Toby Young at the Spectator ran this tweet yesterday:
Is there a name for people who think reason and research evidence alone can dictate policy choices? Rationalists? Empiricists? Naifs?
— Toby Young (@toadmeister) November 18, 2013
The text (if you can’t see) reads: “Is there a name for people who think reason and research evidence alone can dictate policy choices? Rationalists? Empiricists? Naifs?”
Iain Murray, author of the essential (but depressing) Stealing You Blind:How Government Fat Cats Are Getting Rich Off of You, answered Young with this:
@toadmeister The belief is scientism, but I'm not sure what the noun for a believer is.
— Iain Murray (@ismurray) November 18, 2013
Text: “The belief is scientism, but I’m not sure what the noun for a believer is.”
Text: “This is an excellent question. Scientismist? Scienceologist?”
Other entries Scientisticist (Murray), Technocrat (Ben Pile â€@clim8resistance), Technocrocist (Pile), Logical Positivists (sadmaninagame â€@sadmaninagame), neo-pseudo-Benthamist (Robert Hogan â€@RobertH1946). I also offered Scisalvationist and Sciencredoer.
‘Logical Positivists‘ is, of course, philosophically correct, but it suffers from being unmemorable, being two words instead of one, and not being dismissive enough.
For the next week, from 19 November through 26 November, readers are invited to supply entries in the Name For Those Who Strictly Hold to Scientism Contest. The winner, if there is one, will receive a Kindle copy of Murray’s book.
The winner, if one exists, will be announced in this space on 27 November, the day before Thanksgiving. Whoever wins will then have one week to email me with his preferred Amazon email address, else the prize will go unclaimed.
I say if there is a winner. I tell you plainly that I am already leaning on my own entry Scientismist. I need this word for my book, but think my word is only so-so, which is why I want to hear what I’m hoping are better suggestions.
Prime considerations are euphony, brevity, cleverness. And, as Bertie Wooster would say, it has to sting. I am no fan of scientism and I want a meaty word which is immediately understood as defining and dismissing it. For example, another correct term, eliminative materialist, doesn’t cut it. Can you imagine yourself ranting, “Why you eliminative materialist you!”?
This is a lot to ask of one mere word, which is another reason I wonder if there will be a winner.
Small print: I am the sole judge and arbiter. You don’t need a Kindle to read the book: Amazon has Kindle apps for most phones and computers.
Pass this post around and let fly with the neologisms!
Update Wow! What a great response, and on the first day, too! Tomorrow (I hope), I’ll start listing the serious contenders in this space, else we’re going to get lost. Thanks all!
Update The contest is over. Click here to see the winner.