“The curtain has been lifted” is an idiom that aptly portrays when a hidden truth is revealed. On the public side of a curtain called “biological science,” the perception of scientists for decades was that of rational, ideologically neutral researchers who were admirably dead to ambition and were driven to discover biological truths beneficial to all mankind. People trusted them.
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, and the curtain was lifted. Many scientists were revealed to be biased, political ideologues in white lab coats given over to group think. They hypocritically admonished others to “follow the science” while they selectively ignored scientific data contrary to their agenda.
Perhaps for the first time, people outside the academic arena could see how scientists consider themselves so much smarter than “common” people that they are justified in decreeing to others—for their own good, of course—what to think and how to behave. The pandemic exposed this hidden side. Scientists had been able to get away with abusing the public trust precisely because people were kept naïve about how scientists manipulate behavior and, more ominously, thought. The descriptive label given to scientists who practice elitist-typical behaviors is scientific elites. What’s important for us to focus on is not the label but the behaviors.
Creationists have cautioned for a long time against trusting what scientific elites pronounce about Darwinian evolution. Why? Because one disturbing elitist behavior is the one-sided presentation of information—the pro-evolutionary side. Adherents rationalize this behavior because they’re convinced their position is so obviously correct that something must be wrong with dissenters. Thus, it’s for everyone’s own good to be force-fed only the “correct” informational diet. The companion elitist behavior is intolerance of differing beliefs. Many scientific elites embrace a worldview that’s as coercive as any militant religion that resorts to intimidation to ensure total conformity.
Conversely, one would be hard-pressed to find creationist literature that wants to exclude people from learning about evolution. The reason these approaches to the dignity and autonomy of humans are different is that creationists and evolutionists begin with different worldviews that are founded on diametrically opposing beliefs about creation. One side sees the first humans as created by, and bearing the image of, a loving heavenly Father. In Darwin’s death-driven selectionism, “survival of the fittest” is the creative substitute god shaping all life.
Both worldviews greatly influence what people believe and how they behave toward each other. Creationists celebrate intellectual freedom. But scientific elites feel justified to habitually manipulate people—again, for their own good—by controlling the content of textbooks, educational programs, and, say, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Increasing Skepticism of Scientific Elites
Certainly, not everyone previously embraced the virtuous, romantic notion of bias-free biological scientists. But what we’ve discovered behind the curtain has led to a rapid change in perception. In the United States, medical scientists are almost revered when compared to other professional groups (e.g., journalists, business leaders, elected officials). Yet, prestige for them has markedly declined during this last year of the pandemic.
A recent Pew Research Center survey found that “overall, 29% of U.S. adults say they have a great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the best interests of the public, down from 40% who said this in November 2020.”1 Remarkably, 22% surveyed reported they have “not too much or no confidence at all,” which was slightly more than a 50% increase. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a path other than the origins dispute for people to see the unappealing behavior of biological scientists.
Since scientists do investigations, one would expect a fair search by them for all potential causes for this hit to their status. A recent post titled “How to Confront Anti-Science Sentiment” explored some reasons for scientists’ loss of respect and the increasing resistance to their exercise of power. This discussion candidly revealed what many established scientists commonly think about nonscientists. It surveyed several causes for the surge in people’s “bashing of expertise.”2
But judging by its conspicuous absence, one cause was ruled out immediately—that scientific elites’ own authoritarian behavior is what’s alienating people. “How to Confront Anti-Science Sentiment” identified the problem as “a number of individuals, especially an increasingly vocal cadre of social media users, [who] don’t always trust physicians and scientists. Rather, they view them as elites and members of the establishment.”2
Typically, when non-elites know they’re being perceived negatively, they feel that an initial look in the mirror is at least warranted. But scientific elites reflexively look outward. In what seems like a projection of their motives to others, they identify the resistance to their controlling behavior as due to a “political agenda.”2
How to Alienate the Public? Disrespect and Censorship
What do some scientific elites truly think of nonscientific people? They agree with “Voltaire [who] observed, ‘Common sense is not so common.’”2 Thus, they think ordinary people are easily duped by “certain pundits and politicians” pushing “pseudoscience” who dismiss “mainstream science and medicine.” It’s inconceivable to these elites that the ideas or views contrary to theirs that, they admit, are “currently succeeding in the marketplace of ideas” could be due to the scientific merit of those views. Rather, to elites it “demonstrates the human proclivity to reject the scientific method in favor of unestablished, or even disreputable, goods and services.”2 The take-home message here is that scientific elites don’t respect the reasoning abilities of ordinary people.
