Science as a social device

The function of science as an institution is to distinguish facts from falsehoods. It legitimately acknowledges absolutes but only so far as the scientific method will demonstrably establish.

The empirical establishment unlike religion hasn’t traditionally played the role of being the arbiter of moral-ethical truth, hence it doesn’t proscribe what “ought” to be. As such it is non dogmatic from a philosophical standpoint.

Nowadays — and especially evident in this day and age of biomedical hyper-awareness — there exists a growing tendency to invoke science as an ally in promoting all sort of social dogma. Science has come to be misused, like religion, in that “science” has come to be synonymous with “god."

So I ask, will we ever know better than to conflate the empirical question of the efficacy of things like masking and vaccinating with the moral-ethical question of whether there exists the legitimate authority to employ coercive measures in fighting coronavirus?

If it be simply for the sake of our collective intellectual integrity, I really hope so.

Derek Meyer

Traverse City

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