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The six signs of "Scientism" 
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Post The six signs of "Scientism"
[pdfview]http://pervegalit.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/haack-six-signs-of-scientism-october-17-2009.pdf[/pdfview]



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Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:39 am
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
Ironic, since you were the one trying to demarcate the boundaries of science

The piece criticizes this view:
Quote:
Other criteria have been proposed – that real science relies on controlled experiments for example (which, however, would rule out not only anthropology and sociology, but also – most implausibly of all – astronomy).


Quote:
Again: for a long time Popper claimed that his criterion of demarcation excluded the theory of evolution; which, he wrote, is not a genuine scientific
theory but a “metaphysical research programme.” Then he changed his mind: evolution is science, after all.


And does anyone actually disagree with the following:

Quote:
There are many other valuable kinds of human activity besides inquiry – music, dancing, art, storytelling, cookery, gardening, architecture, to mention just a few; and many other valuable kinds of inquiry – historical, legal, literary, philosophical, etc.



Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:26 am
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
Quote:
Other criteria have been proposed – that real science relies on controlled experiments for example (which, however, would rule out not only anthropology and sociology, but also – most implausibly of all – astronomy).



You're presuming I "rule out" areas of study that do not rely on controlled experiments.
You're hard-headed and completely ignore what my point is when we've had these conversations.

Don't you engage in scientism?

I know Popper went too far with claiming evolution is psuedo science. And I knew he said he did.
Also, I never made the claim that is not science.
That does not and has not devalued falsification as a means to leaving open hypothesis for development.



Last edited by ant on Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:39 am, edited 3 times in total.



Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:34 am
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
Quote:
Briefly and roughly summarized, they are:

1. Using the words “science,” “scientific,” “scientifically,” “scientist,”

etc., honorifically, as generic terms of epistemic praise.

2. Adopting the manners, the trappings, the technical terminology, etc.,

of the sciences, irrespective of their real usefulness.

3. A preoccupation with demarcation, i.e., with drawing a sharp line

between genuine science, the real thing, and “pseudo-scientific”

imposters.

4. A corresponding preoccupation with identifying the “scientific

method,” presumed to explain how the sciences have been so successful.

5. Looking to the sciences for answers to questions beyond their scope.

6. Denying or denigrating the legitimacy or the worth of other kinds of

inquiry besides the scientific, or the value of human activities other than

inquiry, such as poetry or art.


From her book "Defending Science."


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Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:46 am
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
Quote:
6. Denying or denigrating the legitimacy or the worth of other kinds of

inquiry besides the scientific, or the value of human activities other than

inquiry, such as poetry or art.



This is an interesting one.
Perhaps maybe Geo has more of an appreciation for this than some hardcore guy like __________n



Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:48 am
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
Quote:
This is an interesting one.
Perhaps maybe Geo has more of an appreciation for this than some hardcore guy like __________n


If you know __________ in real life, he's primarily an artist. A very good artist. I don't think your criticism is on point.


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Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:04 pm
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
This is an interesting one.
Perhaps maybe Geo has more of an appreciation for this than some hardcore guy like __________n


If you know __________ in real life, he's primarily an artist. A very good artist. I don't think your criticism is on point.



I'm sorry, the "n" was a straggler that should not have been included.
It was just a fill in the blank.

I'm glad your friend is an artist.

I think it's an interesting piece.
After all, I introduced the word "scientism" here on BT.
One of you never even heard of the word before I came along.



Last edited by ant on Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:06 pm
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
Interesting

http://www.salon.com/2013/03/25/militan ... _religion/



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Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:53 pm
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
Briefly and roughly summarized, they are:

1. Using the words “science,” “scientific,” “scientifically,” “scientist,”

etc., honorifically, as generic terms of epistemic praise.

2. Adopting the manners, the trappings, the technical terminology, etc.,

of the sciences, irrespective of their real usefulness.

3. A preoccupation with demarcation, i.e., with drawing a sharp line

between genuine science, the real thing, and “pseudo-scientific”

imposters.

4. A corresponding preoccupation with identifying the “scientific

method,” presumed to explain how the sciences have been so successful.

5. Looking to the sciences for answers to questions beyond their scope.

6. Denying or denigrating the legitimacy or the worth of other kinds of

inquiry besides the scientific, or the value of human activities other than

inquiry, such as poetry or art.


Deepak Chopra is often cited for #2 especially (Adopting the manners, the trappings, the technical terminology, etc., of the sciences, irrespective of their real usefulness.).

I'm sure I veer off occasionally into "scientism," especially #4 above. But that's usually in response to real world claims made in the name of religion. Sometimes we take a harder line approach in response to hard line claims from the other side. It's probably good to check oneself in that regard.

There is often a gray area between pseudoscience and real science and, as it has been mentioned, sometimes pseudoscience becomes real science. That's why we should be skeptical, but not completely closed off to new ideas.


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Last edited by geo on Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:04 pm
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"



Here is a quote from one of my favorite militant atheists, Richard Dawkins:

Quote:
“The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry.”


The meme for militant atheism that wishes to promote the belief that religion is bad for society and that people of faith should be "deconverted" by quashing their beliefs in the public square can accomplish nothing more than polarization.



Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:10 pm
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
ant wrote:
Here is a quote from one of my favorite militant atheists, Richard Dawkins:

Quote:
“The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry.”


ant wrote:
That's of course even if we can scientifically call it a meme.
It seems a cheap way to explain something away in "scientific terms" to add credible authority.


Dawkins does generally take a hard line against organized religion and I'm not going to argue that he doesn't. But you're basically cherry-picking quotes out of context. If you'd read this within its context, you would know he uses the idea of memes as an analogy. Memes are used as an illustration of how genes work. Dawkins doesn't discuss memes as a scientific theory and is actually very clear on this point. You would know that if you'd actually read this book. You do go on about memes, but I don't think you really understand them. Nor do take the time to learn.

He use the example of blind faith ultimately to explain the concept of a memeplex and so, by analogy, a geneplex:

Quote:
To take a particular example, an aspect of doctrine that has been very effective in enforcing religious observance is the threat of hell fire. Many children and even some adults believe that they will suffer ghastly torments after death if they do not obey the priestly rules. This is a peculiarly nasty technique of persuasion, causing great psychological anguish throughout the middle ages and even today. But it is highly effective. It might almost have been planned deliberately by a macchiavellian priesthood trained in deep psychological indoctrination techniques. However, I doubt if the priests were that clever. Much more probably, unconscious memes have ensured their own survival by virtue of those same qualities of pseudo-ruthlessness that successful genes display. The idea of hell fire is, quite simply, self perpetuating, because of its own deep psychological impact. It has become linked with the god meme because the two reinforce each other, and assist each other's survival in the meme pool.

Another member of the religious meme complex is called faith. It means blind trust, in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence. The story of Doubting Thomas is told, not so that we shall admire Thomas, but so that we can admire the other apostles in comparison. Thomas demanded evidence. Nothing is more lethal for certain kinds of meme than a tendency to look for evidence. The other apostles, whose faith was so strong that they did not need evidence, are held up to us as worthy of imitation. The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry.

Blind faith can justify anything.(7) If a man believes in a different god, or even if he uses a different ritual for worshipping the same god, blind faith can decree that he should die -- on the cross, at the stake, skewered on a Crusader's sword, shot in a Beirut street, or blown up in a bar in Belfast. Memes for blind faith have their own ruthless ways of propagating themselves. This is true of patriotic and political as well as religious blind faith.

Memes and genes may often reinforce each other, but they sometimes come into opposition. For example, the habit of celibacy is presumably not inherited genetically. A gene for celibacy is doomed to failure in the gene pool, except under very special circumstances such as we find in the social insects. But still, a meme for celibacy can be successful in the meme pool. For example, suppose the success of a meme depends critically on how much time people spend in actively transmitting it to other people. Any time spent in doing other things than attempting to transmit the meme may be regarded as time wasted from the meme's point of view. The meme for celibacy is transmitted by priests to young boys who have not yet decided what they want to do with their lives. The medium of transmission is human influence of various kinds, the spoken and written word, personal example and so on. Suppose, for the sake of argument, it happened to be the case that marriage weakened the power of a priest to influence his flock, say because it occupied a large proportion of his time and attention. This has, indeed, been advanced as an official reason for the enforcement of celibacy among priests. If this were the case, it could follow that the meme for celibacy could have greater survival value than the meme for marriage. Of course, exactly the opposite would be true for a gene for celibacy. If a priest is a survival machine for memes, celibacy is a useful attribute to build into him. Celibacy is just a minor partner in a large complex of mutually-assisting religious memes.

