Narcissism and Scientism

These are two different concepts, but I’m not convinced they’re unrelated.

First is a Wall Street Journal Notable & Quotable:

[The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5] . . . criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
Exaggerating your achievements and talents
Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate…
Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner


You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation.  To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior.

Second is another Notable & Quotable:

Now…science and especially science bureaucracy is a career, and one amenable to social climbing.  Careers attract careerists, in [Paul] Feyerabend’s words: “devoid of ideas, full of fear, intent on producing some paltry result so that they can add to the flood of inane papers that now constitutes ‘scientific progress’ in many areas.”


If science was unprepared for the influx of careerists, it was even less prepared for the blossoming of the Cult of Science.  The Cult is related to the phenomenon described as “scientism;” both have a tendency to treat the body of scientific knowledge as a holy book or an a-religious revelation that offers simple and decisive resolutions to deep questions.  But it adds to this a pinch of glib frivolity and a dash of unembarrassed ignorance.


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