be discussing strategies to optimise individual and population immune response.

One of those could be better inflammation control via dietary strategies.


(bulkbiker) #74

It would seem that the climate is in a constant state of flux with temperatures going up and down over time - looking at the past few million years rather than the 150 years most of the “climate scientists” seem to concentrate on…talk about cherry picking…


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #75

So? If a completely natural climate change is going to result in the deaths of millions, should we not take action, simply because the climate change is natural? I agree that people stupid enough to build on a flood plain should probably not be permitted to reproduce, but to allow them to die seems a bit harsh.

An alteration of just a few degrees in the average temperature, whether natural or human-caused, can have an enormous effect on weather patterns.


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #76

More germane to the topic is the question of whether the deaths from allowing the virus to run unchecked are more or less disruptive than the effects of countermeasures. At some point, a cold, objective look at the data is going to be useful. People are going to die, whatever we do. But to say, as Ivor Cummins appears to be saying, that the epidemic is already over, seems to my (probably addled) brain to be a bit over-hopeful.


#77

So you are quite able to step in and malign somebody and then quickly retreat when asked to provide substance to your claims?

I am reading what you write and there seems to be something deeper, or outside of this discussion about what data, and how the data is presented by Ivor Cummins. You are refusing to engage on clarifying details but continue to take pot shots at a person who does not fit into a category of qualified expert that you have deemed. What is that qualification that makes a person worthy to comment?

Have you grasped the breadth of Ivor’s work life experience? As an aid, in case you haven’t checked his bio, the pared down answer is that he is a problem solver of multifactorial complex problems, hence his foray into chronic disease and COVID. That degree isn’t offered at university. Universities and leading scientific institutions recognise the detriment of the ‘silo effect’ and look for people who can work with a variety of experts and synthesise information (data) from a breadth of knowledge. That is the expertise applicable in a global viral pandemic, in my understanding.


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #78

Let us all step back for a minute. Ivor’s character is not at issue here. His data and his analysis of the data are.

If you think his data are correct, and that he is correctly analysing those data, then please present evidence in support of that view. If you think his data are wrong, or that his analysis is flawed, then please present evidence in support of that view. Whether Ivor is or is not trained in the field of epidemiology is not actually as relevant as you might think to the accuracy of his data or the cogency of his analysis.

Some of the most important scientific advances were made by people working outside their field. What we need are the most accurate data possible, and the most thoughtful analysis possible of those data.


(bulkbiker) #79

Would this be the famous sinking Maldives (which hasn’t happened) or other “rising” water levels that appear to not be going up much (if at all)?


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #80

So your position is that the Thames barriers were an unnecessary expense?


#81

I think you’ll find @amwassil Michael said “It’s over”, and that may have been just a kick-off for discussion.

Where Ivor can be interpreted as saying “It’s over” in the video may be when he is showing multiple examples of the mortality curves from various European countries. But he does point out (with his mouse) what is an epidemic and then what follows in the graph from the mortality data, is not an epidemic. He points at that flattened curve in context of the first spike to say that part of the epidemic is over (i.e. the pandemic has not continued to kill people at an unrelenting rate, there was a peak and a return to normal). Ivor goes further to say that there is a rise in cases due to seasonality, despite socially restrictive measures, and we need to wait and see whether those numbers rise to the pandemic peak once more (a second wave), or something different. He clearly states anything is possible in the future.

The global pandemic is not over as a global crisis as some regions and countries are still climbing the peak (e.g. parts of India, and the state of Victoria in Australia that is just over the peak). And some regions and countries still have naive populations through which the virus will eventually pass.

These are two different things that I feel need to be clarified.

We would all probably be closer to agreement if we heard things the same way. The fact that we don’t may be a different type of ‘heard immunity’.