A Superstition of the Social Elite

From Uncommon Descent’s Religion, science, … and the religion of science facing COVID-19

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The religion of science has seemed strikingly evident in the COVID-19 outbreak. Commenting on the difficulty observant Jews have faced during the lockdowns in New York, a thoughtful writer notes:

If you believe in it—truly, deeply, and unequivocally—you understand that science isn’t a faith-based system. It cares little for politics or virtues. It’s a blissfully agnostic methodology that makes guesses, compares them with available evidence, and amends, alters, or rejects them based on results. So, if you’re being true to science, say, here’s how you should be thinking about public gatherings: Are they unsafe? Then they’re as unsafe for the proponents of Black Lives just as they are for the Satmars. Are they safe under some conditions? Then let us be clear about precisely what these conditions are.

Take, for example, Gov. Cuomo’s decree that no more than 10 people are allowed in a house of worship at any given time. If you possess even a modicum of common sense, you realize that this idea is, at its core, profoundly anti-scientific, as it has nothing to say about the size of the house of worship in question. Ten people in a small one-room shtiebel is a real risk; 10 people in a grand synagogue built to seat thousands is a real farce. A governor serious about science and public safety rather than about seizing power would’ve understood that and acted accordingly, offering guidelines that were sensible and measured and concrete. The only ones pointing out this travesty are the Haredim.

Liel Leibovitz, “Religion, Science, and the Religion of Science” at Tablet

During the COVID crisis, a great deal of the blather for science made no sense at all, a fact that is becoming more and more evident.

People won’t immediately give up believing in science as a result. Rather, they will begin to treat it as the superstition of the social elite. It doesn’t make sense and doesn’t need to. It is wisely got around wherever possible.

That’s not what science used to be but that’s what many policy decisions have made it.

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“The Right Sort says that it is true. Therefore, it is true.”

Well, so long as there is a fat supply of treats, to keep the public quiet.

And when the treats run out…

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