Scientism and the Police State

Scientism is another contentious topic that I think can shed some light on the emergence of the police state. It is one of the many angles from which we can explore the problem of police corruption, abuse and violence in order to gather a bigger picture of issues so complex that they cannot be explained without deconstructing our entire social fabric. Unfortunately, a discussion of scientism and its problems almost always degenerates into misleading narratives constructed from opposition factors within a false dichotomy.

Scientism CentralScientism is the extremely unscientific worldview which claims that only science can provide meaningful answers to inquiries about nature, reality and existence. Its adherents attempt to stretch scientific methods and findings beyond their realm of epistemological relevancy in order to validate their own beliefs, convince others or to replace reason itself with a dogmatic ideology to further their agenda.

While the scientific method is itself a brilliant and immensely useful tool for answering many types of questions, even science or empiricism cannot be used to validate claims of its methodological superiority. The scientific method is predicated on philosophical suppositions and logical systems that precede formal science both historically and and intellectually. Order of operations. Non-empirical methods of discovery such as art and spirituality are similarly branches of philosophical inquiry. The claim that any single branch of philosophy provides the entirety of truth, whether it be science or religion or any other, betrays a fundamental ignorance of the greatest knowledge of all. Absolute objective truth is not accessible to humans. Truth is an ever-evolving journey that seeks new evidence, questions and answers, and good answers are the kind which that are sensible and polite enough to concede when they have been replaced by better ones.

The criticism of scientism is not the same as being ‘anti-science’. In fact, it is in keeping with the scientific method and spirit that we remain vigilant that such a powerful tool not become sullied and weighed down by dogma or allowed to be abused by the select few for maligned purposes. Already my explanation of scientism and pre-emptive attempts to quell the automated reactions from true believers of all ideologies feels too long and apologetic. Before you dismiss the problem of Scientism outright without trying to discover its complicity in the police state, please take some time to read the links scattered throughout this post, so that you might possibly benefit from lines of inquiry which you may not yet fully understand.

So, how does scientism contribute to the police state, then?

Scientism PoliceAs an ideology, scientism often suggests some basic axioms which creep into our thinking of all things. Since scientism tries to bend the scientific method into intellectual authoritarianism, it has become a cultural reinforcement for the dangerous and untenable idea of the superiority of systems over individuals. Because science requires interactions between scientists and a larger scientific community, it often utilizes systemic or institutionalized paradigms. And because these paradigms have shown some pragmatic success in helping to create human technologies and knowledge which benefits us, the adherents of scientism often come to believe that human civilization itself requires a similar method of organization. While this is arguably and demonstrably untrue, the scientismist projects the successes of empiricism outside of its realm into the study of nature and onto human societies. The scientismist often believes that the same formally rigid structures which brought about scientific knowledge is applicable to all phenomena.

The police state is itself one of those formal rigid structures. But because human beings exercise free will, the structure is inadequate to respond to a subject which does not act predictably. Dealing with human beings requires that we consider every human as an individual and not just some statistical aggregate. Yet because our policing institutions have begun to incorrectly model themselves after empirical disciplines, individuals are treated as categorical subjects. Police attempt to circumvent the difficult job of ascertaining the entire situation and particulars of an individual by categorizing them. This makes police work easier and reduces risks to law enforcement officers, while at the same time creating a corrupt and abusive power structure which relies on profiling and criminal assumptions that often target the innocent. Scientism has reinforced our ideology that only strict methods are useful and this ideology has become a building block of the modern police state.

Scientism PropagandaScientism also relates to problems of propaganda, even when it is often unintentional. In the last few decades we have seen numerous television shows, movies and other media presentations which highlight forensic police work. In truth, forensics is only part of building a legal criminal case. The best of forensic evidence will not hold any weight in an honorable court without some kind of motive accompanying it. Yet we have come to see these quirky scientists who work behind the scenes as the central mediator of justice in our systems. Because their weapon of choice is the scientific method, and because we have perverted method into ideology, we assume that science has provided reasonable checks and balances in our legal system to prevent abuse and corruption. This simply is not true. While law enforcement contains an element of science, it is itself not scientific. When we credit it with the accuracy of the scientific method, we open ourselves up to a blind ignorance of how both policing and science work.

