Can We Save Science from Orthodoxy?
It should be a banner time for science and scientists. All we hear from official sources is praise. “Trust TheScience!” vies with “Follow TheScience!” and “Believe TheScience!” as official slogans for the past two years. The ironic thing about our current situation? Even as we all seem to worshipfully refer to TheScience, actual science is in graver danger than ever before. And most people haven’t even noticed.
That is only possible because the average person has not a clue what “science” actually is and what conditions are required for “science” to flourish. Science is not an accepted body of knowledge that no one is allowed to challenge on pain of censorship. Science is not simply anything people with credentials and lab coats say it is, even if they have the power to silence their critics. Actual science relies on quantifiable data, not mere opinion. Freedom of thought is essential to science. Science is supposed to be self-correcting through rational debate.
Currently, however, actual science is being suppressed in favor of an officially enforced orthodoxy.
This is how one set of authors described the evolution of “lockdowns” (same journey for all COVID protocols and even the vaccines) from untested policy to unquestionable orthodoxy:
Science is about rational disagreement, the questioning and testing of orthodoxy and the constant search for truth. With something like lockdown – an untested policy that affects millions – rigorous debate and the basics of verification/falsification are more important than ever. Academics backing lockdown (or any major theory) ought to welcome challenges, knowing – as scientists do – that robust challenge is the way to identify error, improve policy and save lives.
But with lockdown, science is in danger of being suppressed by politics. Lockdown moved instantly from untested theory to unchallengeable orthodoxy.
Open and honest discourse is critical for science and public health. As scientists, we must now tragically acknowledge that 400 years of scientific enlightenment may be coming to an end. It started with Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei and René Descartes. It would be tragic if it would end up as one of the many casualties of this pandemic.
The authors are not being dramatic in saying that the free exercise of science itself is at stake in our current environment. All our intellectual, economic, and personal freedoms are similarly at risk.
Actual science is not revelation or a game of follower-the-leader or “support the official narrative” only and all else is “misinformation.” Science is method(s). One writer provided the following helpful definition:
Science is an activity that seeks to explore the natural world using well-established, clearly-delineated methods. Given the complexity of the universe, from the very big to very small, from inorganic to organic, there is a vast array of scientific disciplines, each with its own specific techniques. The number of different specializations is constantly increasing, leading to more questions and areas of exploration than ever before. Science expands our understanding, rather than limiting it.
Without the freedom to question, there is no science. True scientists welcome correction, as discarding errors is the way forward to a better understanding. Nothing is worse for the real scientist than being imprisoned in error. Questioning the official narrative, far from being anti-science, is actually the essence of science. But actual “science” is under threat today more than ever.
Science as Religion
The evolution of “science” from a set of method(s) to learn about the natural world into a hierarchically-controlled body of official knowledge has given rise to what can only be described as a new religion – scientism:
Scientism, on the other hand, is a speculative worldview about the ultimate reality of the universe and its meaning. Rather than working within carefully constructed boundaries and methodologies established by researchers, it broadly generalizes entire fields of academic expertise and dismisses many of them as inferior. With scientism, you will regularly hear explanations that rely on words like “merely”, “only”, “simply”, or “nothing more than”. Scientism restricts human inquiry.
Scientism restricts human knowledge by establishing “orthodox” positions from which no deviation is allowed. Scientism is about belief, not evidence. It is about passion, not reason. It is, in fact, the antithesis of science. Rather than facilitating debate in the pursuit of truth, scientism is used to end all discussion in favor of officially sanctioned opinions.
To illustrate how far “scientism” is from actual science, let’s look at a quote from theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, a well-known blogger, who expressed the distinction between real science and religion quite well:
If it’s not testable, it’s not science. Why do we even have to discuss this? I’m not a historian, but I don’t think it’s happened before. I mean, scientists have certainly believed in things that they didn’t know how to test at the time (say, the élan vital), but so far it’s been agreed upon that the moment you begin talking about untestable beliefs, you’re doing religion, not science.
Why do scientists do this? Because they can. Because the lower the standards for putting forward hypotheses, the easier it is to produce papers.
I don’t so much think we need to overcome this division as to make it clear where the dividing line is. I have no problem per se with people who want to spend their lives studying things you can’t measure, though personally I think it’s pretty stupid. I just don’t want them to go around and pretend it’s science.
To be science, your hypothesis needs to be testable or falsifiable. You need more than just “expert credentials” to make it demonstrably true. There has to be data you can gather and experiments you can perform to test what you believe. We have totally lost sight of actual scientific methods. At this point, official “experts” can simply pontificate with nothing to back it up, and we are expected to accept such pronouncements as truth. Even if the official pronouncements overturn decades of research, we are supposed to nod our heads in agreement.
