Re: A more

Chris Lees (
Wed, 07 Apr 1999 22:22:02 +0100

Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 22:22:02 +0100
From: Chris Lees <>
Subject: Re: A more

Lloyd Robertson wrote:

> >I would take your remarks more seriously if you had used the word
> >'illusion'.
> >As I understand 'delusion', it refers to pathology, as in
> >hallucinations, etc,
> >associated with mental disease, and is not synonymous with 'illusion'.
> I once debated a Buddhist who claimed I was deluded because I failed to
> understand that the self was a "mere illusion". I don't think he meant that
> I was pathological. I agree with you, Chris, that "deluded" has a
> psychological definition and that is the definition I prefer. On the other
> hand, I think that Joe was using the more popular definition that is often
> used by religionists to put down those that do not agree with them. Given
> the context, I think Joe can be forgiven for using that definition.

I'm a bit pressed for time, so I doubt I can do the subject justice here.
Yeah, it's pretty standard to proclaim that people who don't agree with
your particular cherished worldview, are deluded or mad. This particular
Buddhist, me, would probably happily tell your Buddhist he was deluded,
under some circumstances.

> On a related matter, I hope you bear with me, Chris, and explain to me more
> about scientism as a "quasi-religion or ideology". I once discussed
> Darwinian evolution with a local fundamentalist Christian and he accused me
> of this thing called "scientism". I took it to mean that in his view
> science was just another religion and I could choose to believe in science
> or I could believe in Christ. So I reacted, perhaps hastily, when you used
> the term on an earlier post.

Oh dear. Well, I'm sure if you do a web search, you'll find far more eloquent
accounts of 'scientism' than I can provide. I see Christian Fundamentalists
in much the same light as R. Dawkins does. I don't like nationalism, nor
fundamentalism, of any sort. And I don't like scientism either.

> Is the belief that the scientific method produces results a
> "quasi-religious" belief? Are there scientists who believe that thru their
> science they have found all of the answers to those metaphysical questions
> they have defined as essential? Is there a scientific dogma that must be
> accepted on faith? Are people who descibe themselves as scientists or
> supporters of science distinctive in terms of worship, rituals, dress,
> etc.? Or are you talking about some pseudo-scientific beliefs such as those
> that inspired the "Christian Science" sect?

I thought I made it clear, I see a clear distinction between science, as
exemplified by it's best practitioners, (e.g. Darwin, Faraday, Einstein, etc,)
and scientism, which is something else. The latter tends to be a mind set
of mediocre technicians, with a worldview deriving from Comte, Logical
Positivism, a mechanistic universe, bla,bla, which is arrogant, dogmatic,
and narrow-minded. It dismisses anything which does not fit neatly into
its outdated paradigm, as being 'impossible', and considers all other world
views as obsolete and inferior. For example, any mention of parapsychology
or homeopathy or astrology draws sneers and derision. As if 'science' has
already explained everything,and anybody interested in these subjects must
be mentally impaired. That kind of blinkered outlook, I call scientism.
True science, I consider to be based upon an attitude of wonder and awe,
at the amazing complexity, weirdness, magnificence, of the universe and
all it contains, no aspects are without interest, we are constantly surprised.
I made somewhat unfair ad hominem remarks directed at Jake, re scientism,
because I get annoyed when people attack other people's work when they
haven't even bothered to read it. Another good example is telepathy. There
are plenty of so called scientists who are incapable of conducting any kind
of conversation on that topic, they get so enraged by the word. But the fact
is, clear and unambiguous, that telepathic communication has been proven,
by highly qualified responsible hard-headed physicists. Anybody can read
the research papers, and perform a repeat experiment if they so wish. So
why is it that some scientists get in such a sweat ? why do they feel so
threatened ? why are they so bigotted in their attitude ? That's what I mean
by scientism.
As it happens, by the way, I'm not particularly interested in New Agey occult
weirdness, dowsing, astrology, etc,etc. and I detest those who exploit peoples
gullibility, with lies and half truths. My attitude toward organised institutional
religion is probably the same as that of most on this list.



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