Yet, no evidence was offered in “How to Confront Anti-Science Sentiment” confirming that a “human proclivity” toward self-befuddlement even exists. Given that this proclivity is central to the beliefs of scientific elites about nonscientific people, one would expect them to offer some verification. A problem can be identified here. Scientific elites may substitute their unsubstantiated stories for scientific evidence to support their claims. Then, based solely on their scientific authority, they expect—but during the pandemic demanded—nonscientists to accept their claims and obey their mandates.
But when people ask for scientific evidence, they like to get scientific evidence. Perhaps, substituting stories for evidence could explain the increase in people who have “not too much or no confidence at all” in these biological scientists.
How else has the behavior of biological scientists demonstrated their lack of respect for the public that, in turn, might have prompted the public’s diminishing respect for them during the pandemic? There was also the incongruity that those who claimed to “speak for science” were dictating different—and sometimes contradictory—weekly mandates. Then there was their incessant virtue-signaling in public about “following protocols” but hypocritically not doing so in private.
Drawing from their playbook against creationists, “How to Confront Anti-Science Sentiment” also sought to marginalize dissenting scientists by characterizing them as “anti-science.” The intent is to suppress alternate voices by hurting their credibility so others will disregard their message.
The name-calling doesn’t end there. Another epithet depicts others with differing positions as deniers of, presumably, the truth. Additionally, the research of qualified scientists who oppose the “consensus” is derisively called pseudoscience, disinformation, or propaganda. Again, the intent is to suppress their message. Yet, ordinary people may view with suspicion the censorship of conflicting views, whether it’s done by government, news organizations, or on social media.
Do Scientific Elites Act for Their Benefit or Yours?
The trick for scientific elites is to maintain access to public funds while distrusting those who supply them. In a clunky attempt to say that unscientific people lack judgment but not fault them for it, “How to Confront Anti-Science Sentiment” makes an excuse that’s really a condescending insult.
Many people have not had the privilege of learning how to critically evaluate this plethora of conflicting information. Rather than blaming the victim for being lured away by a siren’s song, we should learn to sing a more appealing tune.2
The gist of their message is “if you were smart, you’d agree with us, but no worries; it’s society’s fault that you’re dumb.” But it seems that non-elites are, in fact, quite capable of discerning what’s happening behind the curtain…they just don’t like it.
A recent historical essay, “Why the School Wars Still Rage” by Jill Lepore, recounts the referenced 130-year battle from the perspective of scientific and educational elites who felt duty-bound to take on parents “over who gets to tell our origin stories.”3 Quoting original sources, she detailed a long saga of the elites’ distrust of ordinary parents, saying:
The magazine Parents began publishing in 1926. “Devoted but unenlightened parenthood is a dangerous factor in the lives of children,” its editor said, maintaining that parents weren’t to be trusted to know how to raise children: they had to be taught, by experts.3
Lepore accepts that “experts seek the power of the state” to gain control over parents. Citing another educational elite, she revealed the remarkably long campaign for state control: “‘Each year the child is coming to belong more and more to the state, and less and less to the parent,’ the Stanford professor of education Ellwood Cubberley wrote approvingly in 1909.”3
To sum up, two related behaviors should be noted that likely diminish public confidence. First, people might not like being constantly admonished to “listen to the experts.” Many interpret this as “shut up and obey.” Second, biological scientists’ relentless efforts to control people’s access to information, present one side of a story, and cancel dissenters—along with their near-hysterical reactions if any contrary information escapes to reach the public’s ears—don’t come across as protective measures but rather as a lot like indoctrination.
