People in power, throughout history and still today, tend to misuse and abuse science to achieve their ends. Could it be because they make science into a publicly-accepted religion?
The Religion Of Science
For many, who espouse and live the Religion of Science, often called “Scientism,” Science, only Science, provides Truth. Science is based on fact, not on belief. For the devotees of scientism, science is reality, science is facts, science is proven, science is knowledge, science is rational, and science is certain. Science is not only the best but the only, way to make sense of the world, of the universe. Nothing else. Opposed to science are superstition, untruth, and religion – all of which are based not on facts, but on fear, superstition, error, or on mere belief. Mere religious belief cannot ever be known, tested, or proven.
Scientistic scientists, the devotees of scientism, are the high priests of the Religion Of Science. Many folks on the periphery of science, or folks who have no relation whatsoever to science or any personal knowledge of it, many who have no or almost no understanding of any scientific fact or of any scientific theory or practice, still reject all religion based on some amorphous belief that science has somehow either destroyed the basis for all religious belief or has shown conclusively that religion is bollocks. They have no idea that, as with any religion, the Religion Of Science has its own dogmatic beliefs, beliefs that themselves cannot be scientifically proven or established.
In his article entitled “Religion of Science,” Dennis Clayson says:
“There is a group of educated persons who consider themselves to be high priests and prophets of what can only be called a religion of science. They emerge periodically from their temples and chastise the assemblage for their sins and issue prophetic warnings about the catastrophes that await the masses if they don’t cast off their unbelief . . .The press, which acts in the same capacity as the scribes of old, dutifully write the utterances of the priestly caste and distribute them far and wide.” (Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, March 30, 2014).
Robert S. Cohen tells us that science may be the only currently “believable global ideology.” If Cohen is correct and science has become this believable global ideology, then it is no wonder that power people, especially those seeking global hegemony, a “world order,” power over all people on earth, would use science as a political tool rather than let science go its way seeking the truth. (Cohen, Reflections on the Ambiguity of Science, in Foundations Of Ethics. Volume 4, University of Notre Dame Press, 1983). Once science becomes a political tool, a “government religion,” and scientists become the soldiers of the ideology, it is inevitable that some results of science will contradict truth, ethics and morals will be rejected on the basis of “scientific” truth, and some scientists will defraud their commanders and us.
The Mother Dogma
The overarching dogma of scientism is the Verification Principle, sometimes called the Verifiability Criteria Of Meaning. This principle requires that any statement purporting to state truth be grounded on some verifiable sense experience. It is the Primary Doctrine of Science, that a statement is only cognitively meaningful if it can be definitively and conclusively determined to be either true or false by empirical evidence, experiment, testing, etc. (For the moment, never mind asking what test, etc. could disprove theories like the theory of evolution). The philosophical position that accepted this principle as true, verificationism, has now been shown to be in error. Still scientistic scientists prefer it to religious belief.
This dogma of science cannot be tested or proven according to the scientific method. If it is accepted, it is accepted on scientistic faith. When this is pointed out, the honest follower of the Religion Of Science says that, yes, that may indeed be a belief, but it has a much more certain basis than religious belief. And the “basis” for that leads circularly right back to the scientific method. Since science has gotten so much right and has again stated truth, devotion to scientific dogma is preferable to belief in religious dogma.
Got that? Here we go round the mulberry scientism bush: Since scientific belief is based on the scientific method, which is based on scientific belief, scientific belief is preferable to religious belief. The cultic reliance on science and on its dogmas is often based on circular reasoning, the dogmas of science are true because science is true and science is true because the dogmas of science are true. They say “Dogmas? We don’t need stinkin’ dogmas!” but there are many dogmas of scientists, many basic untestable, unprovable beliefs they implicitly follow in all their work. A variety of writers, scientists, and thinkers have asserted that this or that is now a dogma or generally-accepted belief of science.
