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