"Science says so": a materialistic and anti-scientific cult

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HRM Resident

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Nov 24, 2022, 2:04:03 PM11/24/22
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https://newdailycompass.com/en/science-says-so-a-materialistic-and-anti-scientific-cult

"Science says so": this is one of the phrases increasingly bandied
around in recent years, and decisions on every aspect of social life are
increasingly taken in the name of science. This makes it necessary to
clarify what it really means or whether it really makes sense.

First of all, it must be said that there is no such thing as 'science';
instead, there are people identified as 'scientists' who make statements
that are scientific precisely because they can be refuted. The
philosopher Karl Popper taught that an assertion cannot be considered
scientific if it does not provide a possibility of being disproved.
Preventing the expression of critical voices, possibly with the
justification of the inadequacy of the interlocutor, is therefore a
contradiction if one wants to move within the boundaries of scientific
method. The true scientist also responds to everyone, he must be able to
explain himself even to non-competent people of average culture. A
phrase attributed to Einstein states "You haven't really understood
something if you can't explain it to your grandmother".

The true scientist is never arrogant, which is in stark contrast with
the often derisive attitude of some exponents of science who are called
upon to publicly discuss issues of social impact. The Nobel Prize winner
for physics, Richard Feynman, said that "Science is believing in the
ignorance of experts".

"Science says so" as a dogmatic statement is not only in itself anti-
scientific, but is a phrase made possible only by a slow, but
continuous, work of lowering the educational level, which has led to the
transmission of notions that are less and less understood, until they
reach a dogmatic value. A phenomenon described by the author Aldous
Huxley in his Brave New World when, regarding the scientific training
given, he has one of his characters say: "You've had no scientific
training, so you can't judge". Scientific culture is a culture of doubt
and is the opposite of faith in science.

Belief in experimental science goes against its founder Galileo Galilei,
thanks to whom the principle of authority, the ipse dixit, was overcome;
from that moment on, no one could argue with "it is true because I, the
authority, say so". But in the same years science became an instrument
of power in the work of Francis Bacon who, in his utopia The New
Atlantis, pointed to scientists as the new priests and guides of
society. Science, in Bacon, became a surrogate faith that could replace
politics and ideology. This happened, for example, with the end of
communism when a scientistic mythopoetic system took the place of
Marxist ideology. The necessarily joint trait for this substitution is
the claim to offer salvation: we pass from the class salvation of
communism to the physical salvation of experimental science, both
unified in materialism.

Science becomes faith when it claims, and above all when it is
recognized as having, the right to become an explanation of the whole
picture of reality, forgetting that the epistemological limit of
experimental science is placed in the impossibility of making meaningful
statements. Accepting science as an explanation for everything is to
make a fundamental choice that denies meaning. Jacques Monod, in his
book Chance and Necessity, posited the postulate of objectivity as the
basis of science, i.e., "the systematic refusal to consider the
possibility of achieving true knowledge through any interpretation of
phenomena in terms of final causes", relying on science to explain the
world, therefore it presupposes the abandonment of a search for meaning.

Science as the sole or sovereign instrument for taking decisions on the
political and social life of a population is therefore in itself the
choice of a lack of meaning and ultimately the denial of a humanity that
values ethics, the transcendent, and what is properly human, it is a
delegation to build a society on biophysical principles. The scientistic
society, as a surrogate for religion, needs its own tables of law to
venerate and respect, priests and gurus in white robes to identify
transgressors and heretics, to maintain the rituals of religious
society, and to develop its own language made up of terms, symbols and
gestures that have a value of identification and recognition.

Scientism attracted the orphans of Marxism, and for this reason it is
being adopted even today by those who come from that tradition. "Vote
for science" was significantly the slogan of a left-wing party in a
recent election campaign in Italy. The risk of scientism asserting
itself as a reductive substitute for a theory of the world becomes real
when a previous vision enters into crisis or simply weakens, a phrase
referring to the end of communism stated: "Stalin has left us in the
lurch... we have nothing left but the prospect of modernizing the
country".

The risk of a similar shift may also be hidden in a religious vision
that turns too much to social issues, distracting itself from the
transcendent, that becomes political discourse, a 'liberal' religiosity
that deals mainly with the body, no longer recognizing the deep needs of
the spirit, that looks to progress thinking that tradition is something
from the past to be overcome and perhaps forgotten.

After Stalin left communism in the lurch, the choice of turning towards
scientism could also appear to be the prospect of a disappointed
religiosity reduced to a social doctrine, so the path followed by the
orphans of communism could be shared by a tired Christianity that has
fallen back on social issues and is too trusting in a biological
salvation that comes from science.

--
HRM Resident

James Warren

unread,
Nov 24, 2022, 3:02:21 PM11/24/22
to
On Thursday, 24 November 2022 at 15:04:03 UTC-4, HRM Resident wrote:
> https://newdailycompass.com/en/science-says-so-a-materialistic-and-anti-scientific-cult
>
> "Science says so": this is one of the phrases increasingly bandied
> around in recent years, and decisions on every aspect of social life are
> increasingly taken in the name of science. This makes it necessary to
> clarify what it really means or whether it really makes sense.

That phrase is sometimes heard by seldom by scientists.

>
> First of all, it must be said that there is no such thing as 'science';

Yes, there is such a thing as science.

