Science and Scientism, Revisited

Steve wrote an important essay here a couple of weeks ago, titled Science Versus Scientism. Ken Haapala, President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, leads off this week’s The Week That Was with an appreciation of Steve’s post:

Science and Scientism: One of the chosen ones for the political witch hunt, Steven Hayward wrote a short essay differentiating between the practice of science, which can be described as objectively examining empirical evidence to test a hypothesis, and scientism, which can have many of the trappings of science, but put to other ends. Hayward begins by discussing a 1952 book by Austrian economist Friedrich August von Hayek. According to Hayward, Hayek “concludes that science of all kinds has a tendency to become what he calls ‘scientism,’ in which the claims of scientific superiority amount to yet another destructive and dogmatic authoritarian ideology.”

Hayward discusses how certain politicians and some scientists use scientism to further their own ends. This use of scientism is becoming particularly obvious in the run-up for the great conference of parties (COP) sponsored by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015. We can expect more “scientism” from Western governments and once distinguished scientific organizations that are now part of the Climate Establishment.

Indeed. Leftists like to describe those who disagree with them as “anti-science.” Science is a method, not a body of dogma, and I don’t know of anyone alive today who is anti-science; not in America, anyway. Anti-scientism? That’s another matter.


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