Beware Of Scientism

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As a differentiator, scientism involves bias. Specifically, it is, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an exaggerated trust [emphasis added] in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation.

Overzealous of any sorts is suspicious. Economist Ludwig von Mises who stood up to this top-down vision and exposed the limits of science in his work Planned Chaos: “Science is competent to establish what is. It can never dictate what ought to be.”

In other words, science is not well suited to explain everything.  Areas like humanities and arts are beyond the methods of scientific inquiry which is more narrow focused.  That’s why we can put people into space but still can’t solve a common cold.

Besides, the scientism isn’t scientific.  Beware of people saying “listen to science,” they may be  quoting the science or experimental data for political or other purpose. Chances are they love the feel of science but fail to accept its limitations on complex human problems.  

What public policy do you think should be off-limit from the science?

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