Wednesday, February 13, 2008

John West on scientism is society

This is from Discovery Institute fellow John West.

13 comments:

One Brow said...

Dr. Reppart,

YOu really should be more clear in your condemnation of West's essay, lest some people think you actually agree with the nonesense he is spewing. For example, his pretense that the eugenics movement was a movement guided by science and opposed by the religious, as opposed to the truth of their being scientists and religious people on both sides of the issue; the notion that it is the scientists who actively seek to give presciption drugs to children; the utter lie that the regimes of Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and Communist China were formulated on scientific principles; the demonization of Darwin's description of what human morals might look like as an approval of those conditions; and the fear-mongering that evolution means child molestation is victimless; the morphing of the position that science should be taught in science class into a fiction that science is trying to muzzle religious people.

In the controversy over the teaching of Darwini­an theory in public education, reporters often note the supposed religious beliefs of critics of Darwin's theory, but they almost never investigate the anti-religious beliefs of many of the leading defenders of evolutionary theory. Why?
Because a sizable percentage of the defenders, if not an outright majority, are deeply religious men, and because the critics themselves proclaim the debate in terms of "God or science" on a regular basis.

You surely would not want anyone thinking you supported this garbage.

Victor Reppert said...

I put things like this up to generate discussion, positively or negatively. Does anyone want to defend West?

Nacisse said...

one brow,

West did mention that there were concurrently religious, secular, and scientific-materialist streams contributing to the eugenics movement.

It seems that you either think science and scientism (scientific materialism) are synonyms or you’ve misread more (the entirety?) of the article...

one brow: “a sizable percentage of the defenders [of Darwinism], if not an outright majority, are deeply religious men”

West says: “Nearly 95 percent of biologists in the National Academy of Sciences, for example, identify themselves as either atheists or agnostics.“

So you either think biologists in the NAS don’t represent the defenders of Darwinism or that 95 percent is the wrong (too high) number with respect to atheists\agnostics in the NAS. Or maybe you think being atheist or agnostic and being ‘deeply religious’ are not opposed – maybe you think atheism is a deeply held religious belief?

Ilíon said...

VR: "Does anyone want to defend West?"

Against what, the irrationality ... or perhaps it's merely dishonesty ... of the garbage One Brow likes to spew?

mattghg said...

one brow,

You might at least have the courtesy to spell Dr. Reppert's name correctly before presuming to tell him what to do on his own blog.

One Brow said...

West did mention that there were concurrently religious, secular, and scientific-materialist streams contributing to the eugenics movement.
You are simply mistaken. He referred to other utopian movements as coming from other religious or secular sources, but for eugenics he only mentions science and "scientific materialism". I will happily retract that claim if you can provide a quote.

It seems that you either think science and scientism (scientific materialism) are synonyms or you’ve misread more (the entirety?) of the article...
So far, the only type of science is materialistic. West conflates methodlogical naturalism, aka scientific materialism, the idea that science can only investigate material effects, with (ontological) naturalism/materialism. This is a common tactic at the Discovery Institute. What other type of science could there be?

So you either think biologists in the NAS don’t represent the defenders of Darwinism or that 95 percent is the wrong (too high) number with respect to atheists\agnostics in the NAS.
As opposed to "don't represent", let's say "is not a representative measure of". For example, Ecklunds' 2004 survey found that 63.4% of biologists had no religious affiliation, a far cry from the 90% claimed for the NAS (1st link). Also, as of 1998 it was 65% for the biologists of the NAS, I doubt it has since reached 90% (2nd link).

http://www.explore.rice.edu/explore/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=7680&SnID=2

http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/sci_relig.htm

However, thank you for your substantive dialogue.

One Brow said...

Against what, the irrationality ... or perhaps it's merely dishonesty ... of the garbage One Brow likes to spew?
I guess when you have no rational, thoughtful response, invecitve must suffice.

One Brow said...

You might at least have the courtesy to spell Dr. Reppert's name correctly before presuming to tell him what to do on his own blog.
You are absolutely correct.

Dr. Reppert, please accept my apologies for misspelling your name. I will try to improve on this in the future.

Ilíon said...

VR: "Does anyone want to defend West?"

Ilíon: "Against what, the irrationality ... or perhaps it's merely dishonesty ... of the garbage One Brow likes to spew?

One Brow "I guess when you have no rational, thoughtful response, invecitve must suffice."

