Three “Modern” Worldviews:
Scientism, Anthropocentrism, and Patriarchalism
This essay will analyze the origins, meanings, and consequences of three modern worldviews that are connected to Chapter 10 of Kinsley’s Ecology and Religion: Ecological Spirituality in Cross-Cultural Perspective. The three modern worldviews that will be addressed are scientism, anthropocentrism, and patriarchalism. With these three worldviews come three questions that will be answered. The first question is, “What relationship, if any, do these ‘isms’ have to the sorts of environmental problems and issues of lifestyle that are discussed in Brown’s Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, and Crocker’s Consumption, Population, and Sustainability: Perspectives from Science and Religion?” The second question is, “Do these patterns of thinking affect my own life and the lives of those around me, and in what way?” The final question that will be answered is, “What might be done at both an individual level and at a societal level to move beyond the limitations of these ways of thinking?”
The origin of scientism in the contemporary world has been attributed to key figures in the Scientific Revolution. These key figures include René Descartes (1596-1650), Isaac Newton
(1642-1727), and Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Scientism is a worldview that says only science can find actual truth.
Anthropocentrism is the idea that the world and even the whole universe, is not as significant as human beings. Out of the three “isms” discussed here, anthropocentrism trumps the other two in its effect on the natural environment.
Patriarchalism takes anthropocentrism and discards all feminine qualities. It places men above women, children, and nature. The idea of God being on a level above men is also discarded in that God has no place in an anthropocentric worldview.
In a way, all three worldviews are closely related as they place the natural environment in a different realm, away...