Analysis of herd immunity using the Sorites Paradox

[See supplemental article Covid-19, herd immunity and common sense]

When the subject of vaccination1 is discussed within a group (e.g. online forum), and there are some within that group who are pro-vaccination, almost invariably they will at some point raise the issue of herd immunity.

First let's clarify what is meant by "herd immunity"2
. From Wikipedia3 this:

"Herd immunity (also called herd effect, community immunity, population immunity, or social immunity) is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune".

There are, it seems to me, a number of aspects to this subject that need clarification:

The modern superstitions of science and religion

Background

Modern science is still almost entirely based on 17th century concepts that physical movement is perfectly smooth and continuous.

This continuity of movement implies continuity of operation (of the world we experience) which naturally induced the perception that our universe (and our bodies) operated like a clockwork machine. This machine-world view was the impetus for the Industrial Revolution which resulted in many beneficial technologies (aircraft, automobiles, etc).

Around 200 years after Newton developed the calculus (which is based on the assumption of perfect continuity), the continuous-machine model was not able to explain a growing number of puzzling experimental results1 especially those concerning the presumed wave-like behaviour of light.

In the minutia of physical movement, movement is not continuous, nor clockwork in nature, nor predictable, nor certain ...nor physical in nature, but meta-physical.

In 1905 Albert Einstein resolved the mismatch of clockwork theory with actual experiment with his photo-electric effect for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics. Light came in "lumps" or particles of energy, and these particles, what we call "photons", were not continuous.

This "quantum" view of light gave rise to a burst of discoveries2, leading to what is now accepted as being, by far, "the most successful physical theory in history"3 : quantum theory.

Physicists quipped that quantum physics was all about "lumps and jumps" - lumps of light that "jump" from location to location without travelling the intervening space.

As one leading physicist explained, "according to the quantum theory, movement is not4 fundamentally continuous".

However, our sciences are still working on the assumption of clockwork continuity, which works well enough for rockets, rifles and railways.

Medical science, for example, still seeks to find the static machine-parts (genes) responsible for our personal behaviours, despite the evidence for nonlocal, interconnecting fields of quantum potentials that would, if researched, open whole new avenues for healing and wellbeing.

In the minutia of physical movement including when we so much as lift a finger, movement is not continuous, nor clockwork in nature, nor predictable, nor certain ... nor physical in nature, but meta-physical.

Yet our sciences carry on, as if movement was continuous and purely physical. The bulk of modern science is reliant on 17th century assumptions that are incompatible with world's most successful physical theory. The scientific method calls for theories to be discarded or modified when faced with evidence that is unable to be accommodated within the scope of a particular theory. This is how science advances. The geocentric model (Earth as centre of the universe) was ultimately replaced by the heliocentric model (Earth orbiting the Sun) because of the weight of evidence for the heliocentric model.

The intransigence to upgrade science's mechanical-universe model with one that is compatible with the quantum evidence is, like the behaviour of priests in Galileo's time, the hallmark of dogma, superstition and greed. That failure (to accommodate the facts within a congruent world-view) is a travesty of modern science.

In brief:

Standard5 modern science is still almost entirely based on 17th century concepts that physical movement is perfectly smooth and continuous (comprising an infinite-series6 of ever-so-small "infinitesimal" movements).

There are no bodily processes (chemical, electrical or otherwise) that can move anything infinitely ("infinite" literally means without end). Accordingly, physical movement is theoretically impossible when based on standard science's Newtonian (17th century) "assumptions". Given that physical movement is a routine aspect of everyday life, the root assumptions of standard science are clearly and unambiguously wrong.

Instead of applying 17th century thinking to our 21st century world, a new holodynamic world-view that matches the (quantum) evidence is, arguably, long overdue.

Detail:

Superstition - "a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation."

While sharing various ideas on a forum recently, it became evident there are many people (including and especially atheists, scientists and the religious) who still very deeply rely on superstitious beliefs.

And by "superstitious" beliefs, none are more evident than when the topic of Zeno's Paradoxes is considered.

To put things in context:

Imagine we have a number of belief-systems, let's call them BS1 and BS2. Let's now see how well they match a particular set of evidence (facts and observations, as can be readily experienced on planet Earth).

Making God small. Not good.

The white-bearded guy in the skyWhile at a social function recently I got chatting with some religious people who started to talk about how we're all 'fallen', sinners in need of saving, and how we're all needing His forgiveness, and so on.

Now, from a systems perspective this all makes no sense.1

So I asked, "if God is infinite, isn't all necessarily WITHIN God? After all," I added, "if we and all else, including evil is not of God, then we're outside and beyond the infinite — and that would make us and evil bigger than God. That would make God small relative to us, and relative to evil."

"Best not do that," I said.

"Think of it this way," I explained "God is infinite ... literally that means "He" has no limits — he's everywhere, and in everything, everyone, every spirit, including Evil. In other words, everything and everyone is of God.  It's His energy that's behind all the muck-ups, and the beautiful wonderful things, and ..."

If all — including Evil — is not God's creation then that means "He" has limits to where His creative energy goes. That makes Him small. Best not do that.

If it's not His energy, then it's someone else's, but that again means He has limits to where His energy goes.2

Pretty straight-forward, I would think, to understand all this.

All God, all good

Yesterday had an interesting, somewhat intense discussion with someone who confessed to being a Christian.

It seems to me that there are some very simple, fundamental errors in thinking by Christians (as a general rule — and don't get me started on rules, systems, probabilities, and individuality. "We're all individuals"  yeah, yeah, I'm not. Kudos to Monty Python. But i digress).

The travesty of modern science

Overview

There are many who argue in various scientific circles and forums that mathematical theories based on unending, contiguous numerical continuity (infinite-series, calculus) are able to explain a series of perplexing theoretical dilemmas dating back nearly 2,500 years.

Those dilemmas, widely known as Zeno's Paradoxes raise issues relating to the apparent impossibility of everyday physical movement, which is assumed to occur continuously and smoothly.

What's wrong with science, religion & new-age

In the midst of the 'swine-flu' scare a while back it struck me ... how science, religion and various new-age philosophies are very similar.

The swine-flu scare has gained considerable media coverage, despite 30+ years of research confirming that physical things (bugs, bad genes, obesity, bad diet) account for a minority of the cause of disease, disability and premature death. We now know it is poor 'psycho-social eco-systems' that are the majority cause of early death and illness. But still the panic, or at least the media hype.

It's clear ... they each (in a strikingly similar manner) place the 'cause' of life 'out there' -- with religion it's God, with science it's 'chance' and new-age it's the planets, or some set of numbers or some reclusive soul that never seems to show up when it counts.

Psychic abilities and skeptics

Being skeptical is perhaps one of the easiest means by which to protect ourselves from silliness, naivety and from being enlisted into the ranks of 'space cadets'.

Skepticism (or scepticism) naturally motivates one to question, to devise experiments, or thought-experiments to test the credibility of ideas. And asking questions is, in my opinion, one of the most noble, useful and valuable tools anyone can possess. It could be argued that a healthy scepticism amongst the populace and judiciary would have seen off some of the more pernicious superstitions and crowd behaviours in times past, such as the executions of those suspected of being witches during the Salem witch trials.

But from my experience the not-so-good side to being skeptical outweighs the benefits. Being quick to dismiss claims of religious, spiritual, or psychic experience leaves one closed to possibility, and closed to finding deeper congruent frameworks of belief. As I have found, that closed-mindedness can result in quite debilitating health issues.