Reclaiming ‘Scientism’?

by Luke Muehlhauser on October 22, 2011 in Science

While this used to be a blog about atheism, it’s now a blog about what comes after atheism. This is reflected in my new tagline:

Atheism is just the beginning;
now it’s time to solve the harder questions.

Alex Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality has much the same mission as my blog now does:

There is much more to atheism than its knockdown arguments that there is no God. There is the whole rest of the worldview that comes along with atheism. It’s a demanding, rigorous, breathtaking grip on reality, one that has been vindicated beyond reasonable doubt. It’s called science.

Interestingly, Rosenberg proposes that atheists embrace the (term of abuse) “scientism” to describe their worldview. Just as homosexuals reappropriated the word “queer” to defuse its use as a term of abuse, Rosenberg suggests:

Let’s… call the worldview that all us atheists (and even some agnostics) share “scientism.” This is the conviction that the methods of science are the only reliable ways to secure knowledge of anything; that science’s description of the world is correct in its fundamentals; and that when “complete,” what science tells us will not be surprisingly different from what it tells us today.

I kinda like the proposal, except that I can’t say I’m on board with “scientism” so defined. When there’s a disagreement between probability theory and science, I’m going with probability theory. Science has been successful because it approximated the normatively correct application of probability theory much better than earlier epistemic methods. But science is wrong in so far as it disagrees with probability theory.

Of course, it depends what you mean by “science.” If the Bayesian revolution of the sciences continues such that non-Bayesian science is, two decades from now, simply considered “bad” science, then I’ll be more willing to endorse a “scientism” grounded in the kind of science that agrees with probability theory.

But even this wouldn’t quite be enough for me to embrace “scientism.” Science is a particular human practice that is pretty successful at improving our knowledge, but it just isn’t the only way to know things. One can have overwhelming Bayesian evidence for a proposition without the social structures of science having yet considered it.

For now, my preferred term to describe my worldview remains “naturalism.”

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Rorschach October 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I thought atheism wasn’t a worldview at all.

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muto October 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Hey luke, why do people keep coming back to the blog even though the focus of interest has changed?

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Keith J October 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Because Luke is awesome Muto!

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Andy October 22, 2011 at 10:02 pm

How about the “weak scientism” that Loftus endorses in Why I Became an Atheist? I think that’s something like (and I’m paraphrasing), “science is the best tool for understanding reality.” Maybe somebody else can find his specific definition, I don’t have the book with me at the moment.

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Andres October 22, 2011 at 10:16 pm

“Let’s… call the worldview that all us atheists (and even some agnostics) share “scientism.” This is the conviction that the methods of science are the only reliable ways to secure knowledge of anything; that science’s description of the world is correct in its fundamentals; and that when “complete,” what science tells us will not be surprisingly different from what it tells us today.”

Man, this guy needs to brush up on his Philosophy of Science. Some Larry Laudan would do him some good.

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Steve October 22, 2011 at 11:18 pm

And now for something completely reasonable:

The Atheist’s Guide to Reality is refreshingly and ruthlessly consistent. It is also utterly incoherent—and precisely because it is so consistent. In drawing out its absurd consequences, Alex Rosenberg, an atheist professor of philosophy at Duke University, has written a compelling refutation of modern atheism. That is not what he planned to do. In fact, he didn’t plan to do anything, since there are in his view no plans, designs, or purposes of any sort at all. But I’m getting ahead of myself, or I would be if there were “selves” to get ahead of—Rosenberg assures us that there are none of those either.

Rosenberg doesn’t provide much in the way of argument for atheism, for he thinks the truth of atheism is obvious from modern science—or at least, that it is obvious to anyone who shares his commitment to scientism, the view that science alone gives us genuine knowledge of reality. His project is rather to show his fellow unbelievers that the conclusions following from the scientism that typically underlies their atheism are far more subversive of received opinion—and indeed far more bizarre—than even they realize.

In arguing that these conclusions really follow from scientism, he is largely successful. What he fails to do is to provide any good reason to think either that his scientistic premises are true or that the preposterous conclusions he draws from them are anything other than the decisive reductio ad absurdum they appear to be.

