Saturday, 14 March 2015
Scientism and the War on Science
C. S. Lewis warned of the dangers of scientism. While science has mostly been a blessing for mankind, for instance, by eliminating many deadly diseases, it has also brought about suffering and misery. Just think of the experiments the Nazis did in the name of science in the 1930s and 1940s.
And the threat has by no means disappeared. Iran still wants the nuclear bomb, and here in the west many are advocating assisted suicide. Science has been and is being misused.
Unfortunately, this is often been explained away by using Orwellian newspeak, in which words mean something very different from what we would assume them to mean.
National Geography’s recent cover story is perhaps one of the most glaring illustrations of this tendency. It obviously sees a hideous conspiracy desiring to discredit all of science. The cover lists these evils:
· Climate Change Does Not Exist.
· Evolution Never Happened.
· The Moon Landing Was Faked.
· Vaccinations Can Lead to Autism.
· Genetically Modified Food Is Evil.
The cover story never explains what it means by science but it assumes that there is something called scientific knowledge:
“We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from climate change to vaccinations—faces furious opposition.”
However, it’s a long way from doubt to warfare. The article lumps together diverse unorthodox views that have little if anything in common and sees this all as a war on science.
It is entirely possible to believe in the historicity of the moon landing (or the benefits of vaccinations) and still doubt Darwinian evolution, for instance.
National Geographic mentions some past battles against what it sees as being waged against science. However, they might better be understood as myths. While the left-leaning media have made much of the assumed flat earth thinking, the Galileo case and the Scopes trial, they have grossly misrepresented each of them.
Some scientists should probably take a long hard look at themselves and their agendas. Many scientists are more than eager to give their opinion on each and every thing on this earth, even if the issue had nothing to do with their expertise. However, donning a white lab coat does not make anyone omniscient or all-knowing.
Achenbach, Joel. 2015. Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? National Geography (March).