Scientism - Meetup

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Scientism: TOPICS & NOTES…

By Swami, 120219, 120610


- def.’s

- positive vs. negative view

- philosophy of science- sources of knowledge other than science?

- scientific test for science? (or a presupposition?)

- science vs. scientism

- natural sciences vs. social/human sciences

- hard science, pure science, fundamental science

- beyond the “exact” sciences (humanities)

- natural science (physical/material), social science (human behavior), formal science (math/logic), humanities (human condition)

- epistemology/ontology/teleology/philosophy

- Gettier problem (epistemology)

- epistemology: Islam? Hinduism? Buddhism? Etcism?...

- Sources of knowledge (ways of knowing)

- psychological knowledge (e.g. faith) vs. epistemic knowledge ()

- authoritative knowledge

- intuitive knowledge

- demonstrative knowledge

- religious knowledge

“making errors does not disqualify something from being a way of knowing as long as part of the methodology includes error detection and error correction.”

- clairvoyance

- science, scientism, and religion

- scientific positivism

- empiricism

- reductionism

- evidentialism (for justification)

- coherentism (for justification)

- reliabilism (for justification)

- materialism

- eliminative materialism

- naturalism

- rationalism

- determinism

- dogmatism

- methodological naturalism (“judge the merit of a Beethoven symphony using an oscilloscope”)

- scientific naturalism vs. scientism

- science = reason?

- deductive vs. inductive logic (reasoning)

- “everyday reasoning”

- “first principles”

- reproducibility

- measurement (gives “clarity”, but not all things are measurable)

- TOE (Theory Of Everything)!

- role of emotion (inside, + outside of science)

- religious view

- proponents/opponents

- history of

- relation to (secular) humanism

- post-modernism

- arts/humanities

- The Scientific Revolution… The Enlightenment (The Age of Reason)… The Industrial Revolution… The Information Age

- history of Science (… Modern Science…)

- ‘questions of ultimate concern’

- Doxastic logic

- reproducible (things exist that are not reproducible… name some…)

- invariance to time and space

- analysis model

- “sensus divinitatus” (Plantinga)

- private experience vs. public experience

- Reformed epistemology

- Biblical epistemology

- absolute knowledge vs. uncertain knowledge (i.e. scientific knowledge?)

- nominalism

- science vs. pseudo-science?!

- spiritual science, Christian science,

- electrical/magnetic sense


“scientism”: Definitions…

"Belief that the methods of science are universally applicable."

~The Phrontistery

"The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry."

~American Heritage Dictionary

"an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)"

Note: "First Known Use of SCIENTISM: 1870"

~Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary

"a belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints."

~SCIENTISM: Philosophy and the infatuation with science

"the belief that the scientific method has no (or few) limits and can successfully be applied to almost all aspects of life, and provides an explanation for everything. It is essentially a religion where its followers (Scientists) worship science its rituals, and its results."


"SCIENTISM: the WORSHIP of SCIENCE or claim that only scientific knowledge is VALID or TRUE knowledge."

~Irivng Hexham's Concise Dictionary of Religion

"Scientism is a scientific worldview that encompasses natural explanations for all phenomena, eschews supernatural and paranormal speculations, and embraces empiricism and reason as the twin pillars of a philosophy of life appropriate for an Age of Science."

~Michael Shermer, 'The Shamans of Scientism'

"Scientism is, first of all, a philosophy of knowledge."


Scientism is the belief that science is the only legitimate method of attaining the truth. According to scientism, only empirical concepts, ones that can be tested scientifically, can ever be considered truthful. As a result, all metaphysical contentions must be disregarded and invalidated. It should be noted, however, that the idea of scientism is fundamentally flawed due to the very nature of its ideals. It cannot be scientifically proven that science is the only means by which the truth is attainable, and therefore the view is, in a sense, self-destructive.

Naturalized epistemologists, including Quine, have been accused of scientism when they explicitly or implicitly claim that epistemology can be replaced by scientific disciplines such as cognitive science. Many philosophers believe that a philosophical approach to epistemology which does not ignore the human condition and which does not approach knowledge reductionistically won't (and shouldn't) be eliminated.”

“Evidentialism is a theory of justification according to which the justification of a belief depends solely on the evidence for it.”

“empiricism”: “evidence of the senses”

Epistemology portal

Sources of knowledge

"However, in recent years, science has become increasingly atheistic,[2] rejecting God and his works in explanations of the world and all of human experience, instead readily embracing liberal logic and pseudo or junk science such as evolution, relativity, global warming and much of cosmology and geology based on a time frame which predates creation. Consequently the rigid logic of creation science is gaining in importance, enabling intelligent people to distinguish real science from atheistic secular junk science. "

"Science differs from other methodologies of classifying knowledge in that a scientific theory is a description of the world which in principle is capable of being disproved; this is known as falsifiability. It is this property which distinguishes science from other possible methods of discovering knowledge."

Doxastic logic

Proponents of scientism(?)

Jerry Coyne and Jason Rosenhouse


1. “(epistemology) The view (similar to reductionism) that the methods of the natural or physical sciences are universally valid, and therefore should apply to the social sciences and the humanities as well.


“In his three-part essay “Scientism and the Study of Society” (reprinted in his book The Counter-Revolution of Science) and his book The Sensory Order, Hayek shows that the project of re-conceiving human nature in particular entirely in terms of the categories of natural science is impossible in principle.”

“Any attempt to redefine the mind in “objectivist” terms, characterizing its elements in terms of quantifiable structural relations—an approach Hayek himself sketched out in The Sensory Order”

“philosopher C. D. Broad said that ‘induction is the glory of science and the scandal of philosophy’.”

No Free Lunch (Theorem(s)), NFL

Epistemology/Justification: “If we make it a necessary condition of justification that a belief arises of reliable belief-producing processes, we jeopardize our being justified in some of the beliefs God reveals to us.” WTF!?

New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics, p. 239

“Doxastic - Pertaining to belief. Alternatively, also pertaining to states sufficiently like beliefs (thoughts, judgments, opinions, desires, wishes, fears).”

“Reformed epistemology

Plantinga's contributions to epistemology include an argument which he dubs "Reformed epistemology". According to Reformed epistemology, belief in God can be rational and justified even without arguments or evidence for the existence of God. More specifically, Plantinga argues that belief in God is properly basic, and due to a religious externalist epistemology, he claims belief in God could be justified independently of evidence. His externalist epistemology, called "Proper functionalism," is a form of epistemological reliabilism.”

(See also, ‘sensus divinitatus’)

- Basically, something is true “straight off” (“Clock” example).

*Richard Feldman argues that Reformed epistemology doesn’t answer the Gettier Problem. Plantinga is attempting to revise his epistemology accordingly. (@~19:00) ................

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