The new high priests come from the scientific community – the likes of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, and Lawrence Krauss. These people denounce and will even publicly humiliate people with religious faith, showing all the finesse and understanding of human nature of The Inquisition. Of course, there is bigotry on both sides, but the new high priests display all the intolerances of the people they claim superiority to.
While religious bigots claim knowledge of God, morality, purpose and possess answers to all life’s questions, the new high priests claim there is no God, and that the answer to life’s questions can be found in measurement. Physicists particularly display a hubris that is hard to bear. Krauss seems to see himself as a hip celebrity, wearing his brimmed hat and red shoes and pronouncing on everything from life after death (there is none) to the evils of Islam. Dawkins tells us that children’s fairy stories are a great evil, encouraging a distorted view of life.
The myth is a part of humanity and even the myth that the universe can be adequately comprehended through measurement. People do not indulge in myth because it is something nice to do, they indulge because life is so brutal and futile and the human psyche finds it hard to bear. The myth is a necessary prop for many people. Not everyone can understand quantum physics or the philosophy of Kant. And we tend to forget that the sciences are concerned with models of reality, and not reality itself. Quantum physics is a very good example of this – a hotch-potch of empirical findings glued together with equations that fit the data – but with almost no understanding of what is really going on. Quite the opposite really. Quantum physics attracts all kinds of superstitious nonsense, allowing physicists to indulge is esoteric masturbation that only the elite can enjoy.
In reality, it doesn’t matter who gains the upper hand, the result will be the same – intolerance, abuse, elitism and bigotry. The new high priests have already demonstrated their prowess in these areas. The danger is that we enter an era where measurement is king, and of course, it already is in many areas of life. The result will be a sterile, unbearably bleak life, with no escape from its futility. However, we can already see the result – alcohol, drugs, mindless entertainment, and anything else that might allow the human mind to escape from the grey metal reality created by the new high priests. Maybe the old high priests weren’t so bad.