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Deification of Science & Its Disastrous Consequences

Asad Zaman

posted on 31 December 2014

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An editor of the Real-World Economics Review (Asad Zaman) writes:


“It is a completely mistaken idea that scientific theory is based on deductions from a series of postulates – that is the description of the methodology of mathematics…  There is no science which uses axioms and logical deductions to derive scientific theory.”


Seriously???  You have NEVER heard of Leonhard Euler?  And you claim to be a mathematician?


It is about time that someone took this fool to school:


How Leonhard Euler Founded the Science of Ballistics


Follow this link Mr. Zaman and learn – obviously for the first time in your life – who Leonhard Euler is.  Then please do come back here and tell us all about how Euler was not a real scientist because he used axioms and logical deduction to derive a scientific theory where nothing but the wildest guesswork had existed before.


Asad Zamen sneers at mathematicians:


“Mathematics is not a ‘science’ since it is not based in any direct way on observational evidence. Unlike scientific laws, mathematical laws are not affirmed observational evidence. Recognition of the possibility that there are bodies of knowledge which are not science would lead to greater tolerance and pluralism which is currently desperately needed.”


That last sentence is a real jaw dropper!  It is like Hitler saying, “Recognition of the possibility that there are races of people which are not fully human would lead to greater tolerance and pluralism which is currently desperately needed.”  No.  It leads to genocide.


What Mr. Zamen’s recognition that mathematics is not science actually leads to is his systematic blacklisting of anybody with an education in mathematics.  And, from his exalted position as an editor of the Real-World Economics Review, enforcing such a blacklist is exactly the task that the Post-Autistic Economics Network (now calling itself the World Economics Association) has charged him with. 


Fifteen years ago, when I published Axiomatic Economics, the Post-Autistic Economics Network famously accused me of having mental illness – autism – but as of May 2011 they content themselves with saying “not science.”  When they changed their name they swept their website of the word “autistic” and replaced it with “unscientific;” the Real-World Economics Review was previously the Post-Autistic Economics Review.  But they did not change their URL, whose initials (Post-Autistic ECONomics) harken back to their vulgar beginnings.

What do the pluralists want to achieve by banning mathematicians?  Asad Zaman writes:


“We propose that an appropriate methology (sic) for social sciences has three elements.

1. Description of an ideal state.

2. A study of differences between actual and ideal.

3. An action plan for removing these differences.”


But who is “we?”  These quotations of Asad Zaman might help:


“The advanced civilization of Islamic Spain brought the light of learning which ended the dark ages of Europe.”


“There is now a substantial amount of recent work which documents the origins of science in the Muslim civilization, and more particularly, in the open and empirical attitude of the Quran.”


Not every editor of the Real-World Economics Review is an Islamic extremist – most are Marxists – but, clearly, when Asad Zaman uses the pronoun “we,” he means Muslims; when he speaks of an “ideal state,” he means Sharia Law; and when he speaks of an “action plan,” he means flying passenger airplanes into buildings until the “imperialist” Westerners capitulate.  It is only mathematics and logic that stand in the path of the Marxist/Islamist ideal state that the Real-World Economics Review is pushing for.

Grozny: for someone who claims to be a scientist, it is strange that ALL your arguments are emotional appeals. First you compare me to hitler, then you ridicule my ignorance, Then you use appeal to authority to establish your arguments. Similarly, the second post uses a large number of value laden adjectives, extremisn, Marxism, Sharia Law  -- all appeals to emotions and prejudices. Your arguments are based on a complete misunderstanding of a dense and complex paper. It is also rather un-ethical and childish to heap insults on me, addressing me, without my knowledge -- It was completely by accident I just happened to chance on your post recently.

First let me clarify a simple point, which you have completely misunderstood.I have a B.S. in mathematics from MIT, and have several papers in Annals of Statistics which use mathematics that is most likely far beyond your mathematical capabilities to read. If can get a hand on my textbook on Statistical Foundations for Econometrics, I would be surprised if you would be able to follow the dense mathematical reasoning in most of the chapters. What I am saying is that science and math have DIFFERENT methodologies -- this does not mean the math is somehow inferior. Math uses axiomatic/deductive methodology, while science uses inductive methodology both are extremely useful in their own different ways. 

In my WEA PedagogyBlog, I have posted a BLOG post level and simplified and brief explanation of the lengthy and complex argument in the Deification paper. This can be accessed here:

Is Scientific Methodology Axiomatic?

