Science as Mythology

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by lightgigantic, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,152
    @Rich - there is a comforting effect reading your post, that there is hope after all, through one's innate sense of curiosity and the quest for knowledge


    For some reason this statement reminded me of how, when I was young, the great minds of pop culture - Einstein, Newton, Galileo, etc., achieved mythical hero status. They represented hope to an older generation who had seen the devastating effects of poverty, illiteracy, and intolerance, all curable - at least to some degree - by striving to achieve what these heroes represented: the perfection of human intelligence.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Messages:
    5,160
    Most of the mythology of science is connected to futuristic predictions, where the experts try to into the future, as part of the sale pitch for more finding. Much of this never really pans out to the level of the pitch, but it can often create an irrational reaction in the masses.

    For example, much of the global warming doom and gloom, have a hint of the end of the world mythology. There is often flood in there somewhere, to compete with Noah. The media and film industry often extrapolates science to help create even more mythology. I used to like the $6M Man, who was part human and part bionic. This was sort of the science future pitch allowing super humans, which is always part of mythology. We have genetic manipulation to create odd mutations and super bugs that destroy the world, etc.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,152
    So we can conclude from two posters I will collectively call (perhaps appropriately) W:

    (1) That regardless of what the selfless humanitarian and environmentally responsible scientist may be sacrificing at the altar of duty, she will invariably be the target of superstition. Let the witch hunts begin.

    (2) That regardless of (1) the monsters of technocracy will spin their sordid deeds into the Grimm's fairy tales of science fables - to captivate, while defrauding, the naive childlike average citizen.

    Or....

    ....everything's OK. It's all going to work out. Here, have a look at this new discovery just published at ScienceKillsThe Beast.org (etc.)

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    I will add to the list of myths the one that killed the Superconducting Supercollider. I had friends there. It was a tragic loss. All for a myth.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. arauca Banned Banned

    Messages:
    4,564
    Or....

    ....everything's OK. It's all going to work out. Here, have a look at this new discovery just published at ScienceKillsThe Beast.org (etc.)

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    I will add to the list of myths the one that killed the Superconducting Supercollider. I had friends there. It was a tragic loss. All for a myth.[/QUOTE]

    I believe science have a lot of extrapolated bullshit one is Cosmology and the other is high energy particles
     
  8. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,304
    Since you know little or nothing about either, I don't see what the basis for your belief might be, other than religious convictions.
     
  9. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Science is, in the final analysis, a human endeavor. It is conducted by human beings, with all their faults, biases, peculliarities, and failings. Most of the time science gets it right, but sometimes we get it wrong. Science can be manipulated by the politicians, or misused by the Creationists.

    In spite of all of that, it is the best method ever devised by the human mind for investigating the universe around us. It is self correcting.

    A favorite 19th Century theologian of mine put it this way:

    "There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

    It is somewhat interesting that some people who attack science as evil, worthless, the cause of all suffering and the sure doom of our species, do so in Forums such as this by typing on the computer they gladly shelled out hundreds of dollars to obtain, and for which they pay a monthy fee to be connected via a wire which comes right into their house, is powered by an electrical grid system of unimaginable complexity - all brought to us by science.

    Rich
     
  10. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
  11. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,304
    The Higgs boson. What's mythological about that? Are you referring to the fact that some dumb ass reporter called it the 'God Particle'?

    Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal of Great Britian, speaking about his colleague and friend's book, Stephen Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time" said, "everytime Stephen uses the word 'God', he sells another thousand copies".
     
  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    Not entirely.

    From the OP

    Dramatic storytelling is essential to mythology, and through popular science books and magazines, myth is reborn today as Wolpert's body of knowledge. It is the science writer's myth, not the science researcher/theorist's grind, that captures the public's imagination, seizing for science popular credibility. Even if the myth insults common sense, that only adds to the mystique scientists enjoy in society. Swedish physicist Hannes Alfvn explained this in his 1978 paper entitled How Should We Approach Cosmology?
    The people were told that the true nature of the physical world could not be understood except by Einstein and a few other geniuses who were able to think in four dimensions. Science was something to believe in, not something which should be understood. Soon the best-sellers among the popular science books became those that presented scientific results as insults to common sense. One of the consequences was that the limit between science and pseudo-science began to be erased. To most people it was increasingly difficult to find any difference between science and science fiction.



    IOW scientific investigation + dramatic hubris = myth
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,607
    My answer would be, of course.

    Right. Few members of the lay public, even those with university educations, are in any position to follow advanced scientific argument. So the nonscientific public, whether educated or not, have little choice but to accept the truth of scientific propositions on faith. The magic that the scientists can do, with airplanes flying through the sky and invisible telecommunications, underlines and justifies that faith in the public's mind.

    This results in scientists acquiring great social prestige, authority that they will sometimes try to use to advance non-scientific ends.

    My point is that at the street level, on the level of popular belief, science and religion are probably a lot more similar than either science or religion would like to admit.
     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,607
    The original post was LG quoting some swami (Hindu cleric) who was discussing some other author. I don't know whether any of them are postmodernists.

    I think that it is. It's a set of culturally authoritative ontological and cosmological stories, that give people an imaginative framework for making sense of the world around them. Most nonscientists (and probably most scientists when they venture outside their own specialties) believe in the truth of the scientific stories largely on faith.

    That's a false dichotomy, I think. One needn't be be pseudoscientist or a postmodernist to agree that science functions culturally as a modern myth. THE modern myth in fact, the myth that pretty much defines intellectual modernity. I think that most historians of intellectual life would agree on that.
     
  15. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Actually, it seems like the anti-science luddites use it as an excuse to whine and cry and justify thier own self-imposed abyssmal ignorance about science, rather than to take the time to read a little bit, educate them selves, and move into the modern world.

    There is no excuse for not having a basic knowledge of science. There have always been science educators who bridge the gap between scientists and the public - Bill Nye, Don Herbert, Jeff Corwin, for example.

    I have never encountered a scientist who talks about life in a demeaning fashion. Quite the contrary, we tend to be much more in awe of the natural world than are any of the religious nuts, who take literally the idea that God created the Earth and all it contains as their personal playthings, to pollute and destroy as they will.
     
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    You're just proving my point.
     
  17. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,304
    Failed science in high school?

    You might consider that the problem lies with you, and not with science.
     
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Thank you, I had straight A's in science.
     
  19. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    If you take my post to have proven your point, then your point was not at all what you think it was. You may have gotten all As in Science, or you may not have - I'm unaware of any high schools which offer a course called "Science". But your posts reveal that you in fact learned little, and have a very odd, idiosyncratic view of what science is, and what it isn't.
     
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Indeed, I "failed" to treat science as a religion.
     
  21. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Then you are in the right. Scientists don't either. Glad to see you understand that now.
     
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    And you're still proving my point.
    Duh.
     
  23. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    You are a bit repetitive, aren't you, Wynn? Get back to me when you actually have something to contribute.
     

Share This Page