see post The model assumes an average rate of infection after the
average incubation period. It also assumes
a ratio of local infection and infections that travel to other areas. This leads
to the model’s idea of clusters. When an
infection travels to another area, it creates a cluster. In a cluster, once a certain number of cases
are detected, the area typically goes into a state of lockdown and emergency. The result of this should be a quickly declining
spread and stopping of creating of additional clusters. The model assumes a
more and more aggressive reaction response, based on recent data where some places
when into emergency or lockdown mode after just 4 reported cases.
The further modeling of areas that are in actual or virtual
lockdown is the difficult part as there is no clear data on how quickly the
spread will stop.
The model shows that currently there are close to 19,000
people in the US that are already infected.
Most of them were infected in the 1st week of March and thus are
starting to show symptoms now. Thus over the next week or so, the number or
confirmed cases will rise dramatically from the last reported 2500 or so.
The model estimates that the total number of infected cases
will rise to somewhere between 22,000-25,000 after which the transmission will
slow down significantly and essentially be contained. It is estimated that this
will happen around the second week of April.
Below is a graph of the estimate from the model.
Of course, no one knows exactly what will happen. The model
was built was a rather simple, but logical, set of assumptions and was driven
by observed data so far in the US and other countries, but this data is what I found
on the internet, which in itself is a bit flawed.
On reading the first dialogues of Hume, I found myself drawn
into the argument of the existence of a supreme designer, especially as I was
watching Our Planet on Netflix in
parallel. But during my travels I
thought about it vis a vis evolution and was less convinced. This also came out
in the later dialogues with Philo’s skepticism. Thinking about it further, we
look at nature and its offering essentially at a point in time. But nature is continuously moving and
changing. To use analogies like that of
a well designed watch is wrong, as the watch is a final product and thus has a
defined final design. Anything in nature is just it’s current design at that
point of time. So when we look at
something spectacular in nature, we cannot thus conclude it was created by intelligent
design, but rather that it is part of a continuous process of design
improvement that nature is carrying out that has lasted for an almost infinite
amount of time and will continue forever.
Thus, there is no deliberate design, and thus a result of the design. I
assume this thought essentially describes what we call evolution.
If we take the beginning of life itself and it just keeps
taking billions and billions of different arrangements randomly, for which all
it needs is time, the abundance of which nature had, the result will be many
variations of life form, some which will survive, some which will not – and
this just continues.
So now I find myself in a position in which I am skeptical
of an intelligent designer by looking at nature. However, could it be that the evolutionary
process is the intelligent design or is that just the result of randomness of
very large numbers (remember the theory of infinite monkeys with typewriters
and infinite time will create Shakespeare’s writings). I am left completely questioning the
intelligent design view.
Scheffler’s article “The Importance of
the Afterlife. Seriously.” NYU Law Magazine, 2014, describes a scenario
from P.D. James’s novel Children of Men, in
which humans are inflicted with irreversible infertility and there is no one
under the age 25 on earth. James says
that this would likely produce widespread depression, anxiety and despair
making some people seek consolation and some to take pleasure in whatever they
can – although it would all have the backdrop of sadness and pain.
believe the impact on humans is conditional on the demographics of the existing
population. If the youngest people alive
are still near 25, then theoretically there is still a large population of
people that have many years to live.
Given our actions tend to be relatively short term focused, there would
be many not drawn into despair and will continue to give importance to their
activities and projects. However, if the
youngest population was say over 60, it would definitely be a different
scenario and all activity would seem total unimportant and futile and there
would be widespread depression as everyone just waits for the demise of the
But do assume
that the population is currently like the former. It would change most people’s
perspective on their activities, but not necessarily make them stop due to the
feeling of lack of importance. Many of
our activities revolve around our children and their children. Creating homes and wealth to pass on; gaining
wisdom and knowledge to transfer to them.
All such activities would become totally futile and lose their
importance completely. But the projects
and activities that are for ourselves, for our own personal experience and
fulfillment – should not be compromised. It will still be a joy to travel
around the world and experience nature, it will still be fulfilling to create
art and music. We see these activities as part of our life on this earth. This
should apply to those who believe in the after life as well as those who
don’t. If you don’t, then you seek these
activities for personal satisfaction while alive. If you believe in the after
life, you may believe that the after life if not dependent on our material
bodies on this material earth and thus the lack of fertility does not matter
and our souls will still continue somewhere, somehow, benefitting from the rich
experiences we gained while alive.
But then I think
of my mother. A famous poet and writer (who passed away recently). It was
extremely important that she left an enduring legacy on this planet with her
writings so that generations to come could enjoy it. That was her stamp on
humanity which created her personal sense of immortality. If the scenario above happened in her
lifetime, there is no doubt she would lose all importance of the value of her
writing and fall into deep despair.
While my former
argument is based on the assumption that human individualism will allow most to
continue to find value in our activities, Mr. Scheffler believes these assumptions are oversimplified and that
removing the assumption of an ongoing humanity, the confidence in our purpose will
erode . But from the latter example of
my mother, clearly Mr. Scheffler is correct insofar if a person’s
purpose is undeniably dependent on the existence of future generations.
I was in Kentucky visiting friends who took me on a short
hike on Berea forest trails. These friends are “bird” people – bird watchers
and photographers. So, on the hike, we
would stop often when they heard some bird and they would look up to try and
capture a photograph – which I also got into and starting pointing out birds in
the canopy of the trees. When I saw them my description limited to “…a small
black one there..” or “…a large black one over here…”. They would look at it and say something like,
“…that’s a yellow rumped warbler…” and then my friend would take some pictures
with the huge lens attached to his camera.
These are what my “little black birds” really looked like!
They live on a 13 acre farm in rural Kentucky, with a view
of a pond and lots of trees and vegetation. When I walked down their stairs to
their living room I see five cats looking up at me (they are also “cat”
people); in the morning the back yard is full of birds looking for food; in the
evening the raccoons come around to their porch and eat all the cat food.
My friend, a close buddy from college, got his first SLR a
few years ago and now has become a really good bird photographer. Just around where he lives, and mostly from
his porch itself, he has photographed and identified over 130 different bird
species. Some of these are just
magnificent, a few pictures below.
The fact that over 130 species in that area of KY alone was
mind boggling – well it turns out there are over 10,000 bird species in the world.
Add to that all the different mammals, sea creatures, reptiles and the 10
quintillion insects – and we are reminded how vast the living world of nature
is. Human beings share this earth with
all these living creatures and only represent one species out of tens of
millions. While it is no doubt that we
are the dominant species in modifying, building creating and overcoming our
environment to make it easier for us to live, we still only represent a small
fraction of all the co-inhabitants of this earth both in numbers and even in
All this is a constant reminder that humans, representing
such a small portion of all living beings, have http://sunnykimtkd.com/programs/classes-for-ages-4-6/no right to
destroy the environment, the nature of this world, due to their activities. As
Spinoza says, God is Nature and Nature is God. So, let us never forget the environment
and our duty to protect it