If you wish to control the people you need to control the ideas they are exposed to. The best way to do this is to control the messages they are being fed by the institutions seen as having the greatest authority.
Traditionally, this was done through religion but now it is science which is the current age’s arbiter of truth.
Luckily for the elites, establishment science is a hierarchical structure that depends heavy upon funding and so it enables the powerful to influence the scientific institutions through choice of leadership, media pressures and funding arrangements.
Certain lines of inquiry are promoted, both by the leaders of establishment science and the controlled media, and other lines of inquiry are lambasted, ridiculed and dismissed as "pseudoscience". In this way, scientists are encouraged to only ask the questions that support philosophical viewpoints that promote a controllable, authoritarian society.
The current fad of philosophical materialism (also called "physicalism") is one that suits the elites because it keeps the general population thinking they are small, weak and largely irrelevant.
A alternate philosophy- that we are each spirits, part of a grander whole, of which we are an integral part, immortal, immensely creative, and truly sons and daughters of the most high God, is not one the elites wish to promote. Instead, the idea that we are purely physical beings with no future and no true creativity is one they encourage and physicalism, as promoted by mainstream science, achieves this end nicely.
See also: Has science taken the place of religion?, Science, authority and the power elite