Preistcraft

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Drives away the cold. But not the stupid. 

I will never cease to be baffled by the pride that a good chunk of humanity seems to take in submitting to preistcraft. By preistcraft I do not necessarily mean religion.

In this broadened definition I include many ideologies and yes…among them I dare include that shibboleth called ‘science.’

Now, I am not a fan of comparing science to religion. This being due to the fact that science is not religion. But there is a sort of popular notion of science that may as well be religion.

It is both pro and prescriptive. It has a metaphysic. It has an ethic. There are within its dogmas not only cosmological claims but outright prophecies.

This is not the science of Spinoza or Feynman. That is to say it is not science. It is whimsy and hubris systematized. That is to say religion.

It has priests and teachers of the law.

I do not even so much here begrudge authoritarianism as I lament sloth. For its profound mental laziness that causes so many otherwise rational people to utter the demure prayer:

“I am not a scientist.”

Well…so bloody what?

Do you not have access to books? Or to get less medieval… to the sodding internet?

Ah but you require special training. These mysteries must of course be properly understood.

Yes, and did you not spend at least twelve years of your life in the school system?

Alright… I get it…that institution is deteriorated and generally rots the mind. Fine, all well and good. I too am cynical about the supposedly unalloyed good of mandatory public schooling.

However…even the most barefoot, twelve-toed, slug snacking Appalachian scion surely understands that the beauty of science is in its inherent democracy. Or if you prefer Libertarianism.

How is it that the experts to which you submit your reason came to their knowledge? Was it through sorcery? Did they approach a shewstone and therein decipher the mind of the most high God?

Or did they apply the fairly simple mechanisms of the scientific method to expand and expound upon the current body of knowledge?

You tell me that you cannot do the same?

Or are you in a roundabout way asserting that I cannot do so. That I must flagellate myself. That I should toss my critical faculties into the purifying flames of inquisition. That I should shroud my brain in the same Catholic darkness that gives you the jollies?

Suppose all those mea culpas ever bleeding from your rosary are valid. That we are both at sea before the vast incomprehensibility of the universe. That we require the confessional booth. That we must submit to a higher power.

Fine.

But I have a question…

WHICH?

To which higher power should I surrender? I suspect that your answer will depend entirely on your political persuasion.

If you do not know the things of which you are speaking of. If they are so arcane and require so many years of academic pilgrimage to fathom…then how…in all sodding Christendom do you know whether you agree.

Would it not be simpler to just vomit Druidic litanies?

Or at least more cough than humble bragging…

If you have ceased to be able to work with the facts and theories thus far achieved and must now entirely lean upon the insights of the clergy. How…HOW…pray tell is this science? The thing whose chief strength is mutability. A strength nourished by diligent scrutiny.

I guess there’s really not much use in railing against this madness. It seems to be more of a drive than a philosophical position.

I doubt I’ll ever understand it.

I guess I just don’t have that kinky submissive streak that plagues such a large chunk of humanity.


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