T Nation

Scientism, Skepticism and the Philosophy of Science


Credit goes to Pat for the idea of this thread in the Bible Contradictions 2.0 thread.

It has become evident that on a few of the discussions I have had with people on these forums and some people I have conversations with at college that the world views of scientism and skepticism philosophical speaking are far more prevalent that I would have thought them to be.

Now me rejecting scientism and skepticism as tenable worldviews doesn't mean I hate science or claim that I have the ability to know everything. I am a senior getting his BSc in chemistry(might change it to biochemistry), and know(justified belief(I know how some people hate this word without cause.)) that certain things like the Truth is certain and knowable. Yet I know the limits of science and what it can tell me; and holding that nothing is certain leads one to the most irrational conclusions.

Anyways the dialog that will occur here will certainly be most entertaining to me and most likely use a lot of my time; I must return to my studies and do my differential equations homework.


^^^^Aka you're avoiding homework too :slightly_smiling:

So what do you see as a problem with science? I'm not seeing your point, or are you just trying to open the floor for other people to make points?


And back to epistemology we go =] (that's a non sarcastic smile btw)


I love how the religious folk have tried to turn "science" into a religion. Its not. Their problem is they cant understand simple concepts like that, and want to say "You're just as bad as me!"

The nonsense goes: "You're no better than me, my religion is christianity and your religion is science! You worship science!"

Uh, no. Science is the process of observing, hypothesizing, and testing. The goal is to understand the world around us better.

Religion is the process of ingesting fairytale nonsense, building an identity around it, and practicing confirmation bias in order to protect it.

So, no, science is not a religion and "believing in science" is nowhere near "believing in God"


That is definitely fer sher.


The interesting thing about science is that the advances haven't come from coming up with a new belief that makes more sense and going with that, but have come from developing a new device with which we can actually SEE more of the world. Think the telescope, microscope, etc. This increased vision always came at the expense of previously REASONED ideas (in addition to the Biblical ones).


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism I don't have a problem with science, just when its applied outside of its limits.

Please check out the link CappedAndPlanIt


Science is about predictive ability, period. It allows us to determine the probability a particular hypothesis is true. As such, it will never be perfect, but it is still the best tool we have for separating facts from fiction.


Science provides a reliable method for testing the accuracy of predictions. Religion provides nothing more than wishful thinking. Religion comes in two flavors. Either it dismisses logic and evidence as "sinful, fallen man thinking" (ala Tiribulus) OR it claims to be based on objective evidence, but is never able to reliably deliver on those claims (ala Pat and Brother Chris).


From almost a year ago now. A reply to my buddy Ephrem who I miss very much.
I said:


And I don't have a problem with religion, except when it's applied outside of its limits. Unfortunately, that is usually the case.

Religion makes all kinds of outlandish claims about the nature of reality (there is an all knowing, omniscient, being that talks to you and protects you; people can walk on water; people can be supernaturally healed from cancer, etc.) but their claims always fall flat under controlled conditions, when alternate explanations are ruled out.

If they kept it to discussions of morality rather than claims about reality, that would be different.


You saying guys with masters and doctorates in philosophy don't have the mental capability to distinguish between the two if there is a distinctness about the two?


"I don't reject the relentless pursuit of knowledge, as long as my pursuit is entirely based on the unproven assumption that all of existence comes from God."

Starting with an unproven assumption, and refusing to acknowledge the possibility that the assumption is false, is not what I would call the relentless pursuit of knowledge.


Ph.Ds are as subject to confirmatory bias as anyone else. Which is why science is designed to allow replication of findings under the same conditions, rather than taking someone's word for it, on faith.




To deliver what?


If we can't trust our senses and logic when observing physical reality, and a bible is part of physical reality then we can't trust our senses and logic when observing the bible.


So when are you gonna knock it off?


Hard science is a philosophical method based on observation. It only requires the existence of a falsifiable premise (hypothesis) and method of measurement that bears repeatable results. Loosely the term science can refer to any organized knowledge -- e.g., the science of motorcycle maintenance.

Inherent in the idea of scientific measurement is the idea that there exists some quality that is measurable. In other words, we can apply some sort of non arbitrary and fundamental units of measurement to some particular quality of the natural universe -- for example, time, distance, and dispacement.

Science exists because enlightened people figured out that we cannot always trust our senses. They came to the conclusion that there must be some method based in logic that would provide the best gage for judging truths about the natural universe. All sciences must have their derivations in logic.

Logic is the only thing we can trust because logical truth must be consistent with the reason. Logic is nothing more than the science (as in organized knowledge versus an observational method) of rational thinking.

Science does not guarantee truth; it can only guarantee statistically significant results under a completely known set of circumstances.


Falsifiability requires free will. If we did not have free will, our conclusions about the outcomes of experiments would be predetermined, therefore science requires free will.

Free will puts humans in a special place. Where does free will come from?