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Hypothesis: Attacks on Science are motivated by fear and self-loathing.

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posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 08:30 AM
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In this note, I will present an hypothesis that attempts to explain the obsession people exhibit when attacking science and knowledge beyond the mere expression of opinion. There is much literature about 'self deception' and 'confirmational bias', and there is no need for me to rehearse that material here. What I am interested in is what is the source of the need for deception and bias to confirmation of preconceived ideas.

Human mythology is heavy with a discussion of that historical point in time when unconscious became conscious, non-sentient became sentient, non-man became man. The story is couched in many metaphors. For the Greek this was when Prometheus stole fire from the Gods, and the stolen fire motif is repeated in the myths of many of the indigenous North Americans and Polynesians as well.

The Judeo/Christian tradition tells the story of Adam and Eve being commanded by God to 'not eat of the Tree of Knowledge, lest you shall surely die'. The serpent informs Eve that she won't really die and she and Adam gain the knowledge that God had wanted to deny them. Of course, just as Prometheus was punished, so were Adam and Eve. The gods are jealous with their knowledge.

This Biblical story is viewed in a similar vein as the classical and the New World myths by the Gnostic view. The Gnostic's hold that the 'Creator God' is the Demiurge (approximately Satan) who has stolen life spark from the true God-Head. In this light, the serpent is an early manifestation of Christ, the Messiah, sent by the true God-head to help return the life sparks trapped in the created world to atonement (at-one-ment) with the true God-head.

However, unique among all these traditions, the mainstream Judeo/Christian view of the Garden of Eden story portrays the serpent as at best a representative of Satan who provokes the "fall from grace" and the "original sin" that prevents mankind from true atonement with God, thus focusing on the disobedience rather than the triumph of the rise of Man to the world of knowledge. This view has serious ramifications for the psychology of those who believe that somehow a return to pre-fall innocence is possible and therefore that worldly knowledge is not only suspect, but must be positively rejected at all levels. Self-loathing due to the guilt of the original sin, and fear that personal repudiation of the fall will not be enough to rescue mankind from the wrath of God drives them to impose their personal interpretation on all those they come into contact with.

This psychological disconnect is explicit in the constant attacks by so-called 'Creationist's on the Biologic Sciences, and especially the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis; the ongoing demolition of public education by 'right wing' extremists; the demonizing of scientists and the scientific method; the willful refusal to acknowledge even the most simple chain of logic, whether in relation to some rudimentary data observation like the constant radioactive decay of marker elements, or the definition of a 'person' in tax law, or the separation of powers defined by the U.S. Constitution.

To summarize then, most mythologies telling of the ascent of man describe it as a triumph of mankind over capricious even malevolent gods. But one tradition 'spins' the story as a disaster for mankind, treats the idea of the 'original sin' as an excuse to place man in a position of constant supplication to an angry, capricious, jealous God. That this interpretation was layered on to the myth by a Priestly Caste in order to secure Earthly authority over its fellow tribesman is totally lost or irrelevant to some.

The only possible conclusion is that those who seek a return to ignorance as the path back to the Garden of Eden must to impose their mindset on everyone, the fall did not affect the individual offenders, it effected the entire human race. There is no room for differences of view, only complete repudiation of worldly knowledge by the entire human race will suffice. To maintain consistence with their world view they must attack science and education.

This attack process is not necessarily a conscious effort, most stricken individuals probably don't understand the fear they are living with, some are sufficiently conscious of it to exclaim it loudly, for example with strident attacks on 'evolutionists', others are more quiet and attack from within, as politicians, destroying the institutions that promote human knowledge such as schools and 'rival' wisdom traditions.

Does this qualify as a conspiracy? In some ways, yes. There are certainly a number of 'organized' groups promoting this "ignorance theology", from Churches to individual preachers to web sites. But most people are just too unaware of themselves to be part of a conspiracy. Then again that is possibly a feature of all conspiracies.

[edit on 19/7/2010 by rnaa]




posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 08:55 AM
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I'm beginning to develop a theory, based partly on my observation of life on ATS, that a growing distrust of science is a side-effect of the "conspiracy theory" approach to life.

It begins with distrust of the government and other "official" sources, and spills over into distrust of scientists.

You can see it in discussions of, say, the approach of Nibiru.
A believer gives reasons for believing in Nibiru.
Someobody will point out that science contradicts them and the response will be "Yes, but you can't trust scientists; everything they say is part of an elite cover-up".

The more widespread conspiracy theory becomes, the more wide-spread distrust of science will become, I suspect. People will only be willing to believe in things that are not endorsed by science.



[edit on 19-7-2010 by DISRAELI]



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 08:56 AM
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Wow.
The topic was so conveluted by the time I reached the respond point I forgot what you were asking.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 09:04 AM
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reply to post by rnaa
 





Hypothesis: Attacks on Science are motivated by fear and self-loathing.


Proved false quite easily. Science is not a "thing", neither physical, mental, nor spiritual; and therefore cannot be attacked.

