I have already written on this subject, and I remind the reader that for me, scepticism means having an open mind because truth, which is transcendent, cannot always be perfectly known. You are most welcome to peruse my old articles of this subject as it has evolved in my mind.
There is a recent article by Freddie Sayers We need Scepticism more than ever.
Freddie Sayers is a journalist and interviewer who runs the UK-based alternative media platform UnHerd. He is critical of the policy of lockdowns in most countries that have implemented them and has been supportive of the Great Barrington Declaration and scientists like Dr Sunetra Gupta.
Without expertise in epidemiology and virology, I can only say that I find a great diversity of expert scientific opinion about what to do about the Covid epidemic. I was taught at school and university that science was supposed to be more objective than that – the deduction of certainty from repeatable experimental evidence. What I do find alarming is the association between some opinions and political positions. I am also frightened by the prospect of dystopian policies being promoted by extremely rich people and politicians who should be more responsible. Am I a conspiracy theorist? I don’t know, but Nazism in the 1920’s to 1940’s was a conspiracy, and was very real to those who died under that regime. It can happen again, and I fear that it will.
One thing that contributes to this fear is what the Dutch thinker Rob Riemen called mass humanity. Modern humanity is leaning increasingly towards an ideology of resentment, inciting anger and fear, the need for scapegoats and hatred of the free mind. In his book To Fight Against this Age (New York 2018), Riemen draws on the wealth of humanist thought of Thomas Mann and Albert Camus among other lights of the twentieth century.
It is important to question the prevailing status quo and “orthodoxy” of science (based on conjecture) and political ideology. It was only during the Enlightenment that scepticism became more mainstream. Can anything in the world really be known?
Sayers packs a lot into his article, which you can read from the above link. Perhaps scepticism of the open-minded and enquiring kind will prove to be a light in the darkness in these coming years.
Father, you write: ‘I was taught at school and university that science was supposed to be more objective than that.’ In my career in the pharmaceutical industry, especially when working with specialists in their fields, it became very clear that if one ‘authority’ made a claim that his research had proved a drug to be effective, then another ‘authority’ from a different university and city would then claim the opposite, often in their support for a different treatment. It seems to be the application of the principle of self-interest, career-building, more ‘citations’ in learned journals, and often, financial support from the manufacturer of the compound concerned.
Bluntly put, it is the invasion of human influence, pride, and scepticism, into scientific proof, corrupting both!
Father, it is very frightening to see science influenced by political and financial interests. The big case in point is the present diversity of vaccines against Covid. I can agree with what you “bluntly put”. We do need to be careful with the use of the word “scepticism”. Nowadays, it usually means denial like in the case of vaccines or climate change. However, I use the word in its older meaning, that of suspending judgement (withholding assent) until one has enough convincing evidence. That is not denial, but a prudent attitude until one has what is needed to become convinced.
In the case of the vaccines, we are beginning to get real-world data from countries like the UK, the USA and Israel. They seem to be proving more efficacious, even with a single shot and no exposure to the virus for at least 2 weeks, than we suspected from only the trial data. I will be getting a vaccination as soon as it’s my turn.
I’m often bemused when people say that they “believe” in science, by implication as opposed to religion. Well, I could say that I believe in phrenology! Such a statement carries as much ignorance as the first. And why do people believe in science? To me it offers as much and as little truth (which I suppose can never be received raw) as the other. The difference is religion is discredited in the eyes of most people, for whom it is totally outside their experience. What worries me is the day (which is fast coming) when “science” will also be discredited for the very same reasons that religion was: we’re seeing a minority of people, who are very rich, withholding knowledge from the public about coronavirus. Governments, in the pockets of pharmaceutical companies and the Chinese, imposing draconian laws on a semi-willing population, in the name of science, and a Soviet-style interference by the State in the personal lives of people, which was unheard of in the West until last year. What happens when people finally realise that the risk of Covid is actually very little for the vast majority? What happens when or if some other reason, deliberately withheld by the government, is discovered for all these lockdowns? It won’t be the governments that pay; I’ll wager it will be scientists.
Thank you, Patrick. Science is not faith, but demonstration of greater certitude through logical deduction or experiments producing the same result each time. The problem with the “science” we are presently dealing with is that the word is a euphemism, a sham, a belief system that plays with the human mind through gaslighting and manipulation.
The way the media manipulates the figures and information smells of a rat. There are too many contradictions, differences according to different sources and vested interests.
We may find out that this coronavirus is little more than a mutant common cold that causes more damage to the lungs and upper respiratory tract than what we call a cold. In December 2020, I caught a cold from a shop worker taking my payment. It seemed to be one of the worst colds I had caught with bronchitis and laryngitis. All viruses mutate, and this is why flu vaccinations are only good for no more than a year. As it is with the flu virus, so it is with the different strains of coronavirus. This is the opinion of Prof. Raoult in Marseille, that the various strains have been with us for years.
The Spanish Flu was a particularly virulent strain which mutated into the various strains that presently make us (or most of us) ill without killing us or leaving permanent damage. There are some basics of knowledge most of us have, enough to be critical of what we hear when “scientists” say that we know no more than in the 14th century!!!!
One thing that is very frightening is the “Zero Covid” agenda, which is essentially Marxist, and would keep us under lockdown for as long as the virus is not completely extinct (according to whose findings?). We might have a lot of things to say about Macron here in France, but has seen through the ideology of indefinite general lockdown.
I am not a conspiracy theorist David Icke style, but I think as a sceptic: I suspend my judgement until something is credible enough to convince me. Going out into crowds of people without a mask or any precaution is a gamble. You might catch this disease or not. I personally know people who have caught it and suffer lung, liver and neurological problems for a long time.
My thought about how things were being done in France last November is that the scientific council was leading the government like a dog, and we had a “half” lockdown, and that something would break. It has happened and the ones baying “Lockdown! Lockdown!” are being increasingly ignored as cranks and quacks. We are still in curfew and local measures are being implemented in places like the Moselle, Calais and Nice, but the general tone is positive.
The problem is the over-mortality and knowing who is dying “of” Covid or “with” it. However, there is also the effect on some younger people. Where is the limit in relation to other diseases that cause death and sickness, but for which a government doesn’t lock down generally.
A lot of it is politics and big money. If it goes too far, there will be a general revolt or even a revolution. English people are generally very docile, but not the French!