The Chinese Virus: Fraudulent Bankruptcy of Modelling

“In total, in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in GB and 2.2 million in the US, not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality.” Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, 16 March 2020.

323,341 dead. According to official statistics provided by governments all over the world and aggregated by John Hopkins University, as of 20 May 2020, the Wuhan virus has caused the death of 323,341 people worldwide.

When the Chinese communist regime finally admitted the virus, modellers immediately jumped on the bandwagon and predicted millions of deaths.

Many people have a short memory, but it is not difficult to find the models which, during previous epidemics, seriously and systematically predicted millions of deaths  (see below Creutzfeldt-Jakob, swine flu, bird flu). This expression seems to be the modellers’ style clause when a new epidemic breaks out.

The astonishing thing is not the fact that these models see the light of day, but the a priori and critical credit given to them by the press and above all, governments. They have a decisive impact on the management of human affairs.

In the case of the Wuhan virus, one of the most influential models, particularly in Anglo-Saxon countries and Europe, was that of the Imperial College London – what a beautiful and noble name! How can we not begin a kind of anticipatory prostration when a sentence begins ‘According to the Imperial College of London…’? It is akin to ‘Attention ladies and gentlemen, science is going to speak, be prepared in advance to renounce all your rights and possessions, because of science!’

As early as mid-March, the Imperial College published a model, more precisely, the results of computer modelling, predicting that up to 2.2 million Americans and half a million Britons would die from the Wuhan virus if nothing was done.

Projections such as these evoke the Black Death, Spanish flu, the end of time, ancestral fears and horrific medieval panic: they oblige, morally and scientifically — the Imperial College, sir! — to take the most radical measures immediately. No measure seems far-reaching enough when we speak of the New Black Death; derisory, unacceptable and unbearable is the slightest reticence in the face of the radicality of the measures adopted.

In comparison, data on previous epidemics (let’s take the best-documented American case, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): Asian influenza H2N2 in 1957: 115,000 deaths in the United States; avian influenza H3N2 in 1968: 100,000 deaths; H1N1 in 2009: 12,469 deaths. (It should be remembered that the American population in the 1950s and 1960s was much lower than it is today). Wuhan virus: 91,921 American deaths, while the health crisis is coming to an end.

91,921 deaths versus 2 million deaths: How can we explain such an abyss between reality and Professor Ferguson’s modelling? When you look closely, the Imperial College model is not inaccurate or imprecise: it is a crude fake. Judge for yourself.

First, the Imperial College model assumes a population infection rate of 80%. In comparison, the infection rate of the Spanish flu in 1917-1918 was 28%. There was no scientific or even rational argument to predict an infection rate three times higher than that of the Spanish flu. None at all. Pure fantasy in Professor Ferguson’s mind. However, it is quite obvious that this infection rate was a determining factor in the projection of the number of deaths: the more people that are infected, the more deaths will occur.

Second, the Imperial College model assumed that populations would not take precautions: no social distancing, no hygiene, no confinement of the sick, absolutely nothing. There is no example in the history of mankind where populations have not taken action, even individual action, in the face of the spread of a visible evil.

A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research states, “The most important and challenging heterogeneity in practice is that individual behaviour varies over time. In particular, the spread of disease likely induces individuals to make private decisions to limit contact with other people. Thus, estimates from scenarios that assume unchecked exponential spread of disease, such as the reported figures from the Imperial College model of 500,000 deaths in the UK and 2.2 million in the United States, do not correspond to the behavioural responses one expects in practice.”

The Ferguson model sees our population as a horde of anti-rational primates, very literally, insects devoid of reason. It seemed to us that reason had been identified since the Greeks as being the property of man. As the National Bureau of Economic Research study states, the assumptions of Prof. Ferguson’s model “appears to be entirely arbitrary and in some cases clearly inaccurate.”

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Let’s look at the profile of the chief author of the Imperial College model. According to the Imperial College website, Neil Ferguson is a professor of the Faculty of Medicine and School of Public Health. He is also a member of the following institutes and organisations: Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics, Imperial College Network of Excellence in Malaria, MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Malaria Modelling Research Group, Vaccine Research Network.

