Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Science does not lead. . .

Follow the science!  At least that is the mantra of those who speak to us of mask wearing, social distancing, vaccinations, sexual preference, and gender as a fluid concept.  The science, they say, is the objective voice.  But that is the problem.  Science does not live in a vacuum.  Science is affected by the cultural norms of a particular group at a particular moment just like everything else is affected by them.

In the 1980s AIDS came on the scene.  It was a disease that was easily preventable but it got caught up in the movement for gay pride and it was not treated as a treatable disease.  The science told us that this was a disease that could be stopped but because it was largely confined to a gay community in search of social legitimacy and enjoying the support of media, the disease was treated differently than COVID 19 was treated.  The science had to follow the culturally accepted norms of the day.  It took longer for AIDS to be dealt with largely because of a movement looking for a moment.

Jump ahead forty years and we see the same thing happening.  The science does not yet speak with a uniform voice about much of anything.  In fact, some of the basic questions raised in the beginning remain unanswered.  Everything from how long immunity lasts for those who have recovered from COVID 19 to whether vaccines still allow someone to pass an infection to others are still questions with a variety of answers depending upon the source.  This post is not about these questions but about the fact that while we want science to speak with one voice and definitively, science does not.  In fact, science is all over the page and the voices we hear are those which accord with the culturally accepted norms of the moment.

The same is true of a host of questions.  With respect to abortion, we do not follow science.  Abortion once hinged on viability but the fetal viability has changed since 1973 and the law has nothing to do with the medical science anymore.  Furthermore, generally the science has always been that the child in the womb is a child and the SCOTUS did not listen to the science in this matter.   We could mention gender dysphoria which is a disorder but no one is listening to the science on this either.  Cultural considerations outweigh the science on both matters.

There is only one objective truth that does not change -- the Word of the Lord that endures forever.  But cultural considerations often render its voice silent because it will not be manipulated by the mood of the moment or because it has the nerve to condemn what our wills desire.  Science does not lead us.  It follows the culture and the only science allowed to speak is the science that we approve.  In this, the culture treats everyone the same.  Speak only if what you say conforms to the thought and speech police enforcing the point of view currently in vogue.  Follow the science -- political science!

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