Scientism HumorScientism has contributed to some other false assumptions that have become pandemic in our culture. One of these assumptions is how we have distorted the concept of ‘proof’. Proof, as it has come to be used in most discussions, is an irrational ideology. The only disciplines in which the actual concept of proof applies are closed axiomatic systems, such as logic and mathematics, where there can be no new information. In human activities, investigations and all throughout nature there is always an abundance of new information which could change what we know about a phenomenon.

The beauty of science is that its claims are made to be falsifiable, which means that the goal is to keep looking for deeper truth and not settle on a particular hypothesis or theory as the final answer. Yet somehow the cultural ideology of scientism has elevated the concept of proof to mean some kind of absolute and final objective truth. Such things do not exist in science or nature. Truth is a continuous journey of improving our knowledge. By distorting the concept of proof as has happened via scientism, we have erroneously come to believe that we have the ability to make final answers to all questions. Aside from being illogical and false, this is highly unscientific.

And yet the law enforcement system has come to rely on this faulty concept in many ways. We are asked by the police state to provide proof or told that proof is not on our side. Yet this concept of proof being appealed to does not apply to law enforcement or its methods. By usurping this meaningless concept, police and the cultural ideologies surrounding them have come to a sort of religious faith in the righteousness of law enforcement. This faith causes people to not question the police and their activities; which inevitably leads to a sort of authority in which abuse and corruption can go unnoticed and unchecked. However, it is within the legal system that we are able to find an example of the slipperiness of ‘proof.’ ‘Proven beyond a reasonable doubt,’ is a statement that verifies the subjectivity of proof. A legal system which tries to objectify scientistic concepts for its own purposes, while admitting the impossibility of objectivity, is one that bears much closer inspection.

Many other concepts which are either used by or as justification for the police state are also social distortions. For instance, we are often given statistical information as a way of justifying the follies of police from profiling to department expansions. The most common way this is done is by using statistics as prediction models. Statistical analysis and its prediction models are not even very scientific. The number of times an outcome has or has not happened in the past has no influence whatsoever on present probabilities. A probability is determined by the number of possible outcomes, not on statistical inference of prior outcomes. Once again, nature is not a closed system, so past information does not illustrate or influence a current phenomena. These statistical misconceptions are themselves highly illogical and incompatible with empiricism, and yet law enforcement at every level constantly uses these statistics to create fear and justify its activities, even to the exception of rational and ethical considerations.

Yet another false construct from scientistic thinking is that of predeterminism, which is the idea that external forces fate us to preordained thoughts and behaviors. Predeterminism was the basis of the Protestant movement and was largely considered a merely religious concept until twentieth century scientistic world views like physicalism, naturalism and materialism began to become influential in public spheres. From the very onset, predeterminism was used by law enforcement as method of ‘preventing crime’ by acting pre-emptively against those whose biological or cultural make-up allegedly put them at a higher than average risk for criminal behavior.

Science BonerIn the late nineteenth-century such fallacious thinking was used to illustrate that phrenology could predict the emergence of criminals. Phrenology is the (thankfully) defunct idea that the shape of our skulls can be used to determine deep truths about individual human beings. While phrenology is no longer practiced by police, similar tactics are still used, even when they are officially unallowed. Profiling, stereotyping and the use of race and class to determine possible criminality are all widespread practices. Even when such practices are deemed institutionally impermissible, they still affect the thinking of individual officers who use pre- deterministic shortcuts in everyday policing. The unfortunate ideology of predeterminism is endemic to both Protestantism and Scientism. The scientistic and philosophical justifications for corruption and abuse by police are part of the problem of scientism.

The problem of scientism contributes to a grand oversimplification in our thinking. It provides shortcut rationalities and other inanities that bleed into our larger cultural ideologies. Scientism is a force which serves to create anti-intellectual paradigms in which we ignore larger truths in deference to a single method of knowing and/or understanding our world. By closing off our thinking and narrowing it into blind faith, we lose track of the bigger picture of our existence. This leads us to default on our ethical, moral and other subjective forms of knowledge which would otherwise provide checks and balances on a legal system run amok.

Getting High With CarlScientism is a problem for humanity. It has become the new religion of the state. It is a problem that has penetrated every corner of our social, economic and political existence. It is a contributing factor in the unreasonable thinking by which our police state is being constructed. One need not be anti-science to see the problem. In fact, those who truly appreciate science and its successes and possibilities should be vigilant in protecting the method from being perverted into irrational and dogmatic ideology. Not just for the sake of intellectual vigor and truth, but because scientism inadvertently creates real-world problems, like the police state with its growing corruption and abuse.

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Alia Atreides

Hi, my name is Trevor. Thanks for reading!

  • t

    Wow.
    That is some strong BS right there.

    Let me guess…..you’re an AlexJones fan aren’t you?

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    Not at all. Perhaps you should read the article and engage your critical thinking while doing so instead of inventing assumptions and connections which do not exist in reality or have any relevancy to the article.

  • Thenumber6

    Comparing police to religion. So basically your putting us up with gods? Why thank you.

  • JC

    Another plagiarized article on copblock by the author who continues to plagiarize his articles. It’s not even a good article.

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    Your plagiarization claims just don’t make any sense. If you are going to claim something is plagiarized, you have to show the source it was plagiarized from. If you do not do that and just repeatedly make public claims of plagiarism, you are commiting libel and slander. Stop breaking the law, JC.

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    I did not compare police to religion. I compared the fanatical dogmatism of supporters of both to one another. If you wanna assume from this article that the people that support you are like the people who abuse the concept of the divine with a juvenile anthropomorphized NoboDaddy through mindless literalism, then go ahead. But it kinda just makes you look even more like an obsolete troglodyte.

  • WD!

    Don’t expect him to comprehend anything having to do with law.

  • WD!

    Again man, you are asking a bit much. t and friends are half a chromosome away from throwing their own shit as a defense mechanism.

  • RAD

    The police are a religious cult. Your scriptures you call “statutes” which you try to enforce on everyone else are handed down to you by the supernatural power of “State”, which is a religious abstraction. In the state religion of ancient Rome, the “State” (called Roma) was anthromorphized as the goddess of Roma. In Athens the “State” was anthromorphized as “Athena”. Today, the supernatural deity called “The National Sovereign” Or “Sovereign State” or “The United States of America” (the “entity” children are taught to pray to when worshiping the flag idol) is cast as an anthropomorphism like this, which is the same thing the Romans did with their temple of Venus and Roma, or The Athenians with Athena (it is a religious anthropomorphism of the deity of the modern State religion):

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f3/Uncle_Sam_(pointing_finger).jpg/446px-Uncle_Sam_(pointing_finger).jpg

  • patriot156

    Sure when you believe you came from monkeys theres no reason to give a shit about people so why not abuse them and what better way than become a cop?
    Science produces the Borg or Collective way of thinking no individule rights except what the collective allow. Even though cops claim to beleive in God they must be following Baal because only that explains why they can beat the crap out of you and still think thier doing Gods work! Romans 13 is the sinlge most beast propigating Beast life giving scripture there is. End times!

  • JC

    Spare me your monkey psychology. Many of the author’s articles are plagiarized. I owned a couple of the books he took his stories from. I would suggest you relax a little. Copblock is full of people authors that plagiarize.

  • patriot156

    I say to the one bellow yes when you replace God with man and mans law and ways then yes cops are pretty much as much the antichrist beast as anything else!
    and pretty much why in Daniel 2 vs 44 God says mans Gov wll be no more!

  • keepitreal

    LOL. Good one.

  • RAD

    “This faith causes people to not question the police and their activities; which inevitably leads to a sort of authority in which abuse and corruption can go unnoticed and unchecked. However, it is within the legal system that we are able to find an example of the slipperiness of ‘proof.’ ‘Proven beyond a reasonable doubt,’ is a statement that verifies the subjectivity of proof. A legal system which tries to objectify scientistic concepts for its own purposes, while admitting the impossibility of objectivity, is one that bears much closer inspection.”

    The legal system is a religious institution. The men and women who wear the black priest robes called judges who preside over the legal rituals of persecution claim their authority comes from their personal relationship with the higher power of State – they are “State Magistrates” or “United States Federal Judges” or are identified by similar titles of nobility which include a reference to some sort of supernatural “governmental” “entity”. This title of nobility, and the ritual of swearing a religious oath on a bible to uphold the scriptures of “State” consecrates them as one of the chosen ones who are ordained to wear the priest robes of the government religion. This status as one of the chosen ones called “judge” is presumed, in some instances (among the priest class called “Appellate Judges”), to grant them a special legalistic power to create new scripture which is part of a larger scriptural cannon which the Legal cult calls “Case Law”. Further, the larger body of “Judges”, as a group is presumed a special supernatural power called “jurisdiction” or “authority” which grants them a legal monopoly on exegesis of legal scripture, according to the government religion.

