There Is A Snake At No 10, Complains Top Scientist

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Peter Pedant | 08:13 Wed 06th May 2020 | News
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Prof Neil Ferguson has been called on to resign
He met and kissed a married lover against the govt's 'no bonking' rule that he was forerunner in supporting, along with his career, his computer models and pleas for a much larger department
Knives were out for him anyway
The Daily Telegraph tracked his movements, every flick of the hips they say - with relish ! They have got their scalp !

SO the prof has gone amidst Tory MPs insisting the non socialising rules are so strict that they wonder how babies get made

and what do Abers think?

does a computer modeller who established his reputation during the BSE crisis and getting it wrong ( 100 deaths and not 100 000) - have to keep his trousers on? Is there really a snake in the grass ( grass = tell tale geddit?) at No 10? (*) The nation wonders....

(*) frigidus, O pueri, fugite hinc, latet anguis in herba. "You boys ..... run away from here, a cold snake hides in the grass." - a classics quote just like Boris - in case AB ers expect it - Horrid Horace by the way)


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// If that nightmare scenario happens and Professor Ferguson's figures don't bear scrutiny (again) his career should be over. //

Under what sort of scrutiny? The real world is, to an extent, always going to put any given model to shame, but that isn't a cause to destroy a scientist's career. The definition of a model is something that only attempts to capture, rather than succeeds in capturing, reality. Ferguson et al's projections essentially presented a nightmare choice. Risk him being right, or risk him being wrong, neither seems entirely palatable. The appropriate scrutiny is not what hindsight teaches us but whether his modelling seemed reasonable at the time.

I'm absolutely disgusted at his poor judgement all-round in seeing his lover during the lockdown his modelling led to, but I'm not sure what it has to do with his scientific work, as some elsewhere seem to have implied.
Then endorse his model or refute it (what do you, personally, think are its merits - given the progress of the current crisis).

At the moment, the argument - provided by Peter Pedant and, apparently, backed by you - appears to suggest that once the model 'changes the reality' to some degree or other (as it must do!) the scientists have nothing to justify.
I'm not in a position to endorse or refute. All I can offer is a cop-out: Ferguson's model only changed reality because politicians acted on it.

Scientists are accountable to other scientists. If Ferguson's model was objectively broken independently of its political consequences and in its very conception then, fine. But he isn't accountable for the political consequences.
Perhaps the worst thing to come out of this sorry story is Ferguson's comment "I've had it so I thought I was immune" ... propagating the idea of immunity for which, as far as I'm aware, there is no evidence.

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