Friday, December 22, 2006

Global flu pandemic could kill 62 million, says survey

Or will it? I won't harp on the article; anybody can read it and formulate an opinion on their own. Rather, I'll discuss a bit of my thoughts on the responses to the article.

People say that scaremongering is a trend, a culture amongst doomsday scenario scientists, and it's getting cliched by now. And I agree with them, but I don't view it as a problem. It was the doomsday scenario painters who predicted that SARS would kill millions worldwide, but because of effective response, none of those deadly figures were reached. Singapore wasn't wiped out, China's countryside remained populated, and Thailand didn't suddenly have death figures in the thousands. It was those doomsday figures, and many other factors working in tandem with mathematical model estimates, that galvanized medical professionals into action to prevent the prophecies from coming true.

Those who criticize scientific estimates should re-look at how they obtain those estimates, and the importance of alerting people to those alarming figures. Only then they'd be able to get a better appreciation for these numbers.

1 comment:

minghan said...

Have you read "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton? I think you are perhaps describing an "ecology of fear?"