We hear politicians say, ‘We’re following the science’, but then hear other eminent scientists disagreeing with the approach government advisers have recommended. People then become confused, and some become sceptical about ‘scientific advice’. There is an old adage ‘What is a fact? Answer: a working hypothesis not yet capable of being disproved.’ That might be hard to get your head round, but it reflects the situation where ‘experts’ (in whatever field) are usually engaged in debate and discussion over experimental evidence or modelling, and adapting and changing their conclusions in the light of new evidence or consideration of other ‘experts’’ critique of their approach. It might have helped if politicians had presented ‘science’ not as some kind of objective truth that cannot be questioned, but rather as a ‘balance of probability in the light of current understanding’. That doesn’t make for easy sound-bites, it might be harder for people to understand, it might even imply that those taking the decisions might not be backed up by unquestionable advice, but it just might help people to understand that we don’t have all the answers. We are where we are, but maybe going forward we need to recognise that neither we, nor the governments, nor their advisers, know everything, but that the advice given is based on years of careful research and review.
Lord, help us to appreciate that we do not know everything about how to suppress and eradicate Covid-19. Help us too to listen to those who have great knowledge and expertise, and follow their advice