The term “Settled science”—an oxymoron posing as an argument—might also serve as a moniker for our scientistic, post-rational age. Working from the (fatuous) assumption that quantifiable science tells us everything that can be known—so that everything else can be dismissed as “Subjective”—we gun ourselves down with a spray of mere statistics.
Since all “subjective” judgments are worth zero, every question of context, or qualitative degree, may likewise be ruled out of court. One’s opponent is shown to be flying in the face of “settled science,” and must suffer the punishments reserved for heretics in any age.
All these zeros are considered to be equal, in some formal sense. Yet paradoxically, in the dark ideological alleys of feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, and so forth, one theoretically worthless “value” may still be imposed over another, arbitrarily.
For some zeros are more equal than others.
The “traditional family,” for instance—and all the moral, ethical, and esthetic values upon which it was built—is a zero that genuinely counts for zero today, in the thinking of our progressive elites. Whenever tested, even statistically, it is found to enjoy at least the tacit support of an overwhelming majority of the population—one man, one woman, their own children, etc.
And make no mistake, these “subjective” people are allowed to continue, as a kind of tax fodder—so long as they keep their opinions to themselves, and continue reducing their carbon footprint.
But insofar as they consider their arrangements to be “normal,” they have a nasty surprise coming. For the “traditional family” is just one of many arrangements, made possible by advances in science and technology. And “normal” is not a term recognized by pseudo-scientific materialists. It cannot be demonstrated by statistical means; it is not otherwise quantifiable; it does not compute.
In high school—a long time ago in the 1960s—I once argued “science” would soon free women from the painful and inconvenient task of child-bearing, by supplying mechanical incubators; that it would likewise provide means of artificial insemination; and that trained scientific experts were best equipped to genetically program, nutrify, and indoctrinate replacement humans, in child factories. Therefore, some day, everyone would be truly equal, and “family” would become a thing of the past.
Not perhaps realizing I was, even then, being characteristically droll, my classmates recoiled in horror. One girl declared that I was “the very devil.” I replied this was merely her subjective judgment (while holding my fingers behind my head to signify horns). If memory serves, I also held that those who opposed my utopian vision must bring scientific evidence to “prove” it will not work, adding by way of flourish that the “humanoids of the future” would be painlessly euthanized at the moment they ceased to repay their investment, thus assuring a high level of economic efficiency.
I was joking, darkly; I was playing contrarian; I’d been reading Aldous Huxley. The product of a stable and happy two-parent family, I was myself inwardly appalled by the whole idea of reproducing humans by artificial means. But I observe, today, that we are half-way there. Look into current debates on “in vitro fertilization” to see how far we’ve come.
The issue of the moment is, can anyone supply “quantifiable,” “value-free,” “scientific” proof that children of sperm donors do not turn out as well as any other children? For the progressive supporters of “IVF” are piling up studies on the other side: elaborate, refereed papers showing that, if you start from the premises that IVF is OK, and that one kind of family is as good as another, you will find that IVF is OK, and that one kind of family is as good as another.
And since some zeros are more equal than others, no other premises are admissible.
The studies are, incidentally, a farce. They are done exclusively on small children. Whereas, anyone with broad experience of children knows they are remarkably accepting of the circumstances into which they were delivered at birth, never having known any other.
The difficulties associated with an “abnormal” upbringing appear as they grow older; including, in this case, such difficulties as those surveyed in the report, My Daddy’s Name is Donor (by Marquardt, Glenn, and Clark), just published.
Example: At age 18 and up, about two-thirds of the children conceived from anonymously donated sperm agree with the comment, “My sperm donor is half of who I am.”
The tactic of progressive scientism is to reverse the onus of proof: to change the question from “Why should we do this?” to “Why shouldn’t we?” It was the cheap debating trick I used in high school: make your opponents prove a negative, while trampling them under a parade of meaningless facts and figures.
Alas, “half of who I am” has meaning.