Sunday, July 21, 2019

Possible world semantics and the necessity of all that is in God

[continued from here]

Possible world semantics is a logical device dealing with the concepts of possibility, necessity and contingency. It has no relation to multiverse theory as espoused by certain cosmologists. In the scenario of possible worlds, something is necessary if it must happen and will happen in every possible world. Something is contingent, meaning it could be otherwise, when it does not happen in some possible worlds. Something is more or less possible if it is likely to occur in more possible worlds or less. The issue of hypothetical necessity is a necessity that depends upon other contingent factors. Thus, if X is hypothetically necessary dependent on factors Y and Z, then, in every worlds in which Y and Z are present, X is always present. If either Y or Z is not present, then X may not be present.

This issue of possible worlds is vital when we deal with divine necessity. It is true that the necessity of God who will create if he chooses to do does not imply a necessary creation. But the question is: Is there any possible world whereby God, after going through the decree, chooses NOT to create? Now, for those who are stuck with the idea of the Eternal Creator, God is always Creator and eternally so. Therefore, there can be NO possible world whereby God chooses not to create. Why this is so is because the decree is eternal and necessary. And since God has no parts (simplicity), God is His decree. "All that is in God" is God, in the fullest sense of the term. It is not possible, under classical theism, to split the necessity of one and the other. One can differentiate them, in the same way as we differentiate the attributes of God or the two natures of Christ, but one cannot separate them.

Therefore, while creation is contingent and the decree to create contingent, under the necessity of consequence, when we incorporate simplicity into the picture, creation becomes necessary because God's decree cannot be otherwise. If in every possible world, God must create, then it means that any "contingency" of creation is a contingency in name only. Creation is "contingent" on the fact that God can be not God, and this type of contingency is mathematically equivalent to describing probability with imaginary numbers (e.g. There is a 5i % probability that God is not the Creator)—the whole thing is ludicrous!

Thus, the logical implications of classical theism leads to a necessary creation. And not only that, but it leads to a necessary Fall, a necessary Flood, a necessary anything in redemptive history. It makes God to not only be the Eternal Creator, but it also leads to the doctrines of Eternal Justification, and one wonders how one avoids an Eternal Glorification also.

Which brings me to the issue of Jesus as one's personal Savior. It is evidently true from Ephesians 2:1-4 that we were all once sinners under the wrath of God. Conversely, when we have faith in Christ, we became under the grace of God. For Scripture to make any sense, it MUST mean that the status of a sinner prior to faith in God is one of wrath and condemnation, and the status of the sinner upon faith in Christ is one of grace, being justified and sonship. The change in status is not a mirage but a real thing! Jesus thus become my personal Savior WHEN I have faith in Him, whereas prior to that, He was not my personal Savior! Or are we going to argue that Jesus was the personal Savior of the elect while they were still under the wrath of God, in total contradiction of Ephesians 2:1-4? Must we massacre the clear teaching of Scripture in order to fit in nicely with the presuppositions of classical theism?

My questions for these classical theists like Chia are as follows:

  1. Do you believe that the unregenerate elect prior to faith had Jesus as their personal Savior?
  2. Do you believe that elect sinners were once children of wrath just like unregenerate reprobates? Please exegete Ephesians 2:1-4 in your answer.
  3. If you answer that the unregenerate elect prior to faith in Christ did not have Jesus as their personal Savior, and agree with me that the unregenerate elect were once children of wrath, please tell me how Jesus is the personal Savior of the regenerate elect if there is no "becoming" with God at all.
  4. If you reject the idea that Jesus is a "personal" Savior, then please state whether you believe that Christ came to save individuals, or did He come to save groups of people. If you believe that He came to save individuals, then how does that not make Him the personal Savior for each individual? If he came to save groups of people, then how do you explain the individual mandate of having personal faith in Christ for salvation? Along this line, please inform me whether you think personal faith in Christ is necessary for salvation, or we are just saved because of our "elect status."
  5. More generally, please tell me how do you read the dynamic interactions of God with His people throughout history. Is everything there purely anthropomorphism and anthropopathism? When God expresses His love for His people, is that genuine, or merely anthropopathic? When God experienced anger at Israel for disobedience, is that genuine anger, or merely anthropopathic?
  6. If God does not "become" in any sense, then please explain the covenantal language of God: "I will be your God and you will be my people." Was God lying when He said that and actually what He meant was: "I have always been your God but whether you are my people depends on whether I have foreordained you before the foundation of the world"? It is to be noted that the verb "to be" in the future tense indicate ""becoming"! Was God wrong in His covenantal language?

