Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Scienceolatry: Science as a Religion and Idol

Posted by Tony Listi on April 26, 2009

Our student newspaper, the Battalion, seems to worship the All-Powerful, Almighty Science, who saves all from death and conservatism (secular sin), especially one staff writer in particular, Mr. Tiruvadi:

“[M]any Americans are just getting sick of sectarian bickering and dogma, turning away from organized religion and instead toward an optimistic humanism that accurately reflects 21st century hopes…. As time went on and pesky scientists were dealt with, the inevitable transition of atheism from the dark arts to an acceptable religious identity accelerated. What we’re seeing now is the natural extension of the spirit that started the science ball rolling centuries ago…. Religion is often associated with vehement opposition to stem cell research, classroom science lessons, individuals exercising their rights and sexual scandals while those that don’t believe are seen as intellectual elitists.”

The irony is that there would be no modern science without the Judeo-Christian tradition. Virtually all other religious traditions, those of the gentiles and pagans, thought of the physical world as permanently divine and thus irrational (for their gods were capricious). Only with the coming of Yahweh, the Creator of the natural world, did humanity powerfully come to see order and reason to the universe, an order which by human reason could be measured, studied, recorded, even manipulated. The story of Galileo has grown into an atheist/agnostic myth over time. There is no real conflict between science/reason and Christianity.  Humanism, divorced from divinely sanctioned morality, must degrade into horrific, totalitarian power-worship over time.

Tiruvadi also writes, “As our excellence in science, arts and business increases we will see a shift in public misconceptions of A&M, fortified by our increasingly knowledgeable faculty and research focus…. In the coming decades we’ll find ourselves deeper into the vanguard of science, a place where our definition of tradition will really be tested and we’ll be confronted with controversial opportunities. For example, will A&M’s participation in stem cell research be an affront to its tradition? If you define A&M’s tradition as wholly steeped in conservatism then yes, we’ll have to forsake our brain just to be a big heart. Will we let misconceptions of the theory of evolution get in the way of how we teach biology? Luckily the integrity of science is still strong at A&M, but growing reactionary views can bring even science dangerously close to conservatism’s guillotine.”

Ironically, the guillotine was the instrument of the “progressive” French Revolution, which also idolized rationality and science and attempted to destroy all signs and symbols of organized religion. How appropriate that those who worshipped rationality would execute their heretics by chopping off the seat of such rationality! “Conservatism’s guillotine” is an oxymoron.

Media Credit: Jordan Bryan

Obama seems to have become Tiruvadi’s Scientist in Chief: “This may very well be the closest we get to a scientific-messiah-president, and that’s good news for every American…. America is still at the vanguard of scientific innovation, with brilliant minds paving the way…. The promise of stem cells as a viable cure in any disease is still up in the air, but as science always says, you don’t know until you know. And now, with a President that doesn’t resort to religion-laden stem cell rhetoric, we might finally know.” Thanks Yogi! Brilliant!

Science says touch your toes…. Touch your head. No, you’re out, I didn’t say “Science says“!

And they call us religious nuts? Who says science can’t be perverted into a religion (scientism) with their own messiah and dogma to go with it?

I could argue with Mr. Tiruvadi ad nauseam. But nothing I could say would be as powerful as three movies: The Island, Gattaca, and Brave New World. As I’m sure he would agree, seeing is believing, no? These are three must-see movies for everyone.

Science has methods and nothing more. It has no ethical standards in and of itself. Ethical standards must be applied to science from without. Science is knowledge and thus power. Power has no ethical standards in and of itself. Power-worship merely takes different forms throughout history. The golden calf, the hammer and sickle, and the swastika have all seemingly been replaced by the glass test tube.

Yet this is precisely what Mr. Tiruvadi and others like him seem to claim: science can do no wrong. They are not willing to engage in a moral debate because science sets the terms of morality, or, even worse, has “determined” that morality is a biological-sociological phenomenon, a delusion of sorts. “There is no good and evil; there is only power and those too weak to seek it.” When does human life begin? Does innocent human life have dignity and thus deserve protection, no matter the stage of its growth and development? These questions are brushed aside as heresy, as challenges to scientismic dogma.

Ironically, science itself tells us when human life begins: conception. Humanity can be scientifically defined, more or less, by genetic material, 46 chromosomes. And life can be defined, more or less, by the presence of cells, especially those which grow and divide. Thus conception is the exact moment at which humanity and life become one and find coexistence. So tell me, which book of the Bible or religious dogma did I just cite? The left abandons reason rather than embracing it.

In contrast, scientism and its acolytes often wish to define human dignity on a sliding scale based on intelligence; the intelligent may thus oppress or even enslave the ungifted and untalented. The mentally disabled, the senile, the comatose, and even the child, within or outside the mother, are thus expendable according to this strict logic.

We have seen communism and fascism, leftist ideologies both, deny human dignity and use the power of the state to commit genocide and enslave human beings. Perhaps the worst is yet to come under neo-pagan scientism, for it promises a power over human beings that not even Hitler or Lenin could have imagined, a miserable totalitarian power that only fictional movies can capture and illustrate…for now.

11 Responses to “Scienceolatry: Science as a Religion and Idol”

  1. G said

    Pretty much typical conservative anti-science propaganda – you only look far enough into things to support your case and don’t dare to delve any deeper. Science is much more than what you can find on a wikipedia page, which apparently you didn’t even check since you seem unaware that life isn’t just “a mass of cells.”

    People like you will die off or separate themselves from society, religion and science will continue to happily coexist. It’s not a battle, you’re just making it out to be one.

    • foospro86 said

      This post is not “anti-science”; it is anti-scientism, anti-scienceolatry. It redeems science by setting it within a moral framework. There is no necessary conflict between conservatism and science.

      I wrote in this post, “There is no real conflict between science/reason and Christianity.” Oh yeah, I’m “making it out” to be a “battle.”
      Just admit it, you didn’t even read the post.

      And we conservatives who cherish human life rather than abort or contracept it obviously will not die off (Do you not know how life reproduces itself?!). It will be you lefties who care nothing for posterity b/c you tend not to procreate posterity. Darwin says you lose.

      Look at any basic biology book. Life is overwhelmingly, if not completely, cellular. Mammalian life (and thus human life) is completely cellular. You don’t have to take Wikipedia’s word for it.

      • G said

        Stop trying to argue biology with a biology PhD student. I am not denying that being cellular is not part of life in any form – but there’s significantly more to being “alive” when you go beyond the cellular level. If you opened any basic biology textbook you would know this. Hell, if you bothered to read the wikipedia article on “life” you would actually know this as well unless of course you only read the introduction.

        You say you’re not against science, but most of what you’re saying in here is considered to be “anti-science” by a very large portion of the scientific community by comparing it to faiths or belief systems – which it is not nor will it ever be.

      • Jack Black said

        How do you go from “life is cellular” to “a group of cells is life”?

        You need a lesson in logic.

      • foospro86 said

        Oh, so I should just shut up because you are a high-and-mighty Ph.D. student? I get the feeling many ppl get Ph.D.s just so they can browbeat others with their degree rather than actually form coherent arguments for their opinions.

        There’s more to life than functioning cells? Do explain, if you can.

        More dogmatic appeals to authority, ::sigh::. Jack Black is right: you may be an expert in biology, but you need a lesson in formal logic and logical fallacies.
        The entire scientific community could be communists (or Nazis, as they were in Germany) for all I care and they’d still be wrong. The scientific community all used to be racists during the eugenics craze.

        I compare scientism to a religious faith because it is one. Science has its own philosophical presuppositions that most scientists never take the time to reflect upon.

  2. God's Other Son said

    I’m no political scientist or philosopher but is inserting Hollywood movies (not references to, you literally say “The Island is my argument”) as aspiring points into an ‘essay’ anything but laughable?

    • foospro86 said

      Did you watch the movies I linked to? These are substantive movies with clear and powerful messages. Don’t dismiss them offhandedly with a mere label of “Hollywood.”

      I know “Hollywood” has a superficial connotation (justifiably), but these movies are not trivial and handle very important themes with regard to science, human nature, human dignity, human liberty, etc.

      Movies make arguments all the time, often the most powerful of arguments, whether you recognize them consciously or not.

  3. G said

    Read the wikipedia article on life.

    It tells you what the generally accepted 7 requirements for life are. Not all functioning cells qualify under this definition when looked at individually and this currently INCLUDES zygote and some stages of development of the fetus. It’s pretty simple… I don’t really feel the need to explain something to you that wikipedia could if you BOTHERED to read past the introduction in the article… or I mean, maybe you should read the article on development too if that’s too much for you… or if you don’t trust wikipedia there are plenty of other resources out there. But, I mean, if your issue is with THAT definition of life – I’m fine with it, a lot of the scientific community debates on it pretty regularly but that is what is GENERALLY ACCEPTED at the time being.

    Clearly I made a decision to dedicate my life to research so I can browbeat people with a degree to support my liberal agenda. I mean, because research is easy and it doesn’t require any sort of passion or a level of intuition or intelligence to actually achieve it… man, I’m glad I realized that I’m spending years making less money than I could be just so I can put other people down and not because I actually care about science and the research that I’m doing.

    • foospro86 said

      Which requirements does the zygote lack? But moreover, are those particular “requirements” REALLY relevant?

      For example, let’s say we were to castrate someone or make them infertile through a vasectomy or tubal ligation or w/e, are you telling me that this person is suddenly not alive? Are you saying that this person has no human dignity?
      Of course a zygote can’t reproduce! It itself is the immediate result of reproduction. Many living organisms cannot reproduce until maturity/puberty, but does that mean younger organisms are not alive??

      When I say “life,” I mean “being alive.” I don’t mean necessarily “a complete organism.” A functioning skin or heart cell in a petri dish and a one-celled zygote are both alive, but only the latter is a living and complete organism, though still growing and developing (which all organisms never cease to do).

      I didn’t say you had no passion, intelligence, etc. But I did accuse you of trying to use your status as a Ph.D. student to avoid a real dialogue and conversation. I think you’ve decided to engage now though.

  4. Arthur said

    “The irony is that there would be no modern science without the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

    I could be wrong but i think the scientific method in its current form was invented by a Muslim named Ibn Al-Haytham around 1000 or so AD

    The views you put forth from Atheists/Humanists/whatever are only believed by a very tiny minority of them. What you’re saying basically amounts to me saying, “all Christian nations are now and have always been like Spain during the 1500s. You all enslave indigenous people and you all kill the non believers if they refuse to convert.”

    “Humanity can be scientifically defined, more or less, by genetic material, 46 chromosomes. And life can be defined, more or less, by the presence of cells, especially those which grow and divide.”

    Skin flakes have 46 human chromosomes and grow and divide.

    I agree that the Galileo story gets over exaggerated, but they still put him under house arrest for having a theory that had solid factual grounding. What your article doesn’t say is that Copernicus’ works were published posthumously out of fear for his life.

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