Wednesday, December 11, 2013

1945 : annus mirabilis or annus horribilis for Scientism ?

I have always been fascinated by the Janus-like nature of the year 1945 in its relationship to Science and the undue worship thereof.

1945 was the year that it was widely admitted that it was only the Allies' mild-mannered/white-coated men of modern science who had bested the superior combat skills of the jackbooted henchmen of the Axis and so won the war for humanity.

A good year for Scientism.

But 1945 was also the year that we now conventionally mark the start of post-modern science... and hence marks the end of modern science.

Surely then a bad year for Scientism.

Clearly we have two views on the alleged success of modern science in 1945 - one made at the time and still held firmly by elderly academics and citizens and another made forty years later and just as firmly held by young academics.

One credits it for ending the war on behalf of the morally right side and the other blames it for starting the war and behaving so beastly during it.

All Life is Family , part one and two, explores why it was possible for most of the modernist audience of 1945 not to see the many failings of wartime science on both sides, technical as well as moral, running from 1939 through to war's end.

And why historians ever since have repeated this initial error.

The war is simply never broken out of its narrative mode to present the predictions that each and every participant had made at a particular point in time together with an assessment of whether those predictions came to pass.

Who, for example, predicted that Hitler won't conquer Moscow within four months after June 1941 ?

No one that I am aware of, as Stalin himself soon had his doubts about this capitol's survival - some military 'experts' even publicly ventured that Moscow would fall in mere weeks not months !

Predictions proved about as inaccurate during WWII as they had all throughout history - only this time they were pressed forward with the strong claim that they were backed by the best science.

If so, the best science was wrong, over and over and over for six long years.

And if "All Life is Family" is the first to say so, so be it .....

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