Science is Modern Myth (Or, How “Arguable” Trumps “True”)

“Science does not have to be true to be accepted. It only has to be ‘arguable.’ In fact, it can be observed that the more arguable (the less plausible or logical) a scientific idea, the more funding it will require.”

What is science? It is modern myth, wrapped in technological diversion…

by Liam Scheff

We are asked to believe that ‘science’ somehow equals ‘truth.’ But today’s science functions exactly as myth did in the ancient and medieval world. Science is myth, but with the added dimension of experiment through technology.

Technology is tool-making, at an increasingly complex level. It is something humanity does by nature. We make objects into specialized tools. We are very good at it. We develop tool-making to a level of precision detail that is truly impressive. But technology is not ‘truth.’ It is an object – a manipulation of a material substance.

Today’s religion – science – dresses its myth in the garments of this highly-specialized tool-making. This makes it even harder to penetrate than the myths of old. By combining mythic belief with technology, we have invented a priestly class of ‘scientists,’ who cannot be questioned even by learned citizens.

“But science is proven by experiment!” I hear you cry. This is, at least, what we are told to believe. If something that can be ‘experimented’ with – by playing with volumes of liquid, metal or gas – it therefore must be “true.” We even define the term with itself – it becomes “scientific,” which we use as a synonym for “accurate” or “true.”

But what if the central theory in which the experiments are based is false? Then the experiment does not reveal a deep truth, only a deepening confusion.

Let’s take an example from today’s scientific priesthood. “The Big Bang.” The start of everything. Is this a ‘scientific’ idea, or a myth?

Astronomers today believe, like the priests of old, that the universe formed from nothing – a null point – which somehow burst into being — everything! They call this hypothesis “The Big Bang.” To quote author and satirist Terry Pratchett, “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded!”

Is this a new idea? It is as old as human society. It is the exact mirror of the Biblical Genesis – ‘First there was nothing, and then God turned on the lights!’ So how did Big Bang Theory come to be regarded as science?

The idea of a ‘scientific Genesis’ emerged in the 1920s, from an astronomer named Georges LeMaitre. This stargazer was more than a mathematician – he was also a priest, a Monseigneur in the Catholic Church. Abbé Georges LeMaitre was devoted to his math, and to the ancient myth of Genesis, and wanted to reconcile his two pursuits.

He arrived at his ‘scientific’ studies with a pre-existing myth in hand: “First there was nothing, which became everything.” He postulated that a ‘cosmic egg’ was the source for the universe. His hypothesis was at first rejected, for being so transparently Biblical. But, then, a funny thing happened.

Scientists who had abandoned the old myths for the myth of ‘pure science,’ began to support this barely-disguised notion. They formed proofs, set up complex mathematical structures, opaque to the layman, which argued, ad nauseum, a “somehow” that was confounding enough to keep critics at bay.

And today, all astronomers are stuck with this notion – an untestable recapitulation of the Biblical creation myth.

But Big Bang ‘theory’ can be disproven by a grade-school student, if he or she is permitted to think about it critically for a moment. First, it is not testable. It can’t be proved, or observed. This is a bad place to start a theory…

Second, it predicts a uniform, homogeneous shape of the universe. But the universe is arrayed along traveling ‘clumpy’ power-cords, Birkeland currents of electromagnetically charged and shaped material, coursing through space.

Third, it is said to be ‘proven’ by observing a quality of stellar light called “red shift” and “blue shift.” The idea was that red light was always moving away, and that blue was always approaching. In observation this turns out to be false, and red and blue shift seem to indicate a more complex energy dynamic, and not simple distance.

But you see, we’re already under the microscope, arguing sub-theories. This is how today’s science – and yesterday’s religious dogma – confounds the mind and silences critics.

If the theory is wrong – not testable, clearly based in a pre-existing mythic notion – then how can a quality of light be correctly interpreted to support one and only one idea? Answer: It can’t. Not realistically, not with a clear head. Not logically…

But it can be argued, to eternity.

Our major scientific theories are rarely true, but they make up for it by being “arguable.”

“In the beginning there was nothing – which exploded!” “Now,” Say the Ph.D. candidates, “Let’s argue thirty fragmentary points till dawn, and return no wiser than when we started!” Goes the old college cry. “Let’s talk about nothing for years – for decades! And collect grants all the while…”

And this is precisely what is happening in graduate schools today. We’re funding a thousand circular and bottled arguments about entirely mythical, and quite illogical propositions.

