“…[scientism] is contributing to a growing trend on the left, quite as ferocious as anything on the right, toward anti-intellectualism and bigotry, and that it is at bottom incompatible with the principles of a humane, open, and free society.” Partially Examined Life on Scientism.
I used to discuss this a lot back at the old blog. (Sadly I was unable to export the posts in a fashion so they could be imported here). I’ve not talked about it in a long time simply because at a certain point it becomes uninteresting. Most people engaging in scientism simply don’t have much of a mind to even bother attempting to understand why philosophers ask the things they do. Often their view of philosophy is pretty distorted.
That said this is hardly new. I recall this quote from C. S. Peirce that bemoans a similar stance in the late 19th century.
It has been an unfortunate accident of our century that philosophy has come to be set off from the other sciences as if it were foreign and almost hostile to them. In the early years of the century, men like Hegel fancied that their philosophical methods were so strong that they could afford to rather emphasize the contrast. They fancied they were able to run the inductive sciences down, to outstrip them altogether. They had been educated in theological seminaries and they only knew natural science in a popular way from the outside. Pride must have a fall, generally involving more or less injustice; and the natural result of this Hegelian arrogance has been a mistaken notion that metaphysics, in general, not this or that system of it, but all metaphysics, is necessarily idle, subjective, and illogical stuff. This is a very serious accusation. It is not to be treated lightly on the one side or the other. The question is, can we find anything in metaphysics, not which shall contrast with other science now put beyond all peradventure, but falling in with it as in inward harmony with it, obeying its logic, and serving its turn? (Essential Peirce 2:37)
I often think it’s the teaching or encountering of difficult to understand philosophers like Hegel that leads to this attitude. I recall that Richard Feynman’s fairly anti-philosophy stance largely arose from taking a class on the notoriously difficult Alfred Whitehead while at MIT.