Comments on Ian Hutchinson's book "Monopolizing Knowledge"

This Christian physicist wrote this book to criticize "Scienticism" (the idea of superiority of the scientific methods above other kinds of knowledge), making a case for the presence of other valid cases of knowledge, up to the case of religion.
I started trying to read and comment this book, as from far away it could have been expected to be one of the best possible defense of the view I'm opposing.
Because, do you know, I'm so bored of always reading and hearing just stupid attacks on science and reason from the part of people who, well, are just proud of their unability (or unwillingness) to make a proper use of their brain but have no decent argument on their side. Let's see if this one will be any different.

But someone else already wrote a good criticism. So to simplify things, I invite you to visit that link, whose ideas I won't repeat below.

Chapter 1

"...then scientism is a ghastly intellectual mistake.

But how could it have come about that this mistake is so widespread..."

Funny, I definitely don't have the impression that scientism is widespread. Moreover, I'm saying this while I live in France, and sometimes travel to other countries, but never went to the US where, you know, religion dominates over science. Where I live, religious beliefs are a minority, and scientific studies are valued as the top possible orientation for students. Despite this, I feel persecuted by a widespread anti-scienticism. I feel injustly excluded and everybod hates me because I'm too intelligent, I think too much and too logically, and most people hate that. I can't find anybody really interested with science and logical inquiries of broad subjects (understanding the world's problem and possible solutions) like I am.
Instead, most of the people I see expressing strong views, for example in political issues, seem to be paranoid against what they see as the domination of scientism. Well ok, most of them don't follow much precisely any precise sects and antirationalist doctrines either. Since Marxism spectacularly failed, most people are skeptical about any bold set of ideas whatsoever. They are just in the middle, in no well-defined set of ideas...
Still I do understand a possible cause of this feeling : non-scientific projects regularly fail and are thus forgotten. Only scientific endeavors succeed and bring progress to mankind.
Thus people only remember the latter, many vote for it with their feet (choice of carreer because it gives jobs...).
And also, scientism roughly describes the official position of most institutions. It does not mean they behave in a truly rational way; indeed, the have a number of unproven assumptions, such as the belief in the necessity to attend courses and follow all academic requirements to become a genuine scientist; so most people just follow the institutions just because of their monopoly on the path to a future job. This is how it seems natural to believe that science dominates the world. This does not mean that scientism is widespread in the mind of the public.

On the other hand, I think genuinely developed pro-science ideas are not widespread. So that it is necessary to give the not so well know explanations. Others did, so did I.

"[scientism] offers a comprehensive principle or belief, which itself cannot be proved (certainly not scientifically proved)"

As for me, I see my convictions of the power of reason to understand many issues, and the failure of religion to understand what they claim to be their own field, as based on proof. As I was Christian, I was absolutely horrified at the idea to dare rejecting faith by my own will, by any unproven hypothesis. So I could not have gone out of that without due evidence. Reason can prove its power by succeeding to understand moral problems and to provide solutions much better than what others found by other means; and also prove the failure of religious ways by proving how false and harmful many religion-inspired convictions and attitudes can sometimes be. Such evidences are what my rationalist convictions are based on.

Also, there is something incoherent in the idea that such big claims as those of Christianity on how life works and how God intervenes in people's life, would fail to have any significant consequence that careful rational examination would find out - while science has been so successful to discover and understand so many aspects of the world.

But even a lack of evidence for it, would not make scientism a belief. At least as long as its practice is not distorted.
Rather than a belief, scientism is an attitude, a practice. It is the practice to inquire things rationally, with the scientific method. Whenever it is practiced, of 2 things one:
In either case, no erroneous conclusion is obtained.
Something that cannot lead to a false conclusion, is not an hypothesis, not a belief.

"The belief in human `progress', based on technique, failed in the face of the stark realities of world wars and gulags."

Were holy wars and wich hunts better ?
Anyway, the actions of world wars and gulags were not the fruits of reason but of unreason. Science is the job of scientists. It is not scientists who decided the world wars and gulags, nor who designed the political structures that produced these decisions. Progress takes a lot of time, especially when it depends on the mindset of a public that cannot reason properly. Wars regularly happened around the world since millenia. Technological progress did not worsen wars, but only made some single wars larger. Now it is rather the relative peace we enjoy since the end of the second world war, which is something new, and a result of modernity.

(Maybe I'll continue another time; however with this and the other article above, it is already clear that Ian Hutchinson's views are flawed, and no reliable truth; ifever Christians still have something to defend not based on fallacies and ignorance, they are yet to prove their ability to discern the truth and the validity of arguments, by succeeding to write a defense without such flaws).

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