Posted in Canadian Health System, Disease Prevention, emotional intelligence, outcomes measurement, Patient Choice, Patient Safety, Policy Issues, Prevention, Protocols, Uncategorized, Unsettled Science

The surgical mask is a bad fit for risk reduction|Shane Neilson, MD | CMAJ.JAMC


As represented by our cinema and other media, Western society expects too much of masks. In the public’s mind, the still-legitimate use of masks for source control has gone off-label; masks are thought to prevent infection. From here, another problem arises: because surgical masks are thought to protect against infection in the community setting, people wearing masks for legitimate purposes (those who have a cough in a hospital, say) form part of the larger misperception and act to reinforce it. Even this proper use of surgical masks is incorporated into a larger improper use in the era of pandemic fear, especially in Asia, where such fear is high. The widespread misconception about the use of surgical masks — that wearing a mask protects against the transmission of virus — is a problem of the kind theorized by German sociologist Ulrich Beck.

The surgical mask communicates risk. For most, risk is perceived as the potential loss of something of value, but there is another side to risk, memorably formulated by Beck in his Risk Society. Beck states that risk society is “a systematic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities induced and introduced by modernisation itself.” For Beck, risk occurs not only in the form of threat and possible loss, but also in society’s organized management and response to these risks, which create a forwarding of present risk into the future. Furthermore, Beck writes of the “symptoms and symbols of risks” that combine in populations to create a “cosmetics of risk.” He suggests that people living in the present moment conceive of risk in terms of the physical tools used to mitigate risk while still “maintaining the source of the filth.”,%2C%20but%20somehow%20threatening%2C%20future.


Posted in Education, Evidence-based Medicine, NIH, outcomes measurement, Quotes from American Presidents, Uncategorized

Check Your Scientism!

qqitfYou might be Scientismist if…

…you source-cite frantically to substantiate your views, even if you haven’t analyzed the data or the methods used or considered the limitations of the findings?

…you automatically believe certain sources and dismiss others without reading the original citations.

…you get your science from Facebook ads

…you believe the use of the phrase “scientific study” imparts devine validation to the conclusions.

…assume peer review is a real thing.

…don’t know the difference between a RCT, case-controlled study, cross-sectional study, cohort study, retrospective or prospective study…and don’t want to because it might call into question validity of your narrative!

…assume strong correlation is same as causation…AND don’t care if you’re wrong as long as it helps make your point!

And the #1 clue that you may be a Scientismist… When your favorite saying is, “the NIH says it, I believe and that settles it!”

Publishing a “study” does not bestow validation and data is mishandled as often as not; which is why much of the medical literature is wrong.

Hyperrational arrogance leads to scientism, which is not the same as good science.

Don’t be a scientismist!

Posted in Economic Issues, Education, Free Society, Income Inequality, Liberty, Policy Issues, Uncategorized, Wealth

Marxism Ignores the Pareto Distribution | Jordan Peterson with Joe Rogan on YouTube

One of the mistaken ideas of Marxism (collectivism philosophy) is that wealth accumulation in the hands of a few is inherent, and specific, to Capitalism. This fails to recognize that in any endeavor -regardless of who plans it or who participates – that success in that endeavor will always be disproportionately held by a few for reasons that have nothing to do with oppression or theft. This may help explain why the egalitarian promises of socialism & Communism never plays out as it is conceived.

Posted in Education, emotional intelligence, Free Society, Leadership, Liberty, Rule of Law, Uncategorized

The Long-term Effect of Too Much Information

DecisionMaking1By Robert Nelson


Can we have too much information?

If the universe of information is all accurate, and useful, then the the answer is obviously no; we can’t have TOO much.

But in the age of digital media projected via the instantaneous & highly portable connectivity that social networking platforms provide, the sheer amount of information is nearly incalculable; not to mention unfiltered and often unvarifiable. And nevermind the “fun coefficient”, but we’ll leave the entertainment value of the content for another discussion.

It seems that deciphering the accurate from the erroneous and the useful from the superfluous is not a uniquely modern problem; albeit one that is currently more pervasive and swift in its ability to evoke cultural change, both good and bad.

Note Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts on the issue of what we now call “fake news”.

In 1807 statesman Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter complaining about the misinformation in newspapers6

Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day

Jefferson provocatively suggested the advantages of not reading the newspaper:”

I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.

Beyond the obvious requirement of source validity & fact checking, it seems that Jefferson is hinting at something a bit more universal: That some ideas can be seen as truth because they transcend time, culture and politics. We can’t be sure if Jefferson was referring to the transcendent or simply that his words reflected an optimism that the truth would eventually surface.

But whether it be Jung’s archetypes of the Collective Consciousness or the apostle Paul’s view that everyone contains an inner knowledge of the “law”, there is a theme that weaves through the history of human thought which maintains that there is objective truth apart from our own experiential being and which is self-evident if we use our senses and pay attention to how the world operates.

But back to the consequences of too much information; or more accurately, the speed at which unverified stories and unvetted ideas permeate society via agenda-driven media outlets.

When asked by a reporter about being the victim of a “fake news” story, Denzel Washington had this to say:

One of the effects [of too much information] is the need to be first; not even to be true anymore. So what a responsibility you all have to tell the truth, not just to be first…

~Denzel Washington