Reflecting on Richard Epstein’s absurd predictions last year, which have been echoed in various ways by Berenson, Atlas, and other COVID-deniers. Some at least were born after smallpox, polio, measles, diphtheria, etc. we’re controlled by vaccines. But how short our memory is!
Epstein’s thin argument was. And it’s true that there is a point at which virulence can be so high as to be maladaptive. But so is zero virulence!… Image
And as Epstein knew from having been alive for more than half of the 20th century, diseases do not naturally evolve zero mortality and zero virulence in less than a year. He was alive to see smallpox and polio make repeated sweeps through his own community.
He only cites AIDS, and for young Boomers and anyone younger in the US, that’s the only example we’ve seen of a national outbreak. But Epstein saw the celebrations as polio vaccines were first introduced. He knows that it takes more than natural selection to eradicate disease.
I was born around the time smallpox was eradicated. But I can read history and the literature of earlier eras. I know better without having lived in the midst of a pandemic. None of these other charlatans have any excuse.

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More from @JoshRosenau

1 Feb
It’s important to note that the rise of increased virulence runs exactly counter to the bogus claims by Hoover’s Richard Epstein and others (…) that the virus would rapidly evolve less virulence. Evolutionary biologists knew better.
Then as now, the best way to prevent the spread of more deadly or more virulent strains is to mask up, maintain social distance, and vaccinate. Keep restaurants closed, keep schools closed, pay people to stay home.
Herd immunity and vaccines can be evolved around in ways that masks and quarantine can’t. We can deploy better vaccines as new strains dominate. But most of the US has massive community transmission. It’s a breeding ground for new strains.
Read 6 tweets
21 Nov 20
My friends, do not piss of federal judges. This, from a ruling dismissing Trump’s lawsuit with prejudice is brutal.…
Oh dang
Read 8 tweets
21 Nov 20
Insane that the day after GA’s presidential election results were certified, @PredictIt markets still have a 10% chance that Trump will win, and 16-19% chance that he’ll win GA, AZ, or PA. I mean, actual certification of the results changed MAGA fools’ posteriors not one bit.
Yes, their posteriors are taking a beating.
MAGA loons will give you a dollar for 80-90¢ until @PredictIt closes the markets. It’s insane.
Read 4 tweets
4 Jan 20
Every now and then I’m reminded that the Iraq war started so long ago some of you were barely born when it started. So 18 years ago, …
Colin Powell and a bunch of people who people trusted because the US President/Sec.State should be trustworthy, lied about s3kr1t evidence Iraq posed an imminent threat. So they got people to allow them to invade, and a couple million Iraqis died (and thousands of US troops).
But Surprise! There were no weapons of mass destruction! It was all lies! Also lies: the promise that Iraq would not become chaotic and that there was a plan for the post-invasion reconstruction. There was no plan and no interest in planning.
Read 11 tweets
5 Jun 19
Well, we signed a contract and put in a deposit for solar panels. They say we’ll offset 100% of our annual electric usage. So excited!

Let’s talk a second about climate change and individual action. 1/
This last week brought essays by @MichaelEMann and @MaryHeglar that argued we need to focus on political reform and that individual choices around climate change are less important in the grand scheme.…… 2/
I agree, broadly speaking.

Lots of people got upset about that argument, though. 3/
Read 18 tweets

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