What is science? Has it changed recently? And more importantly is it still working? The Covid19 pandemic has put a spotlight on science generally and biology and drug research in specifically.
The popular narrative is that if only we listened to the scientists, we would have prevented this, presumably contrasting scientists against “politicians” and perhaps other ‘non-experts’. This pandemic is happening against a completely unprecedented backdrop of censorship inwhat seems like normal people discussing about the effects of different drugs and protocols.
The CEO of YouTube has specifically said that the platform would block people suggesting vitamin C has beneficial effects on helping one recover from Covid19. And this is done in the name of science?
What is a science? If we look at the field of science as a mechanistic process that takes some inputs and produces outputs, what are those inputs and outputs? Let’s take one the of the most classic examples of this: Newton’s theory of gravity. This is accepted as science and fact. Plain and simple.
According to modern ‘journalistic standards’ recent research is definitive proof that the drugs do work, and Pfizer are proudly lauding their new vaccine as it is rolled out in the UK. We were even treated to health secretary Matt Hancock shedding a tear as he got overcome with emotion while being interviewed by Piers Morgan. It looks like Johnson & Johnson and Glaxo-Smith-Kline (GSK) are not far behind either. especially if it accomplishes some political goal. These are all, obviously, really big concerns in pharmaceuticals. That should put our mind at ease. Shouldn’t it?
All is not well in the world of science.
Well, for a start, the governments chief adviser on the vaccine, he who appears almost nightly on the rostrum with Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, to run through graphs showing infection rates and cases for Covid19, is in fact not just a government adviser. here He is/ was president of R & D of GSK.
Patrick Vallance at a Number 10 briefing
Pfizer it now transpires, had four volunteers develop Bells palsy, reported in the Daily Mail here
And with the same drug two NHS workers have developed anaphylactic shock reported in the Guardian here Surely these sorts of problems would have been ironed out in the testing stage. After all, penicillin has been around since World War II nearly 100 years ago after being discovered by Alexander Fleming. And even now if prescribed it the patient is still asked if they are allergic to it.
Cast your mind back to 2009. The H1N1 flu vaccine was also trumpeted as a ‘breakthgrough’. Sound familiar? In Finland it resulted in a Narcolepsy epidemic. Affecting the 4-19 years old demographic, it left them with life long disabilities! NIH.gov It was made by GSK.
But no matter, don’t worry, BigTech will adjudicate and allay any fears you may have.
Big Tech has fully bought into the frame ‘experts’ vs ordinary people (as if experts are always ‘correct’) and laypeople are wrong, unless they agree with the experts that is.What we have in place of science is one large Silicon Valley of managed statement production (how dangerous are public gatherings?).
The purpose of science is to produce functional information that can be understood and benefit everyone
Right now science is losing its status among the general population. It is also losing status among some scientists. This is both horrifying and encouraging. Without a structured way to sift actual reality into social reality, the social reality will diverge from reality, with further and further breakdown of health and sanity for society.
Is there still hope that we can convince the current “scientific establishment” to get back to the roots? I don’t have much. Reform will more likely be driven by a cadre of people who don’t think of themselves as “scientists,” unless in jest, but who have rapid enough feedback cycles from reality to begin to notice previously hidden patterns in it.
The future of science, as the saying goes, is a well-forgotten past: something that is produced by experts, as long as all the steps are verified.
The future of science is models, not statements and spin.
Images by Fernanda Zhiminaicela/ Belova59 respectively
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