Reductionism Ad Absurdum

FYI: this post has been moved here.


  1. “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” G. K. Chesterton

    Oh how right he was (as usual). Reductionism is THE fallacy of our day. It rests safely behind a wall of respectability. A wall that was erected by scientists who abuse their trusted status and foist pseudo-scientific nonsense upon the world.

  2. What planet are you guys living on? Reductionism is arguably the most successful scientific paradigm ever. Reductionist thinking eventually lead to the solid-state physics that underlie the principles of the silicon chips in your computer and the laws of electricity and magnetism that delivered your misguided messages to this virtual meeting place. Look around - virtually every scrap of technology that you see is a result of reductionism in science. No one today insists that reductionism will explain everything, but this in no way detracts from its merits or its track record up until now.

  3. "From its very inception the universe consisted of many very finely tuned variables."

    That's a pretty extraordinary claim. How do you know this?

    "The reason that I refer to a “[pseudo] counter-argument” is that it denies scientifically verifiable minute fine-tuning, "

    Mariano, you're the one in denial here. Scientists are perfectly aware that there is something very interesting about the arrangement of our universe, and they are exploring possible explanations for this. You are the one denying the possibility of any other explanation than a teleological one. You are the one presupposing the answer, not the scientists who have not yet settled on a verdict.

    "[1] Of course, there is not only no evidence whatsoever for the multiverse but it is also illogical,"

    As far as I can tell this is a reference to yourself, arguing that if the multiverse exists, then it must contain a universe wherein it is a fact that the multiverse does not exist, and therefore *poof* the whole theory must vanish in a puff of illogical smoke. Am I close?

  4. adonais,

    I am speaking of reductionism that is applied to everything as though it can do what you say nobody claims.

    The title of the article is "Reductionism Ad Absurdum" and is not referring to reductionism in general but the extreme form that is bordering on delusional.

    It hardly follows that because it has worked in solid state physics, it can be applied to say....morality, as so many internet parrots do.

    Of course, irreducible complexity (which doesn't have to just refer to biology) and reductionism are bound to grind to a halt when facing off. How can you reduce the irreducible?

    By the way, I should mention, I accept evolution and pretty much any other bit of real science that I come across.

  5. The most absurd notion of all is that the "method of science" can be used to understand all things.

    The "method of science" is incapable of supporting that very statement.

  6. Derek_M "How can you reduce the irreducible?"
    Send it to Dover?

  7. Derek_M;
    Thanks for the point. Did you read what Prof. Lewontin had to say about materialism and the apparatus of science here?

    How do I know that from its very inception the universe consisted of many very finely tuned variables? Science.

    I know, I kwon, give us more time, scientists are working on it. This fills that gaps in our knowledge about anything and everything. First, we presuppose absolute materialism. Then we presuppose absolutely materialist answers for anything and everything. Then when we do not have absolutely materialist answers for anything and everything we say just wait, just wait, give us more time, scientists are working on it. Meanwhile, I believe that God created the material realm along with time which makes material cause and effect relationships possible and so I only expect material causes to be found for material effects.

    “there is not only no evidence whatsoever for the multiverse”
    Is not “a reference to” myself but to science.

    “it is also illogical”
    Is “a reference to” logic.