Prof. Ferguson’s presentation clarifies: “Much of my work is applied, informing disease control policy-making by public and global health institutions. With recent advances in data availability (both epidemiological and molecular) and affordable high-performance computing, mathematical models of infectious disease spread now offer the potential to provide predictive, quantitative analyses of alternative disease control and treatment strategies, as well as qualitative insight into the complex non-linear processes shaping pathogen replication and evolution. An important strand of my research program is therefore to develop the statistical and mathematical tools necessary for such increasingly sophisticated models to be rigorously tested and validated against epidemiological, molecular and experimental data.” 

He goes on to say that a major research interest includes ‘developing mathematical models of the geographic spread of newly emergent pathogens (…) to examine containment and mitigation strategies. Much of this work has been undertaken in collaboration with colleagues in my department and external institutions – most notably public health partners such as the World Health Organisation [WHO], the US Centres of Disease Control and Prevention and Public Health England. These partnerships have been vital in facilitating the results of my work being used to inform policy’.

In short, when it comes to modelling the consequences of an epidemic, Prof. Ferguson is seen as the living embodiment of science. Ferguson and his team form the golden standard of epidemiological modelling, according to the New York Times.

When “Living Science” Ferguson published its modelling, the typical media headline went as follows: Professor Ferguson of Imperial College of London, Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics, Imperial College Network of Excellence in Malaria, MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Malaria Modelling Research Group, Vaccine Research Network explains that COVID-19 will cause 2.2 million deaths in the United States if left unchecked.

No debate is possible, or even conceivable. You’re not going to challenge the Golden Standard of Science, are you? Do you want the blood of millions of your fellow men on your hands? Science has spoken! SCIENCE!

Let’s get back to reality. The facts, which fortunately include historical data, therefore, are verifiable, are that Neil Ferguson is nicknamed The Master of Disaster by some of his colleagues as so many of his past predictions proved to be grossly erroneous. Here are four such examples.

In 2001, Neil Ferguson was one of the authors of the scientific study that led to the pre-emptive culling of six million healthy sheep and cattle in the UK in response to foot-and-mouth disease. Cost: £10 billion. Prof. Ferguson’s study was considered seriously flawed by Michael Thrusfield, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, because it failed to take into account the specific realities, in the biological sense, of farms.

In 2002, Ferguson predicted that up to 150,000 people would die from exposure to BSE (mad cow disease, also known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). When other scientists had the nerve to question the alarmist nature of his study, Prof. Ferguson called them ‘unjustifiably optimistic’ and “extremely naïve” in the press. In the United Kingdom, there were 177 deaths from BSE. The ‘unjustifiably optimistic’ were still far too pessimistic and the Ferguson projections grotesquely fanciful.

In 2005, Ferguson predicted that up to 200 million people (sic) could be killed by bird flu. In the end, 282 people died from bird flu worldwide between 2003 and 2009. One million times less; one person, in reality = one million people in Ferguson’s rich fantasies.

In 2009, a British government estimate on the mortality rate of swine flu, based on the expert advice of Professor Ferguson, found that the ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ was the death of 65,000 Britons. In the end, swine flu killed 457 people in the UK. Ferguson predicted a mortality rate of 0.3 to 1.5%. The mortality rate was 0.026%.

Neil ‘Golden Standard’ Ferguson is not only a forger, but he is also a multi-recidivist forger.

It should be noted that Professor Ferguson has just resigned from SAGE, the scientific committee that advises Her Majesty’s Government. As a result of some sort of moral epiphany? Of course not. Professor Ferguson resigned because the British press caught him receiving his companion, a married activist mother of two children, at home and several times, in flagrant violation of the drastic containment rules that he recommended to the British government and, as a result, was imposed on the common man (which, according to Prof. Ferguson, does not apply to him).

Let’s take the criticism of the COVID-19 model of the Golden Standard of Science a step further because the best is yet to come.

Confronted with the results of Prof. Ferguson’s modelling that predicted millions of deaths, several of his colleagues around the world asked him for the computer code used to arrive at this projection. A predictive computer model consists of data (example: contagion rate), assumptions (example: population infection rate) and algorithms that derive projections from the data and assumptions. Surprisingly, Prof. Ferguson initially refused to deliver the computer code for his model. Surprising, because science, in the true sense of the word, presupposes light; when one takes the trouble to advise the world’s governments using computer models, it is a basic requirement to account for the methodological and technical means used.

