Some are funny, some are silly, some are offensive, some are poignant, and some are dangerous. The ones that are dangerous are ones that I want to focus on. The dangerous memes are the ones either outright lying or telling a half-truth. Here we will be focusing on COVID related memes.
This meme is true, but it does not tell you the whole story of the numbers. 10 million people did contract TB and 1.5 million people did die, but just not in the US, it was worldwide (WHO). In 2018, a little more than 9000 people contracted TB in the US and 70% of them were non-U.S.-born people (CDC). In 2017, 515 deaths were attributed to TB.
COVID-19 was a novel (new) virus and no one knew what to expect or how the body was going to handle it. I understood flattening the curve because of this. However, the media and politicians are still spreading fear over something we know a lot more of now.
Numbers matter. When they are used properly they will inform, when they are incorrect they are dangerous and disingenuous. For more on this read Pandemic Panic.
Again, there is truth in this meme. From April 2009 to April 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases, 274,304 hospitalizations, and 12,469 deaths in the United States due to the Swine flu (H1N1 virus). CDC also estimates that 151,700-575,400 people worldwide died from Swine flu during the first year the virus circulated (CDC).
As of the date of publishing this, there have been 5.8 million cases and 179k deaths in the US from COVID (CDC).
I know there are conspiracies about the number of deaths but let’s take them as they are. If we were to look just at the numbers it would seem that the COVID looks less communicable but more deadly than the Swine flu. However, looking at the numbers from official sources show that COVID has a higher infection and mortality rate. Also, the swine flu was categorized as just that, “the flu”. COVID, while it has flu-like symptoms, is not the flu.
The communicableness (not sure that is a word) of diseases is given a number based on its basic reproduction or replication from one person to another. The R0 (pronounced R nought or R zero) is how infectious a pathogen is. The R0 is measured as the expected number of cases directly generated by one case in a population where all individuals are susceptible to infection (Wikipedia.com). The R0 value of the Swine flu (H1N1) is 1.5 and COVID-19 is likely to be 5.7 (CDC).
US cigarette deaths last year are estimated at 480,000 deaths per year. Obesity deaths 300,000. Cancer deaths 606,880. Diabetes 1.6 million. Flu 34,200. Starvation deaths are few in the US but 9 million worldwide. War deaths in the US in the last 20 years 5700. Suicide 48,000. Medical errors 250,000. That’s over 3 million dead versus 179k deaths in the US from COVID (CDC). So you can see where this meme came from. I am not making light of death. While death is tragic, it is in some instances preventable, but it is always unavoidable.
The original goal of the government was to flatten the curve to help the medical industry not be overwhelmed. We did that so let us get on with our lives and open up the economy. Flattening the curve was not supposed to decrease the number of infections or death as some seem to think. That number was always going to stay the same. Will there be continuing infections and deaths? Yes. Does that mean we should shut down our livelihoods and who we are as humans? Humans need contact with other humans. We are social creatures who need to have connections. Along with this human need, it does seem that our rights as individuals guaranteed by the Constitution have been infringed, specifically the freedom to peaceably assembly (e.g. work and worship). Others, such as fines or being charged with a crime for not wearing a mask seems a little ridiculous.
I err on the side of freedom, let us get back to something of normality. The one good thing from the shutdown is that it has brought families closer together, but not all people have great families to turn to. Due to the loss of human connection, despair, and anxiety, and the media pushing panic and fear there are reports that there are higher amounts of abuse, drug use, and suicides. It does make me think that the cure might be worse than the disease.
I have been thinking a lot about progressivism since I read a quote a while back and I will get to that later. First, I want to break down the definition of progressivism, outside of politics.
Progressivism is the principles and practices of progressives. (Dictionary.com)
Progressives are characterized by continuous improvement or progress. (Dictionary.com)
Progress is growth or development; continuous improvement; the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level. (Dictionary.com)
And yes, I did pick and choose the definitions I wanted for the purposes of this exercise, but I did say I would define it outside of politics.
Progressivism, unfortunately, has become synonymous with liberals. Thus, since the liberals are “progressive” it is the unspoken understanding that conservatives are not, which is ridiculous. Thomas Edison said, “Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress.” Those who are restless and discontent are striving to make the world a better place, but what is the motivation of their restlessness and discontent? Are they driven by ego, money, power, or more altruistically, to help others live a better life in its various capacities. In this consideration of motives I often think of the Seven Social Evils. Normally attributed to Mohandas Gandhi, however, Frederick Lewis Donaldson gave them in a sermon six months before Mohandas publishing them in his weekly newspaper. Regardless, of this Mohandas’ nephew, Arun Gandhi did give us an eighth social evil (Wikipedia.com).
1. Wealth without work. 2. Pleasure without conscience. 3. Knowledge without character. 4. Commerce without morality. 5. Science without humanity. 6. Religion without sacrifice. 7. Politics without principle. 8. Rights without responsibilities.
If you are honest with yourself and society you will know that all of these social evils are true. They were given by both Donaldson and Gandhi in 1925, almost a hundred years ago! (I will discuss these more in another article.) It seems that the Progressives/Left wants to have and legislate all the social sins. You can only have true progress when you have wealth with work, pleasure with conscience, knowledge with character, commerce with morality, science with humanity, religion with sacrifice, politics with principle, and rights with responsibilities.
Below is my view of what has happened in society and politics in the US. I started the graph with the left slightly left of center and the right slightly right of center with guide lines to help see the progression of each scenario. In the left graph is our current state of affairs with Progressives continuing to move to the left and the right moving to the left. If this is progress, then we must ask for whom and to what end? Progressives will always keep moving to the left, in the idea that we have to tear down the old system and build a new one. To them, the solution to the failure of government is more government and looks a lot like socialism. Current Progressivism is a cancer and a decay to freedoms and liberties to America and hope to the world. The middle graph is what it should be the left and the right compromising on things to better America, but staying left or right of center on average. The right graph is what needs to happen. Progress isn’t forging ahead in the wrong direction it is going back and getting on the right path. That brings me to the quote I mentioned earlier.
In Mere Christianity (first published in 1952), C.S. Lewis said, “We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. …I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.”
Think about it this way, an inventor or a scientist wouldn’t keep continuing down the path of a failed invention or experiment, that’s not very smart or progressive. They would go back to where it went wrong and work on a different path forward until it works. The one who turns back soonest is the most progressive. Those who are the most nimble and understand this principle of progressivism are the most successful in most, if not all, aspects of their lives.
We are off track in society. To list some examples, although not all-inclusive: government welfare programs instead of charities, fatherless homes, sex without conscience, education not teaching our children about life skills, do what feels good mentality, your truth, transgenderism, and the claim of systemic racism. “If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
I think that we all want progress in our nation, in our community, in our families, and most importantly in ourselves. However, not all of us are willing to put in the effort to see a change or progress. To make a change in something bigger than ourselves — family, society, etc — we need to start with ourselves. The individual is the most nimble and able to apply the progressive principle from C.S. Lewis. Strive, work, progress to be a better person and by so doing you will change the things around you. Let us be real progressives and go back and get on the right road when we are off track and continue to move forward in personal and societal growth, development, and improvement.
A lot of people are throwing the word “pandemic” around like they know what it means and what it is. It’s a simple regurgitation from the media, politicians, and the medical industry, so why wouldn’t we be saying it. It is a pandemic, but what does it mean? What is the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic? We should look at the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic, and the flu virus and the coronavirus. First, an epidemic affects many people at the same time and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent (Dictionary.com). A pandemic is more serious and is defined as a pandemic disease is an epidemic that has spread over a large area, that is, it’s “prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world.” The WHO more specifically defines a pandemic as “a worldwide spread of a new disease” (Dictionary.com). The word novel in novel coronavirus just means that is is a new coronavirus, and because it’s new we do not did not know how it was going to behave, spread or affect us.
