Posts Tagged ‘ scientism ’

Real-life Quotes From Adherents to Scientism

I’m baffled by the logical consistency and rational prowess of the flock of scientism-followers.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  I read that in a book Dawkins wrote and Bill Maher talked about, and he’s cool, so yeah.  That’s what I believe.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  ‘Cause faith doesn’t feel right to me.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  Because religious believers are just sheep following blindly.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  I couldn’t refute the logic of my philosophy 101 teacher, so that’s what makes the most sense to me.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  The Catholic Church did mean things to people 500 years ago, so science and logic and reason make more sense to me.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  Catholics are bigots, and I’m afraid of being called a bigot, so I’m all for science and reason.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  Faith is really hard.  So science and reason and logic are more my cup of tea.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  All the so-called gods are pretty much the same according to some anthropologist I read in Popular Science, so if they all sound the same, why would I believe in any one of them?

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.   Christmas is basically based on pagan ideas.  So science and logic and reason make more sense to me.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  My girlfriend is an atheist so I’m joining her.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  Religion is just opium, and I was basically chosen as the D.A.R.E. class representative, so I’m staying away from that junk.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  Didn’t people just invent religion because they didn’t have science yet?  Religion doesn’t exist because science explains things better.  Science can answer every possible question.  So religion doesn’t exist.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  99% of religious people are dumber while scientism-followers are smarter.  So there.

Science and logic and reason are the only ways to access knowledge and wisdom in the universe.  Look–it hurts non-believers’ feelings when you say that religion may have some explanatory power.  Maybe for you, God exists, but for me, God doesn’t.

That is to say, there are some legitimate arguments against faith, using actual reason and logic instead of fallacious reasoning.  And there are some legitimately fallacious arguments for faith, to be sure.

Most of us value reason and logic.  Most of us want to live consistently with our values–but what a difficult journey for believers and non-believers alike!  How prone we all are to believing lies and false reasoning.

“Liberal” Catholics Are Not Progressive Enough

I don’t understand actions and attitudes quite common in many American Roman Catholic  believers, attitudes which are, at their core, the fruits of the Enlightenment.  Ideals such as freedom and progress, as defined and practiced by today’s standards are fine.  But when mixed with Christianity–I get confused when Enlightenment-defined freedom subverts Christian freedom.  That is merely one example.

For the longest time, I rationalized that perhaps believers of this persuasion were simply heirs to the Enlightenment, and that was all they knew.  Indoctrinated in Enlightenment thought, they learned to emphasize Enlightenment values over any other values.  They received a thoroughly Enlightenment-influenced education and control a media landscape with a tendency toward brainwashing “progressivism.”

But people have a choice.  They are rational beings with a heart and a soul, who can make choices.  Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular presents a starkly contrasting view.  Christianity presents a more progressive view of  life, humanity, the future, death, and all sorts of terribly important aspects of living, compared with the drab gray, literally hopeless Enlightenment landscape.

Enlightenment living is static–for something is only better if it supports the meta-narrative of progress-de jure.  Since objective truths and values are anathema, real, lasting progress is only an ideal and can never be a reality in Enlightenment-influenced living.   Truly, the academy and the media concoct and promote a view of life so limiting, so anti-progress.   The axiom goes something like this: I am who I am and you are who you are, and that’s enough.   How is that progressive?

Want real choice?  Christianity offers expansive freedom and choice.  Want real, deep down hope?  Christianity offers that as well.  Believe in humanism?  The goodness of humanity at the core?  Christianity offers a deeper, comprehensive view of humanity.  Want to help people?  Real, lasting help?  Help which transcends ideology?  That started and ends with Christianity as well.

What I don’t understand is why believers prefer a twisted, anti-Christian brand of Christianity to what is really there. Why, when given the choice between the candy-saccharine heterodox Christianity and the joyous feast which orthodoxy provides, that heterodoxy is ever chosen?

C.S. Lewis in “The Weight of Beauty” said it better, as always:

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and to eagerly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion…is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

Of course in reality, it’s not an either-or endeavor.  None of us is perfect.  None of us is precisely obedient to the Lord and His Church.  All of us land on a continuum between heteropraxy and orthopraxy.

But, I’m not talking about heteropraxy (doing things contrary to the Lord and His Church) and orthopraxy (doing things in line with the Lord’s teachings and His Church).

I’m talking about heterodoxy (believing in things contrary to the Lord and His Church) and orthodoxy (believing in things in line with the Lord and His Church).  We all fall short, in practice.  To soak-in, breathe, teach, and argue for non-truth (heterodoxy), to the exclusion of truth–that is what I don’t understand.

