Follow the science, they say – West Newsmagazine
Of course, when it comes to COVID-19, that’s not really what they mean. When people say “follow the science” what they mean is “trust the scientists”. To be even more precise, they mean “trust these scientists in particular”.
No, this is not a rant against science. The science is great, but when it comes to the novel coronavirus, there just isn’t a lot of science to follow. We need to be more honest about this, because too many people no longer buy what scientists are selling.
Listen, as a basic defining science, we can use accurate and verifiable data from the past to reliably predict the future. We “follow the science” because it can be proven time and time again. There is consensus, there is consistency, there are reproducible results which cancel out any counter-argument.
This is simply not the case with COVID-19. We try to sell scientific opinion as scientific fact that is too easily refuted or argued. The result is that the best advice available falls on deaf ears. The result is that we fail to convince the people who need to be persuaded the most. None of this is the fault of “science”. It is one hundred percent fault of politicians and thinkers who are often wrong but never doubt.
Let’s look at the masking debate as an example. Did scientists know for sure, all this time, that masks would reduce the spread of COVID-19? No, they don’t. They were pretty sure. They were pretty sure surgical masks would be better than cloth masks, and cloth masks would be better than nothing. Most scientists have readily admitted this, using phrases like “based on the best available evidence” or “studies suggest.”
It was not good enough for the politicians, so they started to impose masks. At some point in the pandemic, this might have been a reasonable risk / reward proposition. Now we have vaccines that are widely available, safe, and free – but a lot of people are afraid to take them because they think they’ve been lied to all this time by politicians posing as scientists. .
There was a recent phrase that said it was a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. This is not true – literally or figuratively. It is a political pandemic. This is not a pandemic of disinformation, but a pandemic of misapplied information. Call it the “deceive me once …” pandemic.
To be clear, this diary is neither anti-mask nor anti-vaccine. Rather the opposite. It appears to us that COVID-19 vaccines are scientific wonders and their distribution a logistical phenomenon. We also understand the fear and reluctance of some people to get them. We find the masks to be mildly irritating, but not debilitating. Science is still unclear on how effective masks are, but there is a consensus that they are more helpful than harmful. We are very concerned about the long-term effects of mask wearing on children who are still developing their social skills while learning to read facial expressions. It seems to us that mitigating the risks of allowing children to go outside without a mask by making sure the adults around them are as safe as possible makes sense.
This pandemic has been horrific. It devastated families and businesses. He’s killed way too many and shattered more than that. We don’t know how we come out on the other side. Hemingway wrote that “the world breaks everyone and then many are stronger in the broken places. ” We hope. There is still time for that optimistic outcome, but it starts with being honest with each other. He begins by admitting when the science is established and when it is not.
We hope everyone can stay safe and healthy and grow stronger where this pandemic has shattered us.