From Nathan Cofnas at Weekly Standard:
What is really disturbing, though, is that Hawking has flagrantly given up on even the pretense of engaging with actual science. He speaks entirely from authority: I am a scientist. Adopt this political policy that I favor or suffer fire and sulfuric acid. The threatened punishment for noncompliance substitutes sulfuric acid for the regular sulfur (brimstone) that features in old-fashioned religion. As far as the justification for the claim, there is no important difference between this and a religious statement that is supposed to be believed simply because it issues forth from a high priest.
That can lead to awkward problems when the promoters of scientism turn out to be less than virtuous.
Consider the physicist and aggressive science promoter Lawrence Krauss. Krauss has received a great deal of funding from the billionaire, and now registered sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. This last detail is important.
Epstein pled guilty to paying girls as young as 14 for sex, and was suspected of even worse crimes involving underage girls. After he went to prison, Krauss offered the following analysis of his patron: “As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.”
Got that? “As a scientist,” Krauss did not personally witness the crimes, ergo they didn’t happen. After all, if Epstein really was a sex offender, he would walk around in public surrounded by 14-year-old girls, right? Obviously, this is insane. But what’s interesting is that Krauss defended Epstein by invoking his status as a “scientist,” and his commitment to “empirical evidence.” It’s more Dadaist science: I am a “scientist,” therefore whatever I say, no matter how transparently self-serving and nonsensical, is “science. More.
So Krauss doesn’t think that common sense reasoning is important? If the guy always has women who aren’t relatives or a wife around him…? Um…?
Hmmm. Shades of Bill Nye the Science Guy: These vids certainly show a different side to Bill Nye.
Maybe metaphysical naturalism is prone to this stuff? Or maybe it just causes natural errors in judgement.
See also: Larry Krauss on why it is silly to teach both sides of evolution
25 Replies to “Scientism hits the skids”
Scientism is so cretinous, it needs no help from the likes of Krauss and his ‘defence’ of his illustrious protege, Epstein, to be beyond discrediting. A primary-school child would be baffled at the stupidity of even thinking in terms of scientism.
And as for the lengths the materialists go, in order to ‘support’ scientism …..
I realise I’m sounding more and more like Polonious, but surely in the not too distant future, their mysteriously unfathomable folly will be the subject of great mirth, when what people understand now concerning atheist scientists becomes a universal truism, and they feel vindicated. You can be academically educated and highly intelligent, yet still be an intellectual grotesque.
Judging from Einstein’s many recorded quotes, he was all too well aware of that, and continually laboured the point about the effectively transcendental intelligence of the great Spirit who designed and sustains the universe. He expressed it in a slightly elliptical way, when he said that he rated imagination higher than intelligence.
Of like many of us, he was wont to change the emphases in his thinking at diferent periods during his life ; and both the Nazi horrors during WWII and his lack of scientific success after his golden years, understandably jaded his appreciation of his panentheist god, yet most of his life it strikes me that both he and Ghandi were closet Christians.
From Wikipedia :
‘Einstein was then asked to what extent he was influenced by Christianity. “As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.” Einstein was then asked if he accepted the historical existence of Jesus, to which he replied, “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”‘
During the last year of his life, Einstein remarked that, if he had not been a Jew, he would have been a quaker. But you don’t have to be Einstein to know that nothing would have at least a little difficulty in creating everything – even from its own cornucopia of extravagantly-variegated nothingness.
Incidentally, What a strange occurrence in the Wikipedia article, of two antonyms of what had been written earlier, in the very next line : ‘early in childhood’ and ‘at the age of twelve’ (immediately, pre-teenage, and hardly early !) ; and ‘gradual’ and abrupt’ ;
In his Autobiographical Notes, Einstein wrote that he had gradually lost his faith early in childhood:
. . . I came—though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents—to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve.
Drs Stephen Hawking, Alan Guth, Lisa Randall, and scads of other Multiverse Physicists are also beneficiaries of Jeffrey Epstein, the child molestor.
So its a bit unfair to single out Dr Krauss for being an associate of a prominent rapist, when so many of his colleagues join him. Here is a press release on the Virgin Islands meeting for Top Physicists sponsored by Epstein, and organized by Dr Krauss, back in 2012. http://www.pr.com/press-release/401973
Evidence points to a coming cooling:
Epstein’s offenses have no bearing on the advocacy or practice of science by Krauss or any of the other scientists with whom he associated. That is pure ad hominem – guilt by association
Of all the a/mat faith-based philosophies, scientism is probably the dumbest.
Seversky @ 5
Had Epstein and Krauss merely “liked” each other on Facebook, you’d have a point.
