Grasping for Sticks, Gasping for Air, and Justitia

Pseudoscience and the Reification Fallacy in Minneapolis

America was a collective eyewitness to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on the evening of May 25th, 2020. Next to a confession, eyewitness testimony is considered to be the most robust class of evidence in criminal courts.

So much of what had been deemed to be true in science is overruled by subsequent revelations. Often the revelations are more the product of new methods of measurement (x-ray crystallography, mapping of the human genome, etc,) than the result of improvements in the scientific method described by Claude Bernard in his classic 1865 book on experimental medicine. Bernard, Claude, An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (Dover edition 1957; originally published in 1865; first English translation by Henry Copley Greene, published by Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1927).

For example, George Floyd had contracted acute Covid-19 a few weeks before his death, and he still tested positive for Covid-19 at the time of his death. This information was noted during the trial of the police officers, but without further elaboration. Yet in the short time since the trial, a curious phenomenon has been observed: unexpected excess U.S. mortality beyond that which can be accounted for by deaths during the initial acute Covid-19 illness.

Much further analysis is required to understand and quantify this excess mortality. One postulate is that heart damage might be the culprit. A Yale immunobiologist was very recently quoted as saying, “We still don’t really grasp the entire spectrum and breadth of disease yet. We are still learning.” Opinion | Why Are So Many Americans Dying Right Now? – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Criminal charges are often first brought decades after an alleged crime, i.e., in “cold cases.” Science often supplies the evidence. To keep the scale of Justitia in proper balance, constant vigilance is required. The essay below does not make any further reference to this unexplained excess mortality.

Should we all look again at the George Floyd tragedy? Philosophy, Medicine, Law, and Theology cannot all be mastered by any single person. Goethe’s Dr. Herman Faust did so, but only as a fictional character. In Faust, Part 1, it was the comedian, not the scholarly physician, who observed… “then one while this, and one while that, is stirred up; each one sees what he carries in his heart.

Injustice takes many forms.