A public radio station hosts what they call “The Academic Minute”, a name which signals you are in for sixty seconds of pain.
This was so in a minute from “Moti Mizrahi, associate professor of philosophy in the school of arts and communication at Florida Institute of Technology”. You go there to listen, or follow the transcript along below as we dissect it.
The term “scientism” is used in the war against science on social media. In much the same way they have co-opted and weaponized the pro-choice phrase “my body, my choice,” anti-vaxxers co-opted and weaponized the philosophical term “scientism” to create mass doubt and disbelief concerning the COVID-19 vaccines, without understanding the various philosophical views that “scientism” encompasses.
Mizrahi blows it right off the bat, missing the scientism embedded in the term “my body, my choice.” Not how’s it’s used—rightly—by anti-mandaters, but how it’s used by women who want an excuse to kill the lives inside them. Can you see why?
To justify killing the lives inside would-be mothers, and get away with it, “science” has to define those lives as non-human. That’s scientism because science cannot define what is, and what is not, life, let alone what is or isn’t human life. Philosophy, with a determined metaphysics, is needed for that. This is so even if your philosophy says it’s okay to kill the lives inside would-be mothers. It’s still a philosophy and not science.
Mizrahi is therefore typical of those scidolators who do not realize they have snuck (you heard me: snuck) philosophy in without acknowledging it and calling it “science”. That is the very definition of scientism: that science knows everything.
Which our Academic in his minute suffers from. Blindly.
The anti-mandaters did not, almost to a man, start anti-vax. They were anti-mandate. They were anti-this vax. Which because of obstreperous government propaganda, and outright easily seen lies (“If you have the vax, you can’t get sick or spread the bug”, lied the highest officials), turned, for some, into complete suspicion of all vaccines. But only for some. In any case, this is not an irrational suspicion for them.
For anti-vaxxers, to get vaccinated is to worship science as a god and to accept science without question. However, there is a continuum between a dogmatic acceptance of science, or “science worship,” which is often mistakenly referred to as “scientism,” and a dogmatic rejection of science, or “science denial.” If “science worship” is misguided, as anti-vaxxers claim, then “science denial” is misguided, too. In fact, dogmatic science denial is more misguided and dangerous than dogmatic science worship.
His first sentence is a preposterous straw man. It is so ludicrous, it is a straw man without straw. It is a punishingly stupid sentence.
What is true is that people were asked to “accept science” and not question it, you denier. Do not do your own research, we were warned—continuously. Questioning the Fabulous Fauci became questioning science itself! Questioning the Canadian government became a crime. Mizrahi is either an ass or he has a memory as porous as the outfits “drag queens” wear to read books to six-year-olds.
Now science worship is a kind of scientism, yes. But it is not scientism itself, which Mizrahi, being an employed academic philosopher, ought to know. Scientism is the false belief, and easily seen false belief, that science has all the answers.
There is no such thing as “science denial.” To say there is is an embarrassment to straw men the world over. If straw men could blush, they would blaze red here. There is specific denial of idiotic, over-certain, and false claims made in the name of science. There is denial that the best thing to do is known by science. Science does not know right from wrong, good from bad, ethical from unethical, best from worst. Science is mute on these questions.
So that when a man comes and tries to sell you “The Final Solution” in the name of science, it is right to tar and feather that man, confiscate his lands, and to sell his children into slavery.
Why? Because science is the most successful knowledge-producing enterprise in human history.
No. False. Not true. How could a philosopher say this? Has he never read a math book? A book on philosophy? The Bible? Shakespeare? Confucius? Has he listened to Beethoven? Seen a Gothic cathedral? Et cetera?
Our best scientific theories provide explanations for phenomena that would otherwise seem mysterious to us, make novel predictions that are borne out by experimentation and observation, and allow us to intervene in nature technologically.
I’m delighted to agree with this. Too bad so many scientists don’t often enough believe, or follow, that “borne out by observation” bit. And instead insist their theories are good because their models are so beautiful. Alas, we cannot have everything.
The view that acknowledges the success of science, especially when compared to non-scientific areas of inquiry, is scientism. Scientism is the view that scientific knowledge is superior to non-scientific knowledge in terms of explanatory, predictive, and instrumental success. So, in the fight against infectious diseases, like COVID-19, we better rely on the best we’ve got, namely, our scientific knowledge of such diseases, or reject science at our own risk.
This is false. This is not what scientism is. No. It is not right. It is determinedly stupid. How can he not know this?
Science is best at what science does best, which is trying to find causes of measurable things. Who could deny this? It stinks at everything else, though. Like at telling people what to do.
It’s not that people are “rejecting science” (at their own risk). It’s that they’re rejecting bad science—especially turds which everybody knows is bad science, and which rulers and Experts hold up as shining examples. And they’re kicking to the sewer, where it belongs, the idea that science knows what’s best.
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