Why Michael Shermer’s “Case for Scientific Humanism” Fails

by Richard Weikart

In his farewell article this month in Scientific American, long-time columnist Michael Shermer once again confuses science with atheism, and inexplicably claims that science can support humanism. He even uses the term “scientific humanism” to describe his position.

Shermer tries to rewrite history by insisting that science is built on atheistic assumptions. He states:

Modern science arose in the 16th and 17th centuries following the Scientific Revolution and the adoption of scientific naturalism — the belief that the world is governed by natural laws and forces that are knowable, that all phenomena are part of nature and can be explained by natural causes, and that human cognitive, social and moral phenomena are no less a part of that comprehensible world.

Three Problems

There are a myriad of problems with this statement, but let me point out three…

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Why Michael Shermer’s “Case for Scientific Humanism” Fails