This title was first published in 20/11/2001: The intellectual and practical successes of science have led some scientists to think that there are no real limits to the competence of scienece, and no limits to what can be achieved in the name of science. This view (and similar views) have been called Scientism. In this book, scientists' views about science and its relationship to knowledge, ethics and religion are subjected to critical scrutiny. A number of natural scientists have advocated Scientism in one form or another - Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, and Edward O. Wilson - and their impact inside and outside the sciences is considered. Clarifying what Scientism is, this book proceeds to evaluate its key claims, expounded in questions such as: is it the case that science can tell us everything there is to know about reality? Can science tell us how we morally ought to live and what the meaning of life is? Can science in fact be our new religion? Ought we become "science believers"? The author addresses these and similar issues, concluding that Scientism is not really science but disguised materialism or naturalism; its advocates fail to see this, not being sufficiently aware that their arguments presuppose the previous acceptance of certain extra-scientific or philosophical beliefs
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements -- Introduction -- 1. What is Scientism? -- Scientism within academia -- Scientism within the broader society -- 2. The limits of knowledge and reality -- The limits of reality -- The limits of knowledge -- 3. The scientific explanation of morality -- The Darwinian account of morality -- A non-Darwinian account of morality -- 4. Debunking and replacing traditional ethics with science -- Debunking traditional ethics -- Scientific evolutionary ethics -- 5. The scientific explanation of religion -- The Darwinian account of religion -- A non-Darwinian account of religion -- 6. Debunking and replacing traditional religion with science -- Debunking traditional religion -- Having science as one's religion -- 7. Scientism and the fear of religion: some concluding remarks -- Bibliography -- Index.