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As such, they can be belittled, intimidated, or even — as we’ve seen in the debate over COVID-19 policy — actively suppressed.

It’s hard to imagine an enterprise less in keeping with the scientific spirit. The motto of the Royal Society, the storied British academy of sciences, is nullius in verba, or “Take nobody’s word for it.” As the Society’s website explains, “It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.”

For today’s self-styled champions of so-called science, that sentiment badly misses the mark. Why bother with the facts as carefully and rigorously established over time, when you can misuse the authority of science to try to dominate instead?

Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.

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