Well, you're certainly opinionated. Again, though, you're presuming to explain to me things I already know about. Yeah, I know that new atheism was a media creation. I read the books and the articles at the time, after 9/11, when Harris published The End of Faith. I wrote about that years ago.

I'm also aware that "scientism" has been defined in many ways, often to cover up the problems with nonscientific attempts at knowledge, including paranormal woo. But you're not encountering here all of those other definitions and uses, are you? You're dealing with mine. And your prejudgments led you to make a strawman out of my article.

It's interesting that you brought up Wittgenstein's fideism, since it's a sterling example of the scientistic attitude. Positivism in general was paradigmatically scientistic, that is, highly dismissive of the arts. Wittgenstein said that statements that can't be empirically verified, in principle, are meaningless. And that's consistent with his fideism: if you can't speak meaningfully (empirically/proto-scientifically) about something, you should shut your mouth. That expresses the same tribal attitude as Hume's when he said that all books that aren't about empirical matters of fact or about tautologies (math or analyses of concepts) should be cast into the flames.

So if you think scientism is just made up and that no one's ever espoused scientistic prejudices, go ahead and see the positivists.

I don't argue that "reason is a religion." That's a strawman. I said that many rational people act in religious ways in spite of their rationalistic and atheistic ideals. That's because their brains are mammalian and largely nonrational (instinctive, intuitive, emotive). Intellectually, we profess that we base all our beliefs on the evidence, but we forget about our values, tribal commitments, and unexamined prejudices, including our scientistic ones which aren't based on reason (just as the verification principle couldn't be verified and yet somehow was meaningful).

You say Dawkins' bus slogan had nothing to do with neoliberalism. I beg to differ. Why didn't Dawkins go Nietzsche's route and moan and groan about the horror of God's death? Why didn't the slogan read instead, "There's probably no God. Now stop resorting to idols and start tearing your hair out in honour of the godless world's absurdity and tragic inhumanity"?

The answer is that he and the new atheists (i.e. the science-centered atheists) presupposed that atheism is nothing to worry about--because there's a viable, reassuring secular worldview waiting in the wings. In the West, that worldview emerged from what we call modernity: it's individualism, democracy, capitalism; it's freedom of thought and human rights and secular humanism. It's neoliberalism.

I've written a number of articles on neoliberalism (links below). Again, you presume I don't know what I'm talking about. If you haven't read those articles, you're speaking from ignorance.

You say all religions are humanistic. That's so with respect to exoteric, mainstream religions for the literalistic masses, and I've written probably a hundred articles on that anthropocentrism, going back to 2011 when I started my blog.

But mystics see through the anthropocentric metaphors. Eastern religions are generally more philosophical about their metaphors. Their gods are abstract, as in the oneness of Atman and Brahman or the Dao of nature. Or they have no foundational god, as in Buddhism and Jainism. Cthulhu symbolizes the inhumanity of the First Cause, once you see through the dubious anthropocentric metaphors and mental projections.

You suggest that truth as correspondence is an isomorphic relation to reality, but that's as handy as bringing up Wittgenstein's positivism in a discussion of scientism. That isomorphism goes back to the early Wittgenstein's picture theory of language. Richard Rorty showed how primitive and magical that theory was, when he pointed out that it presupposes the mind as a mirror of nature.

Alas, there's no such isomorphism unless you're a metaphysical idealist. There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies. That's because our concepts simplify and idealize, because we're primates, which is why we have to be on guard against our foolish, religious impulses even when we're consciously atheistic and secular. And this is why enlightenment is rarer than we think.

Anyway, this question of the quasi-religiosity of Western secularism seems to have triggered you. You jumped at the chance to stereotype my arguments. But I appreciate the exchange of ideas.





Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.