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.
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.