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What is scientism? 
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Post Re: What is scientism?
geo wrote:
It's difficult for me to respond to the general tenor of the term "new atheists" which seems to be an effort to frame atheism as an unified position or organized movement. Atheism simply means without belief in God which is hardly a unifying doctrine. Writers such as Dawkins, Hitchens, and Sam Harris have written about religion, but they each have unique perspectives. I don't think it's fair to summarize either of these writers' positions as an attempt to "turn the word religion into a pejorative term." I'm quite sure that's not what any of them are attempting to do.


Actually, they probably are doing that. However, I think they would concede that religious belief can be comforting for people.

But let's face it. Every organized religion is peddling false claims. Hardly anyone's belief system is based on "maybe there's some kind of intelligent being out there," rather it is very specific claims that have a 99.999999999% of being false. And sometimes those beliefs lead to negative effects on society, legislation, etc. I'm OK with being critical of that, especially in general terms. I also don't insult people I know who have those beliefs.



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Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:27 pm
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Post Re: What is scientism?
Dexter wrote:
geo wrote:
It's difficult for me to respond to the general tenor of the term "new atheists" which seems to be an effort to frame atheism as an unified position or organized movement. Atheism simply means without belief in God which is hardly a unifying doctrine. Writers such as Dawkins, Hitchens, and Sam Harris have written about religion, but they each have unique perspectives. I don't think it's fair to summarize either of these writers' positions as an attempt to "turn the word religion into a pejorative term." I'm quite sure that's not what any of them are attempting to do.


Actually, they probably are doing that. However, I think they would concede that religious belief can be comforting for people.

But let's face it. Every organized religion is peddling false claims. Hardly anyone's belief system is based on "maybe there's some kind of intelligent being out there," rather it is very specific claims that have a 99.999999999% of being false. And sometimes those beliefs lead to negative effects on society, legislation, etc. I'm OK with being critical of that, especially in general terms. I also don't insult people I know who have those beliefs.


Of the three mentioned authors, I've only read Dawkins' The God Delusion. Perhaps Dawkins' main thesis is that there's no evidence for God, thus no rational reason to believe in him. Belief in God, therefore, is delusional. If that makes religion look bad, so be it. But I think Dawkins' purpose is to hold a mirror up and say look how ridiculous these beliefs are and that society should question them. Why give religion a free pass? But to say that Dawkins is trying to give religion a bad name is hopelessly reductive and simplistic. That's all I'm saying.

These guys--the so-called Four Horsemen--are willing to say the emperor has no clothes in a world that has given religion hands-off status for many hundreds of years.. I disagree with some of Dawkins' methods. Most of his arguments are against fundamentalist beliefs which are at the very stupidest end of the spectrum. Most people's beliefs run more metaphorical I think. Most people don't believe Noah really put all of the animals on a boat in order to survive God's wrath. At least I hope not.


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Post Re: What is scientism?
“Scientism”

Hmm…

That's goofy.

I don’t know that I’m a scientismist. Maybe people would say that I am.

My view is simple. If it is real, and actually has an impact on reality, then there is something we can know about it and that puts it under the umbrella of science.

That doesn’t mean we can know everything, or that everything WILL ultimately be revealed through research. It may well be that we aren’t intelligent enough to fully comprehend things, even if the evidence is right in front of our faces. But the evidence IS there and available for study, and scientific insight, we just have to figure out how to get at it.

Like the telescope and microscope. These tools gave us the means to study things that seemed outside of our reach. We just had to wedge that door open, and now we’re making serious headway. And those bits of knowledge led us to conclusions in seemingly unrelated fields which expand our knowledge in ways we could not have anticipated. Stellar nuclear synthesis being an example.

So to me it is pretty simple. The scientific method is the best tool we have on hand. It does not cater to our preferences. It admits no room for self deception. It is brutal to our self-flattery and indulgent fantasies. It is exactly the reality check we need to get past our ancestry to see the world without our blinders.

That is why I endorse science. Not because somebody told me it was awesome, but because it has been demonstrated to be awesome.

If you aknowledge that facts and evidence are more reliable than opinion the conclusion is obvious.


