The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

Scientism: All True Knowledge Comes From Science . . . Or Does It?


I used to think that philosophy was boring and useless.  To me, it amounted to a bunch of over educated impractical people pondering over things that had no real relevance to ordinary life.  I couldn’t see the merit in spending much time dealing with what appeared to me to be convoluted discussions.  Somehow, I managed to get through most of my life so far without dealing with things in deeply philosophical ways, but when I started researching psi, I was finally forced to confront the beast.  Philosophy, it turns out, is pretty darned important.

What makes it so important to understand philosophy?  Simple.  We already have a philosophy that guides our thinking and actions whether we realize it or not.  If we don’t realize that we have a guiding philosophy, we don’t question it, and therefore we’re not aware of whether it has gone off the rails or not.  In other words, we won’t realize that we are seeing the world through a set of unquestioned assumptions that may not necessarily be true. The best example of this is Scientism, which is a philosophy that ironically rejects philosophy as not being important.

Scientism is defined as follows:

Scientism is a belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints.

It would be very hard to grow up in western society without embracing scientism at least to a degree.  We find the belief in science all around us, in the media and in our lives.  It is easy to understand why we hold scientific knowledge in such high esteem; we can see the positive and negative results of that knowledge all around us.  Scientific knowledge very often produces consistent tangible results, whereas other types of knowledge are typically not so obvious in their usefulness.  We have learned to regard things that are tangible, measurable and consistent as being of more value than than intangible things.  I don’t think that this occurs in a conscious way, but rather it operates as a kind of unconscious assumption that we all take for granted to varying degrees.  While I am going to single out individuals and types of people who have embraced scientism, that is really just for convenience.  I think that the majority of us have adopted this point of view to varying degrees.

At its most extreme, scientism is found in atheistic scientists, such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.  This view basically consists of bashing any religion or point of view that is not scientifically based on the grounds that it cannot possibly be rational while extolling the virtues of science.  Because scientism tends to reject knowledge that cannot be acquired scientifically, it is at its core a belief in a materialistic, mechanistic universe.  As a result, it is not at all surprising that scientism is the guiding philosophy behind scientific rejection of psi and any and all research or philosophy that suggests an expanded view of consciousness in the universe.

From a purely philosophical viewpoint, the philosophy of scientism is fatally flawed.  Scientism claims that scientific knowledge is the supreme source of knowledge because scientific knowledge has been proven.  But you cannot apply this form of proof to scientism itself.  There is no scientific way to prove that scientific knowledge is the only true knowledge.  Scientism is inherently contradictory and circular in its reasoning.  (You can find an extensive and well written article spelling out this problem here.)

What this philosophical argument against scientism highlights is that scientism itself is nothing more than a belief system, indistinguishable in any significant way from any other belief system.  Scientism is merely taking a purely arbitrary subset of the vast spectrum of human experiences and declaring it to be more valid than other human experiences.  I use the word arbitrary because scientism can provide neither justifcation for choosing which experiences are valid (explain why scientific knowledge is more valuable than other forms of knowledge) nor spell out exactly what those experiences are.  (explain what is meant by “scientific?”)

Scientism cannot justify its choices because at its most basic level, scientific knowledge is nothing more or less than human experiences that have been written down and shared.  In what way are these experiences substantially different from other experiences that were written down and shared?  They aren’t.  Science is ultimately based on agreements and assumptions, just like the rest of shared human knowledge.

It might be said that science is a better and more consistent way to obtain knowledge than many other methods available to us, but this speaks only to how the knowledge was acquired; it says nothing about the importance of the knowledge itself.  The knowledge obtained by scientific methods is not automatically more useful or inherently superior because of how it was gained.

Another way to phrase this is to say that scientism values the method of gaining knowledge more than the knowledge itself.  It’s a strange way to view the world and not surprisingly, it has some rather obvious real world limitations.  Scientism doesn’t place any value whatsoever on things it perceives to be the realm of consciousness, since these things elude reductionism and the scientific method.  This creates yet one more circularity in the reasoning of scientism since consciousness is required for scientism to exist.

It is also quite difficult to pin down what is meant by the word “scientific.”  Evidence might be scientific, but what about the theories?  They are just guesses made by a narrow group of specialists and are an interpretation of available evidence.  Often other interpretations are available, so while evidence might be considered truly scientific, it is harder to make that case for theories.  If you do decide that scientific theories are scientific, now you have a philosophical problem because you have opened the door to allow interpretation into your domain of “supreme source of knowledge.”  The problem with this is that now just about anything can be considered scientific, which makes the definition of “scientific” trivial.

This does not mean, of course, that we toss out scientific knowledge as useless and meaningless.  Rather, we need to see it for what it is:  one more aspect of the canon of human experiences available to us that can be used to our benefit or detriment.  We are not bound by scientific conclusions, but rather we need to see them as pieces of a larger puzzle.  Science is not a temple and scientists are not its priests, even if they act like it.  There is truth in science, and frankly there is a lot of it.  But it is by no means the whole truth or even the greater part of it.

In conclusion, it’s fair to say that we need to look closely at our assumptions about the importance we lend to scientific information and weigh it against other sources available to us in our lives.  In this way, we are not slaves to the unconscious assumptions we might have about the world and we are free to cast a wider net in our pursuit of knowledge.

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6 comments on “Scientism: All True Knowledge Comes From Science . . . Or Does It?

  1. dovhenis
    May 30, 2014

    THE GREAT science feat in 2013 על מהות ומקור היקום

    The 2013 gravity comprehension/definition is the greatest science feat since the early 1920s.

    Learn what, scientifically, natural gravity is and what evolution is.
    Think of the consequences re classical science of this comprehension of gravity…

    איך נברא היקום יש מאין
    Origin And Nature of the Universe, the greatest science feat since the early 1920s.

    New Science 2013 versus classical science
    Classical Science Is Anticipated/Replaced By The 2013 Gravity Comprehension !!!

    http://universe-life.com/2014/02/24/gravity/

    Attn classical science hierarchy, including Darwin and Einstein…
    “I hope that now you understand what gravity is and why it is the monotheism of the universe…DH”
    =================================
    Gravity is the natural selection of self-attraction by the elementary particles of an evolving system on their cyclic course towards the self-replication of the system. Period
    ( Gravitons are the elementary particles of the universe. RNA nucleotides genes and serotonin are the elementary particles of Earth life)

    כח המשיכה
    כח המשיכה הוא הבחירה הטבעית להיצמדות הדדית של חלקיקי היסוד של מערכת מתפתחת במהלך התפתחותה המחזורית לעבר שיכפולה. נקודה
    ( הגרוויטון הוא חלקיק היסוד של היקום. הגנים, הנוקלאוטידים של חומצה ריבונוקלאית והסרוטונין הם החלקיקים היסודיים של חיי כדור הארץ)

    Dov Henis(comments from 22nd century)

    http://universe-life.com/2013/11/14/subverting-organized-religious-science/
    http://universe-life.com/2013/09/03/the-shortest-grand-unified-theory/
    http://universe-life.com/2013/09/30/science-adjust-vision-concepts-beyond-aaas-trade-union-religion/

    PS: Note, again:

    – Classical Science Is Anticipated/Replaced By The 2013 Gravity Comprehension !!!

    – Think of the consequences re classical science of this comprehension of gravity…
    DH
    נ.ב. הבנת מהות כח המשיכה מספקת בסיס הגיוני מפשט/צפוי/מתקן לכל מגזרי ורכיבי המדע הקלסי
    יש פה אי- ניצול של הזדמנות/אפשרות של ישראל להדיח באלגנטיות מתורבתת את ארה”ב מעמדתה בעולם כמוליכה/המקבעת של עדר ה”מדענים/מדע” באמצעות האיגוד המקצועי האמריקאי הדתי, ולתפוס את עמדת ההולכה/פיתוח/הובלה של המדע 2013 החדש המשתדרג, ולהפוך את המדע האמריקאי לגרורה של המדע הישראלי. אי-ניצול זה הוא מחדל מטומטם /עלוב/מביש של ישראל….

    דה

    What would the human world be without god, or without science
    (May 1/ 3 2014)

    Scientifically natural gravity is the monotheism of the universe.

    The reverence- to- god- tradition, religion of the present Western culture, was introduced by Abraham (2117-1942 BCE) from the Casdites-Babylonians, in whom it was evoked by the sight of the apparently “praying” palm trees, with their palm-like leaves, rewarded with “God’s gift”, in Persian “Bagdad” (bag=god, dad=dat hence date-fruit, data= given/gift. This reverence- tradition was re- adopted by the Jews exiled into Babylonia (586 BCE) , and later adopted also by the Persians who conquered the Babylonian empire, and later adopted also by Alexander , who conquered the Persian empire, and later adopted also by the Greeks and finally adopted also by the Romans and by their following Western world heritage…

    – What would a world without god look like?
    – What would a world without science look like?

    Science = knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation

    God = the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe
    a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people
    : one of various spirits or beings worshipped in some religions

    Science and god are incompatible.

    The present world is a god-believer scienceless world, conducted by ruthlessly competing-for- energy interests , with consequent catastrophes to humanity…

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/
    http://universe-life.com/2006/03/12/inception-and-prevalence-of-western-monotheism/

  2. dovhenis
    March 4, 2014

    Gravity finally comprehended and defined by Dov Henis, Nov 2013!

    On The Nature And Origin Of The Universe…
    Classical Science Replaced By 2013 Gravity Comprehension !!!

    איך נברא היקום יש מאין
    New Science 2013 versus classical science
    http://universe-life.com/2014/02/24/gravity/
    Attn classical science hierarchy ( including Darwin and Einstein…)
    “I hope that now you understand what gravity is and why it is the monotheism of the universe…DH”
    =================================
    Gravity is the natural selection of self-attraction by the elementary particles of an evolving system on their cyclic course towards the self-replication of the system. Period
    ( Gravitons are the elementary particles of the universe. RNA genes and serotonin are the elementary particles of Earth life)

    כח המשיכה
    כח המשיכה הוא הבחירה הטבעית להיצמדות הדדית של חלקיקי היסוד של מערכת מתפתחת במהלך התפתחותה המחזורית לעבר שיכפולה. נקודה
    ( הגרוויטון הוא חלקיק היסוד של היקום. הגנים, הנוקלאוטידים של חומצה ריבונוקלאית והסרוטונין הם החלקיקים היסודיים של חיי כדור הארץ) Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/2013/11/14/subverting-organized-religious-science/
    http://universe-life.com/2013/09/03/the-shortest-grand-unified-theory/

  3. dovhenis
    June 10, 2013

    The comprehensive data-based scientism worldview of Dov Henis
    in a succinct format
    http://universe-life.com/

    • dovhenis
      August 20, 2013

      From Scientism Worldview, Some things to think about…

      On The Essence And Matrix Of The Universe-Life

      Natural Selection/ Self Replication/ Gravity

      Self-replication is the ultimate mode of natural selection is the essence and drive and purpose of the universe. Period.

      The pre-Big-Bang singularity is the ultimate self-replication of the cycling mass-energy universe. Period.

      Earth’s RNA nucleotides life is just one of the myriad modes of self-replication.

      Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)

      ==============================
      My Don Quixotic mission:
      Un-theosophize religious Science of trade-union-church AAAS.

      It takes a change of culture, of the mode of reactions to circumstances, to effect a change of habit, of genetics. Genetics is the progeny of culture, not vice versa. This applies in ALL fields of human activities, including economics, to ALL personal and social behavioral aspects.

      Since the early 1900’s ALL “science” has been taken over by the Technology Culture of the religious Americans, represented by the trade-union-church AAAS. Plain and simple. There has not been any science in the world since then except “religious-American-science”.

      On the blissful religious science ignorance…:

      USA-World Science Hegemony Is Science Blind

      Since the early 2000s I have been posting many articles on science items surveyed and analyzed by me, without religious background-concepts. I have been doing this because I was deeply disturbed by the religiosity of the 1848-founded AAAS trade-union and by the consequent religious background-tint of its extensive “scientific” publications and activities.

      On my next birthday I’ll be 89-yrs old. I know that I’m deeply engaged in a Don Quixotic mission-war to extricate-free the USA and world Science from the clutches and consequences of the religious-trade-union-church AAAS, adopted strangely by the majority of scientifically ignorant religious god-trusting Americans and by their most other humanity following flocks…

      But I am sincerely confident that only thus it is feasible and possible to embark on a new, rational, Human culture (Scientism) and on new more beneficial and effective technology courses for humanity…

      Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
      http://universe-life.com/
      Energy-Mass Poles Of The Universe
      http://universe-life.com/2012/11/14/701/

      ============================

      Decide Humanity: Scientism Or Natural Selection
      http://www.sciencemag.org/site/special/conflict/index.xhtml http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/05/roots-of-racism.html?ref=em

      Scientism:
      A doctrine and method characteristic of scientists, and the proposition that scientific doctrine and methods of studying natural sciences should be used in all areas of investigation and in conduct of politics-social-cultural-civil affairs in pursuit of an efficient practical, as fair as possible, civics framework.

      Natural Selection:
      All mass formats, inanimate and animate, follow natural selection, i.e. intake of energy or their energy taken in by other mass formats.
      All politics and economics, local, national and international, are about evolutionary biology, about Darwinian evolution, about survival, about obtaining and maintaining and distributing energy.

