Science went from a method to a fundamentalist belief system in under 400 years.
The year was 1660. London. Europe had been ravaged for centuries by the black plague, but even worse by regressive theocracies. This is the year that the first organization of scientists associated under the name The Royal Society. The entire spirit of the enterprise could be summed up by the three words they chose as their motto — NULLIUS IN VERBIM. “Take nobody’s word for it.”
Their mission statement was crystal clear in their intentions for science. Science was to be a method by which individuals investigated phenomena, not a priesthood of infallible experts whose authority became law. That is what state churches had done for centuries throughout Europe, and the Protestant Revolution that disrupted theocracy had also informed academia and planted the seeds of modern science. It was to be the end of dogma and the frontier of self-ownership and critical thinking.
360 years later it started taking its final breathes. In 2020 the majority of humanity collectively ceased skepticism. They became more afraid of other peoples paranoia than their own potential gullibility and blind faith. They began taking the authorities word for just about everything. Almost none of them could understand enough to determine if the information that corporate owned and sponsored media/government officials saturated their newly digitized world with was valid. They didn’t know nearly enough about science to verify the data, let alone to do their own independent observations, testing and interpretations. They were happy to believe what they were told.
This was largely due to three factors. First of all they couldn’t all possibly investigate for themselves. They had become so specialized and buried in the endless loop of pointless labor and consumption that drives capitalism, it wasn’t possible for them to understand. So they decided to take experts words for it. Why would the oligarchs lie to them in scientific terminology?
Secondly, they mostly didn’t even know what science was. They just knew that it often got the job done, and falsely believed it was the only view one could hold except for religion. It was the one true way.
Finally, and most importantly, they got scared. Out of fears that had been concocted by the perilous sophistry of statistics, and often without any personal experience to confirm the veracity of the boogeyman allegedly stalking them, they gave fully into a new priesthood and insisted the state follow its edicts. The scientocracy was born.
Doublespeak, absurdity and fanaticism gripped the scientocracy. Self-righteous fervor fueled its supporters, and they reaffirmed their piousness with the self-congratulatory heroism of obedience and performative goodness.
R.I.P. Science 1660–2020
To be fair, it had already nearly committed suicide in previous years. Quantum mechanics began pointing impeccably towards an observer created reality. The realism and materialism which had driven science was being made scientifically obsolete by the discovery that our experiences are shaped by our beliefs and expectations. So science sorta nibbled at the crust of its death before ever taking the slice. We need not mourn it.
But mark my words, the scientocracy, which need only appeal to science in order to manufacture consent, that situation is going to get bleak fast. Welcome to The Dark Ages 2.0.