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Post Re: What is scientism?
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rather it is very specific claims that have a 99.999999999% of being false. And sometimes those beliefs lead to negative effects on society, legislation, etc


To millions and millions of people, their religion and God is a very deep, personal relationship that has impacted their lives in a postive manner. To them, they are 100% certain of their exprience as being very real.

I guess for the rest of us, we are fortunate to have people among us who are 99.999999999% certain those that believe in a god have been wrong all along.

Also, because you are a toenail away from 100% with your claim of 99.999999999% certainty there is no god (that's what you actually are saying, right?) you are that close from carrying the burden of proof to prove certainty. It would't be up to any else at that point to disprove your claim. It would be time for you to step up to the plate.


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Last edited by ant on Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:54 pm
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Post Re: What is scientism?
johnson1010 wrote:
“Scientism”

Hmm…

That's goofy.

I don’t know that I’m a scientismist. Maybe people would say that I am.

My view is simple. If it is real, and actually has an impact on reality, then there is something we can know about it and that puts it under the umbrella of science.

That doesn’t mean we can know everything, or that everything WILL ultimately be revealed through research. It may well be that we aren’t intelligent enough to fully comprehend things, even if the evidence is right in front of our faces. But the evidence IS there and available for study, and scientific insight, we just have to figure out how to get at it.

Like the telescope and microscope. These tools gave us the means to study things that seemed outside of our reach. We just had to wedge that door open, and now we’re making serious headway. And those bits of knowledge led us to conclusions in seemingly unrelated fields which expand our knowledge in ways we could not have anticipated. Stellar nuclear synthesis being an example.

So to me it is pretty simple. The scientific method is the best tool we have on hand. It does not cater to our preferences. It admits no room for self deception. It is brutal to our self-flattery and indulgent fantasies. It is exactly the reality check we need to get past our ancestry to see the world without our blinders.

That is why I endorse science. Not because somebody told me it was awesome, but because it has been demonstrated to be awesome.

If you aknowledge that facts and evidence are more reliable than opinion the conclusion is obvious.


Science is so omnipotent that one day we all might need science to save us from science!

Quote:
If you aknowledge that facts and evidence are more reliable than opinion the conclusion is obvious


I find the above statement ironic in light of the fact that some rational thinkers who claim evidence and facts are the only things that matter are willing to toss them aside when it does not suit their bias.
But it's understandable. It is an inherent flaw in science because science is done by people, each of which has his/her subjective experience that ultimately impacts their interpretation of data.

Refusing to acknowledge that is to be out of touch.


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Last edited by ant on Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:00 pm
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Post Re: What is scientism?
ant wrote:
Quote:
rather it is very specific claims that have a 99.999999999% of being false. And sometimes those beliefs lead to negative effects on society, legislation, etc


To millions and millions of people, their religion and God is a very deep, personal relationship that has impacted their lives in a postive manner. To them, they are 100% certain of their exprience as being very real.

I guess for the rest of us, we are fortunate to have people among us who are 99.999999999% certain those that believe in a god have been wrong all along.


As I said, no doubt religion provides comfort for people, and they are genuine in their belief. Lots of people call it a personal relationship, that doesn't make it so.

What I said is that the specific claims that you would hear in church, for example, are almost certainly false. I don't know how many people actually believe all of it, because I don't believe the vast majority of people scrutinize their religious beliefs. They accept what they've been told from a young age.

After all, there are several major world religions -- they are all making conflicting, specific claims. Either a large proportion of the world's religious population is wrong, or they all are. Either way, you can't just point to large numbers of believers as evidence.



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Post Re: What is scientism?
ant wrote:
I find the above statement ironic in light of the fact that some rational thinkers who claim evidence and facts are the only things that matter are willing to toss them aside when it does not suit their bias.
But it's understandable. It is an inherent flaw in science because science is done by people, each of which has his/her subjective experience that ultimately impacts their interpretation of data.


That's why people don't rely on a scientist's word. There may be problems with the institutions of science, but when something can't be replicated, or the theory can't explain the evidence, it gets thrown out.

The alternative is what? Look it up in the Bible?



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Post Re: What is scientism?
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but when something can't be replicated, or the theory can't explain the evidence, it gets thrown out.


