Scientism — The Dominant Religion of The West

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him” -Friedrich Nietzsche

In his declaration of the secularisation of the West, Nietzsche has to a large degree been accurate, yet what he feared was that the death of religion would be replaced by something that looks different, but in practice serves the same purpose.

“Follow the science” has become a popular slogan, especially the last 1,5 years for obvious reasons. Many of us consider ourselves to be “on the side of science”, implying that our opinions are formed on the basis of scientific consensus, and that there is apparently an other side of the debate, basing its views on emotion, faulty science, or malevolence.

Yet, what is it truly we mean when we say that we follow science?

For most of us, this necessarily implies trusting those who we perceive as authorities on a given subject, as the burden of research is too voluminous for anyone to truly do on their own. Therefore, this approach necessitates that we have a large degree of trust in governmental institutions, deemed as being authorities.

This can seem like a sensible approach on the surface, yet there are several critical problems with this way of forming opinions.

Firstly, science is not some monolithic entity that always holds absolute truth, regardless of the institution conducting it. In its essence, science is the attempt at understanding the reality we live in, and thus it always has an open mind to new ways of understanding subjects. It is always open to being proven wrong, challenged, debated.

There are almost always disagreements within the fields of science, and even when there is a seeming consensus this is not necessarily a positive thing.

Throughout the centuries there has been scientific consensus around a wide variety of horrific ideas, which if you were to contest at the time, would have been called “anti-science”. We look back at those times wondering how people could possibly believe what they did, without realising that we are just as liable to believe wrongful information as they were, as they for the most part were simply following the guidance of the authorities at their time.

And while we certainly have made advances through scientific effort, there is still a fundamental shadow present in our psyche regarding how we relate ourselves to figures of authority.

Science itself is not a problem by any means. The problem is that we have been socialised, indoctrinated, into having a strong reverence for individuals, institutions, entities, of authority to a degree where science has come to occupy a similar space that religion used to occupy.

And while this can appear both uncontroversial and positive, what it really means that we are still labouring under the worst aspect of organised religion;

the control of our thoughts.

As mentioned earlier, science is an attempt at understanding reality, yet that attempt is made by people. They may have studied for many years and be well educated on their field, yet they are still liable to the same pitfalls and pressures as everyone else.

They are as human as the rest of us.

A prevalent issue is that of the funding for science, which comes usually via governmental institutions, funds, or corporations, and whichever the source, this generally means that the interests of the source must be supported by the research created by the scientists. Failing to ensure this, normally leads to the obvious result of losing funding, yet sometimes also the more indirect threat of ostracisation from their scientific community.

Thus, we need to realise that the people who control the funding have immense influence over what science will be conducted and published to us. Taking even a glance into the history and present moment actions of those entities should be cause for alarm for us all.

For while their public relations-departments have done an incredibly good job at hiding it, both our governments and the large corporations have acted with absolute disregard for our well being, with a focus on one thing; centralising power.

Whether it be the pharmaceutical industry ensuring us that only their products can keep us healthy, the chemical industry promising us that only their products can provide the food we need, or the government assuring us that removing our most basic human rights is in our own best interest, all of these entities act with the sole purpose of accumulating power.

We are being told that we are powerless to these entities, encouraged to simply mind our own little rat cage, while surrendering more of our sovereignty in the promise of resolving the very problems which these entities have created themselves.

Trusting the scientific research propagated by these entities thus becomes nothing more than a willing submission to their will. Taking an honest look at where this has lead us immediately affirms that something is fundamentally wrong.

The natural world is being destroyed while our civil liberties are increasingly taken away, and we are slowly following the arc towards dystopia.

Doing your own research is time consuming, challenging, and upsetting to our sense of reality, yet the reward will be a freedom that removes the shackles indoctrinated onto us and which empowers us to create real resolution to the challenges we face, as it allows us to ameliorate the root-causes of what is destroying our lives. It is the only real way of creating the change we want and need, as most of us, whether we admit it to ourselves or not, know that the solutions offered by governments and corporations are both hopeless and malevolent.

We have to think for ourselves in order to honestly reclaim any sense of integrity, and this means challenging every single belief we hold.

So don’t just read about why that person is against what you are, but go read why. That is a person who came in to this life with roughly the same sized brain as you, and through his/her experiences arrived where they are now. This doesn’t mean we will agree, but I’d argue that understanding is an even better standpoint to be at anyways.

You may lose the affirming comfort of agreeing with the “official” narrative, yet what you are really losing is simply the approval of others who have given up their autonomous thinking, mistakenly celebrating their own loss of integrity.

There are some immediate challenges that need to be faced when making this shift, especially when it comes to feeling entirely overwhelmed by the effort it takes. We can’t become experts on everything, and will to a large degree always have to trust others throughout our lives, yet there is nonetheless an immense difference between simply trusting and believing someone because those around us do so, and in reflecting on what we’re told and forming our own opinions.

Thus, there will still be authority, in the form of individuals capable in a given field, yet it will be up to us ourselves to grant them the esteem of authority, on the basis of our judgement and not the pressure of others.

It may be challenging and scary, yet until we make this shift, we will essentially be under the control of people who have proven time after time that they do not have our best interests at heart.

We will be religious zealots deluding ourselves as being free thinkers.

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