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In Opposition To Scientism

Bo and Ben Winegard start their Quillette essay (thanks to K.A. Rodgers for the tip) “In Defense of Scientism” by saying “Truth is always provisional”.

Is that proposition true, or merely provisional?

They also say, “In science, the jury is always out. This is because science is a methodological approach to the world, not a set of inflexible principles or a catalog of indisputable facts.”

Not indisputable? Walk into a coven of biologists and say, “I dispute the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution.” You will very soon learn the meaning of indisputable.

Science flatters itself by saying its inflexible principle of the scientific method is somehow unique among intellectual endeavors. It is not. Every subject—theology, philosophy, mathematics (math is not science), history, even—adapts to new evidence. Science, too.

Science is always presented as Whig history. The world was dark and formless. On day two Francis Bacon said, “Let us have control!” And science was born. It never appears to occur to scidolators to consider that before the scientific revolution the reason for the absence of (much) science was because few thought it was needed. Men believed there were more important matters.

Incidentally, it follows, and I imagine the Winegard Two would agree, that if no scientific theory is true then all scientific theories should be doubted. Even in those sciences that are “settled”. We need more Uncertainty.

“Oh, so you’re going to be negative. Briggs, science has ‘conquered deadly diseases’.”

It did, too. Yet have the increased lifespans of men done them more, or less, spiritual good? All medicine has side effects, which can sometimes be worse than the disease.

“We don’t care about your spiritual good. For science has ‘eradicated oppressive superstitions. ‘”

Except for its own superstitions. Funny, though, that those suffering under “oppressive superstitions” rarely thought themselves burdened. Just as we do not think we are suffering under the oppressive superstition that science has the answer to all or to the best questions. Which is scientism.

Winegard2‘s scientism definition at first sight appears different.

The version of scientism we will be defending here is the version advocated by Pinker, Harris, Dawkins, and [Neil DeGrasse] Tyson; the simple contention that we, as a society, should use the principles of science—skepticism, experimentation, falsification, and the search for basic explanatory principles—to determine, however clumsily and slowly, how the world works and what the best and most effective social policies are.

They advocate “‘science-based social policy’ (SBSP)”. There are two problems with this, one philosophical, one practical. (Three, if you include falsification, which is a philosophical dead end.)

The philosophical problem is this: science can never tell us what questions to ask, what subjects to investigate, nor can it rank questions in importance. This knowledge has to come from outside science. Once a subject has been identified as important, science can assist in answering questions about it—a practice to which no one anywhere objects.

The practical difficulty is what counts as evidence is itself only partly scientific, partly political, partly metaphysical. There would be no dispute about any subject to which all agreed on the importance and its consequences, but which was merely lacking measurements to best categorize uncertainty in the subject. Theories decide what facts to look for; facts which do not fit a theory aren’t seen. We have many disputes in many subjects in which we have massive amount of measurements, proving science cannot answer ultimate questions.

In short, science can only be a handmaiden to policy. It can never drive it.

Weingard Deux present and answer four objections to their version of scientism. Let’s take each in turn.

“1. Scientism Will Lead to an Unaccountable Tyranny of Scientists”

“Many intellectuals and pundits who have assailed scientism have argued that it would lead to a tyranny of bespectacled elites promoting a dangerous brand of bloodless rationalism. They associate SBSP with other failed experiments in top-down utopianism such as the French and Russian Revolutions.”

There is a large body count to back these fears. We now have (some) scientists and physicians telling us men can be women. We have others saying sodomy is “healthy”. To argue against these conclusions is to be a science denier. A tyranny of scientists is a live possibility.

To their credit, Weingard-Weingard are not blank-slaters. Yet they say “Today’s most preposterous policy proposals…usually come from those who are ignorant of or willfully deny the conclusions of modern evolutionary psychology.” This criticism is spot on in those theories which are based on Equality & Diversity.

It is easy to willfully deny the absurd, which applies to some conclusions of modern evolutionary psychology apart from Equality. That subject produces the absurd, when it does, in part because of its reliance on materialism, itself a form of scientism. If the material is not all there is, the science must be lacking.

In both cases the error arises from the metaphysics (philosophy), and not so much from measurement (though evolutionary psychologists are overly fond of Just-So stories).

