Insults and put-downs are common in every aspect of life. Politics, television shows and the internet have degenerated into insult-fests, with belittlement becoming almost the natural way people communicate with each other.

You might think that the pursuit of science, with its high level of intelligence, was well above this sort of behaviour. But this is not the case.

Even the most intelligent and respected of scientists resort to dishing out personal insults, abuse and belittlement when confronted by something they do not like, disagree with or are discomforted by. Rather than openly resorting to lowbrow terms like “boofhead”, or allegations about the legitimacy of their opponent’s parentage, scientists have a special insult that is all their own: 'pseudoscience', and its close relation, 'pseudoscientist'.

It might not sound like much of an insult, but this is a word that cannot be underestimated in its capacity to wreck reputations, stymie careers and dismiss entire branches of scientific investigation.

This word is too often applied to the people who work right at the very uncomfortable brink of human knowledge and who are willing to profoundly challenge its hold. 'Pseudoscience' effectively strips legitimacy from their work, writing it off as nothing more than a fantasy to be dismissed. It also writes off the scientist as irrational and unworthy of consideration.

We are all capable of horrible behaviour when we are defending the things we vehemently believe in, and scientists for all of their intelligence are no different in this respect.

This is not a modern phenomenon, only the techniques have changed. A mere four or five hundred years ago, the people at the forefront of science, the deliverers of uncomfortable truth, felt the lash of ridicule and violent opposition [in the most appalling ways].

Physical torment followed by grotesque death – for example, being slowly and publicly roasted over an open fire – was the preferred means of the Catholic Church for exercising control over the scientific beliefs and the direction of scientific exploration.

If, for example, you entertained the great Copernican understanding and wisdom that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe, and were foolish enough to say so anywhere in the vicinity of Vatican City in the late 1500’s, your life ran the substantial risk of meeting an appalling end.

Galileo, the physicist, astronomer and mathematician, knew that Copernicus’ treatise was true. His observations of the orbits of the moons around Jupiter and the phases of the planet Venus confirmed that the sun was at the centre of our orbit. Yet he recanted this truth and lived out his days under house arrest. He chose a terrible form of comfort in compliance with the current way of thinking and chose his own safety over the Truth . . .

The brilliant physicist, astronomer, mathematician and gnostic Giordano Bruno, not only rejected the only accepted scientific paradigm of the time – that of the earth as the centre of the Universe – he went even further than Copernicus to bring the prescient understanding of an unbounded, infinite Universe.

This now widely known and accepted truth was deemed a heresy by the Church scientists of the time. He would not recant Truth and was burnt to death by men of the church.

Let’s fast forward to our far more libertarian and polite society today, with its tendency to frown on overt forms of torture and murder. For all of our advancement and progress we still find the same stubborn adherence to accepted paradigms, beliefs and indoctrination in science, and the same game of dismissing uncomfortable prescience being played, albeit with a different set of rules and different set of tools.

One of the favoured tools to silence, and render foolish those willing to explore the uncomfortable brink is to tar their work as ‘pseudoscience’. What this term implies is that their entire approach is so deeply flawed as to be not proper science at all, and hence must be ignored and dismissed, unworthy of further consideration.

It is interesting to consider the way pseudoscience is used as a term of denigration and denial from a number of angles.

  • It implies that good, solid, reliable science – the legitimate science that ticks all the scientific boxes – is completely free from error and entirely reliable. Yet legitimate science has been shown to be profoundly flawed, and completely wrong too many times to mention. In simple terms technically ‘good’ science can be disturbingly misleading and an entire distraction that delays our inexorable return to Truth.

  • It exposes how science, like religion before it, has become bound in limiting beliefs about what must be true, and when this is challenged it provokes a reaction that is anything from dismissive to downright aggressive.

  • It inspires all sorts of questions about what science is, and how we see its purpose . . . Is science a tool to maintain a safe perimeter beyond which we dare not tread? Do we use science to comfortably tell us over and over again what we already know? Is it a tool for merely making tiny inching advancements that keep us in an illusion that we are right in what we know, heading to a utopian, science based future, hence challenging no aspect of the prevailing paradigm?

  • It exposes an extraordinary degree of arrogance that prevails in science. What we know is but a miniscule droplet in the vast ocean of all that there is to be known in this Universe. Over and over again those who control the scientific thinking of their Age have got it badly wrong. Giordano Bruno provides a horrific example of this. Have we learned anything since his brutal murder? The use of pseudoscience to shout down any proposal that shakes the prevailing belief system suggests not.

Take space as but one example of the many that could be offered in exploring these questions. For so long it has been perceived to be a vast emptiness, a vacuum, a void bereft of anything of interest to us.

It has been stated, from prescient wisdom and knowing of Serge Benhayon, that space is a source of unbounded intelligence feeding us constant streams of communication.

There is no doubt that the scientific community will resist this, labelling it unadulterated pseudoscience, but just wait a few years or decades or centuries.

One day the refined equipment that will be able to measure the subtle flow of this energy will be developed, and it will be established as a widely known and accepted Truth. The men and women who derided it today will be exposed in the limitation of their thinking, and their timorous unwillingness to open themselves to deep understanding and the absolute awe the unknown inspires.

Not only is science and its true progress hamstrung by arrogance, it is completely bound up in timidity. For all of our intelligence, could the use of ‘pseudoscience’ as a dismissive insult actually expose how frightened we are of the vast unknown that life is? Thus we hold onto what we do know, fingers tightly gripping confirmed facts, and scientific methods, assuring ourselves that we are safe, yet clinging at the shore of the great ocean of life. Even the fact that the adjective pseudoscientific makes a wound reveals that scientists, like everybody on this planet are needy of the approval of others and scared to step too far away from the safe shore of the known.

The 'pseudoscience' label and its career-ending potential, operates in exactly the same way as the torments of the Catholic Church at the height of its reign over science. The destruction of one person sends a clear message to anyone who would dare to tread the same path . . . this too will be your fate if you dare to go too far. Thus not only is one voice silenced . . . many are rendered silent before they have begun to speak.

It is worth asking what would happen to Giordano Bruno with his great prescient understanding, wisdom and willingness to challenge dogma if he were with us today? If he lived in a democratic nation he would not be put to brutal death . . . that much we can safely say. But how would he survive in the world of science that would be rocked by his unabashed will to bring the wisdom of how things truly are . . . not what the current paradigm claims they should be? Would he be listened to with respect, or written off as a pseudoscientific lunatic . . . and put to professional death? And if that happened, would he prevail, or give up on himself and truth in disgust?

Can we say that we have advanced from the days when torture and murder prevailed? The outplay may be less offensive but the nature of the force behind it has not changed.

How important then is it for us to consider a most dangerous aspect of the term pseudoscience that affects each and every one of us, whether we have an interest in science or not. This word is wielded by those who have appointed themselves the right of supremacy over their fellow human beings and worse still over Truth. As such they crush the very hypotheses that if explored have the potential to change human life, our understanding of this planet, the Universe and our relationship to them.

This is a devastation that we have perhaps not yet been willing to examine, for it goes to the core of the force that stymies our true progress and indeed our evolution as a species.

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  • By Dr Rachel Mascord, Dentist

    Dentist and business owner. I have a very practical hand on life and a keen eye for observation of the workings of human life.

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd