Sunday, June 17, 2018 |
Department: Opening Salvo —
Topic: Scientism —
The Gift of Science
It Tells the Truth About Ourselves
by James M. Kushiner
I was informed at a recent conference that "millennials" have a high regard for science. That is not surprising, because science, through applied technology, has given them the personal computer, iPad, iPhone, internet, wi-fi, texting, Facebook, video games, and so much more.
If the attention paid to these "devices" is any indication of their centrality to the lives of users, the thought of a retrograde world without these essential tools of daily living must be nightmarish to them. Even without the latest devices, the older generation remains grateful for films, musical recordings, radio, and television; automobiles, airplanes, washing machines, and microwaves; arthroscopic and outpatient surgery, and other technological marvels for easing many of the burdens of life. So science has been a grand provider, Santa Claus in a lab coat.
We are well aware of the misuses of science: experimentation on prisoners, racial eugenics, weapons used for terrorism, germ warfare, and so on. To embrace true science, then, is to discern beneficial ends from evil applications, altruistic motives from selfish or sadistic uses. In a similar vein, most of us applaud the idea of law, even if we do not trust lawyers and abominate corrupt judges. We also approve of the Constitution and the political order, even as we disdain many politicians and their hangers-on. We do this because we have a clear idea of the difference between the ideal of a human institution or organization and the abuses of its practitioners or supposed guardians. Ideal science should be honored; abuses of science opposed.
A Time to Trust Biology
Some of the abusers of science are not scientists themselves but members of the legal profession and political class. These two are usually closely aligned, since laws are made by legislators. Both law and government often ignore science. The foremost and most deadly example is abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court pretended it did not know when a human life begins and felt free to strike down all laws prohibiting abortion. Politicians followed suit, many of those who had been pro-life becoming pro-abortion as their political party embraced the willful ignorance of the court.
Yet science has revealed that the fertilized egg, from the first nanosecond of fertilization, is a new living organism, with human DNA and a clear sexual identity. From the moment the sperm penetrates the egg, the zygote is male or female.
What now may be, if not a worse abuse of science, certainly a more absurd one, is the unwillingness of growing numbers of legislators, politicians, school-board officials, and even medical and mental health practitioners to admit that a human being with female or male DNA (and all the usual equipment) possesses a given, biologically based, sexual identity (see Failed Operations: Medical Malpractice in an Age of Gender Denial Disorder in this issue of Salvo). The claim that you can have male DNA and male body parts and yet really be a girl "inside" counters what science, as well as common sense, confirms.
And yet, here we are, a supposedly scientifically enlightened society approving double mastectomies for high-school girls who have decided (for the time being) that they really must be boys "inside." The irony that being male or female should even matter to those who claim there are really no differences between the sexes and that men and women are interchangeable as moms and dads is lost on many commentators and political leaders. If sex is just socially constructed, why not reconstruct yourself as and when you need to without the scalpels and the hormones? Sadly, young people are truly confused by the words of their counselors and social scientists, who speak as though they are living in a wonderland full of sex- and gender-bending funhouse mirrors. Sex "educators" apparently don't know the first thing about sex.
If ever there were a time to express a high regard for science over patent—and destructive—falsehood about our human bodies, it is surely now. Trust science. •
James M. Kushiner is the executive editor of Salvo and Touchstone magazines.
More on Scientism from the Salvo online archives.
Department: Blip — Salvo 32
Clearing Up Cosmos
A Review of The Unofficial Guide to Cosmos: Fact and Fiction in Neil deGrasse Tyson's Landmark Series by Terrell Clemmons
Column: Operation ID — Salvo 42
Does Cancer Really Innovate? by Jonathan Wells
Column: Deprogram — Salvo 33
Multiverse Supporters Put the Brakes on Falsifiability by Denyse O'Leary
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