Mark Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Always be leary about statistics and numbers, they can be confusing and misleading depending on how the information is gathered, who is gathering it, who is using the numbers, and how they are being used. As you can see, there are a number of areas where stats can be skewed. Stats are good and useful if they are gathered unbiasedly, with good questions or good methods to gather the information. Unfortunately, many are not so forthright in their gathering of information. They use it to support an idea or claim, not as unbias information or facts. This is why I am striving to link all the webpages I gathered my information.
Due to the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu being similar and both being viruses I will be comparing COVID-19 and flu numbers.
If I was to say that COVID-19 25x more deadly than the flu I would be correct, but also misleading in a way that causes fear, anxiety, and panic.
As of 8/20/2020, in the US there have been 5,506,929 total cases of COVID-19 and 172,416 deaths. That means that COVID-19 has a mortality rate of 3.13% (CDC Current COVID numbers). Death by flu numbers from the CDC from 2010-2019 average about .13% chance of death. These numbers are based on those who catch the virus. Now if we were to look at the death by population it would be COVID-19 at .05% and the flu at .002%. With either set of numbers, you can say that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is 25x (or 125%) higher than the flu. If all you heard was that the death rate for COVID-19 is 25x higher than the flu, what would you think or how would you react? While any death is tragic, the numbers can be skewed to make them seem worse than they are. Whether it’s 125%, 3.13%, or .13% it’s good to know where the numbers are coming from and what they mean.
From the World Health Organization TB (tuberculosis) is a bacteria that infects 10 million and kills 1.5 million worldwide (WHO). That’s a mortality rate of 15% or 4.8x higher than even COVID-19. However, there is no panic over TB because it’s known and it’s an epidemic (local) not a pandemic (global). In 2018, out of the 10 million cases worldwide a total of 9,025 were reported in the US and 70.2% of those cases occurred among non-U.S.-born people (CDC). Some say that this is a pandemic because it is worldwide, but an epidemic because the larger number of cases are highly localized. However, we don’t think much about TB because we aren’t told to and in the US it’s generally not a big deal.
The CDC stated that the “percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 for week 33 is 7.8%. This is currently lower than the percentage during week 32 (12.6%); however, the percentage remains above the epidemic threshold and will likely increase as more death certificates are processed” (CDC). From tabulating the numbers above it looks like the mortality rate of 7.8% is data pulled from those who have been infected by pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 and not based on population.
In a fast-paced world, it’s hard to do your own research and get down to “brass tax” on all the information swirling around us. We should be able to trust the media and there was a time when journalists and news anchors were trusted. When they gave us facts and we formed our own opinions, but the media has become complicit in panic porn and clickbait instead of actually reporting the news. They push opinions and narratives to sells ads and subscriptions to pay their salaries and bills. This might seem a very nihilistic view but it’s not wrong. However, that is another topic.
It has become increasingly clear that trust is a hard thing to come by these days. George Floyd’s death, was it racially motivated or excessive force by police, or both? Is Trump a racist and a bigot? Is Biden a sexual harasser and molester? Is climate change happening due to increased CO2 or something else? Is COVID as grave a virus as we have been lead to believe? More and more questions pile up as we use our own God-given cognitive abilities to observe our world around us, consume the information hurled at us, and think for ourselves.
My main topic here is to discuss COVID-19, the novel virus. All of us have our political proclivities based on our experiences and lessons learned in life. Those proclivities have us looking to the right or the left, conservative or liberal. Which then would have us consume the news based on what prophesy we want to be fulfilled.