The issue is not Krauss’ mere association with Epstein, but the appearance of a quid pro quo; that being Epstein promotes Krauss’s research (et. al.) and Krauss gives a lame defense of his promoter’s crimes.
But the “association” went a lot further and Krauss stepped in it with his lame defense of the indefensible.
I see no evidence of a quid pro quo of any kind. However I disagree with Chris Haynes about him being singled out unfairly. I think the only point the author originally made was re. the gratuitous “As a scientist” followed by a little self regarding assessment of his own impartiality. That’s what singles him out. The ex cathedra “I Am A Scientist” of it all, which only partisans would not spot.
Splatter @ 8:
Prior to that, Epstein hosted Krauss and others on Epstein’s private island, because that’s the best place for scientists to discuss WMAP satellite data, donchaknow.
No doubt while scientists were busily discussing WMAP data with their heads buried figuratively (and literally) in the sand, Epstein the noted “science philanthropist” was simultaneously engaged in protecting the virtue of underage girls.
Chris Haynes at 3, Seversky at 5, and Splatter at 8: None of the recipients are to blame for their benefactor’s crimes. But Lawrence Krauss should never have written as he did. If he felt he needed to make any kind of statement, he ought rather to have returned the money.
We must assume that, as Mr. Epstein is wealthy, he had the benefit of good legal counsel, and still does. I have not heard claims regarding a miscarriage of justice.
Guilt By Association is a fundamental component of Avoiding Falling In With Bad Crowds.
Just reading the OP I got the impression that it was making a guilt by association insinuation, which would be fallacious not only logically but legally and morally as well.
However, that was not the key point made by the Weekly Standard article. The point is stated clearly in the first paragraph.
Now consider Krauss’ moral and legal defense on behalf of his friend Epstein.
In other words, as a scientist Lawrence Krauss has no more authority to make pronouncements on moral and legal matters than anyone else. That’s the point.
Of course, he is entitled to his personal opinions. Just like everyone else.
Everyone keeps referring to Lawrence Krauss as a scientist, but I think of him more as an a/mat philosopher/journalist…like Richard Dawkins and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. All three have strayed far away from empirical science in their writings. They are now just a/mat philosophers who write about science.
From my reading of Krauss’s biographical details in Wiki, he seems like a gifted, successful, and decent man.
Whatever mistakes one makes in associations with unfavourable, and indecent people (as long as they are unwittingly made), should in no way besmirch the character of the unknowing party; Krauss.
How many Christians have woken up to find the Pastor of their Church taken into custody for the ,solicitation of homosexual prostitutes, while snorting cocaine.
What should we infer about the teachings of Christianity, from these numerous and ongoing examples of immorality?
This author takes Hawkings and attaches his claims to all claims made by all scientists? Please!
You are supposed to, as Paul said, ” test the spirits to see whether they are of God.” If someone should diverge from Biblical teachings, their claim to authority is invalid. Pew warming, head bobbing Christianity isn’t prescribed in the Bible.
So, why should desk warming, head nodding scientism be more acceptable; especially given that real science, the article from which scientism derives its claim to value, is essentially codified skepticism? (classical skepticism, which was at odds with Epicureanism and was actually receptive to anything that could be made sense of, materialistic or otherwise).
Also, when you consider that Dr Krauss invoked his authority inappropriately to cast doubt on the very real, very illegal, and very harmful perversions of his benefactor, it could be likened to a preacher referencing their religious credentials in attacking vital economic legislation that affected the market value of their home. In the latter case, separation of church and state might be invoked should they actually be able to apply pressure through others’ religious beliefs; what can be done about the former?
If you are equivalizing the functionality of Christianity and Science and how the members of each group should be regarded, you don’t understand either Christianity or Science.
Ideally, Christians are presenting the Gospel and Scientists are presenting scientific information.
The Christian’s presentation is about living a disciplined life as an example and telling the good news about what God has revealed.
The Scientist presents evidence.
These are the things to look in each for when you start hearing about Christians and Scientists.
From the LA Times, Jan. 29, 1987:
Do prominent Christians do bad or even evil things? Yes.
Does that justify a scientists, like Dr. Krauss, making bad moral choices? No.
Morally equivalency arguments don’t work because like Dadaistic appeals to authority they are logically fallacious.
I apologize if I’m repeating what someone may have said, but the rabbit trails are obscuring the issues. As horrendous as Epstein’s crime is, it is not the point. The points are:
1. Krauss invokes his position as a “scientist” to imply unarguable authority (“God” if you will, and all that goes with it!).
