The War On Science Is Over, Though The Fight Continues

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The Battle of New Orleans, one of the major battles of the War of 1812, was fought on January 8th, 1815. The War of 1812 had ended the previous December. Awkward. In South Africa, the “Second Boer War” broke out for a number of reasons, but the common thread was about how the various territories of the region should be organized and governed. War was declared in October 1899, and formally ended on May 31st, 1902. The political and ideological struggle continued, and it was not until 1910 that the first official agreement to address the initial reasons for the war emerged. But even after that the struggle continued. The American Civil War ended on April 9th, 1865. A half dozen major battles and 16 months later, the fighting in that ended war petered out. The ideological struggle related to that war continues today, and thousands have died over it, after it was over.

A purely ideological war (though not without material casualties) is the war against the teaching of evolution in American public schools. There was a lot of action in that war throughout much of the 20th century. On December 20th, 2005, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania decided Tammy Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District in favor of the science of evolution being taught unfettered, and identified the last breath of a pseudo-scientific creationist doctrine as an expression of religion. Sure, people still continued to fight over the issue, but after the Dover decision, there were very few significant fights in public schools over evolution, the battles being brought to state legislatures, where they never took root because of Dover. Fighting continued, ideological battles continued, just like in all those other wars, but the war on evolution in the US public school system ended in December 2005.

I declare the war on science over this month, July, 2020. Nice round patriotic number. We can pick a date later after history has sorted out some details. But the war ended when this happened: American anti science forces having spent months telling people that Covid-19 was a hoax, not really deadly, not really as bad as it seemed, and that masks did not really matter … well, they started wearing masks. Pence and Trump surrendered the war when they said wear masks. The people in my local grocery store, that had been not wearing masks, masked up. The end. War over.

Most of my friends are pedantic skeptics, just like you dear reader, and you won’t let me say that the war on science is over because bla bla bla bla. That is why I wrote the little introduction at the beginning of this blog post. If we treat every thing like we were Wikipedia editors, than every thing would be slightly to very warped and things like wars would never be over. Get over it. This war is over, even if sporadic fighting continues until the Sun expands.

By the way, did you notice that there are some wars that actually unambiguously end, like World War II? Do you know why they get to end but other wars, from a pedantic perspective, never do? I’m not sure but I think those are wars started by individuals, or small groups of different kings or leaders, then when the opposition (usually, the good guys) catch up to them and put them down, the war ends, more or less instantly. But I digress.

There is still a fight, there are still more fights over science and justice and all that. But the systematic Republican controlled war on science in America got won. By us.

Mask up!

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4 thoughts on “The War On Science Is Over, Though The Fight Continues

  1. Meanwhile, the Impeached President has had enough of all this wimpy CDC “advice” about mask-wearing and closing things when Covid-19 spikes and has demanded that the CDC change their advice so that rallies can be held and schools can be opened. He has threatened schools and state public officials with cutting off funding for education if his demands are not met. He was apparently seconded in this by Betsy DeVos, the anti-public education Secretary of Education (richer now by $6M in aid for some “small business” she has.) You may want to argue that the I. P. doesn’t have the power to defund education but we’ve heard his lawyers Dershowitz and Barr say that his executive power is essentially unlimited, and we’ve seen the First Amendment rights of peacefully protesting people in Lafayette Square abrogated by force when the I. P. had a photo op in front of a nearby church.

  2. The war on science is not over for specific science…ie..evilution.
    One should never underestimate the breath, depth, or power of human stupidity!!!!

    1. Or vaccines. West Michigan is a hotbed of anti-vacc folks — a mix of flat-out conspiracies, lies about the “toxins” in vaccines, and possibly the most disgusting: children are the property of their parents and nobody other than the parents have any right to have input on any healthcare for kids. That’s a big one in the libertarian/christian reformed infestation around GR and Holland.

  3. May I present Dr Arthur L Caplan? He appeared tonight on Deutsche Welle’s The World: a forthright advocate of science. As such, he had nothing good to say about the Trump administration.

    I looked him up online. He’s the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center. He’s got quite a CV and an impressive bibliography. There’s apparently a blog by him, but I haven’t found it yet.

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