Scientism - Why Pseudoskeptics Treat Science as a Religion
(even though they say they don't)
Now let me clarify something. Critics of pseudoskeptics have accused them of believing in Scientism - the belief that science is to be treated as an authority with all the answers and taken on faith, just like a religion is. In response, pseudoskeptics claim that science is a process of independent peer review and replication and therefore not a religion.
So then, is science a religion, you might ask? Well, yes and no. Technically, science is not a religion. It is a methodology of investigation through evidence and inquiry to arrive at logical conclusions. As such, science is a TOOL, like a computer. It is not an entity that holds dogmas or ideologies, like people do. Therefore, science is not pro or anti-paranormal, anymore than a pencil, computer program or mathematical formula is.
However, the scientific establishment is another matter, because it involves people, politics, power, money, institutions and vested interests. And as such, politics, corruption, control, censorship and suppression are naturally a part of it. Realists know and understand this. But for some reason pseudoskeptics don't.
The key fallacy that pseudoskeptics make is lumping the scientific method and process with the scientific establishment into one, assuming that they are one and the same. That is the major fallacy of the organized skepticism movement, which consists of the JREF, CSICOP and Michael Shermer type crowd. In doing so, they falsely assume that the science and medical establishment is objective and unbiased, free of politics, corruption, control, censorship and suppression. That's where their major mistake is. As such, they deem the science and medical establishment as an unassailable authority that is not to be questioned or challenged. In that sense, they are treating science as a religion. So even though they claim that science is not a religion, they still treat it as such, by holding the views of the science establishment as an unquestionable authority.
So, if researchers such as Dean Radin, Rupert Sheldrake or Dr. Gary Schwartz come up with evidence for psychic phenomena, it is automatically dismissed as invalid, simply because it challenges the orthodoxy of the science establishment, not because the experiments were not legit. And they will use any excuse to do so, including the lamest ones.
Likewise, when evidence comes up that vaccines, fluoride, aspartme or mercury dental fillings are dangerous and harmful, that evidence is suppressed and deemed inadmissible, simply because it threatens the medical establishment and its vested interests, not because the evidence is untrue.
By filtering out such contrary evidence, even when it is legit and valid, pseudoskeptics definitely are treating the science and medical establishment as a religion. And as we all know, religion is authority and faith based, not evidence based.
You see, no one likes to invest a lot of time and money into something, only to have it proven wrong or changed. And the science/medical establishment is no exception. They are people with political interests, not objective unbiased machines. So let's get real here.
You don't have to be educated to understand this. Anyone with common sense, street smarts, and real life experience knows this. But pseudoskeptics, in their fanaticism, ignore such common sense realities. They are fanatics, not realists.
Furthermore, organized skeptics like to tout "science" as a peer reviewed process of independent replication, and therefore totally reliable. In doing so, they treat it like a "democratic process" in which the majority of scientists decide what's true by agreeing on it. This is another fallacy, because it assumes that most scientists are objective and unbiased, and free to say whatever they want without consequence.
But this is not the way the real world of money, power and politics works. Any realist knows that when you work for an institution or receive funding, you have to "tow the party line", or else you are out. It's that simple. Any scientist who says something that opposes the views of those he works for, will jeopardize his career and reputation. There are many real life examples of scientists and researchers who have lost funding or suffered damage to their career for espousing unorthodox positions, even if their position was legit and evidence-based.
Moreover, most people are not unbiased, open minded, or hold truth as the highest value. Instead, they are concerned with their image, reputation, career, funding, and hold rigid views that they feel safe and comfortable in. Many people do not like uncertainty or mystery. They want a world where things make sense and are predictable and well-defined. That's why they are prone to fall into rigid unchanging belief systems. Why would scientists be any different. They may be more educated than the average person, sure, but they are humans, and humans have biases.
It is the truth seeker and freethinker who questions everything and does not hold any authority as truth, who is most likely to find the truth. Not the most educated or well connected with institutions.
Pseudoskeptics ignore all this, or are blind to it, because they are fanatics, not truth seekers or freethinkers. When you look at the overall picture, this becomes obvious.
Thus, the key difference in this area between the pseudoskeptic and the truth seeker/freethinker, is that the former holds the science/medical establishment as a religion of unquestionable authority, whereas the latter does not, and recognizes it for what it is - an institution with vested interests, politics, power, money, control and censorship that is not above suppressing that which threatens it.
Anyone who examines the material produced by pseudoskeptics can see this apparent pattern. They hold everything said by the science/medical establishment as unassailable truth and authority, and never question or scrutinize it, ever, while automatically dismissing anything that opposes it. That's not skepticism. It's thought control, mind control, and suppression of truth.