Trust the Science
Throughout the corona-virus crisis, the mantra I kept hearing was, “trust the science, trust the science” as if “the science” was the one true savior of humanity. What I observed is that many of the conclusions, recommendations and scientific models were wrong, and lead to some highly questionable and dangerous policies. So, after time, there was an inclination to not trust to the science. But the great thing about science is that science, when done correctly and honestly, is self-correcting. Sometimes, science has blind spots or inherent biases that need to be exposed and overcome for the science to work properly. But science and the scientific method is the best mechanism in dealing with its own blind spots and biases.
Science is always a work in progress. What we believe today scientifically, we may not believe tomorrow, and that may change after that. That is the greatness of science, not a flaw. Science is progress. This is why using the phrase, “the science is settled” to shutdown debate is so antithetical to true science. Science demands skepticism. Science demands debate. The continual testing and retesting of conclusions and the consensus is vital to true science. True scientific conclusions will stand up to even the most rigorous scrutiny, while false conclusions will be exposed under scrutiny, and hopefully amended.
The founders of the United States of America were products of the enlightenment. The enlightenment was grounded in science and the scientific method. So, it only makes sense that the founders used a very scientific approach when creating our constitution and system of government. Like science, the founders put in a self-correcting mechanism into our system of government. The concepts of checks and balances, and judicial review are aligned with the rigorous scrutiny vital to the scientific method.
As brilliant as the founders were, they were human. They had blind spots and biases. The human rights which they ensured for themselves, they did not extend to all human beings. They were wrong, but they were also responsible for setting up a system of government when applied appropriately and universally to all citizens provided the highest levels of freedom and human rights known to man. And the brilliance of their system was that they built into it a self-correcting mechanism designed to weed out the injustices that resulted from their own blind spots and biases.
Over the course of American history, that mechanism has been working year after year to eradicate the injustices in the system, and in our society. There is a laundry list of laws, amendments and Supreme Court decisions which have moved our country forward to the more perfect union first envisioned. And that is still an ongoing process. America, like all of humanity, is a work in progress, and that is the greatness of America, and its system of government. We are always improving, moving in the right direction.
This is why rigorous debate is so vital, and the cancel culture is so dangerous. For us to move forward as a country, we must be willing to engage in free and open dialogue and debate without the fear that you will be cancelled, lose your job, lose your livelihood if you happen to say one wrong thing, or inadvertently offend someone. Debate moves us forward. The ability to say and explore new thoughts and ideas moves us forward and makes us better, even if some of those new thoughts and ideas may be wrong.
It took Thomas Edison over 100 tries to invent the lightbulb. If he were cancelled after his first failed attempt, and he lost his livelihood after one mistake, we all would be working by candlelight right now. There would be no progress. Good, honest people make mistakes. There is not a person on this planet today who has not said something they regret at one point in their life. If everyone was shut down for saying something they regret, no one would have the right to speak. This is not what we want. This is not what will move America forward. As in science, where we are today and where we’re moving in the future is much more important than where we were in the past.
What is so scary is that there is a highly mobilized movement to tear down the system because of the past injustices, and in its place institute mob-rule. The mob has already taken control of large chucks of down town Seattle demanding the defunding of the police, and the dissolution of the judicial system. Does anyone truly believe that mob-rule will be just, that mob-rule will be fair, that mob-rule will benefit anyone other than those who rule the mob? Anarchy and chaos will not fix the injustices in our society. The system that was established over 200 years ago, grounded in the scientific method, despite its flawed history, is the best mechanism of healing this country. We need to trust the science.