Mask Wearing: Young Men and Older Women P2

If you haven’t read P1 of this, click HERE and do so now. Otherwise this P2 will make no sense. (It’s up to you whether you do the task there but you should be in a better position to make an informed evaluation of what I say here if you do.)

In P1 of this blogpost, I conducted a wee ad hoc survey in Glasgow city centre one afternoon a few weeks ago before mask-wearing was mandatory and found, from my tiny sample and very dodgy methodology, that the mask-wearing fraction of the sample was roughly equivalent to the ‘less than a quarter’ of the survey population that I’d estimated at the start.

My reaction to that was that it didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was the two demographic groups that were, overwhelmingly wearing masks. Not just in my tiny fraction of 5 out of 24, but all over George Square, and Queen Street Station, when I simply stopped and stared.

In P1 I invited you to replicate my staring, in a more controlled manner (open to other selective errors, it’s true) for yourselves. With these instructions:

  • Look at a clear photo of an unrelated crowd of people, perhaps in the background to a single person, taken in recent months but before mandatory masking was imposed.
  • Draw a grid like this one and enter a vertical line in groups up to 4 then one diagonally across the group for 5 (the gate system, because it looks like one) or just a number in each box.
Sex

Age

Male

Masked               Unmasked

Female

Masked               Unmasked

Child
Older Teen/ Early Twenties
Young Adult
Middle-Aged
Elderly
  • See how your result compares with mine. (Don’t click HERE to find out, until you’ve done your homework.)
  • You can let me know your findings on either Instagram or Twitter; I’m (at)gumptionology on both.

I’m now going to presume that either you’ve completed the task or you’re not going to, so here’s what I found:

Overwhelmingly, the two demographic groups that were wearing masks were … (drum roll) these:

  • In the male group – Older Teen/ Early Twenties
  • In the female group – Middle-Aged

Why?

Tentatively, I began to wonder whether these two very different demographics had different motivations and it struck me that perhaps rule-following might account for the first and caring for the second.

Why?

Rule-following can be characteristic of autism, a condition which appears to affect men and boys much more than women and girls, and which appears to be increasing in prevalence, with exactly this demographic most affected. (All of these generalisations need, of course, careful qualification.)

It’s no news that middle-aged women find the burden of care falling more heavily on their shoulders than any other demographic. True, younger mums are raising families but – as that task seems never-ending (especially nowadays when so many young people can’t afford their own place) – on entering middle age, women can find themselves expected to also take on the lioness’s share of caring for elderly parents as well. That’s not all, according to a 2010 survey in England:

“about 80 per cent of all jobs in adult social care are done by women; the proportion in direct care and support-providing jobs is higher, at 85-95 per cent”

What’s my conclusion? This post is not about the pros and cons of mask-wearing or controversy over the political nature of the pandemic. It’s simply to say that mask-wearing is a complex sociological phenomenon and that people may have very different motivations for compliance and non-compliance with recent regulations. (As well as that, let’s not forget the legal exceptions.)

This may explain why so few mask-wearers are open to evaluation of the coherence of the science. For them it’s not about logic; it’s about security and core identity. Therefore it may be very hard indeed to get the message across that:

  • Sometimes, official rules don’t make sense and the people who make them don’t have your best interests in mind.
  • It’s more caring – to yourself and to everyone else – not to wear a mask.

(Thanks to Mikhail Denishchenko for releasing his image Corona Virus into the Public Domain.)

Advertisement

Mask Wearing: Young Men and Older Women P1

I was unchaining my bike in the centre of Glasgow some weeks ago – before mandatory mask-wearing was imposed – and was struck by how few people were wearing them. Trundling my bike along the pedestrian precinct (I could’ve cycled but I’m not obnoxious) following my accustomed route to the train station, I decided to conduct an ad hoc count. The streets were fairly busy that weekday afternoon, at least they seemed so to me after Glasgow being a ghost town during early lockdown, and I knew I couldn’t keep up with all the passersby. So I decided to sample the population of people on the street (along my route, in that part of Glasgow, at that time, on that day) by counting only every third person who happened to walk towards me so directly that one of us had to change direction, as I went along. Starting at a bike rack near Central Station and heading to Queen Street Station via George Square, this sample turned out to be around 24, of which about 5 were wearing masks. So, the mask-wearing fraction of the sample was roughly equivalent to the ‘less than a quarter’ of the survey population that I’d estimated at the start.

A social scientist would no doubt rate my methodology somewhere between ‘Inadequate’ and ‘Rubbish’. A kind description of this wee survey, clearly open to confirmation bias and neither blinded nor representative in any sense, would be ‘anecdotal’. It didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was the two demographic groups that were, overwhelmingly wearing masks. Not just in my tiny fraction of 5 out of 24, but all over George Square, and Queen Street Station, when I simply stopped and stared.

