Is Dawkins Misinformation?

According to you how should scientists deal with propaganda based on science. Such as what Richard Dawkins does?
Does that count as misinformation?
And what about the frequent exaggerations in science news articles?

The article starts fo as below:

Communicating the findings of science plays a vital role in shaping our lives and the planet. From my vantage point at the Science family of journals, I witness daily how editors, journalists, and scientists work together to deliver scientific information to the world. Given the recent rapid pace of discovery, relaying remarkable findings has never been busier. So why aren’t these efforts having a bigger positive effect on the public acceptance of science?

The problem is clear in the first two sentences itself.
Scientist see a big role for themselves in shaping "lives and the "planet.

Politicians see that as their job… and similarly for religious leaders.

This is about social power. Plain and simple.
Scientists already have a big role in formulating laws, advising on governance, influencing investment by big businesses and so on.
The question is, why do you want more power?

I don’t know of any “propaganda” from Dawkins. I also can see that this has nothing to do with the topic of the thread, which is the weaponization of misinformation via social media. I hope your intent was not to change the subject.

Why don’t you start a new thread about that. Otherwise it seems you intend to redirect the conversation.


This is not worthy of a response and is not appropriate on the thread.


I agree. Off topics like this should be new threads.


The United States is currently in the grips of a deadly pandemic whose numbers are increasing inexorably, unlike most other places on earth. Its leader just told the public that this virus is 99% “harmless.”

That give a clue?


I don’t follow US politics… but from what i gather, approx 80% of the cases are asymptomatic and fatality rate is around 0.5% to 1.0%…

So, if he is talking about fatalities, he is right.

Death isn’t the only type of harm, and it’s obviously irresponsible for the president to give people information that is at best misleading, at worse an outright lie, especially amongst the maelstrom of misinformation that is already out there.

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I dont know the context of the quote, so i wont comment on your presidents integrity (Its none of my business anyway).

However, 99% being unharmed might not really be a lie or outside the relms of possibility.
Let me tell it from the Indian perspective.
We have a population of 1.3 billion People. As of now approx 25,000 people have died.
And slightly less than 1 million people have tested positive. Everyone, who tests positive is not permanently effected with long term heath consequences. That’s about 20%. i.e about 200,000 people.
200,000 is way lower than 1% of India’s population. I would be extremely disappointed with my government if 1% of the population (i.e 13 million people) ended up seriously effected. That would need around 50+ million people to test positive!
With how we are going, we might actually end up with more than 50 million cases… however, that’s still 1 % people effected by long term consequences.

I think its a fair expectation that the disease effect a max of 1% of the population if properly managed. You should hold Trump to a higher standard and ask him to keep it within 0.5%. Frankly, even 0.5% would be an unprecedented tragedy.

You should take Trumps claim as a promise and hold him up to it. 1% is a very large target in fact.

Edit; The real challenge is to ensure that the people who lose lively hood from the economic impact are less than 1%…

Off the top of my head, I seem to recall that anywhere between 5 and 20% of positive cases require hospitalization, or at least develop serious symptoms. Unchecked, this is a burden that no country or community can bear.

Not arguing against that… I totally agree with you.
I am just trying to figure out why the claim that 99% of the population will not face serious long term health consequences is false … that’s why I shared the math in the Indian case…
1% is a big number…
Do you expect a large percentage of the American population to face long term health consequences due to covid-19? ( I am bot counting those who are hospitalized and have a complete recovery).What’s the percentage you guys are estimating? 10%?
Frankly, even 1% seems on the higher side to me.

So if someone cuts off all your arms and legs, but you’re still alive, you have been unharmed.

Got it.

The claim was that 99% of infections are harmless. Not what you wrote just there.

And I said I am not aware of the claim…

Is that what doctors do in America to Covid patients?

He’s not my president. Literally. I’m not American, nor do I live there.

Who has ever made that claim? No one I’m aware of, certainly not Trump. He said:

“Now we have tested almost 40m people. By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless.”

That suggests 99% of infected people will suffer no harm, which isn’t true. Even if someone has a complete recovery after a period of hospitalisation, that doesn’t count as “suffering no harm” by any reasonable definition.

The claim was not that 99% of the US population will suffer no harm, although the way things are headed even that might not be true when all the dust settles.


Then maybe you shouldn’t comment about something about which you are not aware.

No. Just trying to ascertain your personal definition of “harmless”. You seem to exclude everything short of death. Being dismembered but alive would therefore qualify as “unharmed.”

That makes two of us.

Frankly, i didn’t bother to look up Trump’s statement. I didn’t see it as important.
I have no idea, why @Faizal_Ali pointed it out to me.

I was just making a case that, if we look at the overall population of a nation, then covid will have a smaller impact on overall health of the people.

It seems pretty obvious to me that his point was that if there was an increased influence of scientists on public policy and the way it was communicated, we’d be less likely to have a president making dangerously false claims during a pandemic.

That’s axiomatically true and completely unrelated to the discussion at hand.


Doesnt Trump have an expert advisor called Dr Fauci?
Didn’t the guy Correct him?

I did a google search on the claim and found articles which says that he did.

It would be false to say Scientists had no say on the communication.

Ya, this is the only point i was interested in making. I really don’t care what Trump said.
Frankly, its not surprising for politicians to make wrong statements on scientific matters once in a while. Thats why there are relevant organisations consisting of professionals to make statements and give advise w.r.t policy decisions. In India, its done by an organisation called ICMR, and i am Sure USA also has an organisation to do such work.

Fauci gives expert advice.

However, Trump does not take advice from anybody. So no, Trump does not have a expert advisor.

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You are correct, that was my point.

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