New Atheism and the Scientistic Turn in the Atheism Movement by MASSIMO PIGLIUCCI

Here is an interesting paper by atheist MASSIMO PIGLIUCCI in which he offers his own critique of the current popular atheism. Granted, I’ve grown quite board with pop atheism. But this is worth a read.

Towards the end of the paper, he says:

Scientism is philosophically unsound: This is because a scientistic attitude is one of unduly expanding the reach of science into areas where either it does not belong (e.g., determining human values, à la Harris) or it can only play a supportive role (e.g., providing empirical evidence against supernaturalistic claims, à la Dawkins and Stenger). I am not here engaging in a parochial defense of philosophical turf, as I see both science and philosophy as crucial to atheism in particular, and to human understanding in general. Nor am I endorsing a simple demarcation criterion between science and philosophy (or science and anything else, for that matter). Science is best conceived as a family, in the Wittgensteinian sense, of activities having a variety of threads in common, including but not limited to the systematic carrying out of observations and/or experiments, the testing of hypotheses, the construction of general theories about the functioning of the world, the operation of a system of pre- and postpublication peer review, and the existence of a variety of public and private funding sources for projects deemed to be worthwhile.

 

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