Prologue: Scientific .v. Engineering Approaches
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2023-01-25 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 551 references Ignore this thread
Prologue: Scientific .v. Engineering Approaches
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Postulate: No mandate, and no rational policy decision, is made from a Scientific approach where the outcome of said policy results in a penalty -- or promotion -- of a given path.

Scientific approaches to a problem always have uncertainties in the measurements and results.  You're familiar with this if you've read papers of the last few years on our most-recently little scientific set of claims -- confidence intervals, p-values, absolute and relative risk and similar.

An engineering approach to a problem does not have uncertainties.  It instead has limits.  "Load limit 40 tons" on the sign before a bridge is an example; it is not an uncertainty, it is a boundary.  Do not exceed it or bad things may happen because the thing was engineered to perform as expected within the limits.

You do not -- and never will -- accept a 1 in 500 -- or 1 in 5,000 risk of a bridge collapsing and injuring or killing you.  You expect, and modern society relies on, any number of vehicles being able to go over that bridge without it collapsing and going into the river and that the process dictated by said engineering will detect any potential failure to do so before it occurs.  Nothing less is acceptable.

If you want to know why many people got it wrong the last three years it is because they've allowed the perversion of what is an engineering circumstance to be instead substituted with a scientific one which can at best produce odds.  Odds, while useful when looking retrospectively at outcomes, are pointless for an individual.

Take a railroad crossing a roadway, where the track is curved around some obstruction so you cannot see an approaching train and the trains have no headlight or horn.  If there is a train already across the road when you approach you will be safe because you will stop.  If there is no train you can cross it without risk.

The scientist can model this and (truthfully) claim that your risk of being smushed by the train and killed is 1 in 10,000 via any number of possible metrics (e.g. the percentage of the time that a train will be in the zone to impact your car but not visible, empirically by how many cars cross it before one gets smushed, etc.)

The engineering answer is that this risk of being smushed, no matter how small, is unacceptable and thus a sensor is placed well back on the track connected to a bell, lights and often a gate that comes down when an approaching train is detected even though you can't see it, obstructing the road and thus compelling you to stop.  That sensor, bell, lights and in a busy or potentially obstructed-vision place gate are all chosen so you will always have sufficient warning and thus will not get smushed except by extraordinary (grossly negligent, in other words) lack of attention or intentional act.  Then, just in case all that fails although it should not we demand the engine on the train have a very bright headlight and we erect a sign telling the operator to blow a very loud horn at a given distance from the crossing as a last-ditch defense against failure.

There are places for scientific inquiry and in fact it is how we learn things over time.  But those of us who looked at this as an engineering problem proved to be right, and those who went the other way, relying on alleged "science", were wrong.

We weren't right because we were lucky.

We were right because we applied the correct analytical system and structure to the problem and the others did not.

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Cmoledor 1k posts, incept 2021-04-13
2023-01-25 09:01:21

Excellent read as always. Makes sense.

The whole world is one big fucking scam
Why are you giving a vulgarity warning here? Our genial host is an advocate of both skullfucking and sodomy via rusty chainsaw. Credit to Rollformer
Msbeaty 9 posts, incept 2022-10-01
2023-01-25 09:01:22

Thank you for this. I am perfectly content being on the "winning" side of history, but I hate the fact that the new groupthink is that our side arrived here by sheer luck despite our ignorance and denying of science. My wife and I determined early on in COVID that as young metabolically healthy individuals we had very little risk. This was simple observation, no statistics or modeling required. I love science and understanding how anything works, but by the litmus test of modern politicized science, I would firmly be in the science denier least I have good company.

I think this just highlights one of the many issues with modern science. It is so often tied to statistics and modeling rather than simple observation. I work with people everyday who are not "intellectual" but are grounded in reality and have great awareness of the world around them, mostly driven by the inputs of their own eyes and ears. Despite them not being "experts" they saw right through the COVID BS as well. This comes back to the crisis solely relying on experts to dictate how we should think. How many chances does an expert get at being wrong before they loose all credibility?
Zanker 16 posts, incept 2022-12-06
2023-01-25 09:01:22

Excellent points, Karl. The the maximum benefit of the doubt extended, you could say that the FDA historically approve drugs and supplements and inoculations with engineering constraints, limits beyond which dosages are unacceptable. One example would be how a fat soluble vitamin, such as A, is a vastly lower dose than what is considered unsafe to the average American, but still meets operational requirements of the body. I think most people retain that mentality.
However, the FDA made an exception, and allowed a scientific approach, albeit a very moneyed one, instead of an engineering approach, going so far as to contradict themselves and call what are not vaccines such.
So now, they are perfectly fine with excess deaths if they realize now what's causing them, deep inside their heads and never articulated, because it was a scientific endeavor, bordering on the edge of experimenting on uninformed consenters, instead of a constrained, engineering approach.
As fictitious Lord Farquad famously said, "Some of you may die, but that is a risk I am willing to take."
Nadavegan 676 posts, incept 2017-05-03
2023-01-25 09:01:22

This is a fantastic way to frame the issue!

I have noticed a sickness over the last decade or two, whereby people will ignore things that are plainly obvious because "it hasn't been peer-reviewed" or some nonsense like that. Low-carb eating is a PRIME example. Let's lose weight, have more energy, and every single important biomarker improves. You look better, are more active, and by every visual measure are healthier. But then the science-bros rush in with "hasn't ever been peer-reviewed blah blah blah." I find it supremely irritating, but as you frame it, it is downright insidious, because people have been trained to ignore plain simple truth and common sense just because they have never been blessed by an authority to think in a certain, different, or unorthodox way.
Wayiwalk 623 posts, incept 2016-11-09
2023-01-25 09:01:22


A great explanation that is elegant in its simplicity.

The Lockdowns Will Continue Until the Morale Improves!

I keep thinking, "it can't get any worse" and then it does!
Calrissian 126 posts, incept 2021-04-12
2023-01-25 09:01:22

Indeed, it sure as hell wasn't about 'luck', or a coin flip, as Scott Adams argued.

It only took me a few weeks to figure it out in March 2020.

The irony... the vast majority will never accept they were wrong.
For that alone... they're not worthy of survival.
3 mRNA shots should (in theory) be enough.

*UK excess death rate: 19.5%, of which 5.3% are linked to C19.

Chode75 21 posts, incept 2021-01-17
2023-01-25 09:01:22

It is worse when you work for an engineering firm for the last three years and they (the environmental health and safety department) refuse to show any empirical proof their medical countermeasures actually work.

When you press them for actual data that they made their decision on, all they can quote is that they are following CDC guidance to protect the health our employees. And not any sort of engineering rigor of the HVAC systems in the building.

When you follow up asking that none of their countermeasures adhere to OSHA recommendations to removing said threat, they go back to quoting CDC.

Last time I checked, no one that worked for the CDC has even taken a class in Fluid dynamics; so how in the hell can they be advising folks on probabilities of catching something, when they fail to grasp basic physics?
Djsnola 330 posts, incept 2009-03-16
2023-01-25 09:12:25

the government has privatized the successes of the scientific approach and socialized the losses... that never ever ends badly! lol
Msheff 93 posts, incept 2018-05-03
2023-01-25 09:24:21

Andrew Tate: (all those people who were wrong) They, as an honorable adult, should stand up and say I am sorry. They should do a public post on all their social media: I am sorry I was wrong, I'm sorry I believed the lie, I'm sorry I helped support the enslavement of all mankind, I'm sorry I shouted at fellow members of the human race, I'm sorry I was a tool of the Matrix and the enslavement of man. I'm sorry!
They don't. It doesn't even cross their mind. Oops! Oh well, erm, Slava Ukraine! Dummies! I haven't seen a single bleep sorry from any of these people who were totally wrong! And they're going to continue being wrong for all eternity because they don't punish themselves. If I was as wrong about Covid as much as these people were wrong, I'd be ashamed to show my face for the rest of human time!
Invisiblesun 627 posts, incept 2020-04-08
2023-01-25 09:24:37

The abuse of Science during Covid is seen in the disregard the establishment gave to mathematical and biological realities. The first red flag was the dismissal of natural immunity. Other signs of bad faith included the rejection of low cost treatments, the lying about the mortality risk, especially among the younger population, and the wholesale dishonestly about masks.

It boggles my mind that one would see these lies and then gladly believe the establishment narrative on the jab. I can accept those taking the jab because they float through life not sweating the details on anything. But anyone claiming to be a critical thinker who took the jab and then cries they were cheated is an idiot. I realize that is harsh judgement but if you demand to be respected for your mental prowess than accept responsibility for being duped.
Sancho 126 posts, incept 2013-12-06
2023-01-25 09:45:36

You are right. I would like to point however, to exceptions.

I am talking about process industry (Refineries, Chemicals and a few others) where you handle large amount of dangerous materials, either flammable or toxic. I will leave nuclear apart because that industry has its own rules.

