Home » Atheism, Philosophy, Popular culture, Religion, Science, science education, Science, worldview issues and society, Video » The Magician’s Twin — C[live] S[taples] Lewis and the case against Scientism

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

First, let’s watch:

embedded by Embedded Video

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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

 

 

 

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

  1. I hadn’t realised that Lewis was inspired by Bergson’s vitalism. But it makes sense. Wrong then, not even wrong now.

  2. 2
    Kantian Naturalist

    Bergson was one of the most influential philosophers of the early 20th century. He was widely read by philosophers of wildly different positions, but also by psychologists, artists, musicians, scientists, etc. Being influenced by Bergson is not in itself problematic.

  3. Kairosfocus invites you to click through to his website where he posted this:

    For, it is clear that many of our young people — and indeed many of our adult population, too — indulge in very unsafe sexual habits: promiscuity, “unprotected sex”; even sex in exchange for money, favours, or even something as simple as a phone card. Such practices simply invite the spread of HIV/AIDS and the dozens of other devastating sexually transmissible diseases; some of which are almost as worrisome as AIDS — e.g. Human Papilloma Virus [HPV], which is a leading, strongly suspected cause of cervical cancer. (According to available statistics, this cancer has killed more women in the USA than AIDS has. Moreover, while HPV is so contagious that it is reportedly the commonest STD in the USA, condoms provide little defense against it. HPV is thus very politically incorrect; so it is, by and large, a silent plague.)

    You appear to be unaware that there is an effective vaccine available for a range of human papilloma virus strains (though not all). It was developed via a research program in the USA and Australia, and based on earlier research done in Germany. It is currently available in 80 countries worldwide, and is made available in Australia as a targetted vaccination program for at-risk groups of young people.

    This is off-topic to your original post, however it derives from your own onlinking habits. It is a dis-service to the people of your community to talk about health threats without explaining that simple and straightforward science-based countermeasures are available.

  4. Kantian Rationalist posted this:

    Bergson was one of the most influential philosophers of the early 20th century. He was widely read by philosophers of wildly different positions, but also by psychologists, artists, musicians, scientists, etc. Being influenced by Bergson is not in itself problematic.

    Can you point to any single idea deriving from Bergson’s work that has successfully survived subsequent scrutiny?

    As to his being “one of the most influential philosophers of the early 20th Century” – that is ludicrous. Among the French military prior to WWI perhaps (all we need is Le Elan Vital!), at least until the Battle of the Marne. Less influential after that.

    Vitalism is nonsense and demonstrably so.

  5. TA:

    Snip, strawmanise and snipe, first with Lewis then with me.

    Lewis is speaking to Scientism, and it so happens he read a book in 1918 while recovering from wounds, that you object to.

    He went on to pen some very serious and sober minded commentary on scientism — the books [essays and science fiction/fantasy alike] should be easy to access — and where it can go; in later years, which you do not even attempt to address in your haste to dismiss.

    Speaks volumes.

    I am fully aware of the HPV innocculations, their risks (too often unacknowledged) and the fact that there is a wide range of varieties of same HPV viri, si8milar to the common cold, many of which the immunisations are ineffective against.

    Kindly, stop snipping and sniping.

    KF

  6. The video claims that:

    In the first half of the Twentieth Century, three prophetic writers warned about the dark side of science and technological progress – G.K. Chesterton, George Orwell and C.S. Lewis.

    I’ve read pretty much every thing that George Orwell published. I cannot recall a single prophetic warning against the dark side of science. Could anyone enlighten me?

    KF: which HPV strains are the current vaccine ineffective against?

  7. TA:

    Kindly stop your thread jacking attempt. (Notice, you have gone into an entirely different site, to try to raise an issue that you imagine you can make a distraction with. That speaks volumes, and volumes in a context where it is patent that a problem with attempts to immunise against viruses is their ability to have many related varieties that are not covered by any one immunisation attempt.

