Saturday, February 24

The Science is settled, until it isn’t: selective trust in scientific knowledge

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”

They tell us to “Trust The Science”.

They decree The Science is settled. 

They don’t accept questioning The Science.

They do not tolerate The Science being challenged.

…Except when it suits them.

Except when they want to rewrite ‘settled science’ and ignore the facts in front of their own eyes.

They trust The Science except when it doesn’t suit their political agendas.

Who are they?

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”

They are the cultural and political elite. The lanyard wearers. The professional managerial class. The cultural revolutionaries who spit all the venom of Mao’s Red Guards though thankfully without the violence. For the most part.

They are mostly from the political left, but are by no means only leftists, with the centre-right producing many of the professional mangerial class too. However, the co-opting of left wing spaces and organisations by the elitist morality police has made it appear a left-wing problem and caused many true liberals to feel politically homeless. 

They cosplay as activists for the common good, but really they are judge, jury, and executioner attempting to purge the great unwashed masses of their unfashionable and uncouth views. 

They preach the virtue of purchasing electric cars costing at least $40,000 a pop to people who hold their breath each time they have to get a warrant of fitness for fear of the resulting bill.

They skite about their compost systems and use trendy hessian bags that cost the same as the weekly grocery shop for many families. “Composting is so easy! There is no excuse!” they say pointing out that although their top of the line 400L composter cost $650, “you can get small ones for a steal at The Warehouse. I saw one for $65!”. They fail to realise that a spare $65 would pay for a new school jumper so that the secondhand holey one can be finally tossed out. 

They pontificate about racism while the places they live and work are the whitest in the country. In Wellington public service offices, ‘diversity’ is discussed like some kind of mythical nirvana to be attained. Pasifika and Māori people are talked about like they have one homogenous view of the world and are imagined in stereotypes. Meanwhile, Auckland is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and people of all races work and socialise together without a thought. 

They speak the ‘new Latin’, the Beehive version of te reo Māori that, despite bearing significant differences to dialects from iwi further north, has been adopted by all in politically elite circles. For non-Māori, some degree of proficiency in this public service te reo dialect is a nod to higher education, to elite political status, and to being enlightened. They know better than those who have learnt the dialect of their own iwi, speaking te reo as heard on marae and from the lips of Kaumātua.

They wear rainbow lanyards because they are terrified of getting on the wrong side of the Alphabet Mafia. Lets be honest.

They advocate for smaller prison populations even when proper rehabilitation is not being administered because very few of them have ever been the victim of a violent crime. Violent criminals aren’t being paroled next door to them. They aren’t left in terror because a domestic abuser is allowed to wander back into the whānau.

They think everyone needs to stop making such a fuss about gangs. They believe that violent organised criminals who have to commit atrocious acts of violence just to gain admittance into gangs are “misunderstood” or “marginalised”. They reckon gang leaders are community leaders. Very very few of them have ever met a gang member.

They are obsessed with controlling the narrative. They do not tolerate difference in opinion. They will cast out their best mate for political clout.

They want to rule society, rather than be part of it. They believe they are entitled to.

For many of them, Twitter is their moral compass.

Them in the Age of Covid-19

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

In the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, they sat at home on full salary and, bored from lack of work, they took to the internet to bemoan those who didn’t fall in line with each and every decree from the Parlimentary ‘podium of truth’; even when the information was clearly contradictory.

They became online attack dogs for Ardern when she threw a KFC worker under the bus and when she enabled the bizarre rumours of runaway prostitutes in Northland. They frothed over anything they could use to discredit Charlotte Bellis and decided Sir Ian Taylor was the ‘wrong’ kind of Māori after he wrote opinion pieces questioning the Government’s approach (see NZ Twitter).

They declared that The Science on the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine was settled and not to be questioned. Anyone who sought extra information about the new MRNA technology because they wanted to understand how it worked, or simply asked questions, was lumped into the ‘anti-vaxxer’ group and deemed unworthy of polite society.

The Science being invoked to support the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine became wobblier and wobblier as time went on. They said it would stop transmission in its tracks.  Then they told us that the vaccine would reduce transmission and to refuse to get it was to be an irresponsible member of society content to put grannies at risk. Then they admitted that actually, no, the Pfizer vaccine did not prevent transmission, but it was still super important as it would protect the individual from more serious infection resulting in death or hospitalisation. 

They, of course, gaslit us all from their podiums, government departments, newspapers, and on the television news. They attempted to pretend that no one ever claimed that the vaccine would stop transmission. The readily available evidence to the contrary was studiously ignored. 

It then became clear that the vaccine wasn’t preventing hospitalisations and that its efficacy window was very narrow. Boosters were needed in much more frequent increments. People who had trusted The Science, like me, began to question if getting the boosters was even worth it. Such little protection for such a short time did not seem worth the hassle.

