‘But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.’ (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1909)
“Biblical truth, tran-scultural as it is, has an indispensable message for contemporary culture. It addresses modern learning, modern ethics, modern political and economic concerns and all the idolatries of our polytheistic society. It proclaims the Gospel to a generation that is intellectually uncapped, morally un-zippered and volitionally uncurbed. Those who consider the latest fads permanently in will of course dismiss the Christian message as the last hurrah of an antiquated outlook. They reveal their sickness of soul by derogating terms like morality, piety, family, work, patriotism, born-again, evangelical, theology; Christianity they dismiss as a kind of middle-class hedonism, declaring it intellectually inadmissible they meanwhile espouse a life that neither reason nor conscience nor spirit can support or condone. Repression of sensuality and of self-gratification they call psychotically abnormal. Subordination of the flesh they leave to Medieval monks or consign to the future resurrection. Affirming sexual pleasure to be the supreme good of a life of unending revelry, they waste away into ethical ghosts and skeletons.”
Carl F. H. Henry
first editor and chief of Christianity Today
Because its obvious that all that stuff occurs naturally. Beauty, order, design, and even intention spring fourth from the void of existence like clockwork.
Apparently existence is “like a clock” but like a naturally occuring clock, not one that would need a watch-maker to intricately make design and organizational choices on each and every organism (and who uses patterns in His work).
Life springs from non-life.
The mirror image of wave….and sky…..is purely incidental.
The mirror image of son…..and moon….is purely incidental.
That human is midway between atom and sun is purely incidental.
Information springs to life in useful and not mutated form.
The scientific laws….from chemistry and physics….are likewise incidental.
And our minds are just time x chance x sex = mind.
And so, so, much more. You can read it all….in a book with no author and see the pictures that are beyond epic….yet lack a painter or photographer, or designer.
We’re just a closed naturalistic and materialist system that goes on mechanistically and robotically….even though the physics for that have long been disproven in the last paradigm shift in physics that started roughly 100 years ago.
In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other:
“Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”
The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”
The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”
The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”
The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”
“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”
The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”
The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”
Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”
To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”
The purpose of this bibliography is to provide the background of the critique of scientism and naturalism in philosophical literature. Its not 100% extensive, but does still cover a significant amount of the territory in terms of the arguments made and the authors that make them.
The core understandings:
- Soft scientism
- Hard scientism
I would suggest the following are the core voices:
- William Lane Craig (two videos and quotes from Wintery Knight)
- JP Moreland (video)
John Eccles on reductionism (or as he calls it promisory reductionism, dualism, and some of the philosophical issues behind the brain-based considerations–aka neuroscience). Eccles I believe was a neuro-physiologist & philosopher.
- CS Lewis, Abolition of Man (link)***
- CS Lewis, On Miracles (link)
- CS Lewis, a number of other essays
- Alvin Platinga (he has written pretty extensively)
- Ed Feser (at least 3 essays) [he’s written at least two books on related topics, but I’m not sure how much of either are on this topic] Here is Feser’s blog
- Mary Midgely (a number of books and essays) Here is here Amazon author page (link)
- Peter S. Williams, CS Lewis vs. the New Atheists (link)
- Michael D. Aeschliman, The Restitution of Man: CS Lewis and the Case Against Scientism (link)
Its also worth noting that a number of atheists are critical of scientism as well (i.e. atheism in drag)
Here is the neuro-philosophy side of the question to some extent (link).
- The Michael Aeschliman links to a Google book that’s partial. I liked that book book a lot.
- Its also important to note that the critique of naturalism seems to be at the heart of this question. That’s why Alvin Platinga and CS Lewis’ On Miracles is included.
I think the Peter Williams is particularly good to the extent that it quotes so extensively from Atheists themselves pointing to gaping holes, particular in terms of the hard problem of conscience, but also the utter lack of meaning question.
It all gets back to a couple arguments:
- Scientism in ethics/philosophy destroys ethics
- Scientism destroys the academy
- Scientism destroys all knowledge
- Scientism undermines the emotional
- Scientism undermines the subjective
- Scientism is self-defeating (this is the bottom line argument)
- Overall critique of naturalism
- Critique of Hume (Miracles or Humean fork)
- Critique of Veritifcationism
- Scientism imprints the Enlightenment human on humans, excluding all other historical eras (Romanticism, Renaissance, etc..). I think there may even be science which calls that decision into question (emotions are key to humans and decision-making)
By destroying the following you destroy science, the human, and civilization:
- The academy
- The identity/the human
- Choice, purpose, ethics, responsibility
CS Lewis quotes from Abolition of Man (TBA)
CS Lewis-esque quotes from Restitution of Man (link)
CS Lewis quotes from Miracles (link)
CS Lewis quotes from God is in the Dock (link)
- I would still read these books. I’m sure I left out some quotes and you certainly get more context for the argument he was making. In addition there are lots of references he makes which may spark ideas.
- I will try to provide links to the videos and articles in the near future
- I hope this helps your anti-scientism research and bibliography needs
If you know of other research resources that critique scientism or naturalism, feel free to leave a comment.