Saying, 'Trust The Science' Showcases Democrat Ignorance
When Americans object to lockdowns and mandatory masks, Leftists cry “trust the science.” This phrase reveals just how little they actually know about science. Einstein, who did know something about science, said “the most important thing is to never stop questioning;” he did not say “never stop trusting.” Americans need to recognize that the leftists’ mantra is not about science but about silence.
It is a fundamental tenet of science to doubt everything, including political statements. Science is an ever-changing field where competing ideas are hypothesized, tested, and then followed by vigorous challenges that frequently overturn earlier findings. Science has been wrong so often that anyone looking to it to provide “the” single unassailable answer is almost comical. What’s worse is that those who would prefix “science” with “accepted” dogmatically refuse to change.
For millennia, astronomy’s “accepted science” asserted that the Sun circled the Earth, even though believing so required a universe where planets periodically stopped and briefly reversed course before continuing on their heavenly journeys. It would take four of the greatest minds in history — Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton — working over centuries to change the “accepted science.” Along the way, the resistance was fierce — books were banned, burned, and its authors incarcerated.
Galileo, for instance, was convicted of heresy for his troubles and forced to spend the remainder of his life under house arrest. The “accepted science” finally came around 350 years later when, in 1992, Galileo was officially vindicated.
When Darwin published his seminal treatise, On the Origin of the Species, the “accepted science” community went into full assault. “All the most eminent paleontologists . . . maintain the immutability of the species.” Darwin’s theory is “the greatest cosmological myth of the 20th century.” “There are absolutely no facts . . . [of] the development of one species from another.” “Parts of it I laughed at until my sides were almost sore.” It took a Supreme Court ruling in1968 to finally allow evolution to be legally taught in all 50 states.
Aerospace pioneer Robert Goddard, for daring to envision a rocket moving through the vacuum of space, was ridiculed by the “accepted science” in the New York Times: Goddard failed basic science because the Times, while Goddard clearly did not, that rockets “need to have something more than a vacuum against which to react.” Not until fifty years later, the day after Apollo 11 lifted off to land a man on the moon, did the Times stubbornly issue a retraction.
Until recently, the “accepted science” held stomach ulcers were the result of spicy foods and stress. When Australia's Barry Marshall challenged that “accepted science” with evidence that instead it was the bacteria H pylori that caused ulcers, he was ridiculed and his work refused publication.
Desperate, Marshall concocted a foul broth of the bacteria and chugged it down. After days of vomiting, sickness, and fatigue, he rammed an endoscope down his throat to biopsy his own stomach. As he expected, he had developed ulcers and found H pylori. Even then, the “accepted science” remained skeptical, but finally realized they had met their match with Marshall, awarding him the Nobel Prize 20 years later.
For the modifier “accepted” to be placed before “science,” there must be overwhelming, clear, and convincing evidence for it, which is usually limited to the simplest cases, like the three laws of thermodynamics. But even then, serious scientists never stop trying to topple these principles.
Other than overarching principles, most other questions are such that it is exceedingly difficult to draw definitive conclusions. Does light therapy regrow hair? Does intermittent fasting increase longevity? Does fish oil improve memory? Go and look. The science is so contradictory, you can turn to the scientific literature to find any answer you wish.
If science cannot give definitive answers to these trivial questions, what are the chances science can say anything definitive about the complex epidemiological consequences of shutdowns and masks involving billions of people, trillions of interactions, in a completely uncontrolled environment? Do the benefits of shutdowns outweigh the immense costs, including overdose and suicide spikes due to the forced despair of financial ruin and home incarceration; the damage to our children’s minds from lack of education; or increased risks from delayed medical screening and vaccinations?
What about masks? Are they effective? If so, which types? And if they’re not effective, does the false prophylactic effect encourage behavior that actually increases risk? Does the inhalation of your own exhaled air have any adverse health effects?
Good luck getting a definitive answer from American “science.” Instead, as we’ve seen throughout history, anything that challenges the “accepted science” gets ridiculed and censored. Dr. Scott Atlas, a professor of neuroradiology and senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, certainly someone who knows something about science, has consistently made the case against lockdowns due to their severe consequences. For instance, the World Food Programme reports the economic consequences from shutdowns will push 135 million worldwide to the brink of starvation. Yet Atlas is consistently censored on Twitter and ridiculed in the media.
Similarly, a Danish group completed the largest study of mask use ever, over 4000 people back in April, but only managed to find a publisher for this important work this November. Why? Perhaps because their study showed — what every peer-reviewed study has shown over the past 20 years — “no statistical significance” of mask effectiveness. Not surprisingly, the “accepted science” community has been suspending accounts tweeting the link to the study.
At its best, science is a dynamic marketplace of ideas struggling for acceptance through constant tests against reality. Even so, science remains wholly fallible and rarely settled. At its worst, science rebels against challenges to its current dogma, sometimes taking centuries to come to accept what should have been obvious truths.
Politicians appealing to the “accepted science,” especially in complex situations, are merely avoiding the difficult task of supporting their own policies through reasoned debate. Instead, they hide behind a false authority, one that provides a grab bag of conflicting answers that a politician can use to justify any policy bias.
A politician asking you to “trust the science” is compelling unquestioning blind obedience by relying on general ignorance about the limits of science. So, if you really want to “trust the science,” never stop questioning it.
Image: Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition by Cristiano Banti (1857). Public Domain.