I try to be fair-minded about all this and I try to get both sides of most topics, but in this instance, there is nowhere I can go to get accurate, unbias, unfiltered information. Even the stats on COVID infections and death are either higher or lower than is being reported depending on who you are listening to. Due to this, I have to use my cognitive abilities to observe the world around me and think for myself. It’s not a surprise, politicians don’t agree, most of them are doing what they are doing to CYA. Doctors don’t agree on a course of action, and those that speak up against the majority are silenced, mocked, or discounted. We have comedians giving us the news, and we should be asking ourselves what’s a joke and what isn’t. The talking heads or 24/7 news are mostly opinion and telling us what to think than presenting actual news as information and letting us think for ourselves. May people say follow the money, our taxes going to fund hospitals or research in a lab, or advertising money from SJW business that want to be woke based on exaggerated or blatantly untrue clickbait that feeds the fear-mongering, hysteria, or bias we all have.
I understood the need for a temporary lockdown because we didn’t know what this virus was, how it would attack the human body, what is the incubation period, how long will someone be sick, or how serious it would be. Due to this lack of information we were told we needed to help the healthcare industry and stay home, wear a mask, and lower the curve. Lowering the curve was to reduce the inundation of hospitals with the sick in a short amount of time, not reduce the total amount of people contracting the virus. We have done that and now the lockdown goal post has been moved now increased testing, to a vaccine, to who knows what it will be next. The curve has been lowered, let’s get back to the new normal.
I end where I started, in whom do we trust? First, trust God. Faith and trust in God will help us discern what is right and what is wrong. We won’t just have the ability we have to sincerely seek to have it. Trust in the Spirit that testifies of God and Christ and gives peace only as Christ can give it. Doing this coupled with your God-given cognitive abilities to observe our world around us and think for ourselves you can know what information and whom else to trust.
It’s a messy world out there. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, Proverbs 3:5.
If you missed it this the article that this is a follow up to, click here.
Climate alarmism/crisis has been ratcheted up to 11 especially over the recent UN hearings and Greta’s emotional plea. People are striking and organizing over climate change. There seem to be even more articles written on climate change, the alarmism of the collapse of our ecosystem and the need to do something.
I understand that you can find whatever you want on the interweb to support your theory, mindset or your truth (side note: there is no “your truth”, sorry Oprah, there is the truth and your opinion.) Science is the endeavor to find truth through experiment, and as I said in the previous article if we are going to find scientific facts, it has to be over time, through observation and experimentation, not consensus.
The more I find and read, the more I am not convinced of a global climate crisis. Nature will always find a way to balance itself out. Are humans contributing to more CO2 than before? Sure. Is that a problem or is it good for the planet and plants that gives us oxygen? Is CO2 a greenhouse gas? Yes. However, I have not read nor been convinced that and increase to .04% of our atmosphere is wreaking havoc on our planet. There are forces at play that we can’t nor will control (e.g. our orbit, alignment with other planets, the sun, and the earth’s core.) Could the earth be warming, because the oceans are warming because the core is doing some funky stuff? Let’s talk about it.
It was refreshing to read in the Discovery article (linked below) that, “We recognize that as a human endeavor, science is prone to error born of vanity, preconceived notions, confirmation bias, a herd mentality, etc.” It seems that we have the herd mentality happening in a lot of areas of “science,” even in psychology and politics. Transgenderism, nuclear power, cows, greenhouse gasses, republicans, democrats, etc, etc. To exit the herd mentality, preconceived notions and vanity, we need to be open and look at both (all) sides of an issue to come up with the best solution, unbiasedly.
Is it hotter in cities, like Las Vegas (because it’s in a desert), with more and more people every year, more development, concrete and windows, and AC? Are there better ways for us to build cities, homes, factories, and generate power? Of course, there is. Humans are marvelous creatures, who can be inspired by God, to make life better for all of us. We have made life better for each other through the use of fossil fuels, mining, logging, farming, fishing, telecommunications, smartphones, etc. Still, some of these exceptional discoveries, inventions, and tools are not in all parts of the world, like clean running water, wastewater collection, basic electricity, or shelters/homes.
The article from NASA (link below) shows the greening of the earth due to CO2. More plants, more green, equals more use of CO2. If CO2 was a problem wouldn’t this be a natural phenomenon that would help balance our planet and our “warming”. Is CO2 rising a cause or correlation to warming? Either way, water vapor is more of a causality of our atmosphere for warming than CO2. More water vapor equals more clouds which equals more cooling which is a natural phenomenon that our world uses to balance itself out.
Bottom line, we should not abuse that which we have been given, we should be good stewards of our planet. God expects as much.
Below I have added more links for you to look through. I have tried to put together a smattering of “unbias”, left, and right articles and videos for you to watch to come to your own conclusions.
In the 70s it was global cooling, in the 90s it was global warming, now it’s climate change. What will it be next? The climate changes. I think that we can all agree on that. Climate is bigger than weather. Either way, it’s cyclical. Throughout history, the world has gone through warming and cooling periods without humans. Why is it getting so much attention now? Alarmist would have us think that the Amazon forest is ablaze like never before when it’s not. They would have you think that storms are more devastating and numerous when they are not.
There is a narrative out there that humans are causing climate change. Maybe we are, but to what extent and how are we affecting it. This seems to be a solution in search of a problem. If we throw money at it we can solve it. However, where will this money come from? If one takes the media and politicians at face value we should all be freaking out that humans (and cows) are the problem and causing climate change, which is causing more storms, which are also increasing in intensity. Which in turn causes more devastation and death. Horrible problems to have and things to be concerned about if they were happening like they are saying. According to AOC, the world will end in twelve years if we don’t do anything about it. I saw a PBS video that said even if we stopped all carbon (i.e. carbon dioxide) emissions it would take 50k to 100k years to get to a base zero or “climate normalcy”. I can’t see that we could do anything now that would really affect the outcome in twelve years, but that’s just me.
In a recent daily email that I receive (that I subscribe to) there was a comment that read, “A scientist told Bloomberg climate change likely had a role in the [wet spring season].” A scientist, one scientist, said climate change likely had a role? Is this how we are getting our information now? One scientist said maybe? At a quick glance, it sounds believable, but looking closer and some critical thinking makes one to balk at it.
I will be the first to say I am not an expert. However, I have not heard from any actual experts either. I’m just Joe Plumber trying to understand this world. I have heard from talking heads distilling the information and commenting on what experts have said or wrote in a report, even from a so-called science guy. He’s a nostalgic kid science show host. I’ll admit I watched him and enjoyed his show. However, I do not enjoy him acting and speaking like he’s a real scientist, and the MS media eat it up.
I have done some research myself on the interweb and found very plausible reasons for climate change that are human-related and some that aren’t and none relate to carbon dioxide (CO2), but you won’t hear about it in the news. Could it be that the CO2 is correlated to climate change and not the cause of it? I have really tried to be objective with my research and article links at the bottom. Try to keep an open mind.
Let’s start with our air, what’s in it? The five major elements are nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, argon, and other trace elements. If you look almost anywhere CO2 isn’t even quantitatively large enough to make it out of trace elements. The break down in rounded numbers is about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% argon, 1% (up to 4%) water vapor, and .04% CO2. (I know that is it over 100%, that’s why I said rounded numbers.) These numbers do fluctuate based on topography, distance to water, vegetation density, etc, but the average for the world is stated above.
The gases in the air that absorb heat are called greenhouse gases and they include CO2, water vapor, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. For these other greenhouse gasses, the percentage in our atmosphere is this: methane .00017%, nitrous oxide .00003%, ozone .000004%, and fluorinated gases smaller still. What we call ozone is O3 (three oxygen atoms stuck together and it occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere called the stratosphere. The ozone protects life from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Fluorinated gasses are man-made and break down O3. They were a big deal and were banned in the US in the 90s. This was a good move. Water vapor has more to do with the greenhouse effect in our atmosphere than CO2. But why would we do anything about water vapor? Life needs water. Those who are observant have noticed that cloudy nights can keep the heat of the day in, but a cloudy day can keep the heat of the day out.
