Discoveroids: The Evil of Scientism

As we’ve seen before, creationists — and especially the Discovery Institute — use certain words interchangeably when it suits them: evolutionist, Darwinist, naturalist, humanist, atheist, and perhaps a few others. Lately they’ve been ranting about “scientism” — see, e.g., this one about Discoveroid “fellow” J.P. Moreland and his book on “Bankrupt Scientism”: Yet Another New Discoveroid Book, and see also Beware the Folly of Scientism.

Today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog we find Scientism is Wrong; Is It Evil, Too?, written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Scientism, the belief that only science can provide knowledge worth having, is emphatically not the same thing as science. In fact there there’s every good reason for someone who cares about science to reject scientism. The idea is puerile, arrogant, and blind to most of the chief qualities that make human life of profound, precious value. It’s a mark of philistinism, vulgarity, and ignorance.

Klinghoffer is thinking about you, dear reader. Then he asks:

But is it evil? At The Stream [a website friendly to Discoveroids], Tom Gilson reviews philosopher and CSC Fellow J.P. Moreland’s very provocative new book, Scientism and Secularism.

Moreland again. Klinghoffer quotes a lot from that website. Here’s a bit of it:

Scientism pits faith against reason, religion against science, as if a person has to choose one or the other. It’s a “dark, hideous, and I dare say, evil” notion, says Moreland, defining it as “roughly, the idea that the hard sciences alone have the intellectual authority to give us knowledge of reality.” That leaves everything else, including moral and spiritual truth, “based on private emotions, blind faith or cultural upbringing.” This view of knowledge pervades everything around us. We live in an expert-driven culture, and “expert” always means scientific expert.

And those scientific experts are all Darwinists. He quotes some more:

But it’s worse than that. Moreland goes so far as to call it evil. [Gasp!] Note carefully that the problem isn’t science. Moreland started out as a scientist himself, and retains his love for it. But there’s all kinds of harm in the scientistic attitude that science is our only source of knowledge. For one thing, it rules out knowing much of the most important truths of the world: that morality is real, for example. By seeking to explain everything in terms of physics and chemistry, scientism reduces human beings to something a lot less than the morally significant persons we are.

Scientists are inherently evil! Okay, enough of those quotes. Klinghoffer continues:

Granted, scientism can aid and abet evil. Its tendency to do so is predictable. In its blindness it harms and humiliates.

You are harming and humiliating creationists, dear reader. And now we come to the end:

When held by a great number of people in positions of authority, it no doubt reflects civilizational decline. [Oh no!] Perhaps having said all of the foregoing justifies call it evil. I am curious to hear what you think.

Klinghoffer wants to know what you think, dear reader. So tell him.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Discoveroids: The Evil of Scientism

  1. Michael Fugate

    But you need to read this scintillating article by Gilson at The Stream
    It is a classic. But ID has nothing to do with religion in general and Christianity in particular.

    “Tom Gilson is a senior editor of The Stream, author of the new 2016 parent-friendly guide to keeping kids in the faith, titled Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality With Teens, the chief editor of True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism, and the author/host of the Thinking Christian blog.

    He lives in southwest Ohio with Sara, his wife. They’re the proud grandparents of a grand-dog and a grand-cat, by way of their recently married daughter and their very recently married son. He has received a B.Mus. in Music Education with a specialty in performance from Michigan State University and an M.S. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Central Florida.”

  2. By Moreland’s definition, just about everything evil: math, walking, etc.

  3. It smells of desperation in the land of ID.

  4. Classic projection. Klingon describes religion perfectly.

  5. Klinghoffer must have a thesaurus close at hand: all those lofty terms he throws around to describe the heathens. Puerile. Arrogant. Blind. TAKE THAT! Oh, you want some more? Philistinism. Vulgarity. Ignorance. WHAMMO! So much tilting at windmills. Next to the Torah, ‘Don Quixote’ must be his favorite book.

    Who denies that morality is real? But only theists seem to deny that morality evolves, like anything else. Dolts like Klinghoffer are in a similar position to those in pre-Darwin times who argued for the fixity of species, only here it’s morality which is supposed to be some immutable thing: absolute, perfect, handed down from on high by divine authority.

  6. “Scientism Is Wrong; Is It Evil, Too?”
    This is a no-brainer. Science threatens IDiocy, so scientism (no matter how you define it) certainly does and hence is evil. So sure enough in the very first sentence Klinkleclapper frames the discussion with “worth having”.

    “moral and spiritual truth”
    The hard sciences (and quite a few so called soft sciences as well) have developed reliable methods to arrive at credible conclusions. What methods do Klinkleclapper and co offer again?

    “and retains his love for it”
    Be suspicious of anyone who declares his love for science. It’s invariably an excuse to reject its unwelcome conclusions.

