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"Two dogmatic fundamentalisms"

Sidewalker
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6/24/2012 7:46:02 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Huston Smith, one of our foremost scholars and interpreters of the world's religions, says that "There are really two dogmatic fundamentalisms in America today. Dogmatic secular modernity came first and produced conservative religious fundamentalism as a reaction to it."

I find that more than just interesting as I do in fact see two groups of extremist posters here that taken by themselves, are inexplicable within the context of their respective positions and which do in fact represent these two "polar opposite" categories of one and the same extremism that Huston Smith is describing here. On one side of this polarity is an excessively dogmatic secular modernism that doesn't appear to be true to science and logic, and on the other side of the coin, it is opposed by a dogmatic Christian fundamentalism that doesn't appear to be true to Jesus.

The dogmatic secular modernism Huston Smith was referring to is based on scientism rather than science and it carries the mark of a secular religion, it's an angry and self-absorbed faith based system completely focused on the game of one-upmanship with its counterpart conservative religious fundamentalism; it's polar opposite so to speak. This dogmatic secular modernism is not at all true to science, it only claims to be, it is more a matter of science being pirated for a religious ideological end.

Maybe Huston Smith is providing the key to understanding here, to say that "opposites" are "polar" is to say much more than they are opposed or separated; it is to say that they constitute a whole. There is a reciprocal, transactional relationship being described. Polar opposites don't even exist without each other, they are contingent upon each other. Polar opposites are like the two sides of a coin, or the two ends of a stick; they reference two opposing aspects of one and the same thing, you just can't have the one without the other. Both sides of one and the same faith based extremism appear to live in a bipolar universe that is divided between the forces of good and the forces of evil, breeding an "us versus them" mentality, an atmosphere of intolerance, and a paranoid siege-mentality. Both sides are incomplete without the other, dogmatically demanding conformity to their own position but unable to even define their own position except by opposing reference to the "other" of their "us/them thinking.

This would certainly explain why there are more similarities than differences between the posts of an advocate of Scientism and their opposing Christian fundamentalist extremist, they only appear to be opposites but are in fact inseparable opposites; they constitute a unity. Like the white bigot that hates blacks and the opposing black bigot that hates whites, they are not opposites at all, but merely two different aspects of one and the same bigotry, perhaps these perpetual wars between the Scientism crowd and their beloved opposing Fundies is simply the nourishing and self sustaining act of a single collective organism. Seen as mirror images of one and the same extremism, they are not mutually exclusive at all; in fact they are mutually sustaining, reciprocal in their true nature. They are only attacking mirror images of themselves, the image is the same only inverted, and yet they don't recognize themselves in the mirror, like the puppy barking at himself in the mirror, in the end, it is only their own reflection that they are barking at.

But then again, they say all wars are internal wars, perhaps their anger is only a projection of their own internal conflict, maybe below the surface level they do in fact look into that mirror and recognize themselves, and that is why they need the fight.

What do you think?
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
drafterman
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6/24/2012 8:00:32 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Sorry. Wrapping my head as to how something labeled as modern, thus implying new, or recent, is purported as having come before, and caused, something labeled as conservative, thus implying an adherence to old, or past.

Explain that part again.
Thaumaturgy
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6/24/2012 8:41:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I think this is reasonable. As religion has faded in its task of "explaining" the world and the "god of the gaps" gets forced into ever smaller gaps in our knowledge society in the "First world" has grown more secular. This causes a rise in the resistance among the harder core believers to fight this creeping secularism which causes secular groups to feel more emboldened to "take on religion" and so the cycle goes.

The idea that they are "polar opposites" and that both poles are needed to make a whole is intriguing, but not necessarily true. Conservative religious dogma has always been a reality. All it requires is a strict adherence to the holy scripture of whatever religion.

Hardcore secularism also does not need religious conservatives to exist, it only requires a solid reliance on natural materialism.

BUT, after spending years debating religion and science in forums I have seen many scientific people forced into corners by religious obstinance until they act in ways antithetical to science.

Science is built on "doubt" and as such seldom takes a hard line on anything. Not that there aren't "bright lines" in the discipline, but scientists normally only need couch their points in statistical likelihood.

Creationists, as an example, demand perfect knowledge and will use any available doubt to cast all the science in a bad light. After some training the scientists learn to hold back the "doubt" when talking to Creationists which only emboldens them to find an "error" and since they've turned the debate into one of absolutes (black and white; no errors) they can act like any error is a win for their p.o.v.

There is a back and forth and one side feeds the other, forcing the actions of the other.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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6/25/2012 2:59:19 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
The Fool: any ideology is fundementalist, we wouldn't need to use the word ideology to express it if wasn't. At least Seclurims is more modern and updated.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
Sidewalker
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6/25/2012 6:11:03 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:00:32 AM, drafterman wrote:
Sorry. Wrapping my head as to how something labeled as modern, thus implying new, or recent, is purported as having come before, and caused, something labeled as conservative, thus implying an adherence to old, or past.

Explain that part again.

As I said, Huston Smith is one of our foremost scholars of religion, if you can count on anyone at all, you can count on Huston Smith to have his facts right regarding religion.

It was certainly about a return to older values, but the Fundamentalist movement in America only began in the early 1900s as a reaction to "Modernism", the word "Fundamentalist" to describe the movement wasn't even coined until 1920.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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6/25/2012 6:27:05 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 6:11:03 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:00:32 AM, drafterman wrote:
Sorry. Wrapping my head as to how something labeled as modern, thus implying new, or recent, is purported as having come before, and caused, something labeled as conservative, thus implying an adherence to old, or past.

Explain that part again.

As I said, Huston Smith is one of our foremost scholars of religion, if you can count on anyone at all, you can count on Huston Smith to have his facts right regarding religion.

It was certainly about a return to older values, but the Fundamentalist movement in America only began in the early 1900s as a reaction to "Modernism", the word "Fundamentalist" to describe the movement wasn't even coined until 1920.

The Fool: That is not even falsifiable. I we can always look in the past and say the next change was a Reaction. to the last. ITS A POST HOC fallacy.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
Sidewalker
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6/25/2012 7:16:44 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
: At 6/24/2012 8:41:39 AM, Thaumaturgy wrote:
I think this is reasonable. As religion has faded in its task of "explaining" the world and the "god of the gaps" gets forced into ever smaller gaps in our knowledge society in the "First world" has grown more secular.

That has never been the task of religion, and the "God of the gaps" argument is nothing but a function of the conflict I am referring to. No serious scholar of religion has ever found the "God of the gaps" theory to be even loosely correlated with the evidence, nor has it ever been considered to be analytically useful in the intellectual study of religion or faith. Perhaps the concept is ideologically useful in places like Internet debate forums, but no real scholar of religion, faith, or theology takes it seriously, it really only indicates a lack of scholarship regarding the subject matter.

The concept of the "God of the Gaps" was coined by a deeply religious evangelical lecturer named Henry Drummond and then made popular by the use of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was another deeply religious man who was martyred by Adolf Hitler. Both used the term to describe what God is not, both were railing against dumbed down and uninformed conceptions, those with an agenda have seized upon it and used it as an ad hoc explanatory definition of religion until it has become an unexamined and very widespread belief, but it isn't what religion is about and it has no real explanatory value when it comes to evaluating religion.

