I am a critical scientist who questions everything, including myself. That way, I turned into an agnostic person and even shifted my political views more than twice. What worries me is that scientism is currently gaining the upper hand. Whereas science is the study of nature and behaviour of natural things and knowledge obtained through them, scientism is the view that only science can render truth about the world and reality. This is dangerous because critical scientists can be silenced that way.
If you can’t question it, it’s not science – it’s a cult.
The Covid narrative sets an excellent example for scientism. The official narrative was dictated by politicians and the media, who referred to a handful of scientists as experts. Even though most of these experts had strong conflicts of interest, it was stated that the facts are carved in stone and that a scientific consensus has been established. Everybody who dared to question parts of the narrative (e.g. specific measures or the scientific approach that led to the current situation) was consequently considered a science- or covid-denier. However, many scientists solely want to encourage scientific dialogue, access data, or express their genuine opinions. This neither makes us public enemies nor conspiracy theorists.
The first time I came in contact with the principle of scientism was during my PhD when I questioned CO2 as the main driver for climate change. To my astonishment, raising doubts about this topic got me into trouble as “one should not question scientific consensus”. Being discredited as a heretic was shocking, especially as I am a great supporter of biodiversity, reforestation, and organic agriculture (i.e. permaculture, aquaponics, etc.).
Just like me, many scientists who dare to question the narrative have lost their jobs in the last couple of years. Suppressing scientific plurality represents a great danger for academia and society. Every scientist should be able to express their opinion, regardless of their religion, origin, gender, or vaccination status. Excluding specific groups from academia leads to more homogeneous groups that, in return, is unscientific.
So the next time you hear a newsreader talk about “the science” or “all experts believe that…”, keep in mind that you are most likely exposed to propaganda that deliberately conceals the fact that there are many other voices and opinions out there that are not being heard as they don’t suit the political agenda.
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