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from Olireiv :neurodiversity:

Politics, interdependency and solutions

One Health, according to the dedicated high level expert panel is “an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems. It recognizes the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and inter-dependent.”

Photo of a driver whose temperature is checked by a person wearing full personal protective equipment. Ph: Gustavo Fring, Pexels

First, I will describe the coronavirus pandemic in a local context, in Argentina. Then I will slowly slide into a more political analysis, which does not always bring out the best in us. We also depend on an environment from which goods are extracted, because we are part of an ecosystem. An “interconnected” ecosystem that provides us with air, water, food, building materials, energy and health. The rationale for one health policies. In the last paragraph, where you can jump right in, I will talk about solutions, including for the economy.

Coronavirus in Argentina

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, it wasn't a polarised issue. In Argentina, the political parties seemed united in their decisions. China overwhelmingly helped us by providing essential supplies to hospitals. At a time when the country was violently negotiating its national debt with private interests. Later, the Chinese gave us access to the Sinopharm vaccine. From 2020 to mid 2021, while most of G20 countries where alternating periods of lockdowns, Argentina and Chili were confined most of the time. The main reason was that South America doesn't have the hospital capacities of Western countries.

A company in Argentina was soon allowed to force-produce the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK. To later learn that some of the components were extremely difficult to find. Russia also agreed to sell stocks of its vaccine. In addition, as part of a partnership, Sputnik V was soon to be produced in South America. Although it now seems unlikely that this vaccine will be recognized by the WHO any time soon.

In 2023, an Argentine vaccine was tested. With a new neoliberal government at the helm, we hope that the clinical trials will continue.

Politics

Then the more general question of the origin of COVID. Was the virus 'man-made' in a laboratory? Or did it come from the destruction of its host's habitat? Either directly or through climate change, both of which are 'man-made'. Not that the question is inconsistent, but when one of the authors of the book “Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19” is a self-proclaimed post-Brexiter libertarian climate denier, it is eminently political. Virologists, some environmentalists, doctors and vets were soon to be caught in a political crossfire.

Back to the question: “Why do we need One Health?” One of many reasons is that we need better pandemic preparedness. And we need to understand the impact of politicians. An example: what motivates some political wings to polarise people on vaccination? How can anyone believe that vaccination is a bad thing? All the data explains, as always, that the benefits are collectively far better than the side effects.

Scientists know that strong beliefs, including political cults, sometimes belong to the same brain area. But it is not that people are being lazy to discuss rather than making consensus. In social networks, vaccine information is radically different according to whom your follow, your political flavour. These systems are amplifying polarisations, sometimes with paid advertising campaigns. Do you remember the Brexit campaign in Facebook/Meta?

Interdependency

An important part of one - public - health is to understand and mediate the correct equilibrium between humans, animals and plants. We are interdependent. And as the zoonotic pandemics of SARS-CoV-2 and monkeypox virus show, we are always part of an ecosystem. So we need transdisciplinary teams to understand what is going on.

Transdisciplinarity, and the definition is to evolve, is the accumulation of knowledge from different disciplines: from a laboratory, the field or the streets to model reality in all its diversity. These models help us to adapt to these harsh conditions. It has to be mentioned that some One Health actors consider the public participation is an obligatory prerequisite to any serious approach.

Another example: what makes people happy when the mask mandate is over? How do we explain that immunocompromised people, elders, children and anyone with a pre-existing condition, including heart diseases and maybe even cancer, or on the long list of Long COVID symptoms, are at risk? And the same holds true depending on your ethnicity, social class, gender and where you live because the health care framework is not the same for everyone, everywhere.

In addition, we need to do a better job of explaining why new variants of SARS-CoV-2 will emerge, that they are self-generating from the astronomical number of infected people and animals.

We have no reason to believe that these two diseases will not return in animals and come back to us as dangerous new variants. Indeed, as the WHO pointed out with SARS-CoV-2, the number of virus sequences studied from animals is minuscule. And there are animal species, among them many rodents, that can trigger contagion in humans.

