Wednesday, April 15, 2020

It is impossible to have an argument among friends nowadays

With the lock-down as a result of corona pandemic, one of the WhatsApp group that I am part of suddenly got reactivated.  Given the fact that there is slightly more time on hand, I got involved into a conversation that I generally don't get involved in. Here is how it went.
It started with me posting a link to the following tweet.

A gentleman P1 quickly responded with following link which was one of the comments on the tweet.
P1: BTW, I  saw this  just below Rupa's post. So Twitter is the truth, eh ? 😉😉
Me: I don't know about underreporting, but we are undertesting, that is a fact.
P2: But that is to be expected in a country with 1.2B people.
Me: I am talking about testing per million of citizens
P2: But there are so many millions of people! Testing kits and apparatus is not cheap
Me: Yes, agree, None of that is cheap. But then we should not be claiming that we have done a great job. As per out doctors, a good percentage (some say upto 70%) of our corona positive cases are completely asymptomatic. But our testing protocol says, they should either have symptoms or have been in contact with somebody who was positive. We are also, in most cases, not testing dead for corona virus. We should be clear that we are not testing because we can't afford testing while we are building a new parliament building costing us 20,000 crore.
P1: Yeah, most reporters forget that -- everything can not be ideal, it has to be practical within constraint we as economy have, and also expected cost to be incurred later depending on situation which might change its course dynamically + economic recovery. Best example is -- that their report is not putting across a practical view point. They tend to benchmark with Ideal system / comparing our systems wrt more advnaced country. Now, if I look at our school level educational system -- they tend to instill the thot in children -- that you have to be ideal, parents also do. So, bechare reporters ki mistake nahi hai. Hum shayad unki report ko 100% complete/ correct/ holoistic na mane to acha hai.
Me: Forget per million tests, in absolute terms we are testing well below Italy and Turkey.
P1: ref my point above, rest is your view.
Me: Nothing to do with economy, if government decided to postpone that stupid new parliament building, they can buy 2-3 million tests. Till date we have tested total 250,000 people, that is abysmal.
P1: One reason why we donate to Relief Fund is to help governement fund all this in situations of maha maari. Even my maid donated one months salary. So... Anyways -- views are views, each one has their own
P2: Patriotism runs very high in India. Anyone admitting or exposing reality of not being able to test will be declared an enemy of the state. The narrative must stay positive. That's why I believe all -isms are stupid.
P1: chalo discussion chaloo hua, Ek dum shanti thi.
Me: Government should not be asking for donations. If it needs money, it can legitimately tax us. This is just to make everybody feel good. The point is we can not test to same level of per million population as US but we should be able to do at the level of Turkey. Also We have one of the strictest lockdown in the world. The experts are very clear, lockdown is only going to delay spread unless accompanied by aggressive identification of hotspots and selective isloation of those groups. We are only doing first because it is easy to do.
P1: Advise achi hai, PMO ke site per bhej de. chal kaam karne ja rahai hoon, ab, Bye.  call starting in 2 min
Me: Within India Delhi is testing 683 per million, Rajasthan 455 per million, Kerala 445 per million, while UP 68 per million, and Bihar 71 per million. Never send anything to this particular PMO. It is a guarantee that that idea will be thrown in the dustbin. The idea has to come from them, then they will implement it. So people who have their ear, should say it to them.
P3: Another perspective: confirmed cases per 100 tests is 4.2%; rate of increase in # of tests is higher than rate of increase in +ve cases. So something to feel good about, I guess.
Me: That perspective is wrong. That only shows that there is a linear relationship between number of tests and positives. If we test 100, we will find 4 positive, if we test a million, we will find 40000 positive.  We will be good if this number starts declining, that would mean we have started saturating the testing. I also added following tweet.
P3: How do we explain the fact that the rate of increase in # of tests is higher than rate of increase in # of +ve cases. Point I had already acknowledged was that, we are not as resourceful as the examples you would like to compare against.
P3: Am referring to this map for not missing the context of the scale we are dealing with as a country with resources that just aren’t comparable
Me: How can you say that. Look at this chart attached. If you compute percentage of increase as a percentage over last period, they are almost in line.
Me: Replying to the picture with map.. What does that prove really? As of now the number of tests that we have done would have costed the country less than 100 crore. If we just put a stop to that 20000 crore project of a new parliament building, we can test 200 times more people. Nobody is saying that we can test at the same level as western world, but you can't let people die. Some countries doing more tests per million than India:  Kenya, Niger, Bolivia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Guyana, Morocco, Brazil, Mongolia, Mexico, Pakistan, Cambodia, Togo, Caribbean Islands, Philippines, Jamaica, Rawanda, Paraguay, Argentina, Ukraine, Iraq, Vietnam, Bhutan

P4: Then another member, not involved in discussion told me I should stop talking about this nonsense.
Me: Chalo think hai, ab is group par nahin karunga. BMKJ
P4: Baki grp me karte rahoge??
Me: yes, I like that quantitative analysis stuff, but that is just love for numbers
Then P3 came back.
P3: Did you factor exceptional events that have negated the fundamentals behind the social distancing? No attempt to prove anything Vinay. Just to point, like you suggested to avoid unnecessary spending and set the priorities right. Our resources are limited. While it is important to expect Govt to do all that it is supposed to do right, the attention must not get divided and diluted due to rogue elements and agenda driven narratives. BMKJ
Me: I asked what did he mean by "rogue elements" and "agenda driven narratives"  and who is responsible for Did you factor exceptional events that have negated the fundamentals behind the social distancing?
P3: I guess you would like to hear that Modi & BJP government responsible for all that has happened and will happen until we bring back the old order led by Congress and someone from the family to lead us. Right?
P1: Point Hai
P3: You guys need to read up on logical fallacies. If someone doesn't like A than they must like B is illogical.
P3: Priority today is not to find an option to replace govt, as per democratic process a govt has been given a mandate and let’s respect it. And focus on finding option to save lives of countrymen
P2: Agreed. But not accepting flaws in the current administration is not right and I mean in a general sense for many countries, not just India/Modi.
Me: I am just saying this current government and our honorable prime minister who has such good relations with so many heads of state can get some more tests and increase testing. We are a democracy, last I checked, not a banana republic. The power changes in elections and they are far away.
P2: The journey towards improvements begins by first recognizing what is wrong.
P3: Let’s honestly reflect, any amount of valid points we make on this forum, will it really make any difference to how Modi or this Govt will react or respond. In my view we just cannot. I do agree that efforts need to be made by elements of our democratic system that have the responsibility to make the Govt accountable.
P3: Why should we do political debate?
P1: ts not like my belief is truth and others belief or view point or perception is false. So... I have a view, while you also have a view, We can agree to have our respective views. If I do not subscribe to your view, then nothing happens, you still have yoyur view. So... you may try to re-educate me, but so may I. After sometime, we accept -- the situation, Going after the situation full tong and hammer -- does it deliver anything ? Think over.
P2: It is perfectly alright to have different views and opinions. As long as those views are not illogical. For what is illogical, see the well defined logical fallacies. They have stood the test of time. It is not something that I or ***** or someone else cooked up for their convenience.
Me: Exactly, I just posted a chart with publicly available data and somebody made it about the politics. Contrary to what politicians might like to believe, everything is not about them.  I saw some data, did some analysis, thought the group might be interested it, looks like it is not.  I am not in the business of educating anybody but when something is written on this group, my belief was that it was to elicit a response. Looks like that was not the case. Anyway, my last word in this topic.
P1: Agreed *****, I still may choose to have a differnt and logical thot process, which is different from someone else. I am not bound to follow a certain view point. I listen, evaluate and see what can be used, and what does not make sense to me in my sitauion(s). Same is true for you ( or others in world. ). People publish their views, some believe in those, others believe in mythological, social, fantasy world. There is place for all type of people. That is the view - having made a point, why keep pushing it ? I would leave it here, no more to say without repeating myself - in one or orther way.
P5: I was going to bring up logical fallacies myself. I see a lot of strawman attack and ad hominem attacks going on.
P6: Thumbs up

So, that's why, in today's era, it is impossible to have an honest argument even among friends. 

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