Re: Debunk All Religiosity Equally (D.A.R.E.)

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Fri Jul 13 2001 - 20:08:35 MDT

Russell Blackford wrote:
> Party of Citizens keeps referring to "the religion of Scientism".
> Isn't this a bit of a cliche? It's one regularly trotted out by religious
> apologists and by humanist sentimentalists about religion.

My, my. You talk of "scientism" being cliche and then put two
cliches and a huge generalization into your next sentence. <g>

I don't apologize for religion/spirituality and I am not in the
least sentimental about it. I also don't dismiss it and
especially not as lightly as seems fashionable around these
parts of late.

> And, in case you're tempted to retort that cliches usually contain a grain
> of truth (which I accept), most of us who admire the advancement of science
> do *not* treat it as a religion. We favour rational inquiry into nature
> through methods such as observation, experiment, mathematical modelling,
> formal logic, hypothetico-deductive reasoning. The conclusions we come to
> are provisional. Where the more precise methods of science break down, we
> still favour rational techniques such as logic and consilience, the methods
> of philosophy.

This is not what is meant by the term "scientism". The above is
mostly simply science. I don't think "consilience" is
sufficient or well enough known to cover the rest. Nor is
philsophy restricted to logic and consilience alone. Where
"scientism" starts is in the assumption that that which is not
ameanable to scientific method and the rest you have listed
above is per force invalid or at least very likely so.

> This was not the approach adopted by religious thinkers in founding their
> encyclopedic explanatory systems. Nor is it generally the approach of modern
> religious believers in coming to believe - usually through some kind of
> mystical experience or else by childhood indoctrination.

And you cannot by use of science, logic or consilience simply
dismiss other means of knowledge as invalid.
> The difficulty for religions is that the methods of rational investigation
> have gradually explained aspects of nature in ways that are still
> provisional but have pretty much eliminated many of the answers previously
> given by religions.

The purpose of religion is not to explain aspects of nature and
that never was its primary purpose.

> If there is something that can legitimately be called "scientism", I don't
> think you'll find many believers in it on this list. Attacking such a
> supposed "religion" is a pretty obvious straw man argument.

With the current facile dismissal of "religiosity" and
spirituality in general I find that scientism is quite well
represented here.

- samantha

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