This causes a rise in the resistance among the harder core believers to fight this creeping secularism which causes secular groups to feel more emboldened to "take on religion" and so the cycle goes.

: The idea that they are "polar opposites" and that both poles are needed to make a whole is intriguing, but not necessarily true. Conservative religious dogma has always been a reality. All it requires is a strict adherence to the holy scripture of whatever religion.


The Fundamentalist movement itself is only around a hundred years old, and it was clearly a response to secular modernism.

: Hardcore secularism also does not need religious conservatives to exist, it only requires a solid reliance on natural materialism.

BUT, after spending years debating religion and science in forums I have seen many scientific people forced into corners by religious obstinance until they act in ways antithetical to science.


As the OP says, it has been a transactional growth from the beginning, I think that the technological success of science has resulted in a widespread belief in scientism", which has nothing to do with true science, it only appears to. Science is content with reporting what it discovers and staying within its narrowly defined realm of application , scientism goes beyond the actual findings of science to deny that other approaches to knowledge are valid and other truths are true. It is not based on science, it is a faith based belief system that tends to be held with religious conviction.

: Science is built on "doubt" and as such seldom takes a hard line on anything. Not that there aren't "bright lines" in the discipline, but scientists normally only need couch their points in statistical likelihood.


It's the followers of the religion of Scientism that have become dogmatic hardliners, and playing these fools like a fiddle has become big business. Their high priests, people like Richard Dawkins, are laughing at them all the way to the bank.

: Creationists, as an example, demand perfect knowledge and will use any available doubt to cast all the science in a bad light. After some training the scientists learn to hold back the "doubt" when talking to Creationists which only emboldens them to find an "error" and since they've turned the debate into one of absolutes (black and white; no errors) they can act like any error is a win for their p.o.v.

There is a back and forth and one side feeds the other, forcing the actions of the other.


Yep, the process brings out the worst in both sides of the debates, in the end it results in dogmatic extremists that have completely abandoned reason and logic.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
drafterman
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6/25/2012 7:31:02 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 6:11:03 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/24/2012 8:00:32 AM, drafterman wrote:
Sorry. Wrapping my head as to how something labeled as modern, thus implying new, or recent, is purported as having come before, and caused, something labeled as conservative, thus implying an adherence to old, or past.

Explain that part again.

As I said, Huston Smith is one of our foremost scholars of religion, if you can count on anyone at all, you can count on Huston Smith to have his facts right regarding religion.

It was certainly about a return to older values, but the Fundamentalist movement in America only began in the early 1900s as a reaction to "Modernism", the word "Fundamentalist" to describe the movement wasn't even coined until 1920.

If its about a return to older values, then those values had to have already existed then. Indeed, they are the "fundamentals" of fundamentalism. I'll concede that you can't return to those values without first deviating from them, but neither can you deviate from them without them being there in the first place.

This secular modernism would not have arisen in a vacuum.
Modernism
WriterDave
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6/25/2012 8:34:59 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Dogma, according to Wikipedia, is "the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers."

There is no aspect of what you call "secular modernity" that would not be disputed, doubted or diverged from if the circumstances warranted. There is no scientific theory so holy that scientists will not question it -- see, for instance, the FTL neutrinos that CERN thought they had discovered (later discovered to be a GPS error). Even the scientific method itself is open to dispute if the regularities in the universe suddenly stopped working.

As for fundamentalism, that's defined as a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines; thus "secular fundamentalism" is a contradiction in terms. To paraphrase Dawkins, maybe scientists insist on a strict adherence to what is meant by "truth," but so does everyone else -- it doesn't make them fundamentalists.
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Thaumaturgy
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6/25/2012 10:01:02 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 7:16:44 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
That has never been the task of religion, and the "God of the gaps" argument is nothing but a function of the conflict I am referring to.

I must disagree. Religion arguably exists precisely to explain the inexplicable. To bring comfort when unknown forces array against one. It has been ever thus with religion. Religious explanations (like creation myths) help make sense of the unknown and invariably become metaphorical as discoveries find out what actually happened.

Perhaps the concept is ideologically useful in places like Internet debate forums, but no real scholar of religion, faith, or theology takes it seriously, it really only indicates a lack of scholarship regarding the subject matter.

As a handle on the "argument from ignorance" it is exceedingly useful, if not used in those terms explicitly. How many times has science pushed back the frontiers of ignorance which formerly were a place for God? The Black Plague in Europe in the 14th century certainly had a huge number of people believing it was God's anger, and no one really quite figured out it was parasites feeding off infected rats and the blossoming of internation trade carrying disease vectors across previously unimaginable distances.

If the Plague took hold in a European port city today I'm reasonably sure almost no one would say "Our only hope is to become penitents and beg mercy from God!" No, more people would say: "break out the antibiotics and quarantine the port!"

Why? Is God less strong now? Or is it because our knowledge is expanded and God is rendered less as an explanatory variable?

The concept of the "God of the Gaps" was coined by a deeply religious evangelical lecturer named Henry Drummond and then made popular by the use of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was another deeply religious man who was martyred by Adolf Hitler. Both used the term to describe what God is not, both were railing against dumbed down and uninformed conceptions, those with an agenda have seized upon it and used it as an ad hoc explanatory definition of religion until it has become an unexamined and very widespread belief, but it isn't what religion is about and it has no real explanatory value when it comes to evaluating religion.

Why would they discuss something that was not a "concern" for the faith? That seems irrational.

No, they were addressing a natural human tendency to harbor all their doubt and ignorance in the "unknowable" vastness of God. Why else would they rail against such a concept? Because people do that. They have always done that.

Look at Leviticus 14:2-22. Does this seem as effective against leprosy as say the MDT (MultiDrug Therapy) discussed by the World Health Organization today?
Hmmm, Multidrug therapy or two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop, kill one bird in an earthenware vessel over running water, then dip the living bird, the cedar, the hyssop and the scarlet and dip them in the blood of the bird thus killed etc etc etc.

I'm not faulting the ancients for not knowing, I'm merely pointing out one example (of many) in which appeals to God are considered the only viable option, whereas now I'm reasonably sure that W.H.O. representatives out treating leprosy in Africa are not chewing through hundreds of birds to do the job.

The Fundamentalist movement itself is only around a hundred years old, and it was clearly a response to secular modernism.

I agree that Fundamentalists arise in response to encroaching modern secularism. But remember the Fundamentalists are the orthodox of the past. Liberal theology arises from out of orthodoxy.

As the OP says, it has been a transactional growth from the beginning, I think that the technological success of science has resulted in a widespread belief in scientism",

But "scientism" is predicated on an appreciation of science, which arguably has been the most effective means of explaining the world known to humans. Ever.

I will agree that the extremes of scientism are probably founded more on the laypersons failure to grasp the subtleties of science's limitations, but science has demonstrably proven more capable of addressing the worlds ills in the last several centuries than millenia of non-scientific superstition and religion.

This is not to say religion has "no value"! Far from it! Religion provides a sense of security and something to help people understand the unknown. It serves a very good purpose for many!

which has nothing to do with true science, it only appears to.