You are such a riot! And (as is so often the case with you folk) apparently all un-self-aware of it:

One Brow "Dr. Reppart,
YOu really should be more clear in your condemnation of West's essay, lest some people think you actually agree with the nonesense he is spewing. ...
...
You surely would not want anyone thinking you supported this garbage.
"

Ilíon said...

Sheesh, One Brow! Get a clue; there is a *reason* I ignore your posts.

One Brow said...

One Brow "I guess when you have no rational, thoughtful response, invecitve must suffice."

You are such a riot!

I guess I will have to make do with your derision, since you seeemingly have no rational, thoughtful response.

And (as is so often the case with you folk) apparently all un-self-aware of it:

One Brow "Dr. Reppart,
YOu really should be more clear in your condemnation of West's essay, lest some people think you actually agree with the nonesense he is spewing. ...
...
You surely would not want anyone thinking you supported this garbage."

I supported the use of these descriptions with multiple examples of the distortions and lies on the part of West.

Sheesh, One Brow! Get a clue; there is a *reason* I ignore your posts.
Yes, there is, and it is obvious to people on both sides of the argument.

Nacisse said...

one brow: He referred to other utopian movements as coming, from other religious or secular sources

What were the other utopian movements he referred to then? He did say that the utopian movement [eugenics] conected to scientific materialism had other sourses... when he said : This is not intended to imply that scientific mate­rialism was the only source of utopianism in Amer­ica." or "scientific materialism was one of the most pow­erful sources of utopianism" He does seem to be saying that this form of utopianism conected to materialism that he's been talking about though the entire article has mulitple sources of support i.e. religuos, secular..

one brow: So far, the only type of science is materialistic.

really? can you define materialism for me so i can see if science has been [and will be] tied to this idea thoughout its history..

one brow: West conflates methodlogical naturalism, aka scientific materialism, the idea that science can only investigate material effects, with (ontological) naturalism/materialism.

I think you are the one conflating here. West defines his term in the article : "Scientific materialism--the claim that everything in the uni­verse can be fully explained by science as the prod­ucts of unintelligent matter and energy." that is not a methodolgical claim it is a claim about the true nature of reality. You conflated this view (the metaphysical) with just science in general - that you claim is merely methodologically materialist.. changing the meanig of scientific materialism to something the author didn't mean and then critizing him is, well, rather dubious...

One Brow said...

What were the other utopian movements he referred to then?
Since he didn’t specify, I can only speculate. He might have been referring to the Shaker movement or Kibbutzism, for example.

He did say that the utopian movement [eugenics] conected to scientific materialism had other sourses... when he said : This is not intended to imply that scientific mate­rialism was the only source of utopianism in Amer­ica." or "scientific materialism was one of the most pow­erful sources of utopianism" He does seem to be saying that this form of utopianism conected to materialism that he's been talking about though the entire article has mulitple sources of support i.e. religuos, secular..
Yes, that’s my point, and that’s the untruth. That particular form of utopianism (eugenics) was not an outreach of scientific materialism, but was supported and opposed by religious groups as well as supported and opposed by scientific groups.

one brow: So far, the only type of science is materialistic.
really? can you define materialism for me so i can see if science has been [and will be] tied to this idea thoughout its history..

I said it was materialistic (involved in the natural world), not materialism (claiming that only the material world exists.

one brow: West conflates methodological naturalism, aka scientific materialism, the idea that science can only investigate material effects, with (ontological) naturalism/materialism.

I think you are the one conflating here. West defines his term in the article : "Scientific materialism--the claim that everything in the uni­verse can be fully explained by science as the prod­ucts of unintelligent matter and energy."

Except, many scientists don’t believe that and don’t claim that, almost all recognize that the claim is not part of science.

that is not a methodolgical claim it is a claim about the true nature of reality.
Yes, it is, and West lies when he says it is a claim of science. Science says it will use materialistic means to explain anything in the universe that is understandable by materialistic methods. There is no science claim that this constitutes every in the universe, or even every understandable thing.

You conflated this view (the metaphysical) with just science in general - that you claim is merely methodologically materialist.. changing the meanig of scientific materialism to something the author didn't mean and then critizing him is, well, rather dubious...
I "changed" the meaning of scientific materialism back to what the term actually means. When an author deliberately misleads the reader to the meaning of a term (and it’s not like West invented the terminology), I don’t find it dubious to criticize him on said misuse.