[BOOKS] ✮ The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society Author John G. West – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk Beloved for his Narnian tales and books of Christian apologetics, bestselling British writer C S Lewis also was a perceptive critic of the growing power of scientism, the misguided effort to apply sci Beloved for his Narnian Twin: C. PDF/EPUB À tales and books of Christian apologetics, bestselling British writer C S Lewis also was a perceptive critic of the growing power of scientism, the misguided effort to apply science to areas outside its proper bounds In this wide ranging book of essays, contemporary writers probe Lewis s prophetic warnings about the dehumanizing impact of scientism on ethics, politics, faith, reason, and science itself Issues explored include Lewis s views on bioethics, eugenics, evolution, intelligent design, and what he called scientocracy. Really fine book a collection of essays on various aspects of Lewis s view of scientism There are some jewels here. While Lewis s academic background involved studying the past, he was an astute observer of modern culture Many have called certain of his works prophetic, and, indeed, when one reads That Hideous Strength and The Abolition of Man, one is tempted to double check the publication date In both of these works Lewis is able to show his reader why the humanities have died, the differences between science and scientism, and the consequences of a society devoid of a common moral foundation.The Magician While Lewis s academic background involved studying the past, he was an astute observer of modern culture Many have called certain of his works prophetic, and, indeed, when one reads That Hideous Strength and The Abolition of Man, one is tempted to double check the publication date In both of these works Lewis is able to show his reader why the humanities have died, the differences between science and scientism, and the consequences of a society devoid of a common moral foundation.The Magician s Twin is a series of essays in which various scholars have looked at Lewis s views on science and scientism, origins, reason, and society The essays reference Lewis s works as well as private correspondence and book notes that have been made available, but focus predominately on That Hideous Strength, The Abolition of Man, and Miracles.Overall, this is fantastic book with excellent scholarship Perhaps most impressive is that these scholars do not attempt to put words in Lewis mouth They genuinely attempt to look at what Lewis wrote and analyze his views.A couple of chapters to note include John West s chapters on Lewis s views on origins Chapters 1, 6, and 7 Lewis holds a nuanced view that we would all be well served to analyze and emulate Unfortunately, the current climate is such that this kind of nuanced view is impermissible Lewis s views do not fall squarely within current labels He allows that God may have used a natural process, like an evolutionary model, but Lewis did not espouse a view concurrent with Charles Darwin s non teleological view on biology Today, evolutionary theory is so intertwined with Darwinism that it is difficult to talk about natural processes apart from the philosophy described in Origin of Species, but at the time of Lewis s writing, this was possible One could observe evolutionary processes, and make extrapolations based on those processes without having to assume biological systems arose by random chance Additionally, Lewis did not assume purely naturalistic causes, but that the supernatural could intervene in nature He believed in a literal Adam and Eve, an actual fall, as well as the possibility of supernatural events, something that Darwinists do not espouse.Lewis specifies what it is that is not congruent with Christian belief Scientism He also makes a distinction between evolutionary processes science and evolutionism scientism Today these distinctions are often made by using the terms evolution for natural processes and Darwinism for the extrapolation of those natural processes to a creative role, a philosophical position that assumes non teleology in biology Lewis s careful thinking on the matter serves as a guide today for untangling the science and scientism knot.Another chapter of note was Jay Richards chapter on reason Lewis s argument from reason exposes the inherent contradiction in using reason to conclude naturalism is true Key to this idea is that if we are merely matter chemistry and nature and there is nothing external to the physical world, then how can we be certain that our reason is based on anythingthan chemical delusions The Abolition of Man refuted relativism, and Miracles exposed the problems with naturalism Richards unpacks Lewis s refutation of naturalism and addresses current philosophers who have addressed this argument Finally, Chapter 13 C S Lewis, Scientism, and the Moral Imagination by Michael Matheson Miller was particularly poignant to me Having received an excellent albeit humanistic and Enlightenment based education, I imbibed relativism and logical positivism, and was only made aware of my presuppositions later in life However, even after studying science and philosophy, it was difficult for me to pinpoint when and where it was that I learned these views Miller reminds us of Lewis writings on the matter Our education on worldviews begins in elementary school when we learn that anything that can be measured or observed is a fact, while values are opinions It is such a subtle thing, but those lessons symbolize the very nature of the post Enlightenment, modern mindset, a mindset that Lewis says is the consequence of scientism Aesthetics and even ethics are relegated to the realm of opinion, and, by implication, are irrational See how this is subtly done Determine whether each of the following is a fact or an opinion from page 313 1 Mozart was born in Salzburg.2 Mozart wrote beautiful music.3 John Paul II was the Pope for over 20 years.4 John Paul II was a good Pope.5 Bell bottoms were popular in the 1970s.6 Bell bottoms are cool.Most of us have done an exercise like this before The answer considered correct in our scientism based training is 1, 3, and 5 are facts while 2, 4, and 6 are opinions By implication facts can be right or wrong, but opinions are merely subjective But, then, when we get into upper grades, we play the same game withcomplex issues Again, we are supposed to discern fact from opinion, usually in the form of a paper from page 314 7 Murder is the intentional killing of an innocent person.8 Murder is bad.And hence we have what Lewis calls men without chests This book is a collection of essays written on C.S Lewis s works and arguments against total absolute trust in science The majority of Lewis references are from the science fiction trilogy that he wrote, but also from other works Lewis argued against Scientism, that society should weigh its trust against science as a process and what discoveries questions it can and cannot answer The crux argument is that if science is a man made method process towards discovery, how far can our trust in th This book is a collection of essays written on C.S Lewis s works and arguments against total absolute trust in science The majority of Lewis references are from the science fiction trilogy that he wrote, but also from other works Lewis argued against Scientism, that society should weigh its trust against science as a process and what discoveries questions it can and cannot answer The crux argument is that if science is a man made method process towards discovery, how far can our trust in that process be put if, as science claims, our minds are products of unguided evolution What if out minds are not cognatvie but pure matter and chemical process Then is science of any real benefit to the mind s understanding of the universe and how accurate and precise are its descriptions of the contents and phsyical relationships within Of course we trust the results of science, to a certain extent Even when scientific findings overturn themselves and bring us to a new understanding So what does that tell us about our minds Can we trust our knowledge and understanding What limits are there to our understanding If we can trust our minds, then are they merely the combinations of physical matter chemical processes and the result of evolution All these questions get talked about in the essays within this great book And I would recommend follow on reading, if you are interested Undeniable, by Douglas Axe The Quest for the Historical Adam, by William VanDoodewaard Interesting read on C S.Lewis with emphasis on his argument from reason. Read Lewis FirstI enjoyed the book, but I think I would have gottenfrom it if I had readC S Lewis to begin with If anything, I have been inspired to go and do just that, readLewis, especially, based on the last few chapters of this book, The Abolition of Man. Good book with clear vision on the limitations of empiric science which is very valuable but when we take it as the only source of truth the reality of life which included a.o morality and beauty is jeopardised. A mixed bag, not of quality but of topics and approaches You may not be interested in all the chapters, I wasn t, but some interesting issues on Scientism etc are discussed Not for those adverse to intellectual straining. From the parts I read, one of the best treatments of Lewis views on magic and science that I have come across There was nothing new in here, but many topics are discussed with skill, insight, and academic integrity from many strong strong contributors.
- 350 pages
- The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society
- John G. West
- 01 December 2019 John G. West