The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers

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Melville House, May 28, 2013 - Philosophy - 256 pages
One of our most brilliant social critics—author of the bestselling The Middle Mind—presents a scathing critique of the “delusions” of science alongside a rousing defense of the tradition of Romanticism and the “big” questions.

With the rise of religion critics such as Richard Dawkins, and of pseudo-science advocates such as Malcolm Gladwell and Jonah Lehrer, you’re likely to become a subject of ridicule if you wonder “Why is there something instead of nothing?” or “What is our purpose on earth?” Instead, at universities around the world, and in the general cultural milieu, we’re all being taught that science can resolve all questions without the help of philosophy, politics, or the humanities.

In short, the rich philosophical debates of the 19th century have been nearly totally abandoned, argues critic Curtis White. An atheist himself, White nonetheless calls this new turn “scientism”—and fears what it will do to our culture if allowed to flourish without challenge. In fact, in “scientism” White sees a new religion with many unexamined assumptions.

In this brilliant multi-part critique, he aims at a TED talk by a distinguished neuroscientist in which we are told that human thought is merely the product of our “connectome,” a map of neural connections in the brain that is yet to be fully understood. . . . He whips a widely respected physicist who argues that our new understanding of the origins of the universe obviates any philosophical inquiry . . . and ends with a learned defense of the tradition of Romanticism, which White believes our technology and science-obsessed world desperately needs to rediscover.

It’s the only way, he argues, that we can see our world clearly. . . and change it.

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THE SCIENCE DELUSION: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers

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White (English/Illinois State Univ.; Barbaric Heart: Faith, Money, and the Crisis of Nature, 2009 etc.) disputes the triumphalism of neuroscientists, evolutionary psychologists and geneticists who ... Read full review


Whats a Good Lunch?
Romanticism as counterculture
a Parasite that
This Bit of Neural Matter
In Praise of Play Dissonance
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About the author (2013)

CURTIS WHITE is the author of the novels Memories of My Father Watching TV and Requiem. A widely acclaimed essayist, he has had work appear in Harper’s Magazine, Context, Lapham’s Quarterly, Orion, and Playboy. His book The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves was an international bestseller in 2003.

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