The Blindness Caused by Chronological Ethno-Centrism:
Viewing Science as Immune to Dogmatic Thought
Copyright 2014, John Manimas Medeiros
Science is the current religion. It is difficult, frustrating, to try to persuade a person that there is such a thing as a doctrine or dogma upheld in a field of science. People are so blind to their own authoritarianism that they cannot grasp the linguistic principle that if one states that a belief is a closed issue, not subject to further discussion, research or doubt, that such a doctrinal statement is the same as an authoritarian religious dogma even when it is constructed with the terms we associate with science. For example, "The universe is expanding and it started with a Big Bang or explosion from a small point of existing matter" is recognized by people as a statement from the field of astronomy, from physical science, or as a "scientific statement." But, it is linguistically a religious statement, because it states a dogma that is closed, not open to further doubt or exploration. I say that it is a "religious" statement because it is no longer scientific. My position is that in order for any stated belief to be considered scientific it must still be an open door, an issue open to doubt and further research. If the door of further consideration is closed, then the statement is no longer science, it becomes religious because it is fixed, no longer subject to scientific research or experimentation or exploration.
The accepted definition of "dogma" is: "a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true." There is no longer an opening for controversy. Any controversy that existed previously is settled and closed. The definitions offered for "doctrine" consistently attribute doctrine exclusively, or almost exclusively, to the fields of religion and political opinion. One definition offered is: "a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group." How interesting that such a "doctrine" might be "held and taught" by an "other group." The identity of such an "other group" is not specified as being possibly a group of scientists.
In our society, "science" has become the "exempt institution." I define the "exempt institution" as the real religious institution in any society or culture. The exempt institution is the authority that cannot be questioned by anyone outside of the controlled membership inside the institution. In other words, in Medieval Europe, the Roman Catholic Church was the exempt institution, because only members within the Church, only clergy, were deemed qualified to discuss the doctrines of the Church or question or change them, or establish which were correct and which were in error. Today, the institution of science is the exempt institution for the same reason: only scientists with membership in the institution (recognized and approved degrees) are deemed qualified to discuss or doubt a scientific question or a scientific doctrine. This seems perfectly right to most people, because most people believe that science is, by definition, the correct source of reliable information. What people are blind to is the fact that such commitment to belief is still religious in character. If a concept is believed beyond doubt, and it is beyond being questioned or challenged by the public (by the people), then it has the same character and quality as a religious dogma that existed in a society in our past history. Just because we believe it now, and we use our institution of science to defend it, does not make is "less dogmatic." If a belief is deemed settled beyond doubt, no longer open to discussion or controversy, it is the same as a religious dogma from the viewpoint of linguistic and or neurological science. In other words, we cannot logically define religious beliefs that are fixed doctrines as "dogma" and then define scientific beliefs that are fixed doctrines as "not dogma" just because we have adopted science as our source of reliable information. In some societies of both the past and present, religion is deemed to be a source of reliable information. Just because our society and culture regards science as reliable, because of the cult of the "scientific method," does not mean that a belief placed "beyond doubt" by the institution of science escapes the definition of "dogma." If a belief is fixed and closed for further discussion, it is "dogma" and it is authoritarian, and it therefore possesses the character of religion or the quality of a religious belief. The people in a society such as ours, that has adopted science as its source of truth, are so certain that mathematics and science cannot be wrong, they cannot conceive of science as being made up of "doctrines" or "dogma." But every principle, every "law of nature" that is deemed known beyond doubt is a belief that possesses the character of religion. The only other logical alternative to my position is that we have all agreed, both as to language and thought, that all beliefs that are questionable or doubtful, not based on logical proof, are by definition "religious" or "political," and all beliefs that are based on logical proof are "scientific" and correct. If we subscribe to such definitions, that science is "logical" and "the laws of nature" are correct, and religion is "myth" and "not logical" then we have simply stated precisely the central concept of my proposition here: we have pre-defined religion as belief and science as knowledge, without realizing that these are linguistic conventions or thought conventions. Because we pre-define science as the source of truth and religion as the source of emotion-based error, we do not see that what we have done is we have made science our religion, because we have designated science as the pre-eminent source of truth.
I offer this proposition as a work in the field of history. History is looking back. Looking back, I see people regarding religious institutions as the source of truth. Today, I see people regarding the institution of science as the source of truth. If we simply recognize, as I suggest, that the institution designated as the source of truth is the exempt institution, then one can see that science is our religion. We do not doubt statements that are or have been defined as "scientific" and it escapes our notice that we have closed the door of doubt the same as a medieval priest who told a woman that she is going to hell. If the priest believed it beyond doubt, and the woman believed it beyond doubt as church dogma, it was, for them, scientifically beyond doubt. They believed their religious concepts with the same fervor that physicists today believe that the universe started with a Big Bang. Even though, within a few years, the institution of science will tell us that the Big Bang theory is a mistake.
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