History of Science

In the comments here, you’ll find discussion about the role of science in the Dark Enlightenment (central, as far as I’m concerned), but also a nod toward the history of science, which should, I think, be engaged more often in the reacto-sphere. The history of science offers a chance to explore important questions: What are the optimal economic and political circumstances for the flourishing of discovery? Does science progress because of or in spite of larger social contexts? How have different individuals and generations dealt with the conflicts between science and faith? Who has silenced science throughout history, and why? How often do political leaders use science to make policy (or for political ends), and what have the consequences been? So on and so forth. Thomas Kuhn has given us plenty to think about in terms of the philosophy of science as it has evolved throughout history, but looking at the history of science through a social and political lens can be just as illuminating.

Of course, the history of science is messy business. Mapping any narrative onto it requires plenty of selection and deflection. But I think it’s a subject worth exploring, and it’ll certainly become a running theme here at Habitable Worlds.

For now, I’ll just note that the Wikipedia entry for Timeline of Scientific Discoveries is fascinating. I’m sure it’s incomplete and problematic (how is ‘scientific discovery’ being defined?), but even so, there’s an obvious trend. Arabs (Persians, more likely) dominate the short list of discoverers prior to the 15th century. And then, as soon as the 1500s arrive . . . it’s Europeans all the way down. What happened to the Muslim world after the Caliphate and the golden age of Islamic learning? There seems to have been a cultural collapse larger and longer-lasting than anything experienced in the Occident. There are lessons to be learned here . . .

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11 responses

  1. thordaddy

    It doesn’t make sense to assert that “science” shall be “central” to Dark Enlightenment unless you are asserting that the Dark Enlightenment envelopes and supersedes “science.” But for some reason I don’t think you will make that assertion and herein lies the fundamental dispute with “science” as that which makes known a grand paradigm.

    The very essence of a “neoreaction” is that which CANNOT be made predictable by “science.” Only when “neoreaction” becomes a redundant phenomenon (a formalized act) can it then be observed, measured and made predictable. Of course, this practically defeats the purpose of the “neoreaction” in the first place.

    Again, a “neoreactionary” who puts science “central” must then REACT in entirely predictable manner.

    He sabotages any effective reaction by his thoroughly “scientific” act.

    April 25, 2013 at 7:39 am

    • I’m not following your logic precisely, so I’ll take it one step at a time.

      First, by stating that science is “central” to the Dark Enlightenment, I’m recognizing that DE means taking evolution seriously for understanding life–especially human life.

      This evolutionary/biological framework forces us to conclude that “not all men are created equal.” Would other frameworks allow us to conclude the same thing? Surely. But this one has the most explanatory power and, more practically speaking, the most useful power in a secular world.

      Now, the latter part of your post sounds an awful lot like Nietszchean “will to power.” I think maybe your vision of neoreaction is largely divorced from anything science can or cannot tell us? So, any reaction anchored to a scientific worldview is, from the beginning, limited and destined to fail?

      The fact is, HBD can indeed be taken many different ways. JayMan is essentially advocating for a return to an archaic form of Leftism. People like Razib and Peter Frost are philosophically conservative but not all that inclined to attach their scientific worldview to a political program. So is your point that HBD (“science”) isn’t necessarily compatible with real political, social reaction, and so we should look elsewhere for a “center”?

      April 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      • thordaddy

        Scharlach,

        First, I would say that we need no framework in order to be cognizant of “human difference” and inequality. But even further, I would say that one who is beholden to the “evolutionary” framework has quite voluntarily minimized his own personal autonomy. He has confined himself to a finite “playing field” and a set of fixed rules that cannot be usurped.

        Why would a “neoreactionist” do this when the self limitation is entirely arbitrary, i.e., he could just as easily dispensed with the “evolutionary” framework and been more free as a result.

        Understanding this, it then makes suspicious those who bring “evolution” towards the “right.”

        We actually get a “revenge of nerds,” scenario.

        Take HBD, for instance.

        It’s bottom line assertion is “human biodiversity.”

        Human biodiversity exists!!!

        Really now? You just now noticed?

        Race-realism MEANS the HBDer was late to the “game.”

        HBD is the stuff of white male nerds WHO WERE COOL WITH radical liberalism until they faced a real existential crisis. They were being asked to self-annihilate at the altar of Liberalism. They were being asked to concede intellectual equality to the negro. Ergo, HBD is born because some “nerds” would it die.

        The HBD paradigm with its incredibly banal assertion is an attempt by white nerds to impress a framework on the masses that seeks to minimize the autonomy of white “jocks and bad boys” while simultaneously radicalising the autonomy of the negro and his many liberationist allies.

