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At the New Republic, John Gray blasts scientism as shallow


In “Malcolm Gladwell Is America’s Best-Paid Fairy-Tale Writer: The heavily-footnoted uplift of ‘David and Goliath’”:

Gladwell is only one among a great many writers at the present time who promote this exaggerated or misplaced faith in science. From those who assure us that the world is becoming ever more peaceful to those who look to grand theories of psychology for solutions to Washington gridlock, the idea that scientific method can be a guide to the perplexed is one of the delusions of the age. More than any tendency to over-simplification, it is Gladwell’s enthusiastic embrace of this delusion that makes his style of writing so tendentious. Scientism has many sources, but central among them is a refusal to accept that intractable difficulty is normal in human affairs. Many human conflicts, even ones that are properly understood, do not fall into the category of soluble problems. No new discoveries in sociology or psychology can enable such conflicts to be wholly overcome; deeply rooted in history, they can only be coped with more or less resolutely and intelligently. Acknowledging this humbling truth is the beginning of wisdom, and of the long haul to something like peace.

Peace? Well, peace with reality anyway. Elsewhere called sanity.

See also: Materialist philosopher Daniel Dennett rushes to the defense of scientism

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