Now. Just stopping and staring will get you a lot of points if you can pass it off either as a preliminary to ethnographic ‘thick description’ or as meditative za-zen. However, in terms of data gathering, it’s, well, definitely Rubbish. So I invite you to replicate my staring, in a more controlled manner (open to other selective errors, it’s true) for yourselves. Here’s how:

  • Look at a clear photo of an unrelated crowd of people, perhaps in the background to a single person, taken in recent months but before mandatory masking was imposed.
  • Draw a grid like this one and enter a vertical line in groups up to 4 then one diagonally across the group for 5 (the gate system, because it looks like one) or just a number in each box.
Sex

Age

Male

Masked               Unmasked

Female

Masked               Unmasked

Child
Older Teen/ Early Twenties
Young Adult
Middle-Aged
Elderly
  • See how your result compares with mine. (Don’t click HERE to find out, until you’ve done your homework.)
  • You can let me know your findings on either Instagram or Twitter; I’m (at)gumptionology on both.

(Thanks to Mikhail Denishchenko for releasing his image Corona Virus into the Public Domain.)

ScotFree: Shopping Unmasked

As the illustration shows, it is a legal right to shop and conduct business in Scotland without wearing a mask due to exemption on grounds of disability/ health conditions, as provided for in Scottish Government regulations published on Friday 10th July 2020. Distant shop staff,  infants and anyone in a cafe etc. are also covered (see details).

The posting of any public notice which fails to mention such exemption is illegal under two Acts of Parliament: the UK Data Protection Act (2018) which embeds the GDPR into UK law and regulates the processing of data (including requesting it) especially sensitive data as related to health/ disability; and the UK Equality Act (2010) which protects everyone, especially those under the 9 protected characteristics – one of which is disability.

In short, anyone not wearing a mask in any building or vehicle in Scotland where mask-wearing is mandatory should be assumed by the general public and by the staff of that location to be covered by legal exemption.

  • Any enquiry as to why they are not wearing a mask is illegal and constitutes at least harassment and may constitute direct discrimination as all businesses and services have an anticipatory duty to provide (hassle-free) access to disabled people.

My advice is to keep calm and to request to see the Manager/ HR and explain the legal repercussions of such illegal posting/ enquiries. Under Scots Law the individual may be liable even as staff if acting on “his/ her own frolic”; the company is liable if the staff member can prove that (despite Staff Training including both UK laws) the company has required such posting or enquiry. Be kind and explain that you really like this shop/ business and you just want to give them a (free) legal “heads up” because you don’t want anyone suing them. Cos we know what people are like!

Violation of either Act of Parliament carries huge financial penalty.

On a completely unrelated note, if you live in an area of air pollution (anything above a village in the back of beyond, basically) you are likely to have a degree of intellectual disability. Now, according to the 2010 Act, disability is something that affects your day-to-day living (find you can’t think straight ever?) for over a period of a year – and it doesn’t have to manifest constantly. You can have a fluctuating condition.  Anyway, even in the back of beyond (like the Arctic) micro pollutants are affecting our health. So every single one of us has a health condition and we can also assume that we’re disabled. Co-incidentally, that means everyone’s covered by the exemptions above.

Now. I’m not telling you to make copies of this illustration and keep it handy to present/ reference in such situations. No, no. And I’m not saying “PLEASE SHARE THIS POST FAR AND WIDE COS IT’S URGENT UNLESS YOU WANT TYRANNY!” No, no.

But you could.

ScotFree

Illustration released into the Public Domain, with link to this post, by Alan McManus, 10th July 2020.

5 Ways to Disagree

This is a more structured version of my podcast of the same title which reflects on how we can discuss and even argue with people who hold opinions opposed to ours, irrespective of logic or empirical evidence, and so passionately, that we may be justified in calling them beliefs – and they may be justified in doing the same.

Although many of us moderns (especially White, slick urbanites) like to think of ourselves as all about science and having nothing to do with belief, there are some convictions on issues which are clearly not evidence-based and about which we are immune to rational persuasion.

Rather than identifying particular positions as irrational, I prefer to present examples of opposing beliefs, and some middle ground, without (too much) judgement. After doing so, I suggest 5 ways we can dialogue with each other, even when we disagree. The table below is not a nuanced account of any of these positions but serves to show their conflict. The middle position is not necessarily the one I consider most rational in all cases.

Issue/ Belief  Established Middle ground Dissenting
Abortion Amoral medical procedure, sometimes necessary/ human right. Cornerstone of female autonomy & modern feminism. Unborn baby is basically a bloodclot. Tragic conflict of rights in a misogynist society which still does not support female socio-economic autonomy, pregnancy, childbirth or childcare. Lucrative immoral practice of eugenics, often racist, sexist & ableist, by selfish women, authoritarian governments & doctors breaking Hippocratic Oath. Zygote is basically a baby.
AIDS HIV is the necessary & sufficient cause of AIDS (Gallo)  HIV is co-factor of AIDS but good nutrition/ clean water will flush it out (Montagnier) HIV is at least a co-factor of AIDS, oxidation may be another, but epidemiological data is so flawed & positions over e.g. poppers (alkyl nitrate) & Kaposi’s Sarcoma so entrenched, it is difficult to say anything for certain. HIV is a harmless passenger virus unconnected to AIDS – an  incoherent set of diseases caused by malnutrition & drugs including HIV meds (Duesberg)

