Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Science vs. Scientism

Chuck Colson's essay Brooking No Debate underscores the intolerance of an aggressive strain of atheism in evidence at a conference that, in Colson's words, "turned into the secular materialist equivalent of a revival meeting." At the conference Steven Weinberg, a physicist, was quoted as saying “the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief.” Quoting from the essay:

"Another, physicist Lawrence Krauss, chided them, saying “science does not make it impossible to believe in God . . . [and] we should recognize that fact . . . and stop being so pompous about it.”

Fat chance. What’s behind all of this animosity? It is a worldview known as “scientism,” the belief that there is no supernatural, only a material world. And it will not countenance any rivals. It is a “jealous god.”

As Weinberg’s comments illustrate, it regards any other belief system other than scientism as irrational and the enemy of progress. Given the chance, as in the former Soviet Union, it wants to eliminate its rivals. It is no respecter of pluralism."

No it is not but it is worth recalling the words of perhaps the greatest of all physicists:

"The scientist's religious feeling takes the form of
rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."
Einstein (The World As I See It, p.9)

and this too from Einstein:

"Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source… They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres."

Back to Colson:

"The naturalists, on the other hand, rule out even science that tends to show intelligence, because that might lead to a God. Now, who is narrow-minded?"

Narrow-minded and with a desire to control others; a most unpleasant combination.


At 2:59 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Cephus Rocks this article ROCKS!

Have you read C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy? Particularly the 3rd book "That Hideous Strength"?

Also, it's interesting that during Steven Weinberg's debate/discussion regarding the existence of God and the relationship of science & religion Weinberg became alittle 'choked up' when stating "It is horrifying to believe that we die and won't see our loved ones" (quoted from a reporter in H.F. Schaeffer's "Science & Christianity: Conflict or Coherence").
If I were Weinberg I would be completely startled that I could have such a reaction. It's one thing to think of existing in a meaningless universe ... and that when you die that's it/transmission dead. It's another to think of innocent children passing away, loved ones (moms, dads, sisters, brothers, girlfriends, wifes, husbands....) passing on as well.
My mom died at a young age, hardest thing I had to ever deal with (oddly enough one of the main things to bring me back to Christianity). Shortly after her passing I transitioned from an indifferent christian (bordering on agnostic) to an atheist. The one thing I could make any sense of was my emotional response to her passing. And when I would consider the possibility of her existing beyond her death and living with the one she devouted the last few years of her life to (Jesus) I would become flooded with joy - though fleeting joy, because I didn't believe it was real. But that was the 1st chink in my reductionistic mindset.
I'm curious as to how Weinberg rationalizes his emotional response.

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Cephus Rocks said...

Hi Doug. Thanks for the comment.

Have you read C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy? Particularly the 3rd book "That Hideous Strength"?

I have not read them. Sounds like you enjoyed the books.

As for Weinberg's reaction it is typical of the dichotomy between his statement of beliefs and reality. He acts like we are just biological machines on the one hand and then gets sentimental on the other. How can you reconcile free will and deterministic forces of nature? It does not seem like you can do it logically, so those pretending that nature is all there is live one life at the lab and another after leaving it. Under the surface I believe they harbor doubts they don't allow us to see.


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