Playing the Indian Card

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Most Science Now Isn't

Social scientist at work.
Science began as a theological exercise. It is based on the assumption that there is a designer of the universe. Without an invisible legislator, we would not be able to find “laws” of nature. Mathematics would not work, nor would logic. We would simply have chaos.

This being so, science began as a way to understand God's nature, and his intentions. Ask Francis Bacon.

No,  not that Francis Bacon

There is a reason, after all, why empirical science arose in Christian Europe, not elsewhere. Unlike most other religions, Christianity holds that the material world is real and made by God. To Buddhism or Hinduism, for example, it is simply “illusion.” To Gnosticism and many pagan philosophies, it is the creation of the devil. The success of science proves the Christian assumption, and disproves the Buddhist or shamanist idea that the material world is “chaos.”

This is also why, popular romanticism and Disney's Pocahontas to the contrary, it is only in the Christian world that you see a real concern for “ecology” or “environmentalism.”

Not a real Indian. Trust us: it's a cartoon.
Unfortunately, over the last few centuries, we have mostly forgotten this, and come to raise “Science” itself to the status of religion. From being a useful tool, we have made it a cosmology. Whereas Philosophy used to be the “queen of sciences” (which is why the highest degree is still, even in a scientific field, “Doctor of Philosophy”) now Physics is more often cited. The social sciences are the worst example of this new “scientism,” and perhaps the fount and origin of most of the problem. They contradict some of the basic assumptions of science, but let's leave that point aside for now. For now, let's just note that social scientists almost inevitably put themselves in direct competition with religion: seeking to explain without it what religion is meant to explain, seeking to fill the human needs that clergy used to fill. Chesterton once described Freudian analysis as “confession without absolution.” That's about right. Marx and Freud, the two great founders of the social sciences, were open opponents of religion. There is good reason for this: religion was their direct competitor. It still is. 

Is that a cigar, or are you just glad to see me?

Both have also been comprehensively debunked as science. Nevertheless, their mooncalf, “social science,” lives and grows. Feminism, postmodernism, “progressivism” not only continue to dominate, but seem to grow annually in their influence, even though they are based ultimately on Marx and Freud, and this philosophical underpinning has long ago been disproven.

Unfortunately, trying to elevate science to a religion is not just destructive of religion. It is destructive to human life. Humans are reduced to the status of physical objects. It is also destructive, ultimately, to science. We are now seeing this raven wing home to roost.

"He goes on Sunday to the church." We used to care.

Let's leave aside the point that any sort of social science presupposes radical human inequality: the scientific observer must be seen as having a consciousness at an entirely different level from the observed, or else you have an insurmountable observer paradox. Even if that were not so, from science by itself one cannot derive any moral code, or any sense of the value of anything. It has, of course, been tried: Nazism sought to derive morality from Darwin and the principle of survival of the fittest. This did not look to most of us, in the end, like morality. Freud's morality was more or less the same: survival of the individual, and survival of the species. But in practice, it was only sexual license, and another kind of mass murder, abortion, inevitably followed. Marxism tried to derive morality from material progress and a need to be on “the right side of history,” even though it held that history was going there anyway. Besides failing in practice, and leading to moral abominations as awful as those of Fascism and Freud, this was always philosophically incoherent.

So far, so bad for humanity. But also for science. Science itself (like more or less any human activity) cannot work unless you can count on its practitioners being themselves moral. Yes, you can police them, but then who polices the police? Who polices the police of the police? You can have peer review, you can expect results be reproducible, but in the end, someone somewhere is only on their honour to do this honesty. Yet science itself provides no moral code, and no reason to be moral. This was fine so long as we could count on scientists to also have a religious foundation. Now that we have dispensed with religion to the extent that we have, ancient chaos returns.

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