The Cambridge Roundtable on Science and Religion

Event Details

Science & Scientism, part one: The Monopolizing of Knowledge?

April 29, 2013

MIT Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Edward J. Hall, Harvard University Professor of Philosophy presenting on the topic of Science and Scientism, part one. 

Professor Hutchinson is the author of Monopolizing Knowledge: a scientist refutes religion-denying, reason-destroying scientism (2011). Professor Hall is the author of The Philosophy of Science: Metaphysical and Epistemological Foundations (Publication Date: July 30, 2013).

Ian Hutchinson: The error of scientism --- the belief that science is all the real knowledge there is --- is responsible for much of the modern suspicion of science, and it underlies the militant atheist arguments against religion.  Rejecting scientism enables a principled intellectual reconciliation of science with religious faith, and with the rest of knowledge.


Ned Hall: "Scientism" can also be used as a label for something that is not at all an error: the commitment to regulating one's beliefs – about any topic, even the so-called "supernatural" – by certain standards of empirical assessment. These standards are certainly prominent within, but not at all confined to, the natural sciences. But reflection on natural science helps make clear what an honest commitment to these standards entails. And one thing it entails, arguably, is a rather severe skepticism about most of the central claims of the dominant religious dogmas.