Take your pick from the “Science Bible”:

  • “Injecting children with proteins and chemicals drawn from animal cells and industrial labs protects them from illness.”
  • “HIV is a singular wily, fragile, ever-shifting particle; it is the cause of all of the illnesses called AIDS.”
  • Nothing exploded, by accident, (which is why we’re all here).”

Are any of these true? Not in the details. Not when examined in context. But they all breed a torrent of argument.

The ability to be ‘argued’ to distraction makes up for missing the central point, by having ten-thousand technical sub-arguments for every (incorrect) major thesis…

AIDS, plate tectonics, Big Bang, Darwinism, vaccine ‘theory’ – take your pick. They are all contradicted by observation. They are all entirely consistent with pre-existing dogma and myth. But they are all protected from criticism and hidden behind a thousand layers of highly technical, jargon-heavy ‘sub-theories’ meant to excuse the failings of the overriding idea.

Science does not have to be true to be accepted. It only has to be ‘arguable.’ In fact, it can be observed that the more arguable (the less plausible or logical) a scientific idea, the more funding it will require.

In other words, a failed hypothesis, like “Big Bang theory,” which managed to gain popular support within the scientific priesthood, is even harder to challenge than a truly new and revolutionary idea – because it will be defended by a generation of researchers, whose reputations would be incinerated if the theory were to die a public death.

The worse off a popular theory, the more it can be ‘argued,’ the more ad-hoc ‘solutions’ or rubber patches can be applied, the more research grants written to “unravel the continuing mysteries”…the longer a rotten idea stays afloat.

But for most of us, challenging the priesthood is uncomfortable. We need our myths. And so, for the most part, we don’t disturb the myth-makers with devastating questions or serious criticism.

But we are silent at our own peril. What we don’t know does hurt us, when scientists create massive public policy campaigns based on broken ideas. We pay in taxes to support their research, and with our health as we suffer the results of their gross misunderstandings.

We can do better. We have to ask ourselves to increase our level critical thinking concerning the pronouncements of today’s science. We must think more deeply, more argumentatively, about what we are told, if we want today’s “great truths” to be more accurate than yesterday’s dogma.

Further Reading

5 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    Yes, I agree with all you say except one point which is not crucial to the primary message about science. The Big Bang Theory is about “Nothing, which accidentally exploded”. The Creation Story is not the equivalent, because before creation there was something. By definition, God existed before Creation, and he had Purpose. Quite a big difference.

    To return to Terry Pratchett in a lighter vein, what if our universe exists as a snow globe paperweight in some other dimension, how would we know? We can’t know from inside, and science is the least equipped of the philosophies to instruct us on such mysteries as where and why we are.

    [Reply]

    Liam Replies:

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you got something out of it.

    Have you poked around plasma cosmology? Some of the links might be fun for you.

    On your critical point, my spiritual sense and practice is diverse, leans East, and is not so very orthodox or literal…I’m not Christian, nor a Biblical literalist (in fact, I tend to reject scriptural literalism of any kind as having any lasting value).

    But I think you are incorrect; Genesis and Big Bang are reciprocal models of each other, even sharing an historical source – the priest who ‘transubstantiated’ one into the other.

    Coloring the religious view more favorably just goes to your expressed bias – a particular religious view – which you express in fairly Christian terms. I have a spiritual view of the world myself, and I certainly favor it, but I find it difficult to express as a gendered literal statement, “He was around before he created…”

    I’ll take your point that the infinity from which everything emerges is… infinite! But I can safely or reasonably place no historical point of ‘first creation.’ I think that is the mistake that all literal religions – big bang, christianity, etc – make.

    Of course, the Big Bangers will make similar protests to your own: “It wasn’t ‘nothing’ that exploded! It was just a very very small! Invisibly small! And it expanded! Quickly! Very quickly! Not ‘exploded!'”

    So, you can argue the filigree, but don’t miss the story’s function in society. it is the same – genesis, creation, a first moment, described and ‘explained.’

    As to snow globes in other dimensions, I take your point very well that in our small view there is only so much we can see. So true!

    But, I find a lot of the ‘what if we’re a peanut in a giant’s box of popcorn in another universe’ stuff to be… oh… it misses the exciting stuff. The universe is electrified plasma, and that’s worth looking in to.

    [Reply]

  2. Bryon Jones says:

    I thank you so much for this and wish for you more energy to do more of the same.

