May 27th 2020
According to some "experts," science can sometimes be settled, meaning that in certain areas of study, the evidence has been deemed so overwhelming and indisputable that further debate is not only unnecessary, it is forbidden. Only one interpretation of this evidence is possible. However, science is really nothing more than a tool, developed by humans for the purposes of studying our universe and the world on which we live. And scientists are human beings, which means they are prone to making mistakes. It would be just as silly to genuflect as a show of reverence to science as it would be for a carpenter to worship his hammer. It is helpful to remember that even the person who graduates from medical school at the very bottom of the class has still earned the right to be called "doctor."
Sometimes the mistakes are honest, but scientists have been caught deliberately manipulating both raw data and processed information in order to help shape and control public opinion.
Science was never intended to be used as a weapon to bludgeon or intimidate dissenting opinions into silence. However, politicians and other authority figures have figured out that the only sure way to decisively win an argument is not to have one. They have begun to experience success by weaponizing science in an effort to silence any intellectual opposition. The basic strategy is simple and straightforward: anyone who dares to challenge the conventional wisdom (typically presented as the consensus opinion of scientists) will be mocked and ridiculed as "science deniers." For example, anyone who thinks it might be possible that humans did not evolve from apes is an evolution denier. Anyone who dares question the veracity of the climate knowledge offered by little Greta Thunberg about the alleged truth of climate change will be called climate deniers. And now anyone who dares question blind trust in a horribly flawed computer model predicting a COVID-19 pandemic that hasn't exactly materialized is being called a science denier.
However, I personally prefer to think of myself as a BS detector.
Quite frankly, anyone who argues that consensus among scientists is important or relevant really doesn't understand how science works. No scientific theory is immune to modification or even being falsified by the revelation of new, better evidence. It is only by challenging conventional wisdom (or fortuitous accidents) that scientific breakthroughs ever get achieved, and new, useful information about our world or universe is learned.
According to these evangelists for Science, science deniers bitterly cling to God and their guns because they are too dumb to understand Science or know what's best for them. Obviously, it would be much better to gradually starve your whole family than go to work and let a virus kill you, but the average American isn't smart enough to know this. The only problem for these Science evangelists is that even a redneck layman like me knows science has a long track record of spectacularly wrong but very popular consensus beliefs that have been largely forgotten over time.
The Science evangelists will complain that was centuries ago and blame the church for enforcing the prevailing scientific consensus of the day. So, for a more recent example, we can look at Boris Belousov's discovery that a chemical reaction would continue to change colors as the bromide-acid mixture oscillated in a flask. Authority figures flatly rejected his research and didn't even bother trying to replicate his simple experiment to confirm whether or not the results were accurate. Belousov was reportedly so angry that he retired from scientific research. His discovery is now known as the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction due to the fact that a grad student, Anatol Zhabotinsky, was assigned to duplicate the work in order to render it "acceptable" to the scientific establishment.
My only point is, science is not perfect, and authorities should never be blindly trusted.
Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker recently tweeted that "belief in an afterlife is a malignant delusion, since it devalues actual lives and discourages action that would make them longer, safer, and happier. Exhibit A: What's really behind the Republicans wanting a swift reopening (of the economy)? Evangelicals."
That is a perfect, appalling unsolicited and unhelpful comment coming from an ivory tower-dwelling "expert" like Mr. Pinker, a professed atheist about whom it might be argued has an abnormal fear of death. No, Mr. Pinker, my desire to see the economy growing robustly once again has little or nothing to do with any desire to see Heaven in the immediate future, and everything to do with not wanting to see family, friends, or even foes suffering needless and unnecessary pain due to loss of income. It's true we're all going to die, sooner or later and never been a question of "if" it might happen, but "when," and I'm willing to take one for the team if absolutely necessary. Not everyone is able survive for several months without income.
Nancy Pelosi recently said, "It (successfully reopening the economy) won't happen unless we respect science, science, science. For those who say they choose prayer over science, I say science is an answer to our prayers." In another interview she also said, "There are two challenges that we have had in our respectful disagreement in the debate in the Congress of the United States: governance, and science. Our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have an unease with science. If they didn't, we would have long ago come to testing, testing, testing, in its fullest way. Testing, contact tracing, isolation much sooner than we did. Their delay and denial caused deaths because they didn't respect science and they don't favor governance."
It's probably safe to say that Nancy Pelosi really doesn't understand what she's saying and she's merely parroting talking points generated by a focus group of potential Democrat voters. Almost every word in her ugly little diatribe was a lie, even the articles and prepositions. Remember, this is coming from the same woman who told us that we had to pass a bill into law before we could find out what was in it, as opposed to simply reading the proposed legislation and making an informed decision before voting on whether or not it was a good idea.
For the record, it is not "respectful disagreement" when someone falsely accuses political opponents of being responsible for the unnecessary deaths of innocent victims of an illness. It's also a bit hypocritical to blame the intellectual opposition for killing people due to making bad policy decisions after encouraging people in San Francisco to celebrate the Chinese New Year on February 24th, after the virus was known to have already spread to the U.S.
Furthermore, it is not "science" when governors like Andrew Cuomo can order the state's medical examiners to list COVID-19 as the cause of death just because traces of the virus were detected during an autopsy, manipulating the raw data by falsely inflating the death count for purely political reasons. The New York Times just published a front page allegedly filled with obituary snippets of people who died because of the coronavirus, but skeptics discovered the seventh name on the list was that of a 27-year-old murder victim. As one critic pointed out, if they couldn't even find 1,000 names of real coronavirus victims out of nearly 100,000 death to put on the front page, how many others in the total death count are also bogus?
Viruses don't shoot people. They don't cause heart attacks or brain aneurysms, either. As the evangelists of scientism like to say, correlation does not imply causation. Just because someone tests positive for coronavirus during an autopsy doesn't necessarily mean that the virus killed them. Likewise, Andrew Cuomo boasted, "The number (of people infected with COVID-19) is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Fate did not do that. Destiny did not do that."
Remember, it was Andrew Cuomo (not God) who put sick people into nursing homes. The number of elderly people who died unnecessarily because of his policies significantly increased.
Andrew Cuomo did do that.
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John Leonard is a freelance writer and author of the book Counterargument for God. You may connect with him on Facebook (where he has a friend named Corn Pop!) or contact him through his website at southernprose.com