There is little doubt that in our increasingly secularized society we have a new priestly class.
We call them scientists.
As generations before us looked to religious authorities to provide an accurate view of life, so in our day we turn to people with PhD’s to explain all of reality to us.
Instead of pastors, we share our failings with psychologists.
Instead of looking to a revivalist with a saw dust tent meeting for a miracle, we anxiously wait for the masters of technology to provide us with signs and wonders.
Instead of a white collar, our new priests are easily identified by their white lab coat.
And for many, this new “age of reason” is a marked improvement from the past.
After all, scientists are only interested in the facts.
No personal bias.
No prejudice to foul up our brave new system.
With our new faith in science – what we could call “scientism” – we have no need to worry about people spiking, altering, or censoring facts just to get a grant, or to maintain a position at an institution of higher learning, or just to be thought of highly by their peers.
We now get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us Darwin.
Well, maybe not.
The fatal flaw of faith in scientism is pretty easy to spot.
Scientists are people.
And all people come custom equipped with a few fatal flaws.
Like personal bias.
Like the desire to protect position, status or even a reliable pay check at the end of the month.
And if truth gets amended a bit in the process..
Oh, come on, now.
Isn’t that a pretty serious charge?
Do you have some evidence to suggest that the products of human frailty, not the hard cold facts have been fed to us by a significant part of the white lab coat set?
Glad you asked.
James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal relays a story of science gone to seed on one of the most important issues of our day.
Computer hackers reveal corruption behind the global-warming
“Officials at the University of East Anglia confirmed in a statement on Friday that files had been stolen from a university server and that the police had been brought in to investigate the breach,” the New York Times reports. “They added, however, that they could not confirm that all the material circulating on the Internet was authentic.” But some scientists have confirmed that their emails were quoted accurately.
The files–which can be downloaded here–surely have not been fully plumbed. The ZIP archive weighs in at just under 62 megabytes, or more than 157 MB when uncompressed. But bits that have already been analyzed, as the Washington Post reports, “reveal an intellectual circle that appears to feel very much under attack, and eager to punish its enemies”:
In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.
“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow–even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann writes. . . .
Mann, who directs Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, said the e-mails reflected the sort of “vigorous debate” researchers engage in before reaching scientific conclusions. “We shouldn’t expect the sort of refined statements that scientists make when they’re speaking in public,” he said.
This is downright Orwellian. What the Post describes is not a vigorous debate but an attempt to suppress debate–to politicize the process of scientific inquiry so that it yields a predetermined result. This does not, in itself, prove the global warmists wrong. But it raises a glaring question: If they have the facts on their side, why do they need to resort to tactics of suppression and intimidation?
Unfortunately, the global warming/climate change controversy is not the first example of our modern priesthood not only establishing a non scientific orthodoxy that cannot be challenged, but also actively attempting to ferret out and suppress any dissenting voices as “heresy”.
It has already happened before – when Darwinian evolutionism became to new coin of the realm.
In the research for my book Reasonable Doubts – Is Your Faith Based On Fact or Fiction? I came across a story that I called “The Strange Case of Forrest Mims”.
Mims was a writer for Scientific American Magazine. His contributions were articles on how to do home physics experiments.
The articles were free of editorial comment and well received.
That is, until Mims let it slip that he believed in – Oh, the horrah! – Intelligent Design!
Mims was immediately sacked.
The word from top?
It didn’t matter that Mims never touched on theological issues in his “how to” physics experiments.
It didn’t matter that he was an award-winning researcher with impeccable credentials.
“No good scientist could believe in intelligent design.”
Often times I have heard evolutionists proclaim that if creationism is not at odds with solid science why isn’t this point of view published in the leading journals?
Maybe the problem isn’t to be found at the content level. Perhaps the real problem is at editorial.
And so the high priests of science have made an all too human progression – from explainers of fact, to proponents of an unprovable philosophy called naturalism, to heresy hunters with an intolerance and arrogance that would have done the Spanish Inquisition proud.
Thomas Huxley, a man known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his ardent faith in evolutionism, once said “Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.”
Whether it is the “Let’s fudge the data to fit our view of the facts” phenomenon coming to light in the climate change debate, or the “No creationists need apply” signs at the front door of scientific journals and halls of higher learning, the conclusion is clear.
The dirty secret of the white lab coat set is that they are just as human and fallible as the rest of us.
And just as inclined as the rest of us to say,”Don’t confuse me with the facts. My mind is made up.”
It seems that the words of the apostle Paul are more relevant now than ever.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:18-22)
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