Covid Is Not Categorically Different

Source: American Institute for Economic Research.

I sometimes use the term category error to describe other people’s reasoning (I’m sure I’m just as guilty of the same kind of mistake). I like this essay because it describes a classic instance of category error in operation as it relates to a topic of the day.

2 thoughts on “Covid Is Not Categorically Different

  1. Another truly stupid “analysis” obviously cooked up as a smoke screen for Trump’s failures and incompetence.

    It sounds so scientific, this “category error” thing. It means nothing. Sure, if you want to, you can place all diseases on any spectrum you choose. So what? Ebola would be on that spectrum. Is it a “categorical error” to treat it as a far more dangerous disease than seasonal flu?

    Reasonable people do not debate how much more dangerous Covid-19 is versus the seasonal flu as he claims. They look for scientific evidence and they trust it. The evidence is very, very clear. Covid-19 is MUCH more dangerous than the seasonal flu. For every age group.

    The author equates the relative seriousness of the disease with the death rate. That is sophistry. While 99% of most age groups survive, with Covid-19 a significant number of those survivals was achieved by hospitalization and extraordinary treatments. Young people with the seasonal flu are almost never hospitalized. And what about after you survive. The flu rarely does lasting damage to your body. There is growing evidence that Covid-19 often does.

    And why does the breakdown of deaths by age group not show the death from the flu for those senior citizen victims. Is it because unlike Covid-19 where the death rate is 5% that the comparable rate for seasonal flu is an order of magnitude less? The lack of that highly relevant comparison shows this is a political piece not a scientific one.

    And, of course, rational people can protect themselves and their family from flu with vaccinations. That is not yet possible with Covid-19. It may never be.

    As a side note, I see the author is from the Austrian school of economics. Those are the folks who do not believe in evidence but prefer their a priori deductions from postulates of their own choosing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the thing that scares me the most is not the prospect of dying so much as dying needlessly.

    I do not like the idea that I might die because some sociopath thinks infecting me is an expression of his liberty.

    I do not like the idea of dying because my doctor is not allowed to fight the disease in any way she thinks worth trying.

    Remember at the end of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN Tom Hanks is wounded and dying and about to be run over by a tank, and draws his handgun and empties it at the tank? That’s how I want my doctor to fight for me, not sit there hopelessly because there is no double blind study proving a .45 will stop a tank.

    I don’t want to die because I wasn’t allowed to try to live.

    Liked by 1 person

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