Sloganeering like “trust the science” has yielded once again — at least in the words of one New York Times columnist — to the tenets of the scientific method, where science is a process of discovery, not a foregone conclusion. The paper announced in an op-ed on Feb. 22, titled “‘Do Something’ Is Not Science,” that the latest Cochrane study out of England about masks seems conclusive: Masks did not make any difference.
States that mandated masks had similar outcomes as states that did not. Also, results from randomized control trials in multiple countries showed the same. From his consideration of the evidence, Bret Stephens states that “mask mandates were a fool’s errand from the start.”
Since the Times sang a different song just a few long days ago, I am assuming that they understand the irony of this announcement. Or, perhaps their columnist is just gaslighting his nonmasking readers because he did not apologize. I can’t know his intentions, but, when science becomes a battering ram, the evidence of these past few years seems crystal clear. We are out of scientific territory and in the political realm when rights and dignities are severely trampled in Asheville, and in almost every nation on earth, from fool’s errands.
It turns out that advocates for unencumbered breath for themselves and their children did not want to kill grandma or anyone else, for that matter. All free breathers whom I knew looked at studies on masks which had been done for over 20 years and came to conclusions based on the scientific record. The lead Oxford researcher, Tom Jefferson, states unequivocally that the recent mask studies were “nonrandomized,” “flawed observational studies,” a fact which my friends and I deducted years ago from our research.
Will these past few years of heated debates over personal freedom become more respectful with hindsight after this latest news? I can only pray that it will be so. May all humans who choose to breathe fresh air and not be masked be welcomed anywhere in the public sphere and be treated with dignity in the future. The spirit of science belongs to inquiry, not to dogmatic certainties that prevent our being able to even smile one to another.
— Christiana Dillingham