August Comte came up with a philosophical inversion that eventually short-circuited the Enlightenment. From Paul Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:
We are watching the Enlightenment collapse before us in real time. I’ll be fairly brief in my explanation of why this is so and how it came about, but it strikes me as something we should understand.
Bear in mind that what remains of the Enlightenment is collapsing for structural reasons. I haven’t formed this discourse around political or academic theories, I’m basing it on facts and direct observations. Obviously I’m simplifying (one can’t write history any other way), but minus the inevitable exceptions and complications, this is what happened and what is happening.
How The Enlightenment Gained A Structure
The Enlightenment began with a collection of outsiders studying science. They had little backing and few credentials. In fact, the motto of the first group (that became The Royal Society) was Nullius in verba: “Take nobody’s word for it.” There was a lot to like in the early Enlightenment, and it led to a long string of crucial discoveries.
About halfway through its run, however, at about 1750 AD, the Enlightenment took a dark turn. Rather than working to discover what was right, it began to fixate on what was wrong. That is, the leading voices of the Enlightenment left off building and moved into tearing things down.