HIV has never been proved to exist

(Perth Group)

Animal Farming Natural: humans are omnivores and animals hunt eat other for food. Factory farming & fishing bycatch/ plastic pollution unnecessary is cruel but animal welfare can be improved by a return to traditional farming/ fishing. Immoral. We are not just wild animals and traditional ecological communities of hunters & fishers do not subject animals to a (short) lifetime of cruelty.
Black Lives Matter Black people are causing racist division in our now totally equal societies. The cause of BLM is good but it is funded/ infiltrated by corporate interests with a different agenda.* It’s the 21st C. and Black people are still not safe anywhere. Defund the police!
Environment There is no environmental problem. Big business as usual! There may or may not be a relationship between emissions and global warming but plastic & air pollution is real. The Green movement is funded/ infiltrated by corporate interests with a different agenda.* The Earth is in crisis and only an immediate halt to CO2 & other toxic emissions will save humanity.  
5G/ Cashless Economy/ Cryptocurrency/ Blockchain 5G is useful, empowering, safe & efficient. It’s unconnected to the others which are just a more efficient & sanitory method of finance. We should be cautious about possible harm from any new technology, especially one using microwaves. The industry promoting it is unlikely to be impartial. The others are useful but problematic in terms of money laundering/ the Dark Web. All this is part of *The Great Reset: unelected oligarchic global governance based on citizen surveillance using biodata.
Transgender Human right if born in the wrong body. Access all areas! Confusing conflation of transsexual and transvestite people who have very different rights and present very different dangers to women and children. Attack on female safe space and sovereignty. Unnatural & especially harmful to kids who end up irreversibly mutilated, scarred & sterile for life & unable to enjoy sex.
Vaccines Totally safe. Good in general but their proliferation is worrying as is lack of legal accountability for past & future harms by pharmaceutical industry. Totally unsafe. Cause of autism etc.
Viruses: Covid-19/ H1N1 (Swine Flu) Real threat to life. Masks, social distancing, citizen surveillance, vaccines are our only hope against certain destruction of the human race. Bad (incommensurable) data; bad (incoherent) results. Censorship of dissenting experts not helping understanding of threat & solution. Scam/ social engineering with real or fake virus. Key part of another agenda operating since the 9/11 scam.*

Some of these issues line up with bipartisan politics – especially in the USA – and so some have described this as conflict of cultures. If we accept ideologies as similar to cultures, then one solution to continual argument is an approach similar to multiculturalism – which is a social strategy that has never been tried seriously in the UK (despite the political rhetoric) because, throughout our history, no culture apart from the dominant one has ever felt sufficiently safe.

In the USA it has never been tried at all, as the famous ‘Melting Pot’ is the antithesis of cultural respect. Expression of non-dominant cultural identity in the USA is only tolerated if it is folksy, touristy, commercially packaged, relegated to the past or heavily-constrained and bounded communities. When accessible, urban, vociferous and resistant to assimilation, it is severely repressed.

However convivencia was a key virtue of much of Al-Andalus (Moorish Spain) during the years when Christians and Jews lived securely under Muslim rule. Out of their dialogue came many literary, philosophical and scientific riches.

So what are my thoughts on a more convivial way of engaging with people of different persuasions? I suggest 5 ways to disagree:

  • Acknowledge the benevolence of people on the other side – they may truly believe what they do in good faith, with the information, cultural identity, emotional investment and relationships they have at this time.
  • Find shared values & goals: e.g. Pro-Life & Pro-Choice women can at least agree on supporting women who want to give birth and face social & economic obstacles, without giving up their opposition over the morality & legality of abortion.
  • Agree on a basis of evidence. This may be a legal or religious text that one or both parties holds as authoritative, a set of scientific studies, a certain database, etc.
  • Explore coherence – using logic, the value system each claims to uphold, and perhaps one of the above, this step may serve to demolish an opponent’s argument but may also enable it to be expressed more intelligibly, enabling better mutual understanding.
  • Agree to disagree. If you agree on nothing else, at least acknowledge the legal right to freedom of expression/ freedom of speech and resist attempts by others to censor this fundamental value of democracy.
argument-silhouette
Silhouette of older White man & younger Black man arguing

Thanks to Mohamed Mahmoud Hassan for releasing his image Argument Silhouette into the public domain.

 

5 Ways to Disagree (podcast)

Rather rambling reflections on possible strategies taken from interfaith dialogue between people committed to opposing secular ideologies they believe in and both claim to be rational and factual. Mention of: failed multiculturalism in UK and (especially) USA contrasted with success in Moorish Spain; opposing views on:

Abortion

AIDS

Animal Farming

Black Lives Matter

Environment

5G/ Cashless Economy/ Cryptocurrency/ Blockchain

Vaccines

Viruses: Covid-19/ H1N1 (Swine Flu)

(And I completely forgot about transgender ideology, which is another case in point)

https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-zegba-e23cab