Scientism

Topher
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Scientism

What are people’s views on scientism?

I know there are many definitions of the term. Whether it is good or bad depends on the definition used, such as the one which merely holds it is a rejection of supernaturalism, a purely natural worldview. Michael Shermer for one holds it to be a good thing in this article: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000AA74F-FF5F-1CDB-B4A8809EC588EEDF

 
In a discussion on the philosophy of language (specifically Wittgenstein, who’s I dislike), Strafio seemed to suggest we should only scientifically examine claims/beliefs, and point out fallacies, if they are presented scientifically/empirically, e.g. “So if a person's religious practice isn't based in scientific claims then it is wrong to evaluate by scientific methods”

I completely disagree. I hold that if a belief or claim concerns nature/reality, then it is in the arena/interest of science, since science is the study of nature/reality.

I also hold that beliefs/claims do not have to be presented scientifically in order for them to be relevant to science, or to be examined scientifically. For example, some claims, such as “evolution is wrong” or “the second law of thermodynamics disproves evolution” are clearly calling for a scientific response since they are clearly and directly encroaching on scientific grounds. However other claims are far more subtle, such as “I believe Jesus rose from the dead.” There is nothing explicitly scientific about this belief or claim, nor is it present as scientific, but it certainly still affects and encroaches on science so we can look at it and respond to it scientifically.

Apparently this was “scientism.”

 

So how do people define ‘scientism’ and what’s your view of it?

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Topher
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CrimsonEdge
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In my opinion, adding

In my opinion, adding suffixes to the word science makes it sound fokey and more like a religion. For example, scientology. Now, for the love of Darwin, don't assume I think scientology is in any way related to science. I KNOW ALL ABOUT XENU AND HIS BOMBERS. What I'm saying is that REGARDLESS of what scientology actually was, it would still sound fokey. 


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Common ground is the first

Common ground is the first rule of persuasion.

If someone presents an idea using concepts borrowed from science (e.g. thermondynamics disproves evolution) and the idea is not strictly "scientific" in the Wittgensteinian sense, there are a couple of possible responses.

1. Say "your idea is not scientific" and then argue from the assumed premises of scientism about how unscientific the idea is.

2. Say, as Carl Sagan reportedly did, "the evidence for your idea is not good," then argue about the value of the evidence. 

Personally I'm inclined to say that 2 is a more persuasive approach.  Nothing bad will happen if you temporarily suspend your knowledge that certain types of statements are ontologically questionable in the interests of creating productive discussion.  Response 1 does not allow for any common ground. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


todangst
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Topher wrote:   In a

Topher wrote:
 


In a discussion on the philosophy of language (specifically Wittgenstein, who’s I dislike), Strafio seemed to suggest we should only scientifically examine claims/beliefs, and point out fallacies, if they are presented scientifically/empirically, e.g. “So if a person's religious practice isn't based in scientific claims then it is wrong to evaluate by scientific methods”

I completely disagree. I hold that if a belief or claim concerns nature/reality, then it is in the arena/interest of science, since science is the study of nature/reality.
 

Victor Stenger states the same thing in 'God, The Failed Hypothesis" - We cannot speak of 'god' or the 'supernatural' as these terms are incoherent, but theists do make claims about our universe that they feel would be true given such a 'god', ergo we can scientifically examine these hypotheses.

This gives us a ground for debate on these boards: theists must follow the Apophatic tradition concerning 'god' but they can discuss claims about our world which ought to 'follow' given their 'god'.

Holding that such claims belong to different 'magistrata' is merely political prudence on the part of skittish scientists... 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


Topher
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Textom wrote: Common

Textom wrote:

Common ground is the first rule of persuasion.

If someone presents an idea using concepts borrowed from science (e.g. thermondynamics disproves evolution) and the idea is not strictly "scientific" in the Wittgensteinian sense, there are a couple of possible responses.

1. Say "your idea is not scientific" and then argue from the assumed premises of scientism about how unscientific the idea is.

2. Say, as Carl Sagan reportedly did, "the evidence for your idea is not good," then argue about the value of the evidence.

Personally I'm inclined to say that 2 is a more persuasive approach. Nothing bad will happen if you temporarily suspend your knowledge that certain types of statements are ontologically questionable in the interests of creating productive discussion. Response 1 does not allow for any common ground.

 I agree for the most part with what you said. But I think points 1 and 2 tend to overlap quite often. We can simply say "there is no evidence for your claim" but this alone often doesn't help, even if we discuss the value and need for evidence (theists will often just re assert their original claim), Often it helps to break down the argument show them exactly what is wrong with it, such as fallacies etc. They can plant a seed which later kicks in.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan