Volatility

February 1, 2016

Science is Part of Human History

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System authoritarian types tend to strongly resist historical evidence and the proposition that it’s important to know history. Most blatantly, they want to convince the people to believe corporations tell the truth about the corporations’ own “research” on their products, and evidently want to believe this themselves. But no one who is even minimally informed of the history could believe this for a second or would place any value at all on the self-testimony of corporations like Monsanto and Dow whose entire history is nothing but an unbroken record of lies. I defy anyone to explain to me how it’s possible rationally to believe a word a corporation says. Yet it is regulator, media, and establishment “science” dogma that the fox can be trusted to guard the henhouse.
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The precautionary principle makes sense rationally, and any rational person would automatically want to apply it. But the best evidence in favor of it is the empirical record of history, which proves that every precaution should always be taken, especially where dealing with such proven liars. Of course by now where it comes to GMOs and other agricultural and industrial poisons events have gone far beyond the precautionary principle, and it’s basically moot other than as historical evidence for who was rational, scientific, and cared about the public and environmental health (we who called for precaution), vs. those who were irrational, anti-scientific, and psychopathic (the corporations, governments, and cultists). By now we have the proofs of how toxic and destructive poison-based agriculture is, and we no longer call for precaution but abolition.
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We know that throughout history wherever dissidents were in opposition to political/economic power, the power structure was always lying while the critics were correct or at least much closer to the truth. (In most cases history also judges the dissenters to have been morally in the right, and power in the wrong, though here doublethink usually refuses to recognize the same moral equation where it comes to present power elites.) So why would anyone believe that the same isn’t true of the same opposition today, and that history won’t judge it as such? How do today’s authoritarians who are at all aware of history overcome cognitive dissonance here?
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The only thing I can see, other than the doublethink I mentioned, is that they think today there’s a new thing called “science” which is somehow qualitatively different from and objectively more correct than previous political ideology and religion. Therefore, they think, if concentrated power lines up with alleged “science”, this is some kind of measure of power finally being on the side of truth.
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In reality, science is not qualitatively different from other belief systems, but is part of the same general complex as philosophy, political theory, and religion. Where actually practiced according to the theory of how it’s supposed to be practiced (as most fully elaborated by Karl Popper, explicator of “the scientific method”), science is a well-defined set of actions performed in accord with reason which attain a limited but reasonably reliable result. The rationality which prescribes the actions and the reliability of the result are sound, as long as their limits are realized. Therefore science is much like a kind of philosophy which is more applicable to physical objects and processes than most other kinds.
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(In fact the vast majority of “science” cultists and people who claim to respect science, including the vast majority of highly educated STEM types and other professionals, don’t do or think anything remotely like this, but rather make the idea of science into a conventional ideological/religious totem.)
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As for the scientific result itself, this has no inherent content but is then technologically applied, or not, depending on the more general political/economic/religious environment.
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This general political environment also dictates which problems the well-defined set of actions (scientific research) is applied to in the first place. Of the potentially infinite number of lines of scientific inquiry, humans can choose only a tiny fraction to pursue. This choice is almost never made on rational/scientific grounds in the first place. On the contrary, the choice is made on political and economic grounds and according to political and economic goals. Especially in the modern era of scientific professionalization and specialization, this choice is almost always made by existing political/economic elites. The axiom, “In any era the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class”, is nowhere more true than where it comes to how technology and science are chosen.
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Since power dictates what kind of science is done, it also dictates how truly rational and rigorous the practices are, and how honest and forthcoming the practitioners are about the results. The result is the same age-old practice of power: Establishment “science”, having been chosen to protect and increase the power of elites, is also practiced in order to bring about the elites’ desired result, not the result that rationality in search of truth would attain. The result is then publicized, not in an open, honest, descriptive way, but as a form of political propaganda, with all the usual propaganda methods applied to it, from suppression to secrecy to cherry-picking to distortion to tendentious interpretation to flat-out lies.
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To sum up: Scientific inquiry is set in motion in a particular direction by political ideology. The results of scientific inquiry are applied according to political ideology. The inquiry itself is a form of philosophy, in theory. In practice, even this truly scientific inquiry almost never happens, as science is hijacked completely by power and put completely to power’s uses.
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Therefore, we can see that in principle science is not some new portal to truth. In principle it’s part of the same ancient system of human beliefs as politics and religion, and even those who truly do practice science are still fully ensconced within the normal political and economic history. In practice, most of what’s called “science” is part of the normal, ancient passel of lies.
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Therefore, today’s authoritarians and conformists can’t console themselves that their chosen Leaders have some uniquely new reservoir of truth which distinguishes them from all the malign liars of history, and that today’s critics, skeptics, and dissidents are, for the first time in history, on the wrong side of history. On the contrary, today’s elites are the exact same elites as all prior elites. They tell the exact same lies. Today’s cult followers are the exact same brain-dead bootlicks upon whom history spits in all other times and places. And today’s dissidents are the exact same truth-tellers driven by the exact same soul and conscience.
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And real science, by the way, is also 100% on our side. So it follows that we Food Sovereignty campaigners, we who fight for the environment, food and water security, public health, democracy, human equality and freedom, human fulfillment (these all comprise one indivisible cause), must emphasize the limits of the authority of science as such, as well as how within those limits the science is unequivocally on our side and against the corporations.

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1 Comment

  1. […] the credibility, legitimacy, and authority of an establishment “science” system which has become completely anti-scientific under corporate directives and in furtherance of corporate rule. . *Corporate Europe Observatory […]

    Pingback by GMO News Summary, February 5th 2016 | Volatility — February 5, 2016 @ 5:18 am


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