This year we have been bombarded by presidential candidates, local government officials, media members, and even neighbors all encouraging us to “follow the science”. While primarily being used in the context of Covid-19 policy, following science is hailed as the answer to many problems of our day including political, environmental, and social issues. Unfortunately, those who dare to question the “science” are quickly labeled as uneducated imbeciles.
Before we go on it is important to say that I would never deny the advancements that scientific endeavors have achieved. Because we live in an orderly universe incredible achievements and discoveries have been realized thanks to scientifically minded people. The problems begin when we pretend that science is a neutral and independent discipline untouched by human will. And those problems are intensified when scientific findings are applied to political or social issues whose proponents have an overdeveloped bias and are blinded by their agendas.
Science is supposedly an objective, well-defined discipline that is unstained by human bias and ultimately leads to truth if rigorously followed. If that is the case, then why is there so much controversy over Covid-19 restrictions and environmental policy? The reason is that nobody actually follows pure science, instead we follow worldviews that influence our interpretation of scientific data. For those unfamiliar with worldview, examples include secular perspectives such as humanism, nationalism, nihilism, and naturalism. Religious or theistic worldviews are diverse but share a common belief in the supernatural.
People don’t follow science, they follow worldviews.
For example, the consensus scientific community will tell us that in order to be objective in our scientific work we must deny the supernatural as a first principle. But that is just adopting a naturalistic worldview and then limiting scientific conclusions to fall within the boundaries of that worldview. It is a bias that will limit conclusions. The pure scientist does not deny God, the naturalist does. In other words it is the worldview, not the science that excludes a Creator. As you can read in this previous post, the choice between belief in God and belief in science in a false dilemma.
Examples of worldview influencing scientific conclusions abound in political and social issues. The most glaring is probably the pro-abortion denial that a pregnant woman is actually carrying a living human being despite the medical imaging advancements that clearly prove that she is. The discouragement of ultrasound imaging for women who are considering abortion is not based on science. It is based on fear that she may see her child and change her mind. And despite what you hear on the news there are worldviews influencing interpretation of climate change data as illustrated here. In addition, science does not support the denial of binary human gender, check out my post on this topic here. When it comes to the wearing of masks, Covid-19 business restrictions, and school closures you know there is no shortage of controversy over the interpretation of data and so following pandemic science is very precarious.
In the current world of sharply divided politics, science is often appealed to as the answer to our problems. But we must look deeper when assessing the wisdom in any given policy decision. What worldviews are influencing our leaders’ interpretation of scientific data? What first principles do they hold that might limit or influence the information being presented? A recent story published here highlights the influence of worldview on science as it reports about an activist group seeking to remove accreditation from schools that hold to a biblical worldview and teach creation based science curricula. Once again this is an assumption that to teach science you must disregard God.
Following science is not as simple as it sounds. Do not allow yourself to be shamed if you dare to question a “scientific consensus”. The question is not, “Will you follow the science?” Instead it is, “What worldview will you follow?”