Notes From Babel

More Bad Secular Epistemology

with one comment

Heather Mac Donald of The Secular Right has this post responding to Chuck Colson’s critique of “scientism.” This is an area where secularists and atheists consistently expose their inability to come to grips with the serious philosophical limitations in their worldview. Too many secularists excel at punditry, but are quite out of their their element when it comes to serious philosophy.

Below is my response to Ms. Mac Donald’s post:


You are not coming toe-to-toe with Colson’s argument. Colson does not deny that scienceists and/or atheists do not recognize beauty or moral truths. Indeed, they do. The argument is that they do not possess a worldview that accounts for such things. Universal standards of beauty, morality, causation, and induction are simply not supported by an atheistic worldview. Instead, they are commonly accused of “borrowing” a theistic worldview. For the most part, theists are glad to have more people under their tent, people who agree that things like human dignity, equality, freedom, et al. are imperative to human flourishing. But without a cogent and systematic supporting framework, they are merely disembodied conclusions floating in the ether, and there is nothing barring one from manipulating them in the service of ghastly purposes.

In other words, the call of Corson and other theistic epistemologists and ethicists is, scienceists should define their premises. This was not historically necessary since, until recently, scientists did not purport to supplant metaphysics. Now that they have cast metaphysics aside, there is quite a hole to be filled. They need to reverse their course or get to the philosophical heavy lifting.


Written by Tim Kowal

February 9, 2009 at 5:00 pm

One Response

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  1. […] as I have suggested before (e.g., here and here), a consistently practiced purely secular worldview would lead to absolute relativism—not […]

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