Re: Signs of Scientism - Scene 2

From: Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
Date: Sat Feb 04 2006 - 17:11:22 EST

“What [current] hypotheses [of human evolution] have in common is that they rely not on Spencer's idea of individual competition, but on social interaction. . . . Of the three great secular faiths born in the 19th Century -- Darwinism, Marxism, and Freudianism -- the second died swiftly and painfully and the third is slipping peacefully away. But Darwinism goes from strength to strength. If its ideas are right, the handful of dust that evolution has shaped into humanity will rarely stray too far off course. And that is, perhaps, a hopeful thought to carry into the New Year.” (Dec. 24-Jan 6 Economist)
   
  Thank you, David, for participating in this thread. A few questions come to mind. First, what business does The Economist have doing a 'survey' of human evolution? One possible reply: it is not their business. Second, is it simply trendy to throw one’s hat in on this topic even if one is not educated in physiology, paleontology, anthropology, zoology or another related discipline? Why does The Economist feel it needs to speak particularly about human evolution – doesn’t homo economicus signify its own disciplinary meaning that natural scientists usually don’t bother with professionally?
   
  Economics and biology are in many ways far apart in the scientific landscape of contemporary academia. And besides, Marx’s and Freud’s ideas are still liberally discussed in economics, psychology, sociology and other social sciences even today. Try saying that Marxism 'died swiftly' to an Estonian a Kazaki or a Chinese person. That ‘great secular faith’ approach is more of a pat over-generalizing myth than a critical analysis of current views in the academy.
   
  Well, so now that I've criticized The Economist...The question of this thread seems somehow irrelevant or unanswerable: What are the signs of scientism and where are they evident in theories of evolution and ID? Why don't scientists want to speak about scientism?
   
  It would be helpful instead then if you would be willing to elaborate on how ‘social Darwinism’ is (still) relevant/integrated in jurisprudence and legal studies, as you’ve suggested.
   
  "[T]here certainly are many theoretical approaches there that derive from what could broadly be termed "social Darwinism". There also is a huge body of literature about jurisprudence that ultimately is grounded in utlitarianism, which ultimately is grounded in "social Darwinism" in a broad sense." - David
   
  Thanks,

David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com> wrote:
    How about this, which I just read in the Dec. 24-Jan 6 Economist (which contains a survey of human evolution):
   
     "What [current] hypotheses [of human evolution] have in common is that they rely not on Spencer's idea of individual competition, but on social interaction. . . . Of the three great secular faiths born in the 19th Century -- Darwinism, Marxism, and Freudianism -- the second died swiftly and painfully and the third is slipping peacefully away. But Darwinism goes from strength to strength. If its ideas are right, the handful of dust that evolution has shaped into humanity will rarely stray too far off course. And that is, perhaps, a hopeful thought to carry into the New Year."

 
  On 1/18/06, Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca > wrote:
    Perhaps another thread would be possible for the following question:
   
  What are the signs of scientism and where are they evident in theories of evolution and ID?
   
  I hope it is o.k. to restart the topic after many insightful comments on the other thread. This question could perhaps also help to clarify what aspects of ID display scientism, since it is thought that the ID program or strategy over-reaches or tries to somehow reinvent or redefine the common or general perception of 'science.'
   
  For example, when M.Behe says, "Intelligent design theory has implications for virtually all humane studies, including philosophy, theology, literary criticism, history and more," this is to me an example of exceeding the boundaries of scientific speculation. But then again, he is not necessarily speaking as a scientist when o pining about ID's 'implications.'
   
  On the other hand, since a thread was just opened about R. Dawkins, the issue of what aspects of evolutionary theories (if any) display scientism may be fresh when considering his views. Granted that not all evolutionary theories necessarily lead to atheism or agnosticism and not all scientists who accept evolutionary theories display scientism.
   
  The comment by Rich Blinne that ID is closer to 'moderate forms of theistic evolution' or evolutionary creation than it is to YEC seems relevant (and rather curious) also.
   
   
  Gregory
    
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Received on Sat Feb 4 17:12:17 2006

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