This morning I read an article one of my friends on Facebook had forwarded to me. At first I thought the young lady who wrote it was trying to be ironic or perhaps deliberately skewering the method in which the corporate/political enterprise embraces science. But it wasn’t until her last two paragraphs that it suddenly became clear what she thought the culprits were, institutional science itself:

https://www.facebook.com/erica.velis.7/posts/735697366453426?fref=nf

“The scientific method is one thing; the Scientific Establishment is something else. Institutional Science, looked at as a social institution, resembles both an exclusive social club, to which you must know all the passwords (or shibboleths) to gain admittance, and a religious order to whose doctrines you must subscribe. As an ideology, science has a number of different sects. Prominent among these is scientific materialism, which is based in classical Newtonian physics; it has several tenants of belief, including that matter itself is inert, and possesses none of the properties found in humans—such as intelligence, sentience, interiority, and volition—and that inert (“dead”) matter is acted upon by external material forces in predictable ways. This school of thought also believes that the world can be understood by examining its individual constituent parts, and the essence of the whole grasped thereby. This doctrine is known as reductionism. Based in an historical antagonism with Institutional Religion, Institutional Science of this school sees Life on Earth as something that happened by pure chance, in a Universe that is indifferent or hostile to us or to Life itself. This particular piece of dogma has not been demonstrated by the scientific method, but is simply a tenet of faith, and is promulgated by such high priests of science as Laurence Kraus.

Another prominent figure in the priesthood of science is Richard Dawkins, who applies these principles of classical physics to the study of biology and evolution. A neo-Darwinian, Dawkins sees life on Earth as a struggle for survival, characterized by violent competition, and driven by a fiercely self-centered genetic determinism. This version of neo-Darwinism is embraced and encouraged by the Capitalist Establishment because it makes their predatory and parasitic enterprise seem based in our biology, and therefore inevitable."


The thought that someone could make such an observation smelled of christian revisionism. So I replied:

“Sorry, I was in complete agreement with this up until the last two paragraphs. Scientists like Kraus and Dawkins aren’t working for the corporate machine (or attempting to support it). If anything they’re being stifled by it.

First off, have you ever noticed how many corporations (big and small) claim to uphold to “Christian” values or for that matter all the corporations that receive support by Christian Politicians? How about companies that have filed suit because they felt their Christian values were being infringed upon?

Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, Hobby Lobby, Forever 21, Mary Key, Marriott Hotel, Jet Blue, Clorox, General Mills, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Con Agra, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Pepsi, Hershey’s, and the list goes on... Also let’s “follow the money” on this realization; no company want’s to portray to the American public an image of not upholding to some form of religio-centric values, because they’ll definitely have a difficult time finding investors. Take for instance people like Rupert Murdoch, Sam Walton, James C. Penny, Conrad Hilton, David Ramsey and Charles Koch, all either claim to be "Christian" or are heavy investors in Christian based organizations. Yes, they may also invest in scientific enterprise for highly select personal interests but they’re not trying to do so under a veil of “genetic determinism”, “neo-Darwinism” or biology (much as that might seem attractive to non-fundamental Christians), this is because there’s nothing “genetic”, “Darwinistic” or “biologic” about corporations except in a metaphoric sense.

Nope, sorry Erica but this is a thinly veiled attempt at distancing men of corporate greed from it’s real perpetuators, faith.

I would say that if you really wanted stir up some shit perhaps you might want to take a look at why these corporations want to support Christian Values in the first place. After all it’s also these same “values” that are stifling scientific progress in public schools. And with more and more of our school’s budgets being cut it won’t be long before corporations will be the primary supporters of public education. And when that happens...

Face it, corporations want to keep the American public as dumb Christian sheep.


Anyway, I wanted to hear your views on this.

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As an ideology, science has a number of different sects.

Leave it to some wrongheaded believer to treat science as though it were religion, dividing it into sects, each with its own dogma.  Whoever "Erica" is, it's dubious at best that she has had any serious exposure to science, ever studied it or actually consciously employed it in her everyday life.  To her, science is the enemy because it has the unmitigated nerve to obviate and render irrelevant her precious deity.