Solutions

Western countries have described the “Zero-Covid” strategy as “unsustainable” in China, especially with the Omicron variant. In reality, lockdowns were shorter than reported in the media, and they worked.

We are not talking about “restrictions” when it comes to stay healthy, to be in condition to earn a living or to be alive. Furthermore, “Zero-Covid” is not only about the ultimate lockdowns, it involves hygiene, protection equipments, social distancing, ventilation, being able to assess the risk individually etc.

With One Health, we have a powerful way to promote climate and biodiversity adaptation policies. Because health is concrete to people, and viruses have no frontiers. We have left the “not in my backyard” issue. In same time, we have to address knowledge gaps:

  • An example with bats. Bats have a robust immune system that makes them carry a considerable number of viruses. Long-term sentinel studies have detected new viruses in bats in Argentina. One of them is close to another virus affecting humans. In China, 35 patients with fever and recent animal contact carried the same virus, most likely from bats.

  • A quick survey shows only a few publications on the ecosystem service provided by bats. Understanding ecosystem services is the only way to know how other animals spread these emerging diseases. As ecosystemic services are affected by climate change and biodiversity loss, a permanent monitoring system should be able to prevent emerging diseases.

  • Although a later study highlights that climate change may have been a driver for the emerging of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, more studies are required. But one have to bear in mind that it is now proven that emerging diseases increase with climate change, not only biodiversity erosion.

The health of people at risk is the majority of the population, regardless of the country's income. The One-Health quadripartite alliance should gather more social scientists to understand our polarised world. And more economists, including from the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund, to better include the value of life into costs, including humans.

Since international treaties have a minimal impact when they disconnect from the economy. Global South countries need to have One Health Sovereign Debts Relief. In other cases, this instrument is called a debt-for-nature swap. Otherwise, they will not develop their health care infrastructures.

As there are green or sustainability bonds, why not call them One Health Bonds? States can emit these bonds on financial markets. To allow them to create projects that positively impact social and ecological pillars. One of the most famous players in the financial sector, BlackRock, is correlating the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with its investments, thanks to Carole Crozat and her team. They have probably upgraded the effect of a pandemic on both the SDGs and the economy [I think this team must feel very alone in this company].


The impact of a pandemic can be very different depending on who you are and where you live. And government policies have a strong impact on public health. Sometimes beyond our understanding. This interdependence between us, animals like bats and the plants we eat is a balance that needs to be studied. And monitored if we are to avoid worst-case scenarios. The solutions therefore lie in bridging the knowledge gap in a transdisciplinary way. By including, for example, the social sciences, economics and indigenous knowledge. What's more, we must collectively find a way of including the cost of this lifestyle, to avoid an economic collapse.

To go further, as an autistic person, I'm used to the “I'll let you make your own accommodations”. This is more or less how public health treats everyone now. Ever since officials “believe” that vaccines alone can stop a pandemic. As a consequence of these “necropolitics”, a lot more of people are dying, or the way they used to live or even work is now affected. I am not sure that this kind of public health is ready for One Health, at least in what we have recently called the “non-endemic” countries. The One Health actors need to be aware of this.

Mastodon, about the writer

 
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from Olireiv :neurodiversity:

I read today that meditation is a way of disconnecting ourselves from our habits, by distracting them with new habits.

I find that this description only applies to a Western vision, i.e. to what is known as the state of mindfulness. While meditation cannot be described as a solely spiritual dimension either, what interests me is that it can lead to a state of flow (where thoughts and actions flow together without constraint) or a state of cohesion (mainly focused on thoughts and how everything within our reach is connected). To find out more, read Jorn Betting's excellent article on holotropism.

From an autistic point of view, I know that habits are much more complicated than controlling a given behaviour, such as walking or riding an elephant. Javier Benacer and Jose Ignacio Murillo describe habits as non-conscious actions that guide or enhance conscious actions. Most habits are acquired through the repetitive performance of tasks, and a parallel can easily be drawn with long-term memory. In simple terms, a reflex is a kind of habit, but no 'brain' neurons are needed to trigger it; it simply passes through the spinal cord. Emotions, once considered innate, are sometimes not so diverse in some people. Some even describe them as mainly acquired.

