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