Rupert Sheldrake, in his book, The Ten Dogmas Of Modern Science, says “ . . . the belief system that governs conventional scientific thinking is an act of faith, grounded in a nineteenth-century ideology.” In what he calls the “Creed” of Science, he asserts that these ten centuries-old assumptions have morphed into widely-accepted scientific dogmas: 1. Everything is essentially mechanical. 2. All matter is unconscious. 3. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same (with the exception of the Big Bang, when all the matter and energy of the universe suddenly appeared). 4. The laws of nature are fixed. 5. Nature is purposeless, evolution has no goal or direction. 6. All biological inheritance is material, carried in the genetic material, DNA, and in other material structures. 7. Minds are inside heads and are nothing but the activities of brains. 8. Memories are stored as material traces in brains and are wiped out at death. 9. Unexplained phenomena like telepathy are illusory. 10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works
Science Is Not Infallible
What about all that science has gotten wrong? The scientistic scientist tells us Trinity, Incarnation, the very existence of God, and even human love cannot be proven to exist; and that religion has gotten so many things wrong (the sun rises, e.g.), and science has gotten so many things right, that science is to be preferred. Again science is to be preferred because science is science. Since religious belief cannot be proven, it is to be rejected for another belief, scientistic belief. The scientistic scientist says “I like science because it is science. Science is science. And Religion is not.”
Science’s errors and mistakes? There are now-rejected scientific theories in most branches of science, including, inter alia, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Cosmology, Climate Study, Geography, Geology, Psychology, and Medicine. For example, these once-accepted-as-true scientific theories are now rejected: Spontaneous Generation theory; Lamarckist Evolution; Phlogiston theory; Caloric Theory; Luminiferous Ether theory; the Ptolemaic System; Heliocentricism; Flat Earth theory; Hollow Earth theory; Geosyncline Theory; Four Humors Theory ; and Phrenology.
Are we there yet? “There” Exists – The On-the-Way-To-Truth Dogma
If the scientistic scientist replies that yes, these theories and many others have been rejected, but they were scientifically rejected, scientifically-proven to be in error, and science is just further on its way to truth, ignoring for the moment that this implies the self-defeating nature of science – she or he is simply stating another dogma of science: that science, believing in and following the scientific method, is always getting closer and closer to the truth, that “the truth” does indeed exist, and the truth is scientific truth to which science can get closer and closer.
However, it is as logically possible, from all that science has done, to assert that science is self-destructing, getting closer and closer to total final error, since it is getting closer and closer to an ultimate untruth, closer and closer to mistake, closer and closer to a cosmic all-encompassing Uncertainty Principle, a Big Error Bang, a bottomless black wormhole of unreality.
Religious Hypocrites, Sciencetistic Saints?
Some scientistic scientists assert that the untruth of religion is demonstrated by the hypocritical actions, the sinful actions of religion’s devotees-if religious beliefs were true, there would have been no evil done on behalf of religion, no sinners, no corrupt popes, and no wicked priests. Does this argument really need a response? This can be turned this back on the scientistic scientists: you preach scientific method to seek truth, do all your devotees follow this straight and narrow true way?
Instead of recounting all the sins and sinners of science, here it is appropriate to note that today an incredibly large amount of reported “scientific” research results are simply fraudulent. Richard Horton, an Editor-In-Chief of the journal Lancet has written:
The case against Science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, Science has taken a turn towards darkness … The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of ‘significance’ pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairytale … Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication … and individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.
Commentator William Reville has said;
Neither is there any formal code of ethics in science . . . We can no longer doubt that a crisis looms in science. The modern world is utterly dependent on science, so this crisis must be resolved. That great cathedral of scientific progress, the peer-reviewed scientific literature, is beginning to crumble. We either restore the cathedral or we will soon stand in its rubble.
Those who attack religion and those who do not want it to exert any power over individuals, particularly the power of telling someone something they are doing is wrong in a way that a government cannot have realized that, despite their most incredible efforts, they cannot remove religion’s effects from the lives of individuals; and also that they cannot eradicate religion – even with heinous torture and deadly force — from the public life of families and communities. So – in an “ if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mode – those in power in many places around the world, and for some many years now, have promulgated not only a Religion Of Science, but such a religion whose stories, myths, priesthood, revelations, creeds, funding, dogmas, laws, decrees, condemnations, and scriptures – as well as professional executions – are controlled by those in power.