Co-opting Science Shows a Lack of Respect

fiery_preacherThere are few people who disrespect science more consistently, or more flagrantly, than the fans of Richard Dawkins.

A real respect for science, in my view, includes a respect for understanding clearly what science does in general, and what a given experiment  shows in particular.

It makes me uncomfortable to sit in a church and listen to a preacher carelessly speak for God–simply assuming that the divine backs his particular social view without bothering to give a reason.

I have a similar reaction to those who claim to speak for science, insisting that it has shown things that it simply has not. Generally, this involves claims that science has never actually tested, and takes no position on.

As a lover of science, I find this disrespectful.

More often than not, it isn’t even a specific study that is being referenced. Rather, there is simply a vague wave in the direction of “science has shown” or “this is a scientific way of thinking”. It never seems to occur to people that science hasn’t “shown” anything that wasn’t demonstrated experimentally,  and not having tested a thing definitely means that there is no experimental demonstration.

This is typically how co-opting science for one’s purposes starts. When pressed, however, it begins to take a more targeted form: deeply distorting what a particular experiment concluded (or was even testing in the first place).

And sloppiness about what is being tested in an experiment, and, consequently, the wild extrapolations made by the New Atheists, are deeply out of touch with the scientific method.

They are also insulting to real science.

Science is powerful precisely because it is careful not to claim more than it has found. The New Atheists can be heard extolling this virtue all across the internet–yet the attempts to make science claim more than it does are every bit as common.

From glibly asserting that Libet’s experiments disprove free will (though Libet himself pointed out how careful examination of his experiments shows no such thing), to the general claim that God’s existence is somehow a scientific question (that has been tested experimentally) isn’t simply an affront to theology, philosophy, logic, and reason. It is also an affront to science.

By all means, let us enjoy the technologies science provides. And let us not forget to appreciate the hard work and brilliance of those who advance scientific knowledge.

But the fact remains that tacking on glib, untested internet memes as if they should enjoy the respect that real science has earned is worse than non-scientific. It rightly offends those who respect genuine science.


4 responses to “Co-opting Science Shows a Lack of Respect

  • cogitatingduck

    Agreed. Probably one of the larger failures of scientism is a disregard for principled reasoning with respect to human existence. Once you start talking about rational agents, these persons all too often have nothing constructive or substantive to say. What a shame for those who take seriously history, the social sciences, and the humanities.

  • paarsurrey

    Reblogged this on paarsurrey and commented:
    Paarsurrey says:

    Very good points made; I appreciate the post.

    Thanks and regards

  • Frank Morris

    Debilis, I am also a lover of science and I fully agree with all points in this article. I agree that Dawkins is among the worst offenders of replacing actual science with his own personal beliefs.

    And I appreciated your analogy comparing preachers who flippantly claim that their every word is the word of God, to the pseudoscientist types who claim to speak for science but with no empiricism.

    Dawkins is one of the few remaining Darwinism advocates. There has never once been any evidence of Darwinism, nor any mathematical model showing it to be possible. Yet it was made law that it must be taught as fact and never questioned in a public school in my state.

    Hundreds of mathematicians have clearly proven that not a single phenotypical trait of any living thing could ever have been formed by Darwinism. This did not deter Dawkins in the least.

    Nowadays, we routinely experiment with what is known as induced evolution. We have hundreds of ways in which we can change the environment of an organism and get a predicted adaptation, each and every time. There is nothing remotely “random” about genetics, as Neo-Darwinists insisted without evidence.

    Although humans get dozens of mutations per generation and the vast majority SHOULD be very harmful if they were random, well over 99.99% of all mutations fit the form, function and context of the individual, and over 99.99% of those which do not are repaired. Cells have a very complex set of genetic engineering tools, using dozens of machinations, including communication between cells and cognitive evaluation of environmental needs. Genetic editing is the precise opposite of random.

    And selection doesn’t even make sense if it is used as a cause of evolution because selection always happens AFTER the evolving of a new trait has already happened. There is nothing about selection that can explain why any trait or species came to exist. OF COURSE if a trait is beneficial to survival, it will increase survival, but that is a circular tautology, which is also useless as an explanation. The entire charade of “selection” is just empty rhetoric.

    Empirical evidence demonstrates that species evolve as needed, when needed, just as we regulate, heal and adapt within our lifetimes as need arises. Darwin’s theory is a crock.

  • Frank Morris

    Science, done properly, is an effective way to elucidate the facts. Like, religion, however, the fact that people put faith in it prompts many to misuse it with their own agenda.

    Both theists and atheists have been guilty of this, but the atheists are the bigger problem by far. For three reasons the atheists are worse:

    1. Atheist apologists go against more evidence. What they believe in is just too far away from what we actually find science is telling us, so they fabricate and deny evidence to a ridiculous extent.

    2.The atheists have been more successful – in recent generations – of falsely replacing science with their beliefs. Creationists and biblical literalists could only wish they could warp science with the aplomb of the materialists. Ironically, the creationists are the reason atheists get away with misrepresenting science, since the media tends to portray materialism as the only option against religious fanatics. Atheist evangelists are THE major problem in Biology today.

    3. The materialist religion is unconstitutionally established and mandated by law through censorship of any conflicting public education. The government’s forced indoctrination of our schoolchildren into the false atheistic cults is strictly enforced, banning empirical data and modern day knowledge, while lying to students that there are no competing theories.

    As Life Science struggles through 150 year old ideology, the medical fields lag behind, causing immeasurable suffering and death.

    Even as we pretend life is the opposite of what the evidence says it is in academia, the pharmaceutical companies are all to happy to fund chemically-based findings, further opposing life as an intelligent agency and further setting back the medical breakthroughs.

    The peer-reviewed process is broken, corrupt and useless. Papers are published on both sides of the dispute, but by journals with competing agendas. Scientists seeking funding and glory exaggerate wild guesses to present them as the latest scientific “knowledge”. Yet any actual innovative discovery is squelched by the staunch guardians of orthodoxy.

    At least the religious folk admit theirs is a faith.

    We need to make science religion-neutral and rid it of agendas as much as possible – with specific focus on eradicating atheistic cults from science.

    The starting point is repeal of censorship laws, so that high school and college teachers/professors are allowed to discuss evidence that living organisms have an intelligent consciousness and a free will ability to animate intrinsic matter purposefully.

    Write your congresspersons. Get materialist religion out of science.

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