In the cases such as Covid-19 and environmental concerns, politics have corrupted the work of scientists by determining what voices can be heard and those that cannot be heard. Any mischaracterization, either explicitly or tacitly, of the true scientific process is harmful to the scientific community and those of us who depend upon proper science for a better understanding of our universe. So, when you hear “follow the science” you should be ready to ask some probing questions and not just bow down and accept what is proclaimed as if it comes from Mount Sinai.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, every day we hear the tiresome mantra “follow the science.” Science is invoked as the authority for the next new restriction put on our daily living in order to avert a medical crisis as well as a number of other controls on our daily living. Science is the new savior. Do not ask any questions. Science has spoken, that is it! There is little doubt that those who tell us to do this or that are at the personal level sincere in their work.
However, the phrase “follow the science” raises some concern once you think about it. It suggests there is this unified voice telling us what to do as if there is some secret door behind which the truth of the universe resides. Only those who have had certain training have access to this and all others must wait for the bearers of this information to tell us. In truth, what we call science is simply a group of dedicated men and women (not gods) who work with the material actualities of creation to do some wonderful things, but it is neither absolute nor indisputable. This is what we can call operational science and there is much good in this.
This group of mostly dedicated people use the scientific method crafted by Francis Bacon to gain useful information about the universe in which we live. However, it is a myth to say they speak with a unified voice. So, there is a little deception in the phrase “follow the science” when there is no unified knowledge dispenser called science. Furthermore, the claims are not objective as we are made to believe they are. All data requires interpretation by the observer as data does not speak for itself. The interpretive process has a definite subjective aspect to the process as a person’s worldview, politics, and other factors determine how they interpret the data .