The way in which autistic people sometimes perceive their environment also shows that sensations can be reinforced (or attenuated) by habits. Some of us experience sound or touch as pain, which is described as a tuning mechanism that does not de-amplify our sensitive system.

So unless someone meditates with a strobe light, heavy metal music and a cannon firing tennis balls, we're unlikely to 'replace' our habits! As a runner, after half an hour I finally start to free my mind. Unsurprisingly, running becomes less tiring after this limit.

 
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from 💉💉💉💉

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from Nicholas's Writings

I'm writing this because I got a new response today while telling a denier about the dangers of COVID-19. I'd like to set this document as a reminder for myself that here marks the end of grace for me towards willful ignorance of the harms caused by this deadly super-virus (and all of its similarly transmitted ilk).

A bit of background on me

It's worth setting some context around the conversation. I am a strictly-zero type of person when it comes to COVID-19. I don't engage in any “risk analysis”, or “you do you”-isms, or cheat-days, or any of the like. I play by the simple playbook of “zero contact” because it's easier for my brain and heart to manage. I do allow several layers of protection to permit minimal contact scenarios, but I'm strict enough in how little I do that it is likely clearer to tell you of the few sorts of activities I do take part in.

As an example, there was one time, a couple years and too many variants ago, when I took a walk on a trail where others occasionally passed me by, many of whom were conscientiously masked (as the government had advised them to do back then). This was a special occasion. Every effort was made to ensure that all the right boxes were checked at all times. The winning trifecta of good safety: masked, distanced, outdoors.

Those times are over for me, for now.

In the recent months of 2023, I can no longer even visit the doctor, optometrist, or dentist without intentional, explicit, and potentially mutually arduous arrangements; at times weeks to months in advance. While I deeply prefer anonymity, I must pause to write “thank you” to these professionals in my life who have made every attempt to ensure that I can go on living without fatal infection while still receiving proper healthcare. I do not know how long their ability to work with me will last (or heaven forbid, their willingness) and can only count my blessings.

I trust that these small anecdotes have already given you an incredibly precise idea of what kind of life I am forced to lead. I am aware I have the privilege to do this and I judge no one for being forced to adapt to different levels of safety, but we must turn to the crux of the matter: there is indeed a judgment. As suggested by the title, now is the time that I am done with permitting constant leeway to those who continually choose to live unawares of the human cost in lives and the health of others that they are racking up.

Let's turn to today's conversation and its other participant.

My friend, and our conversation

My friend lives closely alongside anti-vaxxers and vocal bigots. He has always been a bit stuck wading through these type of muddy waters that I count myself lucky to be generally free from. While he has always proven to be floating happily above the sorts of vices that he's mired in, today's conversation suggests that there may have been a leak somewhere along the way.

To the point, we we were chatting lightly about how we each were, and catching up about the latest frivolities. I turned the conversation to trust my long-time friend with the fact that it's tough to be feeling like my health is finally on a brief climb and to not have much that I can do with it. Since society has all but cast me out to die as an untouchable, by proxy of COVID now being a naughty word and myself acting as a token of its lingering power, I am all healthed up with nowhere to go.

The response wasn't quite the empathetic echo I needed to hear, that which I could generally count on. Instead it was a soft rejection of reality. I received gentle suggestions that he only hears of stormy weather when I'm on the line, and that the world is sunny and beautiful according to everyone else. That things are back to normal, and he wishes they could be for me, as well.

I faced this friend with the lay and boring facts that all of those who deny COVID are engaged in cold-blooded killings. I'll defend those terms briefly: cold-blooded simply because they aren't within the heat of passion and killings simply because their actions directly cause the deaths of people down the infection chain. (An exception granted if they are unlucky enough to have committed a cold-blooded and accidental suicide by infecting themselves and seeing no one else — not the win we should be hoping for).