So, why do biological scientists engage in these two behaviors? They’re both manifestations of authoritarian control. The steady drumbeat that experts reason things out better than others ever could tends to gradually lull the public into willingly accepting a misleading depiction of their own competence. This leads to blissful compliance. Similarly, controlling the public’s access to information is necessary precisely because most people really do know how to critically evaluate both sides of an argument. Limited information leads to a guaranteed outcome.
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t create scientists who abuse the esteem that comes with the science profession in order to suppress nonconforming scientists and scientific findings; the pandemic merely exposed them. We may now be better informed to reconsider the role “the experts”—with their very human weaknesses and subjective emotions—should play in developing public policy.
A Rare Chance to Expose Darwin’s Scientific Elites
We should appreciate that curtain-lifting seldom happens. This rare moment of scientific candor affords an opportunity for creationists. People may be open to contemplate the ways coercive tactics hurt science. We have an opportunity to teach them that evolutionary biologists pioneered and refined the thought-constraining tactics that have been employed to indoctrinate a trusting public.
How have they done this? By claiming that it’s inconceivable to practice biology in any other way. Evolutionary biologists used intradepartmental strong-arm tactics to take control of how biologists must think about biology and must interpret biological phenomena.
We mustn’t let history obscure our observations. During the pandemic we’ve witnessed members of the biological profession rushing to conform their advice to politically driven agendas, suppressing and persecuting dissenters, and, for many, clearly demonstrating they aren’t quite the experts they’d led people to believe.
When we refresh people’s memories, perhaps they’ll be less inclined to regard the questions “Why do so many biologists believe in evolution? Can they all be wrong?” as evidence for evolution. They might be more willing to supply their own skeptical answers. It also makes it easier to show the ability of “consensus science”4—especially when abetted by sympathetic news organizations and powerful governmental institutions—to effectively suppress minority views like those of creation scientists.
Creationists must continue to warn against trusting what scientific elites pronounce about Darwinian evolution. Evolutionists strive relentlessly to get people to believe one absurd story after another. These stories are rooted mostly in imagination and inference, not in science. People’s beliefs about origins matter in terms of their behavior.
Many scientists embrace a worldview with a long history of misery and death—Darwin’s death-driven selectionism, i.e., “survival of the fittest.” The pandemic further highlighted the fact that the scientific elites’ oppressive behavior has never been benign and is rapidly progressing to outright totalitarian control. Our practice of science should be the exact opposite.
The Lord Jesus loves scientists and nonscientists alike, and as creationists we should too. Respect for others is a way to show this love and that we trust their reasoning abilities enough to give them both sides of the story.
Let’s lift the curtain all the way. Reject paternalistic control of information. Avoid substituting unsubstantiated stories for scientific evidence. Champion freedom of speech. And in humility speak the truth in love.
- Kennedy, B., A. Tyson, and C. Funk. Americans’ Trust in Scientists, Other Groups Declines. Pew Research Center. Posted on pewresearch.org February 15, 2022, accessed February 27, 2022.
- Sullivan. B. How to Confront Anti-Science Sentiment: Reaching a science skeptic is not a matter of credentials; it’s a matter of heart. The Scientist. Posted on the-scientist.com March 1, 2022, accessed March 2, 2022.
- Lepore, J. Why the School Wars Still Rage. The New Yorker. Posted on newyorker.com March 14, 2022, accessed on March 15, 2022.
- Guliuzza, R. J. 2021. The Tyranny of Consensus Thinking. Acts & Facts. 50 (8): 4-6.
* Dr. Guliuzza is President of the Institute for Creation Research. He earned his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Minnesota, his Master of Public Health from Harvard University, and served in the U.S. Air Force as 28th Bomb Wing Flight Surgeon and Chief of Aerospace Medicine. Dr. Guliuzza is also a registered Professional Engineer and holds a B.A. in theology from Moody Bible Institute.