  7. I wonder why Klinghoffer doesn’t just convert to Christianity already. He’s steeped in evangelical rhetoric and constantly surrounded by them anyway. And I think he has a guilt complex about killing Jesus.

  8. Klinghoffer wants to know what I think. Unfortunately, since he does not provide a comments section, he gives me no way of telling him.

    There are interesting questions concerning whether we can define science, and how mathematics, morality, and aesthetic judgements fit into the scheme of things. But does Klinghoffer really believe that people put other people in zoos because of their opinions on these topics? Or, extending his reasoning back a few decades, that slaveowners were slaveowners because of their belief in scientism?

  9. Is there a danger in excessive attention to science, then let us not inquire into dangerous topics like evolution. Let us not seek an alternative explanation for such topics as Darwin, Wallace and their successors brought up. We are being seen as fools in stumbling, contradictory, indeed un-Biblical cover ups. What do DNA, radiodating, fossils, and the rest have to do with the Bible? For that matter, what about astronomy?
    Let us concentrate on the real danger, so-called scientific study of the Bible leading to the Documentary Hypothesis and Biblical archeology. Evolution is not worth our attention.

  10. Karl Goldsmith (@KarlGoldsmith)

    “The term scientism generally points to the cosmetic application of science in unwarranted situations not amenable to application of the scientific method or similar scientific standards.” Like the IDiots do.

  11. @PaulB tries to dig into the mind of Klinkleclapper: “But does Klinghoffer really believe ….”
    It doesn’t matter what he believes – even hardly for himself. What matters is what does not want to believe: evilution. The rest is window dressing.

    @TomS asks some crucial questions, but doesn’t go far enough: “What do xxxx have to do with the Bible?”
    Electricity? Internal combustion engine? Internet and computers?
    Were these guys serious (say like the Amish) they wouldn’t even try to spread their garbage using these means.

  12. Science is the only way to know anything important! Show me EVIDENCE that something is even close to just as good????
    Scientism is a BS word used by idiots to whitewash st00pid idias!

  13. @L.Long
    exhibits scientism by asking for evidence. One must rather be directed by the Spirit.
    See, for example, the poem
    When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
    by Walt Whitman

  14. So Klingy would rather have us believe in mythology and fairy tales? Science works well explaining the natural world, not so well all things political. Unless one considers Hari Seldon…

  15. Michael Fugate

    I have no problem with the is/ought divide and with morality being subjective. Many people do – including religious people e.g. W.L. Craig and non e.g. Sam Harris. If morals are objective, then science should be able to uncover them. Revelation is not objective.

    The scientism card as played by Moreland and the DI is solely an attempt to lend credence to religion. If science can’t answer every question, then this leaves the door open for religion. Once religion comes up with a methodology for answering questions, can someone get back to me; I have yet to see one outlined by any theologian. Voices in your head do not have supernatural origins….

  16. @Michael Fugate
    Once again, rather than describing an aternative, let alone arguing for that alternative, they hope to win by attacking a straw man.
    Even if accepting natural evolution were guilty of the evil of scientism …

  17. Michael Fugate

    Science is something they truly have no understanding of.
    If one were to read the article I linked above, one would see that Gilson is attacking science because it is not absolute. Science changes, any explanation is incomplete and provisional, it is never going to be the Truth. People like Gilson believe their religion is different, but it isn’t – it changes too. The God in Genesis is not the God of Christians today. The morals of Genesis are not the morals of Christians today.

  18. @MichaelF astutely observes: “The morals of Genesis are not the morals of Christians today.”
    Were I religious I would add “thank God”.

  19. @Michael Fugate
    One of the joys of science is that things aren’t certain. Falsifying a hypothesis not only brings great joy, it also is one step closer to the truth. And eventually, one of the lucky discovers something revolutionary that alters understanding. Unfortunately, many people are uncomfortable with that lack of certainty, turning instead to the false certainty of religion. After all, it’s been around for thousands of years, and science can’t cure the common cold or produce a good flu vaccine. Evolution, human caused climate change, rejected. It doesn’t help that media frequently give dissidents equal footing and news is soundbites.

  20. Scientist says: “Falsifying a hypothesis not only brings great joy …”

    Except for the fellow who proposed the hypothesis. But as Hyman Roth said in a different context: “This is the business we have chosen!”

  21. ~Michael Fugate, it does not matter what causes the voices in your head, or whether we can draw a clear line between natural and supernatural causation (when we find something hither to nexplicable, such as quantum entanglement, we simply expand the domain of the natural).

    We know that voices in your head are unreliable, since different peoples’ voices say different things. Therefore thay cannot be a trustworthy source of knowledge.

  22. Kekulé supposedly thought of the ring structure of benzine from dreams.
    Ramanujan ascribed his mathematical discoveries to the goddess Namagiri.
    There isthe odd argument that says that ascribing our thoughts to natural causes means that there is no basis for trusting them. As if intelligent design would be a better basis, or some spiritual cause.