Scientific or Anti-scientific: A Critical Analysis of "Science" Discourses in Falun Gong
Wang Chengjun [+]
Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, China
As many researchers have argued, the use of science to justify beliefs has long been a popular “legitimation strategy” in new religions. In contrast with other new religions that have adopted science as a source of legitimation, however, Falun Gong’s use of “science” discourse is confusing and inconsistent. While it is sometimes claimed by Falun Gong that its doctrines, creeds, and beliefs can be well explained by modern science, at other times its teachings are positioned as transcending the realm of natural science. Li Hongzhi has even gone as far as to suggest that science is responsible for many different types of modern social “disease” (including social and environmental problems). In “Scientific or Anti-scientific: A Critical Analysis of ‘Science’ Discourses in Falun Gong,” Wang Chengjun offers critical reflections on the science-related discourses present in Falun Gong. First, he analyzes such science-related discourses, arguing that they fall into three different categories. Second, he traces these discourses back to their origins in order to suggest that, even if science-based legitimation of the faith is effective in persuading its practitioners, it is by no means successful in a wider sense. Finally, he concludes with some more specific remarks on the ways in which “science” discourses have been used by Falun Gong.