In its raw form it forms the basis of a purely materialist view of the universe which is all we are really capable of experiencing in any meaningful way. The pejorative extension of "overapplication" of science, but since there has been millenia of "spiritual exploration" resulting in a plethora of jarringly different views of the supernatural, yet only a few hundred years of science resulting in massive breakthroughs unknown in scale and tempo in all the previous millenia of human history, I'd have to say that science thus deserves some "excess reliance".

Scientism (in it's "pejorative application") is more justified than fundamentalism.

Science is content with reporting what it discovers and staying within its narrowly defined realm of application , scientism goes beyond the actual findings of science to deny that other approaches to knowledge are valid and other truths are true.

What other approaches to knowledge have shown similar benefits? How many millenia of talking about God did it take for the Church to cure disease?

If science is predicated on observation, hypothesis, testing and refining, what possible OTHER approach to knowledge can there be and how has it shown "benefit"?

It is not based on science, it is a faith based belief system that tends to be held with religious conviction.

Considering how few people on the planet are trained up as scientists, they are left with only the "fruits" of the technique. It is rational for them to hold these ideas with some amount of "religious conviction", but hardly without benefit of evidence.

It's the followers of the religion of Scientism that have become dogmatic hardliners, and playing these fools like a fiddle has become big business. Their high priests, people like Richard Dawkins, are laughing at them all the way to the bank.

Patently absurd.

Yep, the process brings out the worst in both sides of the debates, in the end it results in dogmatic extremists that have completely abandoned reason and logic.

This I will wholeheartedly agree with.
Sidewalker
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6/25/2012 10:06:21 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/24/2012 8:00:32 AM, drafterman wrote:

If its about a return to older values, then those values had to have already existed then.

True, but that certainly doesn't constitute an argument against the historical fact that Fundamentalism in America emerged as a movement in the early part of the 1900s.

Indeed, they are the "fundamentals" of fundamentalism. I'll concede that you can't return to those values without first deviating from them, but neither can you deviate from them without them being there in the first place.

Many of the values and principles of "Modernism" have their originating source in the Ionian Philosophers and ancient Greek culture, people like Thales, Plato, and Pythagoras were instrumental in establishing the foundations of Westren culture. Would you also argue that "Modernism" is actually ancient.

This secular modernism would not have arisen in a vacuum.

Nope, it wouldn't, culturally speaking, nothing really arises in a vacum, but that doesn't mean we can't make a distinction between historical eras, movements, and developments over time.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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6/25/2012 10:50:19 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
: At 6/25/2012 8:34:59 AM, WriterDave wrote:
Dogma, according to Wikipedia, is "the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers."

There is no aspect of what you call "secular modernity"

Well… it was actually Huston Smith that called it "secular modernity", I was quoting him.

that would not be disputed, doubted or diverged from if the circumstances warranted. There is no scientific theory so holy that scientists will not question it -- see, for instance, the FTL neutrinos that CERN thought they had discovered (later discovered to be a GPS error). Even the scientific method itself is open to dispute if the regularities in the universe suddenly stopped working.

Huston Smith was referring to an extremism of modernity that is characterized by Scientism, not science.

Science is a valuable tool that has a sharply delimited frame of reference, Scientism goes beyond the actual findings of science to deny that other approaches to knowledge are valid and other truths are true. In doing so, it disregards real science and pirates it in the pursuit of metaphysical disputes that have nothing to do with science. Consequently, Scientism is something of a secular religion that engages in the tactics of any other Fundamentalist religion.

As for fundamentalism, that's defined as a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines;

That is certainly not an exhaustive definition of the Fundamentalist movement in America, it's more of a brief a definition of Orthodoxy. The quote from Wikipedia in it's entirety is:

"Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology, combined with a vigorous attack on outside threats to their religious culture.[1] The term "fundamentalism" was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and that had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of that time."

thus "secular fundamentalism" is a contradiction in terms.

No it isn't, to the extent that the phrase "secular fundamentalism" refers to the misapplication of science of the Scientism crowd, which is completely faith based, dogmatic, and religious in nature, the manner in which Huston Smith used the phrase, it is completely appropriate. Scientism's dogmatic contention that there are no truths except for those of science is not itself a scientific truth, and therefore Scientism is a contradiction in terms.

To paraphrase Dawkins, maybe scientists insist on a strict adherence to what is meant by "truth," but so does everyone else -- it doesn't make them fundamentalists.

I'm not talking about scientists, I'm talking about the followers of the religion of Scientism, and Scientism does not contain science, it only pretends to.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
vbaculum
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6/25/2012 12:09:56 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Is it just me or is the 'scientism" meme starting to pick up steam?
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The_Fool_on_the_hill
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6/25/2012 1:10:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 10:50:19 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
: At 6/25/2012 8:34:59 AM, WriterDave wrote:
Dogma, according to Wikipedia, is "the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers."

There is no aspect of what you call "secular modernity"

Well… it was actually Huston Smith that called it "secular modernity", I was quoting him.

that would not be disputed, doubted or diverged from if the circumstances warranted. There is no scientific theory so holy that scientists will not question it -- see, for instance, the FTL neutrinos that CERN thought they had discovered (later discovered to be a GPS error). Even the scientific method itself is open to dispute if the regularities in the universe suddenly stopped working.

Huston Smith was referring to an extremism of modernity that is characterized by Scientism, not science.

Science is a valuable tool that has a sharply delimited frame of reference, Scientism goes beyond the actual findings of science to deny that other approaches to knowledge are valid and other truths are true. In doing so, it disregards real science and pirates it in the pursuit of metaphysical disputes that have nothing to do with science. Consequently, Scientism is something of a secular religion that engages in the tactics of any other Fundamentalist religion.

As for fundamentalism, that's defined as a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines;

That is certainly not an exhaustive definition of the Fundamentalist movement in America, it's more of a brief a definition of Orthodoxy. The quote from Wikipedia in it's entirety is:

"Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology, combined with a vigorous attack on outside threats to their religious culture.[1] The term "fundamentalism" was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and that had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of that time."

thus "secular fundamentalism" is a contradiction in terms.

No it isn't, to the extent that the phrase "secular fundamentalism" refers to the misapplication of science of the Scientism crowd, which is completely faith based, dogmatic, and religious in nature, the manner in which Huston Smith used the phrase, it is completely appropriate. Scientism's dogmatic contention that there are no truths except for those of science is not itself a scientific truth, and therefore Scientism is a contradiction in terms.

To paraphrase Dawkins, maybe scientists insist on a strict adherence to what is meant by "truth," but so does everyone else -- it doesn't make them fundamentalists.

I'm not talking about scientists, I'm talking about the followers of the religion of Scientism, and Scientism does not contain science, it only pretends to.

The Fool: but that not what we mean now in the general sense I mean baseless Doctrine. Thus any baseless ideology I call fundementalist.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
Thaumaturgy
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6/25/2012 2:02:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 12:09:56 PM, vbaculum wrote:
Is it just me or is the 'scientism" meme starting to pick up steam?

It's been kicking around for a while. Some philosophers of science used the terms to decry over-reliance on dogmatically reducing the world down to that which can be measured.

But at it's core it can be considered "... that science alone can render truth about the world and reality" (SOURCE: http://www.pbs.org...) which is, on its surface not an unreasonable approach.

