Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey - Science or Scientism? - Printable Version

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Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey - Science or Scientism? - thokling - 03-13-2014

Within the past year or so, I happened across the term "Scientism". The basic tenet of Scientism is the belief that scientific methodologies are best suited to helping us understand how nature works. Somewhat amusingly, it's been used within the rather diverse Truth Community to refer to the religious application of speculation based on speculation based on factual, observable phenomenae. Both definitions rely on belief, of course, but it's the latter definition I prefer to use to compare the scientific method with scientific dogma.

I nabbed the first episode of the new Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey series, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Much of the information espoused by Tyson I have found in the past to be questionable in that he seems to revel, as many "scientismists" have, in regurgitating what he's been taught rather than question and critically analyse that data.

This seems particularly relevant in light of recent discoveries in the areas of Astrotheology and Electric Universe Cosmology, which question the history of our species as merely "primitive" hunters and gatherers, Big Bang Creationism (developed by a priest by the name of Georges LemaƮtre), and (for lack of a better term) nuclear cosmology, which like Darwinian Evolutionary Theory has been confirmed in parts but not as a whole.

While we still can only rely on models to understand reality, it's clear that many recent models are still being snubbed by the "scientific" community, or considerable portions thereof whose proponents seem too fearful to question their personal ideologies. Yet, Carl Sagan, creator of the original Cosmos: A Personal Voyage series, himself was a sceptical scientist, questioning the standard dogma and advancing humanity's understanding of reality in the process.

Even with his scepticism of pseudosciences, though, Sagan vehemently criticised a small piece of the scientific community for attempting to suppress Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky's notion that an ejection from Jupiter caused numerous events recorded in humanity's past, including the "parting of the Red Sea".

While Sagan ultimately disproved the theory, he supported freedom of the expression of ideas regardless of their relevance.

There are two aspects of Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey, in this view, I take issue with. The first is that it appears, at least in its first episode, to use Sagan's name to propagate antiquated "scientific" ideologies instead of exploring the universe from the uncomfortable viewpoint that we do not know as much as we believe we know.

The second is that I cannot condemn the existence of this series because of my adherence to the principles of freedom of speech and expression. It's fascinating to compare the unpopular theories I've happened across with what is "commonly accepted as true", and yet that alternate theories and models are being ignored by the scientific community is, to me, unforgiveable and irresponsible.

If such models are inappropriate, provide proof. But don't ignore them, because humanity as a whole loses out on a wealth of knowledge and truth regardless of whether or not the models are based on reality.

Will this series showcase more recent, and less popular, ideas concerning the nature of the cosmos, or simply regurgitate (as Tyson has) the more popular, but increasingly less supported, theories which seem more religious and dogmatic than exploratory?