The fundamental principle of Rosenberg’s scientism, repeated like a mantra throughout the book, is that “the physical facts fix all the facts.” What ultimately exist are just fermions and bosons and the physical laws that describe the way these particles and that of the larger objects made up of them behave. These laws make no reference to purposes, designs, final causes, or teleology of any sort. Hence anything that is real is really just fermions and bosons behaving in the purposeless, meaningless ways described by physics. Chemistry, biology, and neuroscience tell us about reality because what they tell us is entirely reducible to physics. Anything not so reducible tells us nothing at all about reality.

And that brings us to Rosenberg’s conclusions. Naturally, it follows from his scientism that there is no God and that neither the universe as a whole nor human life in particular has any meaning, point, or purpose. Nor is there free will, life after death, or any objective difference between right and wrong. Secular humanist morality is no less illusory than any other kind, and the consistent atheist ought to be a nihilist, though a “nice” one. This much is familiar enough atheist boilerplate, even if there are atheists who resist some of it.

But Rosenberg is just getting started. Since what is real is only what is reducible to physics, there are no meanings, purposes, designs, or plans of any sort, not even at the level of the human mind. Our thoughts only seem to be “about” things. And if they have no meaning, we cannot really have any plans and purposes at all. Indeed, the self that appears to think meaningful thoughts, to form plans, and to persist through the continual rewiring of the neural circuitry of the brain is also an illusion.

Since history, literature, and the other humanities purport to describe this illusory world of selves, meanings, and purposes, they are not true sources of knowledge. They are mere entertainments, providing no understanding whatsoever of the human condition. Only physics, chemistry, biology, and neuroscience reveal the true causes of all human behavior.

Many philosophers similarly inclined toward scientism will resist Rosenberg’s more extreme conclusions. But as he points out, their attempts to accommodate the meaningfulness of our thoughts and other aspects of the human mind to a materialist conception of reality face notoriously intractable difficulties. He makes a plausible case that if scientism is true, then there is no way to stop short of an across-the-board eliminative materialism: the view that what cannot be reduced to the categories of physical science simply does not exist and must be eliminated entirely from our picture of the world. Rosenberg freely admits that the consequences seem too fantastic to believe, but if we accept scientism, believe them we must.

But why should anyone accept scientism in the first place? Rosenberg gives a single brazen non sequitur in its defense. The predictive power, explanatory range, and technological successes of physics, he says, far outstrip those of other purported sources of knowledge. And this, he concludes, shows that what physics tells us is real is all that is real. But this is like arguing that since metal detectors have had far greater success in finding coins in more places than any other method, metal detectors show that only coins exist.

Physics studies those aspects of the natural world that are susceptible to the mathematical modeling that make prediction and technological application possible. It simply doesn’t follow that there are no other aspects of the natural world. Indeed, as Bertrand Russell, who was also a foe of religion and a great admirer of science, emphasized, precisely because of its mathematical methods, physics gives us only a description of the abstract structure of the natural world, and tells us nothing about the inner nature of the things that flesh out that structure. Far from giving us an exhaustive picture of reality, physics is in fact unintelligible unless there is more to reality than it tells us.

The fallaciousness of Rosenberg’s case for scientism is nothing compared to the incoherence of its implications. The notion of “illusion” is his key weapon, deployed again and again to deal with all the obvious counterevidence to his claims. Yet in what sense can any claim be illusory, mistaken, or false given Rosenberg’s picture of reality? For illusion, mistake, falsehood, and the like are all normative concepts; they presuppose a meaning that has failed to represent things correctly or a purpose that something has failed to realize.

Yet we are repeatedly assured by Rosenberg that there are no purposes or meanings of any sort whatsoever. But then, how can there be illusions and falsehoods? For that matter, how can there be truth or correctness, including the truth and correctness he would ascribe to science alone? For these concepts too are normative, as they presuppose the realization of a purpose and the accuracy of a meaning or representation.

Logic itself is normative insofar as inferences aim at truth and insofar as the logical relationships between beliefs and statements derive from their meanings. Hence if there are no meanings or purposes, there is no truth or logic either. And thus there is no science, at least if science is supposed to give us something true or rational. Rosenberg’s scientism makes of all statements—scientific statements no less than moral or theological ones—mere meaningless strings of ink marks or noises, no more true or false, rational or irrational than bosons and fermions are.

