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

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Fri Jul 13 2001 - 23:23:35 MDT

Russell Blackford wrote:
> Samantha quoted me as saying
> > >
> > > Isn't this [ie reference to a religion of Scientism] a bit of a cliche?
> >It's one regularly trotted out by religious
> > > apologists and by humanist sentimentalists about religion.
> and went on to say after a <snip>
> >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.
> I have no idea what brought this on, Samantha. Nothing I said in response to
> Party of Citizens was an attack on you or even referred to you.

What do you mean "brought this on"? What this? I didn't take
it personally but was intending to simply comment on what seemed
like dismissing "scientism" to quickly. Sorry if that got
obfuscated by the style and tone of my response.

> >
> > > 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.
> I didn't say this. I said "such as". BTW, if my referrence to consilience
> arguments is obscure to anyone (and it does *not* appear to have thrown
> Samantha - I'm not saying that), have a look at Michael Ruse's excellent and
> very fair book _Can a Darwinian be a Christian_ (Cambridge Univ. Press,
> 2001), p. 13 where he explains how consilience of inductions is a primary
> form of argument in historical sciences where there is less emphasis on
> experiments. I'd say that the same applies to philosophy.

It may fairly be said that almost all philosophy is filled with
consilience of inductions. A lot hinges though on what one
allows are and are not facts and classes of facts. Religion and
spiritual also hinge to a large degree on such consilience.
That plus positing another more direct form of perception open
only to the few or the specially prepared. Most mature
religions take some pains to differentate that form of knowing
of facts from mystical experiences per se.

Now it is easy to say that this other thing, revelation, does
not exist or can be explained away by a combination of unusual
experiences, strange mental states, wishful thinking,
subconscious integration, idiot-savant like effects (which we
don't understand either) and so on. So we will lay that one to
one side. Not because we can prove it is false but because we
have no means of proving its truth unless we are one of the
supposedly rare ones and then our knowing is still not
convincing to others.

> I think I'd better stop at this point, rather than enter into a line by line
> rebuttal, or I'll escalate the current religion war which, whatever part I
> may have played in sparking off, I have consistently tried to calm down.
> Indeed, Samantha, I consistently tried to avoid offending you in particular,
> knowing your views about spirituality etc.

I am not particularly offended and I have appreciated and do
appreciate your postings on the topic.
> However, the aggressive attack on supposed "scientism" by Party of Citizens
> - and the hackneyed claims about a scientistic "religion" - demanded a clear
> rebuttal.

I agree it requires a rebuttal. Hopefully such will say what
*scientism* is and is not. I do think there is something that
word does apply fairly to but not of the kind or to the degree
that P.O.C. alluded to.
> Russ who is still prepared to be conciliatory to allies

I am glad to hear it but I was really not offended by you or
anything you said.

- samantha

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