Monotheists believe that God is at the top of any hierarchy (so long as the hierarchy is good: a hierarchy of most horrible crimes wouldn’t count, God doesn’t have to top that list.) Not only do they enforce the belief: wherever they become politically ascendant.)
Scientists believe that science is at the top: so long as truth, or verifiability, counts.
I used to imagine a Kingdom of God where nothing could be said, written, promulgated unless it were true: territory could speak, imperfect maps had to remain silent. Lies had to never ever speak.
But of course the can’t be literally true: imperfect maps are like hitting .400: it’s the best the best of us can possibly do.
We’re human: individuals living in groups. Can groups display the virtues of individuals? An individual can be truthful, sort of: can an institution? Is there any church that can be trusted to publish a Bible?
At Judgment, will the Church’s Bible be allowed to speak?
Let’s consider the idea of science in relation to another idea: in John Henry Cardinal Newman’s phrase, the Idea of a University. (And let’s for the moment accept the scientists’ optimism that science and truth go together: at least less urreliably than with any other enterprise.) Is Science at the top of the University? No: Money is at the top of any human institution. There has to be a budget. The budget has to come from somewhere. The money has to be spendable in this world. However high up science is at the university, money is higher. God isn’t at the top of the church, men are, men with money. (And money, in our culture, spends the same: whether you’re lying or telling the truth, or fudging the truth, or whatever.)
Above science there’s administration. There may be an art of administration. There may be a science of administration. But administration is not Science.
Where does a university get its money? These days, some comes from a portfolio, some from alumni, some comes from students, and a great deal comes from the fed. Do any of these sources want the truth supported? Are any of them for God? No, not the Pope; God! God with no intermediary! Not me, not you, not the Pope, not the FBI!
Could it ever really be possible that one institution, the fed, would fund another institution, the university, no matter what truths were spouted there? What would the fed do if the university started gathering facts about Sutter’s New Helvetia in relation to the US? Would it keep paying as it was revealed that the US had no money to pay with, since more than it has or could have, is owed to Sutter?
The fed funds the universities only so long as the universities parrot the fake history of the internet which credits the fed as creator, not plagiarizer, perverter …
No, no: science, like any beggar, like any fourth son (or Nth daughter), has to watch its manners, keep its legs crossed, conceal its underwear.