Climate change is “settled science,” but Covid vaccination science isn’t?
Oh, so now we’re being instructed that the safety of the Covid vaccine is not “settled science.”
Experts now are explaining that the all those recommendations and mandates about how to stop the pandemic are changing because the “science is changing.”
Never mind that anyone who points out that the science of climate change (i.e. global warming) might not be “settled” is labeled an “anti-science denier.” Might as well call those people apostates or heretics, terms more appropriate to theology than to science. As in “an article of faith.”
So it was fascinating to watch CDC Director Rochelle Walensky being interviewed by FoxNews anchor Bret Baier. He pressed her about how the recommendations and mandates keep changing–a growing concern by a confused American public that has had it up to here with expert dictums that prove wrong. “Moving the goal posts”, so to speak, about when we can live our normal lives without the schoolmarm admonitions.
She said, “As that science evolves, I evolve, with our — with the CDC, the guidance. What I will say is, I continue to be humbled by this virus…”
Walensky correctly argued that the science isn’t settled, that as we learn about the changing virus we might be compelled to change the advice. (My own view is that science has a lot of catching up to do about the nature and conduct of the virus and how to control it. Despite that, we’ve been inundated with blind and dangerous overreactions, such as keeping children out of the classroom. Watch the entire interview below to get the thrust of what she is saying about the changing science. It’s a good interview. Honest.)
It’s more than unfortunate that the high priests of global warming aren’t as honest with the public about their certainty that mankind’s activities are heading us toward near-certain and catastrophic global warming.
Here I’m talking about the political, media, environmental and others who deploy their ignorance about science to condemn anyone for challenging the “consensus,” as if a vote validates science.
I’m not talking about the likes of the proprietor of the SkepticalScience blog, whose purpose is to attack the “deniers” argumentation with the scientific evidence. But even he had this to say about changeable science:
No science is ever “settled”; science deals in probabilities, not certainties. When the probability of something approaches 100%, then we can regard the science, colloquially, as “settled”.
So SkepticalScience marshals all the evidence he can find to demonstrate that the probability of global warming is approaching 100 percent, or, if I may, certainty. Well and good. Yet, I find it fascinating that such advocates believe that they and their models can be so close to 100 percent when they attempt to capture the full universe of factors and variables that change our climate. Isn’t it possible that they’ve missed something, or got something wrong?
While they’re at it, I would hope that they could tell us what Earth’s best climate would be. Does Earth have an optimal or most viable temperature? With so many forces beyond our control, can the experts tell us the best temperature is to, for example, keep the oceans from rising? And more importantly, can they tell us how the hell they would do it?
My view of science, whether it relates to weather or pandemics, is reflected most in “Unsettled Science: Statistics and Government Decision-making in the Era of COVID-19.” in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services.
Unfortunately for these decision-makers, [politicians and policy makers] science and policy don’t always operate on the same timeline. Science is an iterative process—it usually takes multiple steps, dead-ends, recalibration and challenges to confirm anything with any certainty. It involves someone presenting an idea based on research and statistics then subjecting it to peer review and–quite often–heavy criticism, which results in correction and thereby progress. Science is, therefore, inherently unsettled and relies on challenge to move forward over time. Policy, unfortunately, likes settled science as a foundation for solid (and politically safe) decision making. [Emphasis added.]
This was published a year ago, but the facts and reasoning are so solid that I believe it is perhaps the best thing written about the promise and limits of science as they apply to public policymaking. I sincerely ask that you read it in its entirety.To subscribe to the Barbershop and be notified when I post, type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.