Maybe We Should Try Some Empirical Science
So I happened to notice, amazingly, an odd little detail while managing this website. A website entitled "Secular News Daily" had referred somebody to my little page. For a Christian theological website, that's certainly odd. Why do I call it little?
Because over the past month and a half, I was deluged by a grand total of one (1) visitor from "secularnewsdaily.com." Um, yeah. Little. Might have been easy to miss.
So, naturally, I clicked on the link that sent this lonely traveler to Dead Reckoning. I found this article, critiquing my essay on whether scientific materialism deserves a cognitive privilege.
I'll get to the substance of the critique in a minute. For now, I just want to point out that the Secular News Daily is one of the top-ranked websites in New Zealand, garnering something like 20,000 visitors a month. Their article critiquing me was "liked" 31 times on Facebook, so it certainly generated some traffic.
I'm not bothered by the critique at all. I'm not even bothered that the author, Ken Perrott, cherry picks a few sentences of mine, grossly misunderstands them, and generally seems way in over his head.
No, what I find interesting is that an article singing the praises of the scientific method prompted exactly one of its 20,000 fans to actually, like, you know, click over and read the article the author was bashing.
Just a tad ironic.
As for the critique, it is utterly and completely incompetent.
He says he doesn't know what I mean by "scientific materialism," and opines that "these theologians" usually just mean it as a "stand-in" for the scientific method or the scientific epistemological process. Um, that isn't what I meant. That isn't what scientific materialism means. It isn't what anyone, anywhere means by the term. I think that includes New Zealand.
Having poisoned the well with this ludicrous supposition, Perrott then concludes that Brian Mattson doesn't like science. Brian Mattson is "upset by the widespread acceptance that science is generally a reliable way of getting to know reality." Brian Mattson doesn't think science has been successful, and doesn't think it has earned the right to any kind of cognitive privilege.
Well, let's just back up. I do not, nor does anyone else who has taken an introductory philosophy course, conflate "materialism" with "science." Criticizing materialism is not in any way, shape, or form, to criticize "science," nor to deny its successes, its utility, and, indeed, its necessity.
The Secular News Daily can carry on with this incompetent non sequitur all day long, I suppose. And their readers, evidence suggests, will lap it up like Pavlovian dogs.
I wonder just who that one person is who actually took the time to, like, do some science and look at the data being examined.