Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

The Magician’s Twin — C[live] S[taples] Lewis and the case against Scientism

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First, let’s watch:

[youtube FPeyJvXU68k]

Then, having watched, let us now discuss, in light of the ongoing debate on the rationality of scientism-rooted a priori evolutionary materialist atheism, here.  Also, the issues that come up as our civilisation metaphorically stands on the deck of a ship in Fair Havens and contemplates what to do. END

 

 

 

Comments
A Comprehensive Scientism Worldview “Henis Worldview” Database I’m nearly 88 yrs old. Circa twenty years ago I intensified my universe-life pondering and scrutinizing of relevant scientific publications, gradually crystallizing and compiling a comprehensive worldview distinctly different in several aspects from the 21st century generally accepted scientific worldview. A compilation of most of the brief inter-related inter-twined chapters of this “worldview” is now displayed at http://universe-life.com/ . In answer to occasional readers’ comments-remarks I have been asserting that none of the scientific matters stated in or implied by the “worldview“ contradicts the now generally accepted science. Some pedants, though, are not satisfied with this assertion even when ascertained correct. They demand presentation of “new subject specific data”. To this I posit : A. http://universe-life.com/2013/01/26/science-comprehension-derives-from-data-assessment/ B. ALL data, wherever published, that conform with the materials presented in “Henis Worldview” chapters are scientifically ”Henis Worldview” database. Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century) http://universe-life.com/Dov Henis
May 14, 2013
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[BBST 450] Scientism (HT BA77)Mung
January 19, 2013
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Done! :)Kantian Naturalist
January 18, 2013
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KN, You're a constant source of fresh material and your presences here are appreciated. Now, please, allow us to appreciate your absences. ;)Mung
January 18, 2013
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For whatever it may be worth, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Olafson and for Haack. Along the same lines I'd also recommend extremely highly The Unraveling of Scientism: American Philosophy at the End of the Twentieth Century by Joseph Margolis.Kantian Naturalist
January 18, 2013
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Defending Science - Within Reason: Between Scientism and CynicismMung
January 18, 2013
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Naturalism and the Human Condition is a compelling account of why naturalism, or the 'scientific world-view' cannot provide a full account of who and what we are as human beings. Drawing on sources including Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl and Sartre, Olafson exposes the limits of naturalism and stresses the importance of serious philosophical investigation of human nature.
Naturalism and the Human Condition: Against ScientismMung
January 18, 2013
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TJG: You have a serious point. Sad really, but that is where we have reached as a civilisation. KFkairosfocus
January 16, 2013
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Kairos, Timothya is a perfect example of what Lewis is talking about in the video. Science can tell us how things work, but not what we should do or what is worth doing. He ignores the moral aspect of our actions and simply speaks about the scientific side of the issue and THAT IS DANGEROUS!tjguy
January 16, 2013
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TJG, thank you. There was at that time a shocking survey here about the sexual habits of some young people. The online remarks were a for record in light of a talk show in which I was a co-host. KFkairosfocus
January 12, 2013
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Scientism, at root, rests on the belief that there is a single universal method by which certain (known for sure; established beyond doubt) knowledge can be acquired, and that the "scientific method" is the only method by which certain (Known for sure; established beyond doubt) knowledge can be acquired. But we must not apply that universal method to scientism itself. *certain - Known for sure; established beyond doubt.Mung
January 11, 2013
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...to treat everything as false until it is proved true, to begin with universal doubt - this does seem to be self-contradictory.
