If Angry Mobs Attack Scientists

A friend, a scholar of esotericism, recently suggested that science is losing its sense of rightness, its assuredness; that it will crumble in upon itself because of its lack of open-mindedness about the spiritual side of the cosmos. He does not believe in old-school creationism–probably some sort of Intelligent Design–but he does believe that reductionism is a dead end, and that science’s skepticism about God will be refuted on many points so that “angry mobs may attack scientists” in the end. He cited the esotericist Guenon.

I’m a person who follows a spiritual path and indeed an esoteric one but I have enormous respect for science and the scientific method. I replied to my friend thus:

If angry mobs attack scientists it’ll only be because religious fanaticism took over, or the scientists have engaged in some wickedness–eg, the development of a biowar weapon that gets out of hand and kills many millions. Regarding the latter, Trump administration recently acted to remove controls over such research in the USA. But most scientists are opposed to science used immorally. The Catholic church has a very respectable group of astrophysicists, you know, and they are as careful about the scientific method as any. Science has actually always been prepared to change and adjust its big theories, it’s models of the universe. Consider how quantum effects were accepted by a community that had been strictly Newtonian. Most scientists are unwilling to definitely say “there is no God” –Hawking came close, I think he said there is no evidence of any, and he said it was his opinion that there isn’t one, as the universe doesn’t need one. Roger Penrose and David Bohm, both highly respected scientists, adhered (still adheres in the Penrose case, Bohm is dead) to the scientific method, but retain flexibility, to say the least, about metaphysics. Some kind of Vendanta style intelligent ground of being was basically Bohm’s sense of things and he did not dismiss cosmic consciousness; Penrose believes in the possibility of life after death. These are my ideal scientists.

Conventional religion–especially creationism–does much damage to society’s ability to reason;  it works so hard to instill falsehoods that bring about war, the oppression of women, and an atmosphere of terror. And Guenon though intelligent was paranoic and inclined to sympathy with fascism; and it’s my understanding he and Schuon believed in old-school creationism–the universe that is 6000 years old. Creationism is degrading to mankind, reducing it to infantile thinking, and it also degrades mankind’s hope of survival. Because we’re going to need reason and critical thinking to survive as a species.

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