Right. We need to introduce this to the mythicist camp.
We just can't go crazy throwing out everything that doesn't agree with our world view, can we?

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The alternative is what? Look it up in the Bible?


I think you are mistaken. Or at least in some circles you clearly are.
The bible isn't or shouldn't be treated as a science textbook.
If you'd like, I can recommend a good book that discusses this.


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Post Re: What is scientism?
ant wrote:
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Religion, whatever we might think of it, has been probably the most potent force for mobilizing people the world has ever seen.


Perhaps the greatest example in human history of the quickest, most lethal mobilization of a people is Hitler's Nazi State. It is not related to religion, but was a combination of factors - psychological, economical, and political.

As a generalization, I think my statement stands. What would be your competing generalization about the force most able to mobilize? By "mobilize," I don't mean just in massive ways such as Nazism (not significantly religious) or the Crusades (significantly religious), but the ability to organize people into action groups large and small, within the larger polity.


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Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:02 pm
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Post Re: What is scientism?
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What would be your competing generalization about the force most able to mobilize? By "mobilize," I don't mean just in massive ways such as Nazism (not significantly religious) or the Crusades (significantly religious), but the ability to organize people into action groups large and small, within the larger polity.


Political contention


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Post Re: What is scientism?
ant wrote:
Also, because you are a toenail away from 100% with your claim of 99.999999999% certainty there is no god (that's what you actually are saying, right?) you are that close from carrying the burden of proof to prove certainty. It would't be up to any else at that point to disprove your claim. It would be time for you to step up to the plate.


What do you mean when you tell him to step up to the plate? That he should abandon an epistemically sound position for a false one? Why would you suggest that? :|


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Post Re: What is scientism?
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What do you mean when you tell him to step up to the plate? That he should abandon an epistemically sound position for a false one? Why would you suggest that?


:lol: I like the little emoticon at the end of your question.

He is nearing the realm of absolute certainty with his claim of 99.99999%.

So one day Dexter wakes up and says, "I, Dexter, am now 100% certain there is no god"

No one asked him to abandon his position. HE announced 100% certainty. He carries the burden of proof if someone is bold enough to ask him and not letting him off the hook by accepting some nonsense like, "Ah-HA! First you must prove there IS a god!"

That's weak. I wouldn't buy that.

And I think he's stating the 99.9999% to stay clear from that. Either that or he's really a Closet Agnostic. :wink:


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Last edited by ant on Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: What is scientism?
ant wrote:
Quote:
What do you mean when you tell him to step up to the plate? That he should abandon an epistemically sound position for a false one? Why would you suggest that?


:lol: I like the little emoticon at the end of your question.

He is nearing the realm of absolute certainty with his claim of 99.99999%.

So one day Dexter wakes up and says, "I, Dexter, am now 100% certain there is no god"

No one asked him to abandon his position. HE announced 100% certainty. He carries the burden of proof if someone is bold enough to ask him and not letting him off the hook by accepting some nonsense like, "Ah-HA! First you must prove there IS a god!"

That's weak. I wouldn't buy that.

And I think he's stating the 99.9999% to stay clear from that. Either that or he's really a Closet Agnostic. :wink:


Yes, I am staying clear of 100%. If I told you a fairy tale about how the world was created, wouldn't you be comfortable saying it had a 99.999999% chance of being false? But you couldn't say 100%. So what's the problem? You wouldn't be taking on the burden of proof.



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Post Re: What is scientism?
Just one comment and one question:

Quote:
Yes, I am staying clear of 100%
.

Comment - that is wise of you



Question - so you're an agnostic, right?


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Post Re: What is scientism?
The 99.9999% figure is rather arbitrary. From a scientific perspective, the question of God's existence cannot really be addressed without the corresponding weight of evidence. Since there is no evidence, it's not in the scientific realm at all. So I think this 99.9999% figure is just a bit of a lark in response to those who claim 100% certainty that God does exist. The premise is ridiculous. That 100% certainty is all pretense, a person of faith declaring they want something to be true so badly they're willing to say (with certainty) that it is. To those outside the religious belief system, these claims are as ridiculous as someone claiming without a smidgeon of evidence that Bigfoot exists.


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