IMHO, this source of "knowledge" is really the only one we have to understand reality. Of course I'm more prone to empiricism and find that even cases of claimed "a priori" reasoning rest on an "a posteriori" base (no pun intended). And I certainly feel that "metaphysical" knowledge is little more than self-delusion. But again one would expect that of an atheist.
Sidewalker
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6/25/2012 6:09:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 12:09:56 PM, vbaculum wrote:
Is it just me or is the 'scientism" meme starting to pick up steam?

Necessarily so, and in response to the exponential growth of Scientism as a faith based belief system.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Thaumaturgy
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6/25/2012 8:30:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 6:09:01 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2012 12:09:56 PM, vbaculum wrote:
Is it just me or is the 'scientism" meme starting to pick up steam?

Necessarily so, and in response to the exponential growth of Scientism as a faith based belief system.

Again, scientism at it's heardt is a belief system predicated on the idea that only scientific means provide information about reality.

What is the "alternative" means of getting information about reality?

While I think people can take their "faith" in science too far (by not understanding that the scientists are not able to provide "perfect knowledge" but rather an approximation), I think this belief system is infinitely more justifiable than any other form of gaining knowledge of reality and hence justifiable.

So tell me what is the "alternative"?
Sidewalker
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6/25/2012 11:07:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 10:01:02 AM, Thaumaturgy wrote:

I must disagree. Religion arguably exists precisely to explain the inexplicable. To bring comfort when unknown forces array against one. It has been ever thus with religion. Religious explanations (like creation myths) help make sense of the unknown and invariably become metaphorical as discoveries find out what actually happened.

Spoken like one of Scientism's true believers, perhaps it is useful as it relates to an agenda, but it just isn't informed or factual. No true scholar of religion finds this to have any explanatory value in the study of religion. It is nothing but the faith based dogma of Scientism.

As a handle on the "argument from ignorance" it is exceedingly useful, if not used in those terms explicitly. How many times has science pushed back the frontiers of ignorance which formerly were a place for God? The Black Plague in Europe in the 14th century certainly had a huge number of people believing it was God's anger, and no one really quite figured out it was parasites feeding off infected rats and the blossoming of internation trade carrying disease vectors across previously unimaginable distances.

It is itself an "argument from ignorance", I recognize the utilitarian value of attempting to reduce religion to a sort of argumentative and speculative science as an apologetics for Scientism, but it is an uninformed position, it's nothing but the dogma of the faith.

If the Plague took hold in a European port city today I'm reasonably sure almost no one would say "Our only hope is to become penitents and beg mercy from God!" No, more people would say: "break out the antibiotics and quarantine the port!"

It's rather typical of fundamentalists to provide dumbed down and completely uninformed characterizations of other faiths, as I mentioned in the OP, both sides define their own position by reference to the "other" of their "us/them" thinking.

Why? Is God less strong now? Or is it because our knowledge is expanded and God is rendered less as an explanatory variable?

God is only an explanatory variable within the dogmatic theological belief of Scientism, where religion is defined as a competing and primitive form of science.

Why would they discuss something that was not a "concern" for the faith? That seems irrational.

Bingo, they were talking about how irrational this "God of the Gaps" concept is.

No, they were addressing a natural human tendency to harbor all their doubt and ignorance in the "unknowable" vastness of God. Why else would they rail against such a concept? Because people do that. They have always done that.

No, people of faith have always explicated their beliefs within the context of the best available science of the times, but you can't blame religion for the level of scientific understanding at an ancient point in time. Aeistotle was one of the greatest scientific minds in history and I'm sure there are religious fundamentalists that can point to huge errors in his physics and biology to denigrate science, but it just wouldn't be a valid argument.

Look at Leviticus 14:2-22. Does this seem as effective against leprosy as say the MDT (MultiDrug Therapy) discussed by the World Health Organization today?
Hmmm, Multidrug therapy or two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop, kill one bird in an earthenware vessel over running water, then dip the living bird, the cedar, the hyssop and the scarlet and dip them in the blood of the bird thus killed etc etc etc.

I'm not faulting the ancients for not knowing, I'm merely pointing out one example (of many) in which appeals to God are considered the only viable option, whereas now I'm reasonably sure that W.H.O. representatives out treating leprosy in Africa are not chewing through hundreds of birds to do the job.

I get it, you drank the kool aid of scientism, you can make its dogmatic assertions all day long, but the faith's dumbed down conception of religion as a competing and primitive form of science just isn't the least bit informed or valid.

Crap, ran out of room, and I was just getting ready to really tick you off :)

I'll continue responding with the next post.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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6/25/2012 11:21:36 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 10:01:02 AM, Thaumaturgy wrote:

But "scientism" is predicated on an appreciation of science, which arguably has been the most effective means of explaining the world known to humans. Ever.

Nope, scientism is predicated on a misunderstanding of science. Science is selective, it does not claim that its picture of reality is complete, its models and theories are not literal descriptions but refer selectively and inadequately to limited aspects of reality. Science asks carefully delimited questions about natural phenomena. It was not intended as providing an overall worldview, a philosophy of life, or a set of ethical norms. Science tries to document the factual character of the natural world, religion operates in the equally important, but utterly different, realm of human purposes, meanings and values.

Authentic religion in no way seeks to be a rival to scientific explanation but rather it aims to complement that explanation by setting it within a wider and more profound context and understanding. Nowhere does science say that you can reduce reality to a single ontological level; that is scientism's metaphysical belief based solely on faith.

Scientism fails to distinguish between scientific and philosophical questions and attempts to invoke the authority of science for ideas that are not a part of science. It tends to be based on a medieval understanding of science and a shallow and superficial understanding of faith, and because it based on a misunderstanding of science, it attempts to define its own position solely by the negative characterization of the presumed opposition as wrong because its adherents do not understand their own position.

I will agree that the extremes of scientism are probably founded more on the laypersons failure to grasp the subtleties of science's limitations, but science has demonstrably proven more capable of addressing the worlds ills in the last several centuries than millenia of non-scientific superstition and religion.

Science can tell us what man does, it cannot tell us what man ought to do. It can provide us wth the technolgy to address ills, but it cannot tell us how to apply that technology.

This is not to say religion has "no value"! Far from it! Religion provides a sense of security and something to help people understand the unknown. It serves a very good purpose for many!

That is a dumbed down mischaracterization of religion that is typical of Scientism.

In its raw form it forms the basis of a purely materialist view of the universe which is all we are really capable of experiencing in any meaningful way. The pejorative extension of "overapplication" of science, but since there has been millenia of "spiritual exploration" resulting in a plethora of jarringly different views of the supernatural, yet only a few hundred years of science resulting in massive breakthroughs unknown in scale and tempo in all the previous millenia of human history, I'd have to say that science thus deserves some "excess reliance".

Scientism (in it's "pejorative application") is more justified than fundamentalism.

Scientism is itself a form of religious fundamentalism,characterized by rigid adherence to strictly faith based principles with a pretense of being the sole source of objective truth, intolerance of other views, and dogmatic opposition to those who disagree. A mirror image of the religious fundamentalism it opposes.

At least you are getting I that I fully intend to be pejorative about Scientism :)

What other approaches to knowledge have shown similar benefits? How many millenia of talking about God did it take for the Church to cure disease?

If science is predicated on observation, hypothesis, testing and refining, what possible OTHER approach to knowledge can there be and how has it shown "benefit"?

If true intelligence involves the ability to view and understanding widely different things from multiple different perspectives, an aptitude for grasping a wide range of truths, relationships, and meanings, and the capacity for abstract and symbolic thought, then it follows logically that the contention that one can reduce reality to only one of its modes, to know it in only one of its forms, is an unintelligent claim.

Considering how few people on the planet are trained up as scientists, they are left with only the "fruits" of the technique. It is rational for them to hold these ideas with some amount of "religious conviction", but hardly without benefit of evidence.

Oh pulease...Gameboys and satellite communications are hardly what I would call evidence that support the naive misapplication of science.

It's the followers of the religion of Scientism that have become dogmatic hardliners, and playing these fools like a fiddle has become big business. Their high priests, people like Richard Dawkins, are laughing at them all the way to the bank.

Patently absurd.

Dawkins was a great scientist, he wrote some great books and I read them all, but he made more money crapping all over real science with his last few books than ever before. He was arrogant enough to see the dumbed down masses and have no respect for them, tell them they were "Brights", and make a killing writing books that were nothing but bad science. Ge is quoted saying "I've never read a single religious text or theological work because I know they are all rubbish", talk about uninformed, and this guy is a High Priest of Scientism's contrived conflict with religion, that is patently absurd…but it made him a very rich man, and I'm certain that he is laughing at his mindless followers.

Yep, the process brings out the worst in both sides of the debates, in the end it results in dogmatic extremists that have completely abandoned reason and logic.

This I will wholeheartedly agree with.

We agree on something finally.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Thaumaturgy
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6/26/2012 10:25:54 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 11:07:27 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
Spoken like one of Scientism's true believers, perhaps it is useful as it relates to an agenda, but it just isn't informed or factual.

Would it help you to know I have a BS, MS and PhD in geology and have worked for the past 15 years or so as a professional research chemist in industry? Or do you think I'm doing science all wrong?

It is itself an "argument from ignorance", I recognize the utilitarian value of attempting to reduce religion to a sort of argumentative and speculative science as an apologetics for Scientism, but it is an uninformed position, it's nothing but the dogma of the faith.

Scientism did not generate the "god of the gaps", human nature did that for millenia long before science came to be what it is today.

It's rather typical of fundamentalists to provide dumbed down and completely uninformed characterizations of other faiths, as I mentioned in the OP, both sides define their own position by reference to the "other" of their "us/them" thinking.

So are you saying that people in the 14th century didn't appeal to God by mortifying their own flesh and didn't feel that the Plague was part of God's wrath poured out on them and that appeasing God was important in dealing with the plague?

You might want to take this up with historians.

God is only an explanatory variable within the dogmatic theological belief of Scientism, where religion is defined as a competing and primitive form of science.

That's ridiculous. God is an explanatory variable in RELIGION.

Bingo, they were talking about how irrational this "God of the Gaps" concept is.

But they were not addressing it to "scientists"...they were addressing it to the faithful

"...how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know; God wants us to realize his presence, not in unsolved problems but in those that are solved" (Bonhoffer, Letter 1944)

Does that sound like it is being addressed to SCIENTISTS to you? Or does it sound like it is being addressed to BELIEVERS OF GOD?

My point being that human nature naturally developed the god hypothesis to explain the inexplicable. What's the point of the Book of Job if not to address this point to the faithful?

No, people of faith have always explicated their beliefs within the context of the best available science of the times

Well, with the possible exception of the case of Gallileo and that unfortunate bit with Giordano Bruno...

I get it, you drank the kool aid of scientism

"drank the kool aid"? Is that all you have? Could it be that I have taken philosophy classes while I got my various university degrees in science? Hmmm?

, you can make its dogmatic assertions all day long, but the faith's dumbed down conception of religion as a competing and primitive form of science just isn't the least bit informed or valid.

"Dumbed down conception of religion"? Interesting. I spent 30+ years as a believing Christian. I don't think I have "dumbed down conception of religion". I have read expansively on the history of religion and theology. I think on this thread alone I've provided more than ample support for my "religious" points.

Crap, ran out of room, and I was just getting ready to really tick you off :)

You wouldn't be trolling, would you?
Thaumaturgy
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6/26/2012 10:45:57 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 11:21:36 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
Nope, scientism is predicated on a misunderstanding of science.

From Sorell, Tom. Scientism: Philosophy and the Infatuation with Science. Routledge, 1994, p. 1ff:

"Scientism is the belief that science, especially natural science, is much the most valuable part of human learning--much the most valuable part because it is much the most authoritative, or serious or beneficial."

As I clearly stated in my other posts I will gladly acquiesce that people untrained in science may come to rely on science as "perfect" knowledge which is something science never promises, but as an epistemology I find the above quoted basis quite reasonable.

Science is selective, it does not claim that its picture of reality is complete, its models and theories are not literal descriptions but refer selectively

And I have explicitly and repeatedly agreed wholeheartedly with that point. If I have said otherwise you will kindly point it out to me. I live science every day. So I know what a "p-value" is.

Science asks carefully delimited questions about natural phenomena. It was not intended as providing an overall worldview

Yet you have not shown me an alternative route to understanding reality.

religion operates in the equally important, but utterly different, realm of human purposes, meanings and values.

Purpose and meaning? Religion synthesizes those from whole cloth, yes. But that does not mean they are fundamentally real. They provide a "comfort" for the believers and as such I'm glad it exists. But I see no reason to say that a believer's sense of what their "purpose" in life is is somehow an immutable law of nature.

It has no extrinsic "meaning" per se.

"Values"? Just about every single human "value" can be traced back to biological and evolutionary imperatives (sorry, that's science).

Authentic religion in no way seeks to be a rival to scientific explanation but rather it aims to complement that explanation by setting it within a wider and more profound context and understanding.

I'll overlook the no true scotsman phrase in there ("authentic religion") and proceed to point out that the same could be said for any made up story. Larding reality with additional invisible characters with no real evidence for their existence is hardly a compelling reason to believe in them.

Nowhere does science say that you can reduce reality to a single ontological level; that is scientism's metaphysical belief based solely on faith.

Scientism is the avoidance of metaphysics. Why do you keep adding these anti-scientism points to scientism?

Scientism fails to distinguish between scientific and philosophical questions and attempts to invoke the authority of science for ideas that are not a part of science.

And can you give me an example of such a philosophical question that cannot be understood or approached just as effectively (and provide an equivalent or better answer) through observation and scientific inquiry?

(Please don't say "meaning of life", because that is like asking the "meaning of butterflies". A meaningless question).

Science can tell us what man does, it cannot tell us what man ought to do.

Actually you are incorrect there. Again, biological and evolutionary imperatives underlie our "morality" and "values".

It can provide us wth the technolgy to address ills, but it cannot tell us how to apply that technology.

Meaningless aphorism.

Again, any example you give I can provide you with a wholly non-metaphysical rationale for making a decision. An "informed" decision at that.

That is a dumbed down mischaracterization of religion that is typical of Scientism.

LOL. Sorry you're lathering yourself up with your own hubris here. I'll take you on in a religious or a scientific debate anytime you like.

If true intelligence involves the ability to view and understanding widely different things from multiple different perspectives, an aptitude for grasping a wide range of truths, relationships, and meanings, and the capacity for abstract and symbolic thought, then it follows logically that the contention that one can reduce reality to only one of its modes, to know it in only one of its forms, is an unintelligent claim.

So you just typed out a full paragraph and somehow never got around to providing me with an alternative route to knowledge of reality. OK.
popculturepooka
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6/26/2012 10:39:37 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 2:02:48 PM, Thaumaturgy wrote:
At 6/25/2012 12:09:56 PM, vbaculum wrote:
Is it just me or is the 'scientism" meme starting to pick up steam?

It's been kicking around for a while. Some philosophers of science used the terms to decry over-reliance on dogmatically reducing the world down to that which can be measured.

But at it's core it can be considered "... that science alone can render truth about the world and reality" (SOURCE: http://www.pbs.org...) which is, on its surface not an unreasonable approach.


I'm not seeing what's apparently reasonable -- or at least not unreasonable -- about that approach. Which scientific experiment or body of scientific experiments have established that science alone can render truth about the world and reality? If you could refer me to peer-reviewed scientific journals that'd be nice. :)
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Sidewalker
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6/26/2012 10:48:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/25/2012 2:02:48 PM, Thaumaturgy wrote:
At 6/25/2012 12:09:56 PM, vbaculum wrote:
Is it just me or is the 'scientism" meme starting to pick up steam?

It's been kicking around for a while. Some philosophers of science used the terms to decry over-reliance on dogmatically reducing the world down to that which can be measured.

But at it's core it can be considered "... that science alone can render truth about the world and reality" (SOURCE: http://www.pbs.org...) which is, on its surface not an unreasonable approach.

IMHO, this source of "knowledge" is really the only one we have to understand reality. Of course I'm more prone to empiricism and find that even cases of claimed "a priori" reasoning rest on an "a posteriori" base (no pun intended). And I certainly feel that "metaphysical" knowledge is little more than self-delusion. But again one would expect that of an atheist.

You do know that many of your dogmatic assertions in this thread have been metaphysical assertions, right?

Or perhaps the religion of Scientism has their own special definition of Metaphysics? Want to tell me what it is?
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
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6/26/2012 11:34:04 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
: At 6/26/2012 10:25:54 AM, Thaumaturgy wrote:

Would it help you to know I have a BS, MS and PhD in geology and have worked for the past 15 years or so as a professional research chemist in industry?
This is the logical fallacy of an "appeal to authority", and that red herring doesn't make your assertions true.

Or do you think I'm doing science all wrong?

No, I think you are doing intelligent discussion all wrong, you are throwing out the dogmatic assertions of Scientism as if they are actual responses to the points I've made, they aren't, You either aren't reading what I'm saying, or you aren't comprehending what I'm saying, but your responses are mostly non-sequiturs. You seem to be responding to the mirror image religious fundamentalists of your "us/them" thinking rather than to me. Is this just a matter of habit?

: Scientism did not generate the "god of the gaps", human nature did that for millenia long before science came to be what it is today.

Maybe geology trumps religious scholarship in the world of Scientism, but in the real world, you only find this God of the gaps argument being used by the Scientism crowd on internet debate forums, and only because it is useful to the agenda, not because it is informed or accurate .

: So are you saying that people in the 14th century didn't appeal to God by mortifying their own flesh and didn't feel that the Plague was part of God's wrath poured out on them and that appeasing God was important in dealing with the plague?

You might want to take this up with historians.


Once again, this reply is only the mirror image of the religious fundamentalist who would try to discredit science by pointing out that George Washington's doctors bled him to death. It's irrelevant.

: That's ridiculous. God is an explanatory variable in RELIGION.

Perhaps this is an article of faith in Scientism, but it isn't an informed position.

: But they were not addressing it to "scientists"...they were addressing it to the faithful

: "...how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know; God wants us to realize his presence, not in unsolved problems but in those that are solved" (Bonhoffer, Letter 1944)

Does that sound like it is being addressed to SCIENTISTS to you? Or does it sound like it is being addressed to BELIEVERS OF GOD?


I never said they were addressing scientists, I said they were speaking to how irrational the concept is. Have you bifurcated the world into only two kinds of people, believers and scientists, is your fundamentalism's "us/them" thinking that extreme?

: My point being that human nature naturally developed the god hypothesis to explain the inexplicable. What's the point of the Book of Job if not to address this point to the faithful?

I know what your point is, but I also know it's contrived, the God of the Gaps theory has no standing whatsoever in the world of religious scholarship...and no, that isn't what the Book of Job is about.

: Well, with the possible exception of the case of Gallileo and that unfortunate bit with Giordano Bruno...

Another non sequitur, do you guys have some kind of quota on making these pat statements or what?

: "drank the kool aid"? Is that all you have? Could it be that I have taken philosophy classes while I got my various university degrees in science? Hmmm?

Another "appeal to authority", is that all you have? Hmmmm…have you also stayed at a Holiday Inn Express?

: "Dumbed down conception of religion"? Interesting. I spent 30+ years as a believing Christian. I don't think I have "dumbed down conception of religion". I have read expansively on the history of religion and theology. I think on this thread alone I've provided more than ample support for my "religious" points.

So you are telling me that the entire time you were getting this plethora of science degrees you were a practicing Christian that believed Christianity provided a better scientific explanation than science did? If you were a "God of the gaps" man the whole time, why did you even bother to get those science degrees?

I'm pretty well read myself, and I've never come across a single credible scholar of religion that thought this contrived God of the gaps theory had any adequate explanatory value. Can you reference one for me?

: You wouldn't be trolling, would you?

Nope, just recognizing how defensive you fundies tend to get whenever anyone challenges their religious belief system.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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6/27/2012 12:11:30 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/26/2012 11:34:04 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
: At 6/26/2012 10:25:54 AM, Thaumaturgy wrote:

Would it help you to know I have a BS, MS and PhD in geology and have worked for the past 15 years or so as a professional research chemist in industry?
This is the logical fallacy of an "appeal to authority", and that red herring doesn't make your assertions true.

The Fool: Scientism is just another word for Postivism. There are not that many contemporary professional scientist and there are absolutly no contemporary philosophers of science who appeal to that doctrine. Yes large portions of the general population think this in a over simplied understanding common tenents of science, but you should know that. Secondly, non of that notion supports any Religious doctrine what so ever anyways! So what is your point here?

Either way it doesn't help your case, what makes fundementalism bad is because of the number of basless assertions.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
Sidewalker
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6/27/2012 12:23:17 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/26/2012 10:45:57 AM, Thaumaturgy wrote:

From Sorell, Tom. Scientism: Philosophy and the Infatuation with Science. Routledge, 1994, p. 1ff:

"Scientism is the belief that science, especially natural science, is much the most valuable part of human learning--much the most valuable part because it is much the most authoritative, or serious or beneficial."

As I clearly stated in my other posts I will gladly acquiesce that people untrained in science may come to rely on science as "perfect" knowledge which is something science never promises, but as an epistemology I find the above quoted basis quite reasonable.

Yeah, I suppose so, in fact, science appears to be the object of worship in your religious belief system.

And I have explicitly and repeatedly agreed wholeheartedly with that point. If I have said otherwise you will kindly point it out to me. I live science every day. So I know what a "p-value" is.

