“I know only one thing: that I know nothing.”
I’ve been reading “The Science Delusion” by Rupert Sheldrake, a timely treatise on fallible humans’ hubris.
It ought to be required reading for all public school children, so that they may understand how little the authorities actually know about life on Earth, how it works, and what it means (if anything.)
Knowledge is provisional. It’s multi-pronged. It’s contingent on the observer. And it’s complicated.
Exhibit A is the infamous double-slit experiment of quantum mechanics fame, which defies the laws of physics previously considered absolute fact.
The double-slit dilemma stretches the limits of my understanding of physics. I understand it shows light behaving like a wave and a particle at the same time, and the same particle on dual paths simultaneously. These are substantial things for physicists to have been wrong about for hundreds of years.
What discovery tomorrow will similarly undermine basic tenants of 2023 scientific knowledge?
This is the problem with orthodoxy of any kind. It’s a major flaw in conservative thinking in general. By “conservative,” I don’t mean the right-wing political ideology but the unwillingness to embrace new ideas in favor of old ones for no other reason than they are already established.
Whereas the high priest class once dominated the social hierarchy, sciencism is the trendy new religion of the intellectual elite – equally dogmatic in its epistemological approach to studying the natural world.
God died (metaphorically) unceremoniously about 200 years ago. But because there’s good evidence humans actually require someone or something to revere and to center culture around as a source of meaning, the bearded, robed God of the Bible was replaced with technocratic Science™, and scientists, as the object of worship in industrialized society.
But man, no matter how well-credentialed, doesn’t know very much more now than he did 200 years ago relative to the vast undocumented Great Beyond, which is still largely a mystery.
95% of the world is dark matter, as Sheldrake notes in his book, among multiple other illustrations of the limits of human knowledge.
No one has ever even objectively observed dark matter; we’re still as a collective species totally in the dark, metaphorically, on what dark matter actually is or how it works or how it interacts with light matter. It’s a total proverbial black box.
Given that 95% of the universe is locked in a black hole, untouched by human consciousness, you would expect some humility from the so-called “experts.”
For all the impressive achievements over the past several hundred years, they understand literally nothing about 95% of the matter in the universe. Their knowledge, in the best-case scenario, represents an infinitesimally small fraction of all the knowable knowledge out there in the ether.
Instead of humility, we’re treated to the weasel war criminal Anthony Fauci, seated on the throne at the apex of the institutional hierarchy, declaring himself The Science™ with a straight face on national television, to a cacophony of uncritical applause by the neoliberal ruling class.