Many are the ways in which the powers that be obstruct and obscure our paths to knowledge.
by Dr Nancy Swanson
Say it in Latin for God
We need only look at the historical record to know that those who crave power have seized upon the belief system of the people in order to manipulate and control them. All good ideas start out well enough but, sometime after gaining wide acceptance, they inevitably become corrupted.
Those who ruled the Roman Catholic Church used it as a tool for absolute control of the masses. People who did not fall into line were threatened with excommunication, doomed to burn in hell forever. If they fell too far out of line, they were burned alive on the grounds of heresy.
One method of control was to use Latin for mass. The entire structure was formed around a language that the people did not speak, read or write. This forced people to have a go-between, a priest, to intervene with God on their behalf. Ostensibly God only understood Latin.
The great crime committed by Galileo Galilei was not so much what he said, but that he insisted on saying it in Italian, the language of his people, rather than the language of the scholars and priests . Kepler and Copernicus had already published much of what Galileo espoused. But they did it in Latin and therefore did not incur the wrath of the church. Apparently you could say pretty much anything so long as very few understood what you were saying. Not only was Galileo excommunicated, his book was banned, he was placed under house arrest for life and he was forced to recant.
The science priesthood & peer-review against heresy
Today, people have an unshakable faith in science. Newspaper articles often start with, “Scientists say…,” without ever actually naming the “scientists” as if the word is coming down from on high through the scientific priesthood. When involved in a debate, people often resort to, “The science says…,” or “What does the science say?” to support their argument. Science, it seems, is the Ultimate Authority. People believe that science can give us truth. We are told that we cannot trust ourselves, we must bow to the higher wisdom of science:  “We need to know that instinct is no substitute for the neutral evaluation of a hypothesis.” Otherwise intelligent people say this as if such things as absolute truth and “neutral evaluation” actually exist.
Somehow we have come to a place where scientific theories and data are completely ignored unless they have been published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal. As if getting a handful of other scientific priests to agree somehow grants holiness to the idea : “…a zealous truth-seeker’s work upon hearing a new theory should be to research legitimate peer-reviewed journals to see if the theory is true.” It can then be used to beat people over the head, to sue people in a court of law and to persuade governments to enact or redact laws and rules.
It is worth mentioning here that the first paper on the laser (known at that time as an optical maser) was rejected by the editor of Physical Review Letters because it was  “just another maser paper.” It’s difficult to get an idea published that goes against the current dogma.
The system of scientific publication has been in place for a few hundred years. It makes it impossible for anyone who is not a member of the scientific priesthood to be heard. It also makes it nearly impossible for even a member of the priesthood to be heard if her ideas are considered scientific heresy.
Science was ripe for takeover by the power-hungry: the people have absolute confidence in it and the information can be tightly controlled with a system already in place. The scientific priesthood already controlled the science that was allowed to be done and the flow of information. All that was needed was to establish dominance over the scientific priesthood.
This was accomplished by controlling the research funding and the publication process. A scientist cannot work without funding, nor will he remain employed if he cannot publish his findings. Funding and publication have become the metrics of success in science. If you were to want a particular line of scientific inquiry suppressed, you could cut funding, interfere with the publication process, or discredit the scientist(s).
Corporate takeover of science
Instances of the takeover and manipulation of science abound. The chemical/biotechnology corporations serve as a prime example. They figured out that science is the religion of the day, and taking control of science is to take control of people. They have used every means at their disposal to suppress scientific enquiry. They hire scientists and give money to academic institutions to fund research. They install people in key government positions at every level ; actively lobby congress and use their influence to coerce other nations to accept their products. They place editors on scientific journals, controlling what does and, more importantly, what doesn’t get published ; even to the extent of having published articles retracted that they see as damaging to their agenda, expunging the results from the public record and paving the way for expansion .
Meanwhile the people, not being conversant in scientific language and largely unable to decode the scientific literature (it might as well be in Latin), are dependent on a go-between, a translator. The corporations dress up their scientific priests in white coats and have them deliver the message they want the people to hear. They repeat the dogma over and over using key phrases like “science-based” and “anti-science.”
Permit me a small digression. In a chiropractic office that I once patronized, all of the chiropractic doctors wore white coats. The only reason I, a scientist, ever wore a white coat was to avoid getting my clothing stained. But my chiropractor was hardly in danger of being blood-spattered, so one day I asked her why she wore the white coat. She informed me that it was required by the management because people listened and obeyed if she wore a white coat whereas they didn’t if she did not. White Coat = Authority.
If the people hear voices dissenting from the scientific priesthood, the corporations immediately send out their scientists to harass and discredit the other scientists. Their methods, results, and even their credentials are called into question. Many have been denied tenure, lost their funding and even their jobs after publishing results casting doubt on the wisdom of genetic engineering. This has created a climate of fear within the scientific community and confusion without. The vast majority of scientists who are willing to speak out are either retired or of retirement age. They have nothing to lose. This is all too reminiscent of the historical relationship between the Pope, the kings & queens, the bishops & priesthood and the people.
If people intuitively reject the idea of eating genetically engineered food, liberally sprayed with poison, they are damned as irrational, unscientific and ignorant. Many people still believe that Roundup is safe enough to drink, as claimed by the company.
Based on a 1947 video , drinking and eating pesticides seems to be one of Monsanto’s favorite marketing tools. In the video, an entomologist is sent to an African village to try to convince the people to spray dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) all over the village to kill the mosquitoes and prevent the spread of malaria. But the Africans aren’t buying it. The entomologist calls for a bowl of porridge, proceeds to spray DDT all over it and then eats a few bites. The Africans are still not buying it. Why? Because they haven’t been indoctrinated into the dogma that scientists are the high priests with sole access to the truth. The truth is obvious to them: if DDT kills the mosquitoes, it can kill them too. And they were right.
Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane was developed as a synthetic insecticide in the 1940s. Rachel Carson highlighted the dangers of DDT in her 1962 book Silent Spring. Carson used DDT to tell the broader story of the disastrous consequences of the overuse of pesticides. Not surprisingly, her work attracted outrage from the pesticide industry. Her credibility as a scientist was attacked, and she was derided as  “hysterical.” It took ten more years before the Environmental Protection Agency issued a ‘cancellation order’ for DDT in 1972.
One would think the issue had been resolved, but just this year the banning of DDT was hailed as a  “frenzy of misguided environmental zeal” and “Carson’s book is riddled with fallacies and deceit.” Another editorial states , “The 1972 U.S. ban on DDT … is also responsible for a menticide [the systematic effort to undermine and destroy a person’s values and beliefs] which has already condemned one entire generation to a dark age of anti-science ignorance, and is now infecting a new one. The lies and hysteria spread to defend the DDT ban are typical of the irrationalist, anti-science wave which has virtually destroyed rational forms of discourse in our society. If you want to save science—and human lives—the fight to bring back DDT…” The author also accuses Carson of scientific fraud, lies and deceit. Both authors invoke their scientific priest, J. Gordon Edwards, as the Voice of Authority.
This is a typical example of the tactics employed: accuse the opposition of fraud, lies, deceit, ignorance, irrationality, anti-science heresy and insinuate that science (the current system of values and beliefs, i.e. religion) must be preserved at all costs or we will all be thrown into the dark ages where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In the same year that DDT was banned, its maker presented us with glyphosate, the weed-killer so safe we can drink it. A pattern emerges. Who knows how long it will take to ban glyphosate and genetically engineered crops? If we do manage it, what will they give us next? We need a sea-change.
Abuse of science
Whenever concern for the health and well-being of the beings on this planet, or the planet herself, come into conflict with corporate interests, scientific debate devolves into imbecility. Scientific data are sorted, interpreted and re-interpreted to fit any argument in much the same way as words taken from the Bible. Each side in the debate quotes from their pet scientist as the Authority and accuses the other of anti-science heresy.
Scientific data were never meant to be used in this way. Philosophers of science have carefully laid out the limitations of knowledge that can be gained through the scientific method [11, 12] (Philosophy and Science, SiS 61). Unfortunately most people, including scientists, are blissfully unaware of this. There is nothing in science that can be proven true. Nothing.
I am not saying we should do away with science. I am quite a fan of the carefully applied scientific method and the information that can be gleaned, so long as no harm is done in the process. I am also a fan of electronic gadgets. But science needs to be taken down from this pedestal, this religious fervor as The Final Authority. As a religion, science is quite deficient.
It is past time to recognize and accept the limits of science and scientific knowing. It is past time to stop relying on external authority of any kind. We are our own authority. There are other ways of knowing. When I focus inward in contemplation, it is clear to me that our planet is a vast, interwoven web of cooperation at all levels. We are ignorant enough to think that we can control and disrupt this web without limit or consequence. I can only hope that, should we continue this course of feeble-mindedness, we destroy ourselves before we succeed in destroying all beings on this planet.
Rupert Sheldrake – The Science Delusion