The difference between Science and Scientists

I ran across the following paragraph while reading a current (May 2020) study. To say it’s frustrating given the current locked-down-environment would be an understatement.

It is essential to note that the mechanisms of person-to-person transmission in the community have not been fully determined. Controversy remains over the role of transmission through fine-particle aerosols. Transmission by indirect contact requires transfer of viable virus from respiratory mucosa onto hands and other surfaces, survival on those surfaces, and successful inoculation into the respiratory mucosa of another person. All of these components of the transmission route have not been studied extensively. The impact of environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity, on influenza transmission is also uncertain. These uncertainties over basic transmission modes and mechanisms hinder the optimization of control measures.

above emphases mine
CDC – Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal – Volume 26, Number 5—May 2020
Xiao J, Shiu E, Gao H, Wong JY, Fong MW, Ryu S, et al. Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(5):967-975. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2605.190994

Flimsy uncertainties abound regarding the science of over-reaching political orders regarding COVID-19, yet the proclamations from political power holders such as Kansas Governor Laura Kelly are sturdy in their insistence upon compliance. Without providing a solid reason or proof politicians say, with foolish certainty, “You must do this or that.”

Politics, not science, is in play right now because it’s an election year and because there are powers, human and spiritual, who hate freedom, and life, and love, all the while seeking to dominate and subjugate and grasp after more power.

Politicians are recruiting an army of followers who will shame and report their neighbors for non-compliance. The primary recruiting tool is fear. Fear that you will get sick and possibly die. But also fear that you, a good person, will accidentally harm or even kill someone else – maybe someone’s grandma, or wife or friend. Fear is a powerful motivator and this army is very effective and well armed with sound bites and catch phrases.

Science is like God – in its purest form it is absolute truth. It is this way because God invented science – it is the study of His creation, it is a study of Him. (Romans 1:20) True science will admit when it doesn’t know something – when a topic has not been studied fully. Science will not speculate. Scientists will speculate, but not science. A scientist in his pursuit of truth will experiment, speculate and ask questions. These questions, once answered, will settle into the body of knowledge called science. However, since fallible humans are the source of these discoveries, we must always make room in our philosophy and world view for skepticism and then revision when presented with more complete information. Refusing to do so is a hubris of the worst sort since it holds out a known lie as the truth.

Truth can’t be bought and therefore science can’t be bought. It’s not for sale because no one holds ownership of truth. Scientists can be bought because they are merely seekers of truth and fallible humans and subject to corruption just like all of us. We would hope that scientists as bearers of truth in the very name of their profession, and presumed seekers of the truth in practice would rise above this. Experience, however, tells us otherwise. The confusion between science and a scientist is so rampant that we end up accepting an opinion or a guess or an outright agenda-aligned-lie as truth. When this happens enough times, we become numb to its effect and it is harder to discern the difference between a scientist and science.

And so politicians, armed with political power who seek to expand (or at the very least maintain), will find scientists who agree (or can be found to agree) with whatever idea or agenda or movement will accomplish this goal. And because we see the word “science” within “scientist” (or some other proxy such as Doctor) we assume we are hearing from a Truth Bearer when in fact we are simply hearing from a human who is providing their version of the truth which is not the same thing as the truth.

We should venerate skepticism and teach children how to prove their beliefs rigorously. Instead we see feelings and emotions being the north star of education and self determinism. A skeptical approach to accepting life-altering information is a firewall for our minds. Filter out fear, let truth in, reject domination and dictatorial control while allowing life decision altering information through. If nothing else, a skeptical point of view is valuable because it holds those accountable who would seek to erode our freedom while installing themselves into a place of micro-managerial control in our lives.

Since science is truth and God’s word, aka The Bible, is truth, it would seem the best method for creating and installing a biological/spiritual/mental/human firewall in our minds would be the reading and memorizing of Bible verses.

May I suggest starting with the book of Proverbs, then move on to John.

Proverbs One (NIV)

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

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