Sunday, 21 September 2014
European (Western) Science – the Fourth Abrahamic Religion
In my book Enigma, I wrote that … science and religion are one …. This has many meanings, one of which is that European (Western) science, being a product of an Abrahamic culture, is also Abrahamic in character.
The three (known) Abrahamic regions are: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All three are founded on the belief in a single God – the God of Abraham. European science is also founded on the belief in this same God. Early modern era scientists such as
sought to provide an explanation of the workings of a universe created by this God.
Modern science has largely dropped this in favour of an atheist value and belief
system, and scientists who still believe in God, no longer find science a place
for such beliefs, and face ridicule and hostility if they bring such matters
into scientific activities.
The above however is not what I am referring to when I say that European science, which means Western science, is Abrahamic in nature. Science, and also technology, is culturally determined, in that they both reflect the values and beliefs of the culture that gives birth to them. Significantly change the culture and one will end up with a different science, a different technology. More on this follows later in the blog.
The Abrahamic beliefs upon which Western science was founded are still there and the religious nature of science is clear if one cares to take a close look. Most do not want to though, for those who adhere to religious dogmas very rarely want, or have the courage, to see themselves for what they truly are – people with minds that have closed-in on fixed opinions; people who have discovered the truth. Being participants in a delusion they have lost the ability to see the world in different ways, and to come to know that there are in fact many truths. This latter point is one of the most un-Abrahamic things one can say! Heresy!
So, to the matter at hand and the exposure of the Abrahamic character of European science, and, for the purpose of analysis, I will cross reference with Christianity, which is a European religion. I realise that by saying this I may have already lost many people. The story of the transformation of a small and insignificant Jewish sect into a whole new state European religion, with little resemblance to the source, is too complicated to address here, so this is something that will have to wait for another time.
First I begin with the building of cathedrals that pay homage, in the most grandiose way, to God, to Jesus. This, most people know about. But scientists also build cathedrals to pay homage to science, and the most notable example of this is what is called the Large Hadron Collider. This is often described as a cathedral like structure, because this is what it is – a grandiose man-made edifice built for the glorification of science and to provide a place for people to practice their religion – science.
The missionary side of Christianity is well known – the conversion of those ignorant of God or Jesus to the Christian belief system. Scientists also engage in missionary work, for they too feel a need to convert people to science, and, like Christians, target young people, for both know that the young mind is vulnerable to dogma – catch them when they are young, indoctrinate them, and you have a better chance of keeping them when they are older. It is also a way of recruiting new initiates – new priests.
Scientists, just like Christians, also (mis)appropriate art for the purpose of communication and the glorification and praise of their religion. Art has the power to explain, as can be seen in the vast number of religious paintings that can be found in galleries and museums all over
Europe. The Collider Exhibition, which is currently on
tour in the UK, is a (not particularly sophisticated) example of a new form of
religious art, and, as with Christian art, look carefully at the Collider
Exhibition, and one will find a (not so subtle or effective) propaganda
Science also has its priests – scientists – along with initiation ceremonies that admit these priests into the priesthood, and which excludes the uninitiated from practicing. You doubt this? Perhaps this is because you have never tried to publish the results of your research work in a journal. It does not matter how good it is, if you have not been initiated into the particular religious order that the journal represents, you are very unlikely to get your work published. I know this from personal experience, and you will find many academics have been forced to establish new journals so as to get their work published. They in effect have to establish their own religious orders so that they can practice and publish.
Science also has its high priests and priestesses, just as the Christian churches often have. These scientific high priests can be seen in the form of the nutty professors that parade themselves on television preaching their dogma and generally making as ass of themselves, and also in government in the form of Chief Scientific Advisors, who also make asses of themselves, as Chief Scientific Advisors are inclined to do. If you doubt this, see the public pronouncements of the current (at time of writing) Chief Scientific Advisor to the (outgoing) President of the European Commission, a prime example of someone making an ass of themselves. A case here of, why so smart yet so dumb? And here in this blog, is part of the answer to this question – it is all about dogma and its public recital.
You might think by now, that while there does seem to be some similarity between science and Christianity, it is just a superficial one. This is because I have saved the most profound aspects until last.
Let me now tell you about the monotheistic nature of science. Just as Christianity is monotheistic so too is science – they believe in a single truth which they, and only they, can (divinely) reveal.
Wherever you look in science you will find people working around what can be called an orthodoxy, or paradigm. Big bang is one such orthodoxy, as is quantum theory, and evolutionary theory. If you care to read Thomas Kuhn’s seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, you will find this characteristic well noted and also contrasted with the social sciences, where such monotheistic inclinations are not present. Thus the social sciences can be said to be polytheistic, which provides a greater diversity of views. One can also see this polytheistic characteristic in modern art as well, but interestingly not so much in the art of earlier periods, which is highly deterministic and reflects dogmas about what art should be, and also the influence of a highly dogmatic religion called Christianity.
Incidentally the above has some interesting implications for creativity and innovation, which I will explore in later blogs.
Scientists who work around these orthodoxies would like to convey an image to the public of being open to new ideas and alternatives theories. This is largely not the case. Most people who adhere to scientific orthodoxies have no time or tolerance for alternative theories. A good example of this intolerance, are the responses of quantum physicists to what I call the Quantum Heresies. This is something that I have followed on and off for several decades. Here I will just limit my observations to noting and informing that there are other approaches to dealing with the behaviour of matter at the sub-atomic level, that are treated by the scientific establishment in exactly the same way that the Christian churches handled what they use to call heretics. What you will see is scientists demonstrating visceral hatred towards anyone who questions the orthodox theory, and threats of excommunication made to anyone who dares to explore these scientific heresies.
Lastly I mention determinism. I am not here referring to the nature of the maths that underlies scientific theory, but to the belief in what has been called the one best way, which one finds in both science and technology. Determinism is also found in Christianity (and also in Islam) manifesting itself in the form of predestination – your future is already known to God. You will also find it in science – there is only one true science that is predetermined, and was just waiting somewhere out there to be discovered. The truth about the universe and nature is also out there waiting to be discovered, but as the Quantum Heresies demonstrate, this is not the case.
In the period known as the Enlightenment, the one best way of undertaking science was discovered, and now there is no possibility of changing science, so this is how it will be for ever more. European technology is like this as well. It is out there waiting to be discovered. No thoughts here that it is the product of the culture that creates it.
I note here, which is something that I will be returning to, that these rather stupid beliefs have significant implications for innovation and provide the means for the destruction of the economies of Europe through the unleashing of the forces of creative destruction, so readers in what Europeans condescendingly call the developing world, in places like Brazil, India and China, watch out for further installments on this, for I will give you the means by which Europe can be economically destroyed, and this will come the form of a non-European approach to science and technology.