2. Krauss’s story about not ever seeing Epstein with underage girls in public is simply an example of the fallacy of anti-Christian science’s claim to omniscience.
Krauss should either have said nothing (it’s not my business) or returned the money (it is my business). It’s the in-between part that is flawed.
There are two issues with Dr Kraus. The first is that he takes the money from Epstein, a known and unrepentant wealthy and well-connected child rapist who is desirous of cultivating the elite contacts. The second is that he falsely claims that Epstein’s being a rapist is isn’t shown by Empirical Evidence. But of course the statements of witnesses in the court filings, and Epstein’s own guilty plea ARE Empirical Evidence.
The same is true, of course, of the other Scientists, such as Hawking Guth and Randall who are beneficiaries of Epstein’s lavish style of entertainment, and enablers ao Krauss’s nonsense about empirical evidence. It appears that to our Top Scientists, the fate of some troubled 14 year old nobody, who cares.
Atheism is based on knowledge, whereas religion is based on beliefs. This is logically incorrect and an argument from ignorance. Beliefs-disbeliefs are derived through knowledge. The atheist believes there is no God aka a disbelief. Atheist circular logic at its finest.
“Atheism is supported by logic. Not only is this wrong, just the opposite is true. In logic, it’s impossible to prove a negative, that is, prove that a God Who Can Do Anything doesn’t exist. When someone claims he is an atheist, he is in effect claiming to have proven a negative (at least to himself)-which is a logical impossibility. In terms of pure logic, the only viable alternative to theism is actually agnosticism, which is the belief that the existence of God cannot be known. But atheism runs counter to logic”. The irrational VOIDist ideology of atheism requires rationalizing insanities by twisting logic in order to protect the narrative.
Atheists lack the belief that God exists, others lack the belief that God doesn’t exist aka an atheist argument from ignorance. The twisted circular logic of the Richard Dawkins cult: What’s the best way for a UK atheist to make money from the USA? Create a US tax deductible exempt status collecting donations convincing agnostics using endless circular logic to say that atheism is agnosticism. New atheist cults like Dawkins now claim atheism is an agnostic lack of belief and/or disbelief in a God or Gods. This circular logic completely ignores the fact that agnosticism is a neutral unbiased position NOT a position of disbelief. This would be like saying you’re an agnostic Christian, agnostic Satanist, agnostic democrat or agnostic republican. This is the kind mindless logic that can turn lead into gold and water into wine if you’re simpleminded enough to believe it. Agnostic definition: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor DISBELIEF in God.
Do these statements by Richard Dawkins describe the neutral unbiased position of agnosticism? “The God Delusion: The bible is nothing but a book of fairy tales. We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can’t disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. Religion is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness. Don’t kid yourself that you’re going to live again after you’re dead; you’re not. Make the most of the one life you’ve got. Live it to the full. There are many very educated people who are religious, but they’re not creationists. The bible should be taught, but emphatically not as reality. As such it needs to be taught because it underlies so. It is fiction, myth, poetry, anything but reality.
“God did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was the inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, says eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking”. “God did not create the universe” is an unproven definitive statement. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing”. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” Spontaneous creation is a definitive unproven statement. Stephen Hawking should not argue that spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing because a law such as gravity assumes the existence of something, not’nothing. Out of nothing, nothing comes.
“One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist but science makes God unnecessary”. Stephen Hawking. How can science make God unnecessary if one can’t prove that God doesn’t exist? This is a contradictory statement otherwise known as doubletalk. Atheists claim atheism is not a religion. “Atheism is a popular modern religion. Atheism is your belief so it is a belief system.” Charles Darwin. In other words, atheism is your cause, you’ve only changed the word religion to atheism. The word religion is interchangeable with belief system. Anyone can be naive it takes endurance to be ignorant. Typical atheist circular logic otherwise known as doubletalk. Conclusion…atheists are a few fries short of a happy meal.
Stephen Hawking has been exposed to way too much Hawking radiation. First he believes in the big bang then he doesn’t. Then he believes in the no boundary proposal that the universe has always been here. Then he believes the universe create itself. So how could the universe have created itself if it has always been here? This is the kind of mindless logic that can turn lead into gold and water into wine if you’re naive enough to believe it. Experimental brain surgery on these creatures seems necessary. Space Cat sworn enemy of groupthink cult mentality.
Charles @ &
The Weekly Standard piece quotes Kraus as follows:
Whatever you may think of his appeal to his authority as a scientist, Krauss was neither defending nor excusing Epstein, he was simply testifying that he never saw anything untoward in Epstein’s behavior in his presence.
Yes, he was. It’s called ‘looking the other way’ and its the easiest form of defending someone.