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Faith in Science as an Objectivist Religion
Science; Articles of Faith; A Catechism and Creed for a Contemporary Religion
The following should be taken in context and not cherry picked to make a case for or against anything, for any purpose to make a case for or against to denigrate the author or those who are under critique or praise. This to serve in making the case that there is more religion around science than is acknowledged by many adherents; indeed by many follows there be thereat.
Just like high religion, lead by the powerful and well placed echelons of various faiths, science has its high priests that are presumably knowledgeable in their world view and from which most folk are separated and ignorant. Those who do not have direct experience in either religion or science, have to take on faith, most of what the ones on high make their pronouncements. Both expressions are rife with corruption, It is easy to see that most people do not have the resources to create a cathedral/mega-church or a large hadron collider from scratch. Most of us are busy in the day to day struggle to survive and thus have to take on faith, what those who are well placed make for us to believe. It is hard to independently test a lot of what is said from both camps. Admittedly, there are some experiments one can do to establish some basic ideas, but that is usually the limit for most. There are also basic religious experiences that most can have as well, and, again, that is far as it goes. There are massive propaganda campaigns and public relations from both and both also seek “tithes” or funding. We shall see that there are shortcomings presented from both sides of this debate of religion vs science. As it stands, we have good and bad religion and good and bad science. What is presumed to be “objective” more often than not, is subjective.
Bad religion is characterized by;
Claims to supernatural experiences
Bad science is characterized by;
Ignoring the facts that threaten a cherished hypothesis
Scienteese (Speaking in terms obscure to most)
Established Science blocking new innovations and ideas
Big science and big money
Clinging to mistaken ideas for political reasons
Clinging to conservative empiricism
Sinister use of discoveries
A Typical Religious Article of Faith
We will not fully develop the religious side in the argument as this is a focus on the scientific side of the debate and the religious approach to science. There is plenty of critique as far a religion is concerned, mainly from each of the sects against all others. There is plenty of sectarianism within scientific circles as well, which contributes to crippling the thrust of truth and real science. In some cases, science merges with religion and vice versa. The deeper one goes into the past, the truer this becomes. Today, the two are quite alienated. Alienated as they are, they have much in common in the way they are practised. In this case, the common denominator is the human mind, which goes far to explain how the two are practised.
The typical catechism and creed of a Christian sect goes somewhat like this. There is a series of questions and proper answers depending on the sect involved. It could be a question and answer session based on the ten commandments, or the relation between you, your family, the church and God. The creed on the other hand is a summation of the faith of the believer. A popular one is the Nicene Creed which usually is memorized and recited by the believer, to whit;
“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.” (1)
Science Should Open the Truth of Nature and Cosmos to Us
For a scientist, the scientific method should be enough, but for the believer who is not and cannot perform the various experiments, is left with a kind of faith in the scientific priest craft who espouse their beliefs based on their findings, whether from experiments, from observation, the forming of hypothesis and or calculation within higher mathematics. These are passed down for the believer to have faith in. There are many ideas born of science, which are not backed up by observation and/or experiment; yet people believe what is stated. We have to ask; “Have you ever seen a Higg's Boson?” We haven't either; so, we have to take it on faith from those who stated that they have found it. We haven't seen Jesus or Mohammad either and take on faith, the word of those who make the claims to that effect, that is, that they have seen them or somehow experienced them in some form or some other way. Now, as within the Christian church, there are schisms within the larger scientific community, with plenty of speculation. Within these factions, you will find opposing camps on virtually everything of interest to the science priest craft. As an example, there is the never ending debate on climate warming, aka, climate change. There are scientists making both cases, for and against, and more often than not, the scientists are bought and paid for to make their claims in scienteese, in which we more often than not, must rely on faith because we can only observe on a very local and limited level. Religious leaders hop on board with the audacious statement that if the climate is changing and threatens to end the world, it was predicted in the Bible and we should just have to rely on Jesus to fix everything. So we might as well go on destroying our only home as Jesus will clean up our mess. Let alone climate change, there is the only too obvious pollution coming from all sources that are ruining the only living planet we know that can support us. These include fracking, pipelines, nuclear meltdowns, browning skies and depleted uranium use, dispersion of plastic in all oceans, etc. These are the obvious cases that we can see for ourselves without the need for faith. It does not take a scientist to see brown haze, water that catches fire, local severe weather, dying bees, drought and great freezes. Also, many of us have used sophisticated technology that even a few decades ago would seem miraculous and these objects have contributed to the pollution that we now see. But, we are to take on faith, almost all of what they say despite which schism you support, because, how many of us have visited the Antarctic, Mars or the Large Hadron Collider? How many of us can build a car, cell phone or computer from total scratch? The Answer; almost no one!
How many among us understand the basic principles behind electricity? That does not stop us from using electricity for lighting and for many labour saving and motorized devices. We run these largely on faith and to people prior to our period, much of what we do would appear miraculous and or as high magic. This is the evidence of the engineering results that come from science.
Science builds on what is known to push the envelope into what is unknown. Progress can be slow and tedious, often spanning generations, even centuries, to arrive at the truth. But as Lee Smolin states, what we know are approximations as nothing is separated from anything else in the whole cosmos. You can't put anything in an isolated box; not even Schrodinger's cat! What we know today is limited to a particular set of conditions. As an example, no matter how you isolate something for the sake of experiment, gravity will always be present and make its influence. With our limited point of view, even augmented by machines, there is much we are forced to take on faith. Science is also always changing owing to new revelations that often smash old ways and paradigms. There are two responses; to ignore the ugly theory destroying fact, or remake the idea to incorporate the new fact. The result is often two schools, such as the climate change vs denial camps. Ugly facts are often countered with propaganda that can convince the uninitiated who are forced to take almost everything on faith.
The competition for adherents is often effected by the use of obscure terms that sound impressive, but do not convey understanding to the audience. Historically, the Catholic church gave services in Latin, which was not spoken by most Europeans at the time. This was changed at the point of the Lutheran revolution in the mid 16th century. Today, we have many branches/schisms of science that often speak in scienteese that goes over the head of Joe and Jane Average. This obscures the message to all but those specializing in the disciplines. Joe and Jane Average thus have to take much on faith and that faith might be mistaken due to an ugly fact that is hidden.
Science, which is supposed to advance knowledge, often gets caught up in conservatism, holding on to old ways, interfering with innovation in order to keep things as they are. It should change with the cosmos and revelation of new facts, but human nature and greed get in the way. Often what is at stake, is one's living and no one wants to give up their means of survival. One of the greatest contests is between the school of thermodynamics and the emerging school of dynamical energy. Thermodynamics arose out of the age of steam and it applies very well to that school. However, we are entering the era where we can tap the energy of the cosmos to power our lives and have to deal with non-linear dynamics that includes phenomena that fly in the face of the limits imposed by thermodynamics. We are learning to power our lives on something other than coal, oil and even nukes. But vested interests will invent all sorts of convincing arguments as to why new emerging methods will not work or go beyond the mere toy stage. We borrow a lesson from history when Greeks almost developed the steam engine, except for the fact that the steam powered toys for the entertainment of the elite never got beyond the toy stage. Had the ancient Greeks taken that extra step, we would be light year ahead of where we are now!
How Much of Science is Really Objective?
Just as money influences politics and religion, it influences science. Finance gets into everything. Being human, scientists like everyone else, is tied to finance in order to survive. It takes plenty of free time in order to do science. If one is too busy procuring a living to survive, then not very much science can be done, unless one is hired to do science. But if you are hired to do science, you will have to follow the order of the boss, which means if your boss is a climate change denier, you will have to adjust your science to fit the order of the boss. This of course negates any objectivity, which is supposed to be one of the main pillars of science. Money influences science to a great degree! We get what we pay for, or rather, we get what the elite want to pay for. We take it on faith, even though that faith is ultimately misplaced and mistaken. Since most of us are effectively paupers, science becomes the subjective expression of the elite who make profit from oil, coal, gas and nuclear power. There is also a huge difference between pure science and technology which is a specialization and very limited in its scope in the larger discipline.
The science we have now, clings to mistaken ideas because it is either convenient or profitable or both. One of these is the idea that human beings are primates with a direct and close genetic relation with chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and the like. This idea is still promoted in textbooks and in film documentaries. A great error is being promulgated. The truth of the matter is easy to ferret out by researching the chromosomal differences between apes and humans. If you can, you should do the counts yourself! Anyone can learn for themselves that apes have 24 sets of chromosomes and humans only 23 sets. This makes us incomparable with any of the apes of that branch of evolution. Human beings are an entirely different branch of the evolutionary tree. It is not even entirely clear if humans even evolved from a common ancestor of both species sometime in the remote past. The problem is the extra chromosome found in all apes. Our knowledge of mating horses and donkeys that also differ by one set of chromosomes tells us that if we are lucky, we will get sterile offspring. Experiments were done to mate humans and chimpanzees in 1901 with the result of failure. Offspring of that mating were stillborn. Yet, the error persists that we are evolved from apes and almost everyone believes that we belong to the ape species as a result. Most of our direct relations, like the Neanderthal are extinct. There is no diversity of species of hominids as there is with apes. We are essentially alone on our branch for reasons as yet to be fully determined. All other hominids are extinct insofar as we know. We cannot use the fact of colour variation as an argument for diversity of hominid species as many other species have colour variation within their genome. Further, one can find other radical variations within a single species.