    [Reply]

  3. Bill says:

    The latest article I saw today (4-12-2011) was how “they” may be wrong again. They being the scientists. You see, they found, or think they’ve found (which is kind of the same thing for “them”) a bunch of ancient stars in an ancient galaxy and these stars may have come in to existence before they thought it was possible. And their first explanation for this, even they claim cannot possibly be true. They said maybe the hydrogen “fog” that existed (They believe) after the Big Bang and that they aren’t 100% sure (A common trend) how it dissipated, but they think (Read: Believe) that radiation caused it to go bye bye. Except such an explanation would not work with these new stars because according to their belief system, their God, this Big Bang, came in to existence at a specific time and the radiation to disperse the hydrogen gas came in to existence in sufficient quantity to disperse the hydrogen at another specific time and therefore their understanding of their God and what He did after He exploded, or expanded is…um…not quite correct.

    Once again their Big Bang Bible has to be edited, maybe even rewritten to work in the new “enlightenment” their God has shown them regarding how old stuff is. And as Liam pointed out and has often been coming in to play over the years since it became part of their Dogma…This red shift was the culprit. They discovered how old these ancient stars were using red shift and gravitational lensing to see something they otherwise could not see. The idea being for us to simply believe that what they saw is really there as the jargon and tech-speak has no simple wording to explain what they do. Only their High Priests are able to interpret their Bible and their Gods teachings. Very convenient.

    The next step of course is that they need just a little more funding to do a little more inquiry in to their latest discovery. A discovery that shows that much of the other inquiries they made after the last passing of the plate were not quite as accurate as we were led to believe. But in the immortal words of Bullwinkle the Moose, “This time for sure!”

    I am not sure this should be comforting or not, but the Big Bang religion has been around only briely. Like many religions in history, it spread quickly, gained many followers to the “Truth”. Many religions don’t last. Eventually some other tale explaining everything comes along and people jump on that bandwagon. Humanity wants answers to how the universe works and priests won’t have jobs if the explanation is not simple like a universe of electrified plasma.

    On a somewhat related sidenote about Dogma and indoctrination, our own education system here in the United States places great emphasis on teaching a single, one-sided view of history. America is always the good guys. There are no real conspiracy theories like JFK or the Gulf of Tonkin because good guys don’t do bad things and we are the good guys. When you ask most American’s, those who spend little time researching the official story of our country, they regurgitate the same story. And they generally believe it even though much of it is wrong or “interpreted” in our favor, leaving out bad stuff.

    In this same manner our kids go to school and learn about “science”, being taught that the Big Bang is how it all happened. In the early stages of education like Junior High and High School and in to the first four years of college, the story is pretty much the same, seems rather straightforward and is therefore accepted as having few flaws. A perfect story. It is only as you climb higher on the ladder of knowledge, or spend some time really listening to some of the explanations that it all just becomes too complicated to understand. The Big Bang story of Creation does not hold up to scrutiny too well and the story has to change from time to time when new “facts” alter the story that was made up to begin with. This is why, just as historians now understand that the Gulf of Tonkin incident that got us in to the Vietnam War, something we wanted to do anyway so it was very convenient, turns out to be a fabrication and a lie. You aren’t taught this at the lower rungs on the ladder of knowledge, but with just a little inquiry you realize, uh oh, I was lied to!

    This is why the High Priests, those at the top of the ladder of knowledge have to keep changing the Big Bang story so often is because it is not fact, it is not proven, it is just a religious belief no different than Christianity, Paganism or Mormonism. So many people believed in the Greek Gods. Where are they now? What happened to those “facts” and “universally accepted, unquestioned beliefs”? I don’t understand why the Mercury space missions didn’t have to navigate around Atlas standing there holding the Earth up. Where did Atlas go? Or do only the people who believe in Atlas see him? It is all a little fuzzy. Like religion. Good thing we have plenty of High Priests to interpret and explain it all for us.

    [Reply]

  4. Bill says:

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Do_Milky_Way_Companions_Spell_Trouble_for_Dark_Matter_999.html

    They just need a few billion dollars more…maybe five hundred billion tops!…and then they will have a replacement for dark matter. It will be invisible… you won’t be able to see it, detect it or even study it, and you will have to trust them it is really there… and that it explains everything… Oh, and sorry they didn’t find the Higg’s-Boson… but this time they will get it right!

    And if you act now, for just twice the cost they will find the replacement for Higgs-Boson AND Dark Matter… but you must act now, operators are standing by to take your donations. Tithe now!

    [Reply]

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