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STS – K2 | Science, Technology, and Society Sept.

28, 2018

Group-4
CUNANAN, Ma. Liezl D.
MAGADAN, Mark Vincent T.
PALER, Dannie P.
YU, Lucille G.

Prof. Eve Fernandez - Gamalinda, Ph.D.

Film Title: THE MAGICIAN’S TWIN – C.S LEWIS AND THE CASE AGAINST SCIENTISM

Scientism is the exorbitant faith in the intensity of scientific knowledge. It’s the use
of systematic designs and logically inclined dispositions and/or ideas that are drawn from
the natural sciences which are then integrated to human exercises and social experiences. It
is the belief that science is the only way to be safe in times of catastrophic events and
apparently for them who believe in this dogmatic behavior, not being scientific equates to
being inferior in terms of power and rate of credibility.

Technocracy is a proposed arrangement of administration where leaders are ideally


chosen based on their technical ability and field of specialization. Since the term
‘technocracy’ was initially used to advocate the use of scientific methods to address and to
take care of societal issues, it is somehow likened to scientism because this said framework
expressly appears in a variety of ways in relation to the idea of technocrats being in total
control (having the utmost managerial authority) over those people with various political
affiliations or parliamentary abilities. Too long, didn’t read: mere politicians have become
the puppets of these so-called technical experts.

CS Lewis went to considerable lengths to underline that he was not “hostile to


science.” But rather he unambivalently restricted “scientism.” According to him, scientism is
the wrong-headed conviction that ONLY the cutting edge of science can supply the main solid
technique for learning about the world, and its end product apparently led those
scientists/technocrats to think that they are the only ones who have the privilege to direct
the general public’s ethics, religious convictions, and even the right to rule over government
strategies just because of their superiority complex, the result of their exceptional logical
skill.

The expression "the magician's twin" originates from Lewis himself. As John West
points out, “the comparison between science and magic runs throughout a number of his
works”, the two thoughts of science and magic being comparative in that they can work as
an elective religion in their support of an absence of doubt, and in their journey for control.

In the film, one of the similarities of science and magic was that both of the elements
promote credulity. In ancient times, a person of great magical prowess held great authority
so long as he/she could reinforce it with results. That thought alone instilled fear and the
admiration of his subordinates towards him prevented them from further questioning how
credible he is, and they readily accepted any words that spouted from them, the magicians,
as absolute truth, without any doubt and that made them gullible. The documentary
proposes the same manifestation that is also happening today in the realm of science. Take
the case of a doctor and patient relationship. The patient will naturally believe anything the
doctor has to say, regardless if it is really true or a misjudge on his part. A typical patient will
readily accept any of what the doctor says, due to the fact that he doesn’t know the process,
or the “science” behind his/her disease. He knows his thoughts will be of no meaning and
will be dismissed by the general consensus. He doesn’t doubt, as he believes that the doctor
knows more of the science aspect than he himself. As what we can see, due to the complexity
of science alone, science can be used as a tool for deception, a tool to discourage an
inquisitive mind, a tool to disregard critical thinking and promote gullibility.
The third part of the documentary discusses how science can be used as power or
how one can gain authority with science. While this sounds as a very aggressive claim, this
might actually be the main driving force of science and technology. We knew science as a
systematic process of knowing and explaining things. We strive to know so that we can create
something that could be of convenience to us. Similar to the film, let me cite Stephen
Hawking’s famous quote during his interview on BBC. “The development of full artificial
intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Humans, who are limited by slow
biological evolution, could not compete and would be superseded [by AI].”

Professor Hawking said that the crude types of computerized reasoning have
officially demonstrated an exceptional helpful impact in our society. However, he feared the
results of making something that could coordinate and eventually outperform us in the
future. Moreover, our scientific advancements, when put into wrong hands and when be
driven by ill intentions of powerful oligarchs, could really end up into something devastating
and worst, the destruction of humanity.

References:

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPeyJvXU68k

• http://www.cslewisweb.com/2013/11/the-magicians-twin-three-part-documentary/

• https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

• https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocracy