Casualties in the Information War

Written by Gavin Palmer

You can see the git commit history here. I was encouraged to improve this post here. Thanks Max!

Introduction

The authorities should not be trusted when they are not willing nor able to solve problems which make our world better. I have encountered evidence which indicates that FACEBOOK and Science Feedback are being misleading and should not be trusted to help solve important problems and make our world better.

Systems

A system has a goal or purpose. An individual’s interpretation of the system’s data is shaped by the individual’s assumptions about the purpose of the system. When individuals interpret the system’s data without thinking about the purpose of the system they will most often arrive at meaningless conclusions. And if these meaningless conclusions were adopted as policy for changing the system then those changes can be counterproductive.

The Goal

In the introduction to The Goal by Eli Goldratt, he defines science as a method for creating explanations. But he clearly distinguishes science from knowledge. Eli Goldratt requires knowledge to be able to make our world better and life more fulfilling.

I agree with the goal of making our world better and life more fulfilling. I agree with the idea that our qualitative words should be defined in such a way that they serve the goal. The unavoidable problem with this strategy is that authorities may not agree with the more useful definitions. People who obey authority can then claim that statements composed with these meaningful and useful words are false.

I think the authorities should not be trusted when they have not recognized the goal.

False Information

I was made aware of a video from Chris Wark that FACEBOOK labeled “false information”. FACEBOOK linked out to a response by Science Feedback which states that the claim of “WHO Admits High-Cycle PCR Tests Produce COVID False Positives” is inaccurate.

I did my research and agree that Chris Wark made errors about the facts in his video. But the article FACEBOOK linked to the video has false information.

True Information

Eli Goldratt defines information as the answer to the question asked. Information can not exist separate from a question. The people at Science Feedback are asking a different question than people like me. I interpret the data and try to answer the question to “How do we stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2?”. The authorities at Science Feedback claim that there is no such thing as a “false positive” because the tests which detect SARS-CoV-2 indicate that the individual has had SARS-CoV-2 even if they had it months ago and are no longer contagious.

These authorities are using the test to answer the question “Has this person ever had SARS-CoV-2?”. By approaching the system of testing with a different question and goal, these authorities are able to declare that the original claim is “inaccurate”. Science Feedback is being misleading because they are framing the system of testing around one goal while ignoring other goals.

Conclusion

My conclusion is that FACEBOOK and Science Feedback have a goal which is to discredit certain sources of information. They ignored the underlying goal of stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2. And by ignoring this goal and focusing on a different goal, they are contributing to confusion which can undermine the purpose of the SARS-CoV-2 system of testing. This confusion can shape policy decisions which change the system of testing in ways that are counterproductive.

I think one of the goals of testing should be to help people learn if they are contagious. The meaning of the phrase “false positive” is dependent on the goal of the testing. If the goal is to detect people who are contagious, then the test result would be a “false positive” when the test identifies a person who had the virus months ago and is no longer contagious.

The WHO and Public Health Canada use words and phrases which indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 testing can produce false positives. My analysis explains why different authorities disagree with each other. I hope I have explained why I think Science Feedback and FACEBOOK are being misleading.

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