Since it’s Easter, it’s high time we confronted a devastating argument against science. Hold onto your test tubes, fellow beings, your faith is about to be shaken.
Isn’t it true that you, dear reader, believe in Science? That your belief in its powers is ardent? That you wouldn’t think of doubting it?
That you can’t see any reason why Science is wrong; indeed, you can only see reasons why it is right? Why, you could defend Science, the practice of science, it many sects and -ologies, and the scientific method all day, all night, all into the next day, and so on almost inexhaustibly.
Well, all this is a matter of simple observation about your behavior. But your attitude, the depth of your belief, you must admit, is largely driven by your culture. It was your parents, was it not, that first imbued in you the worshipful admiration you have in Science? And this was reinforced constantly by a succession of teachers, friends, jobs, and even sources of entertainment. You were saturated in Science whether you liked it or not.
Just think: use your reason. People not born into Science don’t share your belief in it. Those folks bred in Papua New Guinea, to use one of hundreds of examples, do not share your prejudices, are not under the spell of Science.
Put your mind to this: these people live and die, just as we Science worshippers do. They eat, marry, have children, they go about their daily lives. They have dreams, aspirations, desires, conflicts; they have culture; they know. The only difference between them and us is that they were raised without our superstitions in Science.
They, and many like them, are closer to Nature. Their spirituality, their religion, is more beautiful and surely far less stressful. They have more respect and understanding of the world around them—the earth is not a thing to dissect, but a thing to admire. The number and character of differences in beliefs between them and us are not really important, at least not here. What is is that these differences exist and are large in magnitude and many in number. That is the eye-popping fact to consider.
Papua New Guineans have no innate drive toward Science. To be sure, they have heard of it. Our missionaries have reached their shores and told them of Science’s wonders. But they reason, and reason correctly, that they were living just fine without it and therefore they don’t need it. This must be true, because these people have been living there fine for thousands of years without the benefit of Science. They even claim their lives are better. Except for a handful of isolated converts, they stick to what they know.
Because this is all true, it should cause you to reconsider your unquestioning attitude toward Science. If your belief is largely a matter of the culture into which you were born and given that other peoples born into other cultures believe differently, it is therefore possible that your beliefs are wrong and those other peoples’ are right.
Really, it is you who is acting unreasonably, unthinkingly. Don’t be a slave to your accident of birth! If you really were an independent thinker, you would see the logic behind these other Ways Of Life and abandon Science.
Happy Easter, everyone. He is risen.
Update I guess I’m not surprised that I must announce that Ye Olde Statistician wins the bet with himself. See his comments on that subject below. The argument in this post is pretty bad, isn’t it? So how do we account for its frequent reappearance? On the other hand, I notice a lot of people have used Science to proclaim Science’s superiority. Back to basics!