Popular scientists modern day preachers?
By Eliane Glaser | The Guardian
Wonders of the Solar System; Wonders of the Universe; and, this year, Wonders of Life. Brian Cox stands misty-eyed on a cliff top everywhere I look. He has a chilled-out air for someone with such a busy filming schedule.
Instructions to appreciate the wonder of science are everywhere. Thereís the Wonder season organised jointly by the Barbican and the Wellcome Trust which starts tomorrow; the Science Museumís World Wonders Trail; the parliamentary select committee report on introducing wonder to the national curriculum; and the 2011 TED conference titled The Rediscovery of Wonder. But am I alone in finding this cheerleading problematic?
Itís ironic that the public engagement with the science crowd is so pro-wonder, because theyíre so anti-religion. "All the great religions have a place for awe, for ecstatic transport at the wonder and beauty of creation," writes Richard Dawkins. "And itís exactly this feeling of spine-shivering, breath-catching awe Ė almost worship Ė this flooding of the chest with ecstatic wonder, that modern science can provide."
"Iím an atheist," said maths professor Marcus du Sautoy when he took up the Charles Simonyi chair in the public understanding of science at Oxford. "But for me the important thing is the wonder of science." Advocates for science canít seem to give up on religionís selling points: the awe, transcendence, and worship.
The crucial question, though, is who is doing the worshipping. Cox and co make much of their own humility in the face of natural marvels. They express wonder and we are meant to follow suit.But itís too easy for the meekness we feel in the face of extraordinary facts to blur into deference towards popular scientists themselves, with their public profile and their privileged access to those facts. Like priests, they occupy an elevated position in relation to the phenomena they admire. While putting on a good show of being amazed, they function as powerful gatekeepers to a mystical beyond. Cox may not look like a boffin, but itís telling that heís always called professor.
The rhetoric of wonder is all about encouraging participation. But this infantilising power dynamic is not conducive to confident involvement or critical inquiry. It creates an inaccessible aura around science which has little to do with the everyday practicalities of what goes on in labs. Science is essential to our world, but like looking after children, the nitty-gritty is often prosaic and incremental. In its evangelical, popular guise, science becomes a matter not of reality or scepticism but of anti-intellectual reverence. All we can say in response is, wow.
Read the full article at: guardian.co.uk
Tune into Red Ice Radio:
Gregg Braden - Crisis in Thinking & False Assumptions of an Incomplete Science
Gregg Braden - The Divine Matrix
Rupert Sheldrake - The Science Delusion
Richard Alan Miller - Hour 1 - The Non-Local Mind in Holographic Reality
Susan Joy Rennison - Hour 1 - Global Energy Leap
Anthony Peake & Tom Campbell - Consciousness Creates Reality
Anthony Peake - Hour 1 - The Nature of Reality & Twilight Zones of Consciousness
Johan Oldenkamp - Hour 1 - Wholly Science
Latest News from our Front Page
Professor: Reason Itself Is A White Male Construct
A philosophy and religion professor at Syracuse University gave an interview to The New York Times Thursday in which he critiqued the notion of pure reason as simply being a “white male Euro-Christian construction.”
Prof. John Caputo was being interviewed by fellow philosophy professor George Yancy for the 13th installment of an interview series Yancy conducts with philosophers regarding racial topics.
Given its emphasis on first principles ...
The Broken Window Fallacy
Youtube description: This short video explains one of the most persistent economic fallacies of our day.
Jenji Kohan and the Jewish Hyper-Sexualization of Western Culture
As detailed in The Culture of Critique, Freud and his followers regarded anti-Semitism was a universal pathology which had its roots in sexual repression. The theoretical basis for this can be found in Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality where he linked aggression to the frustration of human drives — especially the sex drive. Kevin MacDonald notes that: ...
Confederate History - Dispelling the Myths
History books, the media, the school systems, etc abound in falsehoods and inaccuracies of Confederate and Southern history. This fact sheet will help to clarify and dispell some of these rampant inaccuracies.
MYTH - The War of 1861 - 1865 was fought over slavery.
FACT - Terribly untrue. The North fought the war over money. Plain ...
Gays Rights May Open Door for Pedophile Rights
Democrats have attempted to normalize pedophilia as a sexual orientation.
A recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage may soon allow pedophiles to argue they are suffering discrimination.
‚ÄúUsing the same tactics used by ‚Äėgay‚Äô rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals,‚ÄĚ writes Jack Minor ...
|More News » |