Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Does the coronavirus makes us believe in Science?

12 May 2020


The left-wing magazine The New Republic triggered my mind with a recent article: It’s not enough to “believe science”. They disputed – and rightfully, in my opinion – the reasoning of science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson in his May 1 article in the magazine The New Yorker:

“Do we believe in science? Go outside and you’ll see the proof that we do everywhere you look. We’re learning to trust our science as a society.” Bold emphasis in quote by LO.

The New Republic‘s reply: “Who is “we,” precisely? The anti-lockdown protesters who have stormed state capitals in the past week, backed in part by right-wing donors, don’t seem all that sold that reopening safely will require a certain number of tests per day, a certain number of hospital beds available, and a certain drop in cases over time.” Bold emphasis in quote by LO.

I agree with the New Republic, although from a different angle: The protests by anti-vaxxers, anti-lockdown and anti-5G activists merely show that (their) fear over something (new) is stronger than a belief – or disbelief – in Science. For most others, a vaccine offers hope, not necessarily a belief in science. See my blogs on the cycle of Doubt-Fear-Hope-Love.

Recently, I had a nasty discussion with a friend about anti-vaxxers, whom she supports. Ultimately, we agreed to disagree. Nevertheless, I’m still wondering how you can consider yourself a critic when you refuse to inform yourself? Obviously, she is of the opinion that she does inform herself, albeit unilateral. Please also see my 2017 blog: Vaccines – the Truth as a Belief system.

The American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988) once said: “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” It seems that the opposite is true nowadays: “Science is a culture of faith; religion is a culture of doubt.” Climate (change) science is an example: when you argue that humans are not solely responsible for climate change, you are already a climate denier.

Several articles about the coronavirus stress its strange, unique and/or weird nature. Scientists still do not understand why this virus “discriminates” so much:

– AD (in Dutch): In Rome less people died than normal and nobody understands why

– Atlantic: Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing

– NYT: The Covid-19 Riddle: Why Does the Virus Wallop Some Places and Spare Others?

– Standaard (Dutch): Sars-CoV-2 is an amazingly stable virus

Most scientists claim that this virus is not a synthetic or manmade virus. Its strange nature, however, might suggest that it was being edited in the Wuhan Institute of Virology before it either escaped or was released. That should make us believe in science but in the worst possible way.

I Scare Myself (1984) by Thomas Dolby

artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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