… that pesky little meme, has followed us like a bad dream throughout the Covid-19 pandemic

… Those in favor of prolonged restrictions latch onto the phrase to justify their positions

… science isn’t a completed edifice, a church where we gather to worship, but a constantly evolving body of knowledge

… Even assuming a perfect pandemic science, a science that can predict with 100% accuracy which mitigation measures work and which ones don’t, the slogan makes no sense

… “Science can explain what exists in the world, how things work, and what might be in the future,”

… “By definition, it has no pretensions to knowing what should be in the future.”

… “When we come to decide … we have to take into account many interests and values

… and since there is no scientific way to determine which interests and values are more important

… there is no scientific way to decide what we should do.”

… Science can observe and predict, but it cannot decide

… “Policy is a human endeavor that combines science with values and priorities.”

… Science gives us data—projections, cases, hospitalizations, and so on—but it cannot, by definition, tell us how to react to the data

… Whatever the circumstances, we have choices—and these choices flow from our values

… A weathervane can tell you there’s a stiff wind coming in from the northwest, but it can’t tell you how to respond to the data

… One person may deem it insane to step outside on such a windy day

… another may see it as the perfect day for a bracing walk

… Neither one is being unscientific: they’re both following their internal compass—their values

… We must all act as one! No, we must have choices! Keep us safe! No, keep us free! 

… Science can no more readily settle these ideological tussles

… When people tell us to follow the science, what they really mean is, “Follow my values.”