The Scientific Dictatorship
Although this article is not intended to be part of my current series, it does follow on neatly from an earlier one, where I criticised a book by Steven Pinker. There he offers his positive vision of science; here I’m going to take a look at the dark side.
I believe that the term in my title was coined by Aldous Huxley. It can be described as an attempt to elevate what is merely an ideology to the status of absolute truth, suppress all debate about this, and persecute all opponents, equivalent to the suppression of freedom of expression in former communist countries. The following quotes are from someone brought up in post-war Poland; they are equally applicable to other nations in the former Soviet empire:
- “History, the socialists believed, was moving inexorably in the direction of ‘progress’, and the role of the vanguard was to vanquish those standing in its way”.
- “Arguments no longer revolved around truth, but were judged by their fidelity to the tenets of the secular religion. You were either with the movement or against it”.
- “Anything which stood in the way of the forward march of socialism was labelled by communists as ‘reactionary’, ‘bourgeois’ or ‘idealist’ ”¹.
I don’t think it would be controversial to call such a system an ideological tyranny. I believe that something similar is happening in the world of science. If we replace the words ‘history’, ‘the secular religion’ and ‘socialism’ with ‘science’, and ‘reactionary’, ‘bourgeois’ and ‘idealist’ with words like anti-science, pseudoscience etc., then we have a fairly accurate description of what is currently going on. Of course, it is not true science that has taken hold of our culture, rather so-called science as a mask for the philosophy of atheistic materialism.
This movement is seemingly at its zenith and fully in control, an authoritarian Orwellian-style thought police. If you think I’m exaggerating, let’s consider a recent example. Last year the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) in the USA accepted a proposal for a talk by Herman Bouma, head of the National Association for Objectivity in Science. The event was scheduled for April 14th 2019 at 8 a.m., and as the event drew near, the talk was listed in both the conference programme and on the conference app, but to his surprise was removed the night before. He nevertheless went to the room the next morning and started to set up. I’ll now quote the first two sources from my bibliography: “Shortly after Bouma arrived, three senior conference officials approached him… They let him know that it had ‘come to their attention’ the night before that this talk was to be of a faith-based nature and that they had decided to cancel the talk. When he asked who brought this to their attention, they said they were ‘not at liberty to say’. “They told him to pack up. Meanwhile security guards joined the conference officials in turning people away at the door”. “Backed up by no fewer than four security guards, three conference officials hustled him out, accusing him of promoting fake science”.
Faith-based? Fake science? The topic was not especially controversial. He had previously provided the NSTA with a summary, following which the talk had been agreed. It was about Darwin’s theory of evolution, but Bouma was not mounting an attack on it; he was merely noting the objections that Darwin received following publication of his theory, and his responses to them. “Bouma’s emphasis was on the civil dialogue that Darwin fostered in his writings, and the hope that educators today would strive for the same”. “Darwin himself sought out dialogue with critics. His modern followers seek to shut it down”. It seems that, according to the National Science Teaching(!) Association it is not even possible to have a description or report of criticisms of Darwinian theory without the thought-police intervening.
Bouma subsequently requested a meeting to discuss what had happened with the executive director, who declined. The Discovery Institute, an anti-Darwinian organisation and my source for this story, contacted the NSTA for a comment, three officials refusing, and a further one failing to respond to a voicemail. They say that “this is what is commonly called stonewalling”. Bouma himself is quoted as saying “It Was Like the Darwinian Gestapo”. He also notes, Darwin wrote that “I look with confidence to the future, to young and rising naturalists, who will be able to view both sides of the question with impartiality.” Alas, Darwin’s example — and his hope — weren’t much in evidence among the conference officials who decided to shut down Bouma’s talk.
This is not an isolated example. I have downloaded many similar articles from the Discovery Institute on the subject of censorship in relation to Darwinism.
Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is one of the foundation stones of the atheistic Scientific Dictatorship, as demonstrated by the writings of Richard Dawkins and Julian Huxley. The Discovery Institute recently published another interesting article on the same theme (number 3 in bibliography). It was about the Yale computer science professor David Gelernter, who has announced his rejection of Darwinism, and is entitled To Challenge Darwinism Is to “Take Your Life in Your Hands”.
These are only one man’s opinions, of course, but some quotes make interesting reading:
- “Gelernter said an ideological bent has taken over the field of science”.
- “Gelernter said he likes many of his colleagues at Yale, that they are his friends, but when he looks at ‘their intellectual behavior, what they have published — and much more importantly what they tell their students — Darwinism has indeed passed beyond a scientific argument as far as they are concerned. You take your life in your hands to challenge it intellectually. They will destroy you if you challenge it’ ”.
- “What I have seen in their behavior intellectually and at colleges across the West is nothing approaching free speech on this topic. It’s a bitter, fundamental, angry, outraged rejection [of intelligent design], which comes nowhere near scientific or intellectual discussion. I’ve seen that happen again and again.”
- “Gelernter said the outlook is bleak: “Religion is imparted, more than anything else, by the parents to the children… And young people are brought up as little Darwinists. Kids I see running around New Haven are all Darwinists. … The students in my class, they’re all Darwinists. I am not hopeful’ ”.
The last quote refers to the indoctrination that takes place in the education system. Delusions cannot last forever, however, and the truth will eventually come out. At the beginning I compared the Scientific Dictatorship to the political systems in communist countries. It is therefore important to state the obvious that these ideologies collapsed under the weight of their own contradictions and illusions. The Soviet empire has gone, and Maoist China has been converted to State Capitalism. What was once perceived as truth is now in the dustbin of history. Let’s look forward to the day when the same can be said about the Scientific Dictatorship.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, psychology, science, Christianity, politics, and astrology. All these articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click here and here).
1. Eric Kaufmann, discussing Professor Ryszard Legutko’s The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, https://unherd.com/2019/08/is-woke-culture-totalitarian/