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Science as Salvation: A Modern Myth and its Meaning
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 10 October 2008
Mary Midgley's excellent work shows clearly that what often passes for science these days is, in fact, myth presenting itself as fact against superstition. Midgley regards Dawkins as reductionists whose theories are ideologically driven rather than motivated by any objective scientific criteria, representing an attempt to substitute scientism for the humanities.

Historically this trend arose from the eighteenth century revolt against political and religious institutions and, although Midgley does not regard it as driven by atheism, she does regard it as a male driven attempt to deprive nature of its being. She questions natural selection not on ideological but on practical grounds. Why did humankind on this particular planet develop thought? Indeed, why did it need to?

She rightly determines that there is no objectivity in science inasmuch as ideas do not conjure themselves out of mid air but are endemic in society and often in the subject matter and assumptions of the increasigly isolated branches of science that purport to understand reality.

The deveopment of the Anthropic Principle is simply the outgrowth of the failure of Marxism (which Midgley understands is the reformulation of faith). Science has become scientism through science fiction with future worlds, or even a renewed universe, existing by the ingenuity of man to replace flesh and blood with robots. Intellectual Man becomes the master of nature rather than part of nature's processes.

The intellectual pretentions of science were cruelly exposed by the myth of Marxism as science, exposing "science" as a methodology lacking true purpose. To provide purpose evolutionary biologists have pronounced on subjects beyond their capability although, it is clear to all but the most prejudiced acaemics, that Darwinism, and Neo-Darwinism have outlived any usefulness in understanding why human beings inhabit the earth.

Teleology is still resisted in many "scientific" circles but, irrespective of the validity of otherwise of Intelligent Design, deserves more respect than the defenders of Darwinian orthodoxy wish to provide in furtherance of their own egotistic commitment to the erroneous.

Historically, the attempt to dismiss metaphysics failed. Historically, too, the attempt to explain everything in "scientific" terms also failed. Such failure is inevitable as it encapsulates the arrogance of humankind in believing that discovery is the same as creation.

Like all well argued books Midgley needs to be read several times, the more so as it is based on a series of separate lectures. However, it is an intellectually satisfying read of the ideas of someone with whom it is not necessary to agree in order to respect. I look forward to reading more of her work.
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As timely now as when first published. Midgely effortlessly takes on the meta-constructs of science in the last 300 years to show its great deal of open misogyny and its conceits. As a teacher of the philosophy of science it provides accessible critique yet not compromising demanding intellectual concentration. Well worth a read.
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