TMR v"Science and Scientism in the Age of COVID-19: Wisdom from C.S. Lewis", Discovery Science YouTube channel (19 August 2020)

As an antidote to this: "A Christian Statement on Science for Pandemic Times", published by BioLogos—which, though it contains much that is true, also makes some statements that made me feel extremely uncomfortable, and which I most certainly will NOT sign—I draw attention to this excellent presentation by John G. West of The Discovery Institute, in which he draws upon some prophetic warnings by C. S. Lewis about the rise of what Lewis called "Scientocracy", but which we are now more likely to term "Technocracy", and relates them to the current pandemic.

(Please only play this video if you are happy for YouTube to place cookies on your computer.)

 

If you're inetersted to know what bothers me about the aforementioned statement—now (regrettably, in my view) signed by over 5000 fellow Christians—well, there is far too much to say, but here's just a flavour of how I might reword two paragraphs.

1) "Therefore, because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we will correct misinformation and conspiracy theories when we encounter them in our social media and communities. Christians are called to love the truth; we should not be swayed by falsehoods (1 Corinthians 13:6). We will actively promote accurate scientific and public health information from trustworthy, consensus sources, and use this information when making decisions for our families, churches, schools, and workplaces."

My draft rewording: "Therefore, because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I will do my best to assess information—whether or not it involves "conspiracy theories" (given that it is a matter of logic that such may, or may not, be true)— when I encounter it in my social media and community. Christians are called to love the truth; we should not be swayed by falsehoods (1 Corinthians 13:6), but we should also not assume that we are in possession of the truth simply because someone in authority has told us what to believe. I will promote accurate scientific and public health information (insofar as I, as a non-medic, am able to assess such matters) from sources that have proven themselves to be trustworthy to me; I shall remain generally suspicious of any talk of "consensus", because that term always strikes me as propagandistic; and I shall leave it up to each individual to use whatever information they find credible with respect to their families, churches, schools or workplaces."

2)  "Therefore, because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we will get vaccinated against COVID-19 when a safe and effective vaccine is available and as directed by a physician. A large fraction of the population needs to be vaccinated to develop the “herd immunity” which protects the immuno-compromised and others who cannot be vaccinated. Vaccination is a provision from God that will prevent disease not only for ourselves but for the most vulnerable among us (Matthew 25:31-36)."

My draft rewording:"Therefore, because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I may, or may not, get vaccinated against COVID-19 under the supervision of my medical doctor. At the very least, I shall wait until such has been shown to my satisfaction to be "safe and effective", which I anticipate taking a long time. I am, however, extremely concerned by the haste with which vaccines are being developed, because that suggests to me a lowering of safety standards. It is also my present belief that a large fraction of the population does not need to be vaccinated, since (I believe) there are viable treatments, which (I believe) are being callously suppressed, that (I believe) could allow our populations to acquire natural herd immunity through bearing the illness in a controlled and damage-limiting way. As to whether vaccination is in principle a provision from God, is a moot point; while I don't doubt that vaccination has been, and continues to be, helpful in very many cases, I do not believe that it is always so."

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