By Paul Homewood
There’s a highly pertinent article in Canada’s Financial Post. It is inevitable about COVID in Canada, where the lockdowns seem to be just as draconian as here.
But every word could have been written about climate change as well:
In 2020, lockdown diktats from our chief medical officers reminded me of an old joke. A woman has died and is waiting in a long lineup at the Pearly Gates. When an old, bearded gentleman wearing a lab coat and stethoscope skips the line and gets ushered right in, the woman marches up to Saint Peter and demands an explanation. “Oh, that was God,” Peter tells her, “Sometimes he likes to play doctor.”
During this panic-demic, medical authority has become God-like. “Obey the science” has come to mean “Believe what we tell you and do as you are told.” Pronouncements from medical officials deserve skepticism, not because they are bad doctors or scientists, but because they have lost sight of the limits of their own expertise. They insist that because of COVID-19, you must not visit your family for Christmas and small businesses and restaurants must close. Yet these are not medical or scientific questions. Instead, they involve trade-offs: social, economic, psychological and political. Trade-offs reflect values, and values are not scientific. Scientific evidence may be relevant but never determinative.
Science is supposed to be in the business of neutral observation. In 1840, William Whewell described the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries as “the transition from an implicit trust in the internal powers of man’s mind to a professed dependence upon external observation.” Scientific discovery challenged established belief. The sun does not, in fact, go around the Earth, and the world is not, in fact, flat. Skepticism and dissent, not consensus and authority, fuel scientific progress.
Yet the scientific establishment has come to stand on consensus and authority. It, not the Church, is now the despot. “Obey the science” is an anti-scientific sentiment wielded to achieve public compliance with political agendas. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. … It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science … Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny.’ All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of others.”
Full article here.
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December 27, 2020 at 03:54AM