Why not ‘acting on scientific research’?

When I wrote about the difference between science and science’s brand, back in mid-2019, I had no idea how ahead of events I was.

I wrote that as a defence of hypnosis. It seems unscientific but the evidence is indisputable – that makes it a handy litmus test to see how you think.

I never expected to use it to talk about politics. Yet, here we are, so let’s do this.

Ever notice how politicians, when introducing new ways to keep you indoors, often use the same phrase?

They say they’re ‘acting on the best medical advice’.

Why aren’t they acting on the best scientific research? If you want to build a rocket, do you talk to someone, get their opinion, then go build the rocket? Or do you do the calculations, run the experiments and see what works?

Expert advice might guide your enquiries, but it never bypasses them. At some point, you have to get your hands dirty with the evidence.

Politicians refer to advice, not research, because the research is thin on the ground. There’s no Settled Science and little Frontier Science. Most of the policies come from Opinions with no data to back them up.

If you think a scientist talking means they’re talking about science, you’re sucked in by science’s brand.

And advice is easy to come by. If you dig hard enough, you’ll find advice that says smoking treats lung cancer.

That’s why evidence trumps advice – it holds no allegiance but to reality.

Einstein’s opinion was the God doesn’t play dice with the universe. Physicists thanked him for his opinion and ignored it in favour of evidence.

Who is to the medical community as Einstein was to physics? Whoever they are, their opinions still require proof, justification and testing.

In a parallel universe, our leaders told us this in early 2020:

“What we’ve seen of the Virus is the real danger comes from overwhelming our medical systems. That’s why we’re taking two weeks to flatten the curve and build up medical supplies. After that, we will reopen and get through this together.

“I encourage you all to take personal responsibility for your health. That means eating well, exercising, socialising, getting fresh air and sun, practicing good hygiene and taking time to rest. If you or a member of your household become unwell, please self-isolate as much as possible. We’lltest and trace unwell folks rigorously so you can feel confident in your safety . If you’re at-risk for the Virus, take extra precautions and we’re here to support you. Once we open up again, as the meme says, keep calm and carry on.”

All of which is based on the best scientific evidence.

The link between your mental state and your immune system is one of the most researched things in medicine. One form of that is the placebo effect, which is directly or indirectly studied all the time.

Even ignoring the placebo, the field of psychoneuroimmunology bursts at the seams with evidence for the link between your mind and your physical health.

The lockdowns go against this scientific fact. They combine uncertainty with psychologically unnatural restrictions to create social, financial and physical stress.

How many of us eat worse during lockdowns, because of stress, boredom and an inability to go to the shops?

Early on, there was strong evidence and good guesses that vitamin D reduced infection rates and symptoms. Instead, the ‘best advice’ was to stay inside and become even more deficient than you were.

The question of whether lockdowns kill more people than the Virus, even in the short-term, is unanswered. It sits well within Frontier Science.  The long-term damage is even more uncertain – the lockdowns will directly cause long-term mental health issues, stress-related conditions, heart disease, obesity, cancer, complications from deferred surgeries and loneliness.

Is this less than the harm the Virus will cause if we don’t lock down?

No one can do more than guess.

I’m not saying lockdowns don’t work. I’m saying it’s not the only strategy – and it’s well within science and reason to question them.

But not according to the science-brand-thinkers.

To them, one interpretation of an open question is just as good as Settled Science, because someone wearing a labcoat said so.

Taking policy that was based on controversial educated guesses and calling it a fact – that’s so far from the hallowed halls of science that it doesn’t deserve the title.

Now, obviously, we couldn’t wait four decades to see how the Science Settles. People had to make decisions in the face of a potential crisis.

That’s fine.

Just call it for what it is.

I want to be generous and say they current approach is based in the best science we have. The thing is, I don’t even know what the current approach is.

I’m serious. Is it:

Flatten the curve? Because we’re 1.5 years into that three-week plan. Where I live, we had no cases until August 2021. That’s pretty damn flat curve, so… we won?

This obviously isn’t the plan. Remember: the first lockdowns were for two-to-three weeks, to stop tens of millions of people dying within months. Both of those numbers were orders of magnitude wrong.

If your philosophy says that couldn’t have been questioned because ‘science!’ then your philosophy leaves you prone to wild errors.

Consider doing better.

Freeze society for a year until we develop jabs? That’s what people thought the plan was, only we’re still locking down.

One version of the story is this:

We were going to open up, but it turns out the jab isn’t 100% effective – folks can still catch and pass it on after getting the full suite. Therefore, unfortunately, we have to keep lockdowns due to unforeseen complications.

Well, obviously the jabs aren’t 100% effective. No vaccine is. An introduction to biology class will teach you that.

Any leader – political or medical – who’s surprised by this clearly isn’t following ‘the best medical advice’. They’re not even following the basic science. Instead, they pinned their hopes on an impossible solution, then were dumbfounded when it wasn’t perfect.

Again, notice how the numbers keep changing. We’ll end lockdowns when 30% of people get the jab. No, 50%. Make that 70%… I mean 80%. The numbers aren’t Settled Science – they’re People Making Manure Up as they conveniently move the goal posts.

Wait for the Virus to disappear? The current strategy seems to be that if there are more than zero cases, we lock down. Is the plan is to drive the Virus into extinction, then? Again, an intro to biology class will tell you that’s not happening.

I’m serious here. If the waves of lockdowns are based on the best medical advice, then it should be obvious when the lockdowns are no longer needed. There should be a certain level of the Virus we tolerate, just as we never locked down to eliminate the flu.

The flu sucks but we live with it – when do we reach that point for this?

But, no, the plan is “everyone get jabbed and things will maybe go back to normal, eventually, maybe, pinkie-promise”.

That’s not a plan based on Settled Science.

That’s not a plan at all.

Even if you think that’s our best approach, you can’t think it’s beyond questioning.

Unless, of course, you think in terms of science’s brand, not science. Then this not-plan is as rock-solid and factual as Newton’s First Law of Motion. After all, a scientist said so, right?

Back to the parallel universe where ‘medical advice’ led to the opposite policies…

It’s clear why that never took on here:

Those two pesky words, ‘personal responsibility’.

If you believe that your wellbeing is your responsibility – that pharmaceuticals are a last resort, rather than the only tool in the box – then people will call you crazy.

You might as well lean into that.

Want to come further down the rabbit hole with me?

Sign up for a hypnosis session here. If you’re looking to ease into it, I recommend the Neural Reset:


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