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Science has become a great innovation that has greatly improved our lives. However, when it takes on the view that it can explain all things - it becomes an ideology that is also an idol for many people. Unlike the use of the scientific method as only one mode ofreaching knowledge, scientism claims that science alone can rendertruth about the world and reality. Scientism's single-minded adherenceto only the empirical, or testable, makes it a strictly scientifcworldview, in much the same way that a Protestant fundamentalismthat rejects science can be seen as a strictly religious worldview.Scientism sees it necessary to do away with most, if not all, metaphysical, philosophical, and religious claims, since the truthsthey proclaim cannot be apprehended by the scientific method.In essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiableaccess to the finding truth.

The Corrupting Influence of Scientism

Kirk Durston


Perhaps thegreatest leap of blind, uncritical and unquestioning faith that I see amongwell-educated people today is something called scientism. Scientism is the belief that scienceis the best and only trustworthy method to discover truth. Supernaturalexplanations are apriori ruled out. Theresult is atheism dressed up as science.

There are two majorproblems.

First, a distinguished philosopher of science, Philip Kitcher,argues that the notion of a scientific "theory of everything" is an "absurd fantasy."The claim that science is the best and only trustworthy way to discover truthis, itself, not a scientific claim but a philosophical one. Thus, scientism isself-refuting from the outset, as the Skeptic's Dictionary and many others have pointed out.

A much more seriousconsequence of scientism is that it has had a significant corrupting influenceon 21st-century science.

Example one: Good science reveals that nature, composed of space, time,matter, and energy, had a beginning. Scientism requires a natural explanationfor the origin of nature, a logical impossibility. One cannot provide a naturalexplanation for the origin of nature without assuming the existence of naturein that "natural" explanation -- a circular fallacy. The result is avariety of arcane string, multiverse, and other theories that have beenconflated with science but are now being exposed as fantasyand a threat to the integrity ofphysics.


Example two: A fewyears ago I was visiting with a razor-minded, atheist professor of biology atone of Canada's top-ranked universities. In the course of our conversation, heexpressed great frustration over how rampant creative storytelling has becomein the field of evolutionary biology, to fill in for what he believes is thecolossal failure of neo-Darwinian theory to explain the large-scale diversityof life. Nevertheless, motivated by scientism/atheism, Darwinism is the onlygame in town. Thus the lack of empirical data and an increasing number ofserious problems with the Darwinian account are compensated for by creativestorytelling and a profound lack of critical thinking, as Jerry Fodor andMassimo Piattelli-Palmarini point out.

To avoid the circular fallacy, logic dictates that the cause of nature must bebeyond nature. That, right there, falsifies scientism but it alsoestablishes the requirement that the supernatural must be taken into account inhumanity's pursuit of answers -- not just with respect to the origin of thecosmos and of life, but in discussions of justice, beauty, morality, love, andhonor.


Knowledge is an interconnected latticework of information andunderstanding, each facet of which influences and sheds light on other aspects.Scientism lobotomizes the quest for knowledge by turning a blind eye to God andthe supernatural. It corrupts science with fantasy, countless just-so storiesand promissory notes as to what we "may" discover in the future, allto make up for the absence of real data.

Unfortunately, mostpeople fail to distinguish between good science, bad science, science fiction,and scientism. In their minds it is all rolled into "science," theresult of which is the increasing corruption of 21st-century science.

Photo credit: Josh Durston.

Cross-posted atSQyBLu/Contemplations.

Th following video clip gives a good analysis of the problem we encounter when we make science the sole explanation for all of reality.


Origins of Science

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