Blindly following “the science” into ruin
today at 2:42 pm
Aren’t you sick of politicians calling down “science” on the heads of anyone who disagrees with their politicalization of the coronavirus pandemic to justify their poisonous economic lockdowns.
It brings to mind a similar scenario: In the 1970s, Chicago began installing high-pressure sodium streetlights that “science” told us would be disastrous.
A campaign was launched to halt the installation of the orange-colored lights because, the “science” said they could practically lead to the deforestation of Chicago. The glow, “science” told us, would screw up the day and night rhythms of trees, making trees think that it’s still daylight when it was nighttime. As a result, the trees would struggle to keep growing and die–on a massive scale.
Didn’t happen. The “science” was wrong.
But now that the city now is replacing those same sodium bulbs with LED lights that more resemble daylight, the “science” is warning of new dangers, wouldn’t you know.
Not just science, but a “growing body of science”–the cliche deployed to demonstrate that this is oh-so-ever-more-serious stuff. As WBEZ (naturally) reported,
But critics say this isn’t a bright idea — or maybe too bright of an idea? — and they point to a growing body of science showing links between some LED lights and health and environmental problems.
Among them (of course) was confusing the trees, making them think night was day. (Read here, the ((politicized)) American Medical Association’s chilling list of harm that will befall people, animals and plants.)
Scientific certainty today is taking a beating because of its many failures in the battle against coronavirus. Those failures have led to the economic devastation that fell on many more millions of Americans than on those who have fallen victim to COVID-19.
Saying that the epidemiologists blew it is an understatement. Millions have not died of it. Hospitals were not crushed under the COVID-19 burden; instead uncounted millions were spent to build additional beds that never came close to being filled. Meanwhile, people needing surgeries and other “elective” procedures didn’t get them.
Masks wouldn’t do anything we were initially told. Then we were told that everyone must wear them. The Centers for Disease Control first warned that we could get the virus from touching surfaces; then, well, not so much. The World Health Organization first assured us the infection wouldn’t travel from human to human; then it warned that it was the only way could travel.
Maybe or maybe not the virus originated in a filthy Chinese food market. Scientists can’t agree on whether a rebound of the disease will be evidence that the drastic shutdowns worked or that the “heard immunity” has been reached.
As a story in the Washington Post observed:
In this pandemic, we’re swimming in statistics, trends, models, projections, infection rates, death tolls….
Scientists are still trying to understand the virus they call SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease covid-19. Basic questions are not fully answered: How deadly is this virus? How contagious? Are there different strains with different clinical outcomes? Why does SARS-CoV-2 create a devastating disease in some people while leaving others without symptoms or even knowledge that they were infected?
The politicalization of science is a contentious issue within the scientific community itself. The debate goes back decades. But for the rest of us, it is necessary to keep up our guard against “agenda science.” Democracy cannot turn decision-making over to technocrats and experts.
Pompous declarations that “we are following the science” are usually followed by distortion, exaggeration or need to be closely examined and challenged. It has become such a cliche that its use alone threatens to discredit science. We can’t allow that either.