Socrates Meets DescartesMung
January 10, 2013
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Timothya, why did you accuse KF of posting inaccurate info about sexual diseases? I read the quote you posted and it is all true! Are u trying to say that because there is a vaccination that protects girls in 70% of cases (or whatever the figure is), all this extra-marital promiscuity is perfectly moral? I don't get the logic! Countermeasures may be available, but as you yourself admitted it doesn't cover all types so it still is a public health threat. In fact, even more of a health threat if you think incorrectly that you are protected by the vaccine. Again, you are completely ignoring the moral issues that can cause just as much harm as the physical issues. If you are implying that promiscuity is permissible now that we have 70% protection, or higher depending on the problem, you are way off the mark. That is like saying that sin -you fill in the blank, whether it be adultery, lying, robbery, etc is permissible when you have a guarantee you won't get caught.tjguy
January 10, 2013
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What's the point of a focused mind in an atheistic cosmos? 1. The Mind doesn't exist. 2. You couldn't focus it if you wanted to. 3. There's no real subject anyways. etc, etc. It appears this thread is sorely needed.Mung
January 10, 2013
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TA: Strike three, you're out. You have refused to deal with abusive behaviour on your part, and so please do not return to this or any other threads I own. As to the notion that if you think the other guy is wrong you are justified in Saul Alinsky nihilist tactics of cruel mockery, you have just diagnosed yourself. Learn a little respect for others, and for the duty of warrant in light of the material facts -- including those the other guy is bringing to bear. Your example of failing to address 1/3 of a problem with Cancer on the table, then trying to dismiss by using this to derail a thread and falsely accuse me of not doing my homework speaks volumes. none of it to your benefit. If you refuse to listen to me, observe TJG's comment below. KF From KF's world: "If instead they are going off on tangents, distorting or taking out of context, then trying to belittle, embarrass or ridicule you, that is a sign that your work is fundamentally sound; so, take heart." On the other hand, when your work is fundamentally unsound, a little ridicule from observers can help to concentrate your mind.timothya
January 10, 2013
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BA, Being a proponent of the Big Bang, Ross has to hope and pray for the existence of dark matter to be verified. I guess he would also feel the need for dark energy to exist as well, but no one really knows. Dr. Hartnett points out the problems that confront us when we accept the standard cosmological / big bang model in this article: http://creation.com/dark-matter-and-a-cosmological-constant-in-a-creationist-cosmology In this article, he shows that "Using the centro-symmetric cosmology of Moshe Carmeli, ... there is no need to assume the existence of dark matter to explain dynamics of galaxies in the cosmos." This is a huge plus for creationist cosmologies! This model rejects the "no center for the universe" assumption on which the standard cosmological model is based on. This assumption is made purely for philosophical reasons - namely that the earth having a special place in the universe is anathema to them. There is really no evidence for it. If you base your whole cosmological model on an incorrect assumption(no edge/no center to the universe), it is no wonder that you have to prop it up with all kinds of theory saving devices like dark energy and dark matter. Here is one paragraph from the article:
I contend that dark matter doesn’t exist. It is simply, as before, the result of insufficient understanding of God’s laws at work. There are many cosmological descriptions (cosmological metrics) to the universe; if the wrong model is applied, cosmological thinking will head in the wrong direction. I believe that the standard Friedmann–Lemaître (FL) model is an incorrect description because of its starting assumption of no centre to the universe.9 Furthermore, modern cosmologists have failed to recognize the hand of God in the expansion of the universe.
For evidence showing that our galaxy is very likely at the center of the universe, see this article: http://creation.com/our-galaxy-is-the-centre-of-the-universe-quantized-redshifts-show However, supporters of the Big Bang cannot allow for such evidence or must explain it away some how because it violates the assumption on which their whole model is built - that of no center and no edge to the universe.tjguy
January 10, 2013
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PS: The definition of science and its methods issue also comes up. At IOSE, my more or less elaborated take on this has been: ______________ >>science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive, observational evidence-led pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on: a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical -- real-world, on the ground -- observations and measurements, b: inference to best current -- thus, always provisional -- abductive explanation of the observed facts, c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein's favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments], d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and, e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, "the informed" is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.) As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world. >> ______________ Does that help?kairosfocus
January 10, 2013
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KN & Collin: An interesting exchange, the sort that I had hoped for when I posted the video. I would suggest that explanation is one of the goals of science, but that it is not right to single it out as THE goal. (This rather reminds me of the issues I faced once when I was trying to develop an outline for a sci-tech survey course for non science majors in a then emerging university. I recalled and highlighted the "scientific agenda" of goals: describe, explain, predict control/influence. I suspect this is a more balanced view of goals of science and it brings to bear applications and the power issue, through it is fair comment to see that in some cases the goal is more wise stewardship in light of empirically reliable findings than raw power.) Ms Hack's -- founder or promoter of "foundherentism" [fairly close to my own views] -- abstract is also instructive:
ABSTRACT: As the English word “scientism” is currently used, it is a trivial verbal truth that scientism – an inappropriately deferential attitude to science – should be avoided. But it is a substantial question when, and why, deference to the sciences is inappropriate or exaggerated. This paper tries to answer that question by articulating “six signs of scientism”: the honorific use of “science” and its cognates; using scientific trappings purely decoratively [I would add, also, in a manipulative way, e.g. those now seemingly quaint ads with actors in lab coats or doctor's white tops . . . ]; preoccupation with demarcation; preoccupation with “scientific method”; looking to the sciences for answers beyond their scope; denying the legitimacy or worth of non-scientific (e.g., legal or literary) inquiry, or of writing poetry or making art.
I think Ms Hack's list of signs is highly relevant, and of course they pop up time after time in West's video on Lewis. It also brings to bear the major concern, the abuse of science as a means to manipulate or control people, with particular reference to the fascist and communist states and their questionable and bloody agendas. The casting of raising of legitimate questions or objections to such agendas as a "war on science," is also highly relevant, as it leads straight to the pivotal link between epistemology, the intellectual virtues approach and the wider questions of ethics and connexions to the roots of our worldviews. As in, lo and behold, there lurks the IS-OUGHT gap issue, yet again, and the problem of how a priori evolutionary materialism leads to radical relativism and can easily open the door to the might and manipulation make 'right' approach of outright nihilism. Which of course points all the way back to Plato in The Laws, Bk X. Here is my own thesis: PHILOSOPHY is the fundamental intellectual discipline (being concerned with the truly fundamental questions), and we should teach this at an appropriate level to students at each stage of development, in an appropriate way. (Remember, I am basically a physicist -- notoriously the most arrogant of all the disciplines in science [blush . . . ], and I here bow in acknowledgement to the queen of the academy. Like Elizabeth II (my Queen), she reigns more by influence than by power, but one would be foolish indeed to ignore her wise insights and sober-minded common sense or the stability that she brings to bear. Unfortunately, all too many are the fools around. Not to mention, that there are some royals who refuse to heed her sound example and counsel.) In that context, students should understand the pivotal importance of a worldview, linked issues in metaphysics, logic, epistemology, ethics and critical thinking particularly come to mind, but I should not neglect aesthetics especially. Phil of X should be an integral part of the general studies aspect of discipline X, from mathematics and sciences to politics and art etc. That includes being aware of the role of first principles, issues of logic [including first principles of right reason and the issue of self evidence], warrant, strengths and limitations of the discipline, and ethical issues connected to it. This last should particularly include the sobering lessons of the Century just past. And, if one looks at the video in a reasonable frame of mind, one will see that it is concerned to address just these sorts of themes. Indeed, I find therein a focus on the power and abuse themes, a definition of scientism, a laying out of the concern on grounding mind in an evolutionary materialist frame, the war on science issue, and more. I think the time has come for us to think about education in an age with science the dominant facet of knowledge, both in formal and in informal -- and especially popular -- settings. (Which last of course is part of why I am addressing the Wiki ID hatchet job.) KFkairosfocus
January 10, 2013
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Collin, I agree with you that there's a perfectly good sense of "scientism" which consists of wanting "o believe in something if it SOUNDS scientific and disbelieve something that SOUNDS not scientific." Susan Haack has written on this problem. She has lecture/paper called "Six Signs of Scientism" (video and paper).Kantian Naturalist
January 9, 2013
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Kantian, Your definition is probably better than mine, but I do get the feeling that there are people that want to believe in something if it SOUNDS scientific and disbelieve something that SOUNDS not scientific. What better word for this is there than scientistic or scientism?Collin
January 9, 2013
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timothya gets booted from this thread and sets up a strawman at the strawman zone:
Consider an argument used consistently by the ID community: that the natural processes of genetic mutation and environmental selection acting upon the resultant variation are incapable of generating speciation.
Strange that in "The Design of Life", written by Dembski and Wells, they state the exact opposite. Speciation is nonsense timmy. Show us accumulations of genetic accidents- please first be sure to tell us how you determined they were accidents- constructing new, functional multi-protein configurations that require more than two new protein-to-protein binding sites.Joe
January 9, 2013
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Collin, yes, that's definitely dogmatism, but I'm not sure if it's scientism as I might want to construe the term here. I think that one could be 'scientistic' without being a materialist. (Possibly David Chalmers?) Sheldrake is an interesting case of someone who thinks that "paranormal" or "psi" phenomena are empirically detectable by rigorous techniques. That puts him in a very different category than someone who believes in something like reincarnation because it "just feels true". (And in case anyone is wondering whether I'm even so much as aspiring for consistency in what I say here, the answer is yes: I'm trying to construct a philosophical view which combines naturalism in metaphysics with pluralism in epistemology, and scientism is anti-pluralistic, so I do regard my naturalism as compatible with my anti-scientism.) Mung, apart from making me hungry (thank you very much), Bacon says that "knowledge is power," and that can't be right; as a friend of mine likes to say, "knowledge isn't power, power is power." What is right about Bacon's thought is that causal explanation, which is the goal of empirical inquiry, can be used to further manipulate and transform the material world -- if one wanted to do so -- though I do believe that most of the time we are so enamored of what we can do that we don't stop to consider what we should (and should not) do.Kantian Naturalist
January 9, 2013
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KF as to:
"Dark energy and matter are mysteries."
Well, as far as 'Dark Energy' is concerned, if materialists keep insisting in trying to explain it in materialistic terms it will forever be 'mysterious' to them, but, on the other hand, the Theist, as usual, is being vindicated big time in his presuppositions: Here are the verses in the Bible, which were written well over 2000 years before the discovery of the finely tuned expansion of the universe by quote unquote 'Dark Energy', that speak of God 'Stretching out the Heavens'; Job 9:8; Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 40:24; Isaiah 48:13; Zechariah 12:1; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 45:12; Isaiah 51:13; Jeremiah 51:15; Jeremiah 10:12. The following verse is my favorite out of the group of verses:
Job 9:8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.
Here Dr. Ross tells of just how insurmountable the difficulties have been for atheists trying to account for the expansion of the universe:
Hugh Ross PhD. - Scientific Evidence For Cosmological Constant (Expansion Of The Universe) http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347218/
Here is the paper from the atheistic astrophysicists that Dr. Ross referenced:
Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant - Dyson, Kleban, Susskind (each are self proclaimed atheists) - 2002 Excerpt: "Arranging the universe as we think it is arranged would have required a miracle.,,," "A external agent [external to time and space] intervened in cosmic history for reasons of its own.,,," Page 21 "The only reasonable conclusion is that we don't live in a universe with a true cosmological constant" http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/0208013.pdf
Besides the evidence that Dr. Ross listed in the video for the expansion of the universe, the paper I just referenced today in post 23 clearly indicates that we do live in universe with a 'true cosmological constant'. Thus, the atheists are at a complete loss to explain a 'true cosmological constant', whereas Theists are vindicated once again! Or as PaV would say, another day, another bad day for atheists!bornagain77
January 9, 2013
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The goal of science is power. At least since Bacon. Bacon!Mung
January 9, 2013
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Kantian, About an exact definition, I don't know, but here's an example I heard about. Apparently Richard Dawkins once debated Rupert Sheldrake about things like telepathy, clairvoyance etc. Apparently, Dawkins was not willing to apply the methods of science to see if telepathy (etc) was real. In my mind he didn't believe in science, only in scientism, which is sort of a vague materialism that eschews anything that might SEEM magical or religious.Collin
January 9, 2013
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OK, I see your point -- and I'll happily concede that not everything that scientists do is explanatory. I'd be willing to go with a weaker thesis, that explanation is the goal of science. Scientists don't just do experiments, collect facts, and formulate laws for their own sake; they do so for the sake of explanation, and I think, causal explanation. What I'm trying to do here is restrict the scope of science to something quite specific -- causal explanation -- in order to make room for many other kinds of cognitive practices, much as Kant "restricted knowledge to make room for faith". Now, I've not yet Feyerabend, to my shame, but from what I've read about him, I'm inclined to think that my point here is consistent with the idea that there is no single right technique for generating causal explanations. As for history and the humanities generally -- well, I don't really have a dog in that fight. I don't think that philosophy or literature are sciences, even though they are Geisteswissenschaften, "human sciences" (literally, "spiritual sciences") in the German system. Psychology I think is a science; I'm just not sure what to say about economics. In any event, I do think that excessive worrying about the demarcation problem is a red herring.Kantian Naturalist
