Sebastian Smith | Cover Image by Markus Winkler
For a long time now, we’ve been told the narrative of ‘trust the scientists’. And yes, many would agree with such a statement. However, from that arises a new question, who are these scientists?
If the past year has shown us one thing, it’s that people will often unquestionably obey what they are told. So long as the information comes from a ‘trusted’ organisation like a government, a major health organisation, or even the media, automatic submittance is a common sight. So what was it that created such great justification for both the government to enforce lockdowns and Britons to obey?
In March 2020, Neil Ferguson, a mathematical epidemiologist at Imperial College London, released a scientific paper concluding research with his computer models, which predicted that an estimated 510,000 people would die from Covid-19 in the UK and 2,200,000 in the United States. Shortly after, Furguson made his way into the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, presenting evidence from his simulations to warn what would happen if Britain didn’t go into lockdown.
Soon after, this shocking ‘evidence’ strongly influenced Boris Johnson and other MP’s on how to react to the ‘pandemic’ and played a strong part in the later decisions to progress with the lockdown.
Ferguson also joined SAGE – Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies to the government. According to the SAGE Register of Participants’ Interests, Ferguson has a history working with the Gates Foundation, GAVI, The World Bank and as a director at the World Health Organisation (all four funded by Bill Gates).
Soon after the reports, thousands of articles came in from almost every major media outlet warning of the ‘deaths’ to happen. For those living comfortably in the west, thinking they were safe because of their distance from China, this would have sounded like a great alarm.
Johnson’s government promptly abandoned its Sweden-like “social distancing” approach. Ferguson’s model also influenced the U.S. to make lockdown moves with its shocking prediction of over two million Americans dead.
Johan Giesecke, the former chief scientist for the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, called Ferguson’s model “the most influential scientific paper” in memory. He later also added it was “one of the most wrong.”
What was so questionable? Perhaps Ferguson’s history.
Anybody with the decency to look deeper into Fergusons history would soon find that he has had some wrongings. Throughout Ferguson’s history, there are noticeably many mistakes produced by him and his team at imperial college. For example, in 2005, Ferguson and his team produced models claiming that up to 200 million people could die from bird flu. After time passed, a total of 282 people died worldwide from the disease between 2003 and 2009.
In 2009, Ferguson and his Imperial team predicted that swine flu had a case fatality rate of 0.3 per cent to 1.5 per cent. His most likely estimate was that the mortality rate was 0.4 per cent. A government estimate, based on Ferguson’s advice, said a ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ was that the disease would lead to 65,000 UK deaths.
In the end, swine flu killed 457 people in the UK and had a death rate of just 0.026 per cent in those infected.
Earlier, in 2001 the Imperial team produced modelling on foot and mouth disease influencing culling of farm animals, even without evidence of infection. This influenced government policy and led to the total culling of more than six million cattle, sheep and pigs – costing the UK economy estimated at £10 billion.
Some experts later claimed Ferguson’s modelling was ‘severely flawed’ ‘ignoring the species composition of farms,’ and the fact that the disease spread faster between different species.
Other scientists, however, have praised Ferguson’s work.
These are just a few of Ferguson and his imperial team’s history of mathematical failures. It is not to say that Nial Ferguson is an idiot because I am certainly no epidemiologist. However, after a history of severely flawed mistakes, the question comes to hand: why is a man with an embarrassing mathematical history advising governments on how to deal with such measures?
Later on 22 March 2020, Ferguson said that the model produced by Imperial College on the Covid-19 disease is based on an undocumented, 13-year-old computer code intended to be used for a feared influenza pandemic rather than a coronavirus.
I’m conscious that lots of people would like to see and run the pandemic simulation code we are using to model control measures against COVID-19. To explain the background - I wrote the code (thousands of lines of undocumented C) 13+ years ago to model flu pandemics...— neil_ferguson (@neil_ferguson) March 22, 2020
After the team at Imperial College London had publicly released the code used to find the simulation, many, including the health minister, praised his work for ‘saving lives’ and prompting lockdowns. Alternatively, observation by other epidemiologists claimed to have found evidence of errors within the code.
Not too soon after the projections had prompted the British Government to enforce lockdowns, Ferguson, who became better known as ”Professor Lockdown”, quickly lost his reputation. In April 2020, the Daily Telegraph revealed that Ferguson had received at least two visits from his married lover Antonia Staats, who had crossed London from her family home during the imposed lockdown measures on 30 March and 8 April.
The actions reached headlines and quickly revealed the hypocrisy behind Fergusons claims. Professor Ferguson’s private life is not anybody’s business. However, his part in condemning 65 million Britons to house arrest based on something he clearly has no belief in raises serious concerns.
Prof Ferguson told the Telegraph: “I accept I made an error of judgment and took the wrong course of action. I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in Sage [the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies].
“I acted in the belief that I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus, and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms.
Soon after, Secretary for health Matt Hancock stated: ”Professor Ferguson is a very, very imminent and impressive scientist and the science he’s done has been an important part to what we’ve listened to. Clearly, the social distancing rules are there for everyone, and they’re incredibly important, and they’re deadly serious, and the reason is because they’re the means by which we managed to get control of this virus… I think he took the right decision to resign”.
Tech Billionaire Elon Musk, who has been loudly critical of lockdowns, calling them ”Fascism”, added that Ferguson was a ”tool”, later labelling him a ”moron”.
What a tool— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 5, 2020
Documents released in February 2021 by the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), who advise the government on the virus, clarified that Neil Ferguson is once again advising the government.
For many years now, people have hoped that China will modernize to the standards of the west, bringing an end to communism and a start to liberty. Unfortunately, the reverse has happened, China has become worse, especially under the dictatorship of Xi Jinping, and the west has shaped itself more like China.
The Governments response to the Virus has dramatically increased our move to an authoritarian future. For over a year, basic human rights such as movement, free speech and commerce have been altered and, in some cases, completely switched off.
Of course, it will come as no surprise that Imperial College has been collaborating with Chinese authorities for many years, including a CCP President Xi Jinping visit in 2015.
In a speech, the president of Imperial told President Xi and guests: “Imperial’s exceptional academics and talented students are working with outstanding Chinese partners. Together we are addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges.”
Professor Ferguson’s mathematical history, conflicts of interests, 13-year-old script and hypocritical behaviour really bring to the surface whether scientists like this should be taken so seriously. Simultaneously, many still stand by Ferguson and his models, praising their ability to guide the country into lockdown.
”Tool” or not, we seriously need to think twice about who ”the scientists” are.