Back in university a professor once made the distinction between science and technology. Another pointed out that science can be corrupt or veer toward scientism. The above tweet highlights some of the religious aspects of technology. The article it links to is well worth the read.
The above tweet links to a good discussion about scientism. The point I’ve quoted in the tweet is basically saying that some scientists – okay most of them – are so brainwashed into their particular outlook that they either ignore or ridicule other perspectives. This actually happened at a government level in Canada, where our new Governor General (and former astronaut) Julie Payette made an outrageous speech, unfitting for her position.
At earthpages.ca I’ve made a brief sketch of some of the differences between science and scientism:
Scientism has two meanings.
- One refers to the almost religious belief that science may eventually understand and solve all natural and human problems. This kind of scientism has also been called “scientific fundamentalism.”
- The second meaning refers to the partial and/or deceptive use of methods generally recognized as scientific. Put simply, some people actively deceive or try to appear scientific for personal, economic or political gain.
When I first discovered The Conversation I was excited. I’m always looking for fresh material at Earthpages.org, and The Conversation seemed to be a cornucopia of Creative Commons material.
However, only researchers actively employed or funded are allowed to contribute. So that means any second- or third-rate thinker who gets their job or funding through a potentially corrupt system of patronage can write there. But smart people who don’t get academic jobs or funding – because they’re too clean or different – can’t write there.
This shortcoming is pretty evident in these two tweeted articles. Sure, the articles contain a reasonable amount of fairly well written material. Academics, be they cronies, stooges or not, need to perform to some degree. But also present is the usual constriction of thought that most academic game players must adhere to or simply exhibit. And it’s that very constriction of thought that earthpages.org and earthpages.ca intends to surpass.
Comment – I don’t believe we’ve ever had nonpartisan news. Different papers have always appealed to different markets.
Comment – Gosh. Back in high school we learned about checking sources and evaluating arguments. Just because someone uses the magical word “algorithm” doesn’t mean that it points to truth. This word is so common today. But it seems to mystify more than explain. Another case of human beings being duped by scientism?
Originally posted November 26
Today’s top tweet points to a list of the main points mentioned in a Cambridge talk commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis. The target web page also links to a freely streaming or downloadable mp3 of that talk.
Edit, November 28:
I finally listened to the whole thing and ate humble pie the whole way through. It really is quite a good talk. So much so that I just deleted my previous comments. Never good to rush or comment on something before giving it a fair chance.
Roger Scruton is an English philosopher who has published some very readable books about philosophy and God. I own a couple and was pleased to see this blog about scientism… that is, shoddy stuff posing as good science. Personally, I think a lot of science is actually scientism. But because many practitioners with conscious (or unconscious) vested interests have done such a good job in hoodwinking the masses, mine is not a popular opinion. 🙂
We are persons, and personality is of our essence.
Flowing from personality, there are concepts that play an organizing role in our experience — concepts like ornament, melody, duty, and freedom — but belong to no scientific theory because they divide up the world in a way that no natural science could countenance. Science tells us a lot about the ordered sequences of pitched sounds; but it tells us nothing about melodies. A melody is not an acoustical but a musical object. And musical objects belong to the purely intentional realm: they are about something else; they are imbued with meaning; they are sounds as we self-conscious beings experience and relate to them. The concept of the person is like the concept of a melody. It features in our way of perceiving and relating to each other, but it does not “carry over” into the science of what we are…
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Yesterday I tweeted about this program. I also wrote the television station, telling them how much I enjoyed the show and that it should be available on the web. I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that TVO is extremely web savvy. So if anyone read my comments re yesterday’s entry, I stand corrected!
More importantly, I’m glad that visitors to Earthpages.org can watch this video too. I found it very helpful… nothing short of captivating.