Is Imperial College still Open for Business?

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Imperial College_edited-1.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon 

Back in the 1960s, the British academic establishment was rather excited about the work of Karl Popper, the philosopher who developed the concept of empirical falsification.  Popper was keen to define the demarcation between the scientific and that which only mimics empiricism and scientism. A theory, according to Popper, can be considered scientific if, and only if, it is potentially falsifiable by experiments or its predictions.  Popper attempted to create criteria that would deny psychoanalysis, Marxism and astrology any scientific status based on the fact that these theories are not falsifiable.

One may wonder what Popper would have to say about the ‘science’ of Neil Ferguson, the man who predicted up to 550.000 Coronavirus dead in the UK and 2.2 million dead in the USA.

On 29 April, Off-Guardian published what I believe to be the most insightful criticism of the lockdown policy so far. In the article Iain Davis digs into the work or shall we say, blunders, he attributes to Ferguson.   Davis writes, “both Public Health England (PHE) and the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) were satisfied that COVID-19 (C19) presented a ‘low risk’ of mortality and downgraded it from the status of a High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) on March 19th. The ACDP board members include Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College. Presumably Prof. Ferguson was among the dissenting voices on the ACDP board as he completely ignored the majority opinion of his scientific colleagues.”

There is nothing wrong in holding a dissenting scientific view, however, this specific  ‘dissenting view’ and the way it was implemented by the UK and the USA governments appears to have led America, Britain and the rest of the world to respond in a way that created a catastrophe of a previously unknown scale.  

“In an interview on 13th February, widely reported by the mainstream media ,” Davis writes, “he (Ferguson) stated his predictive models were ‘not absurd.’ He said that infection rates of 60% of the population with a 1% mortality rate were possible. Standing by his prediction of 400,000 C19 deaths in the UK. The Imperial College computer model report was released to the public on 16th March, predicting huge numbers of deaths from C19. By the 19th March Prof. Ferguson must have known a majority of his peers disagreed with him.”

Davis points out that Ferguson failed to implement the most basic of scientific procedures, namely allowing a peer review of his ‘predictions,’ making sure that one or more people with similar competence in epidemiology evaluate what we now know to have been the grossly exaggerated Imperial College models and predictions.

Watch what  Swedish expert Prof. Johan Giesecke has to say about Britain’s favourite epidemiologist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfN2JWifLCY&feature=emb_title

Davis reveals that “when it comes to wildly inaccurate predictions Prof. Ferguson’s work at Imperial College has a long and distinguished history. In 2002, he said that (up to) 50,000 people in the UK would die from ‘mad cow disease’, to date less than 200 have passed away; he predicted 200 million global deaths from the H5N1 bird flu. Currently it is a suspected factor in the deaths of 455 people world wide; in 2009 he told the UK Government that 65,000 could die from swine flu in the UK and worked with the World Health Organisation to predict millions of deaths from the H1N1 global flu pandemic*.”

You may ask what kind of scientists are mistaken in their predictions by factors of  200 or more?  What kind of an academic institution would provide such a scientist with a platform, let alone having him lead a department? And the questions go far deeper. Davis writes, “while Prof. Ferguson and his Imperial College colleagues have been consistently wrong they have also been unquestioningly believed by governments and intergovernmental bodies on every occasion. Seemingly without reservation. Despite the clear evidence to the contrary, policy makers from all political parties have shown tremendous loyalty to Imperial College’s silly data models. In doing so, they have not only ignored the researchers’ woeful history of failed predictions but have also denied the scientific evidence which usually contradicts them.”

 Davis is not alone. On April 28th  F. William Engdahl expressed very similar concerns re Neil Ferguson, his reputation and his past ‘models.’ “In 2005,” Engdahl writes,  “Ferguson claimed that up to 200 million (!) people worldwide would be killed by bird-flu or H5N1. By early 2006, the WHO had only linked 78 deaths to the virus.”

I am not in any position to assess the true danger to us of C19 or our response to it. But simple common sense tells us that the only reliable scientific fact about our British leading epidemiologist team is the uncomfortable fact that it has often been wrong and by a huge margin.

