The year 2020 was one of global contrasts. Polarization based upon ideologies abounded. Extremism on the left and right seemed to have increased as the combination of white (and black) supremacism, conspiracy theorists and cancel culture dictators leapt to the front of the line for notoriety. What were supposed to be pure scientific debates morphed into ideological science where science is the launching pad for ideologies that have no basis in fact or reality.
Science is supposed to be deductive reasoning based upon observable facts presented to determine outcome and course of action for the world to follow. For example, what are called double blind studies are conducted where there are two groups, one receiving the medicine and the other a placebo but neither knowing for sure what they are getting. This allows for an unbiased determination as to the effectiveness of a medicine. In physics, we observe actions and reactions and determine causations and effects after multiple examinations of physical and physiological formula. These studies usually produce a solid conclusion from which the public could proceed with a reasonable assurance of efficacy. Of course, science changes as more information becomes available and sometimes what was thought to be fact is adjusted based upon new evidence.
Unfortunately, we are seeing the rise of a new phenomenon I call ideological science, which may or may not start with facts, but in the end the outcome is determined by ideology or political affiliation rather than science. Politics, at times, replaces scientific study as the determining factor. One example of this was the treatment of coronavirus. Once one side of the political divide introduced something that was thought to be of value and rather than the argument being explored or settled by pure scientific examinations it was skewed by political affiliation instead. Republicans believed in one medicine; Democrats believed in another based upon their affiliations. There is no such thing as Republican or Democrat medicine – the medicine either works or it doesn’t, and this is determined by scientific study. Sometimes the very attempt to explore a solution was met with ideological bias on one side or the other.
What has been even more astounding to me is the entire issue of gender and gender identity. This debate has seemingly moved far away from science and firmly in the realm of ideological science as no quantifiable scientific data is mentioned, yet laws are being changed to reflect the ideology of a group and enforce it on the rest of the world. For example, a person who is physiologically a man can 20 or 30 years after being born a man, have their birth certificate changed to say they were born a woman. To do this from my observation is both lying to the individual and lying to society as this is not the truth of that person’s birth. After they were born, they may have felt they were not male or female, but according to observable facts, it is usually clear which one they were born. The determination of gender has now been changed to a mental concept, which has to ignore the physiological fact and pretend that the very obvious is not so. This to me is the definition of ideological science.
I can understand if a person after being born is confused about their identity and their dysphoria causes them to feel like they are another gender. I cannot pretend to understand this but accept that it is something that exists, and I would not want to denigrate a person who is suffering from such a condition. To push this forward as scientific fact is another matter. This is not a scientific fact – this is an ideological stretch. Men who were born as men competing in women’s races based upon their mental construct to me is an ideological atrocity. The man who is surgically altered will never be a woman, he may be a transgender construct or what could be called a transgender “woman”, but a woman possesses an intrinsic womb, vagina, hormones, etc. They may look the same through modification, but only one is intrinsic – so to equate them as the same is ideological rather than scientific.
On the other hand, we have persons ignoring scientific fact and determining the efficacy and authenticity of a vaccine based upon ideology rather than science. According to most scientists, the principle of vaccine is a very sound scientific principle. The makeup of vaccines and their potential side effects not withstanding it is generally accepted that they save lives. If this is the case, the arguments should be driven by scientific data and real-world impact instead of ideology. It should not be that one political group or race judges something like a vaccine based upon their political philosophy and affiliation rather than objective observable data. There are many questions about the current COVID-19 vaccines, but these questions should be answered by real world data and not ideology. Some persons have determined that all vaccines are of the devil and therefore if you are a Christian, you should not take vaccines. I cannot see where the vaccines are or should be a religious or political issue; either they are good or bad based upon scientific observation.
In the case of the new vaccines, I fully appreciate the hesitancy that some may have because the pharmaceutical industry has always been “suspect” when it comes to the collision of health and profit. I have no problem questioning the motives of executives and seeking the best scientific data before drawing a personal conclusion. The decision about these things should not in my estimation be based upon political or ideological positioning but instead the observable facts. People are dying – not because of science in some instances but based upon ideology. We should not push science based upon ideology but rather science should be a neutral component that stands on its own. Hopefully, these new phenomena can be slowed, so we can move away from extremism on either side of the spectrum.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.