The pandemic demonstrates that facts are not just fact

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Many critics of the so-called post-factual society want to go back to a bygone era when a spade was called a spade and facts were something that citizens did not question.

If we were able to construct our societies on scientific facts, then everyone would march in the same direction, the fog would evaporate and all would be well again.

But there is something these critics have not quite understood, as the current pandemic provides great insight into – if only you pay attention: scientific facts have never been unambiguous datapoints but rather complicated, fabricated and ambiguous products.

The death tolls registered of COVID-19 cases during the pandemic seem to provide unequivocal facts. For either one is dead or one is not dead, right?

However, different countries and regions operate with different practises and means of carrying out investigations and counting the dead. Besides, the infected people in different countries, regions and boroughs often have very different underlying levels of health.

And is the deceased dead due to COVID-19 or dead and then tested positive for COVID-19? These very concrete insecurities in the current pandemic show that we often end up comparing ‘apples to oranges’ and that facts are not just facts.
TidsskriftScience Nordic
StatusUdgivet - 28 maj 2020

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