Though Rosenberg happily owns the label nihilist, he assures us that we needn’t fear the consequences of nihilism because the illusion of morality, like many of the other aspects of common sense he regards as fictions, has been programmed into us by evolution. Still, given that we lack free will, we must in his view abandon that part of morality that presupposes moral responsibility and the rewards and punishments that go along with it.

Leave aside the sheer naivete of supposing that morality could have the same hold over us once we are convinced it is an illusion. Leave aside the question of whether morality even remains intelligible when the notion of moral responsibility is detached from it. Why exactly does Rosenberg think we can and should tolerate the illusion of morality though we cannot or should not tolerate the illusions of free will and responsibility, the self, meaning and purpose, or indeed God and the soul? He never tells us.

Rosenberg has a habit of accusing those who disagree with him of bad faith and wishful thinking; only he and those of like mind, he supposes, are rational, clear-headed, and willing to follow an argument to its logical conclusion. Evidently there is at least one illusion he cannot live without.

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Andrew6363 October 22, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I think endorsing any label gives theists amunition to say things like “see ! we knew you worship science !” i maintain that we should not label ourselves, there’s simply science, we know it works, that’s all. but i don’t “believe” in science or deify it in any way. anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

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mister k October 23, 2011 at 1:33 am

that article is probably my least favourite by Eliezer, as it is the closest to crackpot thinking that less wrong gets. “Oh hey, heres something where all physicists are wrong and I am correct”. And, worse yet, this logic, which is by no means accepted by all that have read the full qm sequence (one of the most contraversial) is then used to argue that theres an argument between science and Bayes! In other words, it appears to be setting up the physicists as Science, and Eliezer as Bayes. Thats a false dichotomy.

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Thomas October 23, 2011 at 2:23 am

“Let’s… call the worldview that all us atheists (and even some agnostics) share “scientism.” This is the conviction that the methods of science are the only reliable ways to secure knowledge of anything…”

So science is the only reliable way of knowing anything. Well, one would like to hear a justification for this claim, since now it is merely an assertion. How do you justify the claim of scientism? One thing is certain: nothing in empirical sciences tells you that science is the only source of justified beliefs. So the claim of scientism is itself a claim which is not a scientific one: one must go outside of science to make the claim that ‘science is the only source of knowledge’. Hence, strict scientism is self-defeating, just like the semantic verificationism of the logical positivists.

One could define ‘science’ more broadly to include rational considerations in general, so that scientism wouldn´t be self-defeating anymore. But then it becomes trivial, since even many theists would be become ‘scientistic’ on this broad definition of science.

Hence, scientism is either self-defeating or trivial.

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TheDudeDiogenes October 23, 2011 at 2:27 am

“Weak scientism” is too unwieldy – it would take to much explaining for it to be a useful label. I think Luke is right – stick with naturalism, if you want a label for your view of the all that exists.

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Kevin October 23, 2011 at 6:32 am

“So science is the only reliable way of knowing anything. Well, one would like to hear a justification for this claim, since now it is merely an assertion. How do you justify the claim of scientism?”

Simply make the first sentence “science is the only reliable way of knowing anything (that we know of).” This makes it an empirical question which makes it not at odds with science and it blocks people who propose supernatural methods as “different” ways of knowing. When someone says that religion is a different way to know things, the proper response should be “demonstrate it.” Until then, science is the only pathway to knowledge that we have. I don’t think this is a trivial statement to make.

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PDH October 23, 2011 at 7:16 am

I pretty much completely agree with Luke and Yudkowsky on this issue, unsurprisingly.

Science is not – and needn’t be – a full-blown epistemology. Most of our beliefs, including the belief that we are conversing over the internet right now, are not scientific (or have you submitted this thesis to a peer-reviewed journal?) At best you might say that you expect that science would confirm your beliefs if it was able or inclined to do so.

This doesn’t mean that all non-scientific beliefs are equally valid! It simply means that you shouldn’t conflate philosophy of science with epistemology. You’ll be unable to understand a whole host of important and relevant issues if you fail to make this distinction. For example, Popper attempted to provide an account of science that would work even if the problem of induction was insoluble. It was a philosophy of science without being an epistemology in that the question of whether or not something was scientific was conceived of as being separate from the question of whether or not something was true or even plausible. Popper thought that scientific experiments – and evidence-based reasoning generally – provided no reason whatsoever to suppose that certain hypotheses were true or more likely to be true than others.

