Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The strange world of “skeptics”

When you already know all the answers what's left to talk about?

If you point out to a self-proclaimed "skeptic" that science is unable to answer all the questions that intrigue man and that the only way to answer some questions is to step outside the scientific domain you may be met with great hostility.  Their attachment to the scientific method is fanatical in its passion and zeal and hard for an outsider to fathom.

Because science has proven so successful in helping us understand certain universal mechanisms many people mistakenly conclude that it is able to answer all of our questions.  The questions it is unable to answer are then seen as nonsense or irrelevant.  But to adhere to this perspective (scientism) means that many of the most interesting and essential elements of human life are placed off limits for contemplation and debate.  I believe this limits us as human beings.

Related to this is the notion that there are no valid types of evidence for any given phenomenon outside those gained by the scientific method.  All other ways of gathering information are not just seen as fallible but are seen as completely worthless.  As a result you have one of the high priests of scientism, Richard Dawkins, saying his own personal experiences are completely irrelevant in terms of his understanding of truth.  For him, only things that other high priests of science have agreed upon have any reality, apparently.  I find this strange, to say the least!

Another strange element of the “skeptic” mindset is that if you question the all-seeing, all-knowing ability of science and claim that there are other types of evidence that can be used to understand the world they start to think you are advocating for a belief in every hypothesis and belief mankind has ever held under the sun.  They think you are advocating for flat Earth theory, Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and so on.  It is as if, somehow, if we realize science is limited in its ability to describe and explain human experience then we must also lose our rational sense as well.  Of course, this idea makes no sense and it shows just how much skeptics are dominated by emotion rather than by logic. 

Like other fundamentalist religions, scientism is an emotion driven belief system which just happens to place establishment science as its arbiter of truth, where other religions may place a holy book, or more accurately, the interpretation of that holy book given by its priests.  For “skeptics” their priests are the public figures of establishment science, who can do and say no wrong.  And if they do suddenly disagree with a key pillar of scientific dogma then they are excommunicated, seen as heretics, and called pseudo-scientists, a title held for those who fundamentally disagree with prevailing scientific dogma.

Sharka Todd

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