The scientific “revolution” was meant to challenge vain traditions and empty faith, particularly a faith in religious superstition. But today, Enlightenment ideas like “reason” and “science” have flipped into their opposites. Science and technology have become so pervasive and distorted that they’ve turned into a new type of theology.
– Ian Bogost [altered]
Why create a society based on science and technology where no-one knows anything about science nor technology?
– The Greek
People say “science” in the same way they say “modern”, as if handling words made of the finest Tibetan porcelain that they’d promised never to break. Having been dazzled by the technological novelties of our time, as a toddler would be baited by a shiny object, the world has come to unquestionably accept the imperatives of the Scientific Age. Firstly, to venerate Science as the only valid and respectable means of inquiry into the natural world. Secondly, to constantly encourage the creation of new technological innovations and products. Thirdly, to surrender to this ideology unconditionally, without consideration of its consequences or contradictions. And the reward for this undiscerning, dewy-eyed loyalty? An assortment of the finest comforts that industry has to offer: cars, smartphones, air conditioning, planes, indoor toilets, video games, the Internet, and whatever other conveniences that the world’s technocrats and scientists see fit to produce.
No reasonable person will deny that science and its technical applications have brought the contemporary world benefits, even if some of them turn out to be somewhat ambiguous in the long term. But the idea of a relentless, inevitable forward-march towards Progress, guided by its two trusty aides, Science & Technology, has become a sacred cow of Modernity, of which one hears very little criticism. This insistent idea of Progress, which expresses nothing so much as the fear that such progress may be impossible, has been a guiding principle of contemporary times for over 400 years, courtesy of Western intelligentsia. The conventional notion is that whilst Tradition, much like Religion, is an artefact of the past that has survived only due to nostalgia and irrationality, Progress is what will take us into the Future; a place characterized by liberty from the fetters of dogma, where man will redirect his focus away from superstitions to the pursuit of personal happiness and enlightenment. So pervasive is this idea that it has become almost invisible, like the air pollution which city dwellers eventually become accustomed to. But if there really was anything of truth to such an idea of Progress, then it would first entail a thorough understanding of the past. After all, one cannot postulate about a future utopia whilst being ignorant of what has transpired in prior times. But generally speaking, Western science has remained stubbornly resistant to some of the most important lessons from the ancient past, whether in the realm of health care, where the full weight of national governments is thrown behind a pharmaceutical industry that eschews any non-allopathic approaches to medicine, or in a discipline like chemistry, where well-documented concepts such as Greek Fire are still debated or ignored. Never mind ancient applications of electricity, as explored by the likes of Nikola Tesla or J J Thompson, which remain buried under their more mundane contributions.
The reasons for the scientific establishment’s attitudes towards the past, ranging from wide-eyed ignorance to open contempt, are varied. Among them we have the enduring legacy of the Enlightenment, the chokehold of evolutionary theory on human origins, the general severance from ancient modes of understanding, and the tenacious attachment to the above-mentioned notion of Progress. This Progress is nothing more than one of Modernity’s dogmas – a dogma being a thing which is not thought of as dogmatic. For example, it is considered dogmatic for mainstream religions to preach the guaranteed perfection of mankind in the afterlife; God will apparently purify his followers upon entering His kingdom of heaven after death. But it is not thought dogmatic to assume the perfection or improvement of man in this world, under the guiding influence of modern science, rationalism and other Enlightenment philosophies, even though this idea of Progress is as poorly elaborated as that of the afterlife.
In the Western philosophical traditions of the last few hundred years, one can detect a line of thought that runs from 17th century intellectuals all the way to current-day academics. This body of thought claims to utilize science as a means to not only seek new knowledge, but also to nullify religion, whilst professing to be everything religion is not: rational, curious, unbiased and objective. René Descartes, Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo were some of its seminal figures, whose writings helped to usher in the Scientific Revolution, alongside the Enlightenment. Science, as posited by these writers, is escorted on one side by “empiricism”, which provides its intellectual underpinnings, and by “technology” on the other, which acts as a field for its applications. The triumph of this outlook was more or less complete by the 20th century, and is now championed by academia, careerist intellectuals, secularists, humanists and atheists alike as the most reliable pathway to the Truth, or at least as the best way to understand objective reality. But alas, if one wishes to expel religion from a civilization, one can only do it by means of another system of equally restrictive doctrines, which would have to assume all the same psychological characteristics as a religion — the same sanctity, prejudice and prohibition of thought.
