Category Archives: scientism

Weekend reading: three easy pieces

I commend three items to your attention for weekend reading, assuming that you’re not gallivanting about this Labor Day weekend, mingling with crowds and spreading viruses. You can access each article by clicking on the screenshot of its title. First up we have an attack on science, seen as “scientism”, from Catholic philosopher Edward Feser, […]

Boudry on scientism and “ways of knowing”

It’s been a while since we’ve discussed either scientism or “ways of knowing” on this site (the two ideas are connected). I’ll reiterate my views very briefly. “Scientism” has two meanings, as Maarten Boudry notes in his piece below, but the most common non-pejorative meaning is that of science making claims outside of its ambit, […]

Nathaniel Comfort gets all angry about a tweet from Steve Pinker

Two days ago I wrote a critique of a curiously disjointed and poorly written article by science historian Nathaniel Comfort: a critique of science and “scientism” published in Nature. It was a garbled mixture of postmodern and woke sentiments, making a bogus claim that discoveries like the microbiome and epigenetics have radically altered our “sense […]

Op-ed in science journal Nature disses science and “scientism”, questions Enlightenment values

Nathaniel Comfort, author of the risible Nature essay at hand (click on screenshot below), is a professor in the history of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. We’ve met him three times before on this site; he seems to be a postmodernist who dislikes genes, New Atheism, and Richard Dawkins.  Now he’s written about. . . . […]

A misguided attack on scientism in Quillette

How many times do I have to criticize attacks on scientism, all of which use various permutations of the same three claims? Here they are: 1.) There are “other ways of knowing” that don’t involve science. These often involve “why” questions, like “Why am I here? (i.e. what is my purpose?)” or “Why is the […]

Massimo Pigliucci goes after “scientism” for the umpteenth time

Here we have philosophy professor Massimo Pigliucci speaking about scientism at last year’s CSIcon in Las Vegas; his title is “The variety of scientisms and the limits of science.” There are several talks recently posted from this meeting, which I think is the successor to Randi’s “The Amazing Meeting”, and I’ll highlight a few of […]

Ways of Knowing: my talk in Bangalore

Here’s the full content of yesterday’s talk in Bangalore, “Ways of Knowing: Science versus Everything Else”, along with the questions at the end. Due to my poor hearing and occasional inability to make out Indian-accented English, I had to ask for some help in translating a few questions. It was livestreamed but is now on […]

Oy! Rebecca Goldstein versus Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus)

I am doubly aggrieved this morning, for even us battle-hardened website bosses can be hurt, especially when it’s by a friend. Or at least I thought philosopher Rebecca Goldstein was a friend, as our relations have always been amiable and I’ve admired her work. So I was hurt when I discovered yesterday, by accident, that […]

NY Times hires science disser as op-ed writer

Late last month, the New York Times hired conservative Bret Stephens as an op-ed writer. Only 43 years old, Stephens had previously worked at the Wall Street Journal, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013. While Stephens isn’t an out-and-out denialist of global warming, he’s always tried to minimize its potential effects on our planet. […]

Two creationists and an anti-“scientism” advocate write in

This is just a small selection of some recent comments that didn’t make it below the fold, but are being displayed in prime time here. I can either ban the writers (creationists and science-dissers usually get automatic bans), or can moderate them and let you do battle. Remember, though, that the chances they’ll change their […]