        April 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm

  2. thordaddy

    TPTB are given the choice to rule over either those who “believe” in science or those who “believe” in God-ordained free will…

    Who does TPTB choose?

    April 25, 2013 at 7:56 am

  3. Take HBD, for instance.

    It’s bottom line assertion is “human biodiversity.”

    Human biodiversity exists!!!

    Really now? You just now noticed?

    Race-realism MEANS the HBDer was late to the “game.”

    HBD is the stuff of white male nerds WHO WERE COOL WITH radical liberalism until they faced a real existential crisis.

    This is an apt description of it, I think. I know it was my experience. I was a typical unthinking Californian leftist until five or six years ago, and indeed, it was simply that I faced an existential crisis brought on by my finally reading beyond my echo chamber. So, yeah, you’re right that in a lot of ways the HBDer’s “grand conclusion” is the white nationalist’s starting premise. If we go further into neoreaction, it is done cautiously.

    The HBD paradigm with its incredibly banal assertion is an attempt by white nerds to impress a framework on the masses that seeks to minimize the autonomy of white “jocks and bad boys” while simultaneously radicalising the autonomy of the negro and his many liberationist allies.

    I don’t see how this follows at all, thordaddy. Even though the HBD paradigm may be pussified in your eyes, it’s not laying any groundwork for minimizing or radicalizing anyone’s autonomy. How can a philosophy which concludes “blacks on average have lower IQs than whites” radicalize black autonomy?

    April 25, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    • Nick B. Steves

      HBD is, indeed, a banal and uncontroversial, even genteel, assertion. That it is utterly verboten, crimethink, in the halls of power, even within major US corporations tells us just how far the leftist juggernaut has gotten.

      Autonomy is another word for independence. Independence is the opposite of dependence. It seems all God’s children deserve that, and to make of it what they, individually or collectively, may.

      April 26, 2013 at 3:01 am

    • thordaddy

      Sharlach,

      It’s not that I think HBD is “pussified,” but rather, the HBD movement is the memetic machinations of the white male nerd. HBD is literally “the revenge of the nerd” foreshadowed some 20 plus years ago. Remember, this is largely an internecine war. Jocks, nerds and stoners, so to speak. Jocks and stoners got race-realism on the gridiron and alley way. Nerds? Black was virtually nonexistent. Black nerds. Huh?

      A sacrifice to Liberalism demanded your typical HBD nerd “whitewash” himself and concede an intellectual equality to his nonexistent black peer. In what would be nothing less than a psychological raping, this demanded equivocation was tantamount to no longer being “nerd.” A real self-annihilation.

      So HBD hits the various variants of liberationist in unique ways.

      For the “black” liberationist, HBD is “racism,” i.e., evidence of “white supremacy.” Of course, this is ridiculous as your fervent HBDer is dead set against “white supremacy.” But nonetheless, you can see how this plays out.

      “Black” liberationist gets to smash HBD “science” under the pretense of liberating from “white supremacy” and HBD nerds get to press “race-realism” without any modicum of commitment to genuine white Supremacy.

      In short, the nerds are stirring the racial pot with their HBD, but the “jocks and stoners” will be spilling the blood and the radical “black” will continue his degenerate ways.

      Revenge of the nerds, I tell ya.

      April 26, 2013 at 6:14 am

  4. thordaddy

    Sharlach,

    I think the best way to state the relationship between “science” and “neoreaction” is that there is simply nothing inherent to “science” that may limit any genuine “neoreaction.”

    A genuine “neoreaction,” by definition, operates up and outside of “science.”

    There is literally no reason to not see reality in this manner.

    April 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm

  5. jamesd127

    Neoreaction is the truth, which might set you free, but more often gets you killed.

    Science, meaning real science, not official science, is the best and most reliable way to the truth.

    April 27, 2013 at 7:34 am

  6. Alrenous

    What happened to the arabs was a dude named Al-Ghazali.

    April 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

  7. TPTB are given the choice to rule over either those who “believe” in science or those who “believe” in God-ordained free will…

    I believe you are stating a false dichotomy here; science isn’t necessarily at odds with “God-ordained free will”; or at least please be specific in which ways it is….. hence, this statement leads me to feel I understand precisely why Scharlach retorts to one of your comments with ‘I don’t see how this follows at all…”

    What precisely is your reason for being that a “God-driven free will” not be compatible with “science,” which is certainly a white-created discipline that many white people believe is on par power-wise with all and any concepts of God-like forces. Perhaps this relates to earlier thoughts you’ve printed, saying in effect: ‘whatever has the most spirit is what matters,’etc.”‘

    A lot of your thoughts and screeds seem to offer a transcending element, IMO; I only find myself at times wishing your prescriptives were more amenable to ‘the other’ in terms of role and salvation.

    August 15, 2013 at 2:56 am

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