Progressives have broken science in America, yet they still might succeed in winning the election by painting President Trump as a “science denier”
Ironically, it may be “science” that wrongly dooms Donald Trump. Donald Trump is in a close election race because much of America — after an incessant negative drum beat by the MSM — is dissatisfied with the response Trump has led to the Wuhan Flu. Trump has, supposedly, FAILED TO FOLLOW THE SCIENCE. Actually, what he has failed to follow is PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE, a term I’ll explain in the coming paragraphs. Meanwhile, in the wings sit Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, ready to force America into near-permanent lockdown, to submit to a Green New Deal, and to rejoin the disastrous Paris Climate Accord.
Within the last few days, two things have occurred to bring into clear focus the real-world limits of science and how progressives would use their bastardized version of “science” to win an election (not to mention to override the Constitution and justify all of their collectivist schemes). The limits of modern science are shown with complete clarity by the World Health Organization’s back-flip on the issue of using lock downs to respond to the Wuhan Flu. That is, WHO now espouses reopening the economy, a position Trump has been vilified for embracing in the past. This flip-flop highlights the fatal flaws that accrue when using PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE as the ultimate public policy tool in the U.S. The difference between actual science and PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE is that the latter is little more than a progressive conclusion dressed up in the language of science. Examples are Michael Mann’s fraudulent “hockey stick” of global warming infamy or, in the most recent case, using permanent lockdowns as the safest and best means to address the Wuhan Flu until a vaccine is widely available.
There was always the issue of how to respond to the Wuhan Flu, whether to lockdown or to follow Sweden and seek herd immunity while protecting those that were truly vulnerable. With little available information six months ago, President Trump, on the advice of our experts in the CDC and NIH (all echoed by the WHO’s pronouncements), opted for a middle way — a temporary lockdown of two weeks to “flatten the curve.” The idea was to spread out the time period in which people became infected in order not to over-stress hospitals and emergency rooms. That two week plan quickly morphed into draconian and tyrannical long-term lockdowns throughout the U.S., particularly in Democrat-controlled states, and became a matter of progressive policy that continues through today. Indeed, “Biden has said many times — including in the last presidential debate — he doesn’t think we should reopen our economy until a COVID vaccine is available.” And woe unto anyone who does not toe the progressive line, as that is PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE. To say anything else is to DENY SCIENCE. Bullshit.
Six months on from the onset of the Wuhan Flu, we now have a wealth of data about the virus. Most importantly, we know the Wuhan Flu presents a danger to the old and infirm, but not to most other people. It’s now clear that lockdowns — which destroy economies, limit other medical care, harm mental well-being, and stretch out the period before herd immunity can be achieved — were a prescription much worse for society at large than the disease itself. It is why thousands of scientists recently signed the Great Barrington Declaration, asking all governments to end the lockdowns.
Three of the “leading epidemiologists in the world” drafted the Great Barrington Declaration:
Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist; Dr. Sunetra Gupta, a professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases; and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.
As of October 7, “the Declaration has been signed by 3,089 other medical and public health scientists, 4,532 medical practitioners, and around 70,000 members of the general public.” The declaration states that
. . . Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.
Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.
Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.
As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.
And it is on these grounds and on economic grounds that WHO recently pronounced that lockdowns are not the way to address the virus:
Given Sweden’s example, the WHO’s considered opinions, and the heft of the scientists who signed the Great Barrington Declaration, it would now seem incumbent on progressives to acknowledge those realities and either act in accordance with the science or justify their continued policies. Instead, what we are presented with are progressives who ignore contrary science or who respond with collateral attacks on the offending scientists themselves. Social media giants such as Google and Facebook put their own thumb on the scales as well, censoring any contrary science, including the Great Barrington Declaration. All the while, these same people accuse non-progressives of being SCIENCE DENIERS: For instance.
Last month, the prestigious Scientific American magazine announced that for the first time in its 175-year history, it would endorse Joe Biden, the Democrat nominee, for the 2020 U.S. presidential election. In a statement, the editors of the magazine blasted the Trump administration for its handling of COVID-19 and concluded that “Donald Trump has badly damaged the US and its people – because he rejects evidence and science. It’s time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.” . . .
Actually, this is much larger than just responding to the Wuhan Flu. The left is pining for our country to accept received wisdom in the form of (politicized) PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE as the, pardon the expression, ‘trump card’ to establish new moral standards and to justify enacting all that their little proggie-hearts desire. In a world in which PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE defines morality, the right to own guns under the Second Amendment will be gone because PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE says gun ownership presents a public health risk, not to mention that it causes global warming. Deconstructing traditional society and changing our form of government will be in play because PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE shows “systemic racism” and “implicit bias.” And of course, there is destroying our nation’s infrastructure, enacting socialism, and a permanent green gravy train because PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE shows that we need to save the world from climate change that will destroy this nation by 1998 . . . er, 2000, . . . er, 2012 . . . er, 2021.
In this regard, last week, Ethan Siegel, an astrophysicist who pens a regular column at Forbes, wrote, “Is America Finally Ready To Become A Scientific Nation?” That is rather a strange question, isn’t it? We are, after all, the world’s leader in science and technology. Indeed, throughout the 20th century, we completely outclassed the Soviet Union and other Marxist countries that billed themselves as nations wholly founded on atheism and science. That was their calling card. True, Communist China is certainly catching up to us, but that has only been on the back of espionage and their state policy of stealing U.S. technology, a policy that the Obama-Biden administration arguably tolerated. So just what is it that Mr. Siegel envisions?
To begin with, Siegel opines that, if we are to become a (progressive) Scientific Nation, we must be willing to give up our freedoms whenever PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE so demands.
In every civilized society around the world, there’s a trade-off that must be made. The protection of individual freedoms, on one hand, enable the people living there to pursue their own goals, dreams, and ideals, whatever they may be. But those pursuits must not infringe on the rights — including the health, safety, and general welfare — of others. When it comes to issues like the health, safety, and long-term prosperity of our society, there is no greater tool or resource we have to assess accurately them than science.
Ironically, Siegel uses as his Exhibit No. 1 the Wuhan Flu, intimating that Trump and the right didn’t follow the science in its response.
Although 2020 may have highlighted our reluctance to heed the best findings of the scientific community when it comes to the current global pandemic, the fact is that Americans have been resistant to heeding the scientific consensus on matters of public policy for many decades, preferring stances that agree with their ideological preferences instead. This disregard for scientific facts extends even to the vilification of the scientists that find them, resulting in policies that recklessly endanger not only the health and safety of Americans today, but provide new generations with long-term challenges that they’ll need to either reckon with or face the consequences.
Siegel’s incredibly arrogant statement is commonplace on the left. PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE is always right. If you disagree with it, it can only be because of your ideology. You are a SCIENCE DENIER. And if you produce countervailing science, you do not matter, and moreover, you need to be silenced. Indeed, here is Siegel’s first recommendation:
1.) Put an end to the “false equivalence” game. It is a fundamentally misinformative act to present multiple sides of a controversial issue equally when the scientific consensus overwhelmingly favors one perspective. Appeals to common sense, our gut instincts, a single piece of evidence, our internal moral compasses, or the opinions of influential members of society might be persuasive tactics, but are meaningless when it comes to a scientific matter. If something can be decided by evidence — and the full suite of collected evidence is decisive in nature — then and only then will we achieve a scientific consensus.
We have this dangerous myth in our society that science is often wrong, and that listening to mainstream science is restrictive and locks us into what will someday be an archaic way of thinking. That is completely false, and sorely misrepresents how science actually works. Only in the presence of decisive evidence can consensus be achieved. Consensus is not “the end goal” of science, but rather a starting point for future advances. Consensus is what the overwhelming majority of professionals have concluded has been strongly established by the existing evidence so far. . . .
. . . Unfortunately, news reports often present two sides to a story — granting equal airtime and equal legitimacy to both sides — even when one side (and definitively not the other) is fully supported by the scientific consensus. Our modern civilization is built atop the accumulated knowledge of all of humanity, with every single technological advance of the past 10,000+ years arising from applications of the scientific consensus in one sense or another. To publicly advocate for its rejection and devaluation is nothing short of an act of violence against human society.
I am sure the same members of the Catholic Church who nearly burned alive Gallileo would approve. I know of many scientists and global warming profiteers such as Al Gore, who would as well. Indeed, the climate changistas advocate not merely suppressing blasphemers, but jailing them, presumably for, in Siegel’s words, “an act of violence against human society.” But none of that is actual small-s “science” It is secular faith wrapped up in the language of science and presented as received wisdom to be accepted without question. Indeed, it is not far from the language of the Inquisition.
