It was not uncommon in years past to hear it stereotypically declared occasionally among some religious folks in America that “The Bible says it, I believe it and that settles it!”
Comedians and college professors still make jokes about such declarations here and there, but the truth is, there are also examples of the same sort of closed mindedness on the other side of the debate about the origins of the universe, the existence of God, and related topics.
Daniel Currier at iApologia explains why he describes this state of mind as “scientism:”
“When one believes that science is at least the most reliable or meaningful way to truth, if not the only way to find truth, one is promoting scientism. It seems that most people who hold to such views come out of a materialistic worldview and promote scientific materialism. It also seems quite popular in academia and even in some more “educated” areas of society.
“Scientism, however, is not science, rather it is an arbitrary and non-factual worldview. I want to be clear, there is a difference between science and scientism just like there is a difference between rational and rationalism, pragmatic and pragmatism, ideal and idealism, empirical and empiricism, natural and naturalism, and human and humanism.
“Authentic science, opposed to scientism, is a process or tool to study the world around us that uses systematic methods such as observation, hypothesis formulation, experimentation, conclusion formulation and peer review. Let me give you a few reasons why scientism is false.”
“Scientism actually is a non-scientific assumption, you can’t demonstrate it scientifically!”
Currier offers six grounds for his critique of scientism, including this arresting observation about it being a “self-refuting” position:
“Unexpectedly, the idea that science is the only way to find truth is also self-refuting. Scientism actually is a non-scientific assumption, you can’t demonstrate it scientifically!
“In addition, even the scientific method and other philosophical assumptions, were not and could never have been discovered using the science. One has to assume them before one can even do science in the first place!”
Regardless of your view on these issues, check out the rest of Currier’s critique, and decide for yourself if he is offering a useful perspective, especially if your job on Capitol Hill involves the evaluation of evidence on issues like the environment, technology, NASA and countless other controversies in Congress.