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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Biter Is Bit

Secular humanists like to point to the Reformation with joy and pride. It is, they say, the beginning of a refusal to accept authority, the beginning of a desire to think for one's self. Thinking for yourself is to be praised, lauded, extolled as the highest of virtues!

Except when it causes you to disagree with them.

The original Reformation was made possible only via the spread of knowledge and opinion permitted by the printing press. But what happens when the cost of spreading information drops from a few tens of dollars to nothing at all?

Science is currently experiencing the consequences of the Internet Reformation.
And they're NOT happy.

Forbes recently published an article outlining four reasons why doctors hate social media.
  1. Many physicians described the challenges of dealing with patients who had retrieved wrong or incomplete information from the internet. 
  2. Many doctors in the audience were also visibly troubled by the ease with which patients could share “misleading” information, whether about medicine or the doctors themselves.
  3. ...the most significant concern raised was the impact that the “internet culture” was having on the practice of medicine.  “We need to teach students that traditional values are still important,” one audience member said
  4. The ability afforded by social media to share information rapidly and broadly was another source of concern. 
Does any of this sound familiar?
It should.

Rabbis hated targums - the translation of the Torah into local languages - because it led to people attempting to interpret the Scriptures on their own, without the training or guidance of professionals who understood Jewish theology at a deep level.

Priests, bishops and Popes had the same concerns about the widespread diffusion of the Christian Bible.

But the printing press overthrew the experts. Martin Luther embraced the information wave and taught that any individual could be a theological expert. Professional training, professional understanding was not necessary. Thus, misleading information - what Christians called "heresy" - was both easily developed and easily spread by the new printing press technology.

The "printing press culture" changed the emphasis of Christianity from that of a lived experience of the sacraments and liturgy to an essentially literary study of the Scriptures, as each individual tried to tease out the divine information for himself. This changed emphasis splintered Christianity into literally tens of thousands of subgroups, each with it's own esoteric interpretation of the text.

A similar thing is now happening with the spread of science articles and science information via the Web. What was formerly locked inside books and journals that only a specialist would read is now available for individual interpretation by anyone with access to a reasonably powerful search engine. The professional jargon is being re-interpreted by the masses according to whatever personal intellectual light the individual brings to the text.

Thus, just as the priests and bishops of old complained about the heretical readings of Scripture, so today's priests of science complain about the heretical reading of scientific studies. The controversy over vaccines, diet and exercise are only the vanguard of a larger fragmenting of the scientific disciplines.

Science has always been political, but it is now beginning to fragment, just as Christianity did during the Reformation. Certainly the scientific secular humanists would like to cheer the way individuals are overthrowing the antiquated restraints of old-fashioned science?

5 comments:

Steve Dalton said...

The priests of science aren't the only ones complaining about this information boom. Many Anti-Catholic Protestant bigots are finding out that the Net is making embarrassing information about the origins and history of Protestantism widely available to people who never had any access to this data before, because it could only be found in far-flung libraries around the world. Now the bigots have to ramble and scramble to cover Luther's, Calvin's and the rest of their founders and leaders rears. They won't succeed because the truth is out there and can only be held back for so long.

catholic traveller said...

Not to mention all the heresy propogated by "Catholics" on the internet, such as the Masons in the Vatican, the anti-Christ popes of recent times, the evils of Vatican II, etc.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Why not discuss the evils of the Council of Nicaea or First Constantinople, or the heresies propagated by the SSPX or the Masons such as the catholic traveller

catholic traveller said...

I'm afraid you're misinformed if you think I'm propogating such garbage. I'm just not as eloquent as you at debunking it.

Aric said...

This is actually a very astute observation... It makes me wonder if this is a kind of a pattern that has sprung up in human history even before the Reformation?