As I have pointed out at great length many times before, there is both a moral arrogance to PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE and very much a political and pecuniary justification for those pushing it. As to the moral part, those who would substitute science for Judaeo-Christian morality can then come up with all sorts of “science-driven” schemes to perfect society as a collective — all of which also involve circumscribing Constitutional rights and giving political power to those who would enforce the science. For instance:
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with the support of Bernie the Red, recently published her plan for a Green New Deal, as part and parcel of reforming of our nation into a socialist utopia. Bottom line, this is the number one issue for the progressive left, and we ignore it at our extreme peril.
I say extreme peril because once you can tax and regulate carbon dioxide produced by man (which is only about 10% of the total amount produced naturally every year, as the earth is responsible for the rest), AND once you establish it as the greatest moral issue facing mankind, the dam breaks. The proggies will have their hands in a bottomless cookie jar with no one to stop them from gorging short of a civil war.
The list of things that progressives have claimed over the years are caused by climate change is extensive indeed. Likewise, since virtually every human activity involves energy and the production of carbon dioxide, anything can be taxed, regulated, or subsidized. If you’re a vegan and you want to force everyone else to give up eating meat, just claim that meat production contributes to global warming and then tax cattle farmers out of existence. Don’t like the Second Amendment? Might bullets and guns cause pollution and be a cause of global warming? What about transferring our tax dollars to good progressives in the name of climate change mitigation? Solyandra was the most notable, but only one of many. . . .
It is likewise notable that every one of these plans also involves transferring wealth to politicians, to their enablers, such as Al Gore, and to the new clergy — they being “scientists” like Michael Mann and Mr. Siegel. And when the greatest moral good becomes to protect the environment, then there is no practical limit on the amount of our wealth to be spent lining the trough. To quote from an extended post I wrote in 2015, The Audacity of Climate Change: Catastrophic Climate Change Mitigation and Today’s Crisis of Economics, Science, and the Law,
Make no mistake — climate change mitigation is a juggernaut. Right now, the world is expending 2% of the value of all its gross products and services on climate change mitigation and that number could easily reach 4 or 5% in just the next few years. With that amount of money in play and operating independent of market forces, there are Gore-like fortunes beyond the imagining to be made, both legally and illegally. And indeed, the political class and academics are uniquely positioned to take advantage of those economic rent-seeking opportunities. Thus, there is an overwhelming economic motivation for many of those now in power, as well as their cronies, to impose climate change mitigation, a motivation wholly independent of actually believing in the science of anthropogenic, carbon-centric, catastrophic climate change.
Most of what I wrote on that post is still quite valid today — and every bit as important given the Biden-Harris promise to re-enter the Paris Accord and embrace the ludicrous AOC Green New Deal here at home. I recommend you read it for the details.
Suffice to say, the problems with what Mr. Siegel calls science are extensive indeed, so much so that his failure to address them in his article renders his opinion no more than an empty polemic. In particular, Mr. Siegel does not address the replication crisis, nor does he address the problem of Lysenkoism in PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE. To the contrary, he seems to be a part of that problem. Those two issues render modern science not useless, but suspect indeed. Certainly, it renders modern science sufficiently suspect that we should never blindly trust it. And I can think of no situation offhand where science should be allowed to substitute for Judaeo-Christian morality or to override any of our individual rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
The “replication crisis” concerns the reproducibility of results from a scientific test. Science itself is not a result, but rather a process — develop a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, publish the results and methodology, then allow for others to reproduce the test. That last part, replication, is key, for if something cannot be replicated, it is not valid. And there is no substitute for replication. Peer review of a study is ultimately meaningless. Likewise, secret science, which progressives championed not long ago, is equally without validity. And the reality is, there is a huge “replcability crisis” in many areas of science today, including very much climate science and other hot button areas, such as implicit bias (though the latter is more a problem of junk science). Physicist Dr. Micho Kaku described true science as it should be done in the WSJ:
. . . No theory [not even Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the foundation of modern physics] is carved in stone. Science is merciless when it comes to testing all theories over and over, at any time, in any place. Unlike religion or politics, science is ultimately decided by experiments, done repeatedly in every form. There are no sacred cows. In science, 100 authorities count for nothing. Experiment counts for everything.