    [NB: Now that I have a moment, let me add this as one link on the HPV issue, which highlights from the Gov Australia: "Gardasil has been developed that protects against the two high-risk HPV types (types 16 and 18), which cause 70% of cervical cancers in women . . . " i.e. we see the double problem, that (a) 1/3 of cases of Cervical cancer are caused by other varieties, and that (b) the promotion of the vaccine against the two strains that cover the other 2/3 may leave the false impression of general coverage, which is the underlying concern that I raised was it six years ago. A false sense of security tends of course to (c) lead to increased, dangerous behaviour. Where (d) the basic problem I was pointing out, in a context where the implications of continued irresponsible behaviour on the notion that condoms will protect -- they have a significant failure rate in actual usage -- can be deadly. That is why, six years ago, I stood up and highlighted the importance of the Ugandan ABC approach: abstain, be faithful, use condoms if all else fails as better than no condom use. I must report that those who tried to denounce such a caution then, a year or so ago, had to come out and talk about the explosion of HIV cases here relative to the numbers then. The only truly sound sexual practice is chastity and fidelity.]

    If you care to see Orwell’s warnings I suggest you read 1984, which has a side that addresses dark science. Animal Farm addresses as well Scientific Socialism, which was exactly an example of scientism, predicated on the assumed materialistic science, extended to society. Maybe you are too young to remember the days when in the name of the science of society, it was announced that we were all going to go through the dictatorship of the proletariat and end up in the Communist golden age. If you have read him, you will see that Lewis writes about that, and Orwell too. Indeed, that is the underlying theme for both 1984 and Animal Farm, through the former is more about a Fascist-like state set up in opposition to what seems to be a socialist type one in perpetual war. That stuff about constantly rewriting of history and manipulating language is close enough to what both did to cover them both.

    With all due respects, it looks very much like you are refusing to see what is right there under your nose in the video; in your haste to find dismissive and diversionary talking points.

    Kindly, do better than that.

    KF

    PS: I will follow up a bit on Chesterton’s alleged fascism and antisemitism, but should notify from here. Not to o surprisingly we will see that this is a threadjacking by ad hominem attempt.

  8. timothya:

    Vitalism is nonsense and demonstrably so.

    Then demonstrate it or just admit that you are a lying coward.

  9. 9
    Kantian Naturalist

    Can you point to any single idea deriving from Bergson’s work that has successfully survived subsequent scrutiny?

    According to one story I heard, Ilya Prigogine was once told, “you Bergsonized chemistry!”, to which Prigogine responded, “yes, is it not obvious?” Hardly a smoking gun, I know, but it suggests that Bergson had a strong influence on Prigogine’s thinking about far-from-equilibrium thermodynamic systems.

    As to his being “one of the most influential philosophers of the early 20th Century” – that is ludicrous. Among the French military prior to WWI perhaps (all we need is Le Elan Vital!), at least until the Battle of the Marne. Less influential after that.

    Bergson was hugely popular in the United States, thanks to William James. If memory serves, he was one of the very few philosophers to receive a Nobel Prize for Literature, which isn’t small potatoes. In my reading I’ve come across admiring citations to Bergson in philosophers such as Deleuze (who influenced Prigogine), Levinas (who influenced John Paul II), William James (prominent psychologist and philosopher), etc.

    Vitalism is nonsense and demonstrably so.

    I’m not disputing that; only, there’s much more to Bergson’s philosophical legacy than his belief in vitalism.

    I should stress that in fact I disagree quite seriously with Bergson on many points. But I think he’s worthy of respect as a philosopher even when he’s mostly wrong.

    In any event, I’ve hijacked this thread and I apologize. We now return to examining C. S. Lewis’ critique of scientism.

  10. KF:

    Animal Farm is satire. Orwell was an critical ally of Trotskyism – he fought in the Spanish Civil War with the Trotskyist POUM militia (and got shot in the throat for his pains), he was a longstanding member of the left-wing Independent Labour Party and a lifelong atheist and humanist.

    He hated Stalinism and wrote Animal Farm as a blast against the perversion of human critical reasoning that Stalinism represented.

    Along with Evelyn Waugh, he was also arguably the best stylist of English prose of the 20th Century. Unlike Chesterton and the Christian apologist Hilaire Belloc, Orwell resisted the charms of anti-semitism and Hitler’s fascism.

    Be careful of the dogs you lie down with.

    _________

    Onlookers, this is a piece of ad hominem attack by smearing through largely misleading accusations and then invidious association with the accused, which was then doubled down on when I said, please stop. Below, I will expand on my response through evidence here. KF

  11. KN: Thanks for your note on Bergson above. KF

  12. Joe posted this:

    Then demonstrate it or just admit that you are a lying coward.

    Jeez Joe, you’ve just wiped out modern medicine with that cunning plan. No doubt it is your vital spark at work.

    Back to the video on Lewis – doesn’t anyone find it strange that there is nothing in the video about actual science?

  13. TA: It is obvious from your very first steps, that you have stepped in to try to deride, derail and dismiss, rather than address the material issue of the thread, the question of scientism as raised by Lewis, which are in a collection of essays and novels, as well as other things. So far you have tried to talk about HPV, and tried to suggest that there were not warnings against scientism etc from Orwell, and the like, now you want to suggest that figures mentioned in passing are Fascist dogs I am lying down with, all because I have dared to put up a video on Lewis. I ask you now to either address this, or kindly leave the thread, given the sort of snide and invidiously poisonous association laced suggestions you just made. GEM of TKI

    PS: Now that I have a moment, let me cite a balancing corrective, to counter the attempt to divert, distract, smear and poison, which I suspect is due to a case of displaced anger over my expose of the Wiki article on ID, which I intend to follow up further on on the morrow:

    G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was a great Christian writer of the first part of the twentieth century . . . he was also the intellectual leader of a practical intellectual movement anchored in Catholic social teaching and known as Distributism. This movement opposed both socialism and monopolistic capitalism in the name of individual liberty and social solidarity . . . He was one of the great Christian humanists, and a major influence on both his own and subsequent generations (T.S. Eliot, Dorothy L. Sayers, C.S. Lewis) . . . .

    Nevertheless, when Chesterton’s name is mentioned, allegations that he was anti-semitic and a fascist sympathizer tend to crop up, and these are important to examine . . . . Chesterton, like many Catholics and conservatives, including Winston Churchill and most of the aristocracy, had a certain admiration for Mussolini in the 1920s. The Italian leader was seen as a relatively benign dictator of the type often seen in Latin countries, and as someone who had saved Italy from a near collapse due to the corruption and factionalism of the previous democratic government. At that time, despite its absurd rhetoric, Fascism was not militarily aggressive, nor was it anti-semitic – many Jews were leading Fascists. It was only from the middle 1930s, mainly under Hitler’s baleful influence, that it moved in that direction.

    In his 1934 book The Resurrection of Rome, where he describes an audience with Mussolini, Chesterton puts his finger on the main weakness of Fascism, which is that it always appeals to Authority to bring order back into the State, without first bringing (moral) order back into the Mind. Fascist “order” is therefore merely the imposition of force.

    As far as Hitler is concerned, Chesterton was one of the first British writers to raise concern about the rise of Nazism, and had long been almost a lone voice opposing the proto-Nazi eugenics movement, which was supported in Britain before the war by many politicians of both Left and Right (Chesterton’s Eugenics and Other Evils was published in 1922) . . . [There is more on the related antisemitic question, where it seems there is some negligence at minimum on his part, though it is mitigated by his actual personal relationships with and respect for Jews. In truth, it is in recent decades that we have learned, due to the horrors of Hitler, to be far more careful on racially tinged matters.]

    So, on balance, it should be clear that GKC was far from a fascist or a symapthiser in any sense that would not also indict Churchill. (Which would be a reduction to absurdity.) And indeed it is quite clear that, for all his sins, Mussolini and his movement were far less virulent than Hitler. We need to understand that in the 1930′s a liberal form of fascism often seemed a way forward for people facing an unprecedented global economic crisis, so much so that many were willing to lend qualified or naive support to would be political messiahs, or to hope for a sort of liberal, paternalistic fascism.

    Big mistake.

    And I will bet that TA et al will not inform you of what I had to say in the just linked about political messianism. And there is more, specifically on fascism here, and on Hitler here. As for today’s form of anti-semitism as disguised under anti-Zionism, so called, cf here. So much for the outrageous notion and slander by invidious association that I have lain down with fascist dogs and have picked up their fleas. TA et al owe an apology bigtime, but on track record of the typical tactics being used to try to discredit UD and those who post or comment here in support of ID, that will be a long time coming, if ever. So, I simply say, we see what is really going on from how these objectors are behaving, and that we should mark them for what hey thus reveal themselves to be, lest we make foolish decisions as our metaphorical ship stands in the road at Fair Havens.

  14. TA: Please leave this thread. You have some apologising to do, which you are obviously unwilling to make. You continue to double down on accusatory assertions that are distractive and wrong. (Onlookers, cf here on the HPV Gardasil vaccination and the other 1/3 of HPV- linked cases of Cervical Cancer, for just one sample. I add: I have further corrected at 13 above, on the snide attempt to suggest that I have lain down with fascist dogs and have caught their fleas.) You have made no positive contribution and as thread owner I have little option but to ask you to cease and desist. GEM of TKI

    KF:

    You posted the video, which attempts to hijack George Orwell to the service of woo.

    You included a link to your own website, which publishes inaccurate information on STDs.

    The video introduces itself by pointing to a fascist sympathiser without any qualification, and then attempts to hijack an outright opponent of religious faith in the service of its message.

    I am not trying to “suggest that there were not warnings against scientism etc from Orwell”, I am stating a simple fact. George Orwell was a lifelong opponent of the religious obscurantism that you represent. The video’s use of his name is an intellectual outrage.

    It isn’t the dogs you need to be careful of, it is the fleas.

  15. NOTE: I have had to further correct TA as annotated above, and to request that he leave this thread for insistent disruptive behaviour. KF

  16. 16

    Timothya,

    GEM is obviously correct. You offer nothing but sneers and distractions and refuse to address the main topic. I actually appreciate you in this respect – your behavior demonstrates for all the world to see that that is in fact all you’ve got. When it comes to addressing the substance, you’ve got nothing. Thank you.

  17. timothya:’

    Jeez Joe, you’ve just wiped out modern medicine with that cunning plan.

    Nice, a cowardly evasion and false accusation all in one sentence.

    Earth to timothya- all I asked YOU to do is support YOUR raw spewage. And for that you post more raw spewage.

    Do you really think that helps make your case? Really?
    __________

    Joe, I have had to add this, at 7 above, in correction:

    . . . highlights from the Gov Australia: “Gardasil has been developed that protects against the two high-risk HPV types (types 16 and 18), which cause 70% of cervical cancers in women . . . “ i.e. we see the double problem, that (a) 1/3 of cases of Cervical cancer are caused by other varieties, and that (b) the promotion of the vaccine against the two strains that cover the other 2/3 may leave the false impression of general coverage, which is the underlying concern that I raised was it six years ago. A false sense of security tends of course to (c) lead to increased, dangerous behaviour. Where (d) the basic problem I was pointing out, in a context where the implications of continued irresponsible behaviour on the notion that condoms will protect — they have a significant failure rate in actual usage — can be deadly. That is why, six years ago, I stood up and highlighted the importance of the Ugandan ABC approach: abstain, be faithful, use condoms if all else fails as better than no condom use. I must report that those who tried to denounce such a caution then, a year or so ago, had to come out and talk about the explosion of HIV cases here relative to the numbers then. The only truly sound sexual practice is chastity and fidelity.

    TA’s behaviour has been outrageous and inexcusable. Ironically, while accusing me of misinformation, it is he who has spread misinformation. KF

  18. 18
    Kantian Naturalist

    I think it’s actually quite difficult to figure out what “scientism” is, exactly what is false or dangerous about it, and how it ought to be criticized. For one thing, scientism has more than one symptom and more than one critic. Numerous philosophers and cultural critics have inveighed against scientism, but there’s surprisingly little agreement amongst them. Some of them are conservatives, others are left-wing; some are religious, others are secularists. It’s a big mess.

    Here’s a provisional distinction I came up with a few months ago:

    strong scientism: strong scientism holds that empirical inquiry into matters of fact is the most important (significant, reliable, valuable, truth-conducive, etc.) kind of human cognitive practices.

    weak scientism: weak scientism holds that empirical inquiry into matters of fact is the most important (significant, reliable, valuable, truth-conducive, etc.) procedure for generating causal explanations.

    So “weak scientism” allows for the significance and value of all sorts of other cognitive practices, such as justifications, explications, elucidations, prescriptions, and demonstrations — whereas “strong scientism” does not.

    Does that help?

  19. I think it’s actually quite difficult to figure out what “scientism” is, exactly what is false or dangerous about it, and how it ought to be criticized.

    Hang out here for a while. You’ll see all types. :)

    hyper-scientism – there’s only one science and it’s the only way to knowledge.

  20. F/N: Now that I have had a moment, I have gone back above and have filled in some corrective info, especially at 7 and 13, on Gardasil’s limitations and on the false accusation that I have lain down with fascist dogs — namely GK Chesterton — and have caught their fleas. I trust this should serve to show why I have had to take the step of asking TA to leave this thread when he refused to accept gentler means of correction and insisted on further irresponsible commentary. KF

  21. KN

    Forgive me that I have had to spend so much time on cleaning up unnecessary messes deposited to derail serious discussion. Thanks for some help with the mess, too.

    At 18, you have raised a significant issue, as to what is scientism. I particularly see your:

    Here’s a provisional distinction I came up with a few months ago:

    strong scientism: strong scientism holds that empirical inquiry into matters of fact is the most important (significant, reliable, valuable, truth-conducive, etc.) kind of human cognitive practices.

    weak scientism: weak scientism holds that empirical inquiry into matters of fact is the most important (significant, reliable, valuable, truth-conducive, etc.) procedure for generating causal explanations.

    So “weak scientism” allows for the significance and value of all sorts of other cognitive practices, such as justifications, explications, elucidations, prescriptions, and demonstrations — whereas “strong scientism” does not.

    Does that help?

    I would say this helps in part, but maybe we need to add at one end, hyper-scientism, of the sort that tries to assert or imply that “Science” is the only begetter of truth or knowledge. Which is of course self refuting, but such do not even realise that an epistemological claim is a philosophical claim, not a scientific one.

    So sadly defective is our modern education system. (And that is part of why I as a science-math major went out to learn enough phil to fill in key gaps.)

    On the weak form end, I am thinking you are a bit too broad, causation is not the only focus of science and many who are looking into cause are not doing science, e.g historians and mangers or troubleshooters or detectives.

    I would suggest that there is a naive overestimation of the capacity of science — as conventionally understood — to deliver knowledge, and a tendency to devalue or even denigrate other reasonable means to knowledge.

    From this,we can assign a spectrum model and maybe identify key “colours” on it. Or, is that my tendency to think in physical science terms popping up again. Hey, let’s try for an ordinal scale (Rasch polytomous . . .), maybe with behavioural or verbal anchors to identify points along it.

    KF

  22. 22
    Kantian Naturalist

    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.

  23. 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-d.....-room.html

  24. 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. KF

  25. BA77: Dark energy and matter are mysteries. KF

  26. 26
    Kantian Naturalist

    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.

  27. 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.

  28. The goal of science is power.

    At least since Bacon.

    Bacon!

  29. 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!

  30. 30
    Kantian Naturalist

    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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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?

  33. 33
    Kantian Naturalist

    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).

  34. 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.)

    KF

  35. 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?

  36. 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-matte.....-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.....hifts-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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. …to treat everything as false until it is proved true, to begin with universal doubt – this does seem to be self-contradictory.

    Socrates Meets Descartes

  41. 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.

  42. 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. KF

  43. 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!

  44. TJG: You have a serious point. Sad really, but that is where we have reached as a civilisation. KF

  45. 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 Scientism

  46. 47
    Kantian Naturalist

    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.

  47. KN,

    You’re a constant source of fresh material and your presences here are appreciated.

    Now, please, allow us to appreciate your absences.

    ;)

  48. 49
    Kantian Naturalist

    Done! :)

  49. 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/.....ssessment/

    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/

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