Now, let us collect a well-known live example, Lewontin, in NYRB 1997, reviewing Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted world; here, with my annotations:
>>. . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [–> notice, the context of intended indoctrination, with a hint of being backed up by secularist institutional power to enforce such indoctrination] we [–> who? the Evolutionary Materialist elites, that’s who] must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [–> note the ready equation of ethical theism with ignorance and irrationality], the demons [–> notice, equating the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, to destructive demons] that exist only in their imaginations [–> assumption of atheism, to be duly dressed up in a lab coat], and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . .
To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> to an evolutionary materialist thinker, all of reality], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [–> whose door?] The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. [–> irrationality projection again] To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen [–> again, the irrationality thesis, while actually for miracles to stand out as signs pointing beyond the usual course of the world, there must be a reliable usual course backed by the enabling of a Creator who is Reason Himself, an order that was studied and discerned by the foundational modern scientists “thinking God’s [creative and providential thoughts] after him”] . . . [[From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added. If you imagine this is “quote-mined” kindly cf here.]>>
The reference to getting the general public to believe that Science is the only begetter of truth (and so, gatekeeper of knowledge) is a classic illustration of evolutionary materialist scientism.
It’s real, and it’s live.
(sī′ən-tĭz′əm)n.1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry.>>
In short, in a day of great prestige for science, ideologised evolutionary materialism-dominated science can be blown up out of proportion into a synonym for knowledge or even rationality, and is then treated as the golden key to and gate-keeper of all knowledge.
In a case like that cited from Lewontin, it becomes trivially plain that the attempt is self-referentially incoherent. Here, speaking for the scientific elites and a dominant worldview, he makes or rather suggests a philosophical claim that effectively undermines philosophical claims. Thus, refuting itself.
Moreover, he reveals an ideological censorship and imposition that should give us pause.
The solution, is quite simple.
Acknowledge the strengths, weaknesses and limitations as a means of inquiry and learning credible, empirically reliable findings about our world. While, acknowledging that genuine and significant knowledge comes from not only other fields of inquiry but from common sense reflection on experience. END