Six weeks later (sic), Prof. Ferguson finally published a partial and revised version of the computer code he had used. It appeared that the program was 13 years old — an eternity in computer coding — and that it had been designed for… the flu. The author of this March 22 finding was none other than Prof. Ferguson himself (on Twitter): ‘I’m conscious that lots of people would like to see and run the pandemic simulation code we are using to model control measures against COVID-19. To explain the background, I wrote the code (thousands of lines of undocumented C) 13+ years ago to model flu pandemics…’

Thirteen years, undocumented, flu: Prof. Ferguson’s model is a crude fake.

Consider, just as an example, that while epidemiological models use an extremely small number of variables to make predictions at one month or one year, the climate models by which the IPCC claims to project the climate to 10, 20, 50 and 100 years implement hundreds of variables. ‘There seems to be a general tendency for researchers to report a greater degree of confidence than is warranted for an existing model, in part because it is not straightforward to quantify parameter uncertainty or to trace the effect of those uncertainties in a non-linear model. Realistic confidence intervals in this context would also be so wide as to seem vacuous, notes a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. What is true of epidemiological models that rely on a tiny number of variables makes more ambitious models simply meaningless.

The real subject, as everyone will have understood it, is not the sinister career of the intellectual swindler, Prof. Ferguson. It is the decisive role that computer models without any scientific value play in public decision-making.

Drieu Godefridi, PhD, is the author of The Green Reich – Global Warming to the Global Tyranny.

The image shows, “Mann in suprematischer Landschaft (Man in a uprematic landscape), or sensation of an imprisoned man,” by Kazimir Malevich, painted in 1930-1931.

Interview: Drieu Godefridi

This is a new series we are launching – interviews with important thinkers of our time.

For our inaugural interview, we are very honored to have Dr. Drieu Godefridi. He obtained his PhD from the Sorbonne in philosophy, and he has written several important books on gender, the IPCC and environmentalism.

Dr. Godefridi’s books may be found here.

The Postil (TP): Welcome, Dr. Godefridi. Thank you for giving us this opportunity. To start, do you think the West is in crisis, where everything must be questioned so that it can be replaced by something “better?” Or, is it simply bad political management, in that we are in a period of kakistocracy?

Drieu Godefridi (DG): There is an element of risk in answering such a broad question. The West is more powerful than ever, its military might is peerless and its cultural impact is probably greater than ever. At the same time, the threats to this hegemony are evident — mass migration, economic stagnation in Europe, self-destructive totalitarian environmentalism — and a Left getting more and more extreme by the day.

TP: Why does the West still want to be “moral”, while also being aggressively atheistic (where science alone is the arbiter of truth)? Can this contradiction be easily resolved, or will it only produce chaos?

DG: I don’t see either the United States or Eastern Europe as being particularly “atheistic”. What you say is true only of Western Europe, and of the American Left. This is not “the West” as a whole; the Kulturkampf is still very much ongoing. As for the “morality” of Western Europe, for instance regarding foreign affairs, it leads nowhere, as Henry Kissinger predicted in his formidable book Diplomacy. After Brexit, I see the European Union — beyond its function as a common market — as condemned; it is now only a question of time. When Germany is unable to pour huge amounts of money into Eastern Europe anymore — which will soon come about, given the utter folly of the Energiewende, Germany’s energy transition to poverty — Eastern Europe will exit, too.

TP: The native populations of the West have constructed all kinds of myths about their own “evil” (white supremacy, colonialism, misandry, environmentalism, and now genderism). These are very powerful myths which now determine global intellectual and socio-political discourse. Where does this self-loathing come from? And how can we diminish its harmful impact?

DG: Myth and ideology are consubstantial with mankind. That aside, I see no commonality to those ideologies, for instance, you may think that colonialism was economically deleterious — as F.A. Hayek did — yet be radically opposed to the other ideologies you mention. Nevertheless, one thing they do have in common it is that they are false. To say that the West is “white supremacist” is grotesque and does not deserve serious consideration, no civilisation has taken in so many people from every race, continent, creed, religion and origin as has the West over the last 50 years. And genderism, basically the idea that sex is a cultural creation, not a biological reality, is a false theory with absurd consequences, particularly detrimental for women. As for environmentalism that is a very powerful and comprehensive ideology that is the subject of my latest essay.

