Science vs. Scientistism
The word "science" has developed an ambiguous definition in recent years. It now means two different things, depending on who is using it.
In its original definition, science is a method for acquiring knowledge. It's a process. It's something you do.
But in its "newspeak" definition, it's a religion.
Many people are now throwing the word "science" around, as if it were a cudgel to bludgeon their opponents, without actually engaging in the process that the word is originally supposed to mean.
And the more attached someone is to the word - and the louder they shout it at others - the more likely they are to be using it in the religious sense.
Here's how it works in real life:
It's the middle of an argument. You just pointed out a logical flaw in your opponent's reasoning.
You wonder if there's any rational rebuttal left for them to offer.
And then, they drop the magic word: "science."
And just like that, they've won the argument!
Apparently, many people now regard "Science" as a kind of magical Harry Potter spell. It can be cast by wizards and muggles alike, with or without a wand, for zero mana, to instantly win any argument.
The caster says it, and they're done. They've won. They are the correct one. They successfully refuted all arguments you've made, or could make - without actually addressing any.
Isn't that magical?
Now of course, the Spell does require a grammatically correct sentence. And that does involve some additional words around the main word.
"Trust the science!"
"I trust the science!"
"I trust the scientists!"
"Listen to the science!"
"My opinion is based in science!"
"The science supports my opinion!"
"The science agrees with me!"
"All the scientists agree with me!"
"You're an anti-science moron!"
And just like that, the argument is concluded.
When someone uses this spell, they're trying to avoid debating with real, point-by-point logic. They're not scientists. They're not science-minded. Their accusation of "unscientific attitudes" on your part is pure projection of their own aversion to science.
The louder someone screams the word science, the less the likelihood that they actually understand what it means.
What Is Science?
Science is inquiry.
It's the honest search for knowledge.
It's the process of looking at reality, reporting what you find... and then looking again.
Science is an intellectual disposition involving humility, curiosity, open-mindedness, judiciousness, introspection, empiricism, and rationalism.
These traits are, in fact, built one upon another, much like a physical edifice:
At the very bottom (and most important), we have humility - the acknowledgment that you don't know everything.
And neither do your colleagues.
Nor your institutions.
Nor the aggregate of the whole human race.
Nobody knows everything. Knowledge is still missing from our models - and always will be.
Your understanding of a topic - any topic - is incomplete.
There could be (and most certainly ARE) plenty of flaws in your current beliefs.
If you're unwilling to acknowledge this, then you cannot call yourself scientific.
Instead of recognizing the impossibility of perfect knowledge in science, some people now believe that the "scientific community has all answers to all the questions. Or just about.
They believe that our current "models" are perfectly sound. Perhaps a few tiny, "minor" holes to plug up - but sound.
Nevermind the fact that they still can't reconcile the theories of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Two fundamental theories of the universe - and they are at odds. And scientists still can't figure out how to make them fit together.
And yet, people think we know how the universe works.
We may have gone to the moon, and we may have created lots of dazzling flashy lights and entertainment, but we still haven't even figured out how to live peacefully on the Earth, in harmony with one another, and with our environment.
We haven't even figured out how to be happy.
It seems we still have a LOT to learn, doesn't it?
Science is a process of continuous inquiry. It is never "settled." There is no such thing as "settled science."
There is no "certainty" in science; there is only confidence. And while confidence can be sufficient to proceed with a particular practice or protocol, it is never sufficient to justify insulating ourselves from contradictory data, nor dismissing competing hypotheses without sincerely investigating them.
No matter how confident we are, of any belief, we must always remain open to question and criticism. When a new hypothesis is presented, it is the duty of a scientist to hear it, and investigate it honestly.
But some people treat the current body of knowledge as complete.
In the religion of scientistism, science is a fixed body of knowledge that is settled and unchanging. There is no point in disputing any established beliefs.
Your moral duty is no longer to seek knowledge, but rather to stop seeking knowledge. The duty of a person who respects science is to cease inquiry when told to.
-Vaccines are safe, and there is no need for further inquiry.
-Radiation from cellphones and towers causes zero harm, and there is no need or further inquiry.
-GMO's (genetically modified organisms) cause zero problems, and there is no need for further inquiry.
Is this really science?
This is religious thinking. It's how religious zealots treat their holy books.
"Everything you need to know is already in here. Stop seeking."
When we admit that our own knowledge is incomplete, we naturally also recognize that other people may have some of the missing pieces.
And it's therefore imperative to listen to other people.
Even if their ideas contradict ours.
Especially if their ideas contradict ours.
Far from being angry and combative when encountering dissenting opinions, a true scientist jumps for joy upon hearing dissent - for dissent provides an opportunity to re-evaluate one's own beliefs. And that's something every true scientist is constantly searching for a chance to do.
Because that's what science is. It's the constant re-examining of existing beliefs.
But in the newspeak definition of science, no dissent is permitted. Especially not from you.
Science is no longer a method - it's a social class.
And you're not in it.
If you are not a certified Member of the Academy, then you have nothing of value to say - on any topic - period.
It doesn't matter how rational or well-founded your arguments are. You are not permitted to speak in the first place, and your only acceptable option is to sit down, shut up, and let others handle it.
