I am sick and tired of Science claiming it is some replacement for religion – that it is somehow better, superior and ultimately more useful and true than “religion”. You hear scientists bang on about this all the time. Take Stephen Weinberg, a famous physicist and recipient of the Nobel Prize:
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it, you’d have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.”
Clearly, something is afoot. Scientists the world over are proclaiming that religion is something different, evil, and destructive. “Hey, we’ve got all the answers!” they say. Well, I’m on to you. You’re not fooling me. Here’s wikipedia’s definition of a religion, together with an analysis about how Science fits in.
-A notion of the transcendent or numinous, often, but not always, in the form of theism
Sure, scientists don’t personify god, but neither do many religious people. There is still a notion of ‘truth’ – that through experimentation, peer review and intense scrutiny, Science can explain the truth about how the world works. The arrogance of a scientist claiming that they can discover what is true about the universe is no different to the arrogance required to claim that a God exists.
-A cultural or behavioural aspect of ritual, liturgy and organized worship, often involving a priesthood, and societal norms of morality (ethos) and virtue (arete)
Science works by ‘peer review’. This involves being published in an esteemed journal, building a reputation, giving talks at conferences and conducting experiments in a way others in the field have agreed is best. Each of these steps incorporates the notion that some people can talk about issues, whilst others can’t. Each of these steps encourages homogeneity, in that you must win friends before you can communicate your ‘truth’. Each of these steps adds artificial weight to the words of the ‘wise’, whilst discrediting those who are not in the special Science club. It doesn’t matter if you’re right – it matters if others think you’re right. That’s an entirely different kettle of fish right there, folks.
And as for morality, the psychiatrists are already onto that one.
-A set of myths or sacred truths held in reverence or believed by adherents
Science operates on a number of assumptions. These differ from field to field, but each assumes things to be fundamentally true. Mathematicians have their Axioms, scientists have their Scientific Method. There is nothing inherently special about the Scientific Method – it has simply allowed humans to claim that they’re right more often.
Why should we assume that we can understand anything about the universe? The answer is that the scientific method has led to lots of inventions and ‘understanding’, but why claim universal generality? Why claim that this is truth?
Why should we assume that how something works today is how it’s going to work tomorrow? The answer is, well, it’s been the same for a while now… I’m sure it will stay this way!
When scientific theories are challenged, scientists are always quick to fall over themselves, correcting their mistakes. But there are some ‘sacred truths’ that are never challenged. In fact, if they were to be challenged, all of science would unravel immediately.
Add the following to the list of sins that Science is guilty of:
-Evangelism (it is taught in every school to every child, and it’s ‘importance’ is shoved in our faces every day)
-Excommunication (if you’ve found to be committing a crime against science, you will be ejected and ignored from the scientific community)
-Intolerance (when is a scientist ever going to look at the Time Cube view of the world? Never, that’s when)
-Fanatical following (Take a walk through the Physics department, you’ll see what I mean)
-Strict clothing requirements (Labcoats etc.)
The days of Science are numbered. Some day soon, everyone will realise just how flawed Science really is; that it holds no answers, and is safely ignored.
What does this all amount to? Well, clearly [insert deity here] is correct, you should [worship, love, fear] [him/her/it], ignore everything else with conviction, rail against Science as a threat to you personally, and give lots of money to the people who told you about [deity]. Hop to it!