What Mr. Siegel speaks of is sacred cows, not science. The reality is that unreplicated science, which forms a very large part of the PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE canon, is nothing more than a conclusion that we are being forced to accept on faith alone.
PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE’s second problem in America today is Lysenkoism. If you are unaware of the term, it comes to us from the Soviet Union:
Trofim Lysenko became the Director of the Soviet Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences in the 1930s under Josef Stalin. He was an advocate of the theory that characteristics acquired by plants during their lives could be inherited by later generations stemming from the changed plants, which sharply contradicted Mendelian genetics. As a result, Lysenko became a fierce critic of theories of the then rising modern genetics. . . .
Lysenkoism was “politically correct” (a term invented by Lenin) because it was consistent with certain broader Marxist doctrines. Marxists wanted to believe that heredity had a limited role even among humans, and that human characteristics changed by living under socialism would be inherited by subsequent generations of humans. Thus would be created the selfless new Soviet man. . . .
Lysenko was consequently embraced and lionized by the Soviet media propaganda machine. Scientists who promoted Lysenkoism with faked data and destroyed counterevidence were favored with government funding and official recognition and award. Lysenko and his followers and media acolytes responded to critics by impugning their motives, and denouncing them as bourgeois fascists resisting the advance of the new modern Marxism.
The V.I. Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced on August 7, 1948 that thenceforth Lysenkoism would be taught as the only correct theory. All Soviet scientists were required to denounce any work that contradicted Lysenkoism. Ultimately, Soviet geneticists resisting Lysenkoism were imprisoned and even executed. Lysenkoism was abandoned for the correct modern science of Mendelian genetics only as late as 1964.
Lysenkoism renders any science associated therewith inherently suspect — and Lysenkoism is pervasive in PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE. Mr. Siegel is Exhibit 1, thanks to his call for scientists who oppose his conclusions to be silenced, if not otherwise punished for their “act of violence against human society.” The man is despicable and disgusting.
Lysenkoism is likewise seen in how the progressives impose an orthodoxy on what scientific results can be published. For but one example among countless, we have seen just in the past few months a study published in the National Academy of Sciences that the authors voluntarily withdrew because the conclusion they reached — they found “no evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparities across [police] shootings, and [that] White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non-White officers” — would have subjected them to mob violence and perhaps cost them their jobs. Like Brave Sir Robin, they bravely ran away.
Lysenkoism also limits topics that can be studied if the study goes against the “settled” PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE. For instance, no sane scientist will endanger his career, if not his life, by following up on the topic of genetic differences. That has been verboten now for decades. Back in 1996, no less a person than Robert Bork wrote:
For egalitarians there is always lurking the nightmare that there may be genetic differences between ethnic groups that result in different average levels of performance in different activities. Only that fear can explain the explosive rage with which some commentators received The Bell Curve by the late Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, which, as a small part of a much larger thesis concluded that there are heritable differences in cognitive ability among the races. Some comments expressed respectful and thoughtful disagreement, some asked for careful reexamination of the data and arguments, but some did little more than shout “Nazi”. Herrnstein and Murray are not racists but serious scholars. They may be right or they may not, but the episode indicates the degree to which the ideology of egalitarianism censors expression and thought in sensitive areas.
Indeed, the last time Charles Murray, the author mentioned by Bork, tried to speak at a University in 2017, he and the professor sponsoring Murray’s lecture were physically attacked by a mob. (Bookworm here: Another thing that cannot be studied is the effect of the Pill on women’s bodies and on their children. Long-time readers know that I’ve wondered whether the explosion of people who don’t know their own sex may result in part from hormonal changes in the mother’s bodies if the mother stopped the Pill only a short time before becoming pregnant.)
The extent of Lysenkoism in the field of Climate Science was more than amply demonstrated during the Climategate scandal of a decade ago. It showed a small cabal of partisan scientists who controlled what studies were approved for peer review in all of the major science journals. They only approved studies that supported the climate change narrative. All other studies or contrary conclusions were blackballed.
The only relationship between PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE and real science is the vocabulary. The former supports progressive ideology in toto. The latter leads to objective truth and it might lead in any direction. The former is used to establish progressive morality. The latter has nothing to do with morality.
President Trump is under fire as a Science Denier. But to the extent that he is denying PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE, we should all be thankful. Hopefully, if he wins a second term, he will finally address these severe crises in how we, as a nation, fund and conduct actual science.