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

Curtis White. Melville (Random, dist.), $23.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-61219-200-0
Novelist and critic White (The Middle Mind) outlines his concerns about reductionist "scientism" that seeks to explain the human mind as a machine at the expense of a great philosophical tradition. It's a hit-or-miss polemic that's as erudite in its explications of Romantic German Idealism as it is woeful in its grasp of contemporary biology or cognitive science. He rightfully takes Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss to task for their assertions that "philosophy is dead", and laments Official Science's classism and collusion with state and corporate power. Other deserved targets of White's ire include Jonah Lehrer, Sebastian Seung, and TED's Rand-ian "Silicon Valley politics". Unfortunately, White doesn't separate the scientific process from its practitioners (particularly with regard to morality) and levels ad-hominem attacks at Richard Dawkins instead of critiquing him on his scientific work. Nevertheless, his secular solution to the problem of corporatist science's sanitizing of creativity and counterculture is an embrace of Romanticism, and he advises looking to the teachings of philosophers like Friedrich Schelling and scientists like Morse Peckham and Jacob Bronowski for "what science is mostly clueless about: how we ought to live." Though slightly off-target, White's argument is worth consideration and his delivery passionate and humorously bitter. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 84 pages - 978-1-61219-201-7
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-1-61219-390-8
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