New Scientist: The fall of reason.

Posted: June 23, 2006 in Theo/Philo



The comment and analysis section of the ‘New Scientist’ this week has Richard Koch and Chris Smith looking at why science is under attack.They rightly uncover what Os Guinness back in the ‘80’s characterised as ‘operation gravedigger’ .In his excellent book’ The Gravedigger File’ he described Operation gravedigger, based on the idea that Science could only of been born out of a Christian worldview, Science then lead to the downfall of Christianity (mainly in the west) ,it became its own gravedigger.

From the conclusions Koch and Smith come too, their use of the word Science should be replaced with that of Scientism.Scientism is an unfounded belief in a closed universe; it is the assumption that Science alone can deliver the truth about the world, that metaphysics is irrelevant; this view is empirically naive. Scientism’s imperial credentials are founded upon nothing more than wish fulfilment and a desire to remove God from the story.Richard Lewontin provides a nice example of Scientism (science stretching beyond its mandate) with his prior commitments; he states his belief in Scientism “We take the side of science… because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

Koch and Smith conclude there article with : ‘what we may call the ‘lonely hypothesis’-that there is no rational and good God, and probably no God at all, that humankind is a speck of insignificance on the edge of a vast, pointless universe-has its own splendor ,inspiration and self justification. If nothing else will supply meaning in the universe, the existence and achievements’ of human intellect, creativity and love are quite enough.’

Imagine you live in a universe where there is no final eternal meaning except the meaning you happen to choose on any given day,where there is no ultimate value in anything you do or say, where history is a series of accidents and has no direction,where there are no legacies. Where People have no intrinsic significant value, whose final fate is eternal molecular disassociation in an ever expanding, ever darkening cold universe. This is the story Koch and Smith seem to think inspires, providing a source of splendor. Yeah… Right!

Koch and Smith say Love and creativity is enough, but who is there to define what love is? As Sartre has said ‘No finite point has any meaning UNLESS it has an infinite reference point’. Why is creativity enough, what in the end will it amount to? In a closed universe, Human aspirations, creativity and altruism mean nothing more and nothing less than human cruelty and destructiveness. Who is to say that one act is better or kinder than another?The reason Society is dissatisfied with the narrative Science offers, is that it is the Why questions that matter, Science has no why answers. Humanity is wired for God.


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