They will shout you down, drown you out, mute your mic, block your account, and even seek to have you suspended and banned from social media. Some will even try to have you prosecuted criminally.
But there's a big problem with this attitude. It's dangerous. Insular thinking leads to catastrophic mistakes. This is why we have terms like "groupthink" and "thought bubble." We all understand this concept - but for some reason, it's taboo to apply it to science.
A proper jurist listens to both the prosecution/plaintiff and the defense before returning a verdict.
If you were a defendant in a criminal or civil case, you wouldn't want a judge who listens only to the prosecution or plaintiff, and makes a ruling without hearing your arguments. That's a kangaroo court.
And likewise, if you were a victim/plaintiff, watching your perpetrator on trial, you wouldn't want a judge who listens only to the defense, ignoring you.
And it's the same with science. A true scientist listens to all sides of a debate before coming to a conclusion.
A true scientist knows that it's impossible to reject an idea without understanding it first. You can't reject something if you don't even know what it is.
Even if someone presents you with a theory that's "completely outlandish", you still can't reject it before you've read it and processed its supporting arguments - because, if you haven't done so, how do you even know that it's outlandish in the first place? You don't even know what's in it!
Of course, you don't have to "believe" every theory before you've thoroughly investigated it. But you cannot reject it either.
For any and all theories whose supporting arguments you haven't yet investigated, the only proper position is:
"I don't know."
These three words form a cornerstone of science.
In the minds of the followers of scientistism, there is only one set of arguments to hear: the set approved by authorities. We don't need to hear all sides - we just need to hear the side we're commanded to hear.
This type of thinking is dangerous, because it leads to faulty paradigms reigning over their respective fields for far longer than they needed to.
Science - real science - is a process of constant revision. A paradigm reigns for a while, and then new evidence arrives that proves it inadequate. And upon reviewing the new information, a true scientist is willing to let go of their old paradigm.
Questioning paradigms is how science advances. Every major breakthrough happened when someone questioned the existing science.
And each time, it happened in the face of vicious resistance from self-proclaimed "scientific authorities."
For instance, the theory of plate tectonics was ridiculed and dismissed out-of-hand by the geology establishment, when it was first proposed. The man who came up with it - Alfred Wegener - became the target of a campaign to discredit him and ruin his career. His ideas were not taken seriously until after his death. Now, they're accepted as fact.
Another, even sadder example:
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis [A] (German: [ˈɪɡnaːts ˈzɛml̩vaɪs]; Hungarian: Semmelweis Ignác Fülöp; 1 July 1818 – 13 August 1865) was a Hungarian physician and scientist, now known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Described as the "saviour of mothers", Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever (also known as "childbed fever") could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics. Puerperal fever was common in mid-19th-century hospitals and often fatal. Semmelweis proposed the practice of washing hands with chlorinated lime solutions in 1847 while working in Vienna General Hospital's First Obstetrical Clinic, where doctors' wards had three times the mortality of midwives' wards. He published a book of his findings in Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever.
Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis's observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. He could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings, and some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and mocked him for it.
In 1865, the increasingly outspoken Semmelweis supposedly suffered a nervous breakdown and was committed to an asylum by his colleagues. He died 14 days later after being beaten by the guards, from a gangrenous wound on his right hand which might have been caused by the beating.
Semmelweis's practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory, and Joseph Lister, acting on the French microbiologist's research, practiced and operated using hygienic methods, with great success.
It happens often, when someone questions the established "science":
-Their colleagues ridicule them and laugh at them
-Journals (and even newspapers) pillory them
-Their research grants dry up
-Their institutes fire them
-Their degrees, honors, and credentials are rescinded
-Their careers are systematically ruined.
There's a whole thread on Quora listing example after example.
There's even a book on it.
Self-proclaimed "scientific authorities" have displayed their arrogance time and time again. And this astronomical level of self-confidence is coming from a profession that came up with such classic ideas as:
-Skull shape determines intelligence level
-Certain races are genetically superior to other races
-The cure for most illnesses is leeches
-Electrical shock "therapy" will "cure" homosexuals
-Lobotomies will "cure" women "suffering" from sexual arousal
-Infant genital mutilation
-Spraying children with DDT
-Cigarettes helping with pregnancy
-Asbestos, thalidomide, and glyphosate being "safe"
-Hundreds of other toxic substances being "safe"
-The idea that mothers holding their baby "spoils" them
-Formulas are superior to breastfeeding
And on and on the list goes.
These people should not be so confident in themselves. They should certainly not be closed-off to questioning.
You'd expect that they would have learned their lesson by now, but the disappointing fact remains that no matter how much proof the revolutionaries bring to the table, the old paradigms usually don't yield until their stalwart believers quite literally die off, and a new generation inherits their offices
Introspection is the process of looking within oneself, usually in search of truths that are inconvenient or uncomfortable.
In the context of science, introspection is vital, for the simple reason that all human beings have biases, and these biases can interfere with honest inquiry.
A true scientist should engage in introspection, to examine themselves for biases related to the subject matter being investigated, before investigating it, in order to be aware of the interference it may cause to the research, as the research proceeds.
Furthermore, a scientist should be willing to enlist the help of others in identifying such biases, because others can provide a mirror that lone contemplation often cannot.
