The Price of Panic

How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe

The last several months have been unlike anything we’ve ever seen, with extreme measures taken around the world to slow the spread of COVID-19. The policy of lockdowns and mass quarantines were widely adopted — but each passing day begs the question, did we take the right approach? COVID-19 is no doubt a real disease that should be taken seriously. But, our efforts to control it have come with high costs and unintended consequences. The government’s unprecedented strategy of halting the U.S. economy may have been well intentioned, but it has yielded lost businesses, broken dreams, and even death due to depression, addiction, other untreated diseases, and even starvation in some parts of the world.

So, how did we get here and what will happen next? In their insightful new book The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe, Discovery Institute Senior Fellows Jay Richards and Doug Axe and statistician William M. Briggs grapple with crucial questions:

  • What will be the total cost in dollars, lives, and livelihoods of this response from governments, taken on advice from scientists? 
  • What role have national and global health organizations such as WHO played in this? To whom are they accountable? 
  • What evidence do they rely on in sounding the alarm?  
  • How did science bureaucrats, relying on murky data and speculative computer models, gain the power to shut down the global economy? 
  • How did politicians, who know nothing of the science, decide whom to trust?

In this talk, Richards, Axe, and Briggs will outline what we now know and how to prevent this from ever happening again.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Noon–1:00 PM PT


Online Event


Contact Jackson Meyer at



Douglas Axe

Maxwell Professor of Molecular Biology at Biola University, Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Douglas Axe is the Maxwell Professor of Molecular Biology at Biola University, the founding Director of Biologic Institute, the founding Editor of BIO-Complexity, and the author of Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed. After completing his PhD at Caltech, he held postdoctoral and research scientist positions at the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Medical Research Council Centre. His research, which examines the functional and structural constraints on the evolution of proteins and protein systems, has been featured in many scientific journals, including the Journal of Molecular Biology, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, BIO-Complexity, and Nature, and in such books as Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen Meyer and Life’s Solution by Simon Conway Morris.

William M. Briggs

William M. Briggs. the Statistician to the Stars!, is a writer, philosopher and itinerant scientist living on a small but densely populated island in the Atlantic Ocean. He earned his PhD from Cornell University in statistics. He studies the philosophy of science, the use and misuses of uncertainty, the corruption of science, and the uselessness of most predictions. He began life as a cryptologist for the Air Force, slipped into weather and climate forecasting, and matured into an epistemologist.

Jay W. Richards

Senior Fellow at Discovery, Senior Research Fellow at Heritage Foundation
Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and the Executive Editor of The Stream. Richards is author or editor of more than a dozen books, including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated (2013) and Indivisible (2012); The Human Advantage; Money, Greed, and God, winner of a 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award; The Hobbit Party with Jonathan Witt; and Eat, Fast, Feast. His most recent book, with Douglas Axe and William Briggs, is The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic Into a Catastrophe.