The era of scientism – viewpoints

About the naive belief in science, its manifestations, and the problems it causes

Science is having wonderful days, such a splendor that drives its many followers to adore, that this is in stark contrast to the true scientific attitude. The status of science among its new followers is greater than among the original and stronger scholars. While they recognize the great limitations imposed by scientific knowledge and the harsh requirements of rigorous research, a legion of neophytes and naive followers confuse science with scientism, believing that everything that appears to be science is science.

This phenomenon the legend And Mystery Science has multiple manifestations. Scientism It is, for example, the belief that science is able to provide answers to questions that it cannot provide, such as predicting economic or social crises, or aspects of the human experience that cannot be easily measured, especially mental experiments. It’s naive to think that a scanner can do this “reading minds” Or that sophisticated dynamic images of the brain show us complex emotions and feelings, such as love or loyalty, and that this allows us to understand them scientifically. In general, it uses science outside areas where its methods can be safely applied.

Scientism is also common in bad science.

Among the increasingly numerous studies that are useless because they are flawed and unimportant, there is an abundance of statistical estimates and other mathematical tools used without rhyme or reason, inappropriately or when unnecessary, simply to give them a more scientific appearance. Unnecessary complexity, contributed only by noise and bluster, is another feature of the scientific attitude of some authors who pretend to be scientists without quite being so. These practices are linked to current pressures “Publish or perish” In academia, they end up inflating the bubble of scientism.

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Another revealing observation of scientism is the failure to take into account uncertainty in the results of many investigations. This is evident, for example, when results are considered definitive and come from few studies, are performed without sufficient precision and can also be contradictory. The illusion of believing that these studies provide satisfactory answers, especially when it comes to complex questions, is typical of the scientific mindset. It is rich in social science and in the investigation of lifestyle and nutritional issues, which are often very complex and give rise to marked fluctuations in opinion, such as the role of fat and sugar in health.

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