TP: You have long defended Liberalism, while also refuting Libertarianism (or perhaps, “Rothbardianism”). Why is Libertarianism a failed project? And why is Liberalism still important?

DG: Capitalism is fundamental to the West and is the embodiment of freedom in economic affairs. I’m very much in favour of capitalism. Libertarianism as an apriorist theory that pretends to “derive” all rules of law and of morals from a single axiom —non-aggression— which seems to me a very simplistic contrivance. An anarchist political theory is a contradiction in terms.

TP: Is Croce correct in observing that liberalism has been replaced by “active libertarianism?” And is Croce also correct in calling “active libertarianism” a form of fascism?

DG: I do my utmost to avoid those words. The word ‘Liberalism’ had been employed, particularly in English, in so many different and irreconcilable ways, that even Joseph Schumpeter and Hayek were sceptical of its usefulness back in their day. It’s even more true nowadays. People in favour of infanticide — postnatal abortion — and euthanasia without consent or those viewing sex as a cultural creation are not libertarian, liberal or whatever: they are merely rationally and morally wrong. 

TP: You have also written about George Soros and his efforts to construct his own “empire.” This “Sorosian” imperialism has its roots in the ideas of Karl Popper (which is Marxism without Marx, in that the desire to change the world remains valid). But Soros is also a highly successful capitalist. How can “Sorosian” imperialism (making the West into an “Open Society”) be properly critiqued, while retaining the importance of capitalism?

DG: The political philosophy of Mr. Soros is international socialism with a heavy accent on “crony-capitalism” — he is himself the ultimate insider, and has been criminally convicted as such. Mr. Soros, who has invested $35 billion not in true philanthropy but in the promotion of his political ideas, must be seen as a sui generis phenomenon. You are right regarding its origins, for his foundation was named after the “open society” of Karl Popper. But in fact Soros is no Popperian at all. Popper was in favour of democracy; Soros is funding hundreds of extreme NGOs; some of which use violence and intend to abolish democracy in the name of Gaïa, Allah or whatever. Soros is no Popperian, he’s an international socialist who fancies himself as some kind of god. Popper defined himself as a liberal in the classic sense of the word, close to the philosophy of Hayek and the Founding Fathers of the Unites States.

TP: You have just written a very important book on the dangers of environmentalism, which we had the pleasure of reviewing. Why did you write this book?

DG: My goal is to show that the end result of the green ideology will be misery and the complete abolition of freedom. If human CO2 is the problem and we have to reduce it to zero —as stated by the IPCC, the EU, the UN and the American Left— there is no room left for freedom. Freedom = CO2. Whichever perspective we choose, be that theoretical or practical, contemporary environmentalism brings us back to this truism, this obvious truth: if human CO2 is the problem, then Man’s every activity, endeavor, action, and ambition is the problem.

TP: Why has environmentalism become the West’s new religion?

DG: People in Western Europe do not believe in God anymore so were ready for a new source of “meaning”. As Ayn Rand stated, real atheism is not for the weak. Most people try to find a substitute for God. Gaïa — the “All-Living” — is exactly that to the environmentalists.

TP: Freedom is disappearing very rapidly. Theoretically, freedom is a Western virtue. But in current Western socio-political policy, freedom has become a crime. Why this contradiction, and how can we overcome the emerging oppression?

DG: By winning the Kulturkampf. Cultural submission to the Left — the European way — is no solution. We must fight for freedom and defeat these extremists within the framework of the constitutional order — which is the American way, thanks to the ultimate fighter Donald J. Trump, probably the most important political figure of our time. You do not collaborate with the enemies of freedom: you fight them, you defeat them. There is no middle ground. We will not be subordinate to “Gaïa” — which is a concept devoid of meaning — nor material “equality” — which is a natural impossibility — we are the resistance; we are freedom fighters.

TP: Lastly, what do you think is the most important issue of our time? And why?

DG: Freedom is the most important issue of all time in the West because, from ancient Greece to today, it is the value on which our civilisation rests and is, at the same time, the driving force of our society. If you abolish freedom, you abolish the West as a distinct concept.

TP: Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to share your valuable ideas with our readers.

DG: And I’d like to thank you for the recent appreciative review of my humble essay on the totalitarian essence of environmentalism.

The image shows, “Green Graveyard,” by the Brazilian artist, Benki Solal.