In an unreserved manner Engdahl suggests that, “the same Ferguson group at Imperial College, with WHO endorsement, was behind the panic numbers that triggered a UK government lockdown. Ferguson was also the source of the wild ‘prediction’ that 2.2 million Americans would likely die if immediate lockdown of the US economy did not occur. Based on the Ferguson model, Dr Anthony Fauci of NIAID reportedly confronted President Trump and pressured him to declare a national health emergency. Much as in the UK, once the damage to the economy was begun, Ferguson’s model later drastically lowered the US fatality estimates to between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths. In both US and UK cases Neil Ferguson relied on data from the Chinese government, data which has been shown as unreliable.

 How would Neil Ferguson and his Imperial College group score on Popper’s falsifiability test? Not well.

 In Popperian terms, what Ferguson and his Imperial College team produce has little to do with science, as it does not even attempt to produce a clear criteria for falsification. ‘Predictions’ of ‘possible’ death that fluctuate widely from 50-200.000 in the case of Mad Cow Disease or from 20.000 -500.000 in the case of C19 cannot be considered ‘falsifiable’ scientifically as the range is too broad to validate one theoretical calculative model over another. The models at play, so it seems, include too many ‘if’ variables, possibly to cover their author’s reputation rather than to produce something that resembles a verifiable prediction.

The next question is why anyone in Britain or the USA  takes such ‘science’ seriously. One wonders what is it that has led Britain and its academia to lose touch with the core scientific ethos?   

As upsetting as it may be for some progressives, even Donald Trump/White House’s  Corona model is more reliable and scientific than the numerical exercise produced by Britain’s most prestigious academic institute.

Yet despite the fact that Imperial College and Ferguson have apparently  pulled Britain and the USA into total financial chaos and of a humongous magnitude, Imperial College is still open for business. In spite of the disaster it inflicted on the world it still describes itself as “a global top ten university with a world-class reputation in science, engineering, business and medicine.” I believe that not many academic institutes could compete with Imperial College in inflicting global scientific disasters. To the best of my knowledge, Imperial College’s epidemiology team has yet to be questioned by law enforcement about the theoretical grounds and the evidence at the core of its phantasmic predictions.

Engdahl reports that “Neil Ferguson and his modelling group at Imperial College, in addition to being backed by WHO, receive millions from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ferguson heads the Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium at Imperial College which lists as its funders the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Gates-backed GAVI-the vaccine alliance. From 2006 through 2018 the Gates Foundation has invested an impressive $184,872,226.99** into Ferguson’s Imperial College modelling operations.”

Let’s learn from Neil Ferguson about Imperial College’s partnership with the Gates Foundation and Governments around the world: https://youtu.be/e7Xwlv_wZwU?t=199

In 2002, Arnold S. Relman, then a professor of medicine at Harvard University suggested that  ‘’the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country [USA]  are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.’’

Maybe, judging Ferguson, Imperial College or any other ‘scientific’ institution in Popperian terms  misses the point. What  matters to such academic institutions is the amount they can amass from oligarchs, industries, bankers and corporations.  This raises the question, what do they give in return? We are basically dealing with Western civilization prostituting its prime intellectual asset, namely its scientific ethos. 

If there is a lesson to be drawn from the C19 crisis at this stage, it is that universities, academia and science must be separated from all forms of mammon and mammonites. The word ‘university’ is derived from the Latin word universitas meaning: the whole, total, the universe, the world.  Universitas  were initially communities of teachers and scholars committed to knowledge and its seeking rather than an extended apparatus attached to pharmaceutical conglomerates, food chains, bankers  and other symptoms of the capitalist universe. 

For  Western civilization to survive it must reinstate its Athenian roots and its commitment to truth seeking.  We should, once again learn to differentiate and understand the crude tension between science and technology, between those who unveil the concealed and those who act to appropriate nature and turn every possible occurrence, including corona virus, into a money making machine.

 One great philosopher put a lot of work into the understanding of the tension between science and technology or shall we say, between truth and its instrumentalization. I am referring to Martin Heidegger, the philosopher the Guardians of Judea do not think you should pay any attention to.

