The New Heretics

July 15, 2008 at 8:36 pm | Posted in Technology | 1 Comment

As Modernism seems to be eclipsed by the spread of the creatively-named Post-Modernism, Modernism itself is circling the wagons into a new form of Modernist Fundamentalism.  And, like all dogmatic religions, it has its share of designated heretic to use as convenient whipping boys.  Men like Richard Lindzen and Peter Duesberg are treated as pariahs for challenging current scientific assumptions, just like the heretics of old.  Of course, this is not news to those of you familiar with Ben Stein’s latest adventure, but I’m not sure even Mr. Ben is aware of the irony that the upholders of Scientific Truth are apparently promulgating their own take on religion.

Ann Coulter wrote a typical rant on Anthropic Global Warming, the theme of which seems to have been picked up and expounded by one John Brignell, drawing all sorts of comparisons between the Global Warming camp and the Medieval Roman Catholic Church.  But these comparisons really aren’t new at all.  Aldous Huxley described Fordismin satirical but frightening detail back in 1932 as a response to American Modernism gaining full stride in Great Britain.  With the ascendency of technological development as an essential in World War II and the Cold War, the technologist became the clergy of a new American religion, complete with white lab coat vestments.  Even today, the white coat conveys an almost mystical authority akin to the Roman collar.

Prophetic pronouncements of the promises of preservatives, plastics, and pharmaceuticals prefacing a Progressive Paradise have collapsed into cesspool of pollution, politics, and psychosis.  The bright sheen of Tomorrowland has faded, and now people are looking for an alternative — anything — that might provide some hope out of the disappointment of the supposed technological utopia. 

What to do?  What one always does when faced with the immanent failure of a movement: reinvent it in a Fundamentalist form that dogmatically rejects both the failures of the past and the alternatives of the future.  Dissent is not tolerated, as the Fundamentals of the cause become more important than the goals it had set for itself.  How else to explain the narrow viewpoints, lack of debate, and ad hominem attacks that seem to characterize our modern day “scientific process”?  Modernist Fundamentalism, at your service.

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  1. Good post – glad to see you getting your thoughts out there. I think I’m going to be with Anastasia’s children on some of these posts, finding things a bit over my head – but that’s just because you’re a bloomin’ genius and now the whole world will know!!


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