“Follow the science” has become a popular cultural mantra, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. Certainly, this is an important principle (among several) for helping us to understand, and to respond to, various issues facing us either in our personal lives or as a society.
As the coronavirus pandemic evolved, advocates for this mantra implored us to apply this principle to our understanding of disease. “What is this new contagious disease? How can we best treat it?” Science will help us find an answer. We also apply this principle to issues such as climate change. We turn to the scientist and ask, “Scientist, what is happening in the environment? How can we best respond to any changes or problems you discover?”
Why, then, do we not apply this principle to the whole issue of abortion? “Scientist, what is it that is growing in the woman’s body?” If the scientist says this is a random, disorganized mass of cells, then that would imply a set of actions which would be appropriate towards that mass of cells. If the scientist says this is a highly complex human being taking shape, then that would imply a certain set of actions which would be appropriate or inappropriate towards that mass of cells.
Wouldn’t this principle help us to resolve this issue once and for all? Why are we selective in applying this principle, “follow the science,” to some issues and not others?