 In my next article I will examine the role of Imperial College and its  C19 ‘epidemiology’ in light of the prophecy left to us by Heidegger’s legacy.

 *To read another detail account of Neil Ferguson’s prediction history read The Ferguson Effect by Scott Johnson

 ** GA: though I have seen references to this sum repeatedly mentioned on different outlets, I see the need to mention that I myself didn’t see any official reference that indicates that this number is actually genuine.

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What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’?

April 28, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’?

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

There must be SOME criteria where the proponents of the Great Lockdown could say, “In hindsight, this was wrong.”

It is obviously hysterical to insist that admitting a policy mistake is totally, completely impossible. German fascists are not wiping out Poland, after all.

I mean, what if a secret global doomsday machine in Poland gets triggered if global GNP falls below a certain threshold, wiping out humanity? Certainly then all would agree, “The Great Lockdown turned out to be a mistake,” right?

Absurd extremes aside, the coronavirus overreaction has turned into a major test case for today’s Western worship of both technocracy and scientific secularism. Since 1980 they have insisted that national cultures should not play any shaping role in public policy because Westerners have discovered a system of “universal values” which should guide all national governments.

(The Western system is – of course – actually based on aristocratic/bourgeois neoliberalism & neo-imperialism.)

A corollary is that a technocratic 10% should be implementing these values with zero lower-class input into public policy formation. A second corollary is that science is the one, true, rightly-guided, infallible way. In April 2020 the doctors and professors are always right, and US President Donald Trump is always wrong.

But… then how do we explain this written – not spoken – declaration from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as reported by AP? This was published on April 24, during the truly fake-news controversy regarding Trump and injecting disinfectants.

“Given that countries currently in ‘summer’ climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed,” the researchers wrote earlier in April in response to questions from the White House Office of Science and Technology.”

But Iran is not in summer – they are in the northern hemisphere, so Iran is in spring.

Australia is in the southern hemisphere – it is in autumn.

In fact, due to the tilting of the earth, if the northern hemisphere is in spring then the southern hemisphere can only be in autumn, never in summer. Spring in the north and summer anywhere else is an impossibility.

Not only am I not a rightly-guided epidemiologist, I am not even a scientist and yet I know this. Heck, maybe even Trump knows this.

Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organisation in the world, obviously made the same elementary mistake as these scientists. It is very possible that in their rabid desire to discredit Trump the journalists cared more about over-exaggerating his clearly off-the-cuff science than fact-checking.

My point here is not to say “gotcha, you are dumb” – my point is to say that this is precisely why socialist democracy (which relies on consensus) is so much more valuable than Western technocratic individualism. You see: God, in His wisdom, made humans imperfect – and that includes epidemiologists and we journalists.

That is why the West’s choice to rely solely on epidemiologists, and also a mainstream media which is supposed to be always ever-skeptically vetting everyone’s declarations, is a fundamentally flawed approach to handling the corona response. Combine this with a Western system where politicians are forced to be always either in electioneering mode or fund-raising mode, and you get a system which uncritically bows to very mistake-prone earthly authorities.

I find it stunning that US polls have consistently pegged general support for the lockdowns to be at 80%, and that an unthinkable 95% of Democrats say the measures don’t go too far. Considering all the poverty, the refusals to loan to Main Street, the delays in government aid, the exponentially-increasing certainty of prolonged economic chaos – Americans are still not fed up? I can only theorise that the US people have been so propagandised by a lack of “contrarian voices” – contrarian because they dare to say that the needs of the lower classes must be voiced and implemented – that they have been terrified into submission by their media. Democrats are obviously the least open to different ideas – we see how fantastically total their groupthink is.

But back to my main point: what are the realistic criteria where people would say – as people must often do if we are to have a civilised society which progresses – “I was wrong”?

I can’t think of any which would be acceptable… and that shows the massive hysteria of the Western response

Please note that “I was misled” is certainly acceptable.

After all, just turn on your television and you are almost guaranteed to see a journalist nodding along to whatever an epidemiologist is saying – these two classes have been given the key to socioeconomic policy. In the corona hysteria these two have worked in tandem, and both must be judged according to the huge power they have been given.

