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The plague of scientistic belief (long article) Watch

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    Not for those looking for quick cheap answers or who think anybody with faith is automatically a dummy. The author holds a PhD in Maths and taught at MIT, UCLA etc and is a leading expert in quantum theory. So give it a read, it's a bit technical but should be okay even for a hobbyist philosopher (and requires a very basic knowledge of Aristotlelian/Platonic metaphysics). This kind of thing is exactly what Ed Feser (blog here) has also been saying but from a different point of view and a slightly less technical and more popular framework.

    Article is here.

    Here is an extract just for a taster on what he wants to show/discuss:

    I can proceed to state my primary thesis: I contend that by virtue of the aforesaid confusion scientists have promulgated philosophic opinions of the most dubious kind as established scientific truths, and in the name of science have thrust upon an awed and credulous public a shallow world-view for which in reality there is not a shred of scientific support. Having gained the trust and admiration of society through the technological wonders which they have engineered, I maintain that scientists as a class have usurped their authority by predisposing the public against the high truths of religion. I am not suggesting, to be sure, that they have consciously deceived others, but rather contend that they have themselves been misled as a rule in matters pertaining to philosophy, metaphysics, and religion. Meanwhile the fact remains that these “blind guides” are exerting an inestimable influence upon education and public belief, with disastrous consequences to human welfare, both here and hereafter.
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    (Original post by SPB)
    Not for those looking for quick cheap answers or who think anybody with faith is automatically a dummy. The author holds a PhD in Maths and taught at MIT, UCLA etc and is a leading expert in quantum theory. So give it a read, it's a bit technical but should be okay even for a hobbyist philosopher (and requires a very basic knowledge of Aristotlelian/Platonic metaphysics). This kind of thing is exactly what Ed Feser (blog here) has also been saying but from a different point of view and a slightly less technical and more popular framework.

    Article is here.

    Here is an extract just for a taster on what he wants to show/discuss:
    Reading the article now, but it's beyond me why the author has decided it's a great idea to stop those with a lesser vocabulary from reading it. Why not make it available to as many people as possible?
    Why write things in such a convoluted and pretentious manner?
    Half way through it and it could have been about half the size of what it so far is.

    He's just a massive fan of his own voice isn't he.
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    Reading the article now, but it's beyond me why the author has decided it's a great idea to stop those with a lesser vocabulary from reading it. Why not make it available to as many people as possible?
    Why write things in such a convoluted and pretentious manner?
    Half way through it and it could have been about half the size of what it so far is.

    He's just a massive fan of his own voice isn't he.
    Not seeing the truth in this but I guess people read in different ways. I thought it was precise and without a lot of the usual fluffyness of many articles aimed at academically minded people. You can't always get the balance. Too simple and they'll accuse you of not knowing the subject; too complicated and they'll accuse you of being pretentious. It is what it is. Take the article for what it says not how it says it (even though in my view it is presented well).
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    (Original post by SPB)
    Not seeing the truth in this but I guess people read in different ways. I thought it was precise and without a lot of the usual fluffyness of many articles aimed at academically minded people. You can't always get the balance. Too simple and they'll accuse you of not knowing the subject; too complicated and they'll accuse you of being pretentious. It is what it is. Take the article for what it says not how it says it (even though in my view it is presented well).
    You think I'd still be reading it if I wasn't looking at what it says instead of how it says it?

    Right now I'm facepalming though.

    (Original post by the article)

    In a word, what we think about the universe does matter in our religious and spiritual life. And moreover, with due allowance for what might be termed “invincible ignorance,” we are responsible for the opinions we hold in this seemingly secular domain. “With all thy mind”: these four words should suffice to apprise us of this fact.

    I will go so far as to contend that religion goes astray the moment it relinquishes its just rights in the so-called natural domain nowadays occupied by science. I believe that the contemporary crisis of faith and the ongoing de-Christianization of Western society have much to do with the fact that for centuries the material world has been left to the mercy of the scientists
    Might that be because when religion has made claims, it can't back them up?
    Instances:
    Water into wine.
    World is made in 7 days.
    Claims that evolution is false.
    Claims that evolution is part of some great plan (nothing to back it up).
    Claims that there's heaven and hell (nothing to back it up).
    Claims there's some spiritual force called karma (I'm not talking about the traditional Buddhist meaning of the word but instead some balance of positive and negative actions). Still, nothing to back it up.
    Claims that there is a soul. Refuses to define such an entity.

    These are some of the few real world "facts" religion has tried to force on us.
    Now the paper has been hitting on something interesting, but it's defence of religion seems very much agenda based.

    Here is the main problem with religion and real world facts.
    When science makes a claim, it can be tried, tested, revisited, retested, and if the evidence is contrary to it, it can be reversed.
    When religion makes a claim, it can be said, written down, preached, but it is said to be infallible, and cannot be reversed, cannot be taken back. The claim must stick, otherwise religion would allow itself to be 'wrong'.

    There is a problem in that science can't question some of it's axioms very well. Scientists aren't usually willing to engage on the philosophical level. I think that comes from the fact that a lot of people going into science like to be able to get a yes or a no answer. When exploring the principles on which discovery and applied elements hinge, when exploring the very base roots of how we look at the universe, it isn't always a clear yes or no. And those things tend to be justified starting with the conclusions rather than the premises.

    That does not in anyway defend religion in and of itself. And is no reason to turn to religion over science.
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    You've completely missed the point of the article and fallen into the trap he was talking about: scientism and reductionism and the rejection of anything outside of 'science'. Metaphysical demonstration is just as if not more fundamental than scientific analysis. That's the starting point for all areas of inquiry. If you want to understand more of specific religious claims you'll have to start from the basics; not immediately jump in and ask why you should believe xyz. First, as the article suggests, get rid of your own scientism/materialism/physical reductionism. Then you can slowly build up from there. Edward Feser is the philosopher to look to here in discussing this. Read this part of his blog for his work on scientism etc.
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    (Original post by SPB)
    You've completely missed the point of the article and fallen into the trap he was talking about: scientism and reductionism and the rejection of anything outside of 'science'. Metaphysical demonstration is just as if not more fundamental than scientific analysis. That's the starting point for all areas of inquiry. If you want to understand more of specific religious claims you'll have to start from the basics; not immediately jump in and ask why you should believe xyz. First, as the article suggests, get rid of your own scientism/materialism/physical reductionism. Then you can slowly build up from there. Edward Feser is the philosopher to look to here in discussing this. Read this part of his blog for his work on scientism etc.
    I think you don't get it. I don't agree that it's a trap. And it hasn't been well argued that it is a trap.

    If anything it sounds more like an attempt at indoctrination. Get rid of critical thinking so you can think uncritically and believe whatever the **** a particular religious institute tells you to believe.
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    I think you don't get it. I don't agree that it's a trap. And it hasn't been well argued that it is a trap.

    If anything it sounds more like an attempt at indoctrination. Get rid of critical thinking so you can think uncritically and believe whatever the **** a particular religious institute tells you to believe.
    Yeah okay. He's an idiot with an agenda trying to convert you to Catholicism. Nailed it brah!
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    (Original post by SPB)
    Yeah okay. He's an idiot with an agenda trying to convert you to Catholicism. Nailed it brah!
    Congratulations, you completely missed the point of my post.
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    Reading the article now, but it's beyond me why the author has decided it's a great idea to stop those with a lesser vocabulary from reading it. Why not make it available to as many people as possible?
    Why write things in such a convoluted and pretentious manner?
    Half way through it and it could have been about half the size of what it so far is.

    He's just a massive fan of his own voice isn't he.
    People will never find out what difficult words mean if we mollycoddle them.
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    (Original post by Habsburg)
    People will never find out what difficult words mean if we mollycoddle them.
    Only to a certain extent, it's off putting to the people who haven't read philosophy before. The whole point is that it's meant to allow people to challenge science, but then it makes itself inaccessible to people who haven't read philosophy before.
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    Only to a certain extent, it's off putting to the people who haven't read philosophy before. The whole point is that it's meant to allow people to challenge science, but then it makes itself inaccessible to people who haven't read philosophy before.
    I must admit that on reading it, even I find it a tad turgid.
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    (Original post by Habsburg)
    I must admit that on reading it, even I find it a tad turgid.
    If you make it to the end without being bored to tears then I'm impressed. I generally would only read such things because I'd need to academically. Like I said before, loves the sound of his own voice...or written words. You know what I mean!

    Spoiler:
    Show

    Yes, I'm making a post about how he's written things in a convoluted manner that's essentially written masturbation, and ended it with "You know what I mean!"
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    (Original post by there's too much love)
    If you make it to the end without being bored to tears then I'm impressed. I generally would only read such things because I'd need to academically. Like I said before, loves the sound of his own voice...or written words. You know what I mean!

    Spoiler:
    Show

    Yes, I'm making a post about how he's written things in a convoluted manner that's essentially written masturbation, and ended it with "You know what I mean!"
    Haha, I'll try and get through it.
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    SPB, you've been here for a few days and every post of yours I've seen has been bemoaning how noone puts metaphysics above science anymore. There's a reason for that, science has practical applications, metaphysics is merely philosophy. I'm no Philosophy student, but I've read a lot of philosophical works, I understand your contention that science is not the 'only' way of looking at the world, but this pitiful demand that we all subscribe to a metaphysical doctrine for no apparent gain is ridiculous. Why not tell everyone they should subscribe to Leibniziam Optimism? Simply put, because we have something that works better.

