As I so often do when coming up dry on blog post ideas, today I'm going to ride on Wesley J. Smith's coat tails. He has an excellent post here in response to Steven Pinker (yes, that Steven Pinker, the one who supports infanticide) on scientism. Some quotations from Smith:
Humans have always looked out for their own welfare and negotiated codes of conduct. But why should we care about the thriving of humans or sentient beings? What, in “science” tells us that is important? The Judeo/Christian worldview tells us to love our neighbor. I suspect Pinker would agree, but one is left to question why. It’s merely an assertion.
Based on science, what is wrong with slavery? It’s just the powerful prevailing over and forcing their way on the less powerful–a common feature of the natural world.
Of course, science isn’t the enemy Nobody said it is. (In fact the title gets perilously close to “the anti-science canard.”) Indeed, it’s a wonderful tool, as Pinker illustrates abundantly throughout the article (along with a helping of straw men). It can inform–but absolutely not replace–philosophy, ethics, values, and yes, religion in crafting a humane and beneficent society.
The naturalists' increasingly strident attempts to tell us that there is one and only one rational worldview, that it is theirs, that it is dropped down graciously to us from the god Science, that it gives us all the ethics and morality we could ever need, and that all dissent from this worldview should be silenced as irrational hate or even as mental illness have an air of desperation about them. Too many people know that the emperor has no clothes.
The question then is--what next? All non-naturalist or even all explicitly religious worldviews are not created equal. Christians need to be ready with our own clear and positive account. What is man? Why is man here? How shall we then live? And we need to be ready with evidence for that account. When the dystopian world given to us by scientism leaves man unfulfilled, we need to be ready with the true answers.