The push-back became clearer as I received the novel response mentioned in the introduction: “I wish you didn't feel that way. It's hard knowing you think that of me, my partner, and my family”.

Thoughts and prayers are passé; try wishes

I'll admit: the response sounds measured and polite. In some ways it is, but it is in those same ways exemplifying the banality of evil. The response immediately undercuts the empirical data that I was reporting which unquestionably shows that COVID is a stone-cold and utterly merciless killer, as ruthless as it is on-going: beyond plenty. COVID's body count numbers in the millions and is still not stopping, despite (as that site will alert you if you click) any of the reporting cessations from the villains or cowards in leadership. It's still not stopping, despite the fact that we have already killed the most vulnerable; it still claims more. It grows and mutates to persevere, unfortunately unlike the humans it breeds within.

In brief: no, these are not “my feelings”. These are facts.

Engaging in wanton denialism of COVID equates directly to human suffering and death. We all need to navigate this landscape together, despite the virus' ability to spread between us, but denialism is biological assault and outright murder.

The end of the excuse

Henceforth, I'm taking a step further in my heart today with my personal social circle: ignorance is now a choice.

Enough time has passed for any checked out, mental laze about to defend themselves by claiming to be a fool about the most pressing global matters of our generations [1]. It's been long enough and now far too long to claim it any further as an excuse, at least to me.

I will no longer lend gratuitous grace to the tired and increasingly sickening attempt to play dumb. Resources on the dangers of COVID are so plentiful now that you could drown in them. I don't believe anyone needs a silver bullet omnibus of all the data, either; just read the data until you realize there's no acceptable level of careless infection!

For myself, it's time to be done tolerating the denialist, the complacent, these who are complicit in the murder of predominantly oppressed or vulnerable groups. Groups I love and cherish. Groups I am at times numbered in. Groups who, like their oppressors and feigned-invulnerable alternatives, are beautiful and precious human souls with unalienable and undeniable worth and value.

The deniers are human just like these. And so they know what it means to learn and to live and to laugh, what it means to hurt and suffer, and furthermore the unjustifiable evil of hurting others, whether by deliberate actions or tacit permission. I'm done with this prevailing, suffocating, unreasonable priority clanging out in every corner of my life to “only talk about good feelings, only care about comfort” in the middle of an unyielding pandemic. I cannot and we must not be happy to watch others suffer and die.

These are human beings who are enlarging this viral slaughter by denialism and lazy ignorance. So I will engage their humanity with great resources to learn more about how COVID kills and disables humans just like themselves. I will plea to their conscience to learn how to protect themselves and others. I will urge them clearly, and without timidity, that their choice to recklessly hurt others is fully under their own total control.

We must not permit callous atrocities. We cannot change the size of the universe, but we can absolutely change its kind, and its kindness, in every small movement, in every daily act. I believe this is how I can take part. I welcome any to join in these simple and kind acts to those who understand and feel this pain.

And so, that ignorance is over; that excuse has met its end.

Footnote

[1]: Climate change is obviously in combat with COVID for #1 most pressing problem, but I am not a great source for writing on this matter, so my writings will remain moreso about the latter. ← Back

 
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from VeeRat

I've been keeping a journal about my experiences with Covid-19 since March 27, 2020. I certainly didn't expect to still be writing about it in 2023. My frustrations were already coming through in my writings, even on that first day:

“Today I'm feeling more hopeless about Covid-19 than I think I ever have. We've tried to do everything right.”

“[Husband] went for a drive a couple days ago, and was alarmed to see so many people out.”

“Hospitals are already overwhelmed. They're talking about blanket Do Not Resuscitate orders for people with the virus. They're prioritizing saving young people. They're talking about hooking up multiple people to single ventilators. And still our idiot president is saying he wants people back to work by Easter.”

“I'm worried about all the people who bought guns. There were lines around the block at gun stores.”

