Commentary: Settled Science?

To the people of these United States and in the interest of our republic,

Progressivism has always claimed scientific authority as the underlying justification for its political endeavors, applying the conclusions of scientific study to the betterment of the nation and the furtherance, or progress, of society.  At first glance this seems a reasonable and admirable goal, but after further inquisition a conundrum presents itself: can science be used as a basis for political certainty?

Science, by definition, is the process by which we challenge what we know by using empirical and measurable methods to either confirm previous conclusions or dispute them.  Everything considered a scientific law or theory is built upon scientific inquiry, the application of the scientific method.  In essence,  it could be argued the highest form of science is that which questions with boldness what is considered beyond doubt, because every inquisition serves a purpose of either further solidifying conclusions or unearthing weakness in the hypothesis.   This is why those we memorialize as the greatest scientific minds in history are those who questioned unanimity and challenged consensus.

So, back to the question at hand: can science be used as a basis for political certainty.  I believe it cannot and it should not, because it creates the false premise that certain things are settled science.  Settled science is not true science because it thwarts the very nature of honest and aggressive scientific inquiry.  Settled science turns the scientific method on its head, dictating a conclusion and searching data to support what has been concluded, viewing an alternative hypothesis as scientific blasphemy.  Settled science is not science at all, but a quasi-scientific dogma (and speculative science is nothing but far-reaching alarmist conclusions built upon quasi-scientific dogmas).  Science cannot be a dogma and remain true to its empirical methods because it is, by its very nature, constantly changing, updating, evolving, and bettering its laws and theories.

If science cannot be used as a basis for political certainty, is it useful to political discussion?  Yes.  Scientific data is extremely useful as it informs our socio-economic and political considerations.  Legislation and executive action becomes more effective when grounded in the empirical data that science affords us.  Science can inform our decisions to great benefit, and we should use every tool at our disposal to provide for the common welfare of our nation.

I would contest that the progressives “marching for science” are not using science as a tool for discovery but are instead pushing the dogmas beneficial to their cause.  If you march for science, you march for the scientific method, for the importance of open inquiry, and for the tradition of challenging unanimity and consensus.  If you march for political agendas that cannot be questioned without being accused as a denier, if you march pushing a speculative conclusion that climate change data presents a cataclysmic threat, if you march declaring no one can question the consensus convenient to your cause, you are NOT marching for science.

But, what do I know.

-The Millennial Federalist



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