The word “scientism” is one that seems to have no useful meaning. In our humble opinion, the word science serves the purpose. Adding “ism” accomplishes nothing — except to make it sound like a cult belief, such as spiritualism or creationism. We’ve noticed that creationists like to use “ism” to imply the same thing about various scientific theories, so their writings are filled with references to “Darwinism” and “evolutionism.”
A good example of how creationists use “scientism” is in a Discoveroid article about which we wrote Discovery Institute: Darwin and Euthanasia. Klinghoffer had written:
Scientism is the notion that science can tell us everything we need to know about ethics and about how to order a flourishing society.
About which we said:
Yes! When your Curmudgeon is faced with an ethical problem, all we need to do is look at our wall chart of the periodic table of the elements, and then we know what to do.
Creationists’ obsession with “scientism” is evident today in something we found in the Christian Post, which describes itself as “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website.” They don’t have a comments feature. Their headline is Scientism Stems From a One-Dimensional Worldview. It was written by Dan Delzell, pastor of the Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. This is their statement of beliefs –it’s bible, bible, bible all the way.
We’ve written about the rev before — see Science and Religion: The Battle of Two Kings and also Creationist Wisdom #649: Evolution Is Faith. Here are some excerpts from his new article, with bold font added by us:
The term “scientism” refers to the belief that science tells us everything there is to know concerning truth and reality. Only scientific claims are thought to be meaningful. And it’s quite easy to see how this belief system can lead its adherents to be dismissive of any other truth claims.
Sadly, some scientists elevate their scientific knowledge to the point of spiritual adoration and praise. For these folks, science becomes the “anti-God.” They attempt to use it as a viable defense against the Christian God. All of that supernatural stuff is thought to be nothing but mystical mumbo jumbo.
You may be one of those foolish wretches the rev is talking about, dear reader, so pay close attention. He says:
Dinesh D’Souza points to this list of leading scientists whose work over the centuries was motivated by their faith: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Brahe, Descartes, Boyle, Newton, Leibniz, Gassendi, Pascal, Mersenne, Cuvier, Harvey, Dalton, Faraday, Herschel, Joule, Lyell, Lavoisier, Priestley, Kelvin, Ohm, Ampere, Steno, Pasteur, Maxwell, Planck, Mendel. Rather than placing faith in the one-dimensional worldview of scientism, these wise scientists understood the limits of scientific knowledge, as well as the reality of supernatural revelation.
We’ve seen such lists before, and we always point out that none of their valid scientific work is based on scripture. Let’s read on:
Scientism, like atheism, is absolute in its one-dimensional worldview. Actual science, on the other hand, is similar to agnosticism. It is open to following the evidence. And ultimate science, like Christianity, flows from an awareness that the Creator operates in multiple dimensions, and has given us the mental capabilities to appreciate and pursue scientific discoveries.
Interesting concepts — one-dimensional scientism, actual science, and ultimate science. That’s very useful! The rev continues:
Since there are no video cameras in heaven or hell to give us visual scientific evidence proving these places exist, the only people who know what these places are like are those who reside there today. Scripture is the only “camera” we have been given to “see” into heaven and hell. Spiritual sight is the result of belief in the Savior and confidence in the Word of God. No one in heaven is worshiping science, and no one in hell is proud of his scientific knowledge. By the time a man reaches heaven or hell, scientific research is the last thing on his mind. It’s only in this life that scientism engenders man’s worship and praise.
You’ll have to take the rev’s word for what dead people are thinking. Here’s more:
That’s not to say we shouldn’t respect and appreciate the countless benefits of science. It is truly one of God’s marvelous gifts to us here on earth. But as such, one must be careful to worship the Giver rather than the gift. False worship deceives man into assuming his idol is capable of delivering him from accountability to his Creator. And of course many people simply reject the notion of a Creator altogether.
The rev’s article goes on and on like that. Here’s one more excerpt:
And so you would be wise to keep your heart and mind open to the reality of dimensions you have yet to personally experience. Just because you cannot prove something scientifically doesn’t mean it isn’t true. And a long list of leading scientists throughout history have realized that fundamental fact of life.
Listen to the rev, dear reader. Don’t let scientism blind you to the reality of other dimensions.
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