    This faith-based system is generally incapable of proving anything to any type of scientific or logical certainty since it relies on so many articles of faith in formulating conclusions, many of which rely on supernatural suppositions. Further, it consistently relies on systematic implementation of fallacious “reasoning” in its protocols of formulating conclusions: the fallacious appeal to numbers juries and judges voting to reach conclusions), fallacious appeal to authority/scripture, reification of supernatural “Entities” like “States” and “Corporations”, non-overlapping magisterium of “questions of fact” vs “questions of law”, where some conclusions must be based on scriptural exegesis rather than logic/facts. Could probably find plenty more if one were to look for them.

  • WD!

    What books are they? Back up your claim, if you can….

  • RAD

    It’s just a red herring ad hom argument anyway. Even if it were just reposted from another source that doesn’t actually refute the material.

  • Common Sense

    Religion is a joke, fooling the weak for hundreds of years.

  • Yankeefan

    It is not plagiarism on a site that deals with opinions!

  • t

    Josh:
    To,you….”critical thinking” is just some buzz word you heard somewhere.

    “Scientism is the extremely unscientific worldview”
    Critical,thinking. You were out at the first sentce of the second paragraph.

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    i am the author, which is why I am certain that the work is not plagiarized. Arrest yourself, criminal scum!

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    Apparently!

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    Do you even complete sentence, bro?

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    Then, in your case, it might be an improvement.

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    I find both nihilism and ontological literalism frightening, in equal parts.

  • Morgan O’Brien-Bledsoe

    And yet you have still not given proof of ANY plagiarization. Hum maybe you don’t have proof? That’s what I’m going with and I’m sure the rest of the internet will agree.

  • t

    Ah…spelling. You are such the thinking powerhouse.

  • Lou Sassol

    what was that response to billy madison? well i know the last part. “i award you no points. and may god have mercy on your soul.” lol

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    That makes one of us.

  • Common Sense

    I really don’t know where you were going with this one. You were all over the map.

  • Common Sense

    I would wager, you were baked when you created this.

  • pickle

    There you go with the monkey stuff again. You really do have a hard on for primates, huh?

  • pickle

    Do you put stickers all over that helmet you have to wear all day? Are they pretty rainbow and unicorn stickers?

  • pickle

    That’s giving them way too much credit.

  • pickle

    Yer stoopid. See? Challenging someone’s intelligence in writing that is misspelled or grammatically incorrect kind of makes you an ass wipe. “Jussayin”

  • pickle

    So, in other words…..Ohh ohh ahh ahh….right?

  • alted1

    And still JC, we’re waiting.

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    I would wager that your inability to create a valid argument against it leaves you with no option but to make irrelevant and inane claims that have nothing to do with the article. The go-to distraction of the feeble-minded, ad hominems.

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    Sorry, I tried to do a version that was all pictures, but sometimes I have to write stuff for smart people, too.

  • Joshua Scott Hotchkin

    Not when they have strawman’d your intellectual vigor, first. Chill out, I know the correct order of operations and procedure here, pickle.

  • t

    “Strawman”

    Oh wow. You just keep rocking it

  • pickle

    By all means, carry on, sir. I still think he’s stoopid.

  • Common Sense

    Joshua, with you all over the map here. You go from science being “bad” to evoking an 100 yr old practice of phrenology. You simply want a utopia that will never exist, other than on paper.

    Were you high when you wrote this?

  • Common Sense

    Maybe a nice one with pop-ups. Oh no, maybe a super cool inforgraphic.

  • Lou Sassol

    id wager high on acid and low on real world first hand experience

  • Lou Sassol

    so youre saying that the scientific method is good? but bad if we use it in conjunction with the justice system?

