Love It or Leave It

An Open Letter to Those Who Doubt Science


Graphic by Casey Murray

Casey Murray, Opinion Editor

Casey Murray, Opinion Editor

For two hundred thousand years we were helpless. We huddled in caves, completely powerless on the great battlefield of earth, wind, air, and fire. We gnawed on roots, nuts, berries, and any other forage we could find. Every once in a while we spent half a day running down a gazelle. Some of us dwelled on the coast; we ate clams and fish and made necklaces of seashells.

It was a simple life, but rewarding, for nothing on this earth compares to the experience of sitting around a fire with your friends and family after a long day of hard work. If you didn’t die horribly in infancy, on the hunt, in childbirth, in a feud with a neighboring tribe, in a famine, or in a plethora of other ways.

Our modern life has its ups and downs, but it is infinitely better than those dark and dismal days of our past. We can gaze down on this blue marble from above. We can communicate with people on the other side of the planet. We have literature, art, and music of such number and variety that no one can experience it all. Most of the world’s population lives in peace and health, with a more or less decent standard of living. The twenty-first century is the best time to be a human being in human history.

It is exclusively because of the rational pursuit of curiosity that we have come this far. Fire, the wheel, agriculture, iron, steam power, air conditioning, medicine, smartphones — all of it comes from eons of careful refinement, improving what works and discarding what doesn’t. Of late we have taken to calling it the scientific method, but even the most cursory glance at human history reveals an unbroken stream of discovery guided by logical principles.

If you are not a hunter-gatherer living in the bush, or an indigenous villager deep in the heart of the rainforest, you are guilty as charged of participating in the scientific odyssey that has allowed us to transform from a scared bunch of cavemen to a technological civilization that numbers seven billion and extends from pole to pole and meridian to meridian.

That scientific odyssey should have prepared us for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Other countries — New Zealand, for instance — have used a combination of empathy and medically-informed decision making to weather the storm of COVID-19 much better than the United States has, as measured in both total cases and cases per capita.

You can dispute the facts, but that does not make you a bold dissenter with the right to dub yourself the ‘voice crying out in the wilderness.’”

In contrast, the President’s daily news briefings are disgustingly partisan affairs where he declares “I don’t take responsibility at all” and spews general nonsense. Southern governors rush to reopen their states despite the dangers of doing so. We are a superpower because of our technologically advanced economy and military, but thanks to the quacks in government and media we are abandoning science when we need it most.

The facts are these: there is no proven remedy for the coronavirus, the Food and Drug Administration has cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine due to the risk of heart issues, and people have died after using chloroquine on the “advice” of the President. Medical experts and economists alike agree that reopening the economy too soon would be an unmitigated disaster. Pedantic chuntering about the jury still being out is crass, infantile, and grossly irresponsible.

You can dispute the facts, but that does not make you a bold dissenter with the right to dub yourself the “voice crying out in the wilderness.” You can refuse to change your mind in the face of overwhelming evidence, but that does not entitle you to say “nevertheless, I persisted.”

It makes you a close-minded idiot and a dirty hypocrite.

This is a free country, as some are so fond of saying. You can love it, or you can leave it.

You can love twenty-first century science and stand in solidarity with the experts in opposing the misguided efforts to reopen the economy too soon — or you can leave it, and go back to the slimy mudholes whence all of us once crawled.

Unfortunately, time travel is currently thought to be impossible. Unfortunately, it is exceptionally difficult to transition from the rather sedentary American lifestyle to a mode of living built on endurance. Unfortunately, most of the world’s land area is either already inhabited, on fire, irreparably damaged by climate change, or some combination of the three — not very welcoming to new settlers.

In the meantime, then, you would do well to cease your primitive mud-spewing and let the adults in the room solve the problem.