Author: Ilana Redstone

Why ‘Just Follow the Science’ Won’t Solve All Our Problems

Science can be truly wondrous—as we’ve all come to appreciate now that scientists have developed a COVID-19 vaccine (several, in fact) less than a year into the pandemic. And even when it isn’t saving our lives, science moves our understanding of the world forward in a way that everyone can get behind. With rare exceptions, for instance, people of all political orientations, races, and nationalities can agree that water freezes at 0°C, gravity draws objects toward the ground, and the Earth rotates around the Sun and not vice versa. The wonders of science are so great that many philosophers and religious leaders predicted—with a sense of either hope or fear—that science would replace religion as the central organizing principle of our intellectual lives. Yet that hasn’t happened, despite the saturation of daily life with the fruits of science, from our tiny smartphones to the massive machines that power our globalized mass-market economy. When it comes to some of the most important ideological, political, and moral questions we face, the principles of scientific inquiry—including even basic …