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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Gab@StFerdinandIII - https://unstabbinated.substack.com/

Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

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Monday, February 21, 2022

Michael Polanyi, a scientist protesting scientism

From 1891 to the world of Corona medical Nazism.

by StFerdIII

 

 

 

Polanyi was a 20th century Jewish scientist, born in Hungary in 1891, who opposed the excessive religiosity of the Enlightenment, namely its extreme scepticism and rationalism, which does lead to, and would lead to, totalitarianism.  Pulling down monarchies and shattering religious institutions would, Polanyi wrote, only lead to nihilism, fascism or state power to coerce compliance to the one narrative, and a complete rejection of other forms of scientific inquiry and accumulation of knowledge.  He also descried the inevitable anti-humanism of such profoundly doctrinaire ‘rationalism’ leading to a distortion of reality, and how we view humans and our own life experience.

 

Polanyi rejected objective knowledge and promoted instead, personal knowledge.  This means there are various models to acquire and improve our collective knowledge, including tacit-knowing, interpretive frameworks, discovery and fallibility of results (echoing Feynman and Russell).  Polanyi does not reject the ‘Enlightenment’ but seeks to moderate its excess.  He tries to combine cautious change with traditional values.

 

In reality Polanyi’s mission was a failure, even given the truism of his framework.  In the 21rst century it is assumed that science solves all problems.  When a minor virus like Corona, with a death rate of 0.1% appears or is unleashed, the ‘science’ has the ‘only’ answer, namely, a concoction of chemicals that few can spell or understand.  According to the ‘Enlightenment’, all was dark pre-1700 and only after ‘science’ was ‘discovered’ were humans set free from a ‘dark age’.  Endless wars, depressions, governmental fascism and communism, and a long litany of death and misery, makes that claim rather specious and anti-reality.

 

Post the two ‘World Wars’ Polanyi asked, ‘Why Did We Destroy Europe?’.  Science or scientism was his answer.  The ideal of critical reasoning, cherished by the Enlighteners had long died in the dogma of state financed ‘scientism’.  If anything and everything needed scientific proof, it logically means that all institutions could be destroyed, including those protecting freedom, civil rights, religion and personal associations.  Science cannot prove you need ‘freedom’ any more than it can ‘prove’ you need football clubs or choral groups. 

 

Polanyi wrote that the demand that all knowledge be objectively verifiable was unlivable and impossible, fostering a whiplash against reason and truth.  The epistemic ideals produced a strong division between faith and reason, which had never existed in the medieval or even pagan eras.  Nietzsche and Marx with their criticism of reason and tradition, became philosophers espousing the inevitable result of the Enlightenment, the creation of ‘supermen’ who transcend normal human capability and the collective, who must submit to the new genre of super men.  Descartes who endorsed a spiritual reality beyond the material, even while one is critical of everything, and Kant who endorsed a moral reality beyond the normative, were both rejected and life was reduced to ‘science’, namely biology and physics.

 

Polanyi viewed scientism as the main threat to modern freedoms.  Given that the cult of science projects that it is the only source of truth, it is inevitable that the state captures that dogma and uses it for its own means.  Both the Nazis and Communists had their ‘settled science’ justifying their totalitarianisms and carnage.  ‘Positivists’ even today seek to reduce the brain and human experience to random chemical interactions and neurochemical processes.  Instead of open inquiry science became a process of indoctrination, satisfying various cult or state demands and using science for personal or state ambition. 

 

Polanyi tried to modify the dogmatic and totalitarian impulses of the ‘Enlightenment’.  His criticisms were remarkably prescient in the context of the cult of science which exists today.  His scientific philosophy was consistent in espousing both faith and reason and stating that both are compatible with our existence, and both are necessary to understand knowledge and accumulate real scientific knowledge.  His warnings are largely unknown, and we now live in a world gone mad with medical Nazism and pretences to the creation of a global fascism. 


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