Scientific explorers might enjoy this rant against scientism and how it has insinuated itself into popular culture.
White singles out as leaders and gurus of scientism two groups: neuroscientists and the New Atheists, the latter including Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett. When they or anyone else talk about the beauty of some scientific finding, or about any other aesthetic judgment or about an emotion, White charges hypocrisy, or at last failure to understand the implications of what these people write and claim, which is a rather plain version of reductionist mechanistic materialism: “Confess to the superiority of science and reason” (p. 8). How to explain “eagerness, . . . appetite, excitement for what the future holds for scientific discovery?” (p. 81). As White notes, “there may be nothing special about our place in the cosmos, but there is something very special about our ability to say so” (p. 82).
Authors retain copyright to JSE articles and share the copyright with the JSE after publication.