Remember CO2 is .04% of our atmosphere. This chart makes it look like a lot more than it really is and makes it seem scarier. Cow attributed methane is part of the 10% of less than 1%. From EPA website
Now, if I were to tell you that CO2 levels in 2017 were at 405 parts per million, you might say, “That’s high!” or you could ask, “Is that high?” At 405 parts per million that’s is only .04% of our atmosphere. That is 4/100th of a penny. How can something with that insignificant amount in our atmosphere have such a hold on peoples thoughts, discussions, studies, fears and wallets as CO2? CO2 is pumped into actual greenhouses, up to 4 times as much as is in our atmosphere, to help plants grow quicker and healthier. Some of this is due to the concentration of plants and the use of CO2 in the plants’ photosynthesis process. CO2 is not a toxic gas, as some would have us believe. We need it for life on this planet. It’s good that plants need a lot less CO2 than we need oxygen.
As far as I have seen and read the problem with CO2 is a theory and has yet to be confirmed as fact. Peer-reviewed studies are not science. A scientific fact is based on a body of evidence that has been repeatedly confirmed through time, observation and experimentation. Science isn’t through consensus as some have lauded. “99% of scientist agree” isn’t science. If we are going to find scientific fact, it has to be through time, observation and experimentation, not consensus.
Other ideas of human/non-human causes that may have contributed to global warming climate change that has come up in my research are urbanization, desertification, earth’s planetary rotation around the sun, the tilt in the earth’s rotation, Milankovitch cycles, and what about the activities of the earth’s core.
Large amounts of concrete and asphalt in cities absorb and hold heat. Tall buildings prevent heat from dissipating and reduce airflow. At the same time, there is generally little vegetation to provide shade and evaporative cooling. As a result, parts of cities can be up to 10ºF warmer than the surrounding rural areas, compounding the temperature increases that people experience as a result of human-induced warming. Studies show that urban areas are heating up. Las Vegas was 2° hotter this year than last. What we could do here is add exterior plants and trees to our buildings and rooftops, similar to the Boeri design.
Desertification is where once farmable/grazable land becomes desert. Cattle make the ground able to absorb more water and more rich with their hooves and their poop. Desertification has been seen to be reversed in Africa with cattle. Cattle could actually change the world if governments (and environmentalists would get out of the way) and would let the cattle graze reducing the chances for forest and prairie fires by reducing brush and undergrowth. Could the progressive programs actually be promoting global warming climate change?
Other ideas out of our control are the earth’s rotation around the sun, the tilt in the earth’s rotation, Milankovitch cycles (variations in the Earth’s orientation to the Sun), and activities of the earth’s core. I have provided links below on these topics. There is too much here to go into for an already long read. Go search for yourselves, the science is not settled.
Before we spend trillions of dollars on a “maybe the climate will change for the better”, let’s look at other “maybes” that may be contributing to climate change that would actually change everything. I know sometimes science isn’t sexy, especially testing and running an experiment again over time to see if the experiment holds true to the integrity of science and the same outcome is produced from the previous test results. Look, science has been constantly changing on what is good and bad for humans to eat. Smoking was good and doctor-approved, now it’s bad and causes cancer. Eggs were good, then bad, now they are good again. Saturated fat was bad now maybe not as bad as we thought. Our bodies are complicated, the climate is complicated, the oceans are complicated. I do not believe that we need to hyperventilate or rush to judgment on this. We don’t need to eat less meat, we don’t need population control. The inconvenient truth is that we don’t know what is causing the climate to change and if there is anything we can do about it. We should look at what we can do to adapt. The earth has warmed and cooled without humans, why is now any different?
Bottom line we need to have a larger discussion on this, and not shut down debate. We don’t need hysterics, we need debate, by scientists, not politicians or talking heads or school children. I would love to see a debate among actual scientists on the matter. I am ready to change my mind on the subject if I can hear sound science from actual experts.
~Find the good in each other and let each other know.