(LifeSiteNews) — The reputation of science done in public and in private has dramatically declined over the last few years. What was formerly regarded as a bastion of methodical reason based on the interrogation of evidence has been reduced to an instrument of power. The example of science – “The Science” which we are exhorted to follow without question – demonstrates amply that no institution is immune to ideology.
Why does this matter? Science is supposed to be different from other areas of human activity. Its reputation rests on a presumption that science and scientists are about the discovery of the nature of things uninflected by opinion. It is the gold standard of reason, and is the means by which we have achieved tremendous technological advancement.
Yet science is done by people, and people are not perfect. Nor are the means by which “science” is done, being reliant on peer-review to the potential exclusion of the scientific method itself. No understanding of the production and perception of science is adequate without the caveat of human error.
Peer-review, for example, is the publishing of papers in journals for the consideration of other scientists in your field. They read the papers and a debate ensues, with the best explanations for the evidence emerging as a result. This sounds splendid – on paper. In practice, a quite different type of paper has much to say on the matter.
If you have the money to buy opinion then the business – and science is a business – of manufacturing agreement is simple. Ownership of journals whether directly or by sponsorship certainly helps. The influence of money in much science is obvious to a casual view. The pharmaceutical industry is one area where the invisible hand of the market is barely concealed in a blue nitrile glove.
So much for the business of science. It is not all corrupt, of course, but research is not free and prestige confers many benefits. It is either an excess of innocence or of guilt which excludes the dimension of money and power as to what is deemed scientifically “settled.”
Science is silent on the matter of how to live. It does not provide answers to the meaning of life. To beat it until it does is to betray a desperate spiritual poverty which typifies the progressive mindset. It is the habit of looking anywhere for an answer – except at the cause.
Science is a method, at best a tool. It is a powerful instrument for several reasons. The technological advances it provide can be immensely lucrative and life changing. The esteem it enjoys is largely conferred by a population starved of veneration. It is an object of worship for the godless, and this is a dangerous misattribution in itself.
This is the reason science has been invoked as the final arbiter under lockdown. Demands were made in its name for forcible vaccinations. Those reluctant to be injected with an experimental treatment for an illness which did not merit such a drastic measure were vilified. It was selfish, even murderous, to refuse treatment. This mentality was extended to the wearing of masks, and to the bizarre social distancing behaviors which seized our nominally free societies in a ritual reminiscent of St. Vitus’ Dance. In place of dancing until we died, we were compelled to participate in the extinction of our most basic freedoms.
The science in this sense was deeply authoritarian and infused with a very nasty nihilistic fervor. There was no wider moral framework in which its claims made sense. Science Followers demanded the imposition of absurd rules and the effective destruction of social and economic life on top of a health scare bureaucracy which empowered sedulous commissars to harass people walking in the park.
The Science is responsible for the mobilization of resentment and hatred which accompanied its ideological narrative. It is not mere science, but “The Science” which has been shown as a degraded and degrading force, a regrettable combination of base political motive, false authority and psychological warfare. The emergence of this poisonous faction and the epidemic spread of its influence exceeds that of the man who gave his name to scientific falsehood in the pursuit of ideological purity.
Trofim Lysenko gave the Soviets a “socialist science.” An agronomist, he promoted ideas which were false but pleasing to his political masters. Stalin – who privately mocked Lysenko’s ridiculous notions of a class based science – saw the immense potential in making of science a political instrument. The persecution of thousands of scientists followed, whose preference for reality-based opinion proved detrimental to their lives. Yet the ideas of Lysenko were never adopted by the population as were those of The Science over COVID. Lysenkoism seems an inadequate comparison for the zeal shown by so many Science Followers for the vilification of the sane.
I believe the reason for the emotional intensity with which these measures were infused lies with the idea of moral inversion. This is the state wherewith the virtues have become vices, and vice versa, leaving individuals with an intense and rudderless craving for moral significance. With no wider moral framework remaining in liberal individualism, such persons who have abandoned any traditional and customary moral structure cannot see beyond the immediate reward of feeling righteous about something.
That something may be St. George Floyd, or a distant war of which they know little. It could be over the need to pay more taxes to change the weather. That something could be a she or a xe, in whose outrage at being correctly noticed the righteous may participate. It may be over the wearing of a mask which does nothing in reality to prevent disease, but aggressively promoted a form of mental illness that has proven more durable than the emergency itself.
That the measures under COVID were falsely promoted as true and effective and for the good of all is obvious. Scientists and politicians conspired to produce a foment of nonsense which infected the population with a formula so toxic as to rival the injections themselves. It made vices of the best of human wisdom – prudence, circumspection, courage in the face of clamoring cowards. That people are so desperate for meaning and good feeling that they will resort to dehumanizing people who disagree, and for the best reason, is a tragedy in itself. What is most damaging to The Science is that those who became legitimate targets for public hatred were themselves exercising the basic discipline of the scientific method itself.
The lockdowns accelerated the decline of our dissolving societies, promoting an insular feedback loop with warped, screen-based distortions of a reality it was forbidden to experience. The madness of this situation is striking as its effects are durable, as it has promoted a sickness of the mind that is hard to dislodge. In reducing society to frightened, isolated individuals, it has made “me” the measure of all things. It is a mean-spirited state of spiritual poverty which has resulted from a mistake. We should not have, and should never again, look to science for the answers on how best to live. The experiment is not yet at an end, but the results appear to be beyond doubt. We should in future take care to separate both politics and emotion from any talk of a science which may never recover its reputation.