I don’t agree with Popper but this view has characterised science to a huge degree and large numbers of the people criticising the Less Wrong-esque Bayesian view are doing so on falsificationist or quasi-falsificationist grounds, often without even realising it. Popper’s is still, arguably, the dominant conception of science.

Science is a part of rationality – an extremely important part – but you can’t get by with science alone.

The only area in which I might disagree with Luke is with the term ‘naturalism.’ I think that it’s primarily an epistemology that we’re committed to, not an ontology. The latter follows the former. This is important because we only regard some things as being supernatural because using the most reliable methods available to us we’ve determined that they aren’t very plausible. Had we found good evidence for pixies then pixies would be considered ‘natural.’ So nature just ends up meaning, basically, ‘things that probably exist.’ Go back a hundred and fifty years and talk to the naturalists of the day about black holes and neutrinos and they’ll think you’re a crank. I want a term that conveys the idea that it’s not what you believe that’s important, it’s how you arrive at your beliefs and I think ‘rationalist,’ is the best term, personally.

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AndrewF October 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

the methods of science are the only reliable ways to secure knowledge of anything

Dare I ask how we know this to be true? (seeing as it’s not a statement of science)

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Bill Maher October 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Dare I ask how we know this to be true? (seeing as it’s not a statement of science)

Actually that isn’t a problem at all. Rosenberg is a non-eliminative naturalist and not a positivist.

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alex rosenberg October 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Steve:
Truth in advertising would require you to acknowledge up-front that your entire post is lifted verbatim from the review of Atheists Guide to REality by a catholic author, Edward Feser, who published it last week as the lead review in the hard copy and on line conservative religious magazine, First Thoughts. The fact that Feser’s critique is a puerile criticism of a very complex argument that he knew perfectly well withstands his silly criticism would not have escaped you if you had bothered to read the book. Posting a silly review as though it were your own thoughts, just makes you look even more superficial than Feser.

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Thomas October 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Actually that isn’t a problem at all. Rosenberg is a non-eliminative naturalist and not a positivist.

It is a problem, since scientism becomes self-defeating like positivism, if ‘science’ is defined narrowly. If science is defined more broadly, however, scientism becomes merely trivial.

And Rosenberg if someone is an eliminative naturalist or materialist.

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Bill Maher October 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm

“It is a problem, since scientism becomes self-defeating like positivism, if ‘science’ is defined narrowly. If science is defined more broadly, however, scientism becomes merely trivial.
And Rosenberg if someone is an eliminative naturalist or materialist.”

How is it self defeating? He uses the long established tradition of naturalism (a non-eliminitivist, yet reductionist, version that is itself a form of falliblist pragmatism) for his epistemology. His views are actually very well thought out and you are just being silly if you think a chaired philosopher of science is somehow unaware of positivism.

He is not saying non-verifiable sentences are meaningless (the view that defeated positivism) or that deductive logic or mathematics are worthless. Rosenberg himself does a lot of philosophy of biology and thinks that there is plenty for philosophy to do. He is also a fierce and vocal opponent of eleminitivism. Instead, he is saying that science is the only successful means of investigating the world around us, which is the position of many philosophers like JD Trout, Richard Joyce, WVO Quine, and John Dewey. That is not a self-defeating or trivial statement and is in line with a great many mainstream philosophers (not that it means it is correct, but shows that naturalism is a position that deserves consideration).

The book itself is not supposed to be an argument for atheism or naturalism. Instead, that explores the views’ consequences assuming that there is no god and naturalism is true.

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Steve October 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm

rosi dear

err… Feser must be spot on; you scientistic slatherers are bereft of subtly, cultural consciousness and irony. Thats what worshipping equations from afar will do for you. “and now for something completely reasonable”… is a take on the (well-known) Monty Python introductory riff to xxxxxxx. Let me spell it out for you dohhh…it was intended as an introduction to the piece, not as my own. too much science maketh the mind only fit for absolute explicitness.

and your take on the piece is just what you would say, now wouldn’t you? but i do detect so much defensiveness that Feser must have hit a few buttons.

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Ol' Nameless October 23, 2011 at 11:19 pm

“His views are actually very well thought out and you are just being silly if you think a chaired philosopher of science is somehow unaware of positivism.”

But replies like these were used to defend the logical positivists in the hey-day of logical positivism. The fundamental objection that utterly undoes LP is pretty simple and was lodged earlier. “I’m a famous and well-known philosopher, I wouldn’t defend a belief that was undone so easily!” was one of the essentially replies.

But in the end…

“Rosenberg is a non-eliminative naturalist”

Do you mean that Alex Rosenberg opposes eliminative materialism? If so… Alex, is this true?

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DaVead October 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm

I too would love if these guys stopped treating Laudan, Popper, Kuhn, etc. like nothing. But even just acknowledging Kant and Hegel is a good start.

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Luke Muehlhauser October 24, 2011 at 12:17 am

Andres,

I’m pretty sure Rosenberg has read Laudan. Also, you’d need to read some of Rosenberg’s book to know exactly what he means by the sentence you quoted.

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Larkus October 24, 2011 at 12:44 am

@Steve

Let me spell it out for you…

Presenting a whole article or considerable part of an article without proper attribution (nor even putting it into quotation marks) is normally called plagiarism.

No need to get defensive about it when you are getting called out for it. No need to make excuses, no need to shift the blame at others if your mistake was unintentional. Just admitting the mistake would have been completely sufficient.

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Thomas October 24, 2011 at 2:56 am

“Instead, that explores the views’ consequences assuming that there is no god and naturalism is true.”

And one of the consequences, according to Rosenberg, is that there are no beliefs, desires, intentions and qualia. Even if his scientism isn´t self-defeating like I previously claimed (I don´t know his position well enough to make that judgement anymore, I admit that), his eliminative materialism about the mind surely is. For example, he smuggles in intentional notions all the time while denying that there is such a thing as original intentionality, like Feser argues here: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/12/rosenberg-responds-to-his-critics.html

“But replies like these were used to defend the logical positivists in the hey-day of logical positivism. The fundamental objection that utterly undoes LP is pretty simple and was lodged earlier. “I’m a famous and well-known philosopher, I wouldn’t defend a belief that was undone so easily!” was one of the essentially replies.”

I agree, and so does Feser. From the link above:

“So, why do Rosenberg, the Churchlands, and other EM advocates insist repeatedly on dismissing or even ignoring objections that are so obvious, and so obviously fatal, to their position? Part of the answer, as I’ve noted before, has to do with the ideological or even quasi-religious status naturalism has taken on in the thinking of so many contemporary philosophers – a status acknowledged by philosophers like Tyler Burge, William Lycan, Thomas Nagel, and John Searle . . .

But there is likely a more personal component as well. The logical positivists no doubt thought that refuting their verifiability criterion of meaning just couldn’t be as easy as pointing out that it is self-undermining. “I’m A. J. Freaking Ayer! I don’t make obvious mistakes like that!” Actually, Freddie, you do. And here’s the painful truth: So do Paul Freaking Churchland and even Alex Freaking Rosenberg. If you don’t know it now, fellas, you’ll know it by the time you’re ready for your own Library of (Barely) Living Philosophers volumes. But be of good cheer – in contemporary academic philosophy, what is grounds for failing an undergraduate paper can be Festschrift material for a professional.”

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alex rosenberg October 24, 2011 at 5:41 am

For those of you who think I am too stupid to see how eliminative materialism refutes itself, here’s the last two paragraphs of chapter 8 of The Atheist’s Guide to Reality:

Introspection is screaming that thought has to be about stuff, and philosophers are muttering, “Denying this is crazy, worse than self contradictory. It’s incoherent. According to you, neither spoken sentences nor silent ones in thought express statements. They aren’t about anything. But that goes for every sentence in this book. So, if you’re right, they are not about anything. Why are we bothering to read them?”
Look, if I am going to get scientism into your skull I have to use the only tools we’ve got for moving information from one head to another: noises, clay-tablets, ink-marks, pixels–sentences. Treat the illusion of aboutness that goes with them like the optical illusions in chapter 7. This book isn’t conveying statements. It’s rearranging neural circuits, removing inaccurate disinformation and replacing it with accurate information. Treat it as correcting lines on maps in the brain instead of erasing sentences in it.

Now, it is definitely worth taking about whether information can be encoded completely in things like maps and whether either has to be intentional. Those are serious matters of philosophy.

As for the problem of naturalistically justifying naturalism, how about an inference to the best explanation? If it looks question begging to you, think about the alternatives. At least this question-begging form of inference produced most of what we have a right to call knowledge.

