Science Beyond Enchantment. Revisiting the Paradigm of Re-enchantment as an Explanatory Framework for New Age Science

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för litteratur, idéhistoria och religion

Abstract: A common understanding of scientists within the New Age movement is that they are manifesting a form of re-enchantment and that their ideas should be addressed as natural theologies. This understanding often takes as its reference point, the re-entanglement of science and religion whose original separation, in this case, is often the working definition of disenchantment. This essay argues that many contemporary scientists who are both popular references and active participants on New Age conferences cannot fully be accounted for by this paradigm. Among these scientists and more particularly those interested in quantum physics, there are many who wish to extend the quantum phenomena not only to support questions of religious character, but to develop theories on physical reality and human nature. Their ambitions are not solely about merging science and religion but also about suggesting new scientific solutions and discussing scientific dilemmas. The purpose of this essay has therefore been to find a viable alternative to the re-enchantment paradigm that offers a more detailed description of their ideas. By opting instead for a radically revised re-enchantment paradigm and an anthropological suggestion for studying minor sciences, this essay has found that a more precise definition of popular New Age scientists could be as (1) “problematic” to the epistemological and ontological underpinnings of the disenchantment of the world, where the problem is not necessarily restricted to the separation of religion and science, and (2) as being a minor science, which entails a critique and challenge to state science, albeit not necessarily in terms of imposing religion on the grounds of science.

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