The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case against Scientism

  • Scientism = methods of natural science should be bar by which every other discipline is judged. World wars were rooted in abuses of science.
  • Lewis compared science to magic. Twins actually. 3 reasons:
  • 1. Religion – Something out there extraordinary. Can give you a sense of meaning. Strikes a deep cord in people of grandeur in the universe, something higher than ourselves. This magical view of the world – Narnia, Lord of Rings, etc – can be a religion for some people. Also, some people in science saw the Darwinian model. People celebrate Darwin’s bday on Feb 12 now.
  • 2. Credulity – in modern world, people will believe almost anything if it’s dressed up in the name of science. Lewis intrigued by Freud’s pyschoanalysis. The deconstruction of everything leaves you with nothing. The Pilgrim’s regress book. Another was evoluntionism. That matter could unconsciously guide itself. If my own mind is a product of the irrational, how should I trust it about evolutionism? Mind development consistent with survival enhancing behaviors, but not the ability to grasp truth. So we shouldn’t trust our reason. How could a mindless process produce minds?
  • Power – the quest for power. Magicians wanted to have power over world in order to control it. Modern science far more dangerous b/c magic doesn’t work at end of day, whereas modern science can control and manipulate people. So if you don’t have an ethical basis that is outside of the realm of science to control it, you have a dangerous future.
  • Biggest danger of scientism is desire to control – “if I haven’t scientific truth, I have power to control others b/c I’m the one who knows what really happens…”
  • There is a larger transcendent ethical sphere behind science.
  • How do we prevent something good from being twisted into evil ends? How can we prevent science from becoming scientism? The magician’s twin?

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