The very questions heretics asked at the beginning of the vaccine roll out about efficacy were now being asked by officials and where the heretics had lost their jobs or were cancelled, the Overton Window had shifted the elite to safety. They attempted to rewrite the history of what they said about the vaccine.

“It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another.”

The Science also informed our Government’s decision to declare that mask wearing was pointless and ineffective at the start of the pandemic. Even Dr Siouxsie Wiles said the jury was still out on whether we should all be wearing face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Fast forward a few months and to go maskless in public could result in mass humiliation, police action, and public hostility. 

They had all sorts of fancy cloth masks at one point. They even made their own. The truly devoted lanyard wearers even turned their resuable masks into political statements. Black Lives Matter slogans appeared across Kiwis’ mouths because they love importing American culture wars. Rainbow Flag masks were also popular as were hammer and sickle designs. Imagine their horror when The Science changed and now cloth masks were declared ineffective. Quickly, they transitioned to package after package of disposable surgical masks. N95 masks were a signal that they took Covid-19 seriously! No political slogans now, but a solid virtue signal.

They were furious when discussions about the adverse impacts of masking children were brought up and decried the lifting of mask mandates in schools. They clung to restrictions and trotted out any ‘expert’ they could find to support their positions.

Even when mask mandates were dropped, they virtuously continued to wear them, sneering at those who threw theirs in the bin in relief.

Incredibly, even the question of where the virus came from in the first place has been subject to claims of “settled science” despite the acceptable narrative changing multiple times. They were adamant the virus came from a Chinese wet market, before they were adamant that it came from a lab leak, before they were back to the wet market theory. Globally, they attached discussion of the lab leak theory to controversial US President Donald Trump.

News has broken this week that the US Energy Department believes it was in fact a lab leak. Woe betide any poor soul who dared to speculate on a theory at the wrong time. To be out of sync with accepted narrative is to be a “conspiracy theorist”. 

This is why it is so very absurd to claim that The Science is beyond question. That it is not to be challenged. Science is a process not a final destination. Every fact of science is open to being disproved and every time attempts to disprove it fail, the body of evidence we rely on to support our understanding strengthens. 

They treated The Science around Covid-19 like it was an immovable and certain set of facts. Except it wasn’t. It did what science does; it evolved, it was tested, researched, questioned, disproved, and hypothesised.

Climate of political consensus

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

The Science of Climate Change is another sacred cow for the laptop class. It must not be questioned. They attribute everything under the sun to Climate Change; even heart attacks. 

They say every unusual weather event is evidence of man-made climate change and while there are often provable correlations and causations, it can be difficult for some to accept that weather events that appear opposite in nature can both be results of factors related to Climate Change. 

They push their arguments further into the realm of difficult-to-believe by connecting negative social outcomes to Climate Change. They produce incredulity. Climate Change is even racist and sexist allegedly.

The actual science explaining and evidencing Climate Change, whether man-made or naturally occuring, is not accessible to the average person. Most of the population have never read scientific journal articles on the matter or attended lectures. From their perspective, edicts have simply been laid down from above that ‘man-made Climate Change is a thing’ and to dispute this is heresy. There are many reasons why people deny Climate Change, even Kiwis have written about it, but belittling and patronising never solved any of them.

They have declared that the temperature of the planet is rising and that this is having, and will have, disastrous consequences. They could very well be right (I believe they are), but there has been little effort to bring understanding to the masses beyond the imposition of policies impacting their daily lives. Most Kiwis are concerned about Climate Change, however, and that should make it easy for effective discussion. In theory. So why is it often so difficult to discuss?

The Science may be settled in academic circles and accepted by the elites, but the masses have questions and why shouldn’t they ask them? Surely it is understandable, when applying empathy, that someone without any scientific education might question how the global warming can result in wintery weather events like storms and flooding. They say no. They expect either blind acceptance of what they say is The Science or for people working multiple manual jobs to come home and undertake personal study on the matter. 

They also forget that their predecessors made apocalyptic predictions about the world’s climate decades ago. Thankfully they were wrong in those instances. But perceived hyperbole and a history of “the sky is falling” behaviour leads to scepticism from those who have less information to inform their understanding of Climate Change.

They detest those who have concluded that Climate Change might be a natural phenomena rather than man-made. They detest those, like me, who have concluded that it is a mixture of both.

They want to make power conditional on agreement with their position on Climate Change. Maureen Pugh, for example, after being made to self-flaggelate in front of a salivating media, was declared unfit to be an MP. What they forget is that our political system is based on representative democracy and there are people who share Maureen’s views. In this kind of system opposing views (even when one is perceived to be far better evidenced) compete and challenge one another until a consensus is reached. Casting out dissenters simply grows discontent. It is like they learnt nothing from protests at Parliament.