“2. Scientism Has Been Responsible for Terrible Crimes in the Past and Scientists Are Often Wrong”

“Opponents of scientism …eugenics and white racial superiority…Social Darwinism, for example, wasn’t really a science, and it wasn’t based on the weight of the evidence; it was a social philosophy that incorporated a crude version of natural selection.”

Ahem. It certainly was a science, and was based on the weight of evidence. It was the theory that determined the evidence to look for. Here they are identifying the curse of scientism: that it cannot determine the importance of the consequences of any theory. And they are showing a philosophy must be behind any science; here, they do not like the philosophy, but not liking it does not make it not a philosophy.

“3. Scientism Cannot Determine Values and Therefore Is a Poor Guide to the Good Life”

The is/ought argument is almost exclusively scholastic [they mean academic], because in reality most people agree on an underlying value, and this helps us to bridge the gap between “is” and “ought.” As Sam Harris has argued in The Moral Landscape, the underlying value most people agree upon is that some form of human flourishing or satisfaction or well-being or happiness is an intrinsic good and ought to be promoted. That is, most modern people in the West agree, despite sometimes showy protestations to the contrary, that human well-being ought to be the goal of social policy and morality.

This is the Voting Fallacy, that because a (possibly weighted) majority agree that X is moral or good, therefore X is moral or good. Most people may now agree about “human flourishing” or, Lord help us, “satisfaction”, but this does not bridge the is-ought gap. That can only be done, and is done, via metaphysics, not science.

“Once we have identified a desirable end—human flourishing—we can and should use science to discover and promote the policies that encourage it. Put another way, science can and absolutely should tell people how to live.”

Put it this way, scientism has just been proven false by Twice Weingard. For agreeing—or rather deciding, and therefore avoiding the Voting Fallacy—on a desirable end is admitted not to be a scientific question. And nobody has ever disagreed with finding proper measures once the end has been decided.

“4. Scientism Attempts to Cannibalize Other Fields and is Disrespectful of Other ‘Ways of Knowing.'”

Critics of scientism frequently express the fear that science is encroaching on the turf of the humanities, devaluing once noble human endeavors such as music, painting, and literature. But this is simply a category error. Humans don’t value art because it provides empirical knowledge about the world; they value it because it offers an enjoyable and often thought-provoking experience.

If there were ever a passage more indicative of scientism, I’d like to see it. Of course we value art, music, literature, philosophy because they provide empirical knowledge about the world! Forget the dreadful images conveyed by the desire for “experience”, and look to their “thought-provoking”, which makes their contention self-refuting.

They insert a joke about poetry failing to tell us of “the relation between calories and weight gain”, which as regular readers know is Type I scientism, which is the bombast by which scientists inform people of what the people have always known; here, that eating too much makes you fat. And then it isn’t true poetry is silent on this subject.

One word more, I beseech you: if you be not too
much cloyed with fat meat, our humble author will
continue the story, with Sir John in it, and make
you merry with fair Katherine of France, where, for
anything I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unless
already he be killed with your hard opinions; for
Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man.

–Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, Epilogue

Would you like fries with your scientism?

“So then what about philosophy? Many of those accused of promoting scientism, such as Dawkins and Harris, have written or said dismissive things about philosophy…But it’s clear, if one is charitable when interpreting these thinkers, that they don’t dislike or disparage philosophy per se, but rather a kind of esoteric and self-referential philosophy that has been mocked and belittled by many.”

Rot. The claim from some of these men is that science can replace philosophy. As above, it cannot: science relies on philosophy. They have the causal arrow turned upside down.

However, “adherents [of scientism] are admittedly impatient with some of the logic-chopping, yawn-inducing, and obscurantist varieties [of philosophy] practiced at elite institutions.” That such philosophy exists is true, much of the result of publish-or-perish; i.e., academics who have nothing to say but who are forced to say something and then say it at great length.

If all Weingard+Weingard mean by scientism is that, when it can, science should be used to assist answering certain questions, then you will not find one sober man who disagrees. They place science is too high a regard for such humble tasks, though. That’s where their scientism becomes false.

36 thoughts on “In Opposition To Scientism Leave a comment

  1. “Is that proposition true, or merely provisional?”

    Well, you’re begging the question against them here. The claim is that truth is always provisional, so all true statements are always both true and provisional. If the proposition is true, then it is both true and provisional, and not merely true (meaning: not provisional) or merely provisional (meaning: not true). False statements would probably need to be provisional too, under that theory, or else it would make little sense to say that it is provisional to say that it is true that they are non-provisionally false.

