Chuck Colson wrote a commentary titled The Proper Role of Science. Although I agree with his general thrust I have some minor reservations about it. For example, increased grants for research go beyond embryonic stem cell research although that is included. Since abortion was recently debated in another thread I wish to focus the attention of this blog entry on other points. I know stems cells and abortion can be debated separately but the same underlying values mark the differences of the two sides. Quoting Colson:
As Nancy Pearcey and I write in our book, How Now Shall We Live?, scientism has its roots in Darwinism. Tufts University professor Daniel Dennett writes that Darwinism, rightly understood, is a “universal acid” that dissolves away all traditional moral, metaphysical, and religious beliefs. For if humans have evolved by a material, purposeless process, then there is no basis for believing in a God who created us and revealed moral truths, or imposing those moral views in any area of life.
Dennett is using a common tactic—using science as a weapon to shoot down religious faith. The standard assumption is that science is objective knowledge, while religion is an expression of subjective need. Religion, therefore, must subordinate its claims about the world to whatever science decrees.
Very true. The real bone of contention is an attribution of metaphysical purposelessness to processes discussed in exchanges about ID. It is true that disagreements exist about the nature of the processes themselves but hovering over all exchanges is Dennett's universal acid concept. A mindless, purposeless evolutionary process is a wedge in the hands of Dennett et. al. useful for attacking religious beliefs and moral precepts. More:
Scientism assumes that science is the controlling reality about life, so anything that can be validated scientifically ought to be done. Other things are subjective fantasy—like love, beauty, good, evil, conscience, ethics.
So science, which originally simply meant the study of the natural world, has in this view been conflated with scientific naturalism, a philosophy that the natural world is all that exists.
One of the problems with the 'nature is all there is' position was addressed in a previous thread. Sharply distinguishing what is testable from what is not can be problematic. Moreover subjective experiences are no less real by virtue of not being testable.
Dennett would replace morals rooted in a Judeo-Christian culture with what? Moral relativism? Majority vote? Rule by the powerful? What?