Scientific methods have to be rational, or else they're not science. Whatever your conclusions are, you have to follow Reason to get there.
If conclusions don't stand up to the light of rational scrutiny, then they are faulty - and it doesn't matter how much data was collected, or how much prestige the researchers have.
And it works the other way, too. If an idea does have Reason behind it, and the reasoning withstands all attempts to debunk it, then a scientist must concede that it could very well be true - even if it stings the ego.
Even if it's shocking.
Even if it threatens traditions, customs, and financial interests.
Even if it threatens our very concepts of who we are.
The True Scientist
An embodiment of all of these virtues, plus a true reading of Reason, pursued to its conclusion, leads us to a place that the ego fears: the recognition of the limits of science itself.
That's right. Science recognizes its own limitations - or it's not science.
The pure scientific mind has to grapple with the fact that its own chosen strategy of acquiring knowledge - the scientific method itself - is just one of many methods - and, like the rest, it has bounds.
Even if the person of a scientist does everything right - everything just described - there are still things science cannot do, and spaces within Reality where it is inappropriate for science to go.
Science is a branch of epistemology.
Epistemology is the study of the question of
"how to gain knowledge."
Science is just one way to gain knowledge.
There are others.
And for some purposes,
the other ways are more appropriate than science.
A true scientist...
...someone who has come full circle,
and truly mastered the scientific mind...
recognizes these truths, and acts accordingly.
What are these limitations?
1. Not all knowledge requires science.
There are some things - many things - that you should know, and be willing to admit that you know, without the need for science.
For example, we should be able to know that putting unnatural substances - those not found in nature - in our bodies is dangerous, regardless of whether or not the scientific community has studied them.
You should not need a peer-reviewed double-blind placebo study to tell you that ingesting frankenstein chemicals, like thalidomide, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, sodium benzoate, glyphosate, and so forth, is dangerous.
You should not need science to tell you whether amputating healthy organs from babies is detrimental to health and well-being.
You should not need science to tell you that force-feeding dead cows to their living relatives - coerced cannibalism on a species that's herbivorous to begin with - will lead to gruesome problems.
You should not need science to tell you that injecting the flesh of aborted babies into your blood - a medically euphemised cannibalism - will lead to gruesome problems, even if science hasn't discovered them yet.
If aluminum, formaldehyde, and thimerosol (mercury) are already well-established to be neurotoxic, you should not need "science" to tell you that it's dangerous to inject them.
You should not need science to tell you that claim of the human body needing 72 such injections, and not being safe and healthy without them, is absurd on its face.
You should not need science to tell you that doing things that are clearly disgusting and evil is unwise.
You're supposed to just know this. Already.
It's supposed to come from inside.
It's not empirical. But it's still true.
Because empiricism is not the only way to gain knowledge. We also have an inner knowledge, coming from a source deeper than physical observation.
It's called intuition, and it's just as valid as empiricism.
Of course, they have different domains. They aren't identical in application - but they are equal in importance.
One corresponds to the left brain, and deductive reasoning. And one applies to the right brain, and inductive reasoning.
And we have both hemispheres for a reason.
And yet there are people who argue against this. They say "let's wait and see what the studies say." They say that for EVERYTHING.
Including topics that they ought to know without the need for it.
They project empiricism into places where it's simply not the correct set of tools.
People who misunderstand science, and treat it as a religion - i.e. scientistists - believe that there is no knowledge at all, without science. Not even for the obvious.
And this attitude has consequences that reach well beyond the obvious.
For instance, climate activism.
We ought to know that changing the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere, by injecting 40 trillion tons of excess carbon into it, is dangerous - and we should know this without needing scientists to tell us.
There is a perfectly good argument to make - to political conservatives - that fossil fuels are dirty and harmful, and our civilization should find ways to minimize (and replace) their use, simply because of the Precautionary Principle.
It doesn't require science.
It doesn't require complex studies, with big words that are difficult to pronounce, written by nerdy guys in white labcoats with foreign accents, working for acronym institutions whose names are difficult to remember, researching on distant icy continents that no one's ever been to.
The importance of "taking care of the Earth" (and of refraining from screwing around with its vital systems) should not require confirmation from science.
And yet, Eco-activists behave as if it does. Rather than appealing to the non-scientific-yet-perfectly valid epistemology of intuition and innate knowledge, and invoking the Precautionary Principle that everyone, including conservatives (especially conservatives) is born knowing, they instead base their entire argument on "data."
And when their opponents display perfectly reasonable skepticism of that data (remember - skepticism is scientific), the Eco-activists double down on scientistism and attempt to "beat the knuckle-draggers over the head" with that data, much like a Christian zealot screaming Bible-verses at a pagan.
And this epistemological mis-match is precisely the reason why Eco-activists are having such a hard time getting through to people. It's quite literally delaying worldwide climate action. It may even be the primary obstacle.
2. "Absence of proof" ≠ "proof of absence."
Just because we haven't discovered something yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
All science can do is detect things. It can't detect not-things. All it can be sure of is that it detected something - but by definition cannot be sure that it hasn't failed to detect a thing. As a scientists, you can never be sure a thing doesn't exist- all you can be sure of is that you haven't detected it yet. And maybe that no other scientists has detected yet. that our current instruments can't detect yet. Or hasn't detected yet. That there's no present methodology out there, presently, to detect it. But you can't know that it doesn't exist. You can't be sure something doesn't exist - all you can be sure of is that you haven't detected it. Yet.
