I wonder if there are any more contrarian media whores out there we should ignore?
When competing models are giving wildly different, and in some cases frightening, predictions, the pressure on governments to adopt a draconian approach can be overwhelming.
Setting up an effective pandemic hazard scale would inform policy makers and the public, helping fend off media demands for “something to be done” until the right decisions can be made at the right time.
Scientists can’t be trusted because their models aren’t perfect from the start, and other scientists might have different models.
Therefore what we need is a “scale” to tell people how dangerous the situation is (and will be).
But, clearly scientists can’t be trusted to inform us what the hazard level is.
So, it will be set (permanently!) by…?
It would be much simpler to require publicly funded academics to publish data and code as a matter of course; the possibility of competing teams checking their work might encourage development of the quality-control culture that seems lacking within the academy. It would also mean that in a crisis, when traditional academic peer review would move too slowly to be useful, a crowdsourced review process could take place.
Yes, when you need a definitive answer to complex and difficult problem, where every answer could have potentially dire consequences for billions of people, you should ignore the experts and… ask Twitter.
In this way, the combined intellects of experts among the general public could be brought to bear on the problem, rapidly identifying errors and challenging assumptions. This sort of crowdsourced review would provide the manpower to take apart the abstruse models that are all too common in many academic fields.