+Alain Van Hout
I'm just not in agreement enough to dismiss the warnings, though. Skinner's ideas worked
for certain people who had certain congruent theories, or who could appreciate his authoritative dismissal of a "soul". It wasn't just dismissal of the soul of theology, but of poetics, too. Didn't he work with Delgado, who went on to try to develop mind control techniques for CIA? I mean, here's a specific and narrow wedge of people who also happened to be spectacularly lawless and immoral, who supported Skinner because his ideas offered the power elite a way to more fully dominate the world.
Flash forward to the seventies and the rise of Social Constructivism, an idea which concludes that all differences in outcome between one person and another are based on opportunity and environment. You'll notice that it's the seventies, the kids who grew up hearing about Nazi eugenics programs moved into positions of power, and the worst thing you could ever suggest was that genes played a role, and my god didn't the authors of The Bell Curve
learn that the hard way.
Then come the 90s, and the upstart Steven Pinker writes The Blank Slate
. He is confident in asserting that Social Constructivism is dead, and his peers agree.
But the politics that drive science didn't end back there
somewhere, and the character of human beings, in all of their failings, has not changed, either. We can't put to bed the warning against scientism because its a natural tendency, because we tend to be alienated and unenlightened, at large. What percentage of the population could define scientism, right now? I think maybe living, working, and playing among people of a middling socioeconomic class or better tends to conceal the scope of the thing.