The things we know of now, there was a time when they hadn't yet been formally discovered by science. Earthing example. people said that connecting with the earth is gaia chi prana energy, for a while western scientists thought it was made-up because they hadn't discovered the mechanism yet - but eventually did . electrons. Body holds a charge, and discharges upon grounding.
3. The impossibility of control
You can never be 100% sure that you have addressed or even identified all confounding variables. You can never ever be 100% certain of the results of any scientific study - because no scientist can ever be 100% sure that they've identified every possible confounding variable. You can sit for a long time ad think of them, and get a lot, and might get all, but can never be sure you got all of them. All you can be sure of is that you've addressed the ones that you've thought . But you can't be sure that there aren't more you haven't thought of, because by definition, you haven't thought of them yet! Any study could have confounding variables that the investigators didn't factor in, and didn't control for, in their methodology.
Just because the haven't thought of a particular confounding variables, doesn't mean that there isn't more that they haven't thought of.
Anyone can do these things.
And as long as you do, you're a scientist, and you're practicing science.
* * *
Recognizing those three principles is necessary to call oneself a rational scientist.
And finally, science is accessible to anyone who faithfully follows its principles. It's not about who you are, or whose permission your obtain. It's only about what you do. And if what you do is correct and scientific, then you're practicing science.
Together, these traits and practices form a scientific outlook on the world.
But nowadays, people who profess the most passionate attachment to "science" are not adhering to these. When you hear someone shouting the science spell in a debate, they're actually referring to a religion - one that reflects the complete and polar opposite of these principles.
A religion called scientistism.
Science as a Religion
If a we define a religion as anything that has:
(A) a set of beliefs
(B) a class hierarchy
(C) an elite class for enforcing the consistency of those beliefs...
Then scientistism meets the criteria for a religion.
And like any religion, it's led by a priesthood. This particular priesthood is called The Academy, and it has four pillars:
1. Accredited colleges and universities (with extra authority in the oldest, wealthiest ones),
2. Government agencies (those in blue states and U.S.-allied countries),
3. Acronym associations with the word "Science" (or some related word, like "Medical") in their name (but only the ones with recognition from the other three pillars),
4. Mainstream (corporate-funded) media (like the New York Times and NBC).
The good-guy ones, of course. Not the bad-guy ones.
Together, they form the Academy - the priesthood of scientistism.
How does the Academy work?
Every priesthood claims a monopoly on interpretation of Truth, and the exclusive privilege of arbitrating it for the masses. And the Academy is no different.
Every human being is either a Member of the Academy, or a Non-Member.
If you're not one of them, then the most you have the right to do is parrot what they've published. You don't have the right to theorize on your own, nor analyze on your own, and you certainly don't have the right to question or dispute what they've published.
The declarations of a member of the Academy can only be disputed by another member of the Academy - and even then, not all members are equal, and truth is subject to a prestige-hierarchy based on the age, name-recognition, public admiration, and, most importantly, financial wealth of the university with which the member is most closely affiliated.
For instance, a Harvard researcher trumps a Tehran University researcher any day of the week. Regardless of the scientific integrity of their methods.
If the dispute cannot be resolved through prestige-based subordination (like if it's Harvard vs. Yale, or Stanford vs. MIT), then the next two pillars - government science agencies and acronym associations - are called upon to adjudicate.
And if they can't agree either? If the dispute cannot be resolved within the scientific community? Then the fourth pillar, the media, arbitrates as a last appeal. If it appears in the New York Times and/or NBC, then that's the answer.
Whichever conclusion the corporate oligarchy endorses, through television and major newspapers, that's the correct one.
This is a class-system. Not a search for knowledge.
Scientistists are not interested in a debate on the data, nor the logic by which the conclusion was drawn from that data.
They're only interested in identity.
Identitarianism - the virus that has infected the political Leftwing - has made its way into science.
Science as a Social Class
In identity politics, nothing is ever really about what you do. It's only about who you are when you do it.
Horrible things - like racism and sexism - for instance, demanding the segregation of people by race, or proclaiming hatred of a particular sex, or using the phrase "all ____ are ____" - all of these things are neither good nor bad, in and of themselves. Their moral nature depends entirely on who is doing them, and to whom they're doing them. If you're a member of the Good Identity (like dark-skinned, female, LGBTQ, etc), then these things are acceptable to do to someone in the "Bad" identity. They only count as bigotry if you're in the "Bad" Tribe (light-skinned, male, straight) while doing them, and you're doing them to the Good Tribe.
Likewise, when identitarianism is applied to science, it produces similar philosophical inversions.
It doesn't matter what the data is, nor what sequence of logic was used to draw the conclusion from the data. It doesn't matter what process was used. The process doesn't matter. All that matters is who collected the data and who is analyzing it.
This means that a Non-Member who uses sound reasoning techniques - like the Scientific Method and Socratic Dialogue - can be overruled by a Member (or someone parroting a Member) who doesn't give a crap about any of it and just calls the Non-Member a "moron", with a laugh-emoji.
