It's only fair to share…

As Led Zeppelin said “you know sometimes words have two meanings” Words do mean different things to different people.  The dictionary defines science as “…knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation, experimentation and systematic study”.

It is an ongoing process not a belief system.  History shows that what we know today can be disproven tomorrow. You would hope, but in many instances dismayed that doctors and scientists, would be alarmed by, not supportive of science being a belief system not a process of constant inquiry, premised on current ideas being wrong and needing to be proved right.

Somehow, we have arrived at a place where current ideas cannot be questioned. Researchers get no funding for studies questioning current positions in many areas.  Thus, studies confirm rather than question. In turn this is used to justify current thinking and the circle goes around again.

The case of Peter Ridd, currently awaiting judgement in the High Court, shows how far a university will go to stop the questioning of current thinking.

Sadly, we have progressed little from the days of Galileo being imprisoned for questioning “the science” of the day. Today people are cancelled or sacked rather than imprisoned. But the message is the same – question those in charge at your peril.

It has been opined that rather than being a warning, some see George Orwell’s 1984 as an instruction manual. One of the keys to the success of The Party was its control of language and what people could and could not say. In the 11th version of the (1984) dictionary rather than invent new words, the aim was simpler.

As Syme tells Winston “We’re getting the language into its final shape- the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks anything else. We’re destroying words… we’re cutting the language down to the bone”

The whole aim of Newspeak was too narrow the range of thought. In the end, thought crime would be impossible as there would be no words to express it.

In 2021 we have an increasing list of words that cannot be said, lest someone chooses to take offence, and a relentless drive to erase any history not conforming to a politically correct view of the world.

Ignatius Semmelweis was hounded out of medicine for questioning “the science” of his time for stating that hand washing after leaving a mortuary reduced puerperal fever and maternal mortality.

Today regulators threaten and prosecute doctors questioning the opinion of other doctors if those doctors are public health officials.

The Great Barrington Declaration argues for a more nuanced approach than mask mandates and snap lockdowns. Support is likely far greater than the near 60,000 signatory doctors and scientists.

Does that make them correct? Not necessarily. It reminds us there are always differing opinions on management of medical issues. Nearly 18 months into Covid19, we can compare the results of different approaches in different jurisdictions. There is no clear correlation between lockdown severity and cases or mortality. This should interest us.

Medical Republic recently published a review on the evidence behind Ivermectin. The conclusion is we don’t know if it helps or not. Fair enough. However, there have at least been studies. The same cannot be said for 5km rules or wearing masks when walkingby yourself outdoors.

During SARS those promoting masks faced penalties. Do we know what has changed?

Studies on Hydroxychloroquine were also contradictory. It was banned in some countries and used in others.

Evidence tends to be contradictory, influenced by study design, who does it, who funds it and how data is analysed. It is arguably as much an “art” as “science” – a bit like the practice of medicine.

That the virus leaked from the Wuhan Virology lab is gaining increasing support. Let’s be honest – the only reason the theory was not pursued last year was because Donald Trump supported it. Thus, in the minds of many it had to be wrong. And anyone who supported the idea had to be cancelled and thrown off social media or at least castigated. This approach is about as far removed from scientific inquiry as one can get.

Rather than “believing the science” – we need to use science to question our beliefs.

Lastly let’s not forget that those making the rules are not affected by them. No politician or bureaucrat has lost their job or a cent in pay.  Some have even received pay increases.  Working from home saves them travel time too. Try laying bricks or serving coffee while in your pyjamas at home!

Would the world be a different place if those making decisions were personally adversely impacted by them?  You can form your own conclusions.