The fate of the world as we know it is at stake. Pseudoscience is dominating the news. My appeal is based on the appendix of Michael Crichton’s book ‘State of Fear’ that clarifies why politicised science is dangerous. It is more topical than ever.
Imagine a new ‘scientific theory’ that warns of an imminent crisis and points to a way out. This particular theory quickly draws support from mass media, leading scientists, politicians, and celebrities/influencers worldwide.
Research is funded by renowned philanthropists and carried out at prestigious universities and research institutes. The crisis is reported frequently in the media. This science is taught in college and high school classrooms.
I am not talking about #COVID here. I’m talking about another theory, which rose to prominence a century ago. Its supporters included Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Winston Churchill. It was also approved by US-Supreme Court justices, who ruled in its favour.
The famous names who supported it included Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; Leland Stanford, founder of @Stanford University; the novelist H. G. Wells; the playwright George Bernard Shaw; and hundreds of others.
Nobel Prize winners gave support. The research was backed by the @CarnegieFdn and @RockefellerFdn. Important work on this topic was done at @Karl_Lauterbach’s friends at @Harvard, @Yale, @Princeton, @Stanford, and @JohnsHopkins (a protagonist of the current crisis).
Legislation to address the crisis was passed in states from New York to California. These efforts had the support of the National Academy of Sciences (@theNASciences), the American Medical Association (@AmerMedicalAssn), and the National Research Council (@NResearchCoun).
The research, legislation, and moulding of public opinion surrounding the theory went on for almost 50 years. Those who opposed the theory were called reactionary, blind to reality, or just plain ignorant. But in hindsight, what is surprising is that so few people objected.
Today, we know that this famous theory that gained so much support was actually #pseudoscience. The crisis it claimed was nonexistent. And the actions taken in the name of this theory were morally and criminally wrong. Ultimately, they led to the deaths of millions of souls.
The theory was #eugenics, and its history is so dreadful – and, to those who were caught up in it, so embarrassing – that it is now rarely discussed. But it is a story that should be well known to every citizen as its horrors are currently repeating.
The theory of #eugenics postulated a gene pool crisis leading to the human race’s deterioration. The best human beings were not breeding as rapidly as the inferior ones – the foreigners, immigrants, Jews, degenerates, the unfit, and the “feeble-minded”.
Francis Galton, a respected British scientist, first speculated about this area, but his ideas were taken far beyond anything he intended. They were adopted by science-minded Americans, as well as those who had no interest in science.
These people were worried about the immigration of inferior races early in the twentieth century – “dangerous human pests” who represented “the rising tide of imbeciles” and who were polluting the best of the human race.
The eugenicists and the immigrationists joined forces to put a stop to this. The plan was to identify feeble-minded people – Jews, POC and many foreigners, etc. – and stop them from breeding by isolation in institutions or by sterilization.
Theodore Roosevelt said that “Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind.” Luther Burbank said that one should “Stop permitting criminals and weaklings to reproduce.” George Bernard Shaw said that only eugenics could save mankind.
There was overt racism in this movement. But, at the time, racism was considered an unremarkable aspect of the effort to attain a marvelous goal – the improvement of humankind in the future.
This avant-garde notion attracted the most liberal and progressive minds of a generation (does this sound familiar?). California was one of the twenty-nine American states to pass laws allowing sterilization.
But California proved the most forward-looking and enthusiastic – more sterilizations were carried out in California than anywhere else in America. #Eugenics research was funded by the @CarnegieFdn, and later by the @RockefellerFdn.
The @RockefellerFdn was so enthusiastic that even after the centre of the eugenics effort moved to Germany and involved the gassing of individuals from mental institutions, it continued to finance German researchers at a very high level.
Since the 1920s, American eugenicists had been jealous because the Germans had taken leadership of the movement away from them. The Germans were admirably progressive.
They set up ordinary-looking houses where “mental defectives” were brought and interviewed one at a time before being led into a back room, which was, in fact, a gas chamber. There, they were gassed with carbon monoxide, and their bodies disposed of in a local crematorium.
Eventually, this program was expanded into a vast network of concentration camps located near railroad lines, enabling efficient transport and killing of ten million undesirables.
