Scientism

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Definition

The term scientism deviates from the more familiar scientific method - as the latter claims to be only one of many tools used to reach knowledge. Scientism alone declares that natural science in conjunction with the scientific method can render all truth of our world and reality. Relying on the empirical; sees metaphysics, religion, and philosophy as without merit. For their proclamation of truths lacks science as the primary vessel for gaining knowledge. Thus science as we understand it, is alone the base of all valid human knowledge and experience, any arguments or research into other areas should be ignored.

Criticisms of Scientism

Nigel Warburton, a British philosopher argues in his book, Philosophy: The Basics, that scientists and followers of the ideology of scientism seek generalizations to fit any circumstance encountered. This fails to address common and real human experiences - falling in love, or a like for a certain style of music. While genetics or rhythm can be explained by science and mathematics, scientism lacks the ability to drill down and explain instances. In this sense, too much of a value is placed on pure scientific explanations.

Further criticism of scientism is that it ignores strides made in areas of linguistics, artificial intelligence, nueroscience, economics, sociology, and psychology for these are "not actual sciences".

Also note the implications that scientism has on main line religions.

Arguments for Scientism

American philosopher Daniel Dennett appears open-minded on the debates of religion versus science but writes, "when someone puts forth a scientific theory that religious critics really don't like, they just try to discredit it as 'scientism'." Suggesting that perhaps pure science has its place in the modern world.

Skeptics Society founder Michael Shermer works to show why metaphysics lack truth, frequently lecturing on everything from UFOs to the occult. "After years of practicing accupuncture, chiropractic medicine, massage therapy, negative ions, rolfing, pyramid power, fundamentalist Christianity, and a host of weird things, to improve his life and training, Shermer stopped rationalizing the failures of these practices."

References

Warburton, Nigel. Philosophy The Basics. New York: Routledge, 2004. Print. [1]

Peterson, Gregory R. Minding God Theology and the Cognitive Sciences (Theology and the Sciences). New York: Augsburg Fortress, 2002. Print.[2]

Dennett, Daniel. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. New York: Viking Adult, 2006. Print. [3]

Shermer, Michael. Why people believe weird things pseudoscience, superstition, and other confusions of our time. New York: A.W.H. Freeman/Owl Book, 2002. Print.

[Skeptic Society Homepage]



Vallandry 03:39, 17 January 2010 (UTC)