Dr. Nathan Lents is a Darwinist biologist who has tangled with design science in the past. His response to the coronavirus pandemic is, believe it or not, to chastise ordinary people who question the competence of public health experts. On Twitter, Dr. Lents rants:
Something I have heard WAY TOO OFTEN from otherwise smart/thoughtful people: “What about all the harm to mental and physical health by saying home/alone this much?” Y’all need to STOP with the notion that #PublicHealth scientists at the CDC/NIH/WHO are just forgetting or ignoring the costs & dangers of all this sheltering-in-place. OF COURSE they know all that. The entire field of Public Health is about weighing multiple factors, balancing disparate health risks and benefits, calculating costs and dangers. THAT IS WHAT THE FIELD *IS*.
Actually, the “field of public health” is complicit in the worst episode of scientific malfeasance in the 21st century. WHO and the CDC have a major job — prevent pandemics. They not only failed to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic. Worse, they failed to take appropriate action months ago when it was obvious that China was dealing with a highly contagious and deadly viral epidemic. The WHO dissembled about the seriousness of COVID-19, advised against closing borders, and basically did China’s bidding at the expense of the rest of the world. The CDC was months behind the curve as well. Experts like Dr. Fauci downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic, and local experts like the New York City health commissioner actually told people to gather in large crowds even as the pandemic spread.
Had scientists done their job, Europe and the U.S. could have restricted travel from Wuhan earlier and dramatically reduced the transmission of the virus to their populations. Scientific incompetence has cost many lives and trillions of dollars. And Dr. Lents says “How dare you not trust us!”
Yes, public health scientists actively monitor competing risks and they understand those risks WAY BETTER than the rest of us, especially better than all the newly minted amateur epidemiologists among us.
Actually, public health scientists didn’t understand the risks of COVID-19. That’s one reason that we have this pandemic. That Lents would criticize people who question “public health scientists” in the wake of the most egregious failure of public health scientists in this century is remarkable.
The High Priests of the Sacred Order of the White Smock, the only ones with access to TRUE POWER — so far as the intelligentsia is concerned — demand a respectful and obedient silence before their pathetic and exceptionally costly failures.
There is only one good and decent answer to this demand: