Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Scientism: the really one true religion

An old argument:  a lack of faith is just another religion.  Here is one sighting:
Margaret Somerville, director of the Center of Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, recently called secularism “The most encompassing religion that functions as a basket holding all the other [secular faiths],” in an article she wrote for The Montreal Gazette.
One of those faiths is "scientism":

Some examples are humanism, atheism, scientism and moralism which all have adherents bound through a common belief and ideology.
Somerville said they are harmful when, as Richard Dawkins does with scientism, they are used to deny any space for spirituality and traditional  religion in the public square and replaced with secularism, according to The Montreal Gazette.
 Is scientism [fortunately the spell-checker doesn't recognize "scientism" as a real word, may it stay like that] a faith on equal footing with other religions?  A close reading of scientific history reveals that many scientific discoveries were driven by hunches and dogged adherence to unproven ideas.  The idea that everything is composed of tiny atoms, for example, was largely a matter of faith until the early 20th century.  Ernst Mach (of Mach One, the speed of sound, fame) was a prominent 19th century scientist who refused to accept atomic theory due to his strict rules of verification.

But science does eventually demand evidence.  That is why "scientism" is the one true religion.  Its gospel is true in the literal sense:  observations, measurements, repeatability.  Who knows how many ideas, hunches and theories had some acceptance and then fell by the wayside because in "scientism" faith has its limits.  There's no two-thousand year grace period in science. 

This is why "scientism" is the only religion that belongs in the public square and is the only religion that should guide public policy.

No comments:

Post a Comment