This is yet another "appeal to authority" logical fallacy, and it only goes to support my point that Scientism tries to invoke the authority of science for ideas that are not a part of science.

Yet you have not shown me an alternative route to understanding reality.

You just spew out your dogmatic pat answers "as if" I am the opposing religious fundamentalist of your "us/them" thinking. You want to pretend that you are defending science from some kind of attack, and that just isn't my point at all. I am defending science from Scientism's act of pirating it for ideological ends. My contention is that religion is not this alternative explanatory hypothesis that you think it is, it does not compete with science, and science and religion are not in conflict with each other, but you keep replying with a challenge for me to to demonstrate that religion is what you contrive it to be. You seem to be locked into some mode of automatic reply to your counterpart religious fundamentalists, it's making my OP point very well, but I'm just not going to play that counterpart role for you, it just isn't my position.

Purpose and meaning? Religion synthesizes those from whole cloth, yes. But that does not mean they are fundamentally real. They provide a "comfort" for the believers and as such I'm glad it exists. But I see no reason to say that a believer's sense of what their "purpose" in life is is somehow an immutable law of nature.

Fundamentally real? There you go arguing ontology again, which is a primary branch of metaphysics, and according to your own contention that is supposed to be nothing but a self delusion isn't it?

I see mo reason to say that a believer's sense of what their "purpose" in life is is somehow an immutable law of nature either...where do you come up with this stuff?

It has no extrinsic "meaning" per se.

What the hell is an "extrinsic" meaning?

"Values"? Just about every single human "value" can be traced back to biological and evolutionary imperatives (sorry, that's science).

Oh pulease, that isn't science, it's a faith based philosophical assertion, you really need to try to understand the difference between the two.

I'll overlook the no true scotsman phrase in there ("authentic religion") and proceed to point out that the same could be said for any made up story. Larding reality with additional invisible characters with no real evidence for their existence is hardly a compelling reason to believe in them.

I'm glad you overlooked it because the phrase "authentic religion" is not a "no true Scotsman" fallacy by any stretch of the imagination, the rest of the sentence is another non sequitur and the next sentence is another of your metaphysical assertions, please stop deluding yourself.

Scientism is the avoidance of metaphysics. Why do you keep adding these anti-scientism points to scientism?

Then why is your Scientism so chock full of Metaphysical assertions?

And can you give me an example of such a philosophical question that cannot be understood or approached just as effectively (and provide an equivalent or better answer) through observation and scientific inquiry?

(Please don't say "meaning of life", because that is like asking the "meaning of butterflies". A meaningless question).

I won't, I'll just thank you for demonstrating my OP point, yet again.

Actually you are incorrect there. Again, biological and evolutionary imperatives underlie our "morality" and "values".

Oh, you're a Skinnerian too? Don't tell me, let me guess, and morality and values have no objective existence anyway, right?

Meaningless aphorism.

Thought-terminating cliché.

Again, any example you give I can provide you with a wholly non-metaphysical rationale for making a decision. An "informed" decision at that.

Nope, I'm going to give examples to support your position because I don't agree with it.

LOL. Sorry you're lathering yourself up with your own hubris here. I'll take you on in a religious or a scientific debate anytime you like.

As soon as I get to a hundred posts, you're on…but you have to actually debate me, not those mirror image religious fundamentalists that you automatically respond to, OK?

So you just typed out a full paragraph and somehow never got around to providing me with an alternative route to knowledge of reality. OK.

Yeah, and you got through a full thread and never did anything but demonstrate the validity of my OP…as those cranberry guys say, thanks fer yer support.

And by the way, if I ever run across somebody that insists that Christianity is competing with the food network for culinary expertise, when they insist that I show them the superior recipes that are in the Bible, I'm just not going to do that either, no matter how many times they ask me to.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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6/27/2012 2:07:51 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/27/2012 12:23:17 AM, Sidewalker wrote:

The Fool: somebodies avoiding refutation.......
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
Thaumaturgy
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6/28/2012 10:15:36 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/26/2012 11:34:04 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
No, I think you are doing intelligent discussion all wrong, you are throwing out the dogmatic assertions of Scientism as if they are actual responses to the points I've made, they aren't,

I have responded to your points with far more civility than you do and I have supported my contentions. I don't inherently disagree with your OP but I think you are now just getting into random trolling and ad hominem.

You either aren't reading what I'm saying, or you aren't comprehending what I'm saying,

I have more than comprehended your points. You needn't insult me. But it appears you wanted to pick and fight and now you have one. Good for you. Please do attempt to remain civil in the debate.

but your responses are mostly non-sequiturs. You seem to be responding to the mirror image religious fundamentalists of your "us/them" thinking rather than to me. Is this just a matter of habit?

I have only leveraged your original points of dogmantic scientism and dogmatic fundamentalism. You set the ground rules I only followed the terms you established.

Maybe geology trumps religious scholarship in the world of Scientism, but in the real world, you only find this God of the gaps argument being used by the Scientism crowd on internet debate forums, and only because it is useful to the agenda, not because it is informed or accurate .

As I pointed out; Bonhoffer and others who originally wrote to debate against "god of the gaps" were writing to the faithful since the faithful were veering into this mode of thinking.

Now all you seem to be doing is appealing to some ineffible "authority" of the scholars of whom you repeatedly point to but seldom ever actually name.

Once again, this reply is only the mirror image of the religious fundamentalist who would try to discredit science by pointing out that George Washington's doctors bled him to death. It's irrelevant.

It is patently not irrelevant since the examples I relied on were clear examples of cases where people believed that their ills were due to God's direct intervention and action, rather than the more prosaic scientific explanations. Their reasoning would not lead one to the "Germ Theory", but it would certainly be threatened by the "God of the Gaps" reasoning that any unknown must be explicable by God's actions.

Perhaps this is an article of faith in Scientism, but it isn't an informed position.


I fear you don't really understand what an "explanatory variable" is. In science we develop things like statistical models in which the explanatory variables are used to characterize the outcome of a given set of data. In the case of science God, by definition is not an "explanatory variable".

I never said they were addressing scientists, I said they were speaking to how irrational the concept is.

Well it appears that I have lost you. So let me recap. You say no legitimate religious scholar uses the "God of the Gaps" and then you mention Bonhoffer's letter. I am merely pointing out that many religions believers do rely on the "God of the Gaps" and these were the people Bonhoffer was addressing.

The fact that many religious people rely on a "god of the gaps" mentality is, indeed, a dangerous path for them to go down, but indeed it is and was done by many believers.

If the only people in a religion who 'count' are "legitimate religious scholars" then you have overly narrowed the debate to something ridiculous so you can build an argument sure to fail.

Have you bifurcated the world into only two kinds of people, believers and scientists, is your fundamentalism's "us/them" thinking that extreme?

No! My point was to help you realize that the "God of the Gaps" is a problem for religious believers.

I know what your point is, but I also know it's contrived, the God of the Gaps theory has no standing whatsoever in the world of religious scholarship...and no, that isn't what the Book of Job is about.

LOL. Please do tell me what the Book of Job is about! I actually find the middle part of Job, the searching and questioning by Job about why what is happening to him is happening to be a very beautiful piece of writing. I find the beginning part between God and ha' satan to be painful trash theology and the ending where God defends himself by essentially telling Job that he doesn't have the right to ask why these things are happening to him! "Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it."

Job is quintessentially about why "bad things happen to good people", the conversations with his friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar are prime examples of people attempting to infer some possible explanation (despite God's later rebuttal to this) and in the end the only answer for Job is simply because God can.

Another non sequitur, do you guys have some kind of quota on making these pat statements or what?

You stated clearly and unequivocally:

No, people of faith have always explicated their beliefs within the context of the best available science of the times

To which I responded with examples where clearly people of faith had available better science which was soundly rejected, in many cases with force. And not always for scientific or even necessarily theological reasons. But your point was universal in its use of "always". So all I needed to do to defeat it was find one example. I found two for you.

Another "appeal to authority", is that all you have? Hmmmm…have you also stayed at a Holiday Inn Express?

You accused me of "drinking the kool aid" so I had to respond that I am indeed not just "drinking the kool aid" but actually working as a scientist and I have taken philosophy classes and read up on this stuff. So if that is "Drinking the kool aid" I don't know what would count as "good activitiy" in support of my contentions.

You insult me (repeatedly) and then you accuse me of various logic fallacies. You are really on a roll.

So you are telling me that the entire time you were getting this plethora of science degrees you were a practicing Christian that believed Christianity provided a better scientific explanation than science did?

No. That is a false dichotomy. I believed there was a "supernatural realm" and that God could, through physical actions as understood by science, make things happen in the world but ontologically God was in a position outside of the physical world. I no longer believe that. But it was never a "black or white" choice for me at that time.

Why would you proceed to make such a bad logical inference?

If you were a "God of the gaps" man the whole time, why did you even bother to get those science degrees?

Oh I was never a "God or the Gaps" person, even while religious! I thoughtyou ahd been following this discussion. I believed God acted through scientific laws and may have at one time or another done "miracles", but did not rely on our ignorance of scientific concepts as the "Reservoir" for God.

Nope, just recognizing how defensive you fundies tend to get whenever anyone challenges their religious belief system.

You jumped in very quickly and grew quite insulting. You have done little but insult and berate. And you seem to be doing it with intent.

You appear to have come on here, gotten someone on largely agreed with your OP but only differed on a few points, which you leveraged into an all-out insult fest on your part. I can only think you were looking for someone to lay into. You found him. Good for you. Hopefully your trolling isn't limited to just this and sooner or later you'll supply some actual details to your points rather than repeated insults.
Thaumaturgy
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6/28/2012 10:35:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/27/2012 12:23:17 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
Yeah, I suppose so, in fact, science appears to be the object of worship in your religious belief system.

I sense you aren't actually reading my posts for content. I am saddened by that.

This is yet another "appeal to authority" logical fallacy, and it only goes to support my point that Scientism tries to invoke the authority of science for ideas that are not a part of science.

Hmmm, do you know what a p-value is in inferential statistics?

You just spew out your dogmatic pat answers "as if" I am the opposing religious fundamentalist of your "us/them" thinking.

Actually I have not. I rather assumed you were not necessarily a "fundie" and so far you appear to be the only person accusing someone of being a "fundie".

You want to pretend that you are defending science from some kind of attack, and that just isn't my point at all.

Actually I have made a relatively mild point but you, in your lust to attack and insult have turned it into a "Defensive" action.

I am defending science from Scientism's act of pirating it for ideological ends.

And I clearly stated that scientism is a reasonable, albeit often flawed extension of science in the face of resurgent religious fundamentalism. I pointed out (repeatedly) the root of scientism (I even cited a defintion and citation) and I agreed that those untrained in science may be prone to thinking science is capable of more than it actually is. Somehow you have taken this as an opportunity to unleash whatever pent up rage you have and insult me (repeatedly).

My contention is that religion is not this alternative explanatory hypothesis that you think it is, it does not compete with science, and science and religion are not in conflict with each other,

And my point is (and has been now for some time) that if you take the root definition of scientism that I laid out (and gave you the citation for) that is predicated on materialism then there's no reason for a religious concept. If I am a materialist then I clearly don't believe there is anything for religion to "explain". There simply is no "supernatural" sphere.

Yes Religion has a role in explaining those things which religious people believe is real. But if I am a materialist then I have no need of religion and see no value to the "explanations", in fact this leads me to believe the core of scientism that science provides the only useful, meaningful and real data on "reality" we have or even can have.

but you keep replying with a challenge for me to to demonstrate that religion is what you contrive it to be.

Actually you are incorrect here. I have only asked you to provide me with an alternative way of knowing about reality. An alternative epistemology. This is why I'm a materialist and it is why I find the core definition of scientism (not the extrapolation to it's error-prone extremes among the untrained) to be a rational approach.

You seem to be locked into some mode of automatic reply to your counterpart religious fundamentalists, it's making my OP point very well, but I'm just not going to play that counterpart role for you, it just isn't my position.

I believe if you look back at the first post I made, I largely agreed with your OP.

Fundamentally real? There you go arguing ontology again, which is a primary branch of metaphysics, and according to your own contention that is supposed to be nothing but a self delusion isn't it?

I don't think you actually read my point for content.

What the hell is an "extrinsic" meaning?

Oh, I'm sorry. "Extrinsic meaning" would be meaning outside and apart from the believers "idea". For instance if I thought my "purpose in life" was to serve God then I would assume there is actually a "God" to serve. If I thought my purpose in life was to be the best "astronaut" I could be, that would presuppose that there was such a thing as "being an astronaut" outside of my imagination.

Oh pulease, that isn't science, it's a faith based philosophical assertion, you really need to try to understand the difference between the two.

Actually it is an "hypothesis". If someone raises the concept of "values" I will hypothesize (wholly within the bounds of the natural world) an explanation for those values that utilizes only the material facts available and that we have established as part of biology.

I won't, I'll just thank you for demonstrating my OP point, yet again.

Of course you "won't". But I wonder if indeed the problem is more a matter of "can't".

Oh, you're a Skinnerian too? Don't tell me, let me guess, and morality and values have no objective existence anyway, right?

That would be quite correct in my view. Why would morality or values need an "objective" existence?


Meaningless aphorism.

Thought-terminating cliché.


Yeah, there's a lot of that "cliche" going around. Maybe you need to look up what a "cliche" is.

Nope, I'm going to give examples to support your position because I don't agree with it.

I'm not asking for examples to support my position, I'm asking for your epistemology that relies on non-physical, non-scientific means which would be an additive onto our knowledge of reality. I am not posing it as either-or. I'm explicitly stating that I need you to tell me how you think we know about reality.

And when you go with the "non-overlapping magesteria" of science and religion I will ask why supernatural concepts need "explaining".

As soon as I get to a hundred posts, you're on…but you have to actually debate me, not those mirror image religious fundamentalists that you automatically respond to, OK?

I have been far more civil and far more thoughtful in my responses than you have been able to muster in this thread. It isn't my attitude that needs conforming here.

You need to learn some civility and you need to stop your onanistic train for a moment.

And by the way, if I ever run across somebody that insists that Christianity is competing with the food network for culinary expertise, when they insist that I show them the superior recipes that are in the Bible, I'm just not going to do that either, no matter how many times they ask me to.

Well, then you'll have a tough time debating epistemology. But insulting people seems to be more your "speed". So I'm sure you'll do just fine with that "version" of debate.