(Mis)information at the heart of civil unrest

Luis Santos May 10, 2020
(Mis)information at the heart of civil unrest

Mathematics can only be beaten with mathematics. For that and many other reasons, man has been trying to solve problems in the name of progress, science and technology since the Stone Age.

Technology is the foundation of our world and, to spare you centuries of religious doctrine that held up mankind’s progress, a certain concept must be discussed…

Herd mentality

A zebra leading its herd thinks she might have spotted a lion. Behind her, with their visibility blocked by the leader, the rest of the pack thinks there might be a lion even though they can’t see one. They all panic!

That analogy is used in Wall Street when, for example, one big fat finger drops a bomb by selling a product. The rest of the herd (traders), unaware of why the product has been sold, decide to follow, creating massive sell-offs.

Insider-trading or an honest mistake – who knows? By then, the damage has been done. Some argue this is what we are experiencing with covid-19, as civil unrest rises around the world but has yet to peak.

Zebras are used as an analogy on Wall Street. Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The binary conundrum – black or white, true or false?

Right or wrong may be progress’ worst nemesis, the empirical mind tells us. Sometimes it leaves no room for developing a theory.

With so many variables on the table, a one-size-fits-all solution has usually proved to have been wrong – but not always.

If only everything could be as black and white as on a piano? But even a maestro will tell us it’s not simply about black and white keys. It’s how you play them, with intensity, subtlety, smoothness and rhythm only a few of the variables on a sheet of music. And, of course, it’s all about mathematics.

Media playing the same song over and over

With lots to ponder, now it’s time to talk the real talk.

Subject to interpretation, Portuguese investigative journalist Micael Pereira concedes in an interview for ICIJ: “Although Portugal is part of the European Union, the media industry isn’t in good shape and there’s no real culture of investing in investigative journalism. There are no investigative desks in the news rooms in Portugal.”

This interview reveals a developed European nation might still live in the dark age when it comes to information.

Pereira’s interview might also describe what the real problem is for any citizen right now – interpreting covid-19.

All things have a flip-side and, even though no information is the opposite of too much, both represent danger.  

Another conspiracy theory

Questioned by author and journalist Douglas Murray on Unheard last month, Swedish professor Johan Giesecke said lock-downs were the wrong policy.

Lock-downs are the wrong policy, according to Swedish professor Johan Giesecke

Not evidence-based and eventually leading to herd immunity as a “by-product”, one of the world’s most senior epidemiologists, who is also an adviser to the Swedish government, explains in his calm but blunt way how the Imperial College paper was “not very good”.

Stating, for instance, he had never seen an unpublished paper have so much policy impact, Giesecke discusses curve flattening and the “mild disease” (covid-19) similarities with flu, where fatality rates were in the region of 0.1 per cent, for example, at the time of the interview.

Loved or hated, understood or not, another professor, Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, has similar views on the pandemic and how extensive fact-based research was simply not carried out before the world panicked.

That was on 13 March.

How Dr Wolfgang Wodarg sees the pandemic

If we spice this article by sharing how this and many other documentaries are being erased by Google and other power houses, preventing freedom of speech in essence, all hell may let loose.

The broadcast they don’t want you to see

Who is really controlling the world in the end? Many of you will have heard David Icke’s infamous broadcast aired on Londonreal.tv on 3 May. The professional conspiracy theorist said: “If we are silenced it could be the end of humanity as we know it.”

Far fetched? Reaching more than one million viewers – making it the largest live-streamed conversation in history – the event may symbolise modern populism.

It also hints at what it may become.

With an all-for-equal approach on sharing thoughts and ideas, one would believe topics that may influence societies should be discussed openly.

Instead, Icke stakes a three-decade ‘career’ on the fact there’s “no virus at all” and calls for an open discussion.

His army of ears have sprung up like mushrooms to the point Icke’s previous interview on covid-19 has been banned online after being deemed “unlawful and corrosive”.

Who and what are they afraid of?

Part of a mega-conspiratorial cult that places Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates at its helm, Icke accuses this “elite gang” of having a master plan to rule the world.

The conspiracy includes a vaccine to control our minds – and here’s England being told to “stay alert”!

To say we spend most of our prime time self-confused by sitcoms and reality shows takes it to euphemism level. However, the truth is that, by neglect, we all fall into the category of abettors.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We face the prospect of a 50 per cent worldwide economic recession and a global depression. Not tackling the problem by the roots may funnel the worldwide revolution it evidently shows signs of.

Statistics and mathematics go hand in hand

On to a recent tweet by one of the many NHS workers, Chloe Louise.

Liked by 12,000 and retweeted by 2,700 at the time of writing, Chloe told #Covidiots mass gathering in Cosham, Hampshire, not to clap for the NHS.

She tweeted: “Many co-workers are fighting the virus as we speak. My whole family wasn’t allowed to attend my granddad’s funeral yet this is ok?” The front-line hero’s tweet may prompt humble conclusions.

If science speaks one language only, that of trial and error, why the worldwide discrepancy on how to interpret covid-19 from the outset?

Where are the big names we so regularly see lecturing on science around the world and why have they been so quiet? The few voices of authority we have heard have been tainted by possible lobbying.

If conspiracy theories leave us with nothing more than doubt – as we are unable to prove anything – when science is unable to speak in independent terms we should worry.

Science and mathematics are not opinion.

When the World Health Organisation is accused of corruption, we worry. When will science speak independently and regardless of political narratives?

Some might argue we don’t need politicians – let technicians solve the problems, not politics. Perhaps we should act on scientific data when it comes to health and the environment?

On top of that, for every problem we’ve been selling solutions instead of providing them. Many are arguing this has become our real problem.

What are our priorities?

Some think science and technology should be there to provide better living for all, not profit for companies. That’s what “university” should stand for in a modern society.

TrustWHO film-makers respond to Vimeo censorship

So what can we say about the banned documentary that states a few pharmaceutical companies exploited the swine-flu pandemic episode in 2009?

The truth is, questions will need to be answered one day.

Ultimately, however, it seems we prefer to pursue a perpetual political loop of narratives. We remain in denial with Tory or Labour, Democrats or Republicans, communists and totalitarian regimes guiding or conjuring our inner needs.

Which begs the question of how modern do we think we are? When, with such abundant capacity for modern science, will scientists tell us we can’t put human value before profit?

That makes every political side in every nation question what their priorities are. Do we put future generations in the hands of science or human failure?

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Luis has been collaborating as a content writer since 2017 with main focus on Politics and Economy, and is a self published fiction writer. A Sporting Lisbon fan, Old Trafford has played an important place in his heart over the years, as he believes a Man United line-up starring Giggs and Figo is still possible.