Science as a Cult
Scientism is the attempt by many who call themselves scientists to tread where no genuine scientist would go by turning science from method into madness. We see such attempts in climate science. For example, Paul Erlich, the author of The Population Bomb, in 1967, predicted environmental collapse, including world-wide crop failures, famines and droughts, by 1975.
I recall having conversations with my college-age peers back then. Erlich must be right, we thought. He is a scientist! We decried the terrible future we were inheriting because of human greed and our leaders’ corruption. No. Erlich was entirely wrong. The average human life-span and standard of living has since gone up world-wide.
Erlich is a huckster who generates fear for profit. He has been riding wave after wave of hysteria since the 1960s. The popular press have accepted his predictions for decades without skepticism because, like Erlich, they know that fear-mongering is good for business.
Dr. Chicken Little has been claiming the sky is falling for over a half-century and has been wrong every time. Undaunted by this, Dr. Erlich always finds a new looming catastrophe that he claims is going to end us all, just you wait and see. His latest? Mass extinction. The cause? Too many people, of course.
Dr. Erlich may actually believe he is right. Nevertheless, I believe that he has replaced genuine scientific inquiry with ingenuous catastrophizing that keeps the grant money coming in with himself as the center of profit and admiration. He has no genuine scientific following; he is a doomsday cult leader with a Ph.D.