The Religion of Scientism

ChelseaScienceLeave a Comment

Two of my very favorite bloggers, Rebecca Taylor and Wesley Smith, masterfully take on “scientism” and the claims of “atheist crusader” Sam Harris’s new book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values based on this early review from Kwame Anthony Appiah in the NY Times:

    Smith’s post: Science Cannot Teach Us Right From Wrong and Distinguish Good From Bad

    Taylor’s post: Can science tell us what is right and wrong?

This is essentially the same theme I was addressing in this post a few weeks ago.

Like Taylor, I’m terrified of a world where science alone determines how I should live my life. As Smith points out, “science is a method for obtaining and applying knowledge…not a value system.” This distinction is especially important when we’re dealing with things that involve the use and/or destruction of human life as “science,” though it can determine whether a human being is, in fact, human and study man’s physiological make up, it cannot answer the question: what does it mean to be human? and how should all human life be treated?. Anyone who says that science should separate itself from moral compasses like history, law, religion and philosophy, says Taylor, is really just “practicing their own religion called Scientism.”

“In an age when scientific developments attract and seduce with the possibilities they offer, it’s more important than ever to educate our contemporaries’ consciences so that science does not become the criteria for goodness.” (Pope Benedict)

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