    Thiago comment #1

  2. Regarding the coven of biologists, I think it is reasonable to say that they are not doing science if they’re not willing to dispute something. So science is not supposed to have indisputable propositions, but few scientists do science. This seems fine to me.

    Thiago comment #2

  3. Regarding happiness, I don’t think they’ve misidentified our goal here. We really do, and should, seek happiness. The problem is that they think they know for sure what happiness (or human flourishing) is. While people agree that happiness is our goal, most people – or at least philosophers disagree a lot on what happiness is.

    They have probably assumed a form of utilitarianism similar to whatever Sam Harris believes. I think this because they clearly think that science can lead us to it. Now, if it can lead us to it then it must be able to measure it, perhaps by quizzing people on how happy they feel.

    But if true happiness is actually something more along the lines of the Aristotelian Thomist ideas about it, then not only can we never be truly happy in this life (ST Ia IIae Q5 A3), but also our happiness cannot be measured, and thus science cannot lead us to it.

    Where they probably did err is by using the Voting Fallacy to determine the end of man. But what they really wanted is not the true end of man, but the end which policy should seek. And here we have a policy problem: is it better if policy leads people to what they want, regardless of whether it is good for them, or if it leads people to what is good for them, regardless of what they want? If it is the former, then some form of voting is precisely the best way to determine the end which policy should seek. If it is the latter, then it isn’t, but then it seems like policy could become tyrannical.

    Thiago comment #3

  4. ” ignorant of or willfully deny the conclusions of modern evolutionary psychology.”

    Would it be rude to point out that evolutionary psychology is a load of old bollocks?

  5. Truth is always provisional.

    Knowledge of truth is provisional. If you don’t accurately state the premise, why should anyone accept your conclusion?

  6. How is “human flourishing” defined or measured? The difficulty in answering this question adds weight to your argument against scientism.

  7. Assuming (1) that the goal of policy is to lead people toward the good, even if against their will, and (2) the good is defined in Catholic terms, then maybe science can help by seeing which policies best help to maximize at all times the proportion of people in a state of grace.

    However, I do not know if people would answer honestly to questionnaires as to whether they have sinned recently. I would hope so, but if not then that is a measurement problem.

    Thiago comment #4

  8. Uber posted a $1.8B last year on $11.8B in gross receipts. They want to take the company public. WOOHOO. I may miss out on massive gains, but I am not backing that play. I took a ride once. I asked questions of the driver. She had put over 140000 miles on the vehicle in the year she had it. She was leasing the car from Uber. She was responsible for all maintenance on the vehicle. I REALLY REALLY want to see the contract she signed. She was making money. Someone was playing delay the piper games. 140000 miles in a year is a lot of miles. It is a testament to the quality of vehicle she drove. What were the terms of that lease.

    Want science based policy? That contract has some big old clauses to bend her over the barrel.

    Science based policy would apply thermodynamics to that contract. That lease has to be $2500/month to make things work out. The car is probably good for another 100k, but how much beyond that.

  9. It was painful to read all the fallacies of the original essay. The problem of our age is the Dunning-Kruger effect, amplified by the Internet. McChuck was right when he said: “It takes a lot of specialized training to make smart men this dumb.”

  10. The Weingards bait and switch. After claiming they will defend scientism, the go on to defend natural science, instead.

    Scientism is not the simple reliance on data — unless ou are prepared to call a city detective a ‘scientist’ but well-described by this commentator on another site:

    From what I hear in the mainstream media, and what I hear from scientists themselves, they and their adherents are pretty certain that science is the only sensible way of looking at the world. Scientists may believe that there is an infinite amount to discover, but they are absolutely certain that it can be discovered through science…and nothing else.

    How this was discovered is left as an exercise to the reader.

    This fulsome belief in the omnicompetence of the scientific method has been called scientism by such skeptical thinkers as Friedrich Hayek, Karl Popper, Paul Feyerabend, Hilary Putnam, and Mary Midgley. The idea that empirical science is the sole authoritative worldview is akin to the man who, having a hammer — albeit a very fine and excellent hammer — therefore sees everything around him as a nail.

    While walking with Heisenberg one day, the physicist Felix Bloch, who had just read Weyl’s Space, Time and Matter, felt moved to declare that space is simply the field of linear equations. Heisenberg replied, “Nonsense. Space is blue and birds fly through it.” “What he meant,” Bloch later wrote, “was that it was dangerous for a physicist to describe Nature in terms of idealized abstractions too far removed from the evidence of actual observation.”

    Fortunately, Late Modern internet mavens know so much more about science that Heisenberg.

  11. This was a surprise: “Every subject—theology, … adapts to new evidence.”

    So true.

    Objective minds can read ancient Vatican records, and related, decrying heretical beliefs such as heliocentrism, and on, and on — notions false per God-given revelation. Now not false.

    Science may not say what ought to be studied, and that’s not a criticism. However, religion sure has, and does, strive to suppress a lot of critical thinking and research — and for doctrines that emphasize truth…there’s something fundamentally hypocritical about suppressing searches for truths.

    If arguments like ‘[pseudo-]science brought on the likes of eugenics have any merit, then comparable arguments like religion brought us _____[fill in any number of cults, religious wars, etc, etc] seems equally valid to depose religion.

    The argument is superficial and attributes false merit to try to persuade. Eugenics, for example, at the time was considered by many invalid but gained traction via political opportunism. It never was science, or at best was very bad/incomplete science extrapolated prematurely. Throwing that (& other arguments presented here) as rebuttal indicates a certain desperation.

    Isn’t it interesting how heretical beliefs, then, that would be corrected by a cleansing stake-burning based on God’s revealed wisdom, are today doctrinally correct!

    And from where did those adjustments to God’s revealed wisdom come from? Certainly not from the religion whose doctrine was being undermined! Findings from science forced acceptance of such incremental changes.

    Human scientists forced human-derived information learned about reality on a resistant clergy, who had to adjust [alleged] God-given wisdom to conform with human-discovered fact.

    The resistance to science (which is what this concern about Scientism really is), is really about human discovery, guided by scientific methods, nibbling away at received God-given wisdom to the point there’s no room left for one’s deity of choice.

    It’s not altruistic concern about some people believing science can explain everything (a claim no credible scientist ever makes), …

    … it’s all about trying to prevent science from explaining away what’s left of a basis for still hanging onto a particular belief.

  12. I’m bored, so here’s Ken’s comment broken down. Whenever I employ the razor, meaning the fact that “what can be affirmed without argument can be denied without argument”, I will signal it with the signal [R].

    > […] Objective minds can read ancient Vatican records, and related, decrying heretical beliefs such as heliocentrism, and on, and on — notions false per God-given revelation. Now not false.

    Heliocentrism was never condemned as heretical by the Vatican [R], and no other beliefs about natural science (implied by the “on and on”) were proclaimed to be heretical either [R]. Someone may have thought this in the past, but the Church never confirmed it. The Pope has “decried” polygenism in Humani Generis, for instance, but not as a heresy, and not ex cathedra.

    > […] However, religion sure has, and does, strive to suppress a lot of critical thinking and research — and […]

    No. [R]

    > If arguments like ‘[pseudo-]science brought on the likes of eugenics have any merit, then comparable arguments like religion brought us _____[fill in any number of cults, religious wars, etc, etc] seems equally valid to depose religion.

    Well, if we’re being purely consequentialist, then we have to tally up the deaths caused by science, which probably includes the majority of war deaths (via the development of weapons). However, no one is attempting to “depose” science, but merely to keep people from overvaluing it.

    > Throwing that (& other arguments presented here) as rebuttal indicates a certain desperation.

    No. [R]

    > Isn’t it interesting how heretical beliefs, then, that would be corrected by a cleansing stake-burning based on God’s revealed wisdom, are today doctrinally correct!

    No claims about natural science were ever condemned as heretical [R], and were never punished with burning at the stake [R], which is not a mode of execution prescribed for heretics by Revelation [R].

    > And from where did those adjustments to God’s revealed wisdom come from? Certainly not from the religion whose doctrine was being undermined! Findings from science forced acceptance of such incremental changes.
    >
    > Human scientists forced human-derived information learned about reality on a resistant clergy, who had to adjust [alleged] God-given wisdom to conform with human-discovered fact.

    No. [R]

    > The resistance to science (which is what this concern about Scientism really is),

    No. [R]

    > is really about human discovery, guided by scientific methods, nibbling away at received God-given wisdom to the point there’s no room left for one’s deity of choice.

    No. [R]

    > It’s not altruistic concern about some people believing science can explain everything (a claim no credible scientist ever makes), …
    >
    > … it’s all about trying to prevent science from explaining away what’s left of a basis for still hanging onto a particular belief.

    No. [R]

    Now, see how the razor did most of the work. That’s why I did this: I am bored, and I enjoy using the razor. It’s fun.

    Thiago comment #5

  13. There’s no scientific proof that only scientific proof is knowledge. There’s nothing scientific about scientism. There’s nothing in science that backs scientism. It’s just bogus epistemology. So if scientism sounds like an oxymoron, it’s because it is one.

  14. Thiago writes: “Heliocentrism was never condemned as heretical by the Vatican [R], and no other beliefs about natural science (implied by the “on and on”) were proclaimed to be heretical either [R].”

    I wish Catholics would drop this silly defense of Catholicism as it not only discredits Catholics, but Christians in general. Galileo was condemned by the Inquisition, and his life was threatened if he did not recant his beliefs about natural science. Furthermore, the entire Catholic world in his era was afraid to say what they really thought about science because of the Catholic Inquisition (which is arguably why most of the advances in Astronomy that were not made by Galileo were made in Protestant countries).

    The simple historical fact is that the Catholic Church engaged in a reign of terror against modern science, and when someone speaks disparagingly of the Church in the context of the trial of Galileo, that is all they mean. No one except Catholic legalists is interested in the fine legalistic distinctions that you are relying on. No one else cares if there was a super-special finding of heresy or if the Pope denounced heliocentrism in some super-special official way.

  15. DG writes: “There’s no scientific proof that only scientific proof is knowledge.”

    Actually, there is considerable scientific proof that science cannot be relied on.

  16. David Gudeman,

    Why would you reply to my comment, which is just a long complaint about a comment that stated a bunch of things without argument, by stating a bunch of things without argument? Using the same razor I was using against Ken, I can tell you that everything you said in your comment is wrong. Now, if what you said are such simple historical facts, then where are your simple historical sources?

    Thiago comment #6

  17. Thiago, I’m not sure what I said that you think needs an argument. The historical facts about Galileo and the Catholic Church’s Inquisition? I don’t think a blog post is a good place for a history lesson, but there are lots of resources out there for you if you are not familiar with the history. The fear that other scientists had for the Inquisition? That is also available in history books that discuss the correspondence of the scientists in question. Or do you want an argument for my assertion that no one other than Catholic legalists care about your legal niceties? On this I grant that I have no evidence other than my general knowledge of human nature, but I’m pretty sure about it. Do you have an alternative view of human nature in which people care about legal niceties? Do people care if Hitler officially ordered the mass-murder of Jews or just suggested it as an option and then let his subordinates take care it? Do people care if Stalin gave written orders for the mass extermination of the Kulaks, or just took away their grain and left them to starve?

  18. @ Thiago,

    “Using the same razor I was using against Ken, I can tell you that everything you said in your comment is wrong.”

    No. [R]

  19. Scientism is just the idea that truth can only be approached or discovered by science. Logic determines whether something holds true, given certain premises. Reason alone isn’t enough, or everybody would agree.

    Scientists as a rule, don’t make the claims that perhaps some individuals will make about art, or the humanities; or for that matter, about the discoveries of a child in a sandpit.

    I once changed the water (aged five or so) for our goldfish. Thought he needed it to be a bit warmer. Standing on a chair changing the water as shown, I gave him better water. He leaped out and landed down the side (where the cupboards didn’t meet properly), to keep him alive, I poured water down the side until rescued by an adult..
    Michael 2 thought I was being cheeky.

  20. “QI Who invented the theory of relativity?”

    Galileo couldn’t even say “lasagnA” properly.

  21. “Humans don’t value art because it provides empirical knowledge about the world; they value it because it offers an enjoyable and often thought-provoking experience.” This is not a scientific judgment, and it’s bulls#$%. Thanks for reading that, so I don’t have to. They are ignorant people who think they are wise because they know a lot about a very narrow range of things, and just reading the bits you excerpted is painful.

  22. Mr. Briggs, that article does what I was criticizing: defending the Catholic Church on the basis of irrelevant legal niceties as well as other irrelevancies. Galileo was not technically convicted of heresy. The pope didn’t declare the Inquisition’s results as matter of official dogma. Galileo was was sarcastic and opinionated. He tried to interpret scripture. He defied an order of the Inquisition. The scientific consensus was against him.