“We had 3.3 million people file for unemployment yesterday...they are giving money to businesses instead of giving money to people so that they can survive and wait out the virus.”

“My friend [who is a healthcare worker at a walk-in clinic] has a single mask to use. She keeps it in a baggy and only uses it when she absolutely has to. Which I would think is all the time now, but I can see that she has to prioritize. She said there have been a lot of stupid people, people who were told by their doctor to go to the ER, but they 'didn't feel like going there' so they went to the walk-in clinic instead. And then she has to send them to the ER anyway.”

I started this journal as a Notepad text file. I labeled it “Journal-Corona.txt”. This year, I changed the name of the file to add “2020-2022” and then I started a new text file for 2023. It's been much harder to motivate myself to keep it going this year.

This year's entries still express frustration, but now it's different.

March 14, 2023: “I completely don't get it. Maybe it's my own neurodivergent brain. I don't understand how people can ignore the studies and information on covid. How do you shrug off a disease that destroys every organ in your body? How can you not want to avoid that at all costs?? How do you allow your children to catch it over and over??”

 
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from trendless

The knots into which a person will tie themselves, who wants nothing more than for SARS-CoV-2 to be a thing of the past.

The ol' gishgallop

If it's not one convenient, specious argument, it's another. In my experience at least, it's exceedingly rare to find a denier who understands much less can expound upon the various theories they regurgitate. How could they? Peel back a layer or two and it's all obvious nonsense, even to them. They just don't look. It doesn't matter, as long as anyone who inflames their cognitive dissonance remains distracted or deranged.

Decision-based evidence-making

It's not like you [or me or so many others] aren't doing/saying 'enough' or 'the right thing'. Deniers frame it as a lack of proof and put the onus on anyone but themselves – yet another illegitimate form of downloading 'pErSoNaL rEsPoNSiBiLiTy' – when really it's a choice they made and continue to make. Some may even double-down in the face of opposition, their resolve strengthened as they encounter contradictory information. But, until each of them is willing to make a different choice, we'll continue to be confronted with Decision-Based Evidence-Making in EBDM clothing.

Why is anyone making this choice? Why don't they 'want' to believe so many things that seem all too clear to so many others? I infer a good chunk of it is manufactured consent. Of course it would come to pass in this era, wherein we've made it easier than ever to tell people what they want, that doing so is the wrecking ball destroying our civilization. The very thing that's enabled, nay prompted deniers to deny is what would need to be reversed or overwhelmed, like for like... like+1, really.

Planck's Principle

Short of wresting control over all avenues of messaging+media away from the oligarchs and plutocrats – the feudal lords who no longer fear being found out – the only thing I can think of that has ever overcome this much lying is results-over-time: people who live according to the 'new' reality and who don't suffer the same consequences. Humanity has always found a way to reject this kind of “proof” though, until most if not all of the holders-on have gone to their graves; aka Planck's Principle. Pity, then that the lords are all too keenly aware of this vulnerability and have laid siege to every one of us who's refusing to comply, in hopes of outwaiting/outlasting any and all who remain part of the control group.

keep running, don't look back
 
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from Nicholas's Writings

I was struck today by the realization that this is actually an interesting question to receive. It's a reality check. It's an ego check. What's most important about those checks is that they may be right. It's not simply the case that you can barrel forth through it or navigate around it, whether tactfully or waddling haphazardly.

The context

Let's back up and set the context, in case it's not clear. To set the stage, let's say that you're having a chat with someone about something important, where you know something you need to convey, and they may have no clue you need them to hear it.

It grows more and more difficult these days to deliver the leading scientific evidence that COVID-19 is extremely harmful to continually choose to keep around in our communities and global population through collective ignorance and inaction, as well as being very hazardous to contract for an individual, regardless of your health background. Furthermore, it's becoming obvious that we can easily choose to dramatically reduce its presence [1] , if not eliminate it entirely. One critical fact that most people tend to be missing is that COVID-19 is transmitted by breathing. Let's choose this fact as the one that your chat partner is missing.

Given this important, life-saving information, there's a natural urge to want to share it with those you care about. It leads to conversations where you have someone close to you who is (at times, blissfully) ignorant of the changes that need to be made in their environment and, likely, their behavior. Even if for the well-being of themselves and others, it's tough to be the bearer of bad news. When the time comes to deliver the information from one knowledgeable conversant to the other, there's sometimes an immediate push-back – whether gentle, firm, or forceful – in the form of a simple sticky question: “why am I hearing this from you?”, as titled.

Given that the title question is in its naked form, you may not recognize when you've received it in the past already. It can be as subtle as oddly-timed silence. At times the question is a gentle push-back, such as a nonsequitous assertions “we are following the latest governmental regulations” or “we are following OSHA guidelines” [2] . It can take the form of a non-committal “okay” or “cool” when you deliver such news that should instill any emotion, and subsequently some form of action, but seems to generate none. Other times, the question is somewhat-less disguised in the form of a negative question, leading to an implication on the behalf of an absent party; for example, “why hasn't the government issued any changes?”. Among many other forms, the question can also finally come outright, exposing no concern for hiding the doubt, as titled and mentioned above. The titled version may sound most aggressive at initial thought, but where every person and relationship is different, it may also simply be the most open form: a sharing of doubt to be tackled as a team, instead of keeping it hidden.

Regardless of format, each is the same problem: you are not the expected person to be delivering such news.

The problem

Tackling the problem seems simple, and doesn't seem to deserve any article of guidance such as this one being penned (and presumably, read). At first blush, the titled question may seem as valid a question as any, and should be tackled earnestly, but I otherwise contend in this article and this section that it's not actually a valid question, it is an interesting situation that is driven by a pair of logical fallacies. I'm a lightweight at fallacies, so I won't make heavy use of them, but they're something that we all should grow in familiarity with, so I'm going to employ a couple.

In effort of full disclosure, there may be some unpleasantness to acknowledging these fallacies in-use upon you, and further unpleasantness with your conversant to pick them apart. The first fallacy will begin to show why, and the second will make it more clear. It's left as an exercise to the reader and user of this knowledge to be sure you aren't simply wrong, of course, but assuming not, let's cover these fallacies at play.

“The experts don't agree with you...”

The first fallacy is an appeal to authority: in brief, you're not a person they trust to tell them such critical information. They have heard conflicting statements from experts (such as the government or their employer) and those experts must be correct.

At such time that you hear this, it's worth checking if you're outside your circle of trust, or if you have mutual trust established. I've recently heard valid complaints that COVID-cautious folks (and those more stringent) are overly busy working outside of their circle of trust. This point may be well argued, and so you should check if you've forgotten yourself and your circle of trust or influence. Ask yourself if your chat partner has openly shared signals or messages of trust with you.

If you are in the right circle of trust, and your conversant apparently or expressly trusts you, then this fallacy tips the hand of the second, sneakier fallacy that was played. It's not simply that there is the one fallacy outlined here. I say this because it would look different to simply commit the first fallacy above. To simply commit the first fallacy is to say “oh, you must be mistaken. Here, look, the government has issued a notice that everything is fine – and always was”. That's what it looks like to argue by authority: there should be a tangible effort to issue the poorly reasoned “correction” to the other side.

This is, at least, not what I run into. I regularly see no attempt to educate me differently, because the appeal to authority is a convenient means of confessing a preclusion to COVID-19 being dangerous in any way, or requiring individual change (or larger). Since that's not what tends to happen, let's add the second fallacy to get the full picture.

“So you can't be right”

As background to the second fallacy, I've had this conversation a few times, and always received it flat-footed. I've developed this article to remind myself how to argue, as well as perhaps luck into helping someone else.

