This article continues my survey of how atheism relates to other (commonly associated) concepts. Previously, I addressed skepticism and materialism. In this installment, we take on scientism. Over the years, the great naturalist E.O. Wilson has appeared to court deism. But deism is merely a footnote in his book Consilience. The beating heartbeat of that […]
What’s wrong with the scientific study of morality? An interview with Paul Rezkalla
Paul Rezkalla has an MA in Philosophy and Ethics from the University of Birmingham and an MA in theology from St. John’s University. He is currently working on a PhD in philosophy at Florida State University (with the esteemed Michael Ruse) and an MSc in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology from Oxford University. In this conversation, […]
Scientists who get in trouble doing philosophy
The other day I reviewed the new documentary Bill Nye: Science Guy. The documentary begins with the following quote from Carl Sagan: “Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It’s just the best we have. In this respect, as in many others, it’s like democracy.” Carl Sagan was a fantastic popularizer of science, one with […]
Bill Nye: Science Guy: A Review
Where I grew up in south-central British Columbia in the 1980s, we had four channels from Seattle on our limited dial, including Kiro 7. As a result, my early Sunday evenings were spent watching Almost Live, a half-hour local Seattle show with aspirations to be a Pacific Northwest version of Saturday Night Live. One of […]
How the British Humanist Association Promotes Propaganda
This is my second critique of the British Humanist Association video “How do we know what is true?” In my first article on the topic I pointed out how the video tacitly endorses scientism and thereby undermines the value claims upon which humanism is predicated. It is now time to turn to the deeper and […]
Is there a better way to know than science?
A reader named “Oliver” posted the following questions in the thread to my article: “How the British Humanist Association undermines Humanism“: “Is there a better, more reliable, way of knowing what is and isn’t true than the scientific method? If so, can you describe it?” The first, relatively minor problem with the question is that […]
On God and Volcanoes
I’ve been fascinated by volcanoes since May, 1980. We were outside playing during recess when the late spring sky began to snow. Except it wasn’t snow, it was ash from the recently exploded Mt. St. Helens. (Living in south central British Columbia, we were a good day’s drive away from the volcano. But that was […]
Have a question about God? Ask the scientist!
Yesterday morning a reader posted the following comment on my article “Why I don’t take young earth creationism seriously (even though I do take young earth creationists seriously)“: “Most, if not all scientists will tell you that a virgin conveiving, [sic] a man being fully man and fully god, and a resurrection are impossible too.” […]
We’re not laying pipe! We’re talking about poetry.
There is a famous scene in “Dead Poet’s Society” where the teacher, Mr. Keating, deconstructs the introduction to his students’ poetry textbook. That introduction advises how to examine the worth of every poem mathematically by charting each poem on a graph relative to a set of objective, measurable properties. Mr. Keating balks at the very idea: […]
TWU Today Archives Part 3: My first apologetics article ever in which I demolish scientism! (Not really.)
In this installment of my dive into the TWU Today newspaper archives I have my first apologetics article ever! Published on October 10, 1995, it’s a critique of the skeptic community’s uncritical acceptance of scientism. My proximate target is Skeptical Inquirer, a publication of CSI (originally CSICOP). The first thing you can see (if you can read the […]
Natural, Supernatural, and … Scientism?
Yesterday I received this tweet in my Twitter feed. But I’m not even sure what this is saying. So the following exchange ensues: Fortunately, one can refashion the concept without invoking supernatural/natural. Instead, one can say something like this: “Increasingly, scientists are explaining phenomena in the world which were once attributed to the direct actions […]
Thoughts on The Martian
A couple weeks ago I saw The Martian and I’m telling you, it’s out of this world. (Yes, it’s true. I began a serious review with a pun that Henny Youngman wouldn’t deign to use.) But don’t let that awful opening line throw you. I loved this movie. It’s got all the right elements of a […]
Science is no substitute for religion: A Reader’s Journey Through God or Godless (Part 7)
In chapter 5 of God or Godless I take the lead with the following debate resolution: “Science is no substitute for religion.” Of course, it’s also true that religion is no substitute for science. Each area of enquiry has its respective domain. Just as physics, geology or meteorology will not answer the question “How shall […]
Are We Alone? How Nova gets the ultimate question wrong (and why it matters)
The other day I was watching an episode of the PBS program Nova titled “Alien Planets Revealed”. The episode began in grand fashion as the narrator set up the search for earth-like planets and the life that may exist on them. Eventually the program introduction built up to the following dramatic conclusion: Whoa, this […]