How real science became narrative science

How real science became narrative science. By Bruce Charlton. Some broad generalities, but essentially true in my experience.

Real Science [is] science that operates on the basis of a belief in the reality of truth: that truth is real. …

Real science is dead, and the main reason is that professional researchers are not even trying to seek the truth and speak the truth; and the reason for this is that professional ‘scientists’ no longer believe in the truth — no longer believe that there is an eternal unchanging reality beyond human wishes and organization which they have a duty to seek and proclaim to the best of their (naturally limited) abilities.

Hence the vast structures of personnel and resources that constitute modern ‘science’ are not real science but instead merely a professional research bureaucracy, thus fake or pseudo-science; regulated by peer review (that is, committee opinion) rather than the search-for and service-to reality.

Among the consequences are that modern publications in the research literature must be assumed to be worthless or misleading and should always be ignored. In practice, this means that nearly all ‘science’ needs to be demolished (or allowed to collapse) and real science carefully rebuilt outside the professional research structure, from the ground up, by real scientists who regard truth-seeking as an imperative and truthfulness as an iron law.

The bureaucrats corrupted it with funding. Lavish funding encouraged millions of people to take up careers in science, who couldn’t really do it. Instead they pretend, and focus on getting funded.

The history of real science:

It came from Pagan Greece (epitomized by Aristotle), then through the early Christian theologians — epitomized by the Western Medieval scholastic philosophers (pioneered by Peter Abelard).

It was the Roman Catholic Church that professionalized philosophy as a subject increasingly distinct from theology, and developed the university as institutionally distinct from the monastery (thus dividing education from devotion). …

Then natural science separated from philosophy in the Renaissance era, at around the time of Galileo, and later moved to be focused in Protestant Northern Europe where it first became large, visible and noticeably distinct from about the 17th century.

There were agrarian and industrial revolutions in Britain during the 1700s; and from around 1800 a new world was increasingly apparent: a world characterized by growth in science, technology, the economy, and human capability: the world of modernity. And from this point science became not just a distinct social structure, but a professional career structure.

Since the later 19th century, science has, with each generation, broken-up into smaller and smaller specializations, and become more and more career focused.

For a while this specialization led to greater achievement, since it allowed the devotion of more time and effort to solving more manageable problems. Yet each new-generation specialist had been educated in a more generalist tradition — which acted as a drag on the tendency to fragmentation and incoherence.

For a while, therefore, specialization led to greater accomplishment within its individual divisions yet with sufficient integration across these divisions to maintain unity and to check error.

However, specialization continued past this optimal point, and into less-and-less functional fragmentation — such that science lost unity and specialisms lost the ability to serve as mutual checks.
Science gradually became nothing but isolated and irrefutable micro-specialisms.

Apparently, therefore, specialization was a slippery slope for science: such that once science had stepped-onto the slippery slope of specialization it could not stop the process, even when science had slid far beyond the point at which specialization was helpful.

From real science to generic bureaucracy:

At some point over the past several decades, science stopped being real and evolved into its current state of being merely a research-based variant of generic bureaucracy.

This was increasingly clear to aware observers from the 1960s, and indeed to the most astute observers (such as Erwin Chargaff) from several decades earlier. But now it is so obvious that only ignorance or dishonesty prevents it being universally acknowledged.

However, bureaucracies are systematically ignorant, and dishonesty is now institutional and compulsory, therefore the disappearance of real science is not acknowledged but instead vehemently denied, and steady, incremental progress is claimed!

The post-modern era has too much bureaucracy and not enough individual genius:

Science presumably always was done among humans — albeit at a very low prevalence. Technological breakthroughs have tended to accumulate — albeit with interruptions and local reversals — throughout recorded history. But modernity happened because real scientific breakthroughs came so thick-and-fast that increasing efficiency out-ran increasing population — and humanity escaped what Gregory Clark has called the Malthusian Trap.

But if modernity depends on the take-off of real science, upon what does the take-off of real science depend?

My answer is creative genius.

My understanding is that real science grew fast — especially in the populations of Northern Europe by recruiting from an increased pool of ‘creative geniuses’ who were motivated to do science. This I regard as the essential underpinning of modernity.

Bureaucracy stifles creative genius. Which is a major reason behind the falling rate of science breakthroughs in recent decades.

Those who decide which scientists get funding — the bureaucracy — have a political narrative to support. So now “science” just supports the left’s narrative. When was the last time you saw any “official science” that disagreed with the narrative?

How often does the left say that “science” is on their side? They’re right — they bought it lock, stock, and barrel with your tax dollars. But they spent unwisely. They bought dud science, a politicized process that gives them the answers they want but produces little in the way of real science.

We are seeing this struggle between real science and the narrative’s science at the moment with covid and the vaccines. While real science is being done by some individual medicos and small organizations, the institutions and media gang up to squash and discredit it. They only allow the narrative-approved messages to be labelled as “science” in the media and the journals: “vaccines good, anti-virals bad”. The narrative retreats, grudgingly, only when reality becomes too obvious to deny.