When we speak of “science”, we must distinguish its procedures, like the scientific method, which are accessible and usable by anyone, from the institution of science, which is guarded zealously by its priestly class in white coats. The latter can hardly be called “science” at all; it is not the disinterested, objective mode of inquiry into the material world that it purports to be. It is a collection of disciplines, such as “physics” and “biology”, that are, in their modern forms, built upon very specific assumptions about the natural world, and how it should be explored. It would be impossible to separate the practices of these institutionalized fields from the ideology behind them. This ideology can be referred to by the term “Scientism”, where the suffix “-ism” is used, as it is traditionally, to signify a pre-packaged belief system.
Since the Enlightenment, the prevailing worldview among Western intelligentsia, and increasingly elsewhere, has been built on the premises of “Scientism”. One of its central tenets is the assumption that modern science makes full and ample provision for any inquiry into the natural world, and as such, it needn’t be answerable to anything outside of itself. This relatively new ideology stands at odds with the historical view that a larger framework of philosophy or supra-natural awareness was required for any such inquiry to be successful. So by its very nature, modern science is unable to fathom any realities outside of the physical world. Thus “Science”, a method of inquiry and learning, became “Scientism”, an ideology, in that it refused to acknowledge the limits of its own competence. Instead, it championed “empiricism” as its bedrock, as if by magic the notion of empiricism could be proven empirically. According to empiricists, direct observation is our most reliable tool, and nothing other than observation is trustworthy. But the only argument consistent with such a claim is circular: “I observe that observation is accurate, therefore it is accurate“. A logical fallacy if there ever was one.
Today’s definitions of “science“ and “scientists” were uncommon until the 19th century. Prior to that point, “science” just meant “knowledge” or “learning“, as determined by its Latin etymology. A more accurate understanding of science can be found as far back as the time of Aristotle, in the field of “natural philosophy”. The term remained in common use well into the 1800s, as seen in books like Isaac Newton’s “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy” (1687) and William Thompson’s “Treatise on Natural Philosophy” (1867). In places such as Ancient Greece and Rome, altogether different terms existed to designate those who pursued understanding of the natural world. The Physicus was one who sought to understand the nature of things, and not merely their material composition, as indicated in the book “Physicus” (Natural Philosophy) by Antisthenes (5th cent. BC), and the names of people like Strato Physicus, who were professionals devoted to that field. The modern term of “physics”, though etymologically related to “physicus”, has little to do with the understanding of the nature of things. Rather, it concerns itself with studying physical matter and the principles of change that governs it, such as differences in velocity, weight, density, etc, and it explains these changes using empirical data and mathematics; a far cry from unearthing information on the “nature” of objects.
The discrepancies present within modern science are not limited solely to matters of nomenclature like the ones above, which advocates of modern science could easily be deride as mere sophistry; there also exists anomalies within the scientific fields themselves, providing ample opportunity for scrutiny and commentary. Granted, disciplines like chemistry and biology have for many decades been applicable within industries like medicine and engineering to produce goods and services, hence the term “applied science”, but if one were to move away from the “applied” realm and examine them instead as “natural science”, as removed from their industrial utility, the orthodoxy of these fields immediately starts to raise questions. For example, within the realm of health care and medicine, very little is said about the notion of biological vacuum, as elaborated by Viktor Schauberger in the mid-20th century. Though much of his research was directed towards studying the properties of water, one of the implications of his findings was that all living things are inextricably reliant upon an internal vacuum condition for their sustenance, i.e negative pressure within the body. To pick one of many examples that underscore this pressure difference, we can look at happens when human skin is punctured: when wounds are obtained on the surface of the skin, bleeding is sure to follow – but not immediately. Between the moment of injury and the outflow of blood, there is a pause of a second or two were nothing appears to happen, and only afterwards does blood flow out of the opening. Why is this? If the fluids in the body were primarily flowing under some kind of positive pressure, such as blood pressure, then blood would gush out of a wound immediately, much like a punctured tire or balloon expels air instantly. But because the pressure within the body is less than that of the surrounding atmosphere, once the skin barrier is breached, such a pressure differential first has to equalized, which cancels out the internal vacuum condition in that area of the body. Only after the pressure difference has balanced out does blood begin to flow out of the wound. All biological lifeforms can in fact be shown to operate under the influence of such an inwardly contractive force – a force which is intimately tied to the functioning of all living things. Yet contemporary academia, the field of medicine, and the broader discipline of biology have poignantly failed to acknowledge this reality in sufficient measure, as if such a condition would not have far-reaching effects on mankind’s understanding of plants, animals and themselves. Would such a critical oversight even be possible unless the religious dogma of scientism didn’t have such an iron grip on the minds of its adherents? Even as the most obvious of truths stare them in the face, begging to be seen?
