Seaborn Hall, 3/07/20
CS Evaluation: Are 10 ‘Plagues’ Hitting Our Planet Simultaneously? We itemize each of the ten ‘plagues’ and respond.
1- Locusts: we responded to this one in a previous post. Nothing that hasn’t happened at least twice previously. 2- Weather Patterns: Though this link is from 2011 it is instrumental in making the case that its not weather – or flooding, the next item – that is getting worse, it is our ability to track and record such events. It includes a detailed timeline of how technology has improved over centuries. Also see this link which casts doubt on the climate change advocates and their view.
3- Unprecedented Flooding: See the last item and the links there. This IBD link also lends credibility to the view that weather is just not that much more extreme or worse than it has been for the last 100 years. Facts don’t lie, even when they don’t support your belief paradigm.
4- Major Earthquakes: A friend of mine recently experienced over five 6.3+ earthquakes in a small area of Mindanao, Philippines within about a 6-7 week period, plus many other 5+ earthquakes. This was around the same time that a volcano erupted near Manila, Philippines. Are earthquakes becoming more frequent globally? A 2014 article here questions whether they are or not and suggest other possibilities – which would include reporting improvements over the last 100 years just as the link in item 1 suggested. Is the number of large earthquakes increasing? This USGS link answers that question. This is a quote: “The ComCat earthquake catalog contains an increasing number of earthquakes in recent years not because there are more earthquakes, but because there are more seismic instruments and they are able to record more earthquakes.” That said, if you analyze the limited data on this page it may be that large earthquakes are increasing – but the data is far from conclusive.
5- Unusual Volcanic Eruptions: There is no evidence that volcanic activity or eruptions are increasing. See this link.
6- Coroanavirus (Covid-2019): 7- African Swine Fever: This fever has currently hit pigs in China and other parts of Asia and is affecting the pork markets, making pork more expensive and helping pork suppliers in the US. 8- Swine Fever (H1N1 2009): This virus was the biggest challenge of viruses and influenza recently. 9- H5N1 Bird Flu: Not a real problem for humans at this time, though it did infect and kill a small number of humans previously. The US has stockpiled a vaccine. 10- H5N8 Bird Flu: Not a real problem for humans so far and kills mostly birds.
In this short, superficial evaluation CS could find no clear data for viruses and influenzas and whether the frequency or severity is increasing. However, as the attached charts show, the trend appears to be that there is no clear trend, whether for increases in viruses or increases in weather or other natural events.
SARS in 2002-3 was contained largely within China and killed few people. MERS in 2015 was contained within the Middle East. It is true that the mortality rate of both was high. H1N1 in 2009 has killed upward of 575,000 people since its inception. All of these viruses remain an ongoing problem, as will Covid-19, once it peaks and wanes. See our Coronavirus Update page for more.
The primary phenomenon that has changed in the modern, 21st-Century era, which we put the beginning of as 1999 (Amazon instituted one-click buying online), is the rate and spread of information.
The internet completely changed the volume, rate, and spread of information in the modern era. Artificial Intelligence, just beginning to come online will change and increase that again. Though it may appear that crises are increasing, what has increased is information, data, tracking, and the like.
Though it is tempting to believe that reports of global crises are evidence of the End Times, coming to that conclusion might be a result of apophenia and confirmation bias – not evaluating information and facts in an accurate manner. Evaluating information incorrectly now makes the future point in time that events will increase more difficult to discern. There will be a time in the future when these events will noticeably increase in the factual data and in society’s perception – but that time may or may not be here yet. From a superficial survey of the data, at least, it does not seem so.