The Superstitions of Science

The modern peasant just replaces the artificial prejudices of superstitions and village old wives’ tales with the superstitions of science, which he receives ready-made from authorities among the popularizers of science. He loves them because of the creature comforts he believes they provide through technology. He is a cargo cultist – he knows nothing of what goes into the discoveries of science, nor the way the substance is transmitted among scientists, he just has a propagandized image of some of the results. This is no different from belief in Big Magic, which is how many primatives think of science – the Big Magic of the white man. It’s not even the substance of science that is the problem because it could be of great use, as much as any other popular religion has been: the problem is the frame of spirit that it puts the acolyte in. It makes him think he has power over the processes of nature which are at present actually very poorly understood. By removing primal fear – the only kind of awe that drives the many – it injects a toxic mix of complacency, arrogance, brutality, fanaticism that is all just under the surface only so long as times are good.