However, after World War II, nobody was a eugenicist, and nobody had ever been a eugenicist. Biographers of the celebrated and the powerful did not dwell on the attractions of this philosophy to their subjects and sometimes did not mention it at all.
But in retrospect, three points stand out: First, despite the construction of @CSHL, despite the efforts at universities and the lawyers’ pleadings, there was no scientific basis for eugenics. In fact, nobody at that time knew what a gene really was.
Second, the eugenics movement was really a socio-political program masquerading as a scientific one.
Third, and most distressing, the scientific establishment in both the United States and Germany did not mount any sustained protest. Quite the contrary. In Germany, scientists quickly fell into line with the program.
In the words of Ute Deichman, “Scientists, including those who were not members of the [Nazi] party, helped to get funding for their work through their modified behaviour and direct cooperation with the state.”
German scientists adjusted their research interests to the new policies. And those few who did not adjust disappeared.
A second example of politicized science is quite different in character, but it exemplifies the hazards of government ideology controlling science and uncritical media promoting false concepts.
Since Jan 2020, we are engaged in a great new theory that once again has drawn the support of politicians, scientists, and celebrities around the world. Once again, the theory is promoted by major foundations. Some scientists even made 180° turns.
Once again, the research is carried out at prestigious universities.
Once again, legislation is passed, and social programs are urged in its name.
Once again, critics are few and harshly dealt with. (@Politie)
Once again, upright scientists are being silenced. (h/t @katewand)
Once again, the measures being urged have little basis in fact or science.
Once again, groups with other agendas are hiding behind a movement that appears high-minded.
Once again, claims of moral superiority are used to justify extreme actions.
Once again, the fact that some people are hurt is shrugged off because an abstract cause is said to be greater than any human consequences.
Once again, vague terms like sustainability and generational justice – terms that have no agreed definition – are employed in the service of a new crisis.
The original appendix discusses similarities to global warming. I, however, believe (!!!) that we should take better care of our planet, biodiversity, etc. He is right that people with other opinions are silenced – the same accounts for the current #COVID debate.
It is totally OK to have an own opinion as long as one can bring up numbers and reasonable arguments. This principle is called #pluralism. Indoctrination of opinions, however, is a significant threat to society.
It is highly concerning that dissidents are currently being silenced. Many lost their jobs. People who bring up objective arguments are being ridiculed by the media’s darlings such as @DrEricDing, @EricTopol, @Karl_Lauterbach, @oatila, @florian_krammer, etc.
It is, for instance, highly concerning that almost all scientists that signed the “John Snow Memorandum” are financed by the nerd sweater mafia (@gatesfoundation). This does not involve the principles of scientific integrity and impartiality.
Another major role is played by the mass media. Journalists have the duty to report neutrally. However, many journalists from the major media houses already state on Twitter that they favour #ZeroCovid.
It is worrying, for instance, that Germany’s fearmonger #1, @Karl_Lauterbach, is invited to talk shows regularly. People who have a contrary opinion are rarely invited. It often appears that the media’s objective is to spread propaganda and spin, not the whole story.
Gatekeeping the position to own the only true, exclusive truth divides people into “us and them: People, who follow a rational and scientific approach, and those who follow the loudmouths and pseudoscientists who claim to have a monopoly on the truth.
This development is worrying, to say the least, especially as the massive armada of radicals is supported by the media, predominantly biased scientists, the pharmaceutical industry, and wealthy NGOs. They surely get aroused when thinking of the CCP’s possibilities.
Before the current crisis, there were many unusual events that the thread below points out. It is usually the role of the media to question certain happenings. Instead, many involved protagonists are worshipped as demigods nowadays. #redflag
Going back in time, the past history of human belief is a cautionary tale. We’ve killed 1000s of our fellow human beings because we believed they had signed a contract with the devil and had become witches. We still kill more than a thousand people each year for witchcraft.
There’s only one hope for humankind to emerge from what is called “the demon-haunted world” of our past. That hope is science. But as A. Chase put it, “when the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power.”
That is the danger we now face. And that is why the intermixing of science and politics is a bad combination, with a bad history. We must remember the history and be certain that what we present to the world as knowledge is disinterested and honest. Our future depends on it.