I Know That I Do Not Know


I Know That I Do Not Know

I am paraphrasing the Greek philosopher Socrates, who lived in c. 470-399 BC. According to his pupil Plato, who recorded his teacher’s sayings, Socrates created the Socratic Paradox by declaring “I know that I know nothing.” My original intention was to title this story, “How do you know or claim that you know?” It was rather long, however the question(s) I ask myself and anyone who claims to know what they are talking about, like which steps need to be taken before we will be allowed to go to work, or why wear a facemask if I am six feet apart? We can apply those questions to anything in our lives, especially when the directives come from the authority or politicians, based on the opinions of so-called experts.

Those thoughts came after reading Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking Fast and Slow”, where he questions the expertise of paid consultants and doctors, who were forty percent wrong in establishing what caused their patients’ death. He also points out that the hype about pandemics is caused by the media and perpetuated by the readers and politicians. Since he is a psychologist who received a Nobel Prize in Economics and bases his conclusions on a lot of research, I suspect that he knows what he is writing about, and though the book was written in 2011, his thoughts are very relevant today. I wanted to write about this, but felt that I needed more information. And as it often happens, an article appeared in The Wall Street Journal (Saturday/Sunday, April 25-26) titled, “The Bearer of Good Coronavirus News”. It was written by Allysia Finley about “John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford’s School of Medicine. His expertise is wide-ranging – he juggles appointments in statistics biomedical data, prevention research and health research and policy. Google Scholar ranks him among the world’s most-cited scientists. He has published more than 1,000 papers, many of them meta-analyses – reviews of other studies. Yet he’s now found himself pilloried because he dissents from the theories behind the lockdowns – because he’s looked at the data and found good news.” The article is rather long, but it points out that “scientists are almost never unanimous, and many appeals to ‘science’ are transparently political or ideological.”

After I finished reading the article, I told my wife that I feel vindicated. Since I read various sources and ask myself and others different questions, I am not comfortable with the way coronavirus epidemics is addressed, since it does not take into account the side effects, not the diseases people are dying from, but the economics of it and how it affects those who do not die. Dr. Ioannidis states, “Compared to almost any other cause of disease that I can think of, it’s really sparing young people. I’m not saying that the lives of 80-year olds do not have value – they do”, he says. “But there’s far, far, far more… young people who commit suicide.” “If the panic and attendant disruption continue, he says, “we will see many young people committing suicide… just because we are spreading horror stories with Covid-19.” I do not want to end my feel good story with such negative comments. But I actually consider it as good news, as the article is titled. Very soon positive ideas will prevail, and I think this is what will gradually diminish our concerns. As I pointed out before, I focus on what I WANT, not the opposite. This is why this article was written. I strongly encourage you to read it.

After I finished writing this story, another article appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, April 27th by T.T. Rodgers titled Do Lockdowns Save Many Lives? In Most Places, the Data Say No. The article points out that “The speed with which officials shuttered the economy appears not to be a factor in Covid deaths”. Please do not be blinded by so-called “facts from the experts”. Use Socrates’ method to ask questions, after all “I know that I know nothing”.

P.S. In spite of the claim we do know, as he pointed out, something. We know that tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day, which in the Jewish tradition starts in the evening. Therefore I decided to share with you four beautiful sunsets.

Enjoy and Share with A Friend.

Manny Signature