What science IS, is a process for discovering Truth. Sadly, the process is as often raped by those who claim it as those who despise it.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 10:16 AM
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reply to post by rnaa
 


I didn't know science was under attack. I don't think most people are denying science, it's just that we have no way of checking if scientists are telling the truth, you know, not manipulating numbers or withholding information and such.

I think we have had some examples of that recently.

Not to say that scientists are bad or evil, but whoever funds them has a lot of influence.

Btw, I think you could lose three quarters of your post.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:20 PM
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reply to post by CableKing
 


Agreed. I was a bit long winded there.

I asked no question. I presented some thoughts for consideration and discussion.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:32 PM
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reply to post by blood0fheroes
 





Proved false quite easily. Science is not a "thing", neither physical, mental, nor spiritual; and therefore cannot be attacked.

What science IS, is a process for discovering Truth. Sadly, the process is as often raped by those who claim it as those who despise it.


Your post is contradictory, first saying science is not a thing, then saying it is a process (which is a thing).

I think I understand what you are driving at however. Would you care to expand on your point?

Science is much more than 'just' the process of the 'Scientific Method', but even if it were not, processes can be attacked. For example, both the American electoral system and the Constitutional processes are currently under attack by the so-called 'birthers'.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 06:46 PM
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There is no conspiracy here.

This thread does not belong in CiR.

Any attempts to try to stretch the parameters of this thread by the OP to include a conspiracy are disingenuous at best.

Eric



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 07:30 PM
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Hypothesis: Attacks on "scientific claims made by corporations and governments" are motivated by evidence and experience.

I don't really understand how fear and self-loathing can cause "attacks on science". Assuming "attacks on science" is referring to a distrust of accepted scientific authority, I can easily rebut the premise of this thread.

Evidence and experience are two of the most common causes of distrust regarding "science."




Vioxx is a drug that was approved as safe by the FDA due to studies conducted by Merck & Co, yet it killed about 25,000 people. "Science" said it was safe.

Bare with me here.

Merck & Co did science, and the science they did said Vioxx was safe. The FDA reviewed the science and agreed.

So what went wrong?


Sucralose is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, but it makes many people very sick, including myself.

So what's going wrong.


The science you do will reflect whatever the person signing your paycheck wants. Most people cannot afford a sudden loss of employment, can you?



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 07:42 PM
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reply to post by rnaa
 


Great post. There is definitely some of this going on, with people being taught that science is filled with liars trying to drive God out and usher in an era of pure secularism. It also reminds me of the Jesus Camp documentary where they talk about Harry Potter being an enemy of God. There are children being raised to believe that fantasy and imagination can be sources of temptation, sin and evil.

And finally the first thing that popped into my head when I read your post:



I always found it odd, even when I was a Christian, that God lied in the Garden while the Snake told the truth. This never seems to bother Christians, even ones that take this story as literally true.

Star and Flag



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 10:47 PM
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reply to post by Point of No Return
 




I didn't know science was under attack.

I'm surprised. I think that the fact is obvious just from reading ATS. One poster is obsessed with proving Einstein wrong putting up post after post with spurious claims, another is obsessed with Evolution in the same way. Each disparages and condemns science, the scientific method, the scientific consensus, scientists, science educators, science establishment administrators, and science journals.

The evolution attacker is obsessed because he/she is convinced that if science is right, then the Bible is wrong and the entire foundation of his/her world view will come crashing down. There is no room in that world view for the possibility that God created the world the way it is so that mankind could learn about its incredible beauty. This person sees the world of science as a direct threat to their spiritual existence and sees it as their responsibility and duty to convince the world of its error.

The Einstein attacker is obsessed because he/she is convinced that if mainstream science is right, then their personal favorite alternative Theory is wrong and the entire foundation of his/her world view involving so much personal investment of non-scholastic study will come crashing down. There is no room in that world view for the alternative theory to co-exist in any form with the common cosmology, it is either/or. This person sees the world of science as a direct threat to 'true' knowledge, as a cabal of who have some sort of corrupt intent to freeze scientific advancement.

These are just two examples taken from the pages of ATS. There are thousands of examples, from relatively harmless cranks on the internet like these two, to polititians stripping funds from research Universities and science education courses from schools, to parents withdrawing their kids from public schools so they can limit their education, to lobby groups trying to force schools to teach religion as science, to newspaper moguls encouraging mobs to invade town hall meetings and deny communication between polititians and constituencies, to vested interests stealing private communication between scientists and using it to try and impeach their credibility.

The broad based attack on science is glaringly obvious to anyone who pays attention to the world around them. Whether this attack constitutes a conspiracy or not is open to debate, that the attack is happening is not.



I don't think most people are denying science, it's just that we have no way of checking if scientists are telling the truth, you know, not manipulating numbers or withholding information and such.


This comment is, in fact, an attack on the integrity of scientists, and thus casts doubt on the body of knowledge accumulated by them. Do you not see the cognitive disconnect between saying you weren't aware of an attack on science in one sentence and then attack Science in the next by repeating an example of a particularly vile attack?

You don't have to be an expert in everything to understand the basic concepts, weigh competing statements, and come to your own conclusion. For example, when presented with the following competing statements:

  • Denier: Climate Scientists ignore the sun in their models. The earth is warming up because the sun is getting warmer in its natural cycle.
  • Scientist: The sun indeed has natural cycles, and the Earth's warming trend does not follow that cycle. We have included the sun influence in all our models, indeed it doesn't make any sense to do otherwise. We have even plugged your worse case scenario into the models and found that it does not predict the observed data.


Which one is more likely true? Consider the motivations of the protagonists. One is trying to dismiss the consequences of observed data by attacking the messenger. The other is trying to answer questions. One is trying to prove someone else wrong, the other is trying to ensure he is right. The deniers motivation to raise doubts is obvious, but what would be the motivation for the scientist to be wrong?

The denier loses nothing from being wrong and gains nothing from being right. The scientist loses everything from being wrong, and gains everything from being right.



I think we have had some examples of that recently.


You are refering, I presume, to 'Climategate'. In fact the results of 'Climategate' are exactly the opposite of your 'thought'. Wikipedia has a comprehensive summary here: Climatic Research Unit email controversy.

The only 'substantiated' charge was that some of the statistical methods used for some aspects were poorly chosen, but at the same time it is likely that the more correct methods would have produced much the same result. This argument could have been carried out in the scientific literature without the necessity of criminal trespass.

The fact is that all datasets and models used by the Climate scientists under attack have been available to anyone with access to the internet. Anyone with the competence to use them could have evaluated them. That you are not personally competent to evaluate that data and duplicate their research is not an argument against its correctness, all it means is that you haven't trained in the relevant field.

True, there was a small amount of data that was restricted to 'approved' researchers, not by the Scientists that were the custodians of that data, but by the national Governments that collected the data. Those Governments, mainly the USA and Russia, imposed commercial restrictions on their data to prevent the free distribution of that data. Again this is not an argument against the correctness of the research, only of the short mindedness of Government agencies involved.



Not to say that scientists are bad or evil, but whoever funds them has a lot of influence.


Only on what is researched, not on the results of that research. And that control is stronger when the scientist is employed by a company with specific biases in the desired results. Thus tobacco companies employ scientists to research the cheapest way to ensure their products will addict people, not to figure out it their product is going to kill them.



Btw, I think you could lose three quarters of your post.

Point taken. I'll concede that at least one quarter of it is wasted words. Is this one any better?

[edit on 20/7/2010 by rnaa]



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 10:50 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


I totally agree

Ive seen so many threads where the statment "You can trust scientist" used over and over again. Its used for almost every single conspiracy that has a science aspect, from NASA to meteorology, to biology.

IMO, its simply a defense tactic they use to reassure themselves that their opinion is the correct one. Its also funny that they trust people that also have no experience or knowledge of the science they are discussing. Cliff Carnicom and Sitchin are prime examples of people with none or limited knowledge in the conspiracies they are involved in



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 11:23 PM
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reply to post by Sunsetspawn
 





Vioxx is a drug that was approved as safe by the FDA due to studies conducted by Merck & Co, yet it killed about 25,000 people. "Science" said it was safe.

Bare with me here.

Merck & Co did science, and the science they did said Vioxx was safe. The FDA reviewed the science and agreed.

So what went wrong?


What went wrong is that the FDA doesn't do science and doesn't even review science anymore. All the FDA does is make sure all the bureaucratic processes have been followed.

Merck & Co don't really need to to prove Vioxx is safe to the FDA , and in fact it is impossible to prove that there are no harmful effects (you can't prove a negative); they only need to show statistics to demonstrate that it does what they said it does within the parameters defined by the FDA protocols and that the observed negative affects are within the parameters defined by the FDA protocols. If those protocols don't set up tests to look for particular kinds of harm, Merck has no motivation or requirement to look for it.

This is not good, but it is the way that it is.



Sucralose is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, but it makes many people very sick, including myself.

So what's going wrong.


I am not trivializing your illness, but many people are made sick by a great many substances that are harmless to most people. Many thousands of people today are deathly allergic to peanuts but there is no argument that the FDA should ban peanuts.

Personally, I cannot abide the taste of artificial sweeteners. What's wrong with real sugar?



The science you do will reflect whatever the person signing your paycheck wants. Most people cannot afford a sudden loss of employment, can you?


Exactly. Companies looking for reasons their stuff works aren't looking for reasons their stuff shouldn't be used.

In a previous post, I used the example of Tobacco companies. Their scientists are employed to find cheaper more effective ways to addict their customers, not to find out if their product kills people.



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 11:33 PM
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Science is a good way of understanding the components of the immensity and complexity of the divine.

Those who attack science generally believe that God could not or would not do something that they themselves cannot understand.

This is the greatest form of contempt for God that I can imagine. And they do it without any sign of understanding how odd it is to claim that God is great and the creator of all things - but would never do something so complex they don't get it.

However, scientists of a certain type are just as invested in their model as the religious. It seems to be a human trait. Perhaps for those who don't have a solid identity of their own.

Scientists are not the bastions of truth. They are merely methodological plumbers of reality. Methodology isn't always truth, and it often isn't logic. Science can be right, and what the scientist makes of it can be wrong.

[edit on 2010/7/20 by Aeons]



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