Monday, October 04, 2004

Scientism: making a god out of Science

In light of Senator Kerry's speech today on the need [sic] for increased killing of the youngest of human beings -- er, for embryonic stem cell research, that is -- Paul Cella offers some outstanding thoughts. I was tempted to post the entire thing, but here's blurb whet your appetite:
    What this is, it seems to me, is not science but scientism; and when men argue that philosophical or theological objections to theory X or procedure Y ought to be discounted, and the decisions about its use made purely on the basis of “good science,” it is very difficult for a detached observer to conclude that they really mean what they say. Some philosophical system must animate science’s interaction with human endeavors. There is no way around this: it cannot illuminate its own applications. The scientific method tells us how a discrete question is to be answered; it does not tell us how to apply the answer to life. We want to discover whether genetic cloning at the embryonic stage is possible: science can answer that question. But it can tell us almost precisely nothing about whether such technology ought to be used by men (the only assistance I can imagine science providing on this latter question is to inform us that cloning carries high risks of failure.) Bereft of first principles, Science is nothing but a decaying mass of unconnected facts, an organ with no mind to command it.
Okay, so that was a hefty blurb. But there's plenty more to read... go do so.

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