Scientism: The New Orthodoxy is a comprehensive philosophical overview of the question of scientism, discussing the role and place of science in the humanities, religion, and the social sciences.Clarifying and defining the key terms in play in discussions of scientism, this collection identifies the dimensions that differentiate science from scientism. Leading scholars appraise the means available to science, covering the impact of the neurosciences and the new challenges it presents for the law and the self. Illustrating the effect of scientism on the social sciences, and the humanities, Scientism: the New Orthodoxy addresses what science is and what it is not. This provocative collection is an important contribution to the social sciences and the humanities in the 21st century.Contributors include: Peter Hacker, Bastiaan van Fraassen, Daniel N. Robinson, Kenneth Schaffner, Roger Scruton, James K.A. Smith, Richard Swinburne, Lawrence Principe and Richard N. Williams.
Archive for the ‘New Atheists’ Category
Need more proof that Islamophobia is a form of cultural racism? Consider the experience of Inderjit Singh Mukker. Mukker was assaulted in September 2015 for “looking Muslim”; he was dragged out of his car and beaten to a pulp by a man screaming “you’re a terrorist, bin Laden!” The twist here is that Mukker is not even Muslim; he is Sikh. The perpetrator of this crime looked at Mukker’s turban and thought “he’s a Muslim. He’s dangerous.” A cultural symbol, in this case, was used as a signifier to judge an entire group of people, however wrongly. Is this racism? Most definitely. Even Sikhs suffer from Islamophobia.
The recent event featuring Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz created a space of illusory significance which ultimately produces nothing of lasting value.
In the years since the so-called “New Atheism” burst onto the scene in the mid 2000s, the movement has not lacked for critics among nonbelievers and agnostics. Until recently, however, few of them wrote books on the subject. Of those who did, apparently the only ones who focused on the cultural and sociopolitical aspects of the movement were Chris Hedges (When Atheism Becomes Religion: America’s New Fundamentalists, Free Press, 2009—first published as I Don’t Believe in Atheists: The Dangerous Rise of the Secular Fundamentalist, Free Press, 2008) and Terry Eagleton (Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate, Yale University Press, 2009). As those dates suggest, it’s been a good while since we’ve seen anything new in this vein.
All of a sudden, though, two new titles have recently hit the market. In September, Dangerous Little Books released CJ Werleman’s The New Atheist Threat: The Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremists (280 pages). In October, Oxford University Press published Stephen LeDrew’s The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement (262 pages). Although differing dramatically in style and tone, these studies have much in common both thematically and in terms of sharing one hugely important flaw (discussed below) likely to go unnoticed by most readers. Both books are essential reading for anyone seeking to better understand the waywardness of a large chunk of the atheist movement…
3. Reject violence and militarism. While atheists as a whole are one of America’s most progressive voting blocs, it’s an unfortunate quirk of history that some prominent atheists have been aggressive advocates of neoconservative foreign policy, which calls for the subjugation of Muslim countries through bombing and invasion. Although religious terrorism is a real threat, too many atheists can’t conceive of any way to respond to it except with more violence.
A case in point is the late Christopher Hitchens, who was a brilliant and fearless writer but will forever be tainted by George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, which he enthusiastically supported on many occasions. Another example is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who deconverted from Islam and rose to become a member of the Dutch parliament. While Hirsi Ali’s life story is undeniably inspiring, and she’s endured great personal trauma and danger for her apostasy, she’s adopted xenophobic ideas about the Western world being at war with Islam. Last but not least, there’s Sam Harris, who’s made many hair-raising comments about Islam such as a call for airport security screeners to profile anyone who “looks like” they “could conceivably be Muslim.”
All these thinkers bought into the destructive fantasy that endless war and brutality, or the all-seeing eye of a surveillance state, are the ways to stop terrorism and other dangerous outgrowths of fundamentalism. There may be cases where military force is the only option, in self-defense or to prevent genocide, but this can only be a last resort. The battle against jihadism and other violent ideologies is ultimately a battle of ideas, not of arms. We’ll only win when we quiet the siren song of destructive fundamentalism and make people feel they have a stake in their own future. And that means we need to invest in democracy, education and true nation-building, rather than cozying up to corrupt rulers or local autocrats who promise to cooperate in keeping their people repressed.
His atheism is its own kind of narrow religion
… Unlike most of those who debated then, Dawkins knows practically nothing of the philosophy of science, still less about theology or the history of religion. From his point of view, he has no need to know. He can deduce everything he wants to say from first principles. Religion is a type of supernatural belief, which is irrational, and we will all be better off without it: for all its paraphernalia of evolution and memes, this is the sum total of Dawkins’s argument for atheism. His attack on religion has a crudity that would make a militant Victorian unbeliever such as T.H. Huxley—described by his contemporaries as “Darwin’s bulldog” because he was so fierce in his defense of evolution—blush scarlet with embarrassment…
Comment (edited 3.58 PM 12/14/2015): New Atheist fundamentalism must have a sound logical foundation based on definitions and contextual parameters prescribed by it’s demagogues. It’s not bigotry if you can rationalize it?- PG
Oxford, England. A basic premise of philosophical logic is that two contradictory propositions cannot both be true. If I put a cat in a box and close the lid, and ask you whether the cat is alive o…