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The Cult Of “Science” Has Got To Be Smashed

By Tom Woods | Principia Scientific | August 6, 2021

Should we trust people who claim to be speaking in the name of science?

Someone on Twitter just posted this, thinking himself profound:

“If you think you don’t trust scientists, you’re mistaken. You trust scientists in a million different ways every time you step on a plane, or for that matter turn on your tap or open a can of beans. The fact that you’re unaware of this doesn’t mean it’s not so.”

Saifedean Ammous, a great friend of the Tom Woods Show, wasn’t about to let this stand.

Before going any further, let me add this: after the past 18 months, I think the dangers and absurdities of scientism have become clear enough.

“Science” does not and is not intended to have the answers to all questions. It does not and cannot tell us what we should value, what our priorities should be, whether certain behaviors are morally acceptable or indeed required, etc.

Staring longingly at men in white coats, seeking the meaning of life, is superstition of the worst kind.

Not to mention: the standard story of how science progresses is completely wrong. We do not move forward because government-subsidized men in lab coats play around in laboratories doing “basic science” untainted by mundane concerns.

It is generally men of action who actually do the work.

Now for Saifedean:

The Wright brothers and a century of airplane builders were engineers. Scientists first dismissed flight as impossible even after it happened, then made up a bunch of irrelevant equations to pretend to explain how it happened.

Everything that matters to our modern life was built by engineers and workers who got their hands dirty. Scientists sat in cushy universities writing textbooks after the fact indoctrinating generations to think it was their post-hoc explanations that built things.

Lord Kelvin was one of the world’s most important scientists when airplanes were invented. This is what he thought:

“I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning, or of the expectation of good results from any of the trials we heard of.”

Astronomer and polymath Simon Newcomb in 1903:

“Aerial flight is one of that class of problems with which man will never be able to cope.”

This was the same year in which the Wright Brothers,  two bicycle shop owner high school dropouts, built the first working airplane.

Three years after the Wright Brothers flew, The London Times dismissed their claims of flight as fake, and was instead writing:

“All attempts at artificial aviation are not only dangerous to human life, but foredoomed to failure from the engineering standpoint.”

The first commercial steam engine was invented by Simon Newcomen, a barely literate ironmonger who had never come in contact with a scientist. James Watt was a technician, not a scientist, and explicitly denied that any scientific theories influenced his invention.

The scientific method is practiced by engineers building things, experimenting to see what works. Professional science consists mostly of nerds quibbling over each other’s irrelevant papers and agreeing they all need more funding.

Nothing in science needs trust. I don’t trust anyone to get in an airplane. I look at the track record of airplanes and decide the risks are acceptable given the benefits. “Trust science” is how you end up with billions of lives destroyed over virus hysteria.

I love Saifedean.

The real story of science, again, is something like the opposite of what we’ve been told. Not to mention: countries that heavily subsidized science in the nineteenth century lagged behind the UK, which spent no government money.

I tell the story in my 2011 book Rollback, but the classic treatment is Terence Kealey, The Economic Laws of Scientific Research.

At Liberty Classroom, my dashboard university, we don’t go in for cutesy myths about how the world works. We tell the un-p.c. truth, every time.

August 6, 2021 - Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular

1 Comment »

  1. There is nothing wrong with science. It is scientism that needs to be smashed. When there is consensus, there is no science!

    Like

    Comment by papasha408 | August 6, 2021 | Reply


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