Christianity is the true progressive heuristic, as compared with paganism or deterministic humanism/scientism or anything else.  Buddhism, teaching that people can become one, is progressive, but falls short of the progressivism of Christianity.  Christianity believes that people can actually progress–to be more like God–and to unite with God.  That doctrine is infinitely more progressive than any other belief conjured by the Democratic party, or by the overlords of scientism and the Enlightenment.

What is more progressive than knowing that each person’s potential is infinite?  A limited, constricting view of progressivism propagated by contemporary ruling powers falls short of the true progressivism taught by Christianity:

God Himself was born.  He healed and taught.  He suffered, died, and rose again.  Through sanctifying grace we can rise as well, as He did.

Now that’s progress!

P-values: Destroying the Barrier Between Scientific and Creative Writing

English: Illustration of the difference betwee...

If you recall from your stats 101 class p-values represent the probability that a quantitative finding reflects actual reality, such as some sort of difference between groups.  Statisticians use arbitrary cutoffs to define “statistical significance.”  P < 0.05 is a very common cutoff, meaning that if your result achieves a p-value of 0.05 or less, then the finding is said to be “statistically” significant, or, there is a 95% chance that your groups are different (or your therapy made a difference, or there was a change in functioning, ect.).  There is great controversy between statisticians and researchers regarding statistical significance.  I read a paper recently titled, “The Difference Between Statistically Significant or Not Is Not, Itself, Statistically Significant.”  Best.  Title.  Ever.  Basically, if p = 0.05 is significant, then what to say about p = 0.08?  Is there a dichotomy, in reality, between a finding which is statistically significant versus one which is not?  What about p = .05000000000001?  And so the debate rages.

I have only a limited understanding of statistics and of probability theory in general and am not necessarily interested in commenting on the debate itself.  However, interested as I am in epistomology especially with regards to political philosophy, and philosophy of science, I found this article fascinating.

It lists multitudes of ways of describing findings which are p > 0.05.  Many of them express something along the lines of “pretty much significant, but not really.”  For example,

approached near significance (p=0.06)
approached our criterion of significance (p>0.08)
approached significant (p=0.11)
approached the borderline of significance (p=0.07)
approached the level of significance (p=0.09)
approached trend levels of significance (p0.05)
approached, but did reach, significance (p=0.065)
approaches but fails to achieve a customary level of statistical significance (p=0.154)
approaches statistical significance (p>0.06)
approaching a level of significance (p=0.089)
approaching an acceptable significance level (p=0.056)
approaching borderline significance (p=0.08)

From the standpoint of argument, it is interesting that there are so many creative ways to nudge a reader toward believing your point of view.  This perspective informs my skepticism toward grandiose public policy based on “science.”  In practice within social and political spheres, “facts” proclaimed by “science” [especially neuroscience] reflect essential and unquestionable reality.  In theory, “science” can only suggest tentative hypotheses, not infrequently supported by evidence “approaching a level of statistical significance.”

Science sure has its place.  There are definitely ways to qualify and quantify statistical and scientific findings.  Science is a powerful tool to investigate the natural world.  Science and technology enrich our lives and can be forces for good.  But science has its limits.  Any competent scientist will readily admit that scientific findings are tentative and that science, in general, while very powerful for studying natural phenomena, is ultimately limited in its quest for truth.  A scientist who fails to acknowledge as much is either ignorant or a charlatan.  And no, that’s not a false dichotomy.

Meta-blogging: Are questions effective blog post titles?

I have been thinking about writing a blog post for a few days.  This particular post, though, was inspired by reading the title of a post by prolific blogger, Fr. Z.  Reading the title made me think about how questions seem to be a way to grab a reader.  Especially effective is using a syrupy-sweet-sticky question as a grabber.  I think academic journal titles work like this too.  

Something like “Life: A longitudinal analysis of Really Awesome Data.”   And then the actual journal article is about the fermentation of extracted turnip juice and its effects on enhancing toddler’s silly faces.  Seriously?

Actually, I would probably read that article.  Back to the meta, this particular post really just serves the purpose of allowing my weary mind to wander a little bit in the midst of internship application.  Man, those are getting tiresome.  

I used to be such a sap though, writing in online journals.  Something about projecting my angsty, hormone-infused thoughts and feelings on to a screen, shouting on the peaks of livejournal my pain, loneliness, and existential suffering.  Something about that, yes.  Something about longing for posterity; longing to be seen and heard.  Hard to outrun those dreadful demons, still.