Scientism is one of the primary columns that holds up the temple of Modernity, so it’s not surprising how aggressively it must be defended as axiomatic. But ultimately, it has nothing to do with science, nor the field of natural philosophy that it would claim extraction from. It is an autonomous worldview, having gone so far so as to become the pseudo-religion of the modern world. However, none of this is to say that one should be blind or derisive towards the benefits conferred by new technologies. This article was typed on a laptop, whose advantages over a typewriter are considerable. But even though Scientism has bestowed on modern man an array of conveniences and consumer trinkets, and revealed much material information about the natural world, it has also supplanted a previous knowledge which infinitely outreached it: that which concerned the realm of the non-physical. The problem was never that the physical world had nothing to say about the non-physical, as die-hard scientists would claim, but that academia, in their haste to usher in the Enlightenment, did not care to listen to such notions, and still don’t. Rather than learn from ancient texts and indigenous cultures about the supra-natural, the adherents of Scientism are more interested in contriving theories about it. They are possessed by a love of hearing their own voices babbling about reality, rather than listen to those who evidently knew better. The situation would be laughable were it not so lamentable. All that remains is to wait for the dawn of a New Enlightenment to puncture the pretensions of the old one, however bleak the prospects of that may currently seem.
Greekspeek for thought
Ever since the early 20th century, all we’ve had is “scientism”, which is a fraudulent invention. Centuries ago, those who are now being called “scientists” were not so. They were called “natural philosophers”, being either vitalists or materialists, which has little to do with today’s “science”.
Why is science so full of theories? People are getting into a lot of student debt to learn “theories”. Shouldn’t a theory be followed by an “experiment” and “conclusion”? So why won’t the scientists complete their job? Would you like me to take you out for some “theoretical” lunch?
The theory of evolution is a statistician’s nightmare. It’s full of “ifs” and “maybies“. That’s why it’s still a theory. “What IF a certain chemical emerged that created a genetic change…” and “IF this change came about, then…“. And the odds are always something like 1 out of a trillion. So in aggregate the chances are 1 trillion times 1 trillion! These guys are idiots. And why are they always using terms like “design” and “create”? I wonder where they got that from? Didn’t the ancient Pharaohs used to tell the Egyptian people that they evolved out of slime from the Nile, and that he, the Pharaoh, “created” them from that?
Saying that the universe came from an explosion in space is like saying that Webster’s dictionary came from an explosion in a printing factory.
You’re not going to find any fossils of giraffes. Isn’t that strange? Do you really think those animals are that old? Why aren’t these things talked about?
Today’s scientists are just doing grunt work. That’s why it’s so easy to debunk their stuff.
Tell me something Mr Scientist: Can you turn “Vitamin C” back into an orange? That’s when we can ascribe math-like rationality to your so-called “science”. Not when you pick an orange, dissect it, squeeze the juice out, heat it, add or extract chemicals from it, and then call the result “Vitamin C”. How do we know that ascorbic acid existed in the orange in the first place? Oh, because you say so? I see.
Scientists only discuss dead things. If you detach a cell from its host, it instantly starts to die. Everyone knows that. So what do scientists do? They extract tissue and blood from a living host in order to examine it in their labs. Is that what you want to call “biology”?
The heart pumps blood? Really? So what pumps the heart?
What do doctors get their hands-on experience from working with? Corpses. That means the “medical field” is comprised of millions of morticians running around claiming that they’re qualified to treat living patients.
Why isn’t anyone asking why the medical industry is more obsessed with death and decay, rather than life? That’s what they primarily study: cadavers.
What allows you to stand up and walk across the room? Scientists will only go so far so as to describe your body like a hydraulic-electric machine, but they can’t define how life is being imbued into it.
The medical industry worships death. It’s like saying, “We want to study goats, so we’re gonna blow them up”, or “We want to study fish, so we’re going to remove them from their natural habitat and dissect them”. Isn’t that what they do with humans? Dissect them? All of your medicine is based on the study of the chemical decomposition of cadavers. What does that have to do with the health of living humans? Once you remove physical tissue from the host being, and it’s no longer regeneratative, it goes into chemical decomposition. That’s why all their drugs are based on chemicals, instead of holistic approaches to health.
The reason why people are living longer is due to improved sanitation, not the direct intervention of the medical community.