When you have the inventory, there is a chance that it may released in an uncontrolled way. Assessing that risk and what is acceptable or not has been a subject of a lot of debate an there are several ways to tackle that:

Assuming an "acceptable risk". Some countries like the Netherlands took a numeric approach. They have set up a number like 1E-06 fatalities per year per site. Great Britain went for a principle called ALARP (As Low as Reasonable Practicable). Above 1E-4 is unacceptable, between 1E-4 and 1E-6 you should go for the lowest practicable value.

In the US, they went with OSHA 1910.119 and a quite similar EPA ruling. They have a list of chemicals, with threshold inventories, and if you exceed that limit, you need to comply with the rule. It is a short rule, but it is big deal to comply with it. However, the risk assessment and acceptability has been left to be solved between the owner and the insurance company.

Many companies have developed risk matrices with frequency/consequence and acceptability ranges.

The systems have flaws, some of them are:

- It is impossible to predict sequences of odd events. No matter how much Hazop, Hazid or Layers Of Protection Analysis you do. The problem is that by doing all those analysis, many feel confident about the situation and build fragile things that escalates the problem when an unpredictable sequence of events occur (i.e. tight layouts, lower separations)

- Assigning a probability of 1 in a million years to an event, in many cases is just imagination. Take, as an example, a large refrigerated ammonia tank (15000+ metric tons). It is double wall (one tank inside the other), have inspections, etc. There have never been a catastrophic failure of one of these tanks in the world. However, a catastrophic failure has the potential to kill everyone in at least 5 miles downwind. See the video below of just 10-20 ton release that killed a woman traveling on the road in front of the company, and then imagine a thousand times that. Let's assume that a catastrophic failure of one of these tanks wold cause 100 fatalities. To be in 10E-4 (upper limit of acceptability in Great Britain) you need to demonstrate that the tank would not fail catastrophically in a million years, or, more correctly, that if you had a million tanks, less than one would fail in a given year.

- The third flaw is that the frequency/consequence risk matrices puts the daily glucose lancet puncture at the same level than the once in a decade stabbing. And the organization tend to focus on solving the lancet problem.

And then....from time to time you see things that explode somewhere.

Life is Rock and Roll
A stairway to Heaven,
and an highway to hell
Smooth 132 posts, incept 2020-03-26
2023-01-25 09:46:55

I always tell patients that a huge issue in medicine is that we didn't build the human body and our understanding of how it works is very limited. This is in contrast to a bridge. You can accurately model a bridge with basic physics knowledge, in contrast to drug research.

Not only did we not build the body, but every person is different in small ways than every other person. I asked a Navy helicopter mechanic once how easy his job would be if there were no accurate manuals for the aircraft he was fixing, and not only that, if every one came from the factory built a little bit differently and he had no reliable way of discerning those differences.

Hence why we have TESTING. And why an RCT run for an adequate period of time is absolutely necessary to determine not only the true efficacy of an agent over the long term, but the negative effects too.

And that is why eliminating the control group in the Pfizer trial after just a period of months, and before the drug had shown any significant efficacy, was a grossly unethical piece of the greatest crime in the history of humanity.

Those of us who made the correct decision not to take the experimental drugs did so with the above in mind and frankly it was a VERY simple risk-benefit analysis to do. Which is why this whole fiasco shows how utterly stupid (and cowardly) the vast majority of people truly are.
Wayiwalk 623 posts, incept 2016-11-09
2023-01-25 09:47:16

So right Chode75.

In the break area of our office ( engineering and scientists, unfortunately >85% lean lberal) the walls are still plastered with idiotic Pro-Covid 19 flyers with suggestions, recommendations et cetera.

It makes me sick.

I can't wait until the 1st company in this country is successfully sued for forcing people to get the shots and damages that one single individual received.

That will be the SHOT heard round the world!

Is it true (I'm not 100% sure)that cigarette companies paid a price even though the cancer causing mechanism wasn't discovered?

The Lockdowns Will Continue Until the Morale Improves!

I keep thinking, "it can't get any worse" and then it does!
Guerin 144 posts, incept 2021-09-26
2023-01-25 09:47:25

It's even worse in this case since the "science" was outright lies and fraud. The rushed timetable could be compared to building a bridge using new building technology without any blueprints or engineering analysis. The engineers then do the post-mortem analysis when something like the Tacoma Narrows incident occurs.

A more sinister view would say the shots were engineered to do exactly what they're doing, and all the "science" is intentional deception.
Tappedout 232 posts, incept 2020-09-21
2023-01-25 10:50:22

Another issue regarding the scientific method:

For mankind to rely on it, it must be as an objective process as possible. Specifically all H1 are explored without a pre applied filter that rejects some and accepts others.

