I was reading the article by WH on Saturday about the modelling used around the world and the flaws of one particular model. That model is the one by Neil Ferguson, the world’s most wrong ‘scientist’.

WH pointed out how badly flawed the model was, and I’ve also found more information about that:

The 15,000 lines of code that have cost the global economy an estimated $20 trillion have been open sourced with coders dismayed.

“Billions of lives have been disrupted worldwide on the basis that the study produced by the logic contained in this codebase is accurate, and since there are no tests to show that, the findings of this study (and any others based on this codebase) are not a sound basis for public policy at this time.”

So says Justin Holmes, a coder since 2010, regarding the COVID-19 CovidSim microsimulation model developed by the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis hosted at Imperial College, London.

One of those people helping to refactor and extend was John Carmack, a well known coder who on the 27th of April released this on Github, the platform for open source code.

“As a software engineer, I’m appalled at the quality of this code and the role its played in public policy. The deficits in testing and quality assurance need to be immediately spoken for to assure the claims made by its data are valid,” says a coder going by the name of Tux who seems to have been coding since 2011.

“In a time where faith in scientific models is more important than ever, it’s truly disheartening to see that such widely-used models are based on such faulty testing logic,” says a Software Engineer at Capital One.

Someone claiming to be a now retired senior software engineer at Google, who Carmack links to on twitter, says:

“What [this code is] doing is best described as ‘SimCity without the graphic’. It attempts to simulate households, schools, offices, people and their movements, etc. I won’t go further into the underlying assumptions, since that’s well explored elsewhere…

Due to bugs, the code can produce very different results given identical inputs. They routinely act as if this is unimportant.

This problem makes the code unusable for scientific purposes, given that a key part of the scientific method is the ability to replicate results. Without replication, the findings might not be real at all.”

That is pretty damning. WH has already found that the Ferguson model was used to validate the calibration of the New Zealand model.

That’s the model that Jacinda Ardern used as a basis to claim that if we didn’t lock down then “tens of thousands of people WOULD die”.

So, I thought I’d dig a bit deeper. I started looking through the data dump documents to find information on data modelling. There was none. Eventually, I resorted to searching the site for the word “modelling” and found a media release dated 31 March 2020, 7 days after we were told we were going into level 4 lockdown and 3 days since we had gone into level 4 lockdown.

That press release contained a link to a Ministry of Health website page which provided many links but contained a link to one of only two key modelling reports.

That page explained the modelling:

These modelling reports were commissioned by the Ministry to help us understand the health outcomes and impacts on New Zealand of COVID-19 and to inform the response strategy.

The reports have been completed by Wellington researchers from the University of Otago in collaboration with university colleagues from Germany. The models have been revised based on feedback from peer reviewers, the Ministry of Health’s Chief Science Advisor and public health officials.

Modelling will help inform Government decisions on when, how much, and for how-long, the country can ease the lockdown and other measures.

It’s critical to understand that each of the models presents a number of potential future scenarios; there are no “predictions”.   

Each model has its own degree of uncertainty determined by the assumptions required for any modelling work, and those assumptions are based on the best information available from overseas evidence.

The key assumptions within this model are sourced from available literature and expert judgement.

Sounds impressive doesn’t? The language used makes it all sound serious and thoroughly above board. They even chucked in “peer reviewed” so we can all be reassured by the ‘experts’ that they know what they are doing.

Then when you look at the modelling report, what do you find buried in the references on the last two pages?

That’s right, our so-called experts have used the report and modelling of a man so often wrong on all these matters that you wonder why he is used at all.

It shows how hopeless peer-reviewing is when none of them picked up how dreadful the model was, and by extension any decisions made using those data.

The report that WH highlighted is the same report that is often quoted by the Prime Minister when she haughtily dismisses any questioning of her decisions. This is the report written by maths experts and physics experts that the Prime Minister quotes over and above medical experts like Professor Des Gorman as a means to disparage their views. That report also used the same model.

Those brilliant experts that the Prime Minister relies upon utterly were so hopeless that despite their expertise in mathematics and physics they too failed to pick up the flaws in Ferguson’s model.

But wait, there’s more.

The third report used by the Prime Minister and her hapless ministers to make decisions was also fatally comprised by using Ferguson’s not fit for purpose data model:

So the three data models that the government used to make their decisions to lock down an entire nation under level four were all based on the flawed and now discredited data models of Neil Ferguson.

We’ve wrecked our economy based on a report that is badly flawed and discredited.

The BFD

But wait, the similarities don’t end there. Neil Ferguson did his work at the Imperial College. Which coincidentally is the same place that the pink-haired Siouxsie Wiles, who likes to draw cartoons for the Prime Minister to hold up, worked.

There are more links too. The Hendy report, so loved by the Prime Minister, was created by Te Punaha Matatini, which uses the lofty slogan “Data, Knowledge, Insight”. And who do we find on the Executive Team of that organisation?

Siouxsie Wiles again.

All these people are connected somehow back to Neil Ferguson and Imperial College.

And to cap it all off both Ferguson and Wiles have some of their research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What do the computer programmers who discovered all the flaws say about this model and ANY paper that uses that model?

All papers based on this code should be retracted immediately. Imperial’s modelling efforts should be reset with a new team that isn’t under Professor Ferguson, and which has a commitment to replicable results with published code from day one.

That means that the three data models and the three reports that Jacinda Ardern throws in the face of any one who challenges her should be retracted, immediately.

We are starting to look at industrial sabotage on a massive scale here, where the flawed models of a dodgy, rooting ratbag have been used to systematically and rapidly bring economies to their knees. Surely to god someone will be holding these fools to account?

It has been a massive circle jerk of jolly academics back-slapping each other for jobs well done. But when you remove the flawed and discredited data models of Neil Ferguson it all collapses in on itself.

People’s jobs, businesses and wellbeing have been harmed by the hubris of these so-called experts. Someone needs to hold them to account.

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Cam Slater
As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats. Cam has previously voted National, Act and NZ First, he never was ever tempted to vote Labour or Green, but once contemplated voting for the Maori party. They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners. He is fearless in his pursuit of a story. Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.