Some questions arose in the comments, and useful additional clarifications are present in Additional Comments on Scientific Methodology

A general essay on the limitations of the axiomatic method is given in my essay below, which I strongly recommend for you:

Godel's Theorems and the Limits of Reason

Grozny -- I have no quarrel with you and I will not take offense at your insulting remarks, but I request that you follow standard etiquette of conversation, with politeness and respect, and use of logic instead of emotional and ad-hominem attacks in absentia to people who do are not present to defend themselves.





As an afterthought, it occurs to me that your completely ludicrous misconception that "Asad Zaman sneers and mathematicians" and that I want "to ban mathematicians" is a PERFECT illustrations of the theme of my paper the "Deification of Science". I am saying that we have come to WORSHIP scientific knowledge.

The basic position of science worshippers is that there is no valid knowledge outside of science. To such a person, when I say mathematics is not a science, I am insulting mathematics. The whole point of my article is to argue that there are many forms of knowledge which extremely valuable and precious, and yet they are not part of science. For example, we learn how to love, to have sympathy, compassion, make friends etc.  With experience we can learn how to drive, cook, do brain surgery, fly rockets etc.  We know that it is rude to insult others, and cowardly to do so behind their backs when they cannot defend themselves. All of these (and also mathematics) are extremely important and valuable parts of human knowledge – but these types of knowledge are not part of scientific knowledge.

Look and laugh.


For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Zaman's employer, this paper describes the antics of the Post-Autistic Economics Network:

It seems that logical reasoning is beyond your capabilities. The only technique of argumentation you know about is personal attacks, and emotional appeals to prejudices. 

I am banned for life from the Real World Economics Review for this paper, which I then posted here at the Econophysics Forum:


Imposing such bans allows Asad Zaman, who is an editor there, to make personal attacks and emotional appeals without fear of the object of his hatred being allowed to defend himself.  Observe:


Matus is the only person at the Econophysics Forum with the authority to ban people, and he is not a member of the Post-Autistic Economics Network or he would have banned me when I posted my paper here in November 2013.  In just over a year it has been downloaded 867 times, so it is clear that the people on this forum believe in logical argumentation, not the hate-filled rants that Asad Zaman fills his forum with.

WEA boasts of cyberattack.


They say you had it coming because you are promoting the axiomatic method. But now that the Econophysics Forum is back online, all that boastful talk has been deleted. Where is Assad Zaman now? Cowering in Pakistan with his tail between his legs like the filthy mongrel cur that he is.

Zaman edited during cyberattack!


Gödel’s Theorems & the Limits of Reason


Note that the publication date is 12 April 2015, during the time when the Econophysics Forum was down due to a malicious cyberattack, from 3 to 15 April 2015.


Now observe that Zaman links to this paper in the above thread on 27 February 2015, two months before it was supposedly written.


In the new version, Zaman no longer refers to me by name, calling me a “science worshipper” and comparing me to Pope Urban VIII. (FYI The Pakistani Zaman is an Islamic extremist – he doesn’t like the Catholics.) Also, he previously stated that Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems refute all that I have written, but now just says that they refute anyone who clearly states their axioms before proving theorems based on those axioms and on no hidden assumptions.


Clearly, on 12 April 2015, Asad Zaman thought that the Econophysics Forum was gone for good and so he was safe in re-writing history as though I had never existed.  But when it came back online three days later, he did not restore the old version, apparently unaware that we might notice that he linked to a paper two months before it was supposedly written.


Does this prove that Zaman was behind the cyberattack?  No, only that he knew about it and was acting on the assumption that it was fatal. 


So who was the mastermind behind the cyberattack?  I had previously assumed that Zaman was, largely because it was bloggers on his website gloating about it. But now I think that Varoufakis is the more likely culprit. The Université de Fribourg went down only days after I posted my Critique of Varoufakis but over a month after my spat with Zaman; also, a finance minister has more resources for carrying out such actions than an editor, even of a powerful journal like the Real World Economics Review.


Varoufakis was an official representative of the Greek government and so carrying out such an attack would amount to state-sponsored terrorism if it could be proven true. (FYI Russia shut down the Estonian government’s site in 2007, so cyberattack as state policy is not unheard of.)


Two months later, my suspicions are partially corroborated when Varoufakis is indicted for treason on charges of hacking into the Greek government’s tax records to obtain confidential financial information about every Greek citizen.


Yanis Varoufakis may face criminal charges over Greek currency plan | World news | The Guardian


If Yanis Varoufakis and James Galbraith, who was in on it with him, can hack a government tax collection website, they can certainly hack a university website. Sites with confidential financial records have far higher security than academic sites.