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The Religion of Science

Is science becoming a religion in its own right today the way Capitalism has?

Most standard religions are steeped in superstition and people who regard themselves as intelligent these days dismiss them as irrelevant. This is a good thing, for the most part. In this modern age of miniature computers, electronic devices and instant communication; a large section of the population has put their faith in the cold, hard logic of science. However, the embracing of the dogma of science without questioning it is not much better than obedience to a superstitious ideology. This embracing happens because of two aspects of human nature – a reverence for intelligence and a strong desire for acceptance.

Science is often devoid of moral relativity. It’s observed in a vacuum of cold, sterile facts and equations frequently without regard to its potential impact on the world. This is a fragmented way of thinking and can be detrimental to the evolution of humanity. When we look at a supposed “consensus” of opinion from the “scientific community”, we need to give consideration to the well-worn axiom “follow the money” that plays such an integral part in the underworld of corporate politics.

For example, comparing the percentage of U.S. scientists that support the “safety” of genetically engineered foods with the percentage of scientists worldwide that support the concept of human-caused climate change is cleverly disingenuous. For one thing, a consensus in one nation is likely to be affected by the belief system common to that society while a global consensus is more akin to a broader perspective. In relation to this particular instance, the belief system that scientists in the U.S. are certain to adhere to is Capitalism. And, more so in the U.S. than in most nations, this has led to a lapse in integrity that is taken advantage of by a multitude of wealthy corporate executives who are willing to pay exorbitant sums of money for scientific “proof ” that their firms don’t harm anyone in their single-minded pursuit of collecting obscene amounts of money.

The organization Environmental Sciences Europe, which supports an open access policy in peer review journalism, stated the following in a report:

“A broad community of independent scientific researchers and scholars challenges recent claims of a consensus over the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).” They continued,  “… the claimed consensus is shown to be an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated through diverse fora.”

Later in the report:

“Published results are contradictory, in part due to the range of different research methods employed, an inadequacy of available procedures, and differences in the analysis and interpretation of data. Such a lack of consensus on safety is also evidenced by the agreement of policy makers from over 160 countries – in the UN’s Cartagena Biosafety Protocol and the guidelines of the Codex Alimentarius – to authorize careful case-by-case assessment of each GMO…”

Scientists can place their objectivity on the shelf momentarily to state a belief such as genetically modified organisms being safe to consume. After all, it can confidently be said that these unnaturally manufactured products aren’t the sole contributor to debilitating diseases. There are many factors that contribute to illnesses such as cancers and cardiovascular disease. Excessive consumption of meat, dairy products and processed foods are contributing factors, but we haven’t banned these from the food industry. And, we don’t have an extensive study on the adverse health effects of these products with testing on actual human beings. Some justify caution in these circumstances. Well, it certainly would be in the interests of everyone to extend that caution to avoiding potentially deadly products in our food supply instead of to avoiding a globally accepted opinion of the potential dangers inherent in introducing questionable substances into our food supply.

While scientists can use caution with respect to accepting diverse opinion on the issue of the consumption of GE foods, they cannot do the same with the production of CO2, NO2, methane, hydrochloric acid and other toxic substances that are emitted into the atmosphere. That these gases enter the atmosphere is a fact. And, it is also a fact that the rate at which they are being produced will eventually lead to a cataclysm if no action is taken. Scientists cannot publish papers stating this is not (or will not eventually be) detrimental to the health of plants, animals and human beings. It would present their profession as no more reliable than the superstitious religions they are (quite probably) in the process of replacing.

The reality is that organizations receiving a considerable amount of their budget through corporate donations have an inclination to reach industry-friendly conclusions – whether decisive in supporting the industry viewpoint or simply stating an inconclusive opinion that casts enough doubt about issues to have a considerable impact on public opinion. Muddying the waters on health issues has a sordid history in various fields of scientific research. This is not meant to imply that there is no morality, simply that the state religion of Capitalism has tainted science just as it has tainted virtually everything on the planet.

Another factor that can contribute to a questionable consensus in the world of science is the echo chamber effect. Some (less than courageous) scientists might, for various reasons, parrot certain “accepted” scientific opinions to attain professional standing. And, receive an increase in funding to continue research they deem necessary.

The National Academy of Science is an example of a prestigious organization that has been infiltrated by corporate money and influence. The group, Union of Concerned Scientists, is an organization that would probably never have been conceived of in the days before science was infected by the scourge of Capitalism. Now, we have a need for a group of scientists who, seeing the improper insinuation of corporate influence into important fields of science (specifically relating to the environment and the global food supply), are determined to present a more balanced approach to scientific discourse and its effect on our legislative processes.

Allowing corporations to purchase custom “scientific studies” for public relations purposes is a particularly evil form of control over the population because of how deeply people trust scientific research. This is why science has been embraced like a religion. Deep trust is an important component of a successful belief system.

And religious zealotry has already contributed far too much to the dangerous imbalance in the human race that has brought modern society to the brink of extinction.

Source:

Environmental Sciences Europe (a SpringerOpen Journal): “No Scientific Consensus on GMO Safety”

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14 comments on “The Religion of Science

    • Thanks for the reblog. I don’t expect this essay to get much traction considering the respect so many people have for science, but I’m not surprised to see your acceptance of it as you are quite open-minded.

