Blinded By Science

“Believe all scientists” makes about as much sense as “believe all women”. We never should believe all of any group simply because they are a particular identity.

Our local paper published an editorial asserting that if you don’t just blindly do what the “scientists” tell you, you are an anti-vaxxing, knuckle-dragging moron who just wants to kill everybody.

I sent this response last night to be published as a guest editorial:

In a recent editorial, the Park Record arrogantly posits that “Mistrust of Science during crisis is a contagion of its own.”

Let me say that blind trust during a crisis is a feature of religion, not science. Because I am conservative, I am accused of not believing in “science” but as an engineer, my life has always involved science and due to that, I know that science is a process of continual inquiry, not an endpoint.

If I may ask, as related to the COVID-19 pandemic, just which “science” are we supposed to believe?

Was it when the WHO told us that the virus could not be transmitted from human to human? Was it when we were told to wear masks, then not to wear masks, then to wear them again? Or was it when they said we should wear gloves until we were told that wearing gloves might not be the best idea? Was it “science” when we were told not to worry about the coronavirus because it the flu was going to be worse, that we shouldn’t be racists by banning travel from infected areas, that we just should go to festivals and have fun? Was it when riding public transit was OK or when they said that we should not do any of that and it was a failure because we did not do what the “experts” said not to do earlier? Were we supposed to believe the scientific models predicting millions dead or the models that said it could be as few as forty thousand – or when we were told that the ERs would be overwhelmed or when they weren’t’?

How about when we were told that “stay at home” orders were to flatten the curve but now that the curve is flattened, we must continue to cower as our economies, local and national, burn out in the flames of indifference and inaction? Or should we believe conflicting statements from the CDC, the NIH, Fauci, Birx and other “scientists”? That science?

How about citing the “science” behind closing hair salons (where access can be controlled, and PPE consistently employed) but letting Walmart and Home Depot run wild? Where is the “science” saying not quarantining nursing homes was a good idea but closing colleges was? Where is the “science” that says hiding in our homes defeats the virus even as we are told if we exit our sanctuaries before a vaccine is developed sometime in the next two years, the infections will rebound? Where is the science that says people can survive without economic activity and jobs?

As this editorial proves, the word “science” has been abused to the point it is virtually meaningless. It has achieved the same status as “racist” as it now means “people who disagree with my beliefs”.

For an editorial that claims we should rely on facts and science and facts, this editorial treated science as religion and the facts were few and far between. Citing studies about what people MIGHT do is not facts and citing the horribly erroneous IHME model as a valid predictor is ludicrous given its performance against reality and rather than increasing credibility of the Record’s position, bringing in the anti-vaccination movement only cements that the true purpose of this editorial was to dishonestly propose a guilt by association for anyone who questions the Record’s definition of “science”.

The real question is not whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus is more or less deadly than the flu – the real question is whether public policy based on some mythical misinterpretation of science will prove more deadly than the virus.

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