One of my neighbors parades around in a T-shirt that says “Science is Real.” Another has a yard sign that says the same thing.
Why do they feel the need to assert that science is real?
But I wonder what they mean by “science.” Has anyone threatened to repeal Newton’s Three Laws of Motion? Is that the science they’re defending? You don’t need to defend something unless it has come under attack, or is likely to be attacked, and you’re afraid it might be taken and destroyed.
Science is always demonstrating that many things accepted by scientists as real… are not real, after all. Once upon a time in science, there was this invisible stuff called phlogiston which did—oh, I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter anyhow because scientists eventually discovered there was no such thing as phlogiston. The Steady State Theory of the Universe followed phlogiston onto the scrap heap after being elbowed out of “real” by the Big Bang Theory.
And so it goes. Scientists believe in something for a while and then they don’t believe it anymore because now they believe in something else. In fact, it’s supposed to work that way: as more is discovered, more must be discarded.
But you have already suspected that what we’re talking about is liberals.
Those who don’t believe in God believe in idols, and Science is about the handiest idol around. Science will tell them what is real, usually in consultation with their other big, impressive idol, the State.
The “science” that must be defended by “Science is Real” T-shirts, worn by people who mostly have no scientific background—which makes their devotion to the idol all the more intense—is science that has mixed with politics and is viewed with suspicion and skepticism by those on the other side of the political fence. This is the ideology-saturated science of Man-Made Climate Change, evolution, and abortion, with the even more deformed pseudo-science of Gender Fluidity following in its train. This is the Science that liberals are defending—because they’re afraid it will be laughed out of existence if they don’t.
Scientists are only human, and no more immune than the rest of us to deception, wishful thinking, self-promotion, incomplete knowledge mistaken for the real thing, rivalry, personal animosity, and every other sin that flesh is heir to. They’ve also got computer models, which they themselves create and then study instead of studying nature: they find the models just so much more cooperative.
That science has also accomplished so much, in the history of civilization, is because it arose from the Jewish and Christian conception of an orderly, rational universe created by a rational and righteous God, with discoverable, knowable laws of nature. To compare it with any “science” created by societies without this worldview is a fool’s errand.
God being the God of truth, thinkers who grew up in this tradition sought for truth in nature, and sometimes found it. And because truth had intrinsic value for them, their science developed a self-editing, self-correcting function without which any progress would have been impossible.
But that’s not the Science that has to be defended.
The Science that has to be defended is baloney science, the secular vision of a paradise on earth, perfection brought about by imperfect, sinful human beings. All it takes is vast political power and huge amounts of money. It’s Science that claims to be able to do all those things, eventually, that God never got around to doing because He doesn’t exist—abolish war, poverty, bad weather, hate, yatta-yatta, sis-boom-bah. Its adherents have merely replaced one religious vision with another.
And some of us, no matter how many T-shirts and yard signs we might encounter, simply don’t believe it.
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