I conjecture that co-adapted meme-complexes evolve in the same kind of way as co-adapted gene-complexes. Selection favours memes that exploit their cultural environment to their own advantage. This cultural environment consists of other memes which are also being selected. The meme pool therefore comes to have the attributes of an evolutionarily stable set, which new memes find it hard to invade.
[/quote]

http://www.rubinghscience.org/memetics/ ... memes.html


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Last edited by geo on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:14 pm
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
That's of course even if we can scientifically call it a meme.
It seems a cheap way to explain something away in "scientific terms" to add credible authority.

Ultimate authority -

Hey, you have the delusional "God" as an authority. I have Science as mine.
Yours is a meme, mine is not.
I win and you lose.



Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:21 pm
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
geo wrote:
I'm sure I veer off occasionally into "scientism," especially #4 above. But that's usually in response to real world claims made in the name of religion. Sometimes we take a harder line approach in response to hard line claims from the other side. It's probably good to check oneself in that regard.


Some of those are committed by both sides. Ant, for example, is often preoccupied with the demarcation between science and non-science. But he's obviously not guilty of scientism. This makes me want to read her chapter on cynicism(the author addresses both sides of the divide).

I might be guilty of number 6. I don't see hermeneutics as a valid form of inquiry. Other forms, such as 'history or legal' inquiry, can be too interpretive and biased without the filters commonly found in science. Yet they are still legitimate forms of inquiry. I have no problem with the second part, I love the arts.

Quote:
The meme for militant atheism that wishes to promote the belief that religion is bad for society and that people of faith should be "deconverted" by quashing their beliefs in the public square can accomplish nothing more than polarization.


I agree with the polarizing effects. I think many militant atheists are also aware. Typically, the mindset is similar to that of punishment. It's for the next generation, to educate them. And I think it's been working. Those who already believe will become polarized. But younger generations who are just becoming familiar with the debate now see two vocal sides, rather than one vocal sacred side and one outcast side. It's no longer taboo to be an atheist in many circles, and that's precisely the point.


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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
I enjoyed De Waal's article in The Salon. Thanks for posting. He makes some good points.

It is interesting to see how undogmatic people are in predominantly atheist countries like Sweden and Finland. (De Waal is actually from The Netherlands). Americans seem especially inclined towards polarization in both politics and religion. I wonder why that is.

I have always wanted to read De Waal's book THE INNER APE and PRIMATES AND PHILOSOPHERS: HOW MORALITY EVOLVED. I have the latter on my shelf.


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Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:31 pm
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Post Re: The six signs of "Scientism"
ant wrote:
the belief that religion is bad for society


let's make it specific, rather than general.

i assert that the belief that the new testament should be taken literally is damaging to people's growth in enjoyment of life.

as an example, little tommy timkins has been told that unless he believes in jesus then as the wretched poor pitiful sinner he is... well, god will have to reluctantly burn his soul in hell for ever and ever and ever.

let's take another example, the doctrine of predestination as taught by some religious folk.

you are born predestined to heaven or hell and nothing you do can alter that.

no amount of good you do can save you if you are predestined to hell
no amount of evil will damn you if you are predestined to heaven

one could go on but sufficed to say that literalist religion is a recipe for at best idiocy and at worst ...well i shudder to behold.

ant wrote:
people of faith should be "deconverted" by quashing their beliefs in the public square can accomplish nothing more than polarization.


well people of the above cited examples of "faith" number in the millions and they are very dull of mind not to have realised that they need deconverting desperately, they need to deconvert themselves by actually thinking, by being their own prophet priest and king, no doubt they'll get better at it with practice.

polarisation is not always a bad thing.

critical thinking might be considered a polar opposite of gullibility

see you all at the north pole :lol:

people talk of "god" and "science", but rarely do i see these words defined clearly and usefully.

you tell me what god means specifically and i'll tell you what i think.
you tell me what science means specifically and i'll tell you what i think.

without the specifics we have vague abstract notions that could mean anything.

specifically lets look at an example Charles Darwin quotes in descent of man

Quote:
The reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society, tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members. Or as Mr. Greg puts the case: ?The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a thousand Celts?and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the population would be Celts, but five-sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal ?struggle for existence,? it would be the inferior and less favoured race that had prevailed?and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults.?


as an irishman i readily state i would not piss on mr greg if he were on fire.

:lol:

so to "science" and "god" i say the same thing

show yourself

define yourself

specifically

and i will see if you meet my current criteria for acceptability, for "god" and "science" are for me, whatever i allow them to be.

as Thomas Paine said

Quote:
for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.


well, i am youkrst Governor of youkrst

ant is Governor of ant

interbane is Governor of interbane

etc etc

undefined and non specific concepts can kiss my fine irish ass.



Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:33 am
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