Intelligent Design

The “Anti-Science” Lie

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It is often a claim of atheists/naturalists that certain individuals, groups or positions are “anti-science”. There is a narrative now that the Trump administration is “anti-science” because Trump and certain cabinet nominees do not subscribe to certain so-called “scientific” views, such as AGW or certain evolutionary claims, and do not intend to set policy according to certain views held by many scientists.

I doubt anyone except perhaps actual Luddites are “anti-science” in any truthful interpretation of the word. Trump and his entire team, ID advocates and Christians of virtually every kind embrace science and use technology. Christians basically invented science and made most of the great scientific discoveries in history, whether or not those discoveries coincided with their religious views at the time. It’s not like ID advocates, Christians, Republicans or Conservatives eschew science or technology or call for an end to all scientific investigation. So what does the term “anti-science” really mean?

Focusing on long-term, accumulative biological variations, what position of IDists and/or Christians is “anti-science”? According to atheists/naturalists, science is silent with regards to supposed supernatural causations, so science has no position on whether or not any supernatural influences caused life or affected long-term biological variations. By that view, the belief that God created life and the forms of life we see now cannot be a belief that science has any comment on. Holding such supernatura-oriented beliefs that are not scientific does not make one “anti-science”; it simply means one has beliefs that science is (supposedly) silent on.

Perhaps the atheists/naturalists are referring to setting policy in government and in schools when they say someone or some view or agenda is “anti-science”. Let’s look at some extremes to make the point clear; let’s say it became a norm to not teach evolution in school and to teach Christian creationism. I think we can definitely agree that this would be called, by atheist/naturalists, “anti-science” policies set by “anti-science” advocates.

However, science itself is a methodology and, one can say, a collection of facts and theories. Science is silent on what anyone should do with science or the product of science. Science is not a moral or ethical code. It doesn’t tell us how we should behave, how we should run government or what our culture should be like. Science doesn’t tell us what we should teach our children or why we should teach them one thing or another. So, teaching children Christian creationism instead of standard evolution cannot be “anti-science” because science doesn’t tell us what we should teach our children or why we should teach it to them.

Perhaps one could properly characterize an “anti-science” policy as one that allows/advocates the teaching as fact something that is in conflict with a widely-accepted scientific fact or prevailing theory. Let’s use the cases of special creation and a young earth and posit arguendo  that those views are factually incorrect with regards to science. Certainly, it’s not fair or honest to characterize a position in conflict with a few scientific “facts” (or long-held theories) as being “anti-science” when the vast bulk of scientific facts and theories are accepted and taught. That is not an “anti-science” agenda at all, but rather a disagreement with a very tiny subset of scientific conclusions – or, at least, a disagreement that those conclusions should be taught as fact in school.

A scientific fact, however, is not considered a truth.  Science is  a descriptive and predictive tool, not a fount of truth, wisdom, ethics or morality.  It is not (or rather, should not be) a religion that demands our subservience to every decree of prevailing theory or widely-agreed, current interpretation of data. That is scientism based on an atheistic/naturalistic ideology.  It is not “anti-science” to reject atheist/naturalist scientism, but is it “anti-scientific” for a moral, ethical, spiritual or religious view to take precedence over a widely-held scientific fact or theory?

No. It may be anti-scientism – a refusal to prioritize prevailing scientific views above all else, but it is not “anti-science”.  Rather, it is simply a perspective that prioritizes science below moral, ethical, spiritual or religious views one regards as fundamental or necessary truths.  A refusal to accept and prioritize prevailing scientific views above all other concerns, understanding or views, in academia or in public policy, is not “anti-science”,  but rather non-scientism, a rejection of current scientific views as being the sole fount of truth, wisdom and knowledge which all other considerations must be secondary to.

Thus, the term “anti-science” is revealed as nothing more than rhetorical pejorative, an attempt to shame, ridicule, diminish and marginalize those that do not ascribe to scientism, which is a religious view held largely in accordance with atheistic/naturalistic ideology.

7 Replies to “The “Anti-Science” Lie

  1. 1
    bb says:

    There is a great bit about Lysenkoism from Wikipedia:

    The term Lysenkoism can also be used metaphorically to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives.

    This characterizes much of what we observe in these efforts to write off the views of those that justifiably disagree with “consensus” on matters that are important for materialists/progressives to bolster their estimation of themselves. As Cornelius Hunter has said repeatedly: “Religion drives science and it matters.”

    Not all religions are equal, and this includes Atheism (note I capitalized it precisely because it is indeed a religious system). Christianity is the ground from which modern science grew for good reason. Atheists don’t just undermine morality, law and western civilization, when they attack it, but the science and the supposed faith in human reason they claim support their views.

    Galileo, and many others, weren’t anti-science when they disagreed with consensus. Neither are those that disagree with the pet theories conflated with their religious and political views. Especially when those pet theories have very little scientific support.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Rather, it is simply a perspective that prioritizes science below moral, ethical, spiritual or religious views one regards as fundamental or necessary truths.

    In other words, science is to be subordinated to non-scientific interests – Lysenkoism. That seems quite clear.

  3. 3
    Rennie says:

    @ Seversky,

    What would “non-scientific” interest contain? What would that be? Free Will, Morality, Consciousnesses? How can these fundamental experiences of our reality be made subservient to science when science can give no adequate explanation to origin or mechanics of these values, nor the correct implementation thereof.