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James Thompson October 24, 2011 at 7:21 am

Good point Luke. I can’t watch anymore debates on the existence of God.
Time to read some good books for a change.

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Steve October 24, 2011 at 7:40 am

Lars

Dressing someone elses work up in your own style or language and claiming it as your own is plagarism. Putting a whole slab of an article wholus bolus down for general consumption is called the internet. Effete niceties are irrelevant on it.

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J. Quinton October 24, 2011 at 11:44 am

What about Bayesianism?

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Martin October 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Alex,

the only tools we’ve got for moving information from one head to another…removing inaccurate disinformation and replacing it with accurate information.

Uhhhhh….but as a commenter on Feser’s blog points out:

Rosenberg has to know that, in the technical sense, there is no such thing as “misinformation.” The metal bar dipped in a saline solution that proceeds to rust can’t be “misinformed” about its environs because information just is causal covariation among physical states. His use of that term is a blatant attempt to smuggle intentionality in through the back door while pretending not to; why, why, oh why! won’t anyone of note call him out on this transparent attempt to bulls**t his way out of the corner he’s painted himself into?

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/12/misinformation-campaign.html

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cl October 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm

There is much more to atheism than its knockdown arguments that there is no God.

LOL! While Slick Willy Craig kicks your asses up and down educational institutions across America. Knockdown arguments my ass!

This is the conviction that the methods of science are the only reliable ways to secure knowledge of anything;

I can’t wait for this fad of naivete to die out… this is just a form of religious fundamentalism for the irreligious.

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Thomas October 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

“His use of that term is a blatant attempt to smuggle intentionality in through the back door while pretending not to; why, why, oh why! won’t anyone of note call him out on this transparent attempt to bulls**t his way out of the corner he’s painted himself into?”

Very good point, Martin (or the commenter on Feser´s blog).

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cl October 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm

…Look, if I am going to get scientism into your skull

Ick. Weird, dogmatic, and creepy. I can take care of my own skull, thanks!

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cl October 24, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Dare I ask how we know this to be true? (seeing as it’s not a statement of science)

That’s just it, Alex, it’s not true. It’s fanciful religious fundamentalist thinking, for atheists.

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Rorschach October 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Wow! I didnt leave a relevant commentary because i thought it was a silly post. I mean, its like arguing for positivism! Have anyone heard of what craig said about the subject?
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8725

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Martin October 24, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Rorschach,

See, Craig defends genocide. And also, he has big feet. And an ugly nose.

Therefore, his article on scientism is wrong.

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Rorschach October 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm

He he he…

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Joshua Zelinsky October 24, 2011 at 8:13 pm

that article is probably my least favourite by Eliezer, as it is the closest to crackpot thinking that less wrong gets. “Oh hey, heres something where all physicists are wrong and I am correct”. And, worse yet, this logic, which is by no means accepted by all that have read the full qm sequence (one of the most contraversial) is then used to argue that theres an argument between science and Bayes! In other words, it appears to be setting up the physicists as Science, and Eliezer as Bayes. Thats a false dichotomy.

I agree that this is a false dichotomy as he has set it up. But I think it is such for a reason a bit different than yours. A lot of physicists take MWI very seriously. So this is pretty far from crackpot.

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joseph October 25, 2011 at 8:29 am

I seem to be missing the ‘bayes vs. science’ thing, but then i was first introduced to the idea in terms of sensitivity and specificity of various medical diagnostic tests/proceedures, which are established via scientific method as far as i know. So Bayes was used to estlablish things like the need for multiple diagnostic tests….not that anyone ever understands why one magic blood test does not contain all the answers.

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bossmanham October 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I love how CL constantly points out how far Luke has fallen with regard to intellectual honesty. Keep on sticking your fingers in your ears while you idolize your less wrong buds, Luke. Sad to see you fall this far.

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Matthias November 3, 2011 at 12:51 am

Luke,
I think Alex would be a great discussion partner for your blue dot podcast. Do you share his denial of free will? I was electrified by his remarks on determinism, fatalism and de-meritocracy.

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Geoff November 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm

If I accept scientism, do I get to call myself a scientist? Or, I guess you can say you’re “sientistic” instead of “a _______”.

Obviously, this is the important question here. I really need to have a label with “ist’ at the end, so I must reject scientism.

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