Academia is now biased to reject any H1 that is contrary to the political/media cartel narrative before the hypothesis is even explored. They know that results that conflict with the accepted dogma would threaten their career.

Henry Ford researchers found that out, among others.

I heard an interview on BBC News radio years ago. An academic climatologist specializing in hurricanes read where insurance companies were raising rates because climate change was causing more frequent and more severe storms. He had never seen a study showing that, so he did one. His results were that what they were saying was not true. He thought he did some good work, and would maybe even be appreciated because his work could be used by people to argue to keep rates more stable.

He was published, and destroyed. His peers turned on him. A major donor to his University had him fired. He became the unhireable "climate change denier" climatologist.

If you only look for what you want to find, and reject everything else, including results that should open your mind to changed opinions of dogma.......That's not science. It's more like religious fanatacism/ cult like following behavior.

And that's what we have, particularly in American academia today.

Cbucket 63 posts, incept 2011-03-04
2023-01-25 10:50:53

I'm wondering if the reason so many got duped into taking the 'scientific' viewpoint was because:

(a) They were presented with a comparative choice.
- if you do NOT take the vaccine X millions will die
- if you DO take the vaccine X-Y will die. They opted for X-Y.

They did not account for the fact that "X millions" was speculation/lies and that Y may be a negative number.

(b) They were conned that somehow by not taking the vaccine that they were responsible for giving the virus to other and were thus morally obligated to
take it.

Another great column. Thanks Tickerguy, much appreciated. :-)
Londoncat 156 posts, incept 2012-03-02
2023-01-25 10:50:59

Excellent analysis TG! I went with a simple approach as well. I thought, okay, this is a coronavirus. Probably a genetic makeup very much like SARS and MERS and in the same general family as the common cold. "The Science" has been searching for a cure for the common cold for multiple decades with no success. Why should I believe that they "got it right" this time? What changed? Why is the outcome going to be "good" this time, when it as always been either a big nothing-burger or very harmful in past attempts? Oh - they are just going to use a portion of the virus proteins this time - the "S" spike protein. Is this because they discovered that this is the greatest/best approach? Well, no, not really - turns out they couldn't use the full sequence because it has proven to cause serious adverse events, so they thought that maybe just introducing a part of the virus to our immune system might do the trick without the terrible/horrible adverse events (hey - it looked pretty good after 3 months of testing - but we aren't going to let you see the data for yourself even though billions of your tax dollars were used to help developed it). Oh, but we are also going to use mRNA technology to make your cells produce the spike protein. It's never been tried before, and mRNA technology itself has been used very sparingly in very sick cancer patients, so we don't really have a good grasp of the risk profile of the mRNA technology either, but "WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!". It was such a giant Red Flag that there was no way I wanted to be the human lab rat for this human experiment (and it was an experiment).
Nadavegan 676 posts, incept 2017-05-03
2023-01-25 10:51:26

@wayiwalk: " the walls are still plastered with idiotic Pro-Covid 19 flyers with suggestions, recommendations et cetera."

I have been tearing these down for months, wherever I see them. I give them to my kids and nephews and nieces. I hang them up in my garage. I have quite a retro COVID collection happening, one day it will be like old Soviet "art". My wife has started to get in on the fun, too. Once my niece asked me why I have been tearing them down, I told her "because no one else is, and nobody believes this crap anymore."
Evergreen 250 posts, incept 2021-12-26
2023-01-25 10:54:13

Wow. Very interesting dynamic at play. Between Ticker's topic and Steve Kirsch's crusade, the FAA is going to be in a squeeze play.

Aircraft are regulated for safety to the nth degree. Statistics is key to threshold settings: probable, remote, extremely remote, extremely improbable...

Someone with a clever wedge placement could put the FAA in a legal bind. The likelihood of adverse aviation events is set by code, and policies and procedures are tailored to deliver the statistical outcomes required.

So, how can anyone quantify the probability of a cockpit adverse event if there has been 1) a disturbing event and 2) no qualifying/quantifying evaluation of the disturbance?

No pilot may be given a pharmaceutical new to the market in under X period of time. This is to prevent pilots from being early adopters of medications with potentially unknown and hazardous side effects which could incapacitate or otherwise reduce their cockpit effectiveness. Makes perfect sense, and it dovetails with the statistics that govern the whole enterprise.

If it is found that 3% of vaxxees have material side effects, the next step is what are they and do they ground a pilot who has them? If it's perhaps .5% of vaxxees who have effects warranting hard grounding, even that is severe.

