“Must we really entrust the future of biomedical research in the United States to a man who sincerely believes that a scientific understanding of human nature is impossible?”

So Sam Harris asks in the New York Times . Harris’ column has received various replies, including a note from Will Wilson (who points out that Harris’ definition of science means belief in the immaterial renders one unable to study the material), and Alan Jacobs (who notes that the result of Harris’ view would be a religious test for government jobs: Believers would be, by the very fact of their belief, banned from holding office).

Another interesting portion of this attack on Harris, however, is the thinness of the result. I mean, I know Harris hates religion, but his description of why means that there is no intellectual activity outside science. Can theology reach a description of being? No. Philosophy? No. Art? No. If it ain’t science, it ain’t real.

This elevation of science to the sole explanation of everything is a hell of a faith. In every sense.

Articles by Joseph Bottum


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