Some primitivists reject modern science as a method of understanding the world with a view to change it. Science is not considered to be neutral by many primitivists, but rather loaded with the motives and assumptions that come out of, and reinforce, civilization.
Modern scientific thought, according to primitivists, attempts to see the world as a collection of separate objects to be observed and understood. In order to accomplish this task, primitivists believe that scientists must distance themselves emotionally and physically, to have a one-way channel of information moving from the observed thing to the observer’s self, which is defined as not a part of that thing.
Primitivists argue that this mechanistic worldview is tantamount to being the dominant religion of current times. Believing that science seeks to deal only with the quantitative, primitivists suggest that it does not admit subjective values or emotions. While primitivists perceive science as claiming that only those things that are reproducible, predictable, and the same for all observers are real and important, primitivists believe that reality itself is not reproducible, predictable, or the same for all observers. Primitivists also see science as promoting the idea that anomalous experience, ideas, and people should be cast off or destroyed like imperfectly shaped machine components.
Primitivists also see modern science as another form of mediation between humans and the natural world, resulting in further alienation from their environment. Instead, primitivists believe that individual knowledge should be based on individual experience, rather than accepting another’s dogma as fact. For example, primitivists do not deny the theory of gravitation, as it is easy to observe everything in the world adhering to gravity in our day-to-day lives. However, when the theory of gravitation becomes dogmatic and handed down from generation to generation as a social dogma, rather than relying on individuals to grow and realize the facts about their environment in their own terms, it alienates people from coming to conclusions about their environment by themselves, and stunts the natural ability of humans to investigate and adapt to their own environment.
Primitivists denounce modern technology, but some use modern technology on the basis that civilization has destroyed other means of communication, leaving them with no other option. Primitivists see technology as a system involving division of labor, resource extraction, and exploitation by those who implement its process.
Modern technology is held by primitivists to be distinct from simple tools: a simple tool is considered a temporary usage of an element within our immediate surroundings for a specific task. Tools are not viewed as involving complex systems which alienate the user from the act. Primitivists claim that this separation is implicit in technology, which creates an unhealthy and mediated experience which leads to various forms of authority. Domination is said to increase every time a modern “time-saving” technology is created, as primitivists claim it necessitates the construction of more technology to support, fuel, maintain, and repair the original technology. Primitivists believe that this system methodically destroys, eliminates, or subordinates the natural world, constructing a world fit only for machines.