Thursday, 24 May 2012

Religion masquerading as science

Here's a blog post from Scientific American, on a solar eclipse last weekend. Amongst the more factual material, the author throws in this:
So is there some great significance to the fact that we humans just happen to exist at a time when the Moon
and Sun appear almost identically large in our skies? Nope, we are just landing in a window of opportunity
thatâs probably about 100 million years wide, nothing obviously special, just rather good luck.
That's not a scientific statement, and the author offers no proof or argument for it. Rather, it is a piece of metaphysics which the author simply assumes to be true based on his religious worldview. His blog post discusses the relative sizes of the Sun and Moon, and their relative distances from us. But no amount of examination of those physical data can provide any clue as to their significance and interpretation. For that, you would need to know about facts beyond the immediately measurable. The author, however, seems to share the religious worldview of "Scientism", which claims that immediately measurable knowledge constitutes the whole of knowledge. i.e., If you can't measure something, then you cannot know it. Since we cannot examine the cosmos and then deduce any knowledge about the teleological questions of why the sun and moon might be why they are, the follower of the philosophy of Scientism concludes that therefore there is no purpose, or at least none that we could ever reasonably know.

But Scientism is not the same as science. It is a philosophy and religion. Value judgments like "luck" cannot be discerned from simply measuring distances - they are theological judgments. Christians need to tune their senses to spot the difference and not be cowered by such grand claims falsely made in the name of "Science", because they rest upon no good foundation.

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