Defense of "Scientism"
A Defense of Scientism
...It is immediately obvious that such a charge is innately rich because the assertion contains an abundance of substance. “Science” and “scientific theories” constitute models used to explain and predict phenomenon based on a preponderance of fiction. To assert that an empirical inquiry into any domain constitutes an exclusionary practice is both coherent and cogent. That which is irrelevant is the methodology used. There is no problem at hand that the telling charge of “scientism” is not a methodological critique. If an empirical inquiry into a domain produces a set of results and a body of theoretical knowledge used to explain and predict associated phenomenon based on a preponderance of fiction, then the charge that empirical inquiry ought be off-limits to that domain is both valid and vital. “Science” and “scientific theories” are also a methodological red herring. It is vastly significant that supposed metaphysical “methods” which are being excluded by empirical inquiry into this field, have produced no fruit whatsoever. This is precisely the point. When considering invalid methodologies for gaining and evaluating knowledge claims about the world, we should not play a game of “meet me in the middle”. Poor methods, or non-methods, cannot be included solely by virtue of the necessity of having some diversity in our study...
A Defense of Scientism
Excuse my little tact in this matter - I am writing under the supposition that the reader has her eye out for the truth. Hence, insofar as the end always justifies the means, I see no warrant for any accusation unconcerned with the validity of the argument.
Having that said, the above is the message deludedgod will teach to this forum when he is no longer deluded. It is a paragraph taken from his post, “The Argument From Scientism”. Every bold word has been inserted to format the accurate claims about scientism. Only one sentence remains unchanged.
The accusations deludedgod originally made from scientism characterized it as vapid, vacuous, nonsensical and irrelevant. Actually, scientism is more precisely characterized as valuable, insightful, sound and cogent. Scientism is used to criticize the strict allegiance to science and empirical inquiry as a means to knowledge. Science (and the ‘knowledge’ it yields) is a red herring in light of the problem of God. Any notion that the empirical inquiries of science may eventually discover God is innately confused. The reason for this is summed up quite nicely in the first verse of the Tao Te Ching.
The Tao that can be spoken is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.
The Tao of Lao Tzu is equivalent to the Qualia of Daniel Dennett. So also, the Qualia of Daniel Dennet is equivalent to the God of the Bible. Though these are three very aesthetically different concepts – the existence of each and one presents a dilemma that the hasty pursuit of empirical ‘facts’ refuses to acknowledge. Empirical ‘facts’ are red herrings insofar as they are used to provide valuable explanations for the ineffable. In light of the ineffable, empirical ‘facts’ are as insubstantial as mathematics and as mythical as a Joseph Campbell oration.
To raise a question like, ‘why is a plant green’ is an outright dissent from the ineffable. It is to assume that what is ineffably cannot be without a reason. As much of a dissent as asking this question is, to endorse an answer – this is a far worse transgression. To endorse an answer is to dwell in that dissent. It is to fasten a reason unto that which has no use for one.
Science is the best at this – primarily because it holds itself in the highest regard. For example, science gives a detailed account of how plants are green due to the chlorophyll that absorbs a particular type of light in order to do work. As detailed as this explanation can get, it couldn’t be further from actuality. A plant is green ‘prior’ to there ever being a reason for the phenomenon. Moreover, if a plant is green prior to any reason for it, then any reason for its being green is not a cause. In other words, the reason ascribed to its being green is a foundational myth – a cherry tree tale. You may be familiar with the foundational myth of George Washington.
It is speculated that the first reason that Mason Locke Weems wrote a biography on George Washington was that he was a shrewd businessman who possessed an uncanny sense of what the public wanted whether they knew it or not… What the public in 1800 needed was something new to talk and think about, no matter if it was true or not… The public, in 1800, was badly in need of a hero. Weems gave them a hero in the form of a little boy who made a mistake but was brave and honest when confronted. Then that child grew up and became president of the United States of America. In any era, that would be a hard act to follow. So, again, did Washington chop down the cherry tree? The answer probably lies somewhere between: Is there a Santa Claus and Does the Easter Bunny live on Easter Island?
The answer lies in the heart, which does not always distinguish between fact and fiction but always knows what it cherishes.
Those who cherish science do not always distinguish between fact and fiction. Albeit, a majority of those who cherish science have never distinguished between fact and fiction: not accurately at least. Had they done so, they’d have stopped wasting their breath ‘disproving’ the non-Empirical God long ago.
But the empirical ‘fact’ of the green plant is cherished for a good ‘reason’, one might say. This fact about green plants helps cope with the constant flux of the world. In autumn, plants that were green change colors. Explaining this process in terms of the chlorophyll that shuts down to prepare for the winter is a way to cope with a world that is always changing.
Very well, I’ll consider that a reasonable objection. But this does not get science off the hook. Empirical facts relay other foundational myths that are not endorsed in order to cope with a world in flux. These other myths, in their being endorsed, create a world of flux. A common conception that I’m sure science would stake some claim in is that one will cease to exist without nourishment. Somehow, nourishment is equated with life. But again, the same counter holds from this empirical fact; existence is prior to any reason for it. It cannot be said to occur for any reason nor by way of any reason. Such a conception as to the cause of existence presumes that existence is indebted in its very occurrence – life is somehow always dying. It is as when Eve ate the fruit because she saw that it was good for nourishment. This because/good relationship - this 'reason' is what banished her from the Garden of Eden; the serpent presupposes in her a lack – that simply by existing, she is malnourished. It is a perspective fueled by an inherent inadequacy. In the Biblical metaphor, the Ineffable is far from this foundation of flux which forms the female existence.
The world in flux is not only a problem that is coped with. This world in flux is a problem that is created. Moreover, it is a world that many are striving to continue. At this very moment it is likely that someone who cherishes science is seeking an empirical explanation for the phenomenon of consciousness -as if consciousness is in need of an explanation. Will the ineffable ever be adequate for this cherisher of science? Is she metaphorically deceived by the serpent? Can she ever exist without myth?
All attention paid to a world in flux is a dissent from the ineffable. However, one thing is certain about those who pay attention: when they are united within the niche of their foundational myth, they are a force to be reckoned with. No matter what name they go by – scientist, Scientologist, Muslim, Atheist – each is ready to herald their foundation against the world. And although the same inadequacy that warrants each of their communities can never lead them back to the ineffable, the unity that is gained as a result of their inadequacy is ineffable in its own way. Afterall, to be the highest was never the aspiration. To be higher than the lower – this is the real triumph.