As late as March 20th The New York Times fake-leftist bien-pensant Nicolas Kristof quoted “one of the best disease modellers in the world” declaring that the best-case scenario in the US was “about 1.1 million deaths”, with the worst-case being “2.2 million deaths”. They even put the latter in the sub-headline. Because he is such an awful, unreadable journalist Kristof does not make it clear if these two scenarios are the result of everyone doing absolutely nothing to combat coronavirus (an absurdity, which only an ivory tower academic would waste time studying) – I assume that is the case. However, many others may not make that assumption because Kristof leads the reader to believe (and maybe he believes this – he is not clear) that despite all the personal protective gear, ventilators, new hospital beds and everything else that US society could throw at corona, then we should still expect over 1 million deaths. Thus, both scientists and Kristof conclude: “If anything, we’re still underreacting.”

It turns out the epidemiologist’s numbers were indeed based on the idea that everyone did absolutely nothing. Well, thanks for getting dumb journalists all worked up over nothing! And I guess epidemiologists can’t write Kristof’s article for him but it’s certain that this power tandem failed at the top.

I’m not surprised, because I always doubted 2.2 million and here’s one reason why: MSM journalists seem to forget that recent history is not kind to US epidemiologists: In 2014 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted 1.4 million Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone alone. There were only 28,616 total cases. If this was Iran or China we could just accuse them of a cover-up, but alas…. And those are two countries with far, far less resources to throw at a virus. On April 3 satirical website The Onion re-ran Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions – they are indeed more credible than The New York Times.

So what are the criteria for a fact-based backtracking?

Frankly, I don’t think the Great Lockdown supporters have thought about this at all, and that should cause them some worry.

This question has clearly been repeatedly shot down to the point where everyone self-censors, which is the most effective form of censorship. The question itself has been deemed to be proof of being a far-right neo-fascist: A Google search reveals What If the Pandemic Policymakers Are Wrong? Will health experts become the latest elite deemed “too big to fail”? That’s a great sub-headline – I’d nick it, but this article is almost completely written already. What’s too bad is that this article is from the website American Greatness, LOL.

So just asking “what if” puts me on the far-right? Well, I did just sign off on the cover to my latest book on socialism so, LOL, I could debate that rather at length. However, asking “but what if”, providing a modicum of contrarian views, being skeptical – this is what objective journalism is in any nation.

I am willing to question my faith: One article idea in my “to do” basket is, “What do socialists do if the bailouts actually work?” I am not so self-righteous, smug and smothering that I refuse to honestly ask and answer that question – it’s at least possible they will… because the question is not mathematical and because that history is not yet written.

Can Great Lockdown supporters question themselves? I doubt they can or even want to respond.

What I fear is this: that many Great Lockdown supporters are so self-righteous, out of touch and indoctrinated that they will genuinely believe that “even preventing one death made it worth it”. This is the view of a child, not an adult citizen who should know that any “War on Dying” is nothing but a joke. That is the exact view of a lowest-common denominator American politician – are REALLY trying to be like them? “Whatever you say” politicians are the third wheel on the tricycle which is steering Western, pro-upper-class corona policy.

To answer my own question: Because the virus was supposed to be so extraordinary, extraordinary measures have been taken. So it’s gone far beyond only total deaths – the accurate counting of which appears to be already hopelessly muddled.

If corona pricks the Western bubble economy (Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus) and “Great Depression 2” becomes a real thing – was it worth it?

If major aspects of the current drastic reduction in political rights get normalised – just as France prolonged a “temporary” state of emergency for two full years, and then Emmanuel Macron legalised it into common police practice – was it worth it?

If the US bows to Dr. Anthony Fauci, their nation’s leading technocrat on infectious diseases, and permanently “breaks that custom” of shaking hands to show warmth and friendship to strangers or if France ends the la bise hello kisses – was it worth it?

There are economic, political and cultural shockwaves stemming from the Great Lockdown – maybe their proponents didn’t foresee them, or maybe they were misled, but these things cannot be ignored because they, too, will cause death and pain.

You don’t want to talk about those things? No problem.

You don’t even have to answer the simple question the headline poses – too many people getting bossed around these days already.

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

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