> instead, there are people identified as 'scientists' who make statements
> that are scientific precisely because they can be refuted.

They can in principle be refuted by good contradicting evidence.

> The
> philosopher Karl Popper taught that an assertion cannot be considered
> scientific if it does not provide a possibility of being disproved.

True.

> Preventing the expression of critical voices, possibly with the
> justification of the inadequacy of the interlocutor, is therefore a
> contradiction if one wants to move within the boundaries of scientific
> method. The true scientist also responds to everyone, he must be able to
> explain himself even to non-competent people of average culture. A
> phrase attributed to Einstein states "You haven't really understood
> something if you can't explain it to your grandmother".

True. But sometimes a scientist is impatient or doesn't have the
time, especially in an interview or public lecture.

>
> The true scientist is never arrogant, which is in stark contrast with
> the often derisive attitude of some exponents of science who are called
> upon to publicly discuss issues of social impact. The Nobel Prize winner
> for physics, Richard Feynman, said that "Science is believing in the
> ignorance of experts".

LOL The true Scotsman fallacy. Of course a scientist can be arrogant,
and some are, just like normal people.

>
> "Science says so" as a dogmatic statement is not only in itself anti-
> scientific, but is a phrase made possible only by a slow, but
> continuous, work of lowering the educational level, which has led to the
> transmission of notions that are less and less understood, until they
> reach a dogmatic value. A phenomenon described by the author Aldous
> Huxley in his Brave New World when, regarding the scientific training
> given, he has one of his characters say: "You've had no scientific
> training, so you can't judge". Scientific culture is a culture of doubt
> and is the opposite of faith in science.

Yes, scientists doubt their own theories in the sense that they are
willing to give them up if good contradicting evidence arises. Science
is not dogma, no matter how often some people claim it is.

>
> Belief in experimental science goes against its founder Galileo Galilei,
> thanks to whom the principle of authority, the ipse dixit, was overcome;
> from that moment on, no one could argue with "it is true because I, the
> authority, say so". But in the same years science became an instrument
> of power in the work of Francis Bacon who, in his utopia The New
> Atlantis, pointed to scientists as the new priests and guides of
> society. Science, in Bacon, became a surrogate faith that could replace
> politics and ideology. This happened, for example, with the end of
> communism when a scientistic mythopoetic system took the place of
> Marxist ideology. The necessarily joint trait for this substitution is
> the claim to offer salvation: we pass from the class salvation of
> communism to the physical salvation of experimental science, both
> unified in materialism.

What is that, a mixture of fiction and failed Marxism?

>
> Science becomes faith when it claims, and above all when it is
> recognized as having, the right to become an explanation of the whole
> picture of reality, forgetting that the epistemological limit of
> experimental science is placed in the impossibility of making meaningful
> statements. Accepting science as an explanation for everything is to
> make a fundamental choice that denies meaning. Jacques Monod, in his
> book Chance and Necessity, posited the postulate of objectivity as the
> basis of science, i.e., "the systematic refusal to consider the
> possibility of achieving true knowledge through any interpretation of
> phenomena in terms of final causes", relying on science to explain the
> world, therefore it presupposes the abandonment of a search for meaning.

Sounds like philosophical nonsense to me. Science has been very successful,
and, no doubt, will continue to be very successful despite philosophical
naysayers.

>
> Science as the sole or sovereign instrument for taking decisions on the
> political and social life of a population

is a bad idea, considering the current state of the social sciences.

> is therefore in itself the
> choice of a lack of meaning and ultimately the denial of a humanity that
> values ethics, the transcendent, and what is properly human, it is a
> delegation to build a society on biophysical principles. The scientistic
> society, as a surrogate for religion, needs its own tables of law to
> venerate and respect, priests and gurus in white robes to identify
> transgressors and heretics, to maintain the rituals of religious
> society, and to develop its own language made up of terms, symbols and
> gestures that have a value of identification and recognition.

That last sentence is pure bullshit.

>
> Scientism attracted the orphans of Marxism, and for this reason it is
> being adopted even today by those who come from that tradition. "Vote
> for science" was significantly the slogan of a left-wing party in a
> recent election campaign in Italy. The risk of scientism asserting
> itself as a reductive substitute for a theory of the world becomes real
> when a previous vision enters into crisis or simply weakens, a phrase
> referring to the end of communism stated: "Stalin has left us in the
> lurch... we have nothing left but the prospect of modernizing the
> country".

Better trust science than religion or ideology.

>
> The risk of a similar shift may also be hidden in a religious vision
> that turns too much to social issues, distracting itself from the
> transcendent,

The transcendent? What is that?

> that becomes political discourse, a 'liberal' religiosity
> that deals mainly with the body, no longer recognizing the deep needs of
> the spirit,

The spirit? What is that?

> that looks to progress thinking that tradition is something
> from the past to be overcome and perhaps forgotten.
>
> After Stalin left communism in the lurch, the choice of turning towards
> scientism could also appear to be the prospect of a disappointed
> religiosity reduced to a social doctrine, so the path followed by the
> orphans of communism could be shared by a tired Christianity that has
> fallen back on social issues and is too trusting in a biological
> salvation that comes from science.

Scientism is just a demeaning word for science.

What a silly polemic!

>
> --
> HRM Resident
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