      Religion:
      is a virtual factor-component in human’s natural selection. Its target-function is to preserve-proliferate specific cultural phenotypes.
      Natural selection-religion are compatible with technology-capitalism but are obviously incompatible with science-scientism, that targets preservation-proliferation of the genotype.

      Science-scientism is an obvious threat to the survival of a cultural phenotype.

      Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
      Universe-Energy-Mass-Life Compilation
      http://universe-life.com/2012/02/03/universe-energy-mass-life-compilation/
      For A Scientism Culture
      http://universe-life.com/2011/06/11/for-a-scientism-culture/

      ==================================

      On religion-accommodating AAAS science: How can science be more theosophized than by regarding life-brain-mind-spirituality as being mysteriously apart-different from other mass formats?

      Life is just another mass format. Self-replicating.
      Most phenomena attributed (erroneously) to life only are ubiquitous, including culture, natural selection and (apparent) intelligence…

      Why RNA genes are the heart of medicine…
      Life underneath the academEnglish verbiage…

      Intelliget Life

      Life:
      self-replicating mass format of evolving naturally selected RNA nucleotide(s), which is life’s primal organism.
      Natural selection:
      ubiquitous phenomenon of material, a mass format, that augments its energy constraint.
      Mass-Energy:
      inert-moving graviton(s), the fundamental particle of the universe, inert extremely briefly at the pre-big-bang singularity .
      Intelligence:
      learning from experience.

      Intelligent Life
      Life is an evolving system continuously undergoing natural selection i.e. continuously selecting, intelligently, opportunities to augment its energy constraint in order to survive i.e. in order to avoid its own mass format being re-converted to energy.

      Dov Henis
      (comments from 22nd century)
      http://universe-life.com/

      PS:
      Genome is a base organism evolved, and continuously modified, by the genes, the elementary organisms of their higher organism, as their functional template.
      DH
      ========================

      Virtual Reality And Science

      Virtual = Existing in the mind, a product of imagination..

      From http://lofi.forum.physorg.com/Inception-And-Prevalence-Of-Western-Monotheism_18243.html
      15 June 2006
      Science and Religion
      Psychiatrist draws a straight vertical line on a sheet of paper, shows it to the patient and asks: “what do you see?”
      Patient, somewhat excited: “A standing naked woman…”
      The psychiatrist draws a horizontal line, shows it and asks: “What do you see now?”
      Patient, more excitedly: “A lying naked woman…”
      The psychiatrist now draws a 90-deg angle and asks: “And what do you see now?”
      Patient, overcome with excitement: “A naked woman lying with her legs up…”
      “Man”, says the psychiatrist, “You’re sex crazy!”
      “Doc”, says the patient, “It’s you who draws these sexy drawings, not I!”

      Scientists see the lines, religious persons see the drawings…

      Science can deal with every subject. Including virtual reality.

      Virtual reality cultures create real technologies but only virtual sciences.
      http://universe-life.com/2013/01/11/usa-world-science-hegemony-is-science-blind/

      Whatever the genomics impact on the U.S. economy is, it is without the present USA-World science hegemony understanding what is the genome. Imagine , just imagine, what the impact can be if the USA-World science hegemony would have understood what is the genome…
      Conscientious life is a real life with a virtual reality culture, a culture driven by natural selection along roads rolled by survival needs combined with imaginative apprehensions and aspirations.

      Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
      http://universe-life.com/
      http://universe-life.com/2012/11/14/701/
      -The 20yrs development, and comprehensive data-based scientism worldview, in a succinct format.
      -The Genome is a base organism evolved, and continuously modified, by the genes of its higher organism as their functional template.
      – Everything in the universe derives from mass-energy duality, from the universe cycle between the two poles all-mass-all energy.
      – The Origin Of Gravitons is the ONLY thing unknown-unexplained in the Scientism Universe.

  4. tenayafreak
    May 22, 2012

    Amen. When I meet someone who claims emotions are ‘irrational’ or dismisses other people’s feelings because they can’t be proven, I always have this urge to introduce them to a sociopath. I wonder if they think the Science Superhero would save them?

  5. tenayafreak
    May 22, 2012

    Amen. This is what bothers me so much about people who dismiss emotions–‘it’s unscientific!’ might make a great rallying cry, but when you’re facing an emotionally manipulative person, I don’t see the Science Superhero swooping in to save you.

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This entry was posted on April 30, 2012 by in Consciousness, Philosophy and tagged , , , , .
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