Another great mistake is to think that a single idea fits all situations. Thermodynamics is a great idea when describing heat engines, such as steam and internal combustion engines, but there are situations where it does not apply. Thermodynamics has been used to quash innovation. Patents exist for technology that is not thermodynamically limited. Yet we are forced to remain in the thermodynamic bag or live outside of society altogether. There are ideas to make a mini Tesla coil that can power your lighting that runs off sunshine. There there is the Sterling engine that can run off waste heat or cold! There are other examples that abound that are held out of the public domain, usually for reasons of profit. This results in clinging to conservative empiricism.
Another hangover from the 19th century is materialism. Materialism was born of empiricism of the era where the understanding of the atomic realm was wanting. Yet, despite our newer understanding, many still cling to the solidly materialist concept. We know for instance that the atom is almost entirely empty space, organized by four fundamental forces. The only reason we appear to have material solidity is due to something called electrostatic repulsion. We know that neutrinos and force fields can pass through material and us unimpeded. Yet, for the most part, we cling to the materialist concept. There is nothing wrong with the idea of materialism, as long as we see it in the correct light and its limited field of application. Many ideas are limited by the way we have constructed experiments in an attempt to isolate them from the rest of the cosmos. But that is not completely possible. We cannot construct a cosmos in a box totally isolated from everything else and as a result, may get a faulty view of what we are attempting to discover or vindicate. At the very least, the isolated experiment is not isolated from the observer. In the quantum realm, this has serious implications and everything is built up on that. But even in the understanding of quantum field, there is plenty of dispute. As we are one with the cosmos we know and to us, the material is the foundation of our being, then materialism holds importance to us in that context. It cannot be negated as some would like to persuade. To us, the material world is central to our existence and this is proven by all the struggles and competition for what every one of us require, whatever that material is constituted. We have no real proof of anything extra-material in the context of living matter. Faith is a poor substitute for knowing. We know the material for what it is by our daily experience and that material is mediated by invisible force fields.
In line with the rest of the cosmos, the objective and subjective are intimately linked. Again, the quantum world shows that there is really no line between the objective world and the subjective viewer. The details of rigging the double slit experiment shows how close the link is and that the viewed and viewer are really one and aspects of the same thing; the cosmos. To deny this is to be non-objective in the political sense and there are those who are in denial. As if that was not enough, politics and finance enter into science and kill any objectivity that may have existed. This fact accounts for the two sided nature of science, that of promotion and that of denial. For the uninitiated, it is as difficult to decide how faith is to be directed as in the theist-atheist struggle. Fortunately, in the case of science at least, there is a way to find the real truth for one's self. Faith can become knowing, which is always better.
One of the worst aspects of science is the turning of discoveries that could be of tremendous benefit, are turned to sinister use instead. Once particular instance is the advent of the laser that is used to entertain, treat us and also put to use as a super weapon of mass destruction. Another is atomic energy. As war is highly profitable, many scientists are seduced into working for the military industrial complex. This includes all the various devices that we are now familiar and some that we don't know. Some of these devices are now used to control us in many ways. And yet, most of what we use most of us know so little, that we take much on faith alone. This makes most of us stand on a footing where faith is the only determinate as to whether we accept science or religion as our basis of belief. Corruption in both fields sometimes makes the choice difficult. We might as well have a creed for science lacking the understanding of the scientific method for the most part. It could read something like this:
I believe in science, the revealer of all truth from whence all understanding arose of the visible and invisible.
And in the real and only begotten sons of science, all of those who pursue this one truth to open all worlds. Science of science, Truth of truth, very Science of very Science, taught and not made. Being of one substance with the truth from which everything is revealed.
Which for humanity for our continued salvation, was revealed by observation and experiment, tested, made manifest in the material world from curious and open minds. It was criticized and ostracized under conservative trends, buried and in due time rose to acceptance as the paradigm and pinnacle of truth. Truth shall come again and again with newer revelations of truth. To this there will be no end.
And we believe in intuitive insights that proceeds from the revealed of the unrevealed hidden leading to ever greater advances in truth and science as discovered by the scientists of the past. We stand on the truths of everything that was revealed in the past by these scientists and discoverers.
And we believe in the scientific method, the one universal way to the ultimate truth. This to put to rest all errant ideas and beliefs. We look to the greatness that will be revealed in the time to come for ever and ever. Amen!
The Nicene Creed