Tuesday, 25 March 2014

What is the value of science for secular Leftist modernity?

Superficially, secular Leftist modernity is slavishly devoted to science, to objective 'evidence' and all the rest of it.

Yet the reality is that science has been destroyed and replaced by careerist bureaucracy.

Solid science that conflicts with Leftism is turned into a hate crime; and there is funding and vast propaganda and mandatory education to create and sustain huge schemes of dishonest and incompetent pseudo science (especially the global warming/ climate change scam).

So what is the real role of that thing called 'science'?


The real role of science for the Left is quite simple and it always has been the same - it is to create a high status and universal discourse which excludes religion (especially Christianity) by assumption; so by assumption science works on the basis of assuming the absence of divine action, of souls, of purpose and meaning; of transcendental values of beauty and virtue.


Most clearly this is seen in fanatical support for of mainstream secular Leftism for the metaphysical and empirically evidence-free assumption of 'Evolution' by Natural Selection as a mandatory and enforced explanation for The Origin of Species; while the same people regard the vast evidence of Adaptive evolution in the human species (The Descent of Man) as unmentionable, punishable, indeed illegal, hate facts.



For secular modernity, science is therefore not-at-all about the positive presence of truth and honesty - obviously not! - instead science is about the objective absence of religion, beauty and virtue.

It is not a matter of what science is - but a matter of what science IS NOT, that matters to secular Leftist modernity.

In sum, as with Marx - what is vital to modernity is scientific materialism; which has approximately nothing-at-all to do with real science; just as 99 percent of modern 'scientific' 'research' has approximately nothing-at-all to do with real science.




ajb said...

"it is to create a high status and universal discourse which excludes religion (especially Christianity) by assumption"

A couple of days ago, I happened to be looking at the reviews for a book by geneticist Francis Collins (of which I have no opinion).

One of the two Editorial Reviews was by George Johnson, a popular-science writer.

The last sentence in his review is:

"The assumption of materialism is fundamental to science."

Johnson realizes he is making an assumption. Many do not seem to realize that, as science is often practiced, it does so.

FWIW, I don't think materialism really means much of anything when thought through, except so much as to say that 'mind' is a late product of the universe, not something at the beginning or 'before' the universe.

The Crow said...

Fight religion with religion.
Science is the religion of self-worship, reduced to the level of human ideas.
People like that stuff.

Jonathan C said...

Prof. Charlton, can you recommend a reading that explains the "empirically evidence-free" state of the theory of the origin of the species by evolution? I'm trying to educate myself about the evidence. It doesn't need to be written for laymen; I'm willing to read even something very technical. Thank you.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JC The reference above,and search this blog for 'evolution'. I haven't found anything else - because it is just a negative.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JC - in a nutshell - Darwin's evidence that Natural Selection could lead to new species, genera, families etc (and thus explain the diversity of life on earth now and in the fossil record) was that breeders could produce a large within-species change in (eg) dogs and pigeons over a few generations - and if this magnitude of change were extrapolated over many more generations, then he predicted that not only new 'species' would result - but new types of animal, as different as reptiles and mammals, or birds and molluscs, or trees and yeast.

So far there isn't any empirical observation that this has actually happened in real life - i.e. with new 'kinds' of organism resulting from natural selection - not even in very fast reproducing organisms like bacteria.

People of course infer that it happened in the past; but that is an assumption which frames the evidence - I mean that nobody has (so far as I know) actually *made* (or observed the evolution of) a new kind of plant or animal by natural selection in the past 150 years since Darwin.

I think this counts as a failure to replicate.

Jonathan C said...

Thanks for the reply.

I have found one very useful source--the book Darwin's Doubt by Stephen Meyer. It surveys what's known about the fossil record, the Cambrian and pre-Cambrian explosions, the genetic "tree of life" (such as it is) and the problem of the origin of genetic information, and related subjects in some technical detail. It's been a good primer, written from the skeptical side, but as it's the only one I've read, I'm looking to broaden my knowledge and find out how others who have read the technical literature view the same topics.

(I hope there must be some forum where actual scientists debate these things--perhaps the letters page of some biology or evolution journal--but I don't know where.)

Bruce Charlton said...

@JC - The point to grasp is that Evolution by Natural Selection is a metaphysical assumption, not a scientific theory - it is something science is done *within*.

Jonathan C said...

Are you sure it's not both? Seems to me that the scientific theory part of it is falsifiable, as there's been real evidence accumulating against it in the last few decades.

I don't deny its metaphysical aspects nor its role in shaping (and being shaped by) leftist thought, but it also does make real predictions, does it not? Transitional fossils, transitional proteins, a tree-like branching of DNA development?

Bruce Charlton said...

@JC - When you are doing evolutionary theory, it is assumed to be correct and the challenge is to work out possible scenarios.

It is not the *kind* of thing which can be *disproved* - at most there are things which are 'currently unexplained' or where the current explanations are (more-or-less) unsatisfactory (such as the evolution of sexual reproduction - perhaps the biggest hole in the theory; or prominent breasts in women which are clearly sexually selected, but which *ought* to be unattractive because they would signal lactation hence infertility ).

So doing evolutionary theory is not about trying to disprove natural selection - but to work within it and on that assumption.

On this blog I have again and again (scores of times) tried to explain that metaphysical theories (frameworks) cannot be disproved - they are always assumed.

That does not mean they are interchangeable or consequence free - nor does it mean we can do without them - but there is no way to settle (for example) whether the universe is ultimately one thing/ process, or two things/ processes or more than two things...

(Well no way to settle it except by divine revelation - but humans seem to interpret divine revelations *inside* their pre-existant metaphysical frameworks, so in practice even that seldom settles matters.)