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In Our Hurry to Conquer Nature and Death, We have Made a New Religion of Science
by Jonathan Cook
Posted June 23, 2021

is science now a religion?Despite our science-venerating culture, we have arrived at a similar moment to our forebears, who gazed at the night sky in awe. We have been forced to acknowledge the boundaries of knowledge.

There is a difference, however. Our ancestors feared the unknowable, and therefore preferred to show caution and humility in the face of what could not be understood. They treated the ineffable with respect and reverence. Our culture encourages precisely the opposite approach. We show only conceit and arrogance. We seek to defeat, ignore or trivialise that which we cannot explain or understand.

Descartes’ legacy – a dualism that assumes separation between soul and body, mind and matter – has in many ways proved a poisonous one for western societies. An impoverished, mechanistic worldview treats both the planet and our bodies primarily as material objects: one a plaything for our greed, the other a canvas for our insecurities.

In fact, there were self-interested reasons why Descartes’s dualism was so appealing to the scientific and medical community four centuries ago. His mind-matter division carved out a space for science free from clerical interference. Doctors could now claim an authority over our bodies separate from that claimed by the Church over our souls. More…