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Retro now: C.S. Lewis on scientism and gullibility

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Following up on Leon Wieseltier blasting scientism at Brandeis’s commencement (here), a good place to pursue the topic in depth is the recent book, The Magician’s Twin, which examines C.S. Lewis’s writings on scientism and his gradual realization of the harm Darwinism was doing in the world of ideas.

In the title essay, “The Magician’s Twin,” John G. West reminds us of one of Lewis’s observations about popular faith in science:

Lewis explained that one of the things he learned by giving talks at Royal Air Force camps in World War II was that the “real religion” of many ordinary Englishmen was a completely uncritical “faith in ‘science.’” Indeed, he was struck by how many of the men in his audiences “did not really believe that we have any reliable knowledge of historic man. But this was often curiously combined with a conviction that we knew a great deal about Pre-Historic Man: doubtless because Pre-Historic Man is labelled ‘Science’ (which is reliable) whereas Napoleon or Julius Caesar is labelled as ‘History’ (which is not).” (p. 24)

That’s ironic in view of, just for example, the recent paper wars over the origin of humans walking on two legs.

The only reliable piece of information is actually that we have walked on two legs during the entire period we call history, and must have done so long before, but no one knows why.

(Note: Re “magician’s twin” Lewis had said that science and magic are twins, and that one thrived but the other died. Today, the analogy is uncertain. When any nonsense can be science, a better analogy might be: Science and magic are two winds and one or the other might be the prevailing one, depending on the season and climate. Thoughts?)

Good point by Lewis that today still works. People see conclusions about things based on a confidence about the methodology that is or could be done to discover these conclusions. Therefore when the methodology of "science" is invoked its given a great deal of confidence.faith in the conclusions. Yet if historical investigation is invoked theres less faith. Less faith in people then in a structure of investigation that controls people. Methodology confidence sold evolution and , I think, attacking the methodology as opposed to attacking claimed evidences and reasoning would greatly bring this error of evolution as a theory to a quick end. Robert Byers
Lewis said Science and Religion are one set of twins and Magic and Technology are the other IIRC. One pair aims to understand reality and make sense of it (Physical or Spiritual) while the other pair seek to control it and bend it to our will. Lots that is thought of as "science" today is really technology. Jason Rennie
I once engaged in an online discussion with a staunch defender of the Darwinian faith that went something like this. Him: The only reliable knowledge we have is that which we obtain through science and the scientific method. Me: Really? Do you consider that very statement reliable knowledge? Him: Of course! Me: Really? And tell me, did you obtain this knowledge through science and the scientific method? If so, how? Were your findings reported in the relevant peer reviewed scientific journals so we can all read about the study? Him: So you don't think science delivers reliable knowledge? Me: Huh? You do realize you just flipped the meaning of your own statement, right? Him: How? And on it went. The unwritten rule among Darwinists is that there logic is never, ever in error. Ever! The sooner we all learn that, the sooner we can all just get along! DonaldM
I think science, especially in regards to these questions of origins, would in large measure be freed from the folly of 'scientism' if methodological naturalism (the artificial imposition of materialistic answers prior to investigation) was simply thrown into the garbage heap. But then again that would be like telling a hard core atheist that ad hominem is not a valid method for addressing the merits of a certain argument. Its a nice idea but its not going to change anything (at least as far as I can tell). bornagain77

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