A fellow I know on FaceBook whenever I post something about science likes to stick in or add on something pejorative about “scientism”. While I am sure there are people out there that do “believe in science” like it is a religion I’m not one of them and I can’t think of any real scientist I know of and respect that does. So I asked him today…
XYZ you do realize that science is a method of investigation not a belief system. Do you have a better more reliable method I should use in its place to figure out how the physical world works? What is it?
The problem I have with your pejorative use of “scientism” is that despite your carefully cloaked assumption that religion and perhaps other disciplines have methods of apprehending truth beyond science you do not give a single example of a question that those other disciplines have answered that science can’t.
Again scientists don’t “believe in scinece“. Science is a method of investigation.
Dr, Jerry A. Coyne on Science and Faith…
Why Scientists Have No Faith in Science
A common tactic of those who claim that science and religion are compatible is to argue that science, like religion, rests on faith: faith in the accuracy of what we observe, in the laws of nature, or in the value of reason.
There’s a simple story book I love that I read years ago that has a great moment and a great accompanying line in it. The book is Richard Back’s Illusions The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. It’s a story about two barnstormers that meet up flying around the country performing small private air shows and develop an interesting teacher student relationship. One of them, a character named Don Shimoda is the teacher, and he has this small little book with him called “The Messiah’s Handbook” which whenever you open it seems to have the answer you were looking for. Something tragic happens and the teacher and the book falls to the ground and the student character who is the author Richard Back picks up the book looking for the answer to explain what just happened and he reads:
“Everything in this book might be wrong”
Indeed everything we discover and think we know,…may be wrong.
I am not a scientist. I don’t study and explore biology, agriculture, climate, or physics first hand. I rely on other scientists to do that for me and then I try to understand what they have done and what they have found as best as I can. I am always willing to change my mind and change what can be called my positions when I learn something new I haven’t known before. If “following” scientists who know science and the scientific method better than I do, and eschewing supernatural and paranormal speculations, and embracing empiricism and reason makes me a member of the supposed church of scientism well then so be it.