Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Scientism - A Circular Abyss of Dark Unthinkingness

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Montana, between Bozeman and Livingston
I'm home from Montana, and listening to Ramsey Lewis's Christmas album. Phenomenal!

For the flight to Bozeman I loaded J. P. Moreland's new book on my Kindle - Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology. J. P. is brilliant, and one of the best teachers I have ever heard. This book is wonderful, intelligent, funny, and pro-science, but not scientistic. The distinction is important.

"Scientism is the view that the hard sciences—like chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy—provide the only genuine knowledge of reality." (Moreland, Kindle Locations 271-272)

Have you ever had someone say to you, "I don't believe in religion any more. I believe that science explains everything." If so, you met a scientistic person, caught in a circular abyss of dark unthinkingness.

In my Logic classes I teach, among many other things, the nature of self-refuting statements. Examples are:

"There is no such thing as truth."

"All sentences are exactly three words long."

"I do not exist."

"This sentence is false."

Another is: "True knowledge is found only in science." This sentence is "self-referentially incoherent, meaning that it refutes or defeats itself." (Ib., K653)

J.P. says that not only is strong scientism false, but it is necessarily self-refuting. Scientism states, "Only what is testable by science can be true." 

The scientistic thinker may believe that, "One day, science will prove that only what is testable by science can be true." But because this statement is necessarily self-refuting, "no further scientific discoveries could make the statement true." (Ib.)

J.P. writes:

"The irony is that strong scientism is a philosophical statement, expressing an epistemological viewpoint about science; it is not a statement of science, like “water is H2O” or “cats are mammals.” Strong scientism is a philosophical assertion that claims that philosophical assertions are neither true nor can be known; only scientific assertions can be true and known. 

Christians, therefore, should not be intellectually intimidated when they hear very smart people with advanced degrees sitting in positions of authority say things that are self-refuting." (Ib., Kindle Locations 702-706)


My two books are:

I am now writing How God Changes the Human Heart, plus editing a book on the Holy Spirit which should be out in late Spring 2019.
I'm getting my act together to write Technology and Spiritual formation.
Then, the Lord willing, Linda and I will write our book on Relationships.