At The Stream, a comment on a local billboard slogan for the city’s star research hospital:
‘In Science Lives Hope.’
I don’t want to make too much of a local city advertising campaign, but do you see the reflection of scientism in this billboard? It’s not just that science is a valuable pursuit. We live in a culture that thinks science is the pathway to hope.
This is the ultimate promise of scientism. And the first thing you should notice is that it’s not a scientific claim. You can’t do a science experiment to prove that “in science lives hope.” And you can’t use science to show that science is the only way to know things. That’s because those kinds of claims aren’t scientific. At best, they are philosophical. And in the end, they’re really religious. – Bob Perry (March 11, 2023)
Other bad things follow too (cf the potential risks of any religion):
- Science gets defined as “hope,” no matter what is really going on.
- Actual science gets suppressed in favour of an Establishment “hope parade.”
- People who call out the bad stuff become heretics, not just critics. We saw plenty of that during the COVID crazy.
But hey, they voted for it, paid for it, they own it so…
Meanwhile, heartfelt apologies from a newly Unwokened writer. There is hope but it is not from “Trust the Science!”
44 Replies to “A classic in scientism: ‘In Science Lives Hope.’”
A bigger offender is so called climate science.
Look at how they treat Alex Epstein. Democrats embarrass themselves by seeing how foolish they can be.
The same thing with enlightenment, nazism, socialism, comunism. Now we deal with scientism. The illusion of creating “Heaven” on Earth. The result? Millions of dead people because of few imbeciles that thought that they are smart(Saviour complex).
Billboards are advertisements. Advertisements are a form of propaganda. They always exaggerate beyond what is rationally defensible. That’s their function. We consider it permissible nevertheless because we consider it a form of “free speech”.
I think it is a slow news day stretch by “The Stream” to characterize a local medical center’s little inspirational message as “scientism.”
And, of course, the author doesn’t “want to make too much” of it. But then he does. Oops…….
He was simply using an illustration, the sort of thing everybody does. The fact that you don’t even try to defend scientism from his arguments speaks loudly.
I see snark, but no defense of scientism. Too hard?
‘In Science Lives Hope.’
Sounds like you could use some anti-nausea medication, you know, the type developed by science. Or is it scientism? I can never get them straight. I’m so confused now……..
“Sounds like you could use some anti-nausea medication”
You misread my ‘Vomit’. I don’t feel the need to vomit, the Cutesy Slogan For The Brain-Dead Scientismist is the vomit (noun).
I pretty sure that there are a great deal of scientists that peddled you are a meat robot with no ability to make a decision of your own. You live in a world where your decisions are illusions, you are an illusion, and you are a slave to your genetics/environment. This is PROVEN by science. Well until recently, but to my point I see no hope in that
I thought it was appropriate to point out that the author was reading way too much into the billboard.
I’m not here to defend or attack scientism. I will say that from where I sit, the term “scientism“ has gotten to be so arbitrary and ubiquitous, like “Darwinism“ or “evolution“ or “intelligent design”, that any discussion of the term at this point is pretty much meaningless. .
My main worry about the concept of “scientism” is that it’s usually left muddled whether it’s being regarded as an effect or as a cause. I think it makes sense when understood as an effect, but taking it that way highlights very different explanations as to what is causing it.
For some people, scientism is due to a decline in the authority of religious institutions and the moral knowledge that they supposedly convey. Bob Perry (I think) takes it that way: he thinks that scientism is what happens when undue authority is placed in scientific methods and a corresponding downgrading of other sources of knowledge (esp knowledge of eternal truths, by which I assume he means knowledge of God’s will, personal immortality and postmortem destination, etc.).
But there is also a critique of scientism that can be made from the left, according to which we place undue trust in science because in our current stage of capitalism, we value what can be quantified and measured because that is what can optimized for efficiency, commodified, and generating increasing rates of profit (extraction of surplus value).
Whether one regards scientism as a serious problem or not is one issue — but there’s a separate issue as to why one sees it as a serious problem.
PM1 at 12,
Here we go again. The much desired, but fictional “decline in the authority of religious institutions…” I was on a message board that centered on a major U.S. city. I objected to positive comments about marijuana use. The reply was that ‘You people don’t have the influence you once did.’ So, who was this ‘you people’? Christians.
People need to think beyond profit, power and control. Only truth matters.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
“For what can a man give in return for his soul?”
Scientism distorts truth.
From context, the “you people” refers to people who have negative attitudes towards marijuana. Just because you see yourself as first and foremost a Christian, and you see your comments as articulating a Christian standpoint, it doesn’t follow that other people will see your comments as essentially Christian.
Given the rather high percentage of the US population that identifies as Christian and the rather high percentage of the US population that has positive attitudes towards marijuana (which is not the same as the percentage that actually enjoys getting high), I’m sure there are quite a few Christians who have a positive attitude towards marijuana.