      Peace.

  1. I think you are putting out with great force and clarity “ideas whose time has come”. People are waking up to the con tricks being practised against them by govts and large corporations. People still trust science but realise it has been corrupted exactly as you describe. It is hard for single voices to be heard over the deluge from the mass media. But needs to be heard.

    • I agree that corporate media has such a powerful grip on the minds of the masses that it’s difficult for diverse opinions to make it through the smokescreen. That, unfortunately, also includes scientific research. This is why we must continue our concerted effort to educate and pull back the veils that have been placed over the eyes of a majority of the population.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Peace.

  2. I agree totally that dogmatic science has become a religion – which Wall Street and the corporate media selectively exploit to enhance their hold on power.

  3. I enjoyed the science analysis of your article. I do recognize that some people do treat science as a religion. But religion is not putting this earth on the brink of disaster. If we dig past the institutionalization and – politicization – of all religions – we find that at root they all carry the seeds of the highest qualities for humans to practice – compassion, kindness, generosity, morality, respect for the earth and nature and all living beings, humility, and wonder.

    • I’m sorry if I worded this in a way that would offend. I didn’t intend to imply that all religions and all religious people are bringing humanity down. I should have said that religious-type zealotry has contributed to imbalance – not religion. I was referring to the concept of false prophets (concerned with big profits) manipulating extremist ideologies that divide humanity into separate factions constantly at odds with each other. These extremist ideologies have become institutionalized and are often fueled by religious language (unfortunately) because of the Manipulate, Divide & Conquer tactics employed through corporate media.

      Also, immoral governmental policies are often sold using religious overtones – including war, racist police tactics, cruel austerity economic policy, domestic surveillance programs and so on. Too many people confuse religious fervor with love and compassion. It’s a matter of religious zealotry being combined with twisted ideas like “American exceptionalism” or patriotism in any country.

      As far as “the seeds of the highest qualities for humans to practice”, I agree completely. However, I see a detachment with a lot of people. I honestly believe that a large number of people who identify with a particular religion, do so at the expense of showing unconditional love and compassion to all. Many people are selective with their compassion. This makes no sense. Debating online, I am often told that “conservatives” contribute more to charities than “liberals” do. What they don’t acknowledge is that they rarely help people that need the most help. And many of them only help people that “look” like them.

      I hope I at least partially clarified what I was trying to say. Thank you very much for allowing me the opportunity to address my mistake.

      Peace.

  4. I made a subtle change at the end of the essay in the hope that no one will misunderstand. Thanks again.

    Peace.

  5. As you and commenters here have astutely noted, it’s not religion or science that is the problem per se but the dogmatic beliefs that result from the intermingling of money and influence.That influence could come from corporate interests who have a stake in the outcomes of a particular scientific study or from the overarching influences of the dominant/power culture. It is human nature to appease and to want to seek validation from our peers, which make science and religion so easily corruptible.

    I like where the train of thought that you’ve elicited here is headed. The removal of big money is a prerequisite for any hopes of independent studies in science or religion. Got to dig up the roots before you can turn over the soil. Great essay and insights here, as always.

  6. Thanks for the comment, Jeff.

    Yes, the desire for money and possessions has corrupted virtually everything on the planet and is the main reason we are heading toward suicidal destruction as a society. The dominant culture is one of power and money.

    When I wrote that religious zealotry has created an imbalance in the human race, I was not only referring to established religions such as Christianity and Judaism, but to Capitalism. I believe that though many people consider themselves part of one of the belief systems we classify as religions, most are actually adherents to Capitalism first and those other belief systems second (if at all). The traditional religions are also the most effective vehicles for driving home the indoctrination. Most people I know swallow the dogma of Capitalism so wholly that they defend it to the point of mindless anger.

    This is why people allow money to infect everything without giving it much thought. They believe that greed drives the engine of Capitalism and that we’d still be In the Dark Ages without it. (Never mind that we are currently in a moral Dark Age).

    Thanks again for adding to the discussion.

    Peace.

    • Excellent observations. Capitalists have done a good job disguising their naked land, labor and resource grabs behind the veneer of organized religion. Whether it’s co-opting science, religion, education, etc., literally nothing is sacred at the altar of Capital. The election of Obama involved the cynical co-opting of the civil rights movement by corporate interests at Wall Street and their ilk who baited us with “hope and change” then switched to “same as it ever was”.

  7. I hear you on that point.

    At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama in 2008. During the campaign I saw the inner circle of Federal Reserve/Goldman Sachs/Citigroup people that were going to dominate fiscal policy. Summers, Rubin and Geithner meant trouble. They helped bring us the merger of Citibank and Traveler’s Group in 1998 which violated Glass-Steagall, then supported Gramm-Leach-Bliley in 1999 which gutted it.

    The president has mentioned Dr. King and spoken eloquently at times about systemic racism yet deportations have reached record levels, young Black men are butchered in the streets and high-tech warfare has replaced outright invasion in an attempt at creating an illusion of a sophisticated defense of the homeland. You got it right – “same as it ever was.”

    The Powers That Be sold it to us with race In ’08 and now are trying to sell the same thing packaged with gender in ’16 with Hillary Clinton.

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