    Frankly, I read nothing in that article I didn’t already know, and none of it matters to the charge against the Catholic Church. Is threatening a man with death if he does not recant his opinion OK so long as he is abrasive, he interprets the Bible differently from you, he broke a promise not to hold those opinions previously under a similar threat, and the scientific consensus is opposed to him?

  23. Oh, the article was also wrong in one major point: it said that Galileo was not involved in proving the heliocentric theory. I don’t think any historian of science would agree. Galileo’s discovery of the mountains on the moon and the moons of Jupiter were pivotal in disproving Aristotle’s physics (which was the main force behind the geocentric theory), and Galileo’s discovery of the phases of Venus proved that Venus orbits the sun. Pretty much all professional astronomers acknowledged that at the time.

  24. Galileo spoke truth to power. He paid for it.
    So did Jesus Christ. He also said it would happen to others.

  25. “Walk into a coven of biologists and say, “I dispute the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution.” You will very soon learn the meaning of indisputable.”

    That’s because the theory of evolution is under continual attack by everyone from moronic young Earth creationists to smug professional philosophers to intellectually dishonest ID charlatans. Of course it’s annoying to have to listen to the same totally unfounded criticisms of “gaps in the fossil record”, etc., every day.

    “Every subject—theology, philosophy, mathematics (math is not science), history, even—adapts to new evidence.”

    Theology isn’t based on evidence. Some philosophers adapt to new evidence, many do not.

    “Yet have the increased lifespans of men done them more, or less, spiritual good?”

    As this is mainly due to decreased infant mortality, I assume the answer is yes.

    “We now have (some) scientists and physicians telling us men can be women.”

    This example doesn’t support your claim. Scientists and physicians didn’t develop transexual surgery techniques first, then ask if anyone was interested, they developed techniques in response to a demand.

    “We have others saying sodomy is “healthy”.”

    Hate! Bring it on, it’s one of the main factors causing religion to decline.

    “It [social Darwinism] certainly was a science, and was based on the weight of evidence.”

    Not according to any sources I can find.

    “And they are showing a philosophy must be behind any science; here, they do not like the philosophy, but not liking it does not make it not a philosophy.”

    But social Darwinism WAS a philosophy, only it was based on an incorrect interpretation of science, it didn’t precede it.

    “Of course we value art, music, literature, philosophy because they provide empirical knowledge about the world!”

    No, we do not. What empirical knowledge about the world do we get from music?

  26. “Theology isn’t based on evidence. Some philosophers adapt to new evidence, many do not.”

    Name one who does not and give an example.

    “But social Darwinism WAS a philosophy, only it was based on an incorrect interpretation of science, it didn’t precede it.”

    What was incorrect about social Darwinism’s interpretation of science?

  27. @ David Gudeman,

    “Name one [philosopher] who does not [adapt to new evidence] and give an example.

    I don’t need to give examples, because there are philosophers arguing for and against every concievable position, which proves that some (or even most) haven’t adapted to any new evidence. But an obvious example is that there are still philosophers pushing the existence of souls, despite all the evidence against this from neuoscience.

    “What was incorrect about social Darwinism’s interpretation of science?”

    That evolution is entirely a matter of competition between individuals (“survival of the fittest”), but cooperative behaviour can evolve also.

  28. The existence of a lot of different positions does not imply that any particular philosopher fails to adapt to new evidence.

    The fact that you think there is evidence against the existence of souls shows either that you have no idea what people who believe in souls think they are or that you have no idea what the limits of neuroscience are.

    Social Darwinism doesn’t assume that cooperation does not evolve.

  29. @ David Gudeman,

    “The existence of a lot of different positions does not imply that any particular philosopher fails to adapt to new evidence.”

    Erm, yes it does. And my claim was about philosophy as a field, not individual philosophers.

    “The fact that you think there is evidence against the existence of souls shows either that you have no idea what people who believe in souls think they are or that you have no idea what the limits of neuroscience are.”

    False dichotomy. It could also show that you haven’t got a clue. Come up with some evidence for a soul and I’ll listen.

    “Social Darwinism doesn’t assume that cooperation does not evolve.”

    I don’t agree. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics states:

    “Part of the difficulty in establishing sensible and consistent usage is that commitment to the biology of natural selection and to ‘survival of the fittest’ entailed nothing uniform either for sociological method or for political doctrine.”

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