January 9, 2013
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BA77: Dark energy and matter are mysteries. KFkairosfocus
January 9, 2013
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KN: explanation is not always dominant as a focus in science, often science seeks simply to discover and lay out facts with accurate descriptions and measurements (try out Kepler's laws based on Brahe's observations), and it may set out to measure values, or to compare a model with a set of observations etc. A great many laws are empirical, not embedded in a theory. Weiszacker's semi empirical mass formula for atomic nuclear masses and magic numbers jump out. Spectra too until the rise of quantum mech that explained lines etc. In many cases we cannot give a causal, dynamical explanation or the like. Brute facts count, sometimes decisively. Laying out and drawing forth the implications of a model or a hypothesis are not necessarily explanations, and the power to accurately predict needs not depend on explanation, e.g. a table of a periodic phenomenon such as eclipses etc. I do not agree that history is a science, and I think you will find that a lot of serious thinkers will hold that point. Detective work may use science but is not, and management is again not a science as such though there are analytical aspects that are (taking social and behavioural sciences as sciences). Feyerabend's cautions should give us pause too on tendency to think there is a one size fits all sci method that can be used to mark sci from not sci. KFkairosfocus
January 9, 2013
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OT: KF you may get a kick out of this: OT: Unchanging universal constant rules our materialistic theories for Dark Energy Dark energy alternatives to Einstein are running out of room - January 9, 2013 Excerpt: Last month, a group of European astronomers, using a massive radio telescope in Germany, made the most accurate measurement of the proton-to-electron mass ratio ever accomplished and found that there has been no change in the ratio to one part in 10 million at a time when the universe was about half its current age, around 7 billion years ago. When Thompson put this new measurement into his calculations, he found that it excluded almost all of the dark energy models using the commonly expected values or parameters. If the parameter space or range of values is equated to a football field, then almost the whole field is out of bounds except for a single 2-inch by 2-inch patch at one corner of the field. In fact, most of the allowed values are not even on the field. "In effect, the dark energy theories have been playing on the wrong field," Thompson said. "The 2-inch square does contain the area that corresponds to no change in the fundamental constants, and that is exactly where Einstein stands." http://phys.org/news/2013-01-dark-energy-alternatives-einstein-room.htmlbornagain77
January 9, 2013
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OK, so that would give us, in addition to my taxonomy above:
hyper-strong scientism: hyper-strong scientism holds that empirically grounded inquiry into matters of fact is the only legitimate kind of cognitive practice
I put the emphasis on causation in talking about "causal explanation" because I worry that rational explanation, although it seems intuitive, is actually a bit of a category mistake. If I ask, "why you did wear those pants with that shirt?" I'm asking for your reasons for doing so, which means that I'm asking for a justification of your choice, not an explanation of it. If you give me an explanation in response, "because my parents taught me to dress like this," that seems to be a causal story. However, I do think that the causation in question can be psychological, rather than just physical or micro-physical. Likewise, if a historian inquires into the causes of the Great Depression, that's not to be construed as the physical or mircophysical states of the economy at the time. But what makes history or psychology sciences is that they inquire into causes -- the causes of historical events or of mental states -- quite independently of the further question as to whether these kinds of causes are reducible to 'merely' physical causes. (I believe it was John Austin who once said, "there are as many kind of cause as there are uses of the word 'because'," and I suspect that Aristotle's four causes are best understood as four different categories for use of the concept 'because'.) This idea, though, that "rational explanation" is a category-mistake, is not one I'm wedded to. It's just something I'm playing around with right now. In any event, I'm perfectly happy to put forth both rational justifications and psychological explanations as fully legitimate cognitive practices. There's a further question at stake here about "the unity of science" -- whether all the sciences can be integrated into one more-or-less seamless framework. I don't believe there's any consensus about this amongst philosophers of science, though the disunity-of-science thesis has its able-bodied defenders. Basically, this is the idea that psychological theories are conceptually autonomous from biological theories, biology from chemistry, chemistry from physics, etc. Some people think this is because the conceptual frameworks are just so different that there aren't any "bridge laws" from one domain to the other; other people (such as myself) think that the reason why there are no bridge laws is because there is genuine ontological emergence.Kantian Naturalist
January 9, 2013
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