    I assume you're a Philosophy student? You have passion for your hobby? Wonderful, I study politics, we're both in the Arts really, but don't try and justify your hobby by taking up some absurd agenda and then wielding your education as a weapon over those with little to no interest in your area of expertise. It's really rather sad.
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    "If the cosmos were what scientism affirms it to be, our Catholic faith would be a mockery and our sacred liturgy an empty charade." yep, sounds about right I find it ironic that he spends the first half of the article criticizing scientists of taking for granted the philosophical justification behind science (which may be true to an extent, although the scientific method has been analysed and debated over philosophically for centuries and has not been found wanting) and then goes on to take the existence of God as a given, using reasoning as circular as he is claiming the scientists use.

    chuckled a bit when he started talking about Plato's forms, always been a concept I found completely laughable.
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    (Original post by Steevee)
    SPB, you've been here for a few days and every post of yours I've seen has been bemoaning how noone puts metaphysics above science anymore. There's a reason for that, science has practical applications, metaphysics is merely philosophy. I'm no Philosophy student, but I've read a lot of philosophical works, I understand your contention that science is not the 'only' way of looking at the world, but this pitiful demand that we all subscribe to a metaphysical doctrine for no apparent gain is ridiculous. Why not tell everyone they should subscribe to Leibniziam Optimism? Simply put, because we have something that works better.
    You didn't read the article or understand it. To understand why I say that look at what I have bolded and figure out where you went wrong.

    I assume you're a Philosophy student? You have passion for your hobby? Wonderful, I study politics, we're both in the Arts really, but don't try and justify your hobby by taking up some absurd agenda and then wielding your education as a weapon over those with little to no interest in your area of expertise. It's really rather sad.
    Lulz. So you don't like my posts therefor I must stop posting things that I think people need to read in order to be challenged and educated. Get outta here. Herp derp absurd agenda. Cool story bro - everybody who posts in this forum has some kind of agenda. It's rather sad that people who claim to be educated or are well on their way come into a subsection dedicated to a particular area of education (philosophy) and have a self-righteous rant about posting about philosophy. Surprise! I posted in a philosophy forum about metaphysics. Don't like it? Deal with it. Don't like my worldview? Deal with it. Either contribute and say something constructive regarding the article or don't say anything at all.

    Or should I rather just derp and herp and post about the same overdiscussed topics that have no solution? Or should I just tow the party line? Should I ask you for permission before posting? You seem to think that using ones education and area of expertise is some kind of nazi plan to take over the world. Cool. I think that's called life and helping others to come to an understanding of deeper issues than the usual tripe that passes for modern philosophical thinking. Again, you don't have to like it, but if you don't I personally don't care to see you having a whine about it in my threads.

    Cheers.
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    everyone's getting mad.
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    If someone talks about high religious truths, they probably have some bias.
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    (Original post by lucaf)
    "If the cosmos were what scientism affirms it to be, our Catholic faith would be a mockery and our sacred liturgy an empty charade." yep, sounds about right I find it ironic that he spends the first half of the article criticizing scientists of taking for granted the philosophical justification behind science (which may be true to an extent, although the scientific method has been analysed and debated over philosophically for centuries and has not been found wanting) and then goes on to take the existence of God as a given, using reasoning as circular as he is claiming the scientists use.

    chuckled a bit when he started talking about Plato's forms, always been a concept I found completely laughable.
    To be fair in the context of the article he is within his rights to assume God's existence given his audience and target readership. So it's not as if he's writing for a hostile audience. And the article itself wasn't trying to show or prove God's existence - this is just part of the bigger picture which his article here and his book is looking at.

    Also, he doesn't think Plato's idea on forms is correct either. He's an Aristotelian Thomist. I agree that Platonic forms are incorrect though I hesitate to call it laughable since Plato and St Augustine were way smarter and more learned than I will ever be.
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    (Original post by SPB)
    To be fair in the context of the article he is within his rights to assume God's existence given his audience and target readership. So it's not as if he's writing for a hostile audience. And the article itself wasn't trying to show or prove God's existence - this is just part of the bigger picture which his article here and his book is looking at.

    Also, he doesn't think Plato's idea on forms is correct either. He's an Aristotelian Thomist. I agree that Platonic forms are incorrect though I hesitate to call it laughable since Plato and St Augustine were way smarter and more learned than I will ever be.
    ah I suppose that is fair enough. and I am not saying Plato was not smart, the man was a great thinker and his ideas made sense given the facts as they knew them, it is just in hindsight we can see how many of them were wrong.
 
 
 
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