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Pandemic is case of guess and test

It is quite clear, now, that the pandemic has stretched the bond between the public and the scientific profession as never before.

The scientific method has been described in the following way: first you make a guess then you calculate the consequences of your guess.Then you compare the consequences of your guess with the evidence from observations.

Seeing science as a game of guess-and-test clarifies what has been happening over the last months.

Mathematical models are only elaborate, formal guesses but there is a tendency to describe their output with words like data, result, outcome or ‘evidence’. They are nothing of the sort.

Doctors are taught to fully trust only the ‘gold standard’ of randomised controlled trials.

No such trials have been carried out on, for example, the wearing of masks to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases but this course of action is seen to be safe and cheap and might help to prevent diseases so that the uncertainty is no reason not to try do it.

The Health of Science depends on tolerating or encouraging some disagreement to prevent it from becoming a religion by getting scientists to challenge each other and not to subside into a consensus ‘science’, which is not science at all.­— ROBERT SHEPPARD, Hillside, Beckingham.

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