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Against a "response" on the issue of the Eternal Creator

It has been some time, but I have chanced upon Chia's "response" to my article on the issue of the Eternal Creator. While I have tried to deal with the issues concerning the topic of the Eternal Creator in an objective and impassionate manner, it seems that the other side is not so inhibited. It is really extremely disappointing, and it only strengthens my conviction that those on the other side do not have any actual case to make.

First of all, here is the "response," posted as a comment on that particular blog post:

There is a critique of this post from a budding theistic mutualist at

He fails to grasp the modal fallacy, and implied that Classical Theists have no choice but to concede panentheism, that is, if creation were necessary for God, then God is dependent upon His creation. If creation were necessary to the divine essence, it would be the divine essence, for that which is necessary to the divine essence is necessary for the divine to be. God will cease to be God. He is now a part of creation, which is necessarily His being.

Nevertheless, Chew writes:

“Indeed, God's decree and God's will is necessary. But it is a necessary decree and a willing of contingent things. In other words, we must say that creation is not necessary, but becomes necessary in light of God's willing and decree. Note the language of "becoming" here, which is a process not a state. Since creation becomes necessary in light of God's eternal decree, God cannot be called the eternal Creator, but rather that He becomes the Creator, from eternity in light of the decree to be sure, yet still not an eternal Creator. This "becoming" does not make God mutable, because the title "Creator" is a role of God working ad extra, not ad intra.”

The writer doesn’t seem to be aware of what he is writing about.

For God to become (“becoming”) something He wasn’t before is to attribute predication concerning His being. It is an ontological predication.

In Thomistic terminology, it is an essential or substantial “becoming,” not merely accidental (by the way, God being simple has no accident!). He writes, “God cannot be called the eternal Creator, but rather that He becomes the Creator.” Here, the writer states that God “becomes the Creator,” and then insists that it is a “working” of God ad extra. He exclaims with gusto, “This "becoming" does not make God mutable.”

But for God “to be” or “to become” via “a process” of becoming – for Him to become something He wasn’t – is an ontological predication. It is a change in His being, therefore an assignation and attribution of mutability concerning His being and ontology.

God is simply “to be.” He is not “becoming.” He simply IS.

The writer continues, “Just like God becomes my personal Savior only when I trusted in Christ in time, yet He remains immutable, thus the ad extra works of God do not change Him in any way.”

And no, oh no. God doesn’t “become” your Saviour. He is your eternal Saviour by virtue of His eternal decree to redeem you. Although you believed in time, He didn’t “become” a “Saviour of Chew” in time. Furthermore, He didn’t amass predications upon Himself in time by being the “Saviour of X,” “Saviour of Y,” etc ad infinitum ad nauseam. God the Father chose from all eternity past, in His eternal and unchangeable decrees, to save some people. God the Son, from all eternity past, agreed to redeem those people from the fallen state that God ordained, from all eternity past, they would be in.

What is more amusing is that the writer takes my reasoning that creation is a necessitas consequentiae (the necessity of the consequence), and reiterates it in his critique of my article. He writes, “In other words, we must say that creation is not necessary, but becomes necessary in light of God's willing and decree.”

Yeah right. Creation “becomes necessary in light of God's willing and decree.” Thus, this is the ideal “solution” for a theistic mutualist – a “solution” stolen from Classical Theists in defence of his mutable God who add accidents ad infinitum to His being.

As one looks at the "response," note just how personal the "response" is. I am described as a "budding theistic mutualist," even though I totally deny the label as slander. I am said to "not know what I am talking about," when actually he is the one who fails to comprehend my position. I am said to have "his mutable God," even though I fully affirm the immutability of God. This kind of cheap rhetoric not only shows us the type of person Chia is, but it also proves the point that many "classical theists" who are militantly against ESS are uncharitable and unwilling to actually understand and interact with their opponents, and absolutely willing to misrepresent what we and others who are not classical theists believe in.

But let us move to the substance of the "response." Is there anything to the response? I would suggest not, and not because of a failure of trying. I will go through the points of critique where they are, and point out why they are wrong.

The first critique by Chia is that my argument "fails to grasp the modal fallacy." That is true ONLY IF I did not prove that the first type of necessity, in light of the entirety of who God is and what He desires to do, would necessitate the second type of necessity. Chia totally ignores the syllogism that I had constructed in the early part of my argument proving why the first type of necessity would result in the second type of necessity, and then waves his wand and claims that I (DHC) fail "to grasp the modal fallacy."

