Scientism, Webster and modern science.
Sep 7, 2004 Dov, in biologicalEvolution forum.
It shakes and saddens me to find that the present Webster definition of "scientism" is, scientifically, a distinct intellectual regression from the 1965 Collegiate Webster definition.
Webster now identifies itself with the intellectualy corrupt "political-professional" guilds of persons who derive their earnings from technology and science, like the AAAS.
Here is my case :
A) "Scientism" defined by the present Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, one entry found for scientism, noun:
1 : methods and attitudes typical of or attributed to the natural scientist.
2 : an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences , and the humanities).
B) From my postings in http://www.scienceforums.net/forums/index.php General Sciences, SCM on 04-24-2004 and ABCD on 04-04-2004:
1. "Scientists" are persons learned in science or investigating scientifically. By the 1965 collegiate Webster "Scientism" is a method or doctrine characteristic of scientists, and the proposition that methods of natural sciences should be used in all areas of investigation.
2. If all "scientists" would have embraced "scientism" and thus be "truly scientific" most scientists would find themselves sharing similar opinions or attitudes in regards to most matters or issues. However, the fact is that "scientists" are not apart from non-scientists in regards to opinions or attitudes about a host of matters or issues. Together with non-scientists they comprise disagreeing or even hostile groups, especially in most opinion- or attitude-groups regarding social, moral, ethical or religious issues.
3. The two main reasons for this situation are (a) that social, moral, ethical, religious and other humanistic issues, unlike physical matters, are not conidered scientific even by most scientists thus not analyzed nor assessed or treated scientifically, and (b) that many or most scientists have not adopted scientism concurrently with acquisition of various levels of knowledge and of technical expertise in the field(s) of their interest.
4. I posit:
(a) that many or most scientists may be persuaded that each and all humanistic and cultural matters and issues are, for humans and for human societies, natural sciences that are functional for humans and serve humans in the manners that intra-and inter-cell proteinaceous accessories are functional for cellular genomes, and
(b) that scientists embracing and practicing scientism would inevitably hold and share similar opinions or attitudes about humanistic and cultural matters and issues, and/or otherwise would not be hostile towards others holding opinions or attitudes different from theirs.
5. The functional equivalence of biological and humanistic affairs evolved as follows:
There were two similar revolutionary evolutions in the history of Earth's Life Evolution.
The first revolutionary evolution was the "celling", by membrane, of the pre-celled archaic genes-associations plus their (nucleolus like?) retinues. This evolved in the course of the ongoing ubiquitous development of self-replicating life entities in the direction of ever higher complexity. The revolutionary aspect of this evolution was being no longer at the mercy of all environmental circumstances but, instead, having some control over many of them. The following Darwinian evolution of poly-celled life has been a continuation and an extension of this revolutionary evolution.
The second, recent, revolutionary evolution has been initiated, in a similar vein, by the primates that adapted from life in semi- or tropical forest circumstances to life on plains. As their changed living posture led to modified perceptive/adaptive capabilities Humans have gradually replaced adaptation to changed circumstances with self-evolving cultures/civilizations for control and modification of much of their circumstances. This is essentially similar to Life's earlier "celling" evolution, but with culture functioning for Humans for changing and controling their circumstances in lieu of protein toolings that function for in-cell genomes for adapting their cell's physiology to changing circumstances.
Cultural aspects, ALL human cultural matters and aspects, function for individual humans and for human communities of ALL types and sizes including for human phenotypes (distinct ethnic/national/cultural communities) in the same manner and for the same ends as biological systems function in cells. This is plainly in accord with the fractal nature of Earth Life.