Kirsch is going to bring the FAA to the table on this, if for no other reason than that the pilots and attendants populations will drive things to a halt now that they are ever more enlightened and enraged about what has been done to them.
Ajkalian 172 posts, incept 2015-09-16
2023-01-25 11:01:10

The information was readily available to anybody that wanted to see it, but the MSM didn't bother to look.

This article spells out the fraud of 95% effective from December 10 2020

Here's the money shot:
In the Moderna placebo group, 185 people of 15,000 got the virus, for an overall infection rate of 1.23%.

Do you see where this is headed? If you divide 0.07% by 1.23%, you get a 5.7% infection rate or inversely , a 94% protection rate, which is whats claimed.

But thats a percentage of a percentage, a ratio of a ratio, something called the relative rate in the medical profession. What this really means is that, of the 1.23% of people who would have gotten the virus in the vaccinated group, 94% of them didnt.

But Moderna isnt testing 30,000 people who are infected with the virus, or even 15,000 people. Only 185 people got the virus (by their definition) in the placebo group. That population was reduced to 11 people with vaccination. These are very small numbers. As stated above, the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective but only 1.23% of the time.

Eleua 21k posts, incept 2007-07-05
2023-01-25 11:13:10

The entire concept of "They were not right; they were just lucky" is the part of man's ego that won't allow himself to be wrong, especially if that subordinates himself to others in the social hierarchy. When these people fancy themselves as better/higher because they are smarter, they will do all sorts of mental gymnastics to keep themselves on the top of that hierarchy.

When your entire world view is based upon "I am smarter, therefore...," you cannot accept "I am not smarter, therefore..."

Put in a more familiar way, "It is easier to fool someone than to convince them they have been fooled."

Diversity + proximity = WAR

-They wanted camps; I want ropes.

Bzelbob 421 posts, incept 2021-09-12
2023-01-25 11:21:48

@Tickerguy - +1000! However, I would argue that even as "Science", they absolutely failed at everything.

"Science" comes from roots meaning 'to know' or 'to distinguish' and is built upon the scientific method:
OHEC (Observe, Hypothesize, Experiment, Conclude).

Observe= FAIL
- We know they (CDC, Pfizer, etc.) did not observe on purpose some important data that was coming out.
(Diamond Princess, non-efficacy of masks/social distancing, efficacy of HCQ/Ivermectin, VAERS numbers, people dropping dead, etc.)
- This lack of observation is as fundamental an error in science as one can commit.

Hypothesize= FAIL
- The whole reason for being for any response to the virus was that the response would make things better not worse.
- Masks? - Provably did not stop this virus, they knew this in advance (as you pointed out), and yet they failed to change their recommendation.
- Social Distancing? - Provably did not stop this virus (hardly slowed it down) and again, they failed to change their recommendations.
- Vaccine? - Should cause 'All cause mortality' to drop. Provably did not. And yet they are still recommending it today.

Experiment= FAIL
- Pfizer, et al, didn't do sufficient trials, CDC didn't force them to, and then tried to hide the data they had for 75 years.
- We still have people experiencing Thudden death as a result nearly every hour of every day.
- Pfizer is NOT withdrawing but are instead building plants to increase manufacturing capability of the vaccinepoison.

Conclude= FAIL
- Not only was Fauci wrong about being 'The Science', he, along with all the other experts, wasn't even close.
- In fact, if anything they are ANTI-science as they continue to reject what is increasingly obvious to everyone else.
- Instead of being in 'the know', they seem impervious to knowledge.

Total and complete scientific failure.
Likely for billions of increasingly worthless dollars. Madness!

"Threats are illogical. And payment is usually expensive." - Sarek of Vulcan
Abelardlindsey 1k posts, incept 2021-03-26
2023-01-25 11:48:32

It is also worth noting that most peer-reviewed research cannot be independently replicated. The non-reproducibility rate is nearly 100% in the social "sciences", which means there is no such thing as social "science". Even in the hard sciences (materials science, for example) about half the papers are not reproducible. Its something like 90% in medical research. Most science is fraud these days.

Its all in the mitochondria
Kfell 274 posts, incept 2014-09-09
2023-01-25 11:48:41

"I am the science"....

Everyone's favorite scientist...

My spidey sense was going off once the Diamond Princess story started to come out.

712 out of 3711 passengers got covid and many of them were asymptomatic. 13 people died and all were older folks.

They weren't injecting anything in my veins or my kids veins.
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