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“Follow the Science”? Free Webinar, May 16, on Scientism and Society


Join Discovery Institute scholars on May 16 for a FREE online seminar that couldn’t be more timely or urgent. The pandemic has been a lesson in many things, not least the overlap of science and culture.

In discussions of the virus, you probably have noticed the prominent use of strangely religious-sounding pleas — “Follow the science!” “Listen to the scientists!” The ancient Psalmist “kept the ways of the Lord,” but today’s politicians reverently invoke being “guided by science,” while the media condemn the unrighteous who “publicly question science.” Public policy must seek a rational response to the coronavirus, but scientism — the superstition that science alone can guide rational decision-making — spreads perilous confusion.

Two Discovery Institute programs, the Center for Science & Culture and the Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence, are here to help you sort real science from scientistic mythology, whether about the COVID-19 lockdown, the promise or threat of artificial intelligence, or about the origin of life and the universe itself. We’ll ask: “From AI to mandatory stay-at-home orders and everything in-between, what role should scientists play in the critical decisions that we must make on such controversial issues?” 

Participate in a provocative, surprising, but also hopeful conversation about timely and timeless questions, drawing on the latest science, the writings of C. S. Lewis, and much more. Saturday, May 16, at noon Pacific time, we will gather virtually to learn from political scientist John West, computer engineer Robert J. Marks, and physicist Brian Miller. Pose your own questions and challenges. Their topics:

  • “Science and Scientism in the Age of COVID-19: Wisdom from C. S. Lewis” (West)
  • “AI: Menace or Savior?” (Marks)
  • “Hope from Science: Evidence for a Purposeful Universe” (Miller)

Find more information here. Registration is required. The last Discovery Institute webinar was oversubscribed and we unfortunately had to turn people away, so take a moment to register now! The event is sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Photo: A coronavirus, by CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / Public domain.