The Science Delusion

From a review of Curtis White’s The Science Delusion is this nice summary of absurdism endemic to scientism:

The problem, obviously, isn’t science; it’s the arrogance with which many scientists, and popularizers of science, dismiss the value of other ways of thinking about questions of meaning, about the world and our place in it. Lehrer, say, wants us to believe that, because neurologists can demonstrate how Observable Phenomenon X was happening in Part Y of Bob Dylan’s brain when he wrote “Like a Rolling Stone,” science can therefore “explain” the human capacity for creativity or imagination. This is like saying that the song itself is best appreciated by putting it on your stereo and then mapping the sound waves it creates. It doesn’t really tell us anything useful, or usefully true. But this is the kind of truth in which scientism, and the culture that accommodates it, puts most stock.

The popularity of today’s cycle of scientism (e.g., Dennett, Dawkins, et al) is strikingly similar in form to the era of Logical Positivism, a movement that was eventually eclipsed (aka ‘blown out of the water’) by Wittgenstein, Quine, and others:

Scientism is essentially the belief, the faith, that all problems and questions are potentially soluble by empirical investigation (and that if they’re not, they’re somehow not real questions, not real problems).

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