To the point, when I find myself in this conversation, it always feels like a one-two punch to receive this doubt. It's not simply the effort to educate me by the hands of the expert. It's (1) that I'm not the right person to be giving this information and (2) therefore I'm wrong about the information, further. Point number one is fully covered by the above fallacy, but the second assertion is an extra logical step taken which requires some second descriptor. I'm not the government, so they conclude that, no, there's no need to wear a respirator or change any attitudes or behaviors towards the deadly pandemic killing millions across the globe. Let's take it as a given, then, that there's a second tool at play.

The particular nature of the second fallacy is arguable to me looks to me like an argument from fallacy, but I'm no encyclopedia on fallacies. In any case, the first fallacy has them effectively saying you're the wrong person to tell them: that you're no expert, and since you're no expert, you cannot be trusted for this information. In the second fallacy they say, “I've already assessed that what you say is false because it's not from the right source,” which is a fallacy itself, as described above, “and therefore since your reasoning is flawed, your conclusions are also flawed: COVID-19 cannot therefore be as concerning as you argue”.

Hopefully the second fallacy can be seen as distinct, by now. The second fallacy brings with it the aforementioned unpleasantness that you may not have noticed yet: it exposes quite plainly that your conversational partner either lacks the tools or the preference for determining truth by gathering direct evidence. That is, they hear the truth from other people, and are inclined to (or forced to) trust it, even when we know that such methods of gathering the truth have a notably poor signal-to-noise ratio. In lay terms: people make many mistakes and they lie for myriad reasons.

We won't be able to cover here the impossible text of “how to gain truth”, but it should be easy to agree that you don't simply trust others for everything: you should be doing legwork to verify the truth of things through direct evidence, and also seeking high-quality counter-evidence to your assumed beliefs in order to challenge them.

Returning to the point that your conversant does not know how to look for truth themselves, that they validate and accept information by its source or by its convenience, or other factors than truth's reality, we have outlined the problem entirely. A summary follows.

”...How could you convince me otherwise?”

Our problem is that you're hearing “you aren't the right person to tell me this, so therefore it's actually false information”. We know that's not true, so the problem and challenge is: what now?

This is the (at least) 7 million confirmed deaths and counting question to answer. It would be very valuable to solve such poor argumentation in general, and then to begin winning the frequently-lost battles in the wild.

An exploration of solutions

Any reasonable solution to this problem has to be greeted with empathy and compassion, brokered through trust.

What if you are the wrong person?

If you're the wrong person to be telling someone news like this, the right answer and solution is to realize your mistake and back down. Your perceived circle of influence expanded beyond its real impact, and you should admit your mistake and learn to focus your efforts on those you truly share a bond with.

It's easy for us to begin pinging people publicly on social media (or directly messaging them) as if they have invited us to do so, but it is worth quickly checking twice if the kind of contact we are providing them was ever requested. Without an established relationship, such unwanted contact is at minimum abrasive, if not rude, if not outright vexatious (whether intentionally or not). In short, if you are reaching out to your friends over social media, it's worth asking where your bond of friendship was forged and how strong it is.

The above is the easy case, but now for the hard cases.

What if you “aren't”?

There's many times when the titlted question is issued by a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, an uncle, a cousin, a friend of some degree. By all names: a trusted confidant in some capacity, who trusts you.

Dismantling someone's argument by pointing out its fallacies is almost guaranteed to fail (and you would know your audience where it would work), so we need a better plan of action.

I offer this section as an inquiry, instead of as a guide. I believe that acknowledging the argument as given as fallacious, twice-over, is sound footing to begin working against it. I will put a few solutions that work for my circle of trust, but the right answer is to ask what would work in your circle of trust.

For my circle of trust, the options are simplistic, but likely more successful than my previous strategies:

  1. Ask them if they believe their employer or government representatives have followed all of the latest science on COVID-19, or if they may have gotten exhausted from following themselves and have lost track of the urgency as information comes in from their best sources. It's not likely to be effective to point out that arguments should not be made from authority, but it is worth pointing out that their experts may not actually be experts. This can invite, at minimum, a search for new experts, such as science communicators.

