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The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society Paperback – September 30, 2012
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About the Author
More About the Author
I'm a bit of a contrarian by nature, and I also like siding with the powerless and the underdog. When the establishment insists 'Go this way,' I am likely to ask 'Why?' When I get pushed, I tend to push back. That's one reason I was attracted to the nascent intelligent design movement in the mid 1990s. I was intrigued by the fact that a growing number of recent PhDs in the sciences were questioning neo-Darwinism based on science, not faith, and were facing harsh recriminations as a result. I thought then--and still believe now--that people should have the freedom to raise uncomfortable questions and champion unpopular truths.
My heroes from the past are people like Jeremiah Evarts, who stood up for the rights of the Cherokee in nineteenth century America (I tell his story in chapter 4 of my book The Politics of Revelation and Reason); Frederick Douglass and Harriett Beecher Stowe, who helped persuade Americans about the injustice of slavery; and C.S. Lewis, who was one of the few equal-opportunity critics of both communism and fascism in the early 1930s (my thoughts about Lewis can be found in The C. S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia, which I co-edited). One of my favorite quotes on the importance of speaking out comes from Martin Luther King, Jr.: 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.'
Although I'm generally 'conserative,' I'm a strong believer in civil liberties, and I'm skeptical of some of the tactics adopted in the name of fighting crime and terrorism. I am also an enthusiastic believer in religious liberty and free speech. I think the best way for people to spread their ideas is through unhampered discussion, not government coercion.
Top Customer Reviews
These essays help us understand both Lewis' thinking and the dangers inherent in a morally unleashed technology.
Dr. West, co-editor of the C.S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia and author of The Politics of Revelation and Reason and other books, has edited a valuable set of perspectives on Lewis and scientism--the easy if totalist creed so deeply ingrained in the Western mind since Darwin that--to paraphrase a famous Italian totalitarian--all is within science and nothing is outside it.
West illuminates Lewis's perception that a kind of hubris had developed in the early 20th century, especially after Darwin's evolutionary theory had successfully spawned the substitute creation story that nature arose from lifeless matter, evolving by its own laws of selection and chance over measureless eons from an initial unicellular bacterium all the way to the teeming brain of man. In the powerful, later discredited, eugenics movement of his time and in popular books like those of H.G. Wells, Lewis found that a sort of "serious magical endeavor" had emerged as a twin of serious science. He saw in such science, "the magician's twin", in which science had become a religion to itself, credulously accepting of every kind of materialist explanation, no matter how lacking in factual support, and ominously susceptible to the siren song of power--the power to control, even redefine, man for his own good.Read more ›
A collection of several essays from many different authors crossing several fields of interest, it lays out a convincing case that Lewis cannot be tied too closely to Darwinism and that he had significant misgivings about the philosophy and application of scientism. So it behooves the reader to be sensitive to several distinctions made abundantly clear by Lewis and in the book - `evolution' and `evoltionism', `science' and `scientism', just to name two of the more prominent distinctions made by the authors and editor.
A careful reading will help the reader debunk a multitude of historical myths and pop-philosophical hand-waving gestures. Were the Middle Ages really dominated by an anti-science church? Did humanity really awaken to scientific truths only after the Enlightenment? Will science serve the advancement of the human species well? Can we disconnect technology from ethical and religions reflection and walk away unscathed? The answers Lewis provided and argued for will surprise most people.
This volume is valuable on several levels.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent insights into the reasons science is not what we have been lead to believe.Published 5 months ago by middle-way
I enjoyed the book, but I think I would have gotten more from it if I had read more C. S. Lewis to begin with. Read morePublished 7 months ago by JSiv
I have read all of CSL's works. This book pulls lots of the threads together in a manner at once true to Lewis's work and yet giving it new energy, new perspective, and new depth. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jim
I was amazed at how excellent this book is. It is not just an analysis of C.S. Lewis' penetrating thoughts on modern science and scientism, but it explains and analyses the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by DSmith
I thought this book was written by C.S. Lewis, but it is about C. S. Lewis, not written by him.Published 19 months ago by Loren L McCann
West has to learn how to end a sentence! By the time you finish the sentence, you've lost the point and have to re-read it. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Russ Lynn
Any discerning person seeking truth as real science (not junk science like evolution) can offer, should read this book and others, like Mere Christianity by Lewis.Published 24 months ago by DougC
It is astonishing how prescient Lewis was, as shown by three various contributors demonstrate. So much of what is reported as science today is more like dogma.Published on January 11, 2014 by Dave Davis