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THE NEW FUNDAMENTALISM?

One of the books I have been reading lately is a book by Richard Milton called Alternative Science: Challenging the Myths of the Scientific Establishment. Milton's thesis is rather unusual. Noting the rising tide of various religious fundamentalisms around the world, Milton argues that this attitude has also infiltrated the scientific establishment. It's a phenomenon I know first hand, as some people have in reviews or comments attacked me and my research on the basis of my academic background in theology, as if that automaticallydisqualifies me from being able to understand anything about science, or to have opinions about scientific things. Conversely, many scientists do not hesitate to offer opinions about theology.

Keeping everyone coralled within their respective disciplines is just part of the manifestation of this new fundamentalism; it is, in a way, the reaction of the narrow-minded fundamentalist - be he a religious one or a scientific one - to the sort of interdisciplinary approaches increasingly taken within the field of alternative research. But there are other manifestations as well.

One of the most typical is the popularization of standard scientific models within the media. One hears almost incessantly about string theory, for example, but seldom about loop quantum gravity; one hears incessantly about relativity and Einstein, but seldom about Herbert Ives and other scientists who had and still do have philosophical difficulties with the theory. Similarly one need only think of the massive amount of evidence presented in Cremo and Thompson's Forbidden Archeology that, running counter to established academic dogmas, was simply ignored by the archeological magisterium.

Standard models have become a kind of dogma to be promulgated to the masses while only the scientific cognoscenti and priesthoods are allowed to talk about - or even know about - other models.

Milton's book thus contains a timely warning in these words: "I (propose) that we are living through an era of incresed academic intolerance in which a scientific fundamentalism has infected many American and British universities, a malady as virulent and pernicious in its way as today's tide of religious fundamentalism." (p. i.) Thankfully, the field of alternative research, science, and history, is only growing, as more and more within those disciplines depart from standard models and venture to explore the questions raised by it.  We shouldn't expect any change in the fundamentalism of the academy. Fundementalisms only guarantee their own increasing irrelevance. Thus, by clinging to their own standard models with all the fanaticism of the Inquisition, academic fundamentalisms only guarantee that the academy, like the Holy Office, will simply pass into grand irrelevance.

14 thoughts on “THE NEW FUNDAMENTALISM?”

  1. Saying there was an “Intelligent Designer” also just pushes the problem back a notch.

    Based on the evidence, I should point out that there are in fact good reasons for supporting the idea of a self organising tendency.

    There is in fact some evidence that simple living organisms like microbes can in fact form from non-living organic matter. German-American researcher Wihelm Reich was actually able to photograph this process back in the 1950s.
    To put it simply, the idea that things have a self organising tendency is actually quite well supported.

    “Intelligent Design”, on the other hand, is little more than a wild guess.

  2. The two biggest alternative evolutionary theories, punctuated
    equilibrium and saltation, though presented as materialist
    evolutionism, not theistic evolutionism let alone intelligent
    design or creationism outright, have two points about both
    of them, that fit a theistic mindset better than standard
    darwinianism.

    (1) they fit the fossil record better, which by the way squares
    pretty well with Genesis, both of which do not allow for
    serious transitional forms.The so called transitional forms
    are merely similar between two things, but are themselves
    functional as is. An oppossum, for instance, at first glance
    looks like a large rat, but isn’t really. ditto the transitionals.

    (2) the very fact of the suddenness requires either direct
    creation or an intelligently designed system that will
    make such jumps. Since they don’t seem to be happening
    all over the place all the time, but limited to the past, again,
    we are pushed towards creationism and the seventh day
    when God rested, and whatever He was doing to create
    things stopped. Maybe some occasional tinkering after
    that, but the overall process that brought things to the
    present stage has stopped. This, again, is the picture we
    see in the fossil record.

    1. The whole doctrine of creationism is even more flawed than Darwinism.

      The real answer to the origin and development of life on Earth is undoubtedly some non-Darwinian mechanism of evolution.

      In his book Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, Richard Milton shows how many supposedly discredited evolutionary ideas, such as the Lamarckian idea of acquired characteristics, the idea of spontaneous generation of simple organisms, and the vitalistic idea of evolution guided by a “life force”, are all backed up by scientific evidence.

      1. Nonetheless, something had to start the ball rolling.
        Can you spell “Intelligent Design?” saying aliens
        did it just pushes the problem back a notch. Somewhere,
        there is an unmoved mover, a first cause, and it can’t
        be chaos because that isn’t going to make anything
        but chaos, eh, like begets like? To say that things
        have a self organizing tendency because of fractal
        math laws and chaos theory begs the question.

        And yes, you could factor that into a Creationist
        perspective. In the beginning YHWH created the
        heavens and the earth….read in long pause, wherein
        He creates aliens and whatnot elsewhere, and then
        decides to pack some off on a major planetary
        engineering venture.

        1. Saying there was an “Intelligent Designer” also just pushes the problem back a notch.

          Based on the evidence, I should point out that there are in fact good reasons for supporting the idea of a self organising tendency.

          There is in fact some evidence that simple living organisms like microbes can in fact form from non-living organic matter. German-American researcher Wihelm Reich was actually able to photograph this process back in the 1950s.
          To put it simply, the idea that things have a self organising tendency is actually quite well supported.

          “Intelligent Design” on the other hand is little more than a wild guess.

  3. I agree.

    Richard Milton makes a very convincing argument. It is clear that there is something wrong with the way science is being conducted in our modern world. A number of scientists are treating their theories more like ideologies.

    Incidentally, have you also read Milton’s book Shattering the Myths of Darwinism?
    In this brilliant work of scientific reporting, Milton shows how the theory of Darwinian evolution is little more than a conjecture resting upon pillars of outmoded and outdated circumstantial evidence that would have been long since questioned in any other scientific field.
    Contrary to certain unfair criticisms, Richard Milton is NOT a creationist and his book is NOT against evolution itself. It is merely an honest scientific criticism of the currently dominant evolutionary theory (Darwinism is, after all, just one of many evolutionary theories proposed throughout history).

  4. I totally agree with this.
    I am a big fan of Richard Milton’s work, as I think he makes some very convincing arguments showing how many scientists are only paying lip service to the scientific method and how many of our modern scientific ideas are treated as unquestioned ideologies rather than as theories open for discussion.

    Incidentally, have you read Milton’s book Shattering the Myths of Darwinism?
    This fascinating book presents the flaws in Darwinism using entirely scientific arguments. Contrary to accusations from many harsh critics, Milton is NOT a creationist, and his book does not go against evolution. What it does go against is the Darwinian evolutionary viewpoints, and the way said viewpoints have transformed a theory into an ideology. In any case, it is an excellent read.

  5. This whole discussion reminded me of the movie from a couple years ago by Ben Stein “Expelled No Intelligence Allowed”. I went to see this as soon as it came out, but it did not get widespread distribution. It concerns itsself with not only the strict barriers in established science circles for alternative views but also the shunning of anyone within the community that even dares to speak of such scientific heresy.

    It is now available on youtube in 10 parts beginning with:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEvq4xIHmH4

    It is worth a look to anyone interested in this phenom…

  6. I am whole heart with you theology and ideology are in the end one in the same thing take relativity in serves the interests of those who insist that intererstellare travel is impossible widle knowing otherwise and did you get my message so time ago about the Netherlands flying saucer in the 10 aircraft designs of the future from NASA in the Daily Mail u.k.. And as we all know the two great science fiction writers of the 19th century knew then in their Moon voyage books that rockets were a dead end technology Jules Verne used a canon and H.G.Wells a mysterious anti-gravity substance in their novels. It is also interesting that Wells in his 1898 novel the Time Machine showed the Sun in the future as a red giant when I was in school the 50s and 60s as growing dimmer till turn black as always the science fiction writers got it right most of the times sorry for the digestion from the subject.