It doesn't matter what you say.
It doesn't matter how insightful your critique is.
It doesn't matter if you found a hole in their reasoning.
It doesn't matter if they're completely at a loss to plug it up.
None of it matters.
Because you're you, and you're not them.
It gets crazier.
The word of a Member carries authority over that of any Non-Member:
-Even if the Member didn't participate in any direct investigation of the subject matter
-Even if no direct investigation has been performed at all, by anyone
-And even if the Non-Member has direct experience of the phenomenon in question!
If a Member proclaims the color of your underwear, it's considered the truth - even if he never looked in your pants.
A far less funny real-world example is when someone claims that "vaccines can't cause injury", even if they never investigated the question experimentally, and even if no double-blind experiment has ever been performed, by any scientists anywhere, to test the total vaccine schedule on any human being - and even if the person to whom they're stating this has direct personal experience of vaccine injury.
Because it's not about the data, or the process. Or the truth. It's about the person.
The person of the scientist.
Scientist ism is a cult of personality around an elite class of priests who are appointed by money and power.
This entire system is massively un-scientific, and a massive danger to public health and ecology.
A Method, Not An Institution
Since science is a method, it is available to anyone. Anyone can use it. And if you use it, you're being a scientist.
Of course, you'd have to actually use it. Doing research and/or experiments doesn't qualify you as a scientist unless you use the actual Scientific Method. But provided you use the method, you're doing science.
And yes, part of the method involves recognizing the limits of one's own knowledge - and for this reason, it's unlikely for the conclusions of a chemistry experiment performed by a person who has never studied chemistry to be valid. In such a case, the person probably wasn't using the Method.
But one thing a layperson can do is meta-analysis, using Reason. For instance, if a prominent public health official has sung the praises of a particular drug in the past, without ever mentioning "dangers" of that drug, but then suddenly reverses his stance on that drug without any new experimental data to suggest such dangers, then any person - including a layperson who doesn't know the precise biochemical mechanisms behind the drug - can still make the valid conclusion that that public health official is not being honest, and likely has some hidden conflict of interest.
But in the religion of scientism, science is not a method, but a social class, and it is closed to anyone who has not undergone the proper institutional rituals and initiations. Just like a cult.
When people say the world should be "governed by science", they're not talking about being dispassionate and unbiased. They're talking about a group. They quite simply want that group to rule - regardless of how biased or unbiased they are. Their admiration for the group is entirely politico-tribal.
All of this might, of course, have some leg to stand on, if the Academy really were the bastion of honest, dispassionate inquiry it claims to be.
But is it?
Is there any scientific proof of the integrity of the Academy, in its current form, in the current year? Or any year?
And is there any proof that their peer-review processes are truly scientific? In each and every case? Or even in the majority of cases?
No doubt SOME science goes on within their walls... but how do we know how consistent that is?
There's going to be imperfections, of course - they're only human. But how much of their review is imperfect? What proportion is it? 1%? 10%? 50%? More?
If you pick a number - any number - how do you know it's the truth?
Because you feel it is?
Is feeling scientific?
Even if there were a way to have a truly scientific study on the integrity of the scientific process within the Academy itself, would it even be trustworthy, if the Academy is what published it? Isn't that like the cops investigating themselves?
How could the Academy be trusted to accurately assess its own scientific integrity, if its level of scientific integrity is the very thing that determines its preparedness to investigate scientific questions, including the question of its own integrity?
This entire setup involves a massive piece of circular logic.
The very philosophy of the Authority of the Academy - of the Academy having this mystical truth-arbitrating Authority - rests on circular logic.
And as any good scientist knows, circular logic is a big indication of shortcomings in the Reason process.
If you fall back on a last defense of loyalty to the Academy itself, as a Social Institution of Society, then you have to admit, this is no longer about science. You're talking about putting faith in a community of people - a specific community, consisting of specific people. What you've done is you're created a social class. You've taken science, and morphed it, from a discipline or a practice... into a social class. And you're no longer on the path of science at such point.
So here's an alternate answer.
There is no Academy.
There is no "Scientific Community."
There are just persons.
Persons, and organizations.
When a person, or an organization uses the Scientific Method, then their conclusions can be considered scientific.
And if they are not using the Scientific Method, then their conclusions can not be considered scientific.
And in order to know whether they used it or not, YOU have to use it YOURSELF.
ON them and their work.
When one of them - a person, or an organization - presents you with a claim, you have no reason to believe it until you've scienced it. That is, you've shined your own light of scientific inquiry upon it, and evaluated it with reason and logic yourself. You've inspected it to make sure the process was sound, and spent a bit of time trying to think of possible confounding variables that the authors failed to account for in their analysis.
Only after doing this can you claim that a particular study, or "paper", is scientific.
And if you haven't done this, for a particular article, then you probably should not cite that article when debating. Or base any of your beliefs on it, at all.
Right now there are millions of people arguing and posting on social media about "science", without inspecting a SINGLE one of the studies they cite as proof of their belief systems.
Have you been one of them?
It's not too late to change.
But in the False Left, in which the Spell is taught, science is no longer a method or a process for finding knowledge - it's an existing body of knowledge. It's no longer something you do. It's a thing.
An existing body of claimed knowledge.
An existing set of beliefs.
A group of people.
A social class.
Just like the rest of us, scientists suffer from flaws, foibles, and personal biases. The Scientific Method is designed to minimize the impact of those biases - but it's never going to be perfect as long as the people using it aren't perfect. In other words, it's never going to be perfect.
The process of peer-review and experimental replication can serve as safeguards, but what happens if everyone conducting the reviews is mislead by belief in a faulty paradigm (see #3 above)?
And even worse, what happens if they're corrupted by financial incentives to produce a certain conclusion?
* * *
You Have to
Science the Scientists
The problem with the "Science Spell", of course, is that the caster believes themselves to be exempt from further inquiry and debate - which is an attitude diametrically opposed to actual science. They think they're done.
The Spell is an avoidance tactic, designed to absolve the caster of the responsibility to actually do science.
Science is hard. Science is tedious. Science is humbling. It requires the surrender of ego. It's much, much easier to throw a "study" at someone and then merrily move along, than to actually sit and evaluate the logic of their arguments. It's much easier to put all the onus of knowledge on an elite class of smarty-pantses, and simply parrot whatever they say that agrees with one's current worldview, than to take responsibility for one's own epistemology.
The investigations of others can be useful. Reading their conclusions can be informative. But it doesn't mean you're done.
If you want the right to call yourself "science-minded", then you can't just accept "science" as a noun, unless you also use it as a verb.
You have to science the scientists.
You have to apply the Scientific Method to their work. The fact that they "are scientists" does not mean that any particular conclusion of theirs is valid. Science is not an identity, and it's not an institution, and it's not a social class.
It's a method.
Even if someone "is a scientist", their conclusions still have to follow the Scientific Method, or they're not scientific.
And in order to be confident that THEY followed the Scientific Method in coming up with THEIR work, YOU have to use the Scientific Method ON their work.
Look at their work, and ask yourself:
Did they follow the Method?
Are there any potential confounding variables that they didn't think to account for?
Were their data collection processes scientific?
Do their conclusions actually follow FROM the data they collected?
Or might there be flaws in the reasoning by which they extrapolated those conclusions from that data?
These are all questions that YOU have to ask BEFORE you can accept a study or a paper as scientific.
IF you want to actually... be scientific, that is.
If you just want to call other people "anti-science morons", to feel good about yourself and continue avoiding reckoning with the inconsistencies of your existing world paradigm, then by all means, keep accepting without skepticism whatever papers reinforce your existing belief system.
But if you want to call yourself pro-science, then you have to science the scientists. And you should never accept the findings of any scientists until you've scienced them.
"But if a paper appears in a prestigious scientific peer-reviewed journal, then it's trustworthy! We can trust that the scientists followed actual science, because the curators of the journals have stamped it with their own approval!"
Why trust the journals?
How do you know you can trust The Lancet? Or the New England Journal of Medicine?
Or any of them?
Again, you're right back where you started. You have to science the journals.
You can't just start out with the premise that a particular societal institution follows the Scientific Method consistently, or even has basic moral and intellectual integrity at all. Not if you want to be scientific.
The scientific integrity of this or that Journal is not a "given." It's not a metaphysical building block of the universe. It is not a valid philosophical premise to accept as self-evident without rational scrutiny. You have to actually science it, in order to know whether it's there or not.
Is there any scientific proof of the integrity of Journal X?
Who runs it?
Who sits on its editorial board?
Who curates it?
Who funds it?
"We can trust the journals because they're backed by academia! Colleges and universities!"
What scientific proof do you have of their integrity?
Let's ask the same questions all over again:
Is there any scientific proof of the integrity of University X?
Who runs it?
Who sits on its board?
Who funds it?
Do we know that they actually maintain loyalty to the Scientific Method, above their own personal biases and agendas?
Do we know that they're not compromised by financial incentives?
Do we know that they don't have conflicts of interest?
(The answer to these last two questions is an enormous NO, as we'll be exploring further down this page)
"The fact that they're all members of the societal institution known as "Academia" makes them fundamentally trustworthy!"
And this is where science becomes a religion.
Scientist-ism is Not Scientific
Science is the search for knowledge, through a combination of direct observation, and loyalty to the principles of Reason while evaluating those observations.
But in the mind of a scientist-ist, science is a body of existing knowledge. And unless you have the blessing of the Academy, your job is to conform your belief to it, and cease any attempt to question or dispute it.
Instead of seeking knowledge, they attempt to interrupt the seeking of knowledge, by declaring that it has already been found, conclusively, and that there is no need to look further - and, indeed, that seeking further is actually a bad thing - an irresponsible thing.
In fact, according to them, you don't even have the right to seek knowledge on your own, independently of the Academy.
Scientist-ism is, at its core, the suppression of science. The suppression of the search for truth.
And this causes groupthink. It prevents knowledge from being found.
It prevents faulty assumptions from being exposed.
It causes faulty paradigms to reign over their respective fields, for decades longer than they should have.
When they say that word, "science", they're not talking about any reasoning process - they're talking about an existing creed of beliefs.
People who talk this way don't want to facilitate inquiry. They want to stop inquiry.
They don't want to gather knowledge. They don't want to evaluate arguments with logic. They don't want to question any established beliefs or paradigms. They want the opposite. They want you to stop questioning. Precisely the opposite of the spirit of science.
Scientists As A "Social Class"
Rather than authentic inquiry, surrounded by safeguards for objectivity (also known as the Scientific Method), the profession of "science", now, is about ceasing inquiry and subordinating oneself to the proclamations of a social class that functions in much the same way as a priesthood.
It's almost like a religion. It even has a priesthood. And the priests have their own set of titles. And they even wear their own kind of white clothing.
In fact, science has become an actual religion, called scientistism.
Churches --> Universities
Priests --> Professors and Scientists
Deities --> Corporate Grant-Funders
Heresy --> Science-Denial
In the mind of a scientistist, Society is divided into two principle classes: Scientists and Non-Scientists.
Members of the Academy, and Non-Members.
If someone has their own office, with degrees and licenses and titles and plaques on their walls, then they are a Member.
A Member is an Arbiter of Truth, on any subject related to their field of study. Their word is Law - at least relative to anyone without such credentials - i.e. any Non-Member.
The word of a Member can only be disputed by another Member - a person with the same level of credentials. No one without credentials (or with fewer credentials, or less-prestigious credentials) may question the judgment of a credentialar superior.
In fact, if you're a Non-Member, you're not even permitted an opinion at all. The very formation of an opinion on any subject, by a Non-Member, independently of a Member, is an offense against the Academy. A heresy.
Non-Members should trust Members, no matter what they say. We are just ignorant little proles and they are the wise ones. They are the priesthood. They always know best.
It doesn't even matter how they know. They just know.
Even if they don't have any scientific evidence for what they claim to know, they still know.
They know what color underwear you're wearing, even if they've never looked in your pants.
Because it's not about the data - it's about the person. The person of the scientist. Because he's a Member. And everything, these days, is about class and identity.
It's never about what you do. It's only about who you are while you do it.
These are basic facts about the Universe and its nature. To even question one of these is to reveal oneself as a backwards, ignorant, knuckledragging Neanderthal. A troglodyte. To question the Authority of the Academy or its authorized Representatives is deplorable and unacceptable.
See? It's a religion.
And the only justification for trusting that particular tribe - the tribe that calls itself "The Scientific Community", or "The Academic Community" - is the idea that these communities actually do practice science - the original meaning of it - the scientific method - somewhere behind closed doors within their hallowed halls. And that by trusting them, we are vicariously trusting the actual scientific method of knowledge-seeking.
This argument might have had a leg to stand on if it could be safely assumed that the institutions that accredit them are not corrupt. But we have no reason to believe that they are not corrupt. Such a belief would indeed be unscientific. Because the preponderance of evidence points to massive corruption within the institution of Academia, and within all of its sub-institutions, and within the venerable scientific community.
Money has infiltrated all of them.
They do the bidding of their financiers. Just like politicians. This is not a hard concept to grasp.
The Long Corruption of Academia
Many of us grew up believing that Academia is the one un-corrupted institution of our society.
We gradually came to terms with the reality of corruption in every other major institution.
We learned that corporations are inherently corrupt and could not be trusted.
We eventually learned the same thing about governments.
And the media.
And all sorts of agencies, organizations, and institutions of culture.
We even found out that sports leagues and movie award-ceremonies have been corrupted!
One by one, we gained awareness of the corruption in all of them.
But all the while, there's one that escaped notice. One that we kept our trust in. One which we've singled out as eternally incorruptible.
And that is the institution of academia - which includes the scientific community.
We even made something approaching a religion out of it. The "creed", though not explicitly spoken, goes something like this:
Academia is the one institution that can never be corrupted. The one that will always remain a bastion of rational thought. Forever. And nothing will ever change that. It's invincible.
The mere concept of Academia or "Science" becoming corrupted is an oxymoron, a paradox, a non-concept. Something so far outside of Reality that it cannot even be spoken of without perfunctory virtue-signalling displays of snark.
Why is academia incorruptible?
After all, it relies on corporate money... just like all of those other institutions. If money can corrupt all the rest of them, why can't it corrupt academia?
We understand that politicians serve those who fund them, even if it goes against their own constituents' best interests. So why is it impossible for the same thing to be happening in Academia?
Why can't academics, like professors and scientists and doctors, also be influenced to serve the interests of their financiers?
They obviously can be.
We have a movement to "Get Money Out of Politics."
Why isn't there one to "Get Money Out of Academia"?
And who are the financiers of academia and science, anyway?
They're almost invariably corporations. If they're not corporations, they're "Foundations" set up by corporations, or the owners of corporations - like the "Gates Foundation", the "Rockefeller Foundation", or the "Open Society Foundation" (Soros) - or governments like those of the United States Canada England, Australia, France Etc, which are, in turn, owned by corporations.
The corporation's fund the governments, and the government's fund the academic and scientific institutions. It's all corporate money.
The institution of Academia is captive to the corporate world.
And perhaps no field provides a better illustration than the field of medicine.
