Science under Siege – A Seminar with Dick Houtman

6 May 2021, 3-5pm – online

Science under Siege: Contesting the Secular Religion of Scientism

Dick Houtman (Leuven University, Belgium)

Discussants: Valentina Marcheselli, Massimiano Bucchi (unitn)

Today’s controversies about the authority of science suggest that we are not merely witnessing an erosion of the authority of religion, but of science, too – a declining legitimacy of universally binding truth claims, be they religiously or scientifically informed. Science under Siege delves into the cultural mechanisms that account for the headwind of contemporary science (co-edited with Stef Aupers and Rudi Laermans, forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan). It demonstrates that theories from the sociology of religion do not only account for the loss of authority of religion, but do a similarly good job in explaining the erosion of scientism, religion’s modern secular counterpart.

About Dick Houtman

Dick Houtman (Utrecht, the Netherlands, 1963) is Professor of Sociology of Culture and Religion at Leuven University, Belgium. Most of his publications address cultural conflict and cultural change in the West since the 1960s, especially in the realms of politics, religion, consumption and (social) science. He is currently completing a book about cultural change in the West since the 1960, provisionally titled The Hunt for Real Reality: The West on the Wings of Imagination. Personal website: