The growth of science since the 20th century has led to the emergence of a new belief concerning how humans can properly obtain knowledge. This new belief, called scientism, is the claim that science is our only source of real knowledge about the world. I’ve written quite a bit about this before (see here), but I thought the following short video was a good overview of scientism from another source.
It seems that we, as human beings, need to put our faith or trust in something. For instance, many people in our current culture have left faith in God only to put their faith in science as a way of finding truth. Now, don’t get me wrong. Science has delivered the goods when it comes to helping us understand the natural world. But does scientific knowledge lead us to all truth? Because when we look to science to provide all the answers for our existence, we inevitably must leave the realm of scientific method for the realm of metaphysics.
So, in this way, scientism, as an epistemology, requires faith. In other words, it begins to look just like a secular religion. I think the video does a good job of making this argument.
Here’s why I think this is important to you as a believer in God. When atheists (who believe in scientism) ask for evidence for God, what they usually mean is physical evidence that can be tested and measured in the natural world by science.
But if God does exist, He would necessarily exist outside of the natural world (this logical argument is made here), so asking for this kind of evidence would be a fallacious category mistake. God, by definition, is not a physical being in nature. You must go outside the limitations of science to talk about God, which is what many anti-theists are not willing to do.
Here is an overview of what the following short video will cover:
- A critique of scientism
- A look at the difference between faith and reason
- Examining the presuppositions of science (areas where faith must be exercised)
- Is the claim of scientism self-refuting?
For you who won’t watch the video, the following statement pretty much sums up their argument (if you want to understand how they came to this conclusion you will need to watch the video):
“While science is an indispensable tool in our pursuit of knowledge concerning the natural world, the claim made by the proponents of scientism seems untenable. Science must accept as true certain principles about the structure prior to undertaking any scientific investigation, and these principles, or the suppositions of science, are themselves not discovered utilizing the methods of science. Furthermore, by asserting that only science can provide us with knowledge of the world, scientism puts forth a claim that is itself not derived from the operation of science, and therefore puts forth a self-refuting claim.”
Here’s the video from Academy of Ideas. It’s brief and well worth watching if you want to understand this subject.