Since I have been posting on science and scientism, it has amazed me that so many people have actually defended scientism, or at least tenaciously disagreed with me. I have been accused of being anti-scientific, a wizard, an occultist, or that at best I am arguing for a strawman or a myth. I embrace science without overstating its usefulness, condemn occultism (as any Christian would), and I have been given no good reason to believe scientism is a strawman. In fact, I’ve given good evidence that it isn’t, citing non-theist scholars who argue for and against scientism.
Philosopher Edward Feser puts it more eloquently than I ever could:
Scientism is an illusion, a bizarre fantasy that makes of science something it can never be. Seemingly the paradigm of rationality, it is in fact incoherent, incapable in principle of being defended in a way consistent with its own epistemological scruples. It should go without saying that this in no way entails any criticism of science itself. For a man to acknowledge that there are many beautiful women in the world does not entail that he doesn’t think his own wife or girlfriend is beautiful. Similarly, to say that there are entirely rational and objective sources of knowledge other than science does not commit one to denying that science is a source of knowledge. Those who cannot see this are doubly deluded – like a vain and paranoid wife or girlfriend who thinks all women are far less attractive than she is and regards any suggestion to the contrary as a denial of her own beauty. Worse, like an already beautiful woman whose vanity leads her to destroy her beauty in the attempt to enhance it through plastic surgery, scientism threatens to distort and corrupt science precisely by exaggerating its significance.
I have had numerous people question whether any reliable knowledge other than scientific knowledge exists. Others have even tried to argue that reality, truth, and logic are discovered and proven by science. The fact is that all these things must be assumed in order to do science. Science can discover things that are real, but it can never show us if there is such a thing as reality. Science can discover things that are true, but it can never tell us if there is such a thing as truth. Science can even help determine whether things are logical, but it can never demonstrate that there is such a thing as logic. These are things that are presupposed by the scientist.
Ironically, only one of my detractors has even attempted to provide scientific reasons for their position. One would expect folks who believe science is the only valid basis for knowledge to provide scientific justification for their claims. Since scientism is actually a philosophical claim rather than a scientific one, it refutes itself. The truth is that the disciples of Dawkins, Krauss, and deGrasse Tyson are simply not consistent. Any reasonable person must conclude that there are other valid ways of determining truth other than science.