So there I was this morning, laughing uproariously at a YouTube video of a sheep having joyful fun on a trampoline:
And while I was noodling around looking for other amusing animal videos because I didn’t want to go out and put on any more house siding today, ….
I ran across the Australian news site. (Not sure how I got there; you know how it is on the Internet. Probably had something to do with looking at sheep which somehow led to …. Australia.)
Anyhoo, there was a link which looked interesting, so I clicked on it and up came this article: Coronavirus: WHO backflips on virus stance by condemning lockdowns.
It’s pretty dispositive:
Dr. David Nabarro from the WHO appealed to world leaders yesterday, telling them to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method” of the coronavirus.
He also claimed that the only thing lockdowns achieved was poverty – with no mention of the potential lives saved.
“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.
“We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Dr Nabarro told The Spectator.
“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.”
Dr Nabarro’s main criticism of lockdowns involved the global impact, explaining how poorer economies that had been indirectly affected.
“Just look at what’s happened to the tourism industry in the Caribbean, for example, or in the Pacific because people aren’t taking their holidays,” he said.
“Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. … Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”
I’m sure Dr. Nabarro is a reputable “scientist.” I’m sure that the WHO only employs “reputable scientists.” But his words caused me to reflect on what we, in the twenty-first century, regard as the proper way to approach “science” (which seems to be to follow it blindly). The point I’d like to make (and I do have a point), is as follows:
Yeah. It’s funny, really. Because when I look back at the history of science, even just using the Oxford dictionary as a starting point, I come up with
science: the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
and it strikes me that science has never been well-served by “followers,” and that advancements in the discipline have almost exclusively been at the hands of those willing to ask questions, and challenge (you might say, “experiment”). The idea that science is “settled” is a very twenty-first century and (I think) Leftist concept, designed mainly to prevent interference with and alteration of, a political agenda that isn’t “scientific” at all.
In fact, the history of people who “followed” is usually told in terms of “blind followers,” usually those of one or another religious sect or denomination who rejected the advancements of science, because they were too short-sighted and constrained by their religious beliefs to observe and question the natural world as it actually and obviously is. (That’s not an opinion I share, just an observation (perhaps even a scientific one) that I think can be borne out my a bit of research and reading.
Religion is typically portrayed as having “followers,” the world of the timid, the fearful, and the magical thinkers.
Science is typically (or was until very recently) portrayed as the domain of the adventurous, the leaders, the inquisitive, and the bold. Now, all that being inquisitive or bold gets you is cancelled from Twitter on a regular basis, as you’re routinely chastised and told to become a follower (of science, of course), yourself.
Welcome to the Looking-Glass World.
While not quite bereft of words, I can only think of three things to say:
- I nominate this sheep for the 2021 Nobel Prize for Physics. This sheep (ewe or wether, I’m not sure, and it doesn’t matter)–no sexism or castratophobia here!–has mastered the twin disciplines of “observation” and “experimentation.” She, or it, totally gets it, and is demonstrating far more attachment to “science” than most two-legged specimens looking for their fifteen minutes of Internet fame over the past seven months.
- What happens to all those poor souls who’ve been cancelled and suspended from Facebook or Twitter for spreading “unsubstantiated information” and “misinformation,” by contradicting the diktats of the WHO, because, you know, science, now that science is catching up with the reality the rest of us live in every day?
- It’s my fond fever dream that this will play to Donald Trump’s political advantage, and that he’ll find a way to get some mileage out of it. But for any number of reasons, I’m not optimistic that will actually happen.
So I think I’ll go back to planning my trampoline installation. I’m already halfway there:
* I wonder if I can sell my idea as performance art and get a grant from the NIH to support my efforts?”