Mending the Disconnect
How can it be that two things we love and treasure—two things that are absolutely central to ourselves and the lives we’ve built—seem so often to be at odds with each other?
“I flatter myself,” Hume triumphantly proclaimed, “that I have discovered an argument . . . which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, will be useful as long as the world endures.”
In his new book Monopolizing Knowledge, physicist Ian Hutchinson engages with the world-view he calls “scientism”: “the belief that science, modeled on the natural sciences, is the only source of real knowledge”.
Ever since modern science emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries, it has been used and abused for purposes that lie well beyond science. Biology has been particularly susceptible to ideological manipulation and application, a trend that shows no sign of abating.
As an historian of science, I belong to a small, somewhat esoteric club. But our collective anonymity may now be changing with the publication of a splendid new book from Harvard University Press, Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion.