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March 5th, 2021

Insight

Politicized 'Science' Is Not Science at All

Josh Hammer

By Josh Hammer

Published Feb. 19, 2021

Politicized 'Science' Is Not Science at All
Most middle schoolers or high schoolers in America are taught a mode of empirical inquiry and knowledge attainment usually referred to as the "scientific method." Although the discipline has origins dating back to classical antiquity, the term emerged in the 19th century and took on sustained life in the 20th century.

The multistep "scientific method," as it is generally formulated, amounts to something along the lines of: (1) problem; (2) research; (3) hypothesis; (4) experiment; (5) data collection; (6) analysis; and (7) conclusion.

Rational empiricism and a skepticism of the status quo inhere in the very process; they are baked into the entire enterprise. The purpose of the scientific method is to constantly contest and, when necessary, disprove flawed hypotheses and mistaken conclusions previously deduced about the workings of the natural world.

A basic thought experiment is instructive: Imagine what sort of world we might have today had Copernicus, Galileo and all subsequent astronomers blindly accepted the erroneous, then-dominant belief in a geocentric universe.

True, as the conservative icon Edmund Burke taught, epistemological humility is a defining trait of political statesmanship. But science is not, contra the left's frequent hysterical shrieks, synonymous with politics. On the contrary, any scientist worth his salt must approach his discipline with something resembling the opposite of epistemological humility — skepticism, that is, of the legitimacy of the inherited status quo and an insatiable desire to challenge the status quo's underlying precepts.

Only through such intellectually unconstrained, methodologically rigorous testing can we approach confidence in the validity of any claimed scientific knowledge.

Alas, the Democratic Party, America's would-be "party of science," whose leading lights bellow, "Trust the science!" as an authoritative command akin to the tablet-bearing Moses' descent from Mount Sinai, missed the memo.

Whether the issue is climate change, COVID-19 mask mandates, pandemic-era school reopenings or any other number of issues, the left browbeats its political opponents with the faux mantle of science and accuses those who have the temerity to ask questions as science "deniers." Flat-earthers no doubt nod with approval, but Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein scowl from the grave.

Hold aside the fact that the left, on issues such as the biological personhood of the unborn child and the chromosomal immutability of sex, holds substantive policy positions that are manifestly hostile to science. The frequency with which the left acts as if the science on any given issue is "settled" — indeed, the very notion of "settled science" — is anti-science, no matter how confident proponents of any specific scientific theory may be.

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It was less than a year ago, after all, that the World Health Organization's Dr. Mike Ryan pronounced: "There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit." It turns out that "science" was not particularly "settled." And within just a few months, after the WHO changed its mind on the efficacy of mask-wearing, Facebook outright removed a prominent mask-skeptical group on its platform for spreading COVID-19 "misinformation."

All throughout this pandemic — whether it was "15 days to slow the spread," mask mandates, social distancing, draconian lockdowns, business closures or massively delayed school reopenings — skeptics have been told to shut up and just "follow the science."

But even if the notion of "settled science" were somehow not oxymoronic (which it is), it would be unjust to structure a public policy agenda and political regime solely based upon the whims of science. Scientists naturally view the world and advocate policy recommendations through the prism of their chosen discipline. So, medical doctors, such as the much-ballyhooed Dr. Anthony Fauci, naturally view the world through the prism of medicine.


Economists naturally view the world through the prism of economics. The task falls to politicians alone to deploy prudence, discernment and careful judgment in balancing competing inputs and best channeling the pursuit of justice, human flourishing and the common good.

With apologies to Neil deGrasse Tyson, no one should want to live in a world in which science rules the roost.

Such a life would be desiccated, miserable and meaningless. Science exists to assist in our understanding of the natural universe, but it has no answers whatsoever to life's most existentially pressing questions — the existence of G od, the best way to lead a virtuous life and so forth.

Lowercase "s" science is good; uppercase "S" Science is bad. And it would benefit our political leaders to grasp the all-important difference.

(COMMENT, BELOW)


Previously:
02/12/21 The Limits of 'Free Speech'
01/29/21 Populism's irony is not lost on the non-elietes
01/25/21 The Conservative Path Forward in the Biden-Harris Era
01/15/21 Trump's Parting Shot To China Should Be Full U.S. Recognition of Taiwan
12/31/20 It Can't Get Any Worse Than 2020. Here's a 2021 Political Wish List
12/18/20 Immigration Politics Went Away During COVID-19. It's Coming Back
12/11/20 Hunter Biden Saga Personifies Ruling Class Power and Conceit
12/04/20 There's No Stopping America's Political Realignment
11/13/20 Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Is Idiotic and Immoral
11/06/20 The Election Battle Is Just Beginning
10/30/20 The Closing Argument for the American Regime
10/23/20 How to Prepare for a Contested Election
10/16/20 Will Conservatives Finally Awaken to the Big Tech Threat?
10/09/20 Biden-Harris Would Deal a Huge Blow to Religious Liberty
10/02/20 The Do-or-Die Moment for the Trump Presidency
09/25/20 Republicans, Confirm a Supreme Court Justice Immediately
09/18/20 Where Does Never Trump Now Stand?
09/11/20 Where Is Joe Biden's Supreme Court List?
09/04/20 The Dems Hold the Nation Hostage
08/31/20 Trump and Netanyahu Debunk the Failed Consensus
08/21/20 Trump and Netanyahu debunk the failed consensus
08/06/20 High stakes of Americanists v. civilizational arsonists
07/31/20 The Crisis of the Conservative Legal Movement
07/24/20 The Ruling Class Has Sold Out the American People on Communist China
07/17/20 Intersectionality Vs. America
07/10/20 President Trump Emerges as Defender of the American Regime
07/03/20 How to Salvage a Pandemic Independence Day
06/26/20 This time the 'regime change' is BY Americans AGAINST America
06/12/20 How to Fall in Love With America Again
06/12/20 A Tale of Two Americas
06/05/20 Evil enforcers
05/28/20 Trump Is on the Ballot -- Not His Twitter Feed
05/22/20 Confronting the Chinese Communist Party Is America's Generational Challenge
05/15/20 The Case for Israeli Annexation
05/08/20 Will Trump stand with the voters who elected him, or will he shill for the elites who heap scorn upon him every day?
05/01/20 Bill de Blasio Highlights the Far Left's Jewish Problem
04/24/20 Will There Be Another Great Awakening?
04/17/20 Stop the Insane Coronavirus Jailbreaks
04/13/20 The American Media Hits Rock Bottom
04/03/20 The Moral Incoherence of Andrew Cuomo
03/27/20 Coronavirus Is Communist China's Chernobyl
03/20/20 How to Save a Presidency

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