The next critique of Chia is seen in the following set of statements: "For God to become (“becoming”) something He wasn’t before is to attribute predication concerning His being. It is an ontological predication." But that is a false set of propositions. To predicate "becoming" as always ontological only applies to attributes of being. Even the most hard-core classical theist must (I hope) agree that if we say that God becomes the enemy of Lucifer, that this "becoming" is not ontological at all, for Lucifer is not eternal! If person X becomes my enemy because I decided to hate her, not for what she has done but because I just decided to do it autonomously, did person X change ontologically? Something might have changed in me if I decided to make person X my enemy, but if she contributed nothing at all, how can it be said that she changed ontologically?

And that is the problem I have with many classical theists, who think that any talk about "becoming" implies ontology, a proposition which I simply deny! In fact, that has been my sharpest critique of classical theism all the time: that they think only about ontology and being, being, and more being! It is almost pathological to behold! I am not talking about "relational properties" or other such weird ideas, for I would claim that relations and actions are not "properties" (properties being ontological). Actions are actions, and relations are relations, and properties are properties.

Since Chia refuses to actually interact with what I had said, let me repeat the main argument against his attempt at thinking that the first type of necessity does not necessitates the second type of necessity:

Since God is a simple being, we cannot split God's will into a will that ignores His omnipotence and pure actuality, and His will that affirms His omnipotence and pure actuality. Therefore, knowing the attributes of who God is implies that anything that is necessary to His will is in fact necessary in all possible worlds, i.e. God cannot not create in all possible worlds. And if something is necessary in all possible worlds, then it is absolutely necessary, and we are back at the problem of creation being a necessary and not contingent thing!

The doctrine of divine simplicity implies that all attributes are one, and God's being is His act. Chia fails to recognize that the very bane of his argument is the doctrine of divine simplicity itself, for simplicity is the link between the two types of necessities. The only way to avoid a necessary creation is to posit a division between the decree to act and the act itself, which I do, but Chia does not. But if what I say is too brief, here is an extended discussion of the topic by Ryan Mullins which might be clearer. Where Mullins talk about divine freedom, I mention possible worlds, but it seems that they amount to the same thing.

In conclusion, I am once again not convinced of the "classical theist" position. It seems that even a response specifically to me cannot escape the temptation of misrepresentation. As long as classical theists (1) misrepresent their opponents; (2) fail to actually interact with the real philosophical and theological issues, I do not see any need to take them seriously.

[UPDATE (Oct 21, 2021): I have met up with Chia and he has retracted his statements. Since the statements and the response are helpful in the context of dealing with the issue of the doctrine of God, I will leave them up here. I will however note that he has retracted the statements here and listened to what I have to say, so I will treat this as case closed and all is forgiven.]

Article: The Doctrine of Divine Simplicity

Here is an interesting and provocative article on the doctrine of Divine Simplicity by Ryan Mullins. Please do note that I do hold to divine simplicity, and do not necessarily endorse anything written in that article.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Against politicking from the American political left

On the Atlantic, there was a political hit piece attacking "white Evangelicals"" for voting Trump. According to the author, voting for Trump is a "crisis" for "Evangelical Christianity." Now, normally, I prefer not to talk about politics, but this kind of hit piece has a political agenda that wants to bind Christians in a certain way, and thus I will like to say a few things about it:

  1. Few people, myself included, believe that Trump is a moral person. (Not including the crazy Trumpites here)
  2. The question is: The article is asserting that electing Trump compromises the Christian's moral witness.
  3. The counter question is: Does electing Democrats compromise the Christian's moral witness? I will assert that to be the case.
  4. Since Trump became president, we have seen many articles all attacking "White Evangelicals" for electing Trump.
  5. We have seen few articles attacking "Black Evangelicals" or any other group for that matter, for electing Obama, who was not a moral person either.
  6. When someone in the church votes Democrat, we were told that we cannot judge the person because (i) spirituality of the church, (ii) freedom of conscience, (iii) perhaps they are voting for a local official, (iv) some Democrat ideals are biblical.
  7. In other words, despite the Democrats being such a wicked party, we are told that Christians for whatever reason can vote Democrat, and we are to accept that.
  8. However, articles like these claim that voting Trump and voting Republican compromises the Christian's witness. In other words, voting Trump = evil
  9. Therefore, why the hypocrisy in stating that voting Trump compromise the Christian's witness while we are told to tolerate voting Democrat?
  10. It is not true that Democrats do not claim to maintain the moral high ground.
  11. See the Democrats when they assert they are for the poor (they are not; they just claim they are to get the poor vote). See the Democrats when they assert they care for immigrants (only if they are illegal and can be used as political agitprop; then just let them in and not care about them after they enter the country, and use their poverty to blame Republicans for their plight)
  12. Democrats claim to be for lots of moral causes, and they reframe LGBT issues as issues of "justice." So they ARE claiming the moral high ground.
  13. Thus, in conclusion, this article is a political hack piece that is biased and hypocritical.
  14. If voting for Trump compromises the Christian's witness, then so does voting Democrat. Are they going to start attacking Christians who vote Democrat with the same fire and vehemence with which they attack Christians who vote Trump?

If you believe that politics is not to be done from the pulpit, then all pastors cannot be promoting this political hit-piece. You cannot attack "right-wing" Christians for doing politics while at the same time you are playing at left-wing politics, period!

[P.S.: If you are aggrieved that Christians do vote for morally flawed parties and politicians, it only proves that you are one of those Americans who think the world revolves around them! Christians in many countries around the world can and do vote [rightly or wrongly] for all manner of wicked people!]

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

"Reformed" lies about ESS and the view of male headship


Surely, if God wanted to convey an absolute and unequivocal identity in how man respectively are constituted as human beings in the image of God, He couldd have created each in the same manner. ... But God wanted to convey two theological truths (not just one) in the formation of the woman from the rib of Adam: Since the woman was taken out of the man, 1) she is fully and equally human since she has come from his bones and his flesh, and 2) her very human nature is constituted, not in parallel fashion to his with both formed from the same earth, but as derived from his own nature, so showing a God-chosen dependence upon him for her origination. (Wayne Grudem, ed., Biblical Foundation for Mandhood and Womanhood, p. 83)

As I have said many many times, the major problem for me when it comes to criticism of ESS (Eternal Submission of the Son) is the constant misrepresentation of the position from its critics. Surely, if ESS is so unbiblical, the critics including Carl Trueman could accurately represent what it teachers, couldn't they? I mean, isn't representing what another person actually say and believe basic obedience of the ninth commandment? If ESS is so so heretical, then surely the most basic part of correctly representing it is not such a hard thing to do?!

It so happens that I decided to respond on Twitter to an outrageous meme which lumps ESS with a whole bunch of questionable teaching as being a Trojan Horse of "heresies" infecting the Reformed churches. The claim, so asserted by this sister on Twitter, is that complementarianism believes that the image of God in women is mediated through the man. Of course, I asked for proof, and I was directed to Wayne Grudem's book, Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood at page 82. Unfortunately, I was busy then so it is only now that I could actually check out the source material to see if this sister's assertion is true or false. It seems that I actually do have a copy of the book so I just had to go through my bookshelf and find the book in order to check whether it is true that Grudem asserts that to be true.

When I look through page 82 in the following section, this is what I found: (1) The topic of discussion is the relation of male and female complementarity and the image of God; (2) the particular section proceeds AFTER stating unequivocally that both men and women are equally in the image of God (pp. 80-81); (3) The section in which page 82 is situated discusses the differentiation between male and female as they relate to the image of God; (4) the conclusion of that section is this: "While both are fully and equally the image of God, there is a built-in priority given to the male that reflects God's design of male headship in the created order" (p. 87). Therefore, we can conclude the following: (1) The discussion deals primarily with how men and women come to have the image of God during the events of Genesis 2, and thus it is a discussion of the workings of an historical event; (2) From this discussion of the image in history, Grudem aims to draw a lesson of how headship links to the image of God; (3) Since the woman is NOT created ex nihilo but created out of the side, the woman Eve came out of the man Adam; and thus (4) In light of biblical passages concerning generation (i.e. Seth becoming the image of God from Adam (Gen. 5:3)), it can be said that the image of God in Eve comes from the image of God in Adam. From all these, Grudem argues that headship reflects the priority of Adam to Eve as seen in the derivation of the image in Eve from Adam.

