Thursday, May 22, 2008

Beware of Scientists who insist they know the best

It seems as though at least one columnist from Great Britain is about as put off with the scientific "elite" as some of us Darwin doubters are.

"Huge issues are being debated, deep emotions are involved and firmly rooted beliefs are lined up on either side. Indeed, seldom has more tolerance and understanding of contrary views been required.

But instead of tolerance, the debates have been marked by bigotry, zealotry and a refusal to accept that contrary views can have any validity at all.

What's more, this gross intolerance has not come from the ranks of politicians, who make a profession of denigrating their opponents, or the religious, who have a rich history of persecuting dissenters.

Shamefully, the worst offenders have been the scientists and their supporters, the very people who make the loudest claims to rationality and of being swayed by facts not fundamentalism.

Oh, and FYI for the slow learners. Again, I am not speaking out against science. I'm speaking out against "science" that is based on dogma and a particular ideology. If the "scientific community" is going to go that route, then other ideologies have a place at the table as well. Don't throw the term "facts" in my face when you're basing your "facts" on your own personal philosophy and interpretations.

It appears the author of this article is as sick of listening to the "apostles of scientism" as those who support ID are...

Alas, the superior and vitriolic response of much of the scientific establishment is only too familiar to me, a lover of science who has spent more than 30 years covering its controversies.

It emerges every time anyone dares to challenge the orthodoxy of what Professor Brian Wynne, of Lancaster University, neatly dubs 'the institutionalised idolatry of science'.

'Its embedded assumption is that no rational and properly informed person could possibly disagree with the desirability of whatever science endorsed - whether it be nuclear power, chemical pesticides, thalidomide or genetically modified crops and foods,' he said.

Remember when Prince Charles ventured to suggest there could be concerns about GM crops and that science should 'seek to work with the grain of nature'?

"Professor Steve Jones of University College, London, came out guns blazing and called him 'a classic woolly thinker' who should 'go back to school and do more A-levels'.

It's the same old vitriol - although, ironically, science is increasingly proving the Prince, rather than the professor, right.

And it's not just that the apostles of scientism seem to believe that no one without top scientific qualifications is entitled to an opinion.

With all the zeal of a modern inquisition, they also persecute leading scientists who dare to take a contrary view - even if those contrary opinions are ultimately sound.