One example of of this is masking the general public to “slow the spread” of COVID. Fauci actually discouraged masking, before he flip-flopped and embraced it. The “science” never changed – widespread masking has never been proven effective in preventing viral infection. Seemingly overnight, through sheer assertion, Fauci and the public health establishment changed TheScience. Masks went from useless to essential – without any actual data backing up that change.
The new “method” of TheScience is what world famous researcher and author John P.A. Ioannidis referred to as “evidence-based hearsay”:
In reality, the use of many, perhaps most, medical treatments does not depend so much on these evidence-based medicine principles but on what one could call evidence-based hearsay. Evidence is possible to subvert at all stages of its generation and dissemination, while fierce marketing, rumors, and beliefs become more powerful than data. Evidence-based hearsay does contain some evidence in the form of numerical data.
Experts formulate the new orthodoxy, then present it to the world as a scientific consensus. “All health experts agree…” “Global health experts believe…” “Masks / vaccines / lockdowns are known to be essential…”
When you don’t have data on your side, and vested interests in the continuation of unsupported policies, then you can’t allow scientific debate. You won’t win it. The vocal opposition of any part of the medical / scientific establishment would destroy the illusion of “expert consensus” on which adherence to your preferred policies is predicated. The evidence presented would eventually force you to change your policies to those which make sense given the actual data. Obviously, that cannot be allowed if powerful institutions (Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Government, Big Education, leftist politicians, World Economic Forum, etc.) need unscientific policies to continue for their own reasons. The only choice then is to censor, discredit, and even destroy anyone who dares question anything.
Which makes real science impossible.
Kamran Abbasi, executive editor of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) had this to say about what is, in fact, the suppression of science itself to protect an orthodox narrative:
Politicians and governments are suppressing science. They do so in the public interest, they say, to accelerate availability of diagnostics and treatments. They do so to support innovation, to bring products to market at unprecedented speed. Both of these reasons are partly plausible; the greatest deceptions are founded in a grain of truth. But the underlying behaviour is troubling.
Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health.1 Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science.
Science is being suppressed in favor of a religious narrative which is repeated ad nauseum – masks work, the COVID vaccines are safe and effective, COVID is deadly at all ages, we must vaccinate children, boosters are essential, there are no treatments for COVID so get vaccinated, we can stop the spread of a virus through proper protocols, lockdowns save lives, natural immunity to COVID does not exist…. Want data to back any of that up? “Shut up, heretic! You deny TheScience!” is the only response you are likely to receive before you are banned from social media, have your license stripped, get fired from your job, or some other horrible outcome. Silencing you is the only option the establishment has when it can’t compete on the facts.
If it can happen to me, it can happen to you… My medical license is being investigated for the FIFTH time. pic.twitter.com/dDvycUjDJG
— Scott Jensen (@drscottjensen) October 26, 2021
Nor are only those with credentials silenced. The “consensus” is so fragile, that even large protests by regular people like the one in New York against vaccine mandates on 10/26 are ignored by most media outlets. For most consumers of news, it is as if such events simply did not happen.
To be honest, this problem of orthodoxy created by adherence to the opinions of guru-like “experts” has been an issue in many disciplines before. The substitution of “scientific consensus” in place of actual facts also predates COVID in such disciplines as Evolution and anthropogenic Climate Change. Neither are testable as the proposed timeframes are too long and natural systems too complex to design experiments. So we found ourselves with scientific “consensus” taking the place of actual testability / falsifiability. If “99%” of climate scientists say that Global Warming is going to kill us in 10 years, then that must be true – data or no data. Call a press conference, announce the “consensus” and call anyone who asks for reliable data names until they are discredited. If enough official “scientists” can be bought or bullied into endorsing an “official” position, then it must not only be true but also defended against “misinformation” at all costs. Who cares about “testability” when 99% of all experts agree that whatever makes powerful people happy is “true”?
The difference now is that the fruits of such corrupted “science” have invaded daily life for almost everyone. We are in danger of losing our medical, social, and economic freedoms in the name of “fighting” a respiratory virus. Unfounded assertions folded into an official “orthodox” narrative are being used to justify completely restructuring our society. It is no longer a few classes of patients or some disciplines of science that suffer under the weight of TheScience – we are all in danger now.