Just recently, they have decided there is a “new climate change denial” and that, contrary to the words on the tin, is when someone doesn’t deny the existence of man-made climate change, but suggests adaptation rather than mitigation is the most pragmatic response. This nonsensical charge is levelled by the cultural elite because their belief in The Science is ideological rather than scientific. A scientific mind would be open to discussions about the most logical, effective, and pragmatic approaches to responding to Climate Change. An ideologically-wedded mind isn’t willing to relinquish the self-flaggellation of mitigation strategies nor the narratives of sin and atonement that often surround Climate Change.

If The Science says that Climate Change is happening and that China is responsible for the majority of Earth’s emmissions and China is showing no intention on reducing its impact on the environment, then surely logic dictates that we must use The Science to inform how we adapt and prepare for the inevitable. They will not accept this.

They say that mitigation in the face of certain defeat is the only virtuous approach to Climate Change. They say that anyone who refutes this is a “climate change denier”. They say The Science is settled.

Undermining their own credibility with The Emperor’s New Clothes

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

They don’t seem to realise that when it comes to the expectation for blind acceptance of whatever they say is The Science, they are their own worst enemy. They undermine their credibility to such a degree that it is a wonder anyone believes anything they say. Political polarisation and worldwide protests indicate that more and more often they aren’t believed.

The Western World is engaged in a live action reenactment of The Emperor’s New Clothes and the great unwashed, the masses, the working classes, are the little boy pointing and calling out, “but he is naked!”

They are the courtiers flouncing around kissing the emperor’s bottom. They wax lyrical about the beautiful colours and textures of his non-existent clothes.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the cultural elites’ identitarian movement to pretend biological sex does not exist. 

They say women can have penises.

They say “men can get pregnant” and demand women be referred to as “people with uteruses” or “people who menstruate” or “pregnant people”.

They even say that taking artificial estrogen can cause males to menstruate. 

They claim that doctors “assign sex at birth” rather simply observe the blatantly obvious evidence that humans have used to deduce sex since the beginning of our species. But asking how these doctors decide which babies to assign which sex or what happens in other parts of the world where doctors aren’t involved in child birth, is not tolerable.

They cover their eyes, ears, and stop all capacity for critical thought and pretend that males and females have no differences in physical strength. They sneer at and castigate women’s rights campaigners, and people with common sense, who point out that allowing males to compete in female sport is unfair.

They coopt the existence of a miniscule number of people born with ambiguous sex characteristics in order to pretend that sex doesn’t exist at all.

They advocate for male offenders to be able to identify as women and be housed in female prisons. They ignore The Science and research that says this is a very bad idea.

They advocate for children to be given life altering drugs and hormones in order to “change sex” and pretend that these are not irreversible and damaging medical interventions.

They swear that it is possible to literally “change sex” and “be born in the wrong body”.

They have taken this ideological mumbo jumbo and woven it through our institutions and public services. They have embedded it in the census currently being circulated. They have rendered our crime statistics meaningless by recording male crimes as female. They have compromised our decision making in the health system. They have put lives at risk by allowing for false identification information.        

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

They write articles demanding that Members of Parliament like Maureen Pugh be cast out, metaphorically or otherwise, for not “listening to The Science” and rejecting man-made Climate Change, but they also write articles calling women who oppose their biological sex erasure “extremists” and “bigots”. 

It seems The Science is whatever they decide is The Science on any given issue, whether it bears any resemblance to reality or not.

Those of us who accept the existence of man-made Climate Change, who got vaccinated, and who believe in the existence of biological sex are still persona non grata because we followed the evidence, “Trusted The Science”, on all three matters, but fail the instruction from elites to ignore The Science in relation to the third matter.

They will call people, like me, a TERF (at this point I don’t care) for acknowledging the realities of human dimorphism and biological sex. The Science of this can be mapped from the beginning of our species and compared to other mammal species. But The Science in this case is inconvenient to them and they consider themselves entitled to demand the world erase it.  

They are sex deniers, no better than the Climate Change deniers they condemn and the anti-vaxxers they abhor. How dare they sneer at someone who theorises that Climate Change might be a natural process when they will refuse the existence of the two sexes. Human biology is far easier to understand than the complex science of Climate Change.

They have only themselves to blame when every one of their think-pieces on Climate Change deniers is met with the question “what is a woman?”

They are inconsistent. They are hypocritical. They are everything they purport to hate.

They need to grow a spine. They need to find a set of principles.

They may have the cultural and political power, for now, but they should know that their wilfull ignorance and obvious hypocrisy reduces them to a laughing stock at best and loathed adverseries at worst.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”