laugh12 226x300 Scientism, Ridicule, and Applause Lines

Interestingly, scientism is a word that is only used by those who oppose it. Why is that?

Since most people have never heard the word scientism, it might sound a bit overboard to call it the religion of our age. How can a word that relatively few people know, and its followers don’t use be the religion of our age?  But now ask yourself what percentage of Americans would nod their heads in agreement with the following statement:

It’s no one’s business but your own if you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist or whatever, but when it comes to things that effect everyone (education, politics, etc.) we should limit talk about what’s real to what all of us can agree is real.

That statement is creedal scientism (notice how it grants total authority to those who come closest to believing in nothing). And would anyone doubt that more Americans today (and nearly all Europeans) would comfortably nod their heads in agreement with that statement than could recite the Nicene Creed with sincerity?

Respond to the statement above with “prove it” and you’ll get a confused look (although it still might be worth trying). This is because it’s not a statement that opens itself to proof. It’s a resolution of the will, an emotional reaction, or an applause line for the Bill Maher show or The View. And it has nothing to do with reason or science.

And this is why followers of scientism never use the word scientism, let alone define it. The moment they name it they’re obliged to define their terms. And once they do that it withers away under any kind of reasoned debate. Why bother with any of that when all they really want is the applause?

And why do so many applaud? They applaud because the creed sounds reasonable without having to go to the trouble of reasoning anything through. And they applaud to signal that they’re with the smart guy and because applause is a nice way of ridiculing and shutting up those who aren’t.

Webster’s tells me that scientism is: “thought or expression regarded as characteristic of scientists.”  If someone can find scientism used this way in a published sentence, I’d like to see it.  French philosopher and poet Benjamin Fondane knew what he was talking about when he described it as “hatred for religious transcendence.”  Benjamin Fondane died at Auschwitz in 1944.