“To be a scientist is to be naïve. We are so focused on the search for truth we fail to consider how many actually want us to find it” – Valery Legesov
Can you handle some truth? You should. It’s all good news. Really good news on two scientific fronts.
The first front is economics: a social science. The second is medical science.
Strap in if good news is hard to handle at this political moment. None of it, we will venture, Donald Trump wants to hear.
OK, now. Truth about the economy: Our country is emerging from a very difficult period in much better shape than other developed nations.
Inflation has been halved in a year. Job creation is the most robust in half a century. Gas prices are down markedly.
The stock market is an inadequate measuring stick. It is Donald Trump’s stick, however. As I write this, the S&P 500 just hit its highest mark in history, a bummer for Trump, who pines for a crash he can blame on Joe Biden.
Whatever it is about the economy that you don’t like, almost all of the problems are worldwide, headed by inflation. Gripe about prices if you will, but the United States has handled that problem of global inflation better than most.
So — why so dadgum glum? The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin blames “a deficit of accurate, reliable information.”
She’s right. Opinion polls based on low-information responses are the equivalent of a household sharing the same cold.
Speaking of communicable diseases: We have one on that other scientific front. It’s called optional ignorance.
The big problem is that marvel called the internet. Just as it will answer almost any question with veracity, it will affirm any claim oozing with dubiosity. Hence, for every notion there’s a nation to be found down Google’s rabbit hole.
Tragically, many are willing saps for quack claims by politicians, pro jocks and podcasting know-it-alls. (Well, of course, he knows it all. He has a podcast!)
I’ll bet no one in the “don’t trust medical science” crowd heard of these stunning developments in 2023:
— Scientists employed CRISPR gene editing to arrive at a treatment of sickle-cell disease, a genetic curse for many African-Americans.
— Trials confirm a therapy used to combat cancer, CAR-T, shows great progress in treating lupus.
— An experimental mRNA cancer vaccine, developed by Moderna and paired with Merck’s Keytruda, has been shown to dramatically blunt recurrence or death from melanoma.
Ah, mRNA — the breakthrough that helped tame a pandemic, the vaccines that caused many doubters to go rabbit-hole hunting.
This brings us to another science: political science.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis installed a doozy of a surgeon general who toes an unconscionable party line on vaccines.
That man, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, has advised Florida physicians not to prescribe mRNA COVID boosters based on safety concerns federal officials call misleading. I’m guessing most Florida physicians will ignore him.
It couldn’t be more dangerous when politics drives science. We see this in the Republican Party’s refusal to listen to climate scientists.
Politicized inaction on this earthly peril stands to claim more lives and destroy more property than any threat this side of nuclear disaster.
Speaking of the latter: The man quoted at the beginning of this commentary was the nuclear scientist who warned Soviet authorities about Chernobyl and whom they tried to make a scapegoat after the cataclysm.
Let’s allow Comrade Legesov to finish his thought:
“The truth doesn’t care about our needs or wants. It doesn’t care about our governments, about our ideologies or religions. It will lie in wait for all time.”
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.