I have often wondered what will eventually replace religion in the US. Religion is hardly dead here, but among scientists, Dawkins included, it looks like religion might be replaced by science-turned-into-a religion (an indiscipline grounded in fanaticism and dogma just like religion), which we must contrast with science-based religion, which is faith-free, dogma-free religion that is grounded in science, steeped in the skepticism of true science, and which thus does not have any of the fanaticism of religion.
Unfortunately, there must be something Kantian about the human mind, some rule with few exceptions, that underlies this because modern science is structured just like religion – complete with authorities (who are also usually full of it and full of themselves) and dogmas. Real science differs most from religion in its skepticism. Skepticism is one thing religion cannot touch and it is one thing that real science must never lose. It is the truest difference between science and religion and science and extremist politics. Objectivity is another difference, but pales by comparison to a scientists’ “I do not believe what you are saying; show me it’s true” skepticism.
This little fact is what all of the scientists becoming marchers and protesters fail to understand, and unfortunately it is the main point. Extremists like religious people and political extremists, these scientists are demonstrating. Scientists do not engage in subjective enterprises like demonstrations; like Socrates, they doubt their own wisdom, even when the evidence keeps mounting in support of currently held dogmas, even ones they helped create. True scientists are dissatisfied with current models. No time for demonstrations, nor temperament for such things, they are always looking for better models. When all of the data are fit perfectly, they can move on to another field, and only then.
In summary, genuine science has at least one dogma:
- Always remain skeptical! Thus:
- When not in doubt, doubt!
- Doubt even more when an agenda is evident.
- Why doubt at all? If only because of hidden (“lurking”) variables and Simpson’s Paradox. The paradox may be the rule, or it may be the exception – only careful, skeptical research can answer that question.