    Science is a tool and to be used as such. But it has been misappropriated by the materialist and presented as ‘godlike’. Materialist see their god as the purveyor of absolute truth when in reality science will never be able to explain or account for the qualities that are part of the human condition.

    Science therefore is not the purveyor of all truth. Science is a tool and should NOT be used to try and sway people into a certain ideological world view.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Rennie @ 3

    What would “non-scientific” interest contain? What would that be? Free Will, Morality, Consciousnesses? How can these fundamental experiences of our reality be made subservient to science when science can give no adequate explanation to origin or mechanics of these values, nor the correct implementation thereof.

    Non-scientific interests could be something like concluding that the Earth is 6000 years old because that is what some Biblical scholars have calculated rather than the 4.5 bn years estimated by science.

    I agree that science is a tool. It is not a purveyor of truth and does not claim to be. Truth is for the philosophers. It is a methodology for constructing testable tentative explanations of how the Universe works – or, at least, the parts of it we can investigate.

    If a scientific explanation is at odds with an ideological, political or religious belief then the believer has a difficult decision to make. To take the example I gave before, if it is a tenet of a particular faith that the world is 6000 years old but all the evidence compiled by science indicates an age of 4.5 bn years, what is the believer to do?

    That belief, of course, has no obvious immediate consequences but what about the tragic story I’ve cited before about a teenage girl who died of acute diabetic complications on her living-room floor while her family stood around her praying desperately? Conventional treatments could have saved her. Her family believed that prayer could. They were wrong but she died. The family intended no harm, quite the opposite but shouldn’t someone have tried to sway their worldview?

  5. 5

    That belief, of course, has no obvious immediate consequences but what about the tragic story I’ve cited before about a teenage girl who died of acute diabetic complications on her living-room floor while her family stood around her praying desperately? Conventional treatments could have saved her. Her family believed that prayer could. They were wrong but she died. The family intended no harm, quite the opposite but shouldn’t someone have tried to sway their worldview?

    People try to sway each other’s worldview all the time. What does that have to do with anything? If your advocacy here is that you would try to talk people into putting scientific consensus above other considerations, nobody is saying that such debate shouldn’t exist.

    We have laws that reflect current scientific consensus on many things; so what? That’s not the point. There may be a law that says that I must behave as if I believe X; that doesn’t mean I have to actually believe X. It just means that legally I have to behave as if I do.

    The point is that calling people that do not put current scientific consensus at the top of their worldview, overriding all other perspectives, “anti-science” is a lie. Those that believe that faith-healing or prayer works are not “anti-science”, and those that believe the Earth is 6000 years old because of their interpretation of the Bible are not “anti-science”. That description is demeaning, false rhetoric used mostly by those who ascribe (knowingly or not) to the ideological faith of scientism.

  6. 6
    Rennie says:

    @ Seversky

    I can give you plenty of scientific reasons why the earth might not be 4.5 billion years old. There are numerous organizations like Institute for Creation Research that deals with this subject extensively.

    The problem is that main stream scientists bent on protecting their ideology refuses to engage with these organizations or allow them an equal platform whereby the scientific data can be debated. If the data of main stream scientist where so solid, one would think that it would be relatively easy for them to dispense with the counter arguments offered by these organizations.

    Instead, MS scientists and materialist laymen call these organizations liars or ‘snake-oil-salesmen’.

    So who’s anti-science then? Those who offer alternative scientific data that is contrary to scientific consensus, or those refusing to even debate the alternative view?

  7. 7
    john_a_designer says:

    Seversky wrote,

    That belief, of course, has no obvious immediate consequences but what about the tragic story I’ve cited before about a teenage girl who died of acute diabetic complications on her living-room floor while her family stood around her praying desperately? Conventional treatments could have saved her. Her family believed that prayer could. They were wrong but she died. The family intended no harm, quite the opposite but shouldn’t someone have tried to sway their worldview?

    Okay what about this tragic story:

    [In Feb. 2015 a] “46-year-old Chapel Hill [atheist named Craig Stephen Hicks] was arrested… and charged with three counts of first-degree murder following the deaths of newlywed couple Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. All three were shot in the head at a condominium complex near the University of North Carolina campus following a parking dispute.

    As police continue to investigate the possibility of a hate crime, Hicks’ atheist beliefs – as seen in various posts on his alleged Facebook page – have fueled concerns amongst the victims’ loved ones that anti-religious views may have precipitated the shootings.

    “They were targeted because they’re different and this is a hate crime,” [said] Yusor’s friend, Amira Ata…

    Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/n.....PIgZRpy.99

    Another article about Hicks from the more left leaning or “liberal,” New Republic, concludes with this admonition:

    Perhaps this will be a moment of reflection for the New Atheist movement and its adherents. If nothing else, the takeaway should be that no form of reasoning, however obvious to a particular cohort, has a monopoly on righteousness. And no ideology, supernatural or not, has a monopoly on evil.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/121036/chapel-hill-muslim-murders-show-atheism-has-violent-extremists-too

    Innocent people died. Several news accounts have suggested at least implicitly that Hicks’ worldview played a part in his motivation. Shouldn’t someone have tried to sway Hicks away from his dangerous worldview? Isn’t that the same logic Seversky is using?

    Of course, I’ll concede the logic is fallacious here. You can’t use the actions of one or a few individuals to indict a world view or others who adhere to that worldview.

    I remember growing up that my fifth grade teacher use to say, after someone had been acting up, “It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole basket.” That reasoning may work on fifth graders but it’s a bad way to try to create a free, open and civil society.

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