Complicating any fight against “orthodox” positions is the fact that they often have some data supporting them. Frequently, data that have been manipulated through poor research methodology to arrive at a predetermined set of conclusions. Of course most people don’t realize that. Non-researchers (even practicing doctors) usually care more about conclusions than methods or raw data. Which is why it falls to the “unorthodox” to point out the long-running crisis in scientific research. One of the most widely quoted medical researchers, John P. A. Ioannidis, demonstrated the failure of objective “science” in his paper Why Most Published Research Findings Are False:
There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.
That paper was published in 2005. Things have just gotten worse since then. Rather than designing good studies and following where the results lead, many researchers manipulate methods to reach desired, predetermined conclusions. Some just outright lie. There are many reasons why this is occurring, but money and policy bias have to be at the top of the list. Researchers need jobs, and those jobs are funded by people / organizations that often want specific sets of results to bolster their power, their profits, their funding, or all of the above.
Rigging studies to please powerful and moneyed interests is not new, but in the age of COVID “vaccines” it has become a particularly deadly form of corruption. We are about to inject millions of innocent children between the ages of 5 – 11 on the basis of Pfizer’s “research” that is so methodologically shoddy as to be laughable. Only no one will be allowed to laugh, and all the official channels will keep telling everyone how safe and effective the mRNA jabs are for children.
The establishment does realize that there is some effective opposition to their preferred policies of masking, lockdowns, and vaccinating the entire planet. The skill of the rebels, even those that are non-scientists, in presenting compelling data provoked such alarm that MIT researchers Crystal Lee, Tanya Yang, Arvind Satyanarayan, and Graham Jones along with Wellesley College’s Gabrielle Inchoco attempted a deep dive into the topic of how “activist networks use rhetoric of scientific rigor to oppose public health measures.”
Far from ignoring scientific evidence to argue for individual freedom, anti-maskers often engage deeply with public datasets and make what we call ‘counter-visualizations’—
visualizations using orthodox methods to make unorthodox arguments—to challenge mainstream narratives that the pandemic is urgent and ongoing. By asking community members to ‘follow the data,’ these groups mobilize data visualizations to support significant local changes.
Shockingly for them, the researchers had to acknowledge that those opposed to the “orthodox” public health narrative were not not just making things up: “This study forces us to see that coronavirus skeptics champion science as a personal practice that prizes rationality and autonomy; for them, it is not a body of knowledge certified by an institution of experts.” Those opposed to the orthodox COVID narrative have great research methods, are data-driven, and are excellent at communicating their findings. So good, in fact, they deserved to be called names and the paper was dedicated to finding ways to suppress / counter what they were doing in order to preserve the “orthodox,” “mainstream” “body of knowledge” from any challenges.
Consensus at all costs.
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True Believers in TheScience
Real science has real limitations. You can’t use science to prove the non-existence of God. You can’t use science to prove the “Big Bang” happened or that evolution is real. You can’t prove your pet ideas on abiogenesis. You can’t use science to stop the spread of a respiratory virus. You can’t use science to conqueror all death and disease. Making humans immortal is beyond our capabilities. You can’t use science to “save” the planet from naturally occurring climate shifts. You can’t us science to “solve” war or crime. You might be able to turn humans into cyborgs, but can you predict the results of that? Is it a good idea?
Real science is limited in its aims and realistic about its limitations. Real science is humble and open to correction. That is why Orthodox Christianity has no quarrel with real science. Orthodox Christians have been at the forefront of many scientific disciplines for hundreds of years. Real science is the quest for truth and understanding, goals celebrated by Orthodox Christians.
TheScience, on the other hand, is pure hubris. As we noted before, the establishment is relying on lies and coercion to propagate its chosen narratives. But for hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of people, the propaganda is readily, willingly, and uncritically believed. For the true believers, there is no limit to the potential of TheScience. We will cure all diseases, vanquish death, transform alien worlds, stop climate patterns, and perfect humanity through the fusion of our bodies with technology. For the faithful, TheScience cannot be questioned. They don’t care about your data, nor are they interested in holding anyone accountable for any failures. True believers are the elect who will be saved because they have faith. Those who blaspheme TheScience deserve neither pity nor assistance.
Which is why TheScience produces monsters.
TheScience Produces Monsters
Real science understands that it cannot replace either religion or philosophy. Science has no moral code and cannot produce one. Ethics must be imposed on science from an external source. Which is a problem, because TheScience says God is a myth and philosophy a waste of time. Therefore, practitioners of TheScience operate in a value-free environment, cheered on by adoring fans who are as afraid to live as they are to die. The result is monstrous.
Scientists are willing to lie and cheat for their own benefit and that of their masters. We’ve established that already. But such things are only the beginning. Absent a moral framework, modern scientists have engaged in horrors that would make Josef Mengele blush.
Just a few examples:
- Murdered Baby Parts – Records reveal that the FDA has a human fetal tissue provider, Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), to obtain human heads, organs, and tissue that are harvested from aborted babies. The FDA requested “fresh and never frozen” fetal body parts. We often hear about aborted fetal cell lines these days, and even some Christian leaders excuse their use because they are from “decades ago.” That argument is specious, of course, but that horror pales in comparison to what is happening right now. Lab researchers, often at tax payer expense, are daily grinding up the body parts of newly aborted children and using them in their research in various ways such as injecting them into mice to “humanize” them.
- Human Hatcheries – Researchers are already experimenting on and destroying “surplus” embryos from IVF clinics. There’s effectively a global ban limit of 14 days of gestation amongst “reputable” scientists, but many “bioethicists” and researchers want to extend this to some unspecified time span. “I would advocate growing it until day 40 and then disposing of it,” Jacob Hanna, of the Weizmann Institute of Science, says. “Instead of getting tissue from abortions, let’s take a blastocyst and grow it.” Growing humans for experimentation. Why stop at 40 days? Why stop at all? If it becomes feasible to grow fully-developed babies (or even children), why not do so if it benefits critical research? After all, if it saves one life of someone who counts…
- Chimeras – Scientists routinely create human-animal hybrids using animals such as mice and even monkeys. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is actively trying to loosen restrictions on this type of research to allow more of it. Just imagine where that can lead. The suffering of the animals is only one consideration, though an important one. What fundamental changes could such research cause in our natural world?
- Human Engineering – Proposed lines of scientific inquiry involve changing people to solve problems. For example, engineering people to be intolerant of beef so that there will be fewer cows. Or make people shorter so that they produce less greenhouse gases. We could extend this in all kinds of ways such as making soldiers stronger, for example. Once we start custom-designing humans, where will that end, assuming it is even possible?
- Horrific Animal Experiments – We’ve all heard, by now, of the experiment in which beagle pups were locked in cages so their faces can be eaten alive by giant sandflies, with the dogs having had their vocal chords severed so they could not cry out in pain. That is just one experiment. There are many more. White Coat Waste Project Vice president of advocacy and public policy Justin Goodman told the Daily Caller,“Fauci’s budget has ballooned to over $6 billion in taxpayer funding annually, at least half of which is being wasted on more questionable animal experimentation like these deadly and unnecessary beagle tests and other maximum pain experiments.” Around 20,000 dogs per year are used in FDA experiments.
Whether it is growing babies in a lab to experiment on, or lying about COVID vaccine damage for “noble ends,” scientists have proven they won’t stop on their own. If it can be done, scientists without ethical restraints will do it – no matter how awful “it” is. TheScience outright rejects or ignores moral constraints. We forget that fact at our own peril.
Disappointment with Moral Leaders
Science, real science, is in danger from TheScience. Human beings and human civilization are as well. This is the pre-eminent moral crisis of at least our modern era, and perhaps of all time. The power of Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Finance, Big Government, and an elite, billionaire class are all arrayed against our medical, social, and economic freedoms. Without freedom, there is no social progress.
If we are to restore our freedoms, then we must begin with the basics. Man is made in the image and likeness of God and is endowed, by virtue of that fact, with free will. Man’s free will must be respected, regardless of any “pandemic.” Coercion that violates voluntary, informed consent for medical procedures is wrong. Stifling free thought is wrong. Censorship is wrong. Everything must be open to question. Science must be conducted within ethical boundaries. Killing babies who bear the Divine Image is wrong. Using dead baby parts or cells is wrong. Torturing animals is wrong. Mixing human and animal DNA is wrong. Good scientific methods are required as a foundation for public policy. “Scientists” are not Moses, they can’t come down from the mountain with a set of “commandments” and expect compliance. Scientists need evidence, not Divine Revelation. We need more humility and honesty with much less hubris and “situational” ethics.
As an Orthodox Christian, I can only say that the past almost two years have been a disappointment to me. While some of our bishops and priests have stood up for truth, many seemed to actually cheer on the corruption in our society by demanding their own flocks “believe the TheScience!” The hour is too late for that to continue. As Christians, Orthodox and otherwise, we must rally together and under the leadership of those who are willing to fight for God-given freedom. Those who are unwilling must be left to their own devices.
Nicholas – member of the Western Rite Vicariate, a part of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in America
For more information on the corruption in our medical / government / scientific complex, please see these articles: