Social Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Are scientists the new high priests?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (19347points) October 4th, 2020

What will be the future person to turn to? Maybe a statastion?

Humor welcomed.

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55 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Scientists don’t always agree – that’s how science makes progress.

I am far more likely to believe and follow a scientist, who experiments, uses logic, tries hypotheses, and can prove things,. than I am to believe a clergyman who doesn’t require proof of anything.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

From my profile:
“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”
― Richard Feynman

Maybe 3,000 years ago high presets where helpful?

Jeruba's avatar

By no means. Science is always open to question and new information. The priesthood owns and controls a vision of reality and people’s access to it.

Belief should never be confused with truth.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Edit redacted.

Jeruba's avatar

They pooh-pooh parapsychology because it isn’t science-based. It doesn’t stand up to systematic testing of hypotheses. Open-mindedness doesn’t mean indiscriminate credulity.

Some jellies are like this and some are like that. No use looking for them to be the same, right?

kritiper's avatar


RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@kritiper 3,000 years ago at their/there peak.

Demosthenes's avatar

In a sense. They are whom the state consults in times of crisis.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Priests claim the answers without offering any testable evidence, then denounce any who question them as heretics.

Scientists make observations, test their observations then offer the results up for anyone to test.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Darth_Algar I agree that scientists are an upgrade from priests. What would the upgrade from scientists be? Like the weather news they show last years temperature, and the overall 100 years average and predict the future. That is why I suggested statisticians as the future. When we have enough history behind us.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@Demosthenes Right. That is logical.

kritiper's avatar

I wouldn’t call “3,000 years ago” “new.” I guess it would matter just what you consider old.

Kropotkin's avatar

No. Economists are the new high priests.

LostInParadise's avatar

The new high priests will be computer systems. When they become completely embedded in our lives and are so complex that we do not understand how they arrived at their conclusions, we will have no choice but to obey them.

gorillapaws's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 “What would the upgrade from scientists be?”


Dutchess_III's avatar

“Priest” = Magic.
“Science” = Logic.

seawulf575's avatar

Yup. And like many high priests, they are trying to use their knowledge to mold society the way they want. The problem is, they weren’t expecting this elevation of status. That’s why so many of their claims have been contradictory. Don’t wear masks!....You have to wear masks!!. Don’t gather in groups of more than 10 people!...if you are protesting it’s okay to gather in large groups!!! They can’t get their stories straight from the start which means, they are pretty much playing politics….the new religion

Dutchess_III's avatar

They aren’t trying to “mold” anything @seawulf575. They’re just reporting the facts and results of testing.
Paranoid much?

Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 Scientists aren’t doing any of that.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III Aren’t they? Okay…what is the “science” behind wearing masks? All the studies I can find either say they aren’t effective or they can be if they are specific styles and are properly fitted. How is it a “fact” or “results of testing” to say otherwise? If you remember, they started off saying don’t wear masks. They suddenly changed it to say you HAVE to wear a mask.
How about the original claims that the virus would go away when the weather got warm because the virus can’t abide the warmer temps and the sunlight? How’d that play out? Where was the “facts” and “results of testing” on that one?
How about keeping things shut down? Dr. Fauci warned us all about the hazards of keeping shut down for too long…the mental and emotional aspects…drug usage, suicide, long term impacts on young people. But then, just a couple weeks later he warned us all about the hazards of opening up. So which is it? Which of the conflicting statements was the lie and was not based on “facts” and the “results of testing”?
In January, the WHO put forth the statement that this virus was not transmitted from person to person. How’d that play out? Was that “Facts” or the “result of testing”?

Want me to keep going?’s the one I really love. Several government officials have made statements that indicate the impact of this virus will be less after the presidential election. Schools will not open until after the election, or if you want to get your life back to normal you will have to go out and vote in November. Where were the “facts” on this one? Was this based on the “results of testing”? And where were the scientific experts warning against statements like this? Their silence is tacit acceptance which puts them squarely in the political arena.

Oh, and @Kropotkin you can take a view at this answer as well.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You’re just spouting BS, like your leader. I would ask for proof of the things you’re saying but I already know you won’t provide any.

Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 Nothing in your reply supports your claim that scientists are using their knowledge to mold society.

Scientists do research. They don’t make public policy. You won’t even know about 99.999% of them, because they are too busy doing research, and their work will not be known unless you’re always trawling through science journals.

You’ve not cited any peer-reviewed research.

You seem to be conflating public statements made by politically appointed spokesmen with scientific research. These two things are vastly different.

You seem to be confusing a lack of data and its corresponding uncertainty, with the idea that science is “contradictory”. Earlier in the year, there were relatively few research papers available on the efficacy of masks. When there’s not much data, there’s a greater degree of variance and uncertainty in results, as well as potential methodological flaws in any single piece of research. This scientific uncertainty and weaker evidence results in less impetus for politicians to take action to save people’s lives—unless your name is Jacinda Ardern.

Months have passed, and there are now large meta-studies available on the efficacy of mask wearing. Here’s some of them:

“Our results show that face masks protect populations from infections and do not pose a significant risk to users.”

” Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection”

“protective effects of wearing mask were significant in cluster randomized trials and observational studies.”

LogicHead's avatar

I find that the more my students know about science the less they kowtow to it. And the less they know the more they bow to it.

seawulf575's avatar

@Kropotkin See? There’s the rub. When a scientist starts making public statements concerning how this virus acts, what the best course of action for us to take should be, etc, then I would say they better damn well have the research and facts behind them. They are representing the scientific community. They are epidemiologists and ought to be able to speak from a position of knowledge and authority. When they don’t, but make grandiose statements anyways, then they are playing politics and trying to manipulate things the way they, or their handlers, want.
Let’s take your citations as perfect examples. Your first one, from starts with this statement: “This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.” Yet here you are, trying to use it as proof. It has not been evaluated. You were not on previous discussions on this topic, but I posted numerous studies, some from the CDC, that WERE evaluated and approved, that showed mask usage has no obvious impact whatsoever. There are specific masks that HAVE been verified to have an impact on reducing impact. But the key here is that ONLY those masks were verified and often those masks have to be fitted to the wearer.
Let’s look at your second citation. This supports exactly what I am saying. Here is a quote from your citation: “Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection (n=2647; aOR 0·15, 95% CI 0·07 to 0·34, RD −14·3%, −15·9 to −10·7; low certainty), with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar (eg, reusable 12–16-layer cotton masks; pinteraction=0·090; posterior probability >95%, low certainty). Eye protection also was associated with less infection (n=3713; aOR 0·22, 95% CI 0·12 to 0·39, RD −10·6%, 95% CI −12·5 to −7·7; low certainty). ” Please note that they separate out the N95 or similar respirators from disposable surgical masks or those other things most people use as masks. The N95 mask are designed to stop viruses better. How many people actually wear them? This citation doesn’t really support the crap masks most people wear. Yet our medical experts are saying they are just as good. Where is the support for this?
Your third citation has this jewel in it:
“Although the aforementioned studies support the potential beneficial effect of masks, the substantial impact of masks on the spread of laboratory-diagnosed respiratory viruses remains controversial [6]. Smith et al. indicated that there were insufficient data to determine definitively whether N95 masks are superior to surgical masks in protecting healthcare workers (HCWs) against transmissible acute respiratory infections in clinical settings [7]. Another meta-analysis suggested that facemask provides a non-significant protective effect (OR = 0.53, 95% CI 0.16–1.71, I2 = 48%) against the 2009 influenza pandemic [8]. Xiao et al. concluded that masks did not support a substantial effect on the transmission of influenza from 7 studies [6]. On the contrary, Jefferson et al. suggested that wearing masks significantly decreased the spread of SARS (OR = 0.32; 95% CI 0.25–0.40; I2 = 58.4%) [9]. ” So there are POTENTIAL beneficial effects of masks, but specific studies show this isn’t really true and also that there is contradiction

By the way, another example of the politicization is seen in this article that our medical expert did, in fact, tell us stuff that wasn’t true for political reasons. He was trying to mold public reaction.

Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 ” When a scientist starts making public statements concerning how this virus acts, what the best course of action for us to take should be, etc, then I would say they better damn well have the research and facts behind them”

Fauci (who is not an epidemiologist) or anyone else in a similar role isn’t a representative of the “scientific community”. Whatever he’d advise is a subjective judgement based on his understanding of the available information and the country’s resources. In some countries people were advised to wear masks immediately. In others they weren’t. Again, a spokesperson is not scientists.

I’m not sure what else to add. You copy-pasted chunks of text that conclude the positive efficacy of masks, and yet you’re still somehow incredulous and confused.

I deliberately looked for meta-analyses, as they’re basically a statistical aggregate of many other studies. It also doesn’t really matter that the one I linked hadn’t been peer-review yet—the other two were, and one of them is enough.

If you want to find out about the comparative efficancy of different types of masks, then there’s some studies that go into that too. There’s even one study that concludes certain types of materials and home-made masks are worse than no mask at all—and the public should be aware of that.

In conclusion: scientists do research. They’re not dictating public policy, or “using their knowledge to mold society” or any such nonsense.

seawulf575's avatar

@Kropotkin Dr. Fauci is only the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Yeah…he wouldn’t represent the “scientific community”. Are you really trying to sell that story? He is cited by every news agency out there. He has a pedigree that makes him an expert in the area of infectious diseases. He is rated among the most respected people in this field in the world. So while you are trying desperately to avoid being wrong, you are really only digging yourself in deeper. He IS a scientist. He is THE expert that can give guidance on the subject of infectious diseases. Covid-19 IS an infectious disease. Fauci also is a spokesman on what we should, as a society, be doing to combat this disease. And he has given complete lies as such…obviously for political reasons. You know…molding public the way they want. So where is your support that he is JUST a spokesman and not a scientist? Please…enlighten us all. ‘Cause right now you are looking like so much hot air.

