Thursday, October 30, 2008

QUOTATIONS


"Science IS the new religion."

Martin Heidegger

“The separation of state and church must be supplemented by the separation of state and science, that most recent, most aggressive and most dogmatic religious institution.”

Paul Feyerabend

"For the time being we have to admit that we do not possess any general theoretical basis for physics which can be regarded as its logical foundation."

Albert Einstein

"Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is ‘The Book of British Birds’, and you have a rough idea of what it is to read Richard Dawkins on theology."

Terry Eagleton


PREFACE TO 'THE SCIENCE DELUSION'

The aim of 'The Science Delusion' is not to defend any specific religious doctrines or dogmas, but rather to offer a timely counterpart to the new wave of aggressive anti-religionism exemplified by Dawkins’ ‘scientific’ critique of The God Delusion.
It does so by critically examining the supposed rationality of ‘science’ itself, showing that it is as much based on unquestioned assumptions and dogmatic beliefs – accepted entirely on faith – as the most ‘fundamentalist’ of religions.


The words ‘science’, ‘conscience’ and ‘consciousness’ all stem from the Latin scire –‘to know’ - a verb whose root meaning is ‘to cut through’. By ‘cutting through’ the common myths that make up our idea of ‘science’, as well as those that science itself fosters and is founded upon, this work presents a ‘heretical’ challenge to the quasi-religious authority that science wields in today’s world - or is used to wield for commercial and political interests.

Yet in contrast to the sterile Western debate between religious ‘theists’ and secular 'atheists', this books argues that God’s reality is not a question of the existence or non-existence of some sort of Supreme Being ‘with’ consciousness. Instead I draw on the Indian understanding that God is consciousness - a Supreme Consciousness that is both omnipresent and omniscient, universal and unbounded - for it is not, in principle, the property of any thing or being that comes to be or ‘exist’ within it.


Whatever your standpoint on God, The Science Delusion raises two important questions (1) why it is politically and culturally acceptable to question belief in the existence of God (a belief shared by both Newton and Einstein) but regarded as politically and culturally ‘incorrect’ to question (as did both Newton and Einstein) belief in an invisible force called Gravity? (2) what are the new waves of irrational religious fundamentalism a reaction to? Is it that religious fundamentalists are mad or bad, or are they just unconsciously reacting to the arrogance of a ‘new religion’, which despite its global authority - and in the absence of anyone to play the role of ‘God’s Galileo’ - hasn’t begun to be rationally questioned – ‘The Science Delusion’?


By ‘cutting through’ the many myths and delusions that make up our idea of ‘science’, as well as those that science itself fosters and is founded upon, I offer a ‘heretical’ challenge to the quasi-religious authority and almost totalitarian hegemony that the scientific world-view wields in today’s globalised Western media and culture - a culture in which deference to ‘The Science’ has become as automatic as deference to ‘The Church’ used to be in medieval Europe.


FROM THE INTRODUCTION TO 'THE SCIENCE DELUSION'

A typical news article of the sort that can be found almost everyday in the press today begins by announcing that “Researchers at the University of Oxford will spend 1.9 million pounds investigating why people believe in God. Academics have been given a grant to find out whether belief in a deity is a matter of nature or nurture.” In other words, belief in a deity is no longer even considered to be a theological or philosophical question at all – that is to say, a question of thought - but is instead reduced to a matter for ‘scientific’ investigation to be determined by ‘research’ (and that within the parameters of a wholly unquestioned, unthinking and superficial dualism of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’).

More frightening than this is the fact that not a single critical eyebrow is raised at the new, wholly unquestioned faith in ‘science’ of the sort that this type of ‘news’ reveals. That is why, in the context of the controversy surrounding the role of religion in today’s world - and the ever more aggressive attacks on it exemplified by Dawkins’ book on The God Delusion – it is well worth remembering the words of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, namely that “Science is the new religion.” He pointed out also that science is “...to a quite unimaginable degree, through and through dogmatic; dealing with un-thought-through conceptions and preconceptions.”

The fact is that most people remain literally ‘blinded by science’, unable to see or to see through its quasi-religious nature and the unquestioned dogmatic foundations on which it is based. The reason why faith in this “new religion” of science should be so blind is that it is based on a completely mythical understanding of the true history and nature of modern science and of scientific ‘explanations’ of the universe – which actually have the character of mythical explanations themselves.

It is these mythical explanations that this work challenges and undermines.

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