While visiting France over the week to do international politics, Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Pasteur Institute in Paris. The institute is a private, non-profit foundation for researchers who study microbiology, infectious disease, and vaccine treatments.
The Pasteur Institute’s work has been essential in combating infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, yellow fever, and plague, earning ten of the foundation’s Nobel scientists Prizes since 1908.
While the U.S. vice president was there, however, the former absolute inquisitor of a California prosecutor probably ruffled French feathers the worst they have been by an American since George W. Bush practically called Jacques Chirac a “cheese-eating surrender monkey,” as he plowed ahead with a not-entirely-unilateral preemptive war with Hussein’s Ba’athist Iraq.
While speaking to the actual scientists, a masked Kamala Harris, wearing a salt and pepper plaid blazer over a black shirt and dress pants, with an American flag lapel pin, and her hair down with a slight curl at the bottom, tried to mansplain to them what science is:
“A hypothesis. It’s well-thought-out, it’s well-planned, scientists start with a hypothesis, and then they test it out knowing invariably, you’re trying something for the first time, there will be glitches, there will be mistakes.”
Has no one at the White House informed the vice president that having a political science degree makes you a real scientist? To add insult to injury, Harris also seemed to affect a French accent as she completely botched her mansplanation of what “science” is. At this rate, we’ll be having a trade war with the entire European Union in no time.
Harris continued: “Then everyone gets together, no one gets beat up about it, you analyze what went wrong, re-evaluate, update the hypothesis and start again.”
Many of science’s greatest luminaries throughout history, from Galileo Galilei to Ignaz Semmelweis, were viciously bullied by the scientific and political authorities of their day for advancing a hypothesis that was inconvenient for the ruling classes.
Harris could not have spoken more foolishly to the scientists of the Louis Pasteur Institute during her visit to Paris.
Semmelweis was a 19th Century doctor and scientist known today as the “savior of mothers” for advancing the hypothesis that mother and infant death during childbirth could be reduced if the attending physicians or midwives washed their hands with disinfectants between surgeries and obstetric deliveries.
Today that may seem obvious, but the medical and scientific community shunned Semmelweis. After having a mental breakdown following his brush with how “science” really works, he got beat up for trying to advance science with a hypothesis and information that the authorities wanted to suppress. And he died from an infection of the wounds he sustained in the beating. You can read his Wikipedia page to learn more.
Semmelweis’ theories were not validated by the scientists (though they already had been by the science, that is: the not-dead babies and mothers) until the germ theory of disease was confirmed (by the work of Louis Pasteur).