The original article for this thread (http://www.atimes.com/indias-war-science/) had a simple point -- science is a threat to the inherent wisdom of the ages.
Given that the discussion has broadened I'm including something I wrote a while back in response to a different Facebook thread about philosophical schools that have glommed onto the Trump agenda in the US. **** https://www.facebook.com/vpostrel/posts/10154842507366348 (no need to look at this) When I read about a rebellion against science it typically turns out to be a strawman view of science as certainty rather than simply a technique that works in concert with our co-evolving values. When I read complaints about government bureaucrats who are supposed to act in the public interest I ask what is the alternative – business bureaucrats who are supposed to act only in their shareholders’ interests? Shouldn’t we be thinking about how to make these approaches work in concert rather than simply rejecting all we’ve learned? In mathematics axioms are not faith. They are simply arbitrary starting points and there are different systems based on different axioms. Non-Euclidean geometry takes axioms that might have seemed self-evident and chooses different ones. This is a very powerful idea. It’s useful to read The Metaphysical Club which gives a sense of the late 18th century when the idea of a clockwork universe into which every part fits unambiguously was accepted by many. It was before Darwin’s godless evolution showed a universe that didn’t need a watchmaker. A statement like "all men are created equal" is meaningless outside context and interpretation. Words do not have intrinsic meaning. What does equal mean? Do they all get the same opportunity? The concept of science as an operational and ambiguous process without arbitrary “truth” has been very powerful and very successful. Why would one want to go back to a time before we had the tools to test various approaches and understandings? How does one address issues like public health, climate change and other challenges if we don’t accept the need to evolve our understanding and challenge our givens? Science is not about certainty but rather an acceptance of the limits of our understanding and our inability to know the future. This is why it is so important to invest in research and infrastructure to create opportunity. It is to complain in hindsight that the “wrong” decisions were made. But what is the alternative? It is also important to recognize there isn’t “the market” but rather complex interactive systems that don’t necessarily produce the results we want. Science and values are deeply coupled as we try to achieve results we want while accepting that our needs and understanding are constantly changing. It’s a co-evolutionary process. For that matter public/private is a spurious distinction – it’s really about the structure of particular markets. For some parts are important and for others value is in the whole. I learned a lot when I provided tools to the finance industry. I’ve come to understand how few understand those tools. Many assume that numbers have intrinsic meaning and have a naïve faith in their ability to predict the singular future.