“We are a great nation. A nation of science, of the Enlightenment, of Louis Pasteur,” said Emmanuel Macron in an effort to persuade a recalcitrant French public to get vaccinated against Covid. Science was offering people a way to protect themselves and they should have confidence in its ability and in progress more generally, argued the president. In richer nations, like France, the majority of unvaccinated people are those who have chosen not to get jabbed, with many doubting science.
Covid and climate change are two areas where this tendency towards doubt seems particularly strong. I have no idea what the US scientist Steven Koonin’s views are on the pandemic, but his takedown of climate science in his new book, Unsettled, follows a similar logic to that posited by those sceptical of anti-Covid measures. “The Science” is being used to serve an end, “to