  2. Ask them if they have taken the time to check the sources for themselves. Make mention that the sources I have are readily available for citation, and the studies are clear. Remind them of a time where we did things wrong, such as with wide-spread cigarette smoking, ignorant of the risks of lung cancer, and ask if there could be any similarity.

  3. Encourage them that they are actually part of the few pioneers instead of the many folks trailing the truth. This is, for better or worse, simply a fact. If anyone is hearing from a total minority like myself, someone who believes that COVID-19 is one of our highest priority global concerns [3] , then they are the first-degree away in the network of knowledge from the highly important and life-saving truths of the proven harms and hazards of COVID-19.

Beyond the simple strategy above, I'm certainly open to workshop ideas to approach this flawed argumentation. You can reach me by my signature-link.

Foot-notes

[1]: Yes, we can easily, though not freely, choose to reduce or eliminate COVID-19 and other pathogens that spread like it. It will take the cost and action of changing our buildings to filter and exchange air more readily and to specific standards. It will take an acceptance of respirators in common-use in the West, much as they have been in the use in the East. It will take a change to raise awareness in everyday lay people to know how to avoid viruses which spread through breathing, for them to prefer outdoor and ventilated environments. The most difficult change will likely be the attitude changes required for those who meaningfully influence any of these things, whether by convincing them or replacing them. ← Back

[2]: There could be a whole separate article written about how these are, by design, never the leading groups of knowledge, but always the trailing ones which collect long-standing agreements. ← Back

[3]: Alongside the exceedingly evident and disastrous effects of climate change, which will actually be tackled in tandem with COVID-19 mitigations: remote work is good for climate change ← Back


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from Olireiv :neurodiversity:

I remember a few years ago, before #COVID, a German colleague told me this worrying thing about #flu: “The state has allowed the flu virus to progress with little mitigation, so that older people are dying and not getting their pensions.” At the time, I thought Daniel was exaggerating, how could those in charge of #PublicHealth do such a thing?

Today, I've come to my senses: the people in charge of #PublicHealth will let any virus spread, as long as it doesn't openly make the headlines. Business must go on. This is where I came back to that interesting subject of mass psychology: social psychology.

You've probably all heard of those students who inflict electric shocks on their fellow students. The idea was to simulate the way in which people are likely to follow orders, in wartime, with the Nazi regime in mind.

As part of this science, you've probably heard about how 'engaging communication' can be used to manipulate. If you hand someone a piece of paper in the underground, or better still, shake their hand, you're more likely to get money in return.

But this science is somewhat limited to the study of individuals and large groups. It assumes that coercion (so well explained by Byul-Chung Han), bio-normativity (Michel Foucault) and neuro-normativity belong to another field, philosophy.

However, the influence of minority groups is well studied, and as far as the issue of #COVID and #LongCOVID is concerned, we can assume that we are a minority that wants to survive this current #pandemic in a healthy way, alive.

Actually writing it, based on this stuff about social psychology

Capybara washing

 
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from #ZeroesCA blog

The #ZeroesCAWrite beta is now open! It's based on WriteFreely, which is a longform blogging platform similar to Medium or Substack that uses ActivityPub to natively hook into the fediverse

If you'd like to try it out, feel free to login/sign-up using your existing zeroes.ca credentials — you'll need to re-up your email address the first time you use it

  • Currently, it allows one character-unlimited, CSS-customizable blog per account
  • Blogs can be private, password-protected, unlisted, or public
  • Posts can be composed in plain text, markdown, or html
  • New posts are automatically saved as drafts while composing; when you're ready to publish a draft, you can move it to your blog
  • Images can be linked to directly, or by first uploading them to https://img.zeroes.ca
  • Anyone with a fediverse account (eg, Mastodon, Calckey/Firefish, Kbin, Lemmy, etc) can follow your @write.zeroes.ca account
  • When you post, the title and a link to the original post on write.zeroes.ca is pushed out to your followers to like, boost, and comment on

For more details, the official documentation is located here: https://writefreely.org/docs/latest/writer

If you have any questions, find any bugs, etc, please don't hesitate to get in touch

🙌

 
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