Sometimes the facts suppressed are not crucial but then sometimes they are:
Most people prefer experts, of course, especially when it comes to health care. As a surgeon myself, I can hardly object to that tendency. But a problem arises when some of those experts exert outsized influence over the opinions of other experts and thereby establish an orthodoxy enforced by a priesthood. If anyone, expert or otherwise, questions the orthodoxy, they commit heresy. The result is groupthink, which undermines the scientific process.
The COVID-19 pandemic provided many examples. Most medical scientists, for instance, uncritically accepted the epidemiological pronouncements of government-affiliated physicians who were not epidemiologists. At the same time, they dismissed epidemiologists as “fringe” when those specialists dared to question the conventional wisdom.
Or consider the criticism that rained down on Emily Oster, a Brown University economist with extensive experience in data analysis and statistics. Many dismissed her findings—that children had a low risk of catching or spreading the virus, an even lower risk of getting seriously ill, and should be allowed to normally socialize during the pandemic—because she wasn’t an epidemiologist. Ironically, one of her most vocal critics was Sarah Bowen, a sociologist, not an epidemiologist.
The deference to government-endorsed positions is probably related to funding. While “the free university” is “historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery,” President Dwight Eisenhower observed in his farewell address, “a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.” He also warned that “we should be alert to the…danger that public policy could itself become captive of a scientific technological elite.” Today we face both problems.Jeffrey Singer, “Against Scientific Gatekeeping” at Reason (from the May 22 issue)
Much harm was done to children and teens by the COVID Crazy, for example. Let’s see how easy and honest any discussion of “Trust the Science!” will be now that the facts are beginning to trickle in.
See, for example, CDC report details mental health crisis among teens during pandemic Teens were ne3ver at serious risk and anyone could have predicted the crisis from locking them down.