  • t

    Science was wrong before, but you’re wrong now.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Science_was_wrong_before

  • zigCARNIVOROUS

    GREAT ARTICLE
    It IS very dangerous to “…ignore larger truths in deference to a single method of knowing and/or
    understanding our world. By closing off our thinking and narrowing it
    into blind faith, we lose track of the bigger picture of our existence.”
    Yeah, I don’t do dangerous stuff like that.

  • JeromeMac

    So spiritually is a method of inquiry? How so exactly? How do you gain knowledge through spiritually? THrough faith, or belief in spite of lack of evidence. It is science we can even engage in this conversation online. Scientism is a silly term. Knowledge is gained by scientific observation, utilizing logic/reason. Not through spiritually, or even the arts.

  • Lumukanda

    Is he saying that? Wow, I must have misinterpreted the article.

  • Terence Kumpf

    “The problem of scientism contributes to a grand oversimplification in our thinking. It provides shortcut rationalities and other inanities that bleed into our larger cultural ideologies.” Examples?

  • Terence Kumpf

    Let’s not go disparaging psychedelics, now.

  • Tim

    This does very well to illustrate the facts that cops have a low IQ. Cant even understand a simple concept like this.

  • PithHelmut

    God has nothing to do with it or anything else on earth or anywhere. Believing we came from monkeys doesn’t cause people to not give a shit about people. False premises all.

  • PithHelmut

    A good article that highlighted the kind of thinking we do unconsciously. I love science but I read and hear the dogma lately more than anything scientific. In fact, most of science has dismissed the metaphysical outright. The technology that we so admire may have actually taken us off the path to doing all that technology can do but without the hardware. Scientists poopooh so much that their minds are closed from the outset most of the time. It’s great to know about atoms and stars but even science explains that everything is affected by the process of observation.

  • http://www.amazon.com/The-Economic-Laws-Scientific-Research/dp/0312173067 This is an excellent book that goes more into this.

  • patriot156

    lol keep telling yourself that all the way to the lake of fire!

  • PithHelmut

    Is that all he’s capable of? Boy for someone who created all we see, he sure has run out of ideas on how to deal with it. Do you see how silly your premise is?

  • Lee

    Joshua,

    I’d like to thank you for a summarized version of how the modern police state has developed. This is the sort of thing that CopBlock should be posting more of. I’ve been disappointed of late with some of what CopBlock has to offer lately, and this turned my opinion around. Don’t listen to the knuckledragging humanities majors with a badge. “Big” words frighten them.

  • Yodapop

    aaanndddd you believe wiki is the all knowing being to postulate before and emulate as the only truth there will ever be, little t-itty? That is an opinion page also….employing many 100 dollar words that you probably do not even know the definition of.

  • Ive been into the basic principles and discoveries of science for years now and thought this article was real useful. I run into a lot of dogmatic science types who after questioning can’t even define science or name one principle. whoever wrote this is thorough indeed. however that one mention about ‘free will’ makes me nervous. I would hope the next time the writer mentions that concept he would elucidate on the subject a bit more. so far it seems to be such a troublesome concept and as slippery as ‘faith’ or ‘proof’.

  • Induced Triggering

    The religious trappings of the judicial system are NOT an accident. Most I’ll say on here.

  • Induced Triggering

    Global warming is a good example. The typical defense of a religious warmist is something along the lines of saying “but when ALL the reputable scientists say it is so, you’d be crazy to deny it”. What they’ve done is substituted appeals to authority and popularity for a logical argument.

    The same thing is true of police thinking. We know that “all” sensible people support the police and troops without question, therefore we have to as well.

  • Terence Kumpf

    You’re conflating two things–scientific inquiry, which is predicated on disproving (as opposed to proving), and policing. I don’t see the sense in it. Science is not infallible. It’s set up to critically reassess itself. Religion and religious thinking is not. Scientific inquiry, and more specifically the scientific method, is an open system that rejects past theories when there is no longer sufficient evidence to support them. Religious thinking assumes a closed system that shall not be questioned. Real scientists do not presume findings to be infallible. That is a huge difference.

  • michaelglasser

    What rambling nonsense.

    “Yet somehow the cultural ideology of scientism has elevated the concept of proof to mean some kind of absolute and final objective truth.”

    Completely misses the point of science. Wow.

  • And misunderstands what scientism actually is, to boot.

  • even science explains that everything is affected by the process of observation

    Nope. Only quantum physics, not things on the classical level.

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