The Corruption of the Healthcare Field
Big Pharma corporations control Academics in medicine. And they have been using that control to steer medicine onto a technocratic path, which has nothing to do with actual health, and everything to do with consolidating more and more power in the hands of the big Pharma corporations and their associated elites. Just like the military-industrial complex used our fear of terrorism to launch wars in other countries to take their natural resources, so, too, is the medical industrial complex is exploiting our fear of germs, to enact a new stage of totalitarian control over the population.
This. Is. Not. A. Hard. Concept.
Yes, it's a conspiracy theory. And yes, it's being proven true - more and more everyday. Everything we believe now - all of the basic tenets of reality that you believe in were at one point considered conspiracy theories. At one point, it was a conspiracy theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. And that it was round.
"No way! No way the Roman Catholic Church would be lying to us about the shape of the earth. You're a conspiracy theorist!"
In the 1950s, probably up through the end of the twentieth century, the majority of people still thought that corporations were basically altruistic entities, run by good people, just because they want to do some good in the world - and if they make a little money from it well that's a nice perk, but it's not their main motivation for being in business. They just want to help people! That's what most of us believed about corporations. But that myth collapsed. Almost nobody believes in that anymore.
And it took us a little longer to realize the same thing about governments. But we realized.
Eventually we did. We figured out that that governments were corrupt. We realized that if corporations control the government, and the corporations are corrupt, then it stands to reason that the government is corrupt as well.
Then we eventually realized that the civil service was corrupted as well. The Regulatory Agencies. We saw them getting captured by the very industries that they were supposed to be regulating.
If the mining industry can capture the mining Regulatory Agencies...
...and the meat packing industry can capture the meat-packing inspection agencies...
...and the Oil companies can capture the air emissions regulators...
...and and so forth...
...if big AG can capture the FDA...
...and so forth...
...then why is it such a stretch to imagine that the medical industry could capture medical agencies, like the CDC and the NIH and The Who? They get their funding from the corporations - or from corrupt governments whose politicians are bought and paid for by corporations.
The medical industry controls Medical Regulatory Agencies and medical Academia - and they're not controlling it with your best interests.
We know that the oil companies don't have our best interests at heart.
We know that the weapons manufacturers who supply the wars don't have our best interest at heart.
We know that the logging and mining companies don't have our best interests. They're just doing it for the money.
They're all doing it for the money.
So why are medical corporations exempt from this rule? Why are vaccine manufacturers exempt from this rule?
They all will do whatever it takes to make the most money, even if it hurts you.
Even if it hurts everyone. It doesn't matter how much it hurts society, as long as they can make money doing it. This is the same for all industires.. It's not an exception for the medical industry.
philanthropy is a cover for power
Science is a method of learning. It involves observing and reporting, with some safeguards to make sure biases and confounding variables don't get in the way.
Scientistism is a system of thought-control, which involves a priestly class of authority figures who act as gatekeepers and arbiters of "truth."
Principle: Some things, you odn't need science to know. Science is not the only branch of epistomology, not the only way of acquiring truth.
What does scientistism look like, in practice?
Here's an example. Imagine the following conversation:
Water is healthier than soda.
Interesting claim. Do you have any science to support it?
Uhh... like what are you looking for?
Peer reviewed studies, published in respected scientific journals.
I don't need that. It's common sense.
That's a fallacy. There's no such thing as common sense. A claim is either scientific, or it's not.
But dude. WATER. Vs. SODA. This is obvious.
Why is it obvious?
Because water is natural. It's been here for billions of years - soda hasn't. Every living organism drinks water - not soda. We evolved with water... and not with soda.
The appeal to nature is a fallacy. There is no such thing as natural. It's a word made up by quacks and pseudoscientists. Do you have any actual science?
WATER. VERSUS. SODA. Come ON.
Scientific evidence or nothing!
You are completely insane.
And you're unscientific! Come back when you have science!
Keep in mind that there are actually people who think this way. And their number includes the most influential and powerful leaders of industry and technology, who are making key decisions about our world and the path we take.
No wonder our world is in dire straits.
1. linear progress, our civ is best and brightest wisest cleverest
past cultures didn't havegadgetsand skyscrapers, lived in balance with nature, 100000, incredible feat, moreimportant than everything we'vedone combined. add up every invention and development that our civ hasever done ,addthem up, combinetheir value into one gigantic value of all good our civ has ever done, and it is less importantthan the ability tolive in balance with nature, becausethat's the foundation for civ to exist at all. if civ doens't, it doens't exist, and then allprogrees for nothing
2. current body of knowledge of universe is accurate. our academy funda understand universe and nature of reality. maybe a few holes to fil in and gaps to bridge,but big pic we got
2. what we can detect is all there is. only one layer level plane of reality
3. consciousness is epiphen of phys, generatedby brain, and therefore from within physical
4. absence of proof is evidence of absence
5. every techdev is intrinsic positive, nosuch things ad bad tech or baddevelop, whatever direction weprogressedin was theonly we couldhavfe, never any other options,
Certain things that belong in the domain of science, and certain things that don't.
Science should investigate laws of physics, and search for specific values. Not connections. Whenever we ask the question, "is X connected to Y?", the answer is YES, because everything is connected to everything. We live in an ecosystem, both biologically and socially, in which every part is connected to, and has an affect on, every other part, either directly or indirectly. If you had to ask the question, the answer is YES.