Science, to put it simplistically, is the process and mechanism whereby we find out what things are and how things work.  One coincidental side-effect of this process is that it also reveals what DOESN'T work.  Sadly for Erica, one of those things is her god.

If rocks showed any evidence of thinking, scientists would come to believe they did.  Similarly if there were evidence that life was designed, scientists would come to believe that also. 

The writer is unhappy with scientists because they haven't accepted arguments that rocks think or life was designed. 

And it's not a "tenant of belief", it's a "tenet of belief". 

You're totally right; I guess those corporations want to keep the Christian values just becouse they want to keep the control on people; therefore people must face it but unfortunately It seems that stupidity is wining the game.

It is not enough for a wise man to study nature and truth; he should dare state truth for the benefit of the few who are willing and able to think.
As for the rest, who are slaves of prejudice, they can no more attain truth, than frogs can fly.

Julien Offray de La Mettrie - 1748

I too love that call to "dare state truth"!

Prejudice can be overcome. After all, many of us here on A|N came from various flavors of theistic indoctrination!

David, I agree with you and every reply here so far. Erica wants to make science a "religion" just like the theist does. It doesn't work that way, but the flustered believers have no place else to go with it. This is also why they claim atheism is a "religion."
Now the corporations come in as believers and convince everyone that it matters little how they tear up the earth to get the energy. Jesus will be here soon and fix everything, or soon we will all be gone and beamed up! Why care?

The brush is way too broad. Just a few comments.

Prominent among these is scientific materialism, which is based in classical Newtonian physics; it has several tenants of belief, including that matter itself is inert, and possesses none of the properties found in humans—such as intelligence, sentience, interiority, and volition—and that inert (“dead”) matter is acted upon by external material forces in predictable ways.

Scientific materialism can be traced back at least to Epicurus, who thought that even the soul was material. What classical Newtonian mechanics changed was the idea of how the solar system worked—showing that it did not require God's effort to keep the planets spinning around the sun. (Inert is not the same as dead: what has never been alive cannot be called dead.)

This school of thought also believes that the world can be understood by examining its individual constituent parts, and the essence of the whole grasped thereby.

A straw man. No one I have known in the scientific community makes such a claim. Scientific materialism is not a school of thought, it is the method—and the only one—available to science. It has made a great deal of progress by often examining narrow aspects of the world, but never claims that this provides understanding of the whole.

sees Life on Earth as something that happened by pure chance

Again a straw man, one commonly used by opponents of evolution. The argument is that surely all this astounding and complex variety cannot be the result of "pure chance." That, however, is not the claim of evolution by natural selection. Genetics naturally produces variation, but that variation is already constrained by the possibilities of combination provided by sexual reproduction. Frogs do not give birth to rabbits. From that variation selection is made of the varieties most adapted to survival in the local conditions, not a random selection at all.

What we have here is a carelessly thought out anti-science polemic that seriously misrepresents the entire scientific enterprise.

Scientific materialism ... has made a great deal of progress by often examining narrow aspects of the world, but never claims that this provides understanding of the whole.

This isn't true, in the sense that there are layers of science that concentrate on different levels of detail.

For example, there is physics, which studies things at the smallest and most fundamental scale. 

At a larger scale, in less detail, there is biochemistry.

Then molecular biology, cell biology, biology of organisms.

Then above that, psychology.

Above that, sociology, the study of how people work in the aggregate.

Science does study "wholes".  A society is a "whole", a human being is an aggregate of atoms, etc.  Science studies whatever the scientific method can be applied to. 

Your not reading the original correctly—it's refers is to the whole world:

This school of thought also believes that the world can be understood by examining its [the world's] individual constituent parts, and the essence of the whole [world] grasped thereby.

I think I got the gist of what the original is saying - you're taking sloppy writing too literally.  They say "this doctrine is known as reductionism" - but science isn't reductionist, for example a biologist doesn't try to understand a frog as a collection of atoms. 

According to Wikipedia,

Reductionism is a philosophical position which holds that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents.

Science may work that way, but it doesn't necessarily. 

Of course we do have a science of the whole world, it's called cosmology. 

Cosmology of the big bang kind isn't a religion?

It has unverified and unverifiable dogma and it requires unthinking faith.

Of an empirical kind Tom.

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