By Marc Randazza
The "March for Science" seemed like a great idea. Science is awesome. Making decisions based on evidence and the scientific method is superior to making decisions based on superstition and emotion. So yay science.
I'm certain (or at least willing to believe) that the organizers were truly motivated by a desire for evidence-based policymaking to conquer superstition and emotion. But, as I review the smug "look at how enlightened we are for marching" pictures and posts on social media, I realize that the leaders and the crowd might not have the same motivations.
Science tells us that the earth is getting warmer and we are probably doing it. Science tells us that this is bad. Therefore, we want science. (Some science also tells us we can fix it).
Now do a thought experiment: Imagine if you showed up to that march with science that supported an anti-abortion position (just as one example) do you think you would have been welcomed? Imagine if science told us that life begins at conception, and thus abortion is actually taking a human life. Imagine if it didn't go that far, but the evidence bore out something less radical, but still some result that kicked at the legs of Roe v. Wade. Yeah, imagine.
How many of the people in the crowds yesterday would still be screaming for science based policymaking?
Pick any pussy-hat-wearing cause, and throw science at its walls. If science breaches those walls, would those within still stay true to their cause? Or would they surrender to the scientific evidence?
We don't need to ask this in hypotheticals. The statistics and the studies show that the "wage gap" is a fabrication.* Yay science? Charles Murray may be right, or he may be wrong, but very few people who marched yesterday would want to hear him out. Why? Because when scientific debate makes some people uncomfortable, they don't want science — they want "religion." (example1 ) (example 2) (examples 3-10) No, not "religion" as in hocus-pocus and magic space zombies, but "religion" as in an orthodoxy of thought, and the fate of a heretic for those who challenge the sacred scrolls.
I admit that I have no scientific evidence of this. But, my hypothesis is that more than half of the people marching yesterday would lose their minds if we embraced evidence-based-policymaking and it gored the ox of their identity-politics.
I would love to see a movement for true evidence-based policymaking, where the participants would truly be pleased to let the evidence guide the decision — even if it slays their own sacred cows.
But, we don't have that. I doubt we ever will.
If we do, at least half of the people marching yesterday are going to need to change their ways.
* A more accurate statement would be "the pay gap as an inequitable consequence of sexism requiring remediation is largely fabricated." (thank you to Lee Cheng for that)
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