Double-take on Doing Math in Public

Double-take on Doing Math in Public:

Chinese Fudge Factory Doubles Output

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

HotFudgeSundae-with--Cherry.Braums

Hot Fudge Sundae, with brownie & cherry (photo credit: Braum’s)

Recent reports (April 17, 2020) show that Chinese fudge is being produced, in Wuhan, at numbers now doubling earlier reports.  And more cherry-picked statistics.

The official Covid-19 death toll for Wuhan has been revised [as of April 17, 2020] up by 1,290 to 3,869 as life in the city returns to something like normal as many restrictions are lifted. Authorities in the Chinese city where the global coronavirus pandemic began late last year have revised its death toll upwards by 50%, as the government in Beijing again denied there had been any cover-up in its handling of the crisis.

A local government taskforce in Wuhan charged with virus prevention added 1,290 fatalities to the city’s toll, taking the confirmed count to 3,869 from a previously reported 2,579. Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, suffered more fatalities than any other city in China as residents struggled get help from its overwhelmed medical system.(1)

Is this governmental science fiction—what accountants call “cooking the books”,  what historians call political revisionism, and what scientists attribute to “fudge” factors?(2)

cooking-the-books.picture

Maybe this doubled mortality statistic has a more benign explanation, something like the record-keepers were just too busy reacting to the crisis, to accurately count Coronavirus corpses.

The revision comes after weeks of scepticism, from both within and outside China, over the officially reported figures. Officials said Friday’s revision was the result of incorrect or delayed reporting and not because information had been suppressed.

“Medical workers at some facilities might have been preoccupied with saving lives and there existed delayed reporting, underreporting or misreporting, but there has never been any cover-up and we do not allow cover-ups,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a news briefing in Beijing.(1)

But this misinformation—whether accidental or faked—is not surprising, as recent scholarship has documented.(1),(2)

Coronavirus expert Ralph Baric, from the University of North Carolina, is uneasy about the numbers coming out of China. “I’m very suspicious about anything they’re saying,” Baric said, pointing to the low numbers China is reporting from other provinces in the country. “The math says there should be a lot more cases.”(3)

Lamentably, statistical “fudge” factors have plagued scientific statistics in many contexts, both inside and outside China, and in diverse scientific fields beyond the healthcare industry.(2),(4),(5)

Of course, having debunked fake science for decades, creation scientists are never shocked when evolutionist reports are proven false.(4),(5),(6),(7),(8),(9)

How is this relevant to us today, as we strive—separating real-world science “wheat” from misinformation “chaff”—to understand what is really happening in the world of scientific research and education, not limited to pandemics?

In particular, is this relevant to our understanding of politically controversial scientific reporting in non-healthcare arenas—such as dinosaur DNA research,(6) radiometric dating chronologies,(7) animal depopulation alarmism,(8) and bogus allegations of anthropogenic global warming/”climate change”?(8),(9)

Keep your eyes open. Social agenda motivations matter. Don’t trust anything that is popularly promoted—whether it be evolutionary genes-in-magic (“natural selection”), or uniformitarianism-based “deep time”, or alarmist “global warming” hype, or suspicious healthcare statistics—just because a scientist-salesman is promoting it.

If a ton of money or political power (such as gate-keeping at state university science programs) — or theological-political influence (as is found in some so-called “Christian apologetics” programs belonging to private religious colleges) is at stake, don’t swallow whatever was just offered for popular consumption.  It just might be that the scientist-salesman is marketing freshly baked fudge.(2)

Wuhan-laboratory

References

1.     Kuo, Lily. 2020. China denies cover-up as Wuhan coronavirus deaths revised up 50% Increase in total comes after weeks of scepticism over officially reported figures. The Guardian (April 17, 2020). Posted at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/17/china-denies-cover-up-as-wuhan-coronavirus-deaths-revised-up-50  —  accessed April 17, 2020.

2.     Johnson, James J. S. 2020. Hot Fudge Sundaes and Cherry Picked Statistics. ICR News (April  19, 2020). Posted at https://www.icr.org/article/11999/   – accessed April 19, 2020. See also See Proverbs 20:10, 23; Micah 6:11. Moreover, Accumulating evidences appear to show personal liberty-stifling politics, socialized healthcare economics, and population control agendas–harnessing the world’s COVID-19 pandemic–include more than recklessly sloppy science and bureaucratic bungling. See Hanne Nabintu Herland, “The COVID-19 Scandal: Billionaire Bill Gates and WHO: Hanne Nabintu Herland Sounds Alarm Over Oligarch ‘Pandemic Expert’”, WorldNetDaily (WND.com: April 22, 2020), posted at  https://www.wnd.com/2020/04/covid-19-scandal-billionaire-bill-gates/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=wnd-newsletter&utm_campaign=dailyam&utm_content=newsletter ; accessed April 23, 2020.

3.  Suspicion was expressed prior to Wuhan’s recently published revisions. Branswell, H. 2020. Experts say confusion over coronavirus case count in China is muddying picture of spread. StatNews. (February 20, 2020; accessed April 9, 2020), posted at https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/20/experts-say-confusion-over-coronavirus-case-count-in-china-is-muddying-picture-of-spread/ .

4.     Fake science is no newcomer to Chinese research reports. For example, Clarey, Timothy. 2016. Dinosaurs Designed without Feathers. Acts & Facts. 45(3). Posted at https://www.icr.org/article/dinosaurs-designed-without-feathers — accessed April 17, 2020; Sherwin, Frank. 2016. Another Feathered Dinosaur Tale. Creation Science Update (December 10, 2016), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/another-feathered-dinosaur-tale .

5.  Totalitarian regimes, like communist China, mandate (and thus exemplify) state-approved “consensus science”. See Guliuzza, Randy J. 2009. Consensus Science: The Rise of a Scientific Elite. Acts & Facts. 38(5):4, posted at  https://www.icr.org/article/consensus-science-rise-scientific-elite/ . However, fake science results all too frequently when “fudge factors” are used, elsewhere, to transmogrify research data for political power grabs. Johnson, James J. S. 2020. Do You Really Have a Jaguar? ICR News (April 5, 2020), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/do-you-really-have-a-jaguar .

6.     Regarding spoliation and suppression of DNA research data, see Johnson, James J. S., Jeff P. Tomkins, and Brian Thomas. 2009. Dinosaur DNA Research: Is the Tale Wagging the Evidence? Acts & Facts. 38(10):4-6. Posted at https://www.icr.org/article/dinosaur-dna-research-tale-wagging — accessed April 17, 2020.

7.     For an example of fudge factor problems in the radiometric “dating game”, see Hebert, Jake. 2020. Manganese Nodules Inconsistent with Radiometric Dating. Creation Science Update (January 30, 2020), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/manganese-nodules-radiometric-dating . See also Johnson, James J. S. 2018. Viking Bones Contradict Carbon-14 Assumptions. Acts & Facts. 47(5). Posted at https://www.icr.org/article/viking-bones-contradict-c14-assumptions — accessed April 17, 2020.

8.     Misreported research data, producing false pictures of both Alaska Pollock populations and “climate change” dynamics, see Johnson, James J. S. 2018. Something Fishy About Global Warming Claims. Acts & Facts. 47(3):21, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/something-fishy-about-global-warming . See also, accord, Bailey, K. M. 2013. Billion-Dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2-44, 46-88, 199-215.

9.     Johnson, James J. S. 2020. Signs of the Times: Glacier Meltdown. Acts & Facts. 49(4):21, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/signs-of-the-times-glacier-meltdown .

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