There is a difference between “science” and “scientism.” Science is a very powerful method of gaining and applying knowledge. In this sense, science per se is amoral, and while it has a large domain, it is not the end all and be all. It can tell us truth (small t). But it can’t determine Truth (capital T). For example, it can tell us what is but it can’t tell us what is right and what is wrong.

Scientism is a world view, an ideology that (in my view) corrupts science, properly understood. Biology professor, Austin L. Hughes, has a good piece in the New Atlantis well worth reading about the issue. It’s too long to be fully discussed in a blog, but here are a few highlights.

First, he defines his term. From, “The Folly of Scientism:”

Central to scientism is the grabbing of nearly the entire territory of what were once considered questions that properly belong to philosophy. Scientism takes science to be not only better than philosophy at answering such questions, but the only means of answering them. For most of those who dabble in scientism, this shift is unacknowledged, and may not even be recognized. But for others, it is explicit. Atkins, for example, is scathing in his dismissal of the entire field: “I consider it to be a defensible proposition that no philosopher has helped to elucidate nature; philosophy is but the refinement of hindrance.”

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