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LostInParadise's avatar

@seawulf575 , Dr Fauci may be many things, but scientist is not among them. He may make use of information from scientists, but that still does not make him one.

seawulf575's avatar

@LostInParadise Amazing. Given Fauci’s biography for NIAID, his positions, his articles and publications, a bit of his history and contributions…and you still can’t admit I am right on this one. Does reality come difficult for ALL lefties?

Dutchess_III's avatar

You are not right. Fauci is a physician and immunologist, not a scientist.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III Soooo….an immunlologist is not a scientist? Huh. So what is your definition of a scientist?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Scientists come up with the vaccines, not the doctors.
“What Does an Immunologist Do? Immunologists study, diagnose, treat, and help prevent immune system disorders like severe allergies, asthma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.” They work WITH the scientists.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III Ahhh….so when I read Fauci’s bio, I come up with this bit of information:
“He has made many contributions to basic and clinical research on the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated and infectious diseases. He helped pioneer the field of human immunoregulation by making important basic scientific observations that underpin the current understanding of the regulation of the human immune response. In addition, Dr. Fauci is widely recognized for delineating the precise ways that immunosuppressive agents modulate the human immune response. He developed effective therapies for formerly fatal inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases such as polyarteritis nodosa, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegener’s granulomatosis), and lymphomatoid granulomatosis.” Gee…that sounds amazingly like he was helping develop not only vaccines, but set up programs to advance the field.
BTW, by your definition, Stephen Hawking would not be a scientist.

LostInParadise's avatar

Fauci seems pretty impressive, scientist or not. It seems that his successes counter any mistakes he might have made at the beginning of the pandemic. He ended up advocating for masks and social distancing long before Trump did. He was saying that states should not be opening up while Trump was saying the opposite. Overall I would say Fauci has been far more successful at his job in medicine than Trump has been as president.


seawulf575's avatar

@LostInParadise But if you remember, Fauci has changed his story quite a few times along the way. If it was Trump, the left would be calling them lies. He originally said this was not a virus to get too concerned about. He also said that masks don’t work. He said that when the weather turned warm the virus would stall since it doesn’t like warmer temps. All of these things were incorrect and he flip-flopped on all of them. As I pointed out earlier in this thread, he said not opening up would have severe long term impacts on the health of our people, then turned around and said we shouldn’t open up because it would have severe impacts on the health of our people.
As for him being more successful at his job than Trump is at his, that is apples and oranges. Fauci’s job has specific goals that are pretty black and white. Trump’s job success is almost all put through personal filters. If you like his policies, he seems to be a good president. If you don’t like his policies, he is a horrible failure.

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LostInParadise's avatar

Do you have a link of Fauci changing his story multiple times? As I understand it, once he realized the severity of the virus, he advocated taking the necessary precautions.

Trump was aware of the severity of the pandemic, as was shown in the Bob Woodward interview tape, but he did not tell the public. Trump did not even take the necessary steps to protect his own health. How can he be trusted to protect everyone else?

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Kropotkin's avatar

@seawulf575 Fauci being a scientist and a spokesperson in no way supports your original claim that “scientists are trying to use their knowledge to mold society”.

Fauci is one man.

His role in the context of the pandemic is to disseminate guidelines and the latest available information to the public. You seem to dimly acknowledge this role. This in no way constitutes him being a “spokesperson for the scientific community”.

Science isn’t limited to immunology, or epidemiology. It encompasses hundreds of different fields of research. The “scientific community” did not appoint Fauci as their spokesperson.

Calling Fauci a politically motivated liar is a projection of your own cynicism. It still wouldn’t make scientists “high priests” trying to “mold society”. He’s one fricking man who has been thrust into the role of a scientific spokesperson for the government specificially because of the pandemic.

Every government in the world has their own team of advisors trying to deal with the pandemic. Most will have someone similar to Fauci, standing at podiums in front of the media, disseminating guidelines and information. These are not appointments made by the “scientific community”, but roles necessitated by the pandemic itself, which demand changes in public behaviours in order to reduce the transmission rate of the disease.

Is that clear to you?

P.S. Learn to use paragraphs.

seawulf575's avatar

@Kropotkin So when a high priest takes control, people look to him/her for guidance on a number of things. When they speak, people listen and do what the high priest says. If anyone else speaks, people look away from that person to see what the high priest is saying…even if that person is someone of high status. God is over us all and High Priests are His mouthpieces.

By your own statement, Fauci is a scientist. I’m proud of you for admitting that, finally. But you are pulling the typical leftist issue and trying to deflect by changing the parameters of the conversation so you can be right, somehow. At no time did I say he represented the entire scientific community. AND, the question does not ask that. It just asks if scientists are the new high priests. SO…with Covid-19, the scientists that would be important are immunology experts and epidemiologists. Astronomers, physicists, marine biologists, etc would not be the sort of high priests we would want. When Fauci speaks, people listen. They give him more credibility than the POTUS, even though he has made gross mistakes along the way. They view him as being infallible, or at worst, his mistakes are minor and are quickly corrected. Much the same way people react to high priests.

Is that clear to you? Or are you going to change the dialogue again so you can be right?

seawulf575's avatar

@LostInParadise Thank you for proving my point that scientists are the new High Priests.

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