Scientism’s Overreach

Scientism’s Overreach August 24, 2018


A. L. Hughes, Ph.D.
Professor Austin L. Hughes (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


There are still a few archaeological surprises out there remaining to be found:


“Massive Pyramid, Lost City and Ancient Human Sacrifices Unearthed in China”


And some things remain to be found even in areas that you might imagine had been investigated about as thoroughly as they can be:


“The lost harbour of Pisa revealed: The key to Roman mercantile power turned into a lake more than 500 years ago. Now, researchers think they’ve found it again.”


This isn’t directly relevant to the question of horses in the Book of Mormon, but it’s still quite interesting, and it suggests some of the complexity involved with the history of the horse:


“Are North America’s wild horses native?”




I hear from time to time that Millennials are giving up on organized religion because they’re both too good and too savvy to go along with it.  Well, maybe.  But color me skeptical.  And you could have colored me skeptical even before I read this:


“Do People Really Think Earth Might Be Flat?  A poll says lots of Millennials evidently do—and it’s not entirely clear why”




In the meanwhile, here’s another quotation about scientism — something entirely distinct from science itself — that is guaranteed to have a certain critic of mine whooping up an entirely uncomprehending storm of indignation and disbelief and, from another, to elicit yet another series of blog comments pointing out the superiority of science over theology for curing most diseases, building bridges, and inventing radios.  The quotation comes from the late Austin L. Hughes (1949-2015), who, until his sudden and untimely death, was Carolina Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina and served as director of that university’s Institute for Biological Research and Technology:


“The temptation to overreach, however, seems increasingly indulged today in discussions about science. Both in the work of professional philosophers and in popular writings by natural scientists, it is frequently claimed that natural science does or soon will constitute the entire domain of truth. And this attitude is becoming more widespread among scientists themselves. All too many of my contemporaries in science have accepted without question the hype that suggests that an advanced degree in some area of natural science confers the ability to pontificate wisely on any and all subjects.”


The quotation above comes from Professor Hughes’s article “The Folly of Scientism,” in The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society (2012).



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