Now, after looking at what Grudem says in context, is there anything here that has any relations with this sister's assertion that "complementarianism believes the image of God in woman is mediated through the man"? Note the word "mediated," which implies that without a man, a woman does not have the image. What she asserts is definitely not what Grudem has actually said, for "priority" is not the same as mediation — not even close! According to Grudem in this book, both men and women have the image of God equally. Women does not need a man to have the image of God, an idea totally foreign to Grudem's thought!! Rather, the priority of men is seen in how women historically in Eve get their image, from Adam. Note again the word "historically"! It is not an ongoing thing in the present!

I continually emphasize the concepts used by Grudem in contrast to the concepts used by this sister, only to make it manifest that what she is asserting about Grudem is most certainly not what Grudem is actually saying. This does not necessarily exonerate Grudem of this teaching, but it most certainly shows that, at least in the book Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood, in pages 82 and following, Grudem did NOT teach that the image of God in women is mediated through the man. That assertion is a misrepresentation of what Grudem actually teach! Whether you are for or against ESS, whether you think that ESS is heresy or orthodoxy, surely being truthful is what we should aim to be.

While it is probably too much of a stretch to ask Reformed critics of ESS to be less rancid in their criticism of ESS, perhaps I can hope that ESS critics can stop making the assertion that Wayne Grudem in page 82 of his book Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood teaches that the image of God in women is mediated through the man. That is clearly not what Grudem teaches, so please retract that accusation. Also, please if you wouldn't mind, be a bit more charitable to those who disagree with you on ESS, and entertain the possibility that perhaps you may be wrong in your assessment of ESS!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

On the epistemic value of intuition

If, however, we cannot calibrate intuition by appeal to sense perception, then, presuming there are no other calibrating faculties in the offing, it would seem that we cannot calibrate intuition and so we have no good (i.e. independent) reason at all for taking intuition to be reliable. We arrive, then, at an apparently defensible skeptical conclusion about intuition.

Such a conclusion, however is not defensible. … This because we can just as easily argue, as countless skeptics have, that sense perception is itself incapable of independent calibration and so we have no non-epistemically-circular reason to treat its offerings as reliable evidence. The calibration concern is, after all, a completely general one.

[Joel Pust, Intuition as Evidence (New York, NY: Routledge, 2000, 2016), 105-6)]

This is because any attempt to calibrate sense perception must take its corroborating premises only from the deliverances of some other faculty, and in the case envisaged, intuition would be the basis of such a calibration of sense perception. (p. 106)

The problem of epistemic circularity is also deeper than the discussion to this point has revealed. (p. 107)

I do think Reid is right to insist that, in light of our inability to non-circularly justify any basic faculty, some reason needs to be given by those who would rely upon one faculty and yet reject the testimony of others. Absent such a reason, the empiricist’s refusal to accept intuition without independent calibration seems entirely unjustified and epistemically arbitrary. (p. 110)

Therefore, if she is to avoid complete skepticism, and its attendant cognitive suicide, but retain a principled skepticism about intuition, the empiricist must start by trusting all our faculties equally and then show that intuition can still be shown an unreliable source of evidence. (p. 111)

Supposing I have succeeded in showing that the epistemic credentials of intuition are no worse, ultimately, than those of sense perception, it is easy to take my means of showing this as indicating how little can actually be said for sense perception or for any of our basic faculties. My epistemic parity argument, then, might be said not to show why we actually have good reason to treat intuitions as evidence, but merely why we have no good reason to treat sense perception as evidence. (p. 122)

In his dissertation, Joel Pust attempts to show the validity of intuition in its utility in philosophy. Intuition as evidence is no more and no less valid than the use of the senses in gaining knowledge about the world. The alternative is a general epistemic skepticism.

Now, whether Pust has indeed succeeded in making his case can be argued. But in tying the validity of intuition to the senses, I do think Pust is on the right track for sure. Skepticism about intuition seems to merit skepticism in the senses as well. This seems to show, from where I stand, the failure of human philosophy to ever get out of skepticism. It seems to me that revelation from God must undergird all knowledge, for otherwise we are left with general skepticism. Yes, general skepticism cannot be proven, but if all systems fail, then that is what we are left with. General skepticism is therefore not so much proven, but stated in light of the failures of human philosophy.