  7. I am in complete agreement with this article. The only exception would be the idea that this sort of fundamentalism is “new”. On the contrary, this sort of imperative – “my beliefs uber alles” – seems endemic to the human condition in general.

    The huge cognitive disconnect involved here is the peculiarly modern notion that reductionism and “rationalism” (which is often anything but rational) are inherently superior modes of thought that supersede all prior belief systems. As people who spend any time studying belief systems soon learn, there is no thread of human knowledge that has a monopoly on truth. As Bacon once said, people believe what they are inclined to believe – nothing more.

    It can be demonstrated that even our presumably sacrosanct “science” is merely a political system used to enforce the popular beliefs of the day. Any scientist knows that scientific knowledge is an evolutionary process, of newly confabulated ideas built on the knowledge of the past. Since all such “knowledge” is temporary, the popular scientific beliefs of the day are temporary beliefs which only have a tenuous relationship to what is actually “true” or relevant.

    Thus science no longer believes that rocks cannot possibly fall from the sky (19th century rationalism eschewed the meteor by stating the seemingly irrefutable: there are no rocks in the sky) or that traveling to the edge of a map puts you in a territory of “here be dragons and monsters”. That does not mean that the new ideas are “true”. It only means that the old ones have become obsolete and discredited.

    But science has not replaced religious dogma with a superior thought process called rationalism. It has only replaced fuzzy religious doctrine with a fuzzy notional doctrine of its own. The new religion cleverly conceals its dogmatic doctrinal imperatives by convincing us that they have been arrived at by a “scientific process” which presumably removes the subjective from the process.

    This is where the malarkey comes in. There is NO knowledge which is NOT subjective! People are at all times involved in the process and their individual subjective beliefs always color both the process and its ultimate conclusions. The doctrinal bible has only been replaced by a doctrinal pool of cultural knowledge. Different source, same result: religion.

    Science is a religious beliefs system as surely Catholicism. The trouble is that most people do not seem to understand this….

    1. Yes, I find this frustrating when talking to people about this sort of thing. They seem to have a very real problem distinguishing between the idealistic utopia that science is “supposed to be” and how modern science actually operates.

      You endlessly hear things like, “Science is different from religion because it is inherently self correcting.” Again, the utopian dream.

      When scientists make mistakes or are caught committing outright fraud you will hear the defense that they are only people, and yet, when you bring this all-to-human factor into the equation when discussing the desire or need to fabricate evidence or dissuade certain avenues of thinking….well, then the scientist becomes the shining arbiter of truth, unsullied by the common and petty weaknesses of humanity and upheld by his fellow peers.

      The double standard is amazing in its absurdity and at the same time amazing in its ability to fly under the radar of people claiming to be rational.

  8. It is absolutely sickening the modus operandi that has com to inhabit the minds of the establishment. I have settle on the term pseudo-skeptical humanism for this running paradigm.

    I say pseudo-skeptical because they are only skeptical about ideas and evidence that challenges what they think they already know. They are NEVER skeptical about the standard model or the prevailing view.

    And of course it is humanist because the standard models, by definition, rule out the existence of anything we can’t experience with the 5 senses.

    Except for that wireless stuff, that is ok even though we can’t see it or feel it.

    1. Well said!

      I am looking forward to teaching ‘The Race for the Bomb’ in my elective History class this year-including the material on the SS bomb project, Ohdruf and Rugen island etc (Reich of the Black Sun, Rainer Karlsch,Carter Hydrick etc) as well as Robert Wilcox’ material on the Japanese projects.

      Should be a lot of fun-especially stirring my head of department who is as straight and ‘the institution knows best’ kind of guy. It is always fun watching him try to explain sources he has never read to an enthused parent after they have heard the stories from an enthused student!

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