The fact that someone criticizes you for having a negative attitude towards marijuana says nothing at all about their attitude towards Christianity — after all, balance of probabilities says they are more likely to be Christians themselves!
Some people seem to have an inherent need to feel persecuted, whether in fact they are or not. It’s one characteristic that evangelical Christians share with the woke crowd. Given their respective outsized influence on current American politics and public policy, it’s difficult to have any sympathy whatsoever for either of them.
PM1 at 14,
Your non-analysis is noted. Starting in the mid-1960s, the Hippies began to spread their influence. So-called underground newspapers appeared followed by underground comix. The goal was clear: to detach people from their Church, their parents and other authority figures. They – the Hippies – became the God, parent, relatives, replacements. So kids got drawn into using illegal drugs and other unhealthy life choices thanks to them. I lived through this.
Imagine some trusting young kid hearing the following about illegal diugs: “It’ll expand your mind.” No, that was not the truth. Illegal drugs were not “cool.”
CD at 15,
There’s a difference between actual persecution and the Leftist-Marxist Class Warfare System. Here’s the formula:
Create a Victims Class.
Create an Enemies Class.
Then, declare yourself to be the ONLY possible solution for the Victims – any Victims.
You – Leftists, Marxists, Woke – again become the alternative to any religious organizations. God is bad. Atheists can save you because they are the self-chosen, the self-appointed saviors.
Oh brother. For the record: Christians have noticed.
CD at 15,
You appear to have this obsessive-compulsive bent regarding certain people. It’s as if you’re saying, ‘If it wasn’t for those people.’ What’s the matter? Really. What’s the problem? No one except people like you can have a say in politics or public policy? It should be clear to you, and everyone reading, that the mainstream news has very little to do with reporting actual news, but with repeating what their owners want them to say.
I can understand the fear factor of an existential threat to humanity posed by the Illuminati or some other global cabal or zombies or alien shape-shifters or reptilians or some such. But hippies?
Oh, I think it works for everyone.
If someone has a deeply entrenched emotional investment in order and authority, then the hippies will be experienced as an existential threat.
Seversky at 19,
You are so… so… Seversky. Yes, Hippies. Those very real people I dealt with in the late 1960s. You know, the ones with the mandatory length hair, the mandatory clothes, the mandatory dope smoking, the mandatory “old lady,” the mandatory Hippie-speak. They were more Orthodox than Orthodox religions.
“We’re non-conformists!” No, you’re not.
Seversky at 20,
Spoken like a true Woke-Man.
PM1 at 21,
Why the fancy words? “Smoke dope!” “Have lots of sex!” “Live with your ‘old lady’!”
Bad – very bad – role models.
As I recall, it was Jesus who made the claim that only through him could one achieve redemption and eternal life, correct? John 14:6?
As Seversky points out, you have described Christianity to a tee. The only difference is your despot lived 2200 years ago, give or take………
CD at 25,
The Chuck and Seversky tag-team match against God.
You know what Chuck? You should talk to the source of your irritation. He does care about you.
Maybe despot is too harsh a word. Although when you factor in the whole hell thing it is hard to know what to make of your loving God. It just seems to me that before he created a train wreck of sinful and defective creatures, he should have worked out his own issues first…..
CD at 27,
Oh, poooor Chuck. God doesn’t love anyone. Poor Chuck. God could have made human beings robots who obeyed His every command. Instead, He gave them free will. The same free will some deny. An enemy appeared, and our first parents made a wrong choice. We are all stuck with that. But Jesus Christ came, died as a sacrifice for all, and showed the way back.
You should read the Bible. It’s all there.
I just finished listening to a much-anticipated conversation between Krauss and Dawkins recorded last November on the topic of science writing for the public. Dawkin’s best takeaway line: you can’t be a serious scientist and not be a reductionist.
Before everyone gets their panties in a wad, this statement really should be uncontroversial. Reductionism is exactly what is entailed in good experimental design, whether it be clinical trials or isolating fundamental particles. It is all about eliminating confounding variables. Reducing nature to fundamental principles. Eliminating unknowns (Krauss has a book in publication addressing this notion). In that respect, ID is abject failure……..
CD at 29,
Give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve done your weekly “I trash ID” post…
I must have missed it. Where in this thread did CD say anything negative about ID?
Absolutely, Relatd. For every one trashing of ID that I do, IDers trash evolution at least 10 times or more. If you add in Darwin and Dawkins, that proportion probably doubles. Great odds, I’d say………
CD at 32,
Ooooh. Fight! Fight! It’s all your fault !!!
You know what Chuck, and Seversky and JVL and… unguided evolution is dead. Deader than a doornail. It has been shown to not be a credible explanation. But you guys must – MUST – continue to hold some ground here. If you didn’t do this, the massive swarms of ID troops will win the day and convince the world.
They shouldn’t because Evolution is definitely a fact.
Just what caused it is the issue.
They have no coherent ideas on what caused Evolution so their ideas should be discarded. Why bring them up?
“They shouldn’t because Evolution is definitely a fact.”
You know better than this Jerry. Let’s get a good definition of Evolution first. One that is scientific and acknowledges what it can’t explain.
No, it’s definitely a fact.
Didn’t you see my sentence?
For a definition see
Meyer wrote a couple of books on this, especially Darwin’s Dilemma. He examined something called the “fossil record” in detail.
Repeating the old “Evolution is a fact.”? Based on what? I should get that line Trademarked.
Your lengthy explanation is a lengthy explanation with very little, if any, explanatory value. You seem to think irreducible complexity applies then mix it in with randomness. Facts, not speculation, please.
How is that?
ID represents the best scientific thinking on the planet. There is no way it is a failure.
ID is science+
Relatd: But you guys must – MUST – continue to hold some ground here. If you didn’t do this, the massive swarms of ID troops will win the day and convince the world.
Not even close. The truth is that almost no one cares what is posted here. The Discovery Institute doesn’t care, Dr Behe doesn’t care, mainstream science doesn’t care.
All us unguided evolution defenders could stop commenting here and nothing would change. Nothing. No one is paying any attention.
Completely agree. Uncommon Descent is sometimes enjoyable but has zero effect on the world.
The pro ID posters here could care less about ID. The anti ID posters have contributed zero on anything. If anyone has contributed anything positive, it’s a rarity.
It’s a place mainly for ranting.
JVL and PM!,
Then why post here? Zero effect on the world and No one is paying attention. Yet here you are.
“Well, I made a difference for that one!”
I’ve often wondered why the Darwinian atheists here on UD dedicate so much of their precious little time here on this earth trying to promote Darwinian evolution? and trashing God in general and Christianity in particular? It seems very much like they are pathologically driven by some deep and ultimate purpose to try to distance themselves, and everyone else, from God and Christianity.
The irony being, of course, if their worldview is actually true, (and thank God it isn’t), then there are no deep and ultimate purposes for anything we do in life. According to Darwinian atheism “There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind” and “there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
But if, as Darwin atheists hold, there are no ultimate purposes and meanings for life, then why in blue blazes, as atheistic philosopher Alex Rosenberg asked, “bother getting out of bed(?). The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does.”
So we have a deep irony here. Under Darwinian atheism, nothing really matters. There are no ultimate purposes or meanings for anything we do in this life. We live, we die, and no one, and no thing, will ever remember anything that anyone has ever done on this planet. Darwinian atheists simply have no good reason for why they “bother getting out of bed”. Under Darwinian atheism it is all complete and utter Nihilistic doom! Nothing matters.
Yet, as Darwinian atheists themselves here on UD give ample evidence to, they, in their seemingly obsessive compulsion to, day in and day out, trash God and Christianity, act very much as if their lives do have some ultimate purpose and meaning.
In short, the Darwinist’s atheistic worldview, and the way they are actually living their lives, are in direct contradiction with each other.
And this should be no surprise. It is simply impossible for Darwinists, or anyone else, to live their lives as if atheistic naturalism is actually true and as if their lives had no real meaning or purpose.
As the following review of Thomas Nagel’s book, “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False”, noted, “materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.”
Leading evolutionary materialists themselves have honestly admitted that they don’t live their lives as if their atheistic materialism were actually true.
Shoot, even Richard Dawkins himself honestly admitted that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if his atheistic materialism were actually true,
In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for a person to live consistently as if their atheistic worldview were actually true, then their atheistic worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but their atheistic worldview must instead be based on a delusion.
Moreover, although atheists hold that our lives here on this earth have no ultimate meaning and purpose, I have news for them, everything we do and say on this earth has far greater meaning, purpose, and significance than we can possibly imagine.
Around the 20 minute mark of the following Near Death Experience documentary, the Life Review portion of the Near Death Experience is highlighted, with several testimonies relating how every word, thought, deed, and action, of a person’s life is gone over in the presence of God almighty:
Of course, atheists resolutely deny the reality of NDEs and/or life after death. But I simply note that the evidence for the validity of NDEs, and/or life after death, is far more compelling than the evidence for Darwinian evolution is.
So thus in conclusion, far from the complete and utter Nihilistic doom that atheists envision for humanity, it turns out that, in reality, we really do have a very good reason to get out of bed each and every morning. Our lives, every nook and cranny of them, really do have far greater purpose, meaning, and significance than we can possibly imagine right now. And that is VERY good news.