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Why we shouldn’t “follow the science”

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A heath care tech researcher explains, using ex-New York governor Andrew Cuomo as a stellar example:

The history of medicine offers ample reasons to avoid smug certitude which, unfortunately, is abundant on social and traditional media. Science is always about likelihood and never about certainty, though word apparently hasn’t reached Twitter and TV news.

Then there is the flagrantly political demeanor of so many COVID experts. I’m not at all prepared to say whether red states or blue states were wiser in their public policies. Too many confounding variables. I’ll make one exception, which is to say that the press and others besoiled themselves by relentlessly lionizing ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Today, few Democrats or Republicans quote his tweet from May 5, 2020: “Look at the data. Follow the science. Listen to the experts. … Be smart.”

Here’s why they shouldn’t. Science, like a chainsaw, is an exceedingly powerful and useful tool. But “follow the science” makes no more sense than “follow the chainsaw.” The chainsaw doesn’t know the safest way to cut a tree, and science—let alone some anthropomorphic vision of it—can’t weigh the tradeoffs between slowing COVID and shutting down schools and cancer surgeries…

During the pandemic, yard signs have sprouted with the message, “Science Doesn’t Care What You Believe.” For what it’s worth, chainsaws don’t care what you believe, either.

Robert F. Graboyes, “Year-End Musings on COVID, Science, and Chainsaws” at [InsideSources] (December 26, 2021)

Science is a human endeavor. Nothing about science causes it to be trustworthy, even with good evidence available, apart from intelligence and character.

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Explosive new information about New York’s mass COVID deaths In a video conference, perhaps accidentally, a health official blurted out the deadly policy and the reasoning behind it. Fearing political pushback, New York officials took steps to conceal from the federal government the policy that doomed thousands of seniors.


Why did New York State issue a policy that killed elderly patients during the pandemic? For all practical purposes, the government directive was essentially an order to spread COVID to people in nursing homes.
This is the worst thing medical authorities have done in the US since the Tuskegee scandal, when black Americans were not given penicillin to treat disease. (Michael Egnor)

@Asauber@4 Or as Feynman put it, “In talking about the impact of ideas in one field on ideas in another field, one is always apt to make a fool of oneself.” Belfast
"Science" today includes worldviews that aren't in the competence of science. Some think it's simply the opinion of some scientists. Lots of people are stupid. God help us. Andrew asauber
"Science" as presented today is not the Science of yesteryear with assumed contexts, limitations, boundaries, ethics, etc... it's whatever the organs of the state say it is. So we have doctors killing babies by the thousands every day, and euthanizing undesirable adults, state-forced chemical injections, made up climate doom scare stories... I could go on. Andrew asauber
Science is not like a chainsaw or a hammer. The scientific method is more like regulations that carpenters have to follow if they want to get paid. But carpenters haven't been subsumed into Deepstate yet, so the analogy is even weaker when comparing with "scientists" who are paid to develop torture and genocide. polistra
I find people more interesting when they formulate instead of follow AaronS1978

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