The Power of Science Compels You!

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I wonder sometimes whether we are witnessing the emergence of a brave new world, where science becomes a tool of control; a new form of authority which stifles debate and dissent. For to continue in this current vein is to see science become more than a replacement for human religion, but to become a religion itself. That’s what Michael Crichton’s novel State of Fear has at its heart, not a “global warming” conspiracy, but a concern over the reign of fear in the world. How fear over certain issues is being used by governments, and other vested interests, to manipulate people into certain patterns of thought, by which they are kept under control.

“What we found surprised us. One phrase, in particular, has become dramatically more frequent in recent years: “Science tells us we should.” Increased usage of this phrase leads to a chart resembling a steep mountain climb (or, for those with a mischievous bent, a “hockey stick”). The use of the phrase “science requires” also increases sharply over time. The chart (below) vividly shows the increasing use of those particular phrases. Some of this may simply reflect the general growth of media output and the growth of new media, but if that were the case, we would expect all of the terms to have shown similar growth, which they do not.

In other words, around the end of the 1980s, science (at least science reporting) took on a distinctly authoritarian tone. Whether because of funding availability or a desire by some senior academics for greater relevance, or just the spread of activism through the university, scientists stopped speaking objectively and started telling people what to do.”

‘Science Turns Authoritarian’

‘Science—you’re doing it wrong’

31 July, 2010


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