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I am thinking of someone who believes that the government would never lie to the population, that scientists are always right about everything, and cannot possibly be wrong about anything, and shows such utmost faith in figures they consider to be authorities.

As an example on scientists, group A did an experiment and announced their results. Group B then did another experiment and announced that group A was wrong. Later it turned out that group B had misunderstood what group A had said, and group A were right.

To my mind group B were simply wrong when they said that group A was wrong. But because this person believes that scientists can never be wrong, they insist that group B was not wrong when they said group A was wrong, but were "correct given their knowledge at that time."

Similarly when the senior scientist told Whittle that his idea for a jet engine would never work, that scientist wasn't wrong to say that, he was "correct given his knowledge at that time." To me this person treats authority figures in general, and scientists in particular like infallible gods who are never wrong, and in order not to admit that the scientists can be wrong they resort to this "they weren't wrong, they were correct given knowledge at that time" excuse as if being wrong through lack of knowledge stops someone from being wrong.

So the word I want is for use in a sentence like

You are a xxxxxxxx.

I'm thinking it might be something like authoritydeist, authoritytheist, scientistdeist or scientisttheist, but I can't find such a word on the internet.

I want a term that someone like a psychologist or psychiatrist might use that would have some scientific gravitas. I don't want to insult the person so much as point out that their behaviour is sufficiently weird to warrant a scientific label.

If there is no such word is there a brief phrase, "authority worshipper" and "scientist worshipper" sound too clumsy and I want something more technical, like "technophobe" rather than "technology hater".

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    Welcome to EL&U! A very good question indeed! In the future, please make use of paragraphs (leaving an empty line between paragraphs) to make your question more legible. Dec 21, 2018 at 14:48
  • Deference and deferential are used in psychology to refer to this sort of behaviour and thinking, though they don't fit the requested You-are-a form. You might also be interested in Kohlberg's stages of moral development, in particular, conventional morality (and hence, I suppose, conventional moralists).
    – tmgr
    Dec 22, 2018 at 13:03
  • Thanks for that tmgr. I may have to resort to "You are overly deferential" or maybe invent a new word; if some one who worships Buddha is a Buddhist, as this person almost worships authority figures and scientists perhaps authoritist or scienceist? Dec 23, 2018 at 18:06
  • scientism is excessive belief in science, but it doesn't have a good noun for a person who practices it.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 25 at 10:09

4 Answers 4

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That person is a slave to authority or science more specifically. They unquestioningly believe the authority, be it the government, scientists or any other group.

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  • I can see where you are coming from, but to me someone could be a slave to authority through fear of repercussions and not because they believe the authority to be right, whereas I'm specifically looking for a word for someone who chooses to believe authorities are right all the time with what is almost religious faith in the correctness of what authorities say, and seems able to believe that even where two scientists are mutually contradictory both of them are right. Dec 21, 2018 at 19:42
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" Sycophant " is not a word for mindless zombies , it covers a lot of the technical term for people who are within their comfort zone to believe an authority figure because it is convenient for them for a myriad of reasons. Zombies are more dead and non- thinking then a psychophant who can think but is more susceptible to the " herd mentality " . Like they say in 1935 Germany " There is safety in numbers ( of adherents ) " " Sheepole " is the more modern day description that covers about the same approximate ground as the more technical / analytical term " sycophant " , but it is alot more informal,and less offensive term.

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  • It seems like you are reacting to something, but it is not clear what. Sycophant seems to be a proper answer to the question here posed, but why are you talking about 'zombies'?
    – Joachim
    Feb 17, 2020 at 14:31
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"lapdog for the technocrats" or "technocracy lapdog"

technocrat (Cambridge)

an expert in science or technology who has a lot of power in or influence with the government or industry

technocracy (Cambridge)

a social system or system of government in which people with scientific or technical knowledge have a lot of power and influence

lapdog (Cambridge)

someone who is willing to do anything that a more important person tells them to do

"Technocrat" and "technocracy" would refer to both the scientists and the government in your story. A technocrat being a person and the technocracy being the society or socio-economic-political system at large. These are proper terms and the most important part of this.

Your question, however, asks more about a label for a member of that society, who may be one of the elite or may be a layman, but is loyal to that technocratic system nonetheless. For that, you might make use of two words similar to "loyalist" such as "technocracy loyalist". "Lapdog" has a conveniently derogatory connotation, but you could use others.

But, if you want a single word for the loyal member of this society, you may need to be somewhat inventive. If the term technocracy is already established one way or another, you can use a hyphenated "techno-loyalist" or simply "technoloyalist" as your recognizable, yet inventive one word solution.

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  • Thanks Jesse. I am getting to the idea that, as you say, I may have to invent a new word. Dec 28, 2018 at 12:15
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Sheep. Intellectual lackey. Born follower.

Edited to add:

A milder term would be deferential.

BTW, a note to the officious berks who like downvoting my answers “because I haven’t provided authoritative references”. I’m not going to bother providing links to words that can be looked up automatically when the reader hovers over them in their browser. We’re not in the nineties any longer.

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    Please note, the system has flagged your answer for deletion as "low-quality because of its length and content." An answer on this site is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. I think you have enough rep to know how to edit your question to add the necessary detail... Dec 22, 2018 at 10:05
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    Thanks for replying. You have got the sense of what I want and are very close to what I'm after, but I want a more technical term. Those terms are, I think, derogatory, and I want a term that someone like a psychologist or psychiatrist might use that would have some scientific gravitas. I don't want to insult the person so much as point out that their behaviour is sufficiently weird to warrant a scientific label. Dec 22, 2018 at 10:53

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