In my last post I wrote that, like Christianity before it, Science provides the collective with simple certainties, and therein lies its power. I’d never thought of that before, and it has quite struck me since.
Quantum Mechanics, for example, where there is only probability and never certainty. 11 dimensional M theory . Boltzmann Brains.
But if you don’t think too much about all that – or if, like Einstein and quantum theory, you refute it – then you can have the comfortable feeling of certainty about how the universe works that science seems to provide.
Christianity at its simplest tells us that an omniscient God created the universe, and if we are good he will let us into heaven after we die. For centuries that was simple and certain.
I think this is just the way things work when you have large collectives of people. If you are an astrologer or a homeopath, then you probably don’t need quite so much the certainties that the collective provides. (Note I say not quite so much: there are plenty of astrologers, healers etc who seek security in their own alternative canon.) If it wasn’t science vs astrology and homeopathy, it would be something else that put you on the margins, that made the individual way you see and do things a threat to the collective certainties. So there’s no point being surprised by it or wanting it to be different. It’s always been that way.
It’s paradoxical that Science can be so sophisticated and creative and complex, and yet at the same time kept in place by primitive needs. You also see this phenomenon in the resistance with which scientific progress can be met from other scientists.