Intuition therefore, is like the senses. Just as the senses can make sense of the world and yet are fallible and liable to deception, so likewise our intuitions about the world. From a Christian perspective, both derive their general validity from God's general revelation not from themselves, for apart from God's revelation, it is impossible for anyone to know anything of the world.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

On the hypothetical-deductive theory of science

Scientific reasoning is an exploratory dialogue that can always be resolved into two voices or two episodes of thought, imaginative and critical, which alternate and interact. [P.B. Medawar, Induction and Intuition in Scientific Thought (New York, NY: Routledge, 1969, 2009), 46]

The process by which we come to formulate a hypothesis is not illogical but non-logical, i.e. outside logic. (p. 46)

This elementary theory is supported by a metatheory which specifies the rules o deduction or statement-transformation (“logical syntax”) and adjudicates upon the meanings of the empirical terms which it employs, i.e. says what they stand for (“semantics”). … We assert a postulate and take an axiom for granted, but hypotheses we merely venture to propose. (p. 47)

For scientists and all those involved in the scientific industries, it seems almost obvious that science is about finding out the truths of nature. With the failure of logical positivism and pure inductivism, the hypothetico-deductive model is adopted as the way science is done. And in a certain sense, they are right. Modern science largely functions according to the hypothetico-deductive model. But saying that is so does not indicate to us the nature of science and the relation of science to truth. Such a model is blind to the obvious paradigms of thought science operates in, for this model is blind to the fact that what may seem obvious and a reasonable assumption or prediction is paradigm-dependent, and will thus change when paradigms shift.

It is therefore on the one hand true that [normal] science operates according to the hypothetico-deductive model, and on the other hand true that whatever is discovered is paradigm-dependent in terms of its truth value. Also, since science is paradigm-dependent, all "truths" so discovered are descriptions of reality according to the paradigm. In other words, they are true, but only secondarily so. Scientific truths at best are reflections of truth, refracted through their governing paradigms. In that, they necessarily partake of the problem with induction, where there is simply no foolproof way to prove an inductive argument to be correct, as just because 100 black swans are seen does not mean all swans are black.

P.B. Medawar rightly points out the problem with pure inductivism. However, it is one thing to see the problems with inductivism, and another thing to escape the problem of induction. For since science necessarily argues from the particular to the general, induction plays a role in scientific reasoning, even under the hypothetico-deductive model. For in testing a hypothesis, one uses induction to prove that the experiment results (particular) necessarily say something about the systems being tested in general. For example, testing the hypothesis that a certain chemical causes an increase in an incidence of cancer requires one to believe that the experimental results is indicative of the general case of the presence of this chemical to the incidence of cancer. Without induction, one can only say that the experimental results of a positive correlation of high concentrations of this chemical with the incidence of cancer only applies to the experimental subjects. Without induction, one cannot conclude that this positive correlation would also be true in others that are not the experimental subjects, no matter how large or representative the sample size for the experiment is.

Therefore, while science works with the hypothetico-deductive model, we must understand that this is scientific methodology on the surface, which does not indicate to us the true nature of science or even a full understanding of the scientific method either. Rather, as we look at the history of science, we can come to recognize the paradigmatic nature of science, which undergirds the entire scientific enterprise.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Scientism, broadly speaking

This, then, is what I mean by Scientism. It is not merely the misapplication of techniques such as quantification to questions where numbers have nothing to say; not merely the confusion of the material and social realms of human experience; not merely the claim of social researches to be applying the aims and procedure of natural science to the human world. Scientism is all of these, but something profoundly more. It is the desperate hope, and wish, and ultimately the illusory belief that some standardized set of procedures called “science” can provide us with an unimpeachable source of moral authority, a suprahuman basis for answers to questions like “What is life, and when, and why?” “Why is death, and suffering?” “What is right and wrong to do?” What are good and evil ends?” “How ought we to think and feel and behave?” It is Scientism on a personal level when one says, as President Reagan did, that he personally believes that abortion is wrong but we must leave it to science to tell us when a fetus enters life. It is Scientism on a cultural level when no scientist rises to demur, when no newspaper prints a rebuttal on its “science” pages, when everyone cooperates, willfully or through ignorance, in the perpetuation of such an illusion. Science can tell us when a heart begins to beat, or movement begins, or what are the statistics on the survival of neonates of different gestational ages outside the womb. But science has no more authority than you do or I do to establish such criteria as the “true” definition of “life” or of human state or of personhood. Social research can tell us how some people behave in the presence of what they believe to be legitimate authority. But it cannot tell us when authority is “legitimate” and when not, or how we must decide, or when it may be right or wrong to obey. To ask of science, or expect of science, or accept unchallenged from science the answers to such questions is Scientism. [Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (New York, NY: Vintage, 1993), p. 162]