Science has become the new religion. Those who dare challenge the dictates of ‘science’ are often declared crackpots, pseudo-scientists or just plain crazy. If you deny or doubt evolution, or anthropogenic global warming (AGW), now called ‘climate change’, or the effectiveness or safety of certain vaccines, or the universal safety of genetically modified foods, as compared with natural breeding and hybridization practices, you are called nasty names. These might include ‘flat-earther’, particularly if you deny Darwinian evolution.1
It has come to a point now that to be called a ‘creationist’ is a big negative, like you are a pseudo-scientist, or follower of astrology, or witch doctors, etc. Such a person is thinking irrationally and cannot be trusted according to the new paradigm.
Then there are those who are called some sort of ‘climate change denier’, who must be funded by ‘big oil’, as though they must have a corrupt vested interest or be just plain crazy. As a physicist I have analyzed the global temperature data, spanning the last 100 years, downloaded from the Met Office Hadley Centre.2 I have no vested interest here, but I find that a continued warming trend is not supported by the data. But I remain skeptical. The main problem I see is the limitation of human time scales and the lack of any really robust model that successfully predicts developing trends.3
And there are those who question the safety of (some) vaccines and they are called ‘anti-vaxxers’. But this is not really about the idea of vaccines per se, but it is about questioning methods some large corporation might use when angling for their products to by-pass extensive testing protocols.4 As if, in a corrupt world, steeped in sin, there is not any good reason to doubt their motives and methods.5
In one case, not related to corruption, but a rush to market, the privatized Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in Australia, in 2009, made a bad batch of a flu vaccine that had serious consequences for young children. So serious was the mistake that …
“Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop, made the unprecedented decision to ban nationally all the seasonal flu vaccines for the under-5s. Fluvax, the predominant vaccine, was triggering febrile fits in one in every 100 children – 10 times the expected rate. The side-effects, in some cases, were severe, and no-one could explain what had caused them.”6
That means they, in fact, expected febrile convulsions to be triggered by their vaccine in one in every 1000 children. That was the definition for ‘safe’ at that time for that particular vaccine. Like any drug, vaccines are not without risks and that has been acknowledged.7 So it is healthy to question the science, and or the limitations of its application, especially when small children are involved.
Many times we have been told something was good for us, even good for our health. Take cigarette smoking for example; no negative effects were found in the 1950-60’s, and doctors and dentists even recommended them—but now in many countries on every packet the label reads “smoking kills”.
I was born in 1952 and as a child in elementary (primary) school saw several children with deformed limbs, which later I learned was due to their mothers taking a drug called “thalidomide”. This was a drug given back in the 50s for the treatment of morning sickness during pregnancy, but quite clearly it was not fully tested before being released as one of the enantiomers8 (either R or S forms of the molecule) resulted in devastating malformation of the foetus, even resulting in death.9 Apparently, worldwide, about 10,000 cases were reported of infants with the same condition, called phocomelia, due to thalidomide, where only about 50% survived.
So what’s the message here? Skepticism is sometimes very healthy. It could even save your life.
Science without debate is propaganda!
Quite often in the cases of slurring of those who would question either the ‘science’ or those promoting an agenda, the Apollo moon landings are brought up, as if those crackpots who believe they were faked by NASA and those who would conceive of such questioning of science, are in the same basket.
National Geographic published an article titled, “Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?”, in which they make the claims:
“We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts.”
The article then states:
“…evolution actually happened. Biology is incomprehensible without it. There aren’t really two sides to all these issues. Climate change is happening. Vaccines really do save lives. Being right does matter—and the science tribe has a long track record of getting things right in the end. Modern society is built on things it got right.”
There is a lot of bait-and-switch and straw man argument going on here.
If you say evolution happens, it is disingenuous, because you really mean that natural selection and mutations happen. This is part of operational biological science. But Darwinian goo-to-you evolution does not happen!
The climate does change. The science of vaccines is sound, even if at times, as expected in a corrupt world, fraud and mistakes occur. The problem that most people have with each of these topics is not honestly addressed by National Geographic. The article puts up straw man arguments to make anyone questioning the established narrative appear exceptionally irrational, even dangerous.
But the so-called ‘science’ of goo-to-you evolution is not sound. In regards to this process, Richard Dawkins once famously said,
“Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it has not been observed while it’s happening.”10
Which, of course, makes no sense at all. He was speaking about circumstantial evidence. In that interview, he even used the analogy of a crime scene, after the crime had occurred. And this highlights the problem. Evolution is not operational science, but historical science, and to answer questions about past events, one really needs access to the past. Science will never provide that.
As a professor of physics working in a leading university in Australia, I find it quite paradoxical, when I question the so-called science of evolution, and I use the word now in the widest sense of cosmic evolution. Last year I gave a lecture at my university “8 Reasons Why Evolution is Foolish”11 and after the event I got all sorts of negative comments coming back through my line manager. Apparently geologists and biologists (read ‘evolutionists’) complained to the Dean of the Faculty of Science, that I was even asking questions, let alone criticizing the science, in areas of biology, geology, cosmology etc., and that it looks bad for the university. It only looks bad because I was questioning their religion of science, not operational, experimental science. Isn’t a university supposed to be place where everything is questioned?
The main point to note here is that they would censor my questioning!
To question ‘the science’ is healthy. In reality this discussion is not about science but about ‘scientism’, the religion of a belief that science can deliver all the answers to not only health and technology, but also to the difficult questions, like: Where did we come from? Who or what made us? How old is the Universe? But these will never be answered by science, because time-travel is impossible and to answer these questions you would need a true and accurate history of the Universe. Where do you get that? I only know one source: the Creator God, who gave us His revelation in the Biblical account in Genesis.
References and Notes
- The notion that all life on earth naturalistically evolved from some primordial pond-scum over a period of 3.8 billion years, without any Intelligent design, or creation.
- John G. Hartnett, The coming long dark winter?
- Reuben Kramer, Class Says Merck Lied About Mumps Vaccine, Courthouse News Service, 27 June 2012
- Revathi Siva Kumar, Merck’s Fake MMR Trial Results Buried Even As Measles Scare Shows Vaccine Surge, 26 January 2015
- Virus in the system, The Australian, 28 May 2011.
- The US Department of Health and Human Services has a vaccine injury table that lists death as a possible side effect. http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccinetable.html
- Enantiomers are chiral molecules that are mirror images of one another.
- Bill Moyers interviews Richard Dawkins, Now, 3 December 2004, PBS network.
- John G. Hartnett, The Lecture: 8 Reasons Why Evolution is Foolish.