It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Blinded by Scientism

page: 2
15
<< 1    3  4  5 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 01:37 AM
link   
reply to post by Wertdagf
 


dear wertdagf,

in his most fameous proof, Godel turned the world of hard mathmatics on its head. he used number theory, which is an inscrutable method of defining the most basic methods of what it means to count, to prove that number theory is invalid. to show how this is possible, i will give a similar example using lingustics::


The sentence, "the sentence is not in English," is not in English.


now, by all accounts, the sentence is a grammatically valid composition of the English language. but the statement forces us into certain modes of thought. if we accept the statement as true, then we must admit that the statement is not a valid composition. but if we go with our gut and say that the statement is false.....well, you would have a very difficult time using the rules of the English language to prove just exactly how the statement has gone wrong.

in order to understand the mixed up logic of the statement, we must get outside of the system. in order to get outside of the system, we must first admit that there is an "inside" of the system, and also an "outside" of the system.

similarly, what the OP and OnceReturned are trying to gently point out is that science itself relies on rules similar in nature to the English language. and as such, there are INEVITABLY going to be phenomena that are simply not definable by the system.


in order to understand English, you must be outside of English. likewise, in order to understand science, you must be outside of science.

like it or not, buddy, some things really do lie outside its reach.








[edit on 30-3-2010 by tgidkp]




posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 02:41 AM
link   
reply to post by tgidkp
 


Its a valid composition of a lie in the english language.

Didnt you realize that lies could be written down, and in the english language? Is your only point that ignorant people can become confused? Or could it possibly be that those who claim to have ANY knowledge outside of the system are liars?

You dont need to go outside of triginometry to find the undefined lenght of a triangle. Why would you need to for the english language especially when the word "fib", "false", "lie", and "untrue" are apart of it.

According to your own idiotic logic we will never be able to disprove the magical invisible purple unicorns in another demention who harvest the heat from your farts to power their plasma snowcone machine on the planet Rigil 18. So i guess i should write a book and build a chuch that houses my flock so we can begin to convert the world.

Its really great for somone who stands on the logic that he knows nothing, to come and argue about anything. To argue that science isnt perfect because it cant explain everything currently is redundant..... you should always think scientificly about the things you believe and the decisions you make. The only point at which science can become a religion is when it REFUSES to test its own theorys... like christianity and judaism. The newagers are even more stupid.... with their vibration crystal bull*&^%.



[edit on 30-3-2010 by Wertdagf]



posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 06:11 AM
link   
More interesting stuff I found:

Science, Scientism, and Anti-Science in the Age of Preposterism


Feature
Susan Haack
Volume 21.6, November / December 1997


We are in danger of losing our grip on the concepts of truth, evidence, objectivity, disinterested inquiry. The preposterous environment in which academic work is presently conducted is inhospitable to genuine inquiry, hospitable to the sham and the fake. Encouraging both envy and resentment of the sciences, it has fed an increasingly widespread and articulate irrationalism.

That is preposterous which puts the last first and the first last. . . . Valuing knowledge, we preposterize the idea and say . . . everybody shall produce written research in order to live, and it shall be decreed a knowledge explosion.— Jacques Barzun1

There is, to be sure, a lot of misinformation about, and that is, certainly, a problem. But what concerns me is a deeper and more disturbing development: a rising tide of irrationalism, a widespread and increasingly articulate loss of confidence in the very possibility of honest inquiry, scientific or otherwise.

A hundred years or so ago, C. S. Peirce, a working scientist as well as the greatest of American philosophers, distinguished genuine inquiry from “sham reasoning,” pseudo-inquiry aimed not at finding the truth but at making a case for some conclusion immovably believed in advance; and predicted that, when sham reasoning becomes commonplace, people will come “to look on reasoning as merely decorative,” and will "lose their conceptions of truth and of reason.”2

This is the very debacle taking place before our eyes: genuine inquiry is so complex and difficult, and advocacy “research” and politically-motivated “scholarship” have become so commonplace, that our grip on the concepts of truth, evidence, objectivity, inquiry has been loosened. I want to talk about how this disaster came about, and the role played by the phenomenon Barzun calls “preposterism” in encouraging it.

Pseudo-Inquiry; and the Real Thing
A genuine inquirer aims to find out the truth of some question, whatever the color of that truth. This is a tautology (Webster’s: “inquiry: search for truth . . .”). A pseudo-inquirer seeks to make a case for the truth of some proposition(s) determined in advance. There are two kinds of pseudo-inquirer, the sham and the fake. A sham reasoner is concerned, not to find out how things really are, but to make a case for some immovably-held preconceived conviction. A fake reasoner is concerned, not to find out how things really are, but to advance himself by making a case for some proposition to the truth-value of which he is indifferent.

Neither sham nor fake inquiry is really inquiry; but we need to get beyond this tautology to understand what is wrong with sham and fake reasoning. The sham inquirer tries to make a case for the truth of a proposition his commitment to which is already evidence- and argument-proof. The fake inquirer tries to make a case for some proposition advancing which he thinks will enhance his own reputation, but to the truth-value of which he is indifferent. (Such indifference is, as Harry Frankfurt once shrewdly observed, the characteristic attitude of the bull#ter.)3 Both the sham and the fake inquirer, but especially the sham, are motivated to avoid examining any apparently contrary evidence or argument too closely, to play down its importance or impugn its relevance, to contort themselves explaining it away. And, since people often mistake the impressively obscure for the profound, both, but especially the fake reasoner, are motivated to obfuscate.

The genuine inquirer wants to get to the truth of the matter that concerns him, whether or not that truth comports with what he believed at the outset of his investigation, and whether or not his acknowledgement of that truth is likely to get him tenure, or to make him rich, famous, or popular. So he is motivated to seek out and assess the worth of evidence and arguments thoroughly and impartially. This doesn't just mean that he will be hard-working; it is a matter, rather, of willingness to re-think, to re-appraise, to spend as long as it takes on the detail that might be fatal, to give as much thought to the last one percent as to the rest. The genuine inquirer will be ready to acknowledge, to himself as well as others, where his evidence and arguments seem shakiest, and his articulation of problem or solution vaguest. He will be willing to go with the evidence even to unpopular conclusions, and to welcome someone else’s having found the truth he was seeking. And, far from having a motive to obfuscate, he will try to see and explain things as clearly as he can.

This is not to deny that sham or fake reasoners may hit upon the truth, and, when they do, may come up with good evidence and arguments. Commitment to a cause, desire for reputation, are powerfully motivating forces which may prompt energetic intellectual effort. But the intelligence and ingenuity that will help a genuine inquirer to figure things out, will help a sham or fake inquirer to suppress unfavorable evidence or awkward arguments more effectively, or to devise more impressively obscure formulations.

Nor is this to deny that genuine, disinterested inquirers may come to false conclusions or be led astray by misleading evidence or arguments. But an honest inquirer will not suppress unfavorable evidence or awkward arguments, nor disguise his failure with affected obscurity; so, even when he fails, he will not impede others’ efforts.

Of course, real human beings do not conform neatly to the three types I have distinguished; their motives are generally pretty mixed, and they are capable of many degrees and kinds of self-deception. A good environment for intellectual work will encourage genuine inquiry and discourage the sham and the fake; and will enable mutual scrutiny among workers in a field, so that the contributions to knowledge that sham and fake reasoners sometimes make despite their dubious motivation get sifted from the dross. Honest scrutiny is best; but scrutiny even by other sham or fake reasoners with different axes to grind may be effective as a way of exposing error, confusion, and obfuscation. A bad environment will encourage sham and fake inquiry, and/or impede mutual scrutiny.

The environment will be hospitable to good intellectual work insofar as incentives and rewards favor those who work on significant issues, and whose work is creative, careful, honest and thorough; insofar as journals, conferences, etc., make the best and most significant work readily available to others working in the area; insofar as channels of mutual scrutiny and criticism are open, and successful building on others’ work is encouraged. The environment will be inhospitable insofar as incentives and rewards encourage people to choose trivial issues where results are easily obtained, to disguise rather than tackle problems with their approach, to go for the flashy, the fashionable, and the impressively obscure over the deep, the difficult, and the painfully clear; insofar as the availability of the best and most significant work is hindered rather than enabled by journals and conferences bloated with the trivial, the faddy, and the carelessly or deliberately unclear; insofar as mutual scrutiny is impeded by fad, fashion, obfuscation, and fear of offending the influential.

I don't see how to avoid the conclusion that the environment in which academic work is presently conducted is an inhospitable one. I think this is true for all disciplines; but I shall focus, henceforth, primarily on philosophy — the discipline I know best, and the discipline in which disillusionment with the very idea of inquiry has been most overtly articulated.

SOURCE
Continued on next post.....

[edit on 30-3-2010 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 06:14 AM
link   

A Preposterous Environment
“Everybody shall produce written research in order to live"; Barzun exaggerates, but not much. Everybody aspiring to the tenure-track, tenure, promotion, a raise, a better job, or, of course, academic stardom, had better produce written, published, research. “[A]nd it shall be decreed a knowledge explosion"; again, Barzun exaggerates, but, again, not much. It is pretty much taken for granted that this explosion of publications is a good thing, that it represents a significant contribution to knowledge.

Yet much of what is published is, at best, trivial stuff, putting me in mind of that observation: “Rubbish is rubbish, but the history of rubbish is scholarship.” Seriously, though: few if any of us will have a truly original idea every few years, let alone every few months; genuinely important philosophical work usually takes years of frustration and failure. Nevertheless, we not only half-pretend that this written research that everybody must produce in order to live is mostly worthwhile; we breathe an atmosphere of puffery, of announcements in paper after paper, book after book, that all previous work in the area is hopelessly misconceived, and here is a radically new approach which will revolutionize the whole field. How did this atmosphere of preposterous exaggeration come about?

It is no longer possible to do important scientific work with a candle and a piece of string; ever more sophisticated equipment is needed to make ever more recherchë observations. Research in the sciences has become very expensive; a culture of grants-and-research-projects has grown up; and science has become, inter alia, big business. The consequences for science itself are not altogether healthy: think of the time spent “writing grants,” not to mention attending seminars on “grant writing,” of the temptation to shade the truth about the success or importance of one’s project, or of the price paid in terms of the progress of science when a condition of this or that body’s supporting the research is that the results be withheld from the rest of the scientific community. But when disciplines like philosophy, where serious work requires, not fancy equipment, but only (only!) time and peace of mind, mimic the organization of the sciences, when the whole apparatus of grants-and-research-projects becomes so ordinary that we scarcely notice how extraordinary it is, when we adapt to a business ethos, the consequences are far worse.

Why worse? In part because in philosophy the circumpressure of facts, of evidence, is less direct; in part because there is no real analogue of the kind of routine, competent, unexciting work that gets the scientific details filled in; in part because in philosophy the mechanisms of mutual scrutiny are perhaps more clogged and probably more corrupted.

In part because it is so intellectually impressive, in part because it is so useful, and in part, no doubt, because it is so expensive, science enjoys enormous prestige, in which the rest of us would dearly like to share. And, inevitably perhaps, in consequence of universities’ having become such big businesses, many university administrators have become enamored of a business management ethos which values “entrepreneurial skills,” i.e., the ability to obtain large sums of money to undertake large research projects, above originality or depth, and which encourages conceptions of “efficiency” and “productivity” more appropriate to a manufacturing plant than to the pursuit of truth.

In disciplines like philosophy, feeling ourselves the poor relations in such a culture, we have adapted as best we could. Our adaptation has encouraged a kind of philosophical entrepreneurship which often diverts time and effort from real work, and is sometimes, to speak plainly, nothing more than philosophical hucksterism: centers for this and that, new journals for the legitimation and promotion of the latest fad, projects requiring secretaries, research assistants, or, better yet, more expensive and powerful computers or, best of all, a laboratory.

This adaptation damages the fragile intellectual integrity demanded by the genuine desire to find out how things are. It is part of the meaning of the word “research” that you don't know how things will turn out. Yet the whole apparatus of grants-and-research-projects, and the conception of productivity and efficiency it fosters, discourages candid acknowledgement that one may work for years at what turns out to be a dead end, and constitutes a standing encouragement to exaggeration, half-truth and outright dishonesty about what one has achieved. In principle, you might fill out the application explaining what important breakthroughs your work is going to achieve, and fill out the report, later, explaining what important breakthroughs your work actually did achieve, without your private estimation of the worth of your work being affected. In practice, inevitably, intellectual integrity is eroded.

It has been a poor adaptation which significantly affects what kinds of work get done, channeling effort into those areas likeliest to attract funding. This is surely part of the explanation of the popularity of interdisciplinary work, especially work which allies philosophy with more prestigious disciplines such as cognitive psychology or artificial intelligence or medicine, etc.

Nor is it unduly cynical to suspect that it also significantly affects what kinds of conclusion are reached. Where effort is directed by the hope of large grants into, say, the border territory of epistemology with cognitive science, the probability rises that the conclusion that will be reached is that long-standing epistemological questions can be quickly resolved or as quickly dissolved by appeal to this or that work in cognitive science; where effort is directed by the hope of large grants into, say, the relevance of feminism to philosophy of science, the probability rises that the conclusion that will be reached is that feminism requires us, as Sandra Harding preposterously puts it, to “reinvent science and theorizing.” (Challenged, nearly a decade later, to say what breakthroughs feminist science had achieved, Harding replied that, thanks to feminist scientists, we now know that menopause isn't a disease. Gosh.)4 No one is so naive as to imagine that large grants might be forthcoming to show that cognitive science has no bearing on those long-standing epistemological questions, or even that its bearing is (as I believe), though real enough, oblique and undramatic; or to show that (as I believe) feminism has no relevance to the theory of scientific knowledge.

The psychological mechanisms here are quite subtle. Simple, downright dishonesty is the exception; some degree or other of self-deception is the rule. And this is likely, naturally, to leave a residue of ambivalence, such as one can hear in this plea for the psychologization of epistemology: “[a] return [to a psychologistic conception of epistemology] is especially timely now, when cognitive psychology has renewed prestige. . . .” The relevance or otherwise of psychology to epistemology is a hard meta-epistemological question: on which, needless to say, the prestige of cognitive psychology has no bearing.

Still, all the puffery, the attempts to promote oneself or one’s area, approach, or line, this academic boosterism, might be only a waste of time if, eventually, it all came out in the wash of mutual scrutiny and criticism. The waste of time, talent, and energy is significant; what real work might have been done by those who feel obliged, instead, to point out the absurdities of the latest fad? But, instead of efficient mechanisms of communication and mutual scrutiny, we have a mind-numbing clamor of publications, conferences, meetings, of “empty books and embarrassing assumptions,”5 making it close to impossible to hear what is worthwhile.

The director of Rutgers University Press admits that “[w]e are . . . part of the university personnel system and . . . often publish books whose primary reason for existence is the author’s academic advancement, not the advancement of knowledge.”6 The new editor of the American Philosophical Quarterly writes that publishing in the journals has become less a way to communicate significant ideas than a form of professional certification, and that being adequately informed in one’s field of course no longer requires that one actually read all that stuff.7 Even more startling than the candor of his observations about the real role of the journals is the blandness of his assumption that publication-as-professional-certification is perfectly OK. But it isn't perfectly OK; it gets in the way of — what is more than ever urgently necessary in a culture that positively encourages sham and fake reasoning — the mutual scrutiny that might separate the worthwhile from the dross.

Between 1900 and 1960, about forty-five new philosophy journals were founded in the U.S., Canada, and Britain; between 1960 and 1990, about 164. Inevitably, it has become impossible, except by sheer luck, to find the good stuff; inevitably, championship of a simple, startling idea, even, or perhaps especially, an egregiously false or an impressively obscure idea, has become a good route to reputation and money — as has the self-serving variation on a fashionable party line. Inevitably, too, finding referees with the necessary expertise, time, patience, and integrity has become harder, the power of editors to make or ruin careers has grown, and once-idealistic young philosophers begin to say to themselves, “they like controversy in their journal, so why bother spelling out the qualifications?". . .

SOURCE

Continued on next post........

[edit on 30-3-2010 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 06:17 AM
link   

And, inevitably, as it becomes harder to make oneself heard in the journals, one has to publish a book; and, as that book-published-by-a-reputable-academic-press becomes a requisite for tenure, we face the ever more bloated publishers’ catalogues filled with ever more exaggerated descriptions and endorsements. And, inevitably, once again, it becomes impossible, except by sheer luck, to find the good stuff, and . . . But I won't bore you by writing the previous paragraph all over again!

It is not unheard of to find that the book of which a review has just appeared, having sold the few hundred copies which, these days, philosophy books typically sell, is already, a couple of years after publication, out of print. Better, then, from the point of view of sheer self-preservation, let alone of impressing Deans, etc., with one’s “scholarly productivity,” not to spend too long writing a book. How absurd, after all, to spend ten years writing a book which, if you are lucky, five hundred people might read, and the life of which, if you are lucky, might be four or five years.

It used to be an important role of the academic presses to publish significant books too specialized to be economic. Increasingly, however, as subsidies from their universities have shrunk, university presses seek to publish books they believe will make money. This too is discouraging, to put it mildly, to the investment of effort in difficult problems. Better, from the point of view of making oneself heard, to write the kind of book that might interest a trade publisher, or at least the kind of book that will get reviewed in the non-academic press. And this too, inevitably, favors the simple, startling idea, even, or perhaps especially, the startlingly false or impressively obscure idea. . . . But I promised not to bore you by writing that paragraph all over again!

Like books and journals, conferences might be, and occasionally are, important channels of communication. But we are all familiar with the reality that your home institution will pay your expenses if you give a paper; with the conference announcements which discreetly let it be known that, so long as you pay the large registration fee, your paper will be accepted; with the stupefying programs of day after day of umpteen parallel sessions; with the twenty-minute, the twelve-minute, even, of late, the ten-minute presentation; with the extent to which conferences have become less a matter of communication than of "contacts,” of “exposure,” and, of course, of expenses-paid trips to agreeable places. We have adapted to these realities, in part, by self-deceptively over-rating the usefulness of what we like to call "stimulation,” and under- rating the need for time, peace of mind, mature reflection.

I am reminded of Santayana’s character-sketch of Royce: an “overworked, standardised, academic engine, creaking and thumping on at the call of duty or of habit, with no thought of sparing itself or anyone else.”8 Preposterism can only too easily turn the best of us into just such overworked, standardized, academic engines — and can only too easily turn the worst of us into purveyors of philosophical snake-oil.

The Perils of Preposterism
Thus far it may seem that the perils of preposterism are much the same for philosophy as for the humanities generally. But philosophy is the discipline to which it falls to inquire into inquiry itself, its proper conduct and necessary presuppositions. And that responsibility exposes us to a particular peril.

Recent philosophy manifests two tendencies, on the face of it radically opposed to each other, which both result in part from our adaptation to a “research ethic” more appropriate to the sciences than to the humanities: scientism, i.e., linking philosophy too closely, or inappropriately, to the sciences; and radical critique of the sciences as no more than ideology masked by rhetorical bullying in the form of appeals to “rationality,” “objectivity,” and so forth. The former is the effect of envy, the latter of resentment, of the success of the sciences.

One manifestation of science-envy is the mathematical or logical pseudo-rigor with which much recent philosophical writing is afflicted. This, to speak bluntly, is a kind of affected obscurity. Not that recourse to the languages of mathematics or logic never helps to make a philosophical argument or thesis clearer; of course, it does. But it can also stand in the way of real clarity by disguising failure to think deeply or critically enough about the concepts being manipulated with impressive logical sophistication. And it has come to be, too often, what Charles Sykes calls “Profspeak” — using unnecessary symbols to convey a false impression of depth and rigor.

Science-envy is manifested also by those who — hoping to enhance their prestige by close association with the sciences — contort themselves in attempts to show that this or that philosophical problem can be quickly settled by some scientific result, or to displace philosophical problems in favor of scientific ones. The result is at best a covert change of subject, at worst a self-undermining absurdity.9 No scientific investigation can tell us whether science is epistemologically special, and if so, how, or whether a theory’s yielding true predictions is an indication of its truth, and if so, why, and so on; yet, unless these were not only legitimate questions, but legitimate questions with less-than-skeptical answers, it is incomprehensible how one could be justified, as the most ambitious style of scientism proposes, in doing science instead of philosophy.

Now one begins to see why the revolutionary scientism encountered in contemporary philosophy often manifests a peculiar affinity with the anti-scientific attitudes which, as I conjecture, are prompted by resentment, as scientism is prompted by envy, of the sciences. Both parties have become disillusioned with the very idea of honest inquiry, of truth-seeking. One hears from Paul Churchland, on the scientistic side, that, since truth is not the primary aim of the ceaseless cognitive activity of the ganglia of the sea-slug, it should maybe cease to be a primary aim of science, and even that talk of truth may make no sense; from Richard Rorty, on the anti-science side, that truth is just what can survive all conversational objections, and that the only sense in which science is exemplary is as a model of human solidarity. One hears from Patricia Churchland, on the scientistic side, that “truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost"; from Sandra Harding, on the anti-science side, that “the truth — whatever that is! — will not set you free.” One hears from Steven Stich, on the scientistic side, that truth is neither intrinsically nor instrumentally valuable, and that a justified belief is one his holding which conduces to whatever the believer values; from Steve Fuller, on the anti-science side, that good scholarship is a matter simply of “who[m] you are trying to court in your work.”10

Remember Peirce on what will happen if pseudo-inquiry becomes commonplace: “men come to look upon reasoning as mainly decorative. . . . The result of this state of things is, of course, a rapid deterioration of intellectual vigor. . . . [M]an loses his conceptions of truth and of reason. If he sees one man assert what another denies, he will, if he is concerned, choose his side and set to work . . . to silence his adversaries. The truth for him is that for which he fights.”11

I can match neither Peirce’s prescience nor his eloquence, only add a little circumstantial detail to his diagnosis. Preposterism encourages sham and fake reasoning. In the humanities, it also encourages envy of science, and thus scientism and a certain kind of irrationalism, and resentment of science, and thus an only-slightly-different kind of irrationalism. Within philosophy, furthermore, as the discipline to which the task of articulating the nature and goals of inquiry falls, the ubiquity of sham and fake reasoning has induced a factitious despair of the possibility of attaining truth by investigation — the despair revealed in the astonishing outbreak of sneer quotes with which so much recent philosophical writing expresses its distrust of “truth,” “reality,” “facts,” “reason,” “objectivity,” etc.

When sham and fake reasoning are ubiquitous, people become uncomfortably aware, or half-aware, that reputations are made as often by clever championship of the indefensible or the incomprehensible as by serious intellectual work, as often by mutual promotion as by merit. Knowing, or half-knowing, this, they become increasingly leery of what they hear and read. Their confidence in what passes for true declines, and with it their willingness to use the words “truth,” “rationality,” etc., without the precaution of scare quotes. And as those scare quotes become ubiquitous, people’s confidence in the concepts of truth and reason falters, and one begins to hear (from Richard Rorty): “I do not have much use for notions like . . . ‘objective truth',” “‘true' [is] a word which applies to those beliefs upon which we are able to agree,” or (from Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar): “a fact is nothing but a statement with no modality . . . and no trace of authorship,” or (from Steve Fuller): “I don't see any clear distinction between ‘good scholarship' and ‘political relevance.'”12

SOURCE

Continued on next post.....



posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 06:26 AM
link   

The inference from the true premiss that what passes for truth, objective fact, rational argument, relevant evidence, etc., is often no such thing, to the false conclusion that the notions of truth, objectivity, rationality, evidence, etc., are humbug, is obviously invalid. But it has become so ubiquitous that it deserves a name; I call it “the ‘passes for' fallacy.”13 The “passes for” fallacy is not only fallacious, but self-defeating; for if the conclusion were true, one could never have grounds for accepting the premiss from which it is supposedly derived. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to read (in Stephen Cole): “Given that facts can easily become errors, what sense does it make to see what is at Time 1 a ‘fact' and at Time 2 an ‘error' as being determined by nature?", and then, a few pages later, “the most important evidence in favor of my position is the fact that . . . ,”14 or (in Ruth Bleier): “[I criticized various studies] for their sloppy methods, inconclusive findings, and unwarranted interpretations,” and then, a few pages later, “there must be an irreducible . . . distortion or biasing of knowledge production simply because science is a social activity performed by human beings in a specific cultural . . . context.”15

Sad to say, this last quotation is quite typical of much recent “feminist scholarship.” The vast recent literature of feminist approaches to this or that area of philosophy — ethics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, lately even logic — is a particularly striking manifestation of the consequences of preposterism. Reading in this vast literature, one can hardly fail to notice how endlessly it is repeated that feminism has radical consequences for this or that area, and how often those radical consequences turn out to be trivial, or obviously derivative from some male philosopher, or manifestly false; by how determinedly practitioners avert their attention from serious criticisms, and how lavishly they praise the work of others of their own persuasion. Pondering on how this came about, one can hardly fail to think how many reputations and careers, how many centers, programs, conferences, journals, depend on the legitimacy of appealing to the feminist perspective on this or that. And one’s darkest suspicions are confirmed when, in a moment of remarkable candor, Sandra Harding tells us that “[m]en who want to be ‘in feminism' . . . can teach and write about women’s thought, writings, accomplishments. . . . They can criticize their male colleagues. They can move material resources to women . . . .”16

My point isn't that the feminist-philosophy bandwagon is peculiarly awful; I don't know that it is peculiarly awful, and in any case my point is not to pick on the feminists, but to articulate how the epidemic of sham and fake reasoning encouraged by preposterism has loosened our grip on the concept of inquiry. The perception among these radical feminist philosophers that their profession is profoundly corrupt is, at worst, exaggerated; their profession is rife with pseudo-inquiry, and publication, promotion, stardom, etc., are cut loose from merit. And this perception of the ubiquity of pseudo-inquiry has encouraged the despair of the possibility of honest investigation ubiquitous in philosophy today.

Such a “factitious despair” is bound, as Francis Bacon eloquently put it long ago, to “cut the sinews and spurs of industry.” (And all, as he observed, for “the miserable vainglory of having it believed that whatever has not yet been discovered and comprehended can never be discovered and comprehended hereafter.”)17

But unbiased investigation is not impossible; only difficult, demanding, painful — and of almost incalculable value to us humans. Which is why I end this lay sermon with a text, from George Eliot’s Felix Holt the Radical:


Truth is the precious harvest of the earth.
But once, when harvest waved upon a land,
The noisome cankerworm and caterpillar,
Locusts, and all the swarming, foul-born broods,
Fastened upon it with swift, greedy jaws,
And turned the harvest into pestilence,
Until men said, What profits it to sow?

Notes
  • Jacques Barzun, The American University, Harper and Row, New York, 1968, p. 221.
    1. Collected Papers, eds. Charles Hartshorne, Paul Weiss, and Arthur Burks, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1931-58, 5.520 (c. 1905), 6.6 (c. 1903), 1.128 (c. 1905). References by volume and paragraph number.
      Harry Frankfurt, “On Bull#,” in The Importance of What We Care About, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989, pp. 117-133.
    2. Sandra Harding, The Science Question in Feminism, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y., 1986, p. 251; Chronicle of Higher Education, April 27, 1994, p. A15.
    3. Peirce, Collected Papers, 1.645 (1898).
    4. Kenneth Arnold, “University Presses Could Still Become the Cultural Force for Change and Enlightenment They Were Meant to Be,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 29, 1987; cited in Charles Sykes, Profscam, Regnery Gateway, Washington, D.C., 1988, p. 129.
    5. Gary Gutting, “The Editor’s Page,” American Philosophical Quarterly, 31.1, 1994, p. 87.
    6. George Santayana, Character and Opinion in the United States; With Reminiscences of William James and Josiah Royce and Academic Life in America, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1920, p. 98.
    7. See Susan Haack, Evidence and Inquiry: Towards Reconstruction in Epistemology, Blackwell, Oxford, 1993, chapters 6, 7 and 8.
    8. Paul M. Churchland,” The Ontological Status of Observables” (1982), in A Neurocomputational Perspective: The Nature of Mind and the Structure of Science, Bradford Books, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.; Richard Rorty, Consequences of Pragmatism, Harvester Press, Hassocks, Sussex, 1982, p. 165, and “Science as Solidarity,” in John S. Nelson, Allan Megill, and Donald McCloskey, eds., The Rhetoric of the Human Sciences, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wis., 1987, p. 187; Patricia Smith Churchland, “Epistemology in the Age of Neuroscience,” Journal of Philosophy, LXXV.10, 1987, p. 549; Sandra Harding, Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y., 1991, p. xi;
    9. Stephen P. Stich, The Fragmentation of Reason, Bradford Books, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1992, pp. 118ff.; Steve Fuller, e-mail message, May 4, 1994.
    10. Collected Papers, 1.57-9 (c. 1896).
    11. Richard Rorty, “Trotsky and the Wild Orchids,” Common Knowledge, 1.3, 1992, p. 141, and “Science as Solidarity,” p. 45; Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts, Sage, London, 1979, p. 82; Fuller, e-mail message, May 4, 1994.
    12. Susan Haack, “Knowledge and Propaganda: Reflections of an Old Feminist,” Partisan Review, Fall 1993, 556-64; reprinted in Our Country, Our Culture, eds. Edith Kurzweil and William Phillips, Partisan Review
      Press, Boston, 1995, 56-65.
    13. Stephen Cole, Making Science: Between Nature and Society, Harvard []University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1990, pp. 12, 50.
    14. Ruth Bleier, “Science and the Construction of Meanings in the Neurosciences,” in Sue V. Rosser, ed., Feminism Within the Science and Healthcare Professions: Overcoming Resistance, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1988, pp. 92, 101.
    15. Sandra Harding, “Who Knows? Identities and Feminist Epistemology,” in Joan E. Hartman and Ellen Messer-Davidow, eds., (En)gendering Knowledge, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1991, p. 109.
    16. Francis Bacon, The New Organon (1620), Book I, aphorism LXXXVIII.

  • SOURCE



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 06:36 AM
    link   
    And this one refernences the article I provided in the OP. To better clarify what I am getting at, not that I expect a certain someone to notice so blinded as he is to anything but what I would argue is a illusionary conflict set up for the participants of both side's overweening egos..


    There has been an attempt ongoing for some time to harness the respectability of science and conflate it with an increasingly popular philosophy known as scientism. But scientism and science are different things. The latter is a powerful method of obtaining and applying material facts and information. The latter creates a subjective world view using the pretense that science has the capacity to tell us objectively right from wrong, the ethical from the unethical, best from worst, etc..

    But that’s oxymornic. Science is incapable of doing any of that, since as a method, it is utterly amoral. Indeed, the amorality of science is precisely why ethical parameters must be built around it, hopefully loose enough to allow us to benefit from its prowess, yet strict enough ensure that science serves society rather than devours it. In that dual mandate (if you will) are dynamic tensions that can never be fully resolved.

    An article by philosopher professor Edward Feser over at Public Discourse explores the differences between science and scientism. From the article:

    Scientism is the view that all real knowledge is scientific knowledge—that there is no rational, objective form of inquiry that is not a branch of science…Despite its adherents’ pose of rationality, scientism has a serious problem: it is either self-refuting or trivial. Take the first horn of this dilemma. The claim that scientism is true is not itself a scientific claim, not something that can be established using scientific methods. Indeed, that science is even a rational form of inquiry (let alone the only rational form of inquiry) is not something that can be established scientifically. For scientific inquiry itself rests on a number of philosophical assumptions: that there is an objective world external to the minds of scientists; that this world is governed by causal regularities; that the human intellect can uncover and accurately describe these regularities; and so forth. Since science presupposes these things, it cannot attempt to justify them without arguing in a circle. And if it cannot even establish that it is a reliable form of inquiry, it can hardly establish that it is the only reliable form. Both tasks would require “getting outside” science altogether and discovering from that extra-scientific vantage point that science conveys an accurate picture of reality—and in the case of scientism, that only science does so.
    Feser points out that philosophy often governs how scientific findings are interpreted, and then gets to his next critique:

    Here we come to the second horn of the dilemma facing scientism. Its advocate may now insist: if philosophy has this status, it must really be a part of science, since (he continues to maintain, digging in his heels) all rational inquiry is scientific inquiry. The trouble now is that scientism becomes completely trivial, arbitrarily redefining “science” so that it includes anything that could be put forward as evidence against it.
    Right. But all rational analysis isn’t scientific. And certainly, concepts of meaning and purpose–or lack thereof–are not scientific as such issues cannot be proved or disproved scientifically. And that problem leads scientism into necessary contortions:

    The irony is that the very practice of science itself, which involves the formulation of hypotheses, the weighing of evidence, the invention of technical concepts and vocabularies, the construction of chains of reasoning, and so forth—all mental activities saturated with meaning and purpose—falls on the “subjective,” “manifest image” side of scientism’s divide rather than the “objective,” “scientific image” side. Human thought and action, including the thoughts and actions of scientists, is of its nature irreducible to the meaningless, purposeless motions of particles and the like. Some thinkers committed to scientism realize this, but conclude that the lesson to draw is not that scientism is mistaken, but that human thought and action are themselves fictions. According to this radical position—known as “eliminative materialism” since it entails eliminating the very concept of the mind altogether instead of trying to reduce mind to matter—what is true of human beings is only what can be put in the technical jargon of physics, chemistry, neuroscience and the like. There is no such thing as “thinking,” “believing,” “desiring,” “meaning,” etc.; there is only the firing of neurons, the secretion of hormones, the twitching of muscles, and other such physiological events.
    Which I find ironic, because that kind of reductionism seems to lead directly to a variation of the Buddhist view that what we think we know is really all illusion.

    And here comes the human exceptionalism part: We alone in the known universe are a believing species. Whether one is a Christian, Buddhist, atheist, or a follower of philosophical scientism, none of it is purely objective. At some point, unless we avoid all deeper reflection, we have to choose our subjective poison. And once we are in the realm of subjectivity, while we may use scientific findings to under gird our beliefs, we have actually left the realm of science behind. (Example: Science can tell us that a human embryo is a living organism. Deciding whether it is right or wrong to use that organism as a natural resource is not science.)
    SOURCE



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 08:07 AM
    link   
    Scientism is a straw man erected by philosophers and others envious of the achievements of science. Few scientists are 'scientists' in the sense 'believers in scientism'. Certainly no good scientist is. Science is not religion.

    An interesting problem to contemplate, though, is how any consistent, working model of reality is to be established on the basis of unfalsifiable premises. Any takers?



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 10:17 AM
    link   
    reply to post by Wertdagf
     


    Actually, the problem isn't simply that the sentence is false. It's that the sentence's falsity entails its truth, and its truth entails its falsity. I think that's what he was trying to get at, anyway. At least in a broader sense.

    Of course you don't need to go outside Trigonometry to define the undefined length of the triangle. That would just be stupid. But what Godel was all about was the fact that there are things that you can't define within trig!

    Your accusations of invisible pink unicorn formation are completely unfounded. You're coming out of nowhere. You're attacking the destination of the arguments rather than the arguments themselves.

    The broader point of the post is that we may have to think in ways OTHER than scientific ones to understand the world. I'm an atheist, who doesn't like any of that crystal BS or anything, and I agree.

    reply to post by Astyanax
     


    I don't think that it's entirely a strawman. Certainly most good scientists don't think this way, but there also are some who do. Plus, if we can get this out of the discourse between science and religion, it's something that we should definitely think about; in order to understand the universe, mightn't we have to think in ways other than the directly logical?



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 11:45 AM
    link   
    reply to post by Wertdagf
     


    Alright, look, I don't know why you go so far out of your way to be so unpleasant, but this is the way it is: No one has talked about magic on this entire thread, except you. Everytime someone argues with you, you tell them they are stupid because they believe in fairies and magic. The fairy conversation is one that you are having completely by yourself, and you're becoming hostile towards others because you've worked yourself into this frenzy and somehow become convinced that other people are talking to you about magic or god something supernatural. Do you know about straw men? They're a logical fallacy that people use when they either don't understand their opponents position or want misrepresent it in order to advance their own argument. That's what you've done in every post on this thread. The topic is not magic or religion, and you're the only one who has even mentioned those things. Yet, you continuously mention them as though someone else here is trying to convince you that those things exist. Aren't you even paying attention? We're not arguing for religion, we're discussing the limits of science.

    The fractal universe theory is not a solution to infinite regression. If you think it is that could only be because you don't understand the problem or you haven't really thought about your solution. Saying the same properties repeat all the way up and all the way down in scale doesn't explain where the properties come from. What repeats? An arbitrary fractal structure. Somehow you have to explain why it's that particular structure and not something different. You can either say, "It's always been that one." and I will say, "That doesn't explain anything. Why that one?" or you can say, "It started that way arbitrarily." and I will say, "That doesn't explain anything, why that way?" It's not a solvable problem. Not to even mention the fact that the fractal universe theory in not taken seriously at all within the field of cosmology or physics. It's a new age concept. It's a joke among professionals. Even if it solved infinite regression - which it doesn't - it's not a correct theory.

    If you think you can explain consciousness in terms of brain function you should take your show on the road. It's widely accepted that the person who explains consciousness will get a Nobel Prize. We don't have to debate it here, if your explanation is of any value at all - which I maintain that it isnt(you dont understand the problem and you're barking up the wrong tree) - then tell the world about it and get a free trip to Sweden and pick up a $1.4 million check. Before you go, you should know that being so beligerant will not get you much respect among the people who actually know what they are talking about.



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 03:48 PM
    link   
    What has come from these bad scientists? Werent they all creationists? Your saying that there are people who use science poorly and im would like to see an example from you. MAYBE you cant understand everything within this system or MAYBE you can. By your own logic you have to admit this as a possibility. Your on the USELESS side of the fence.

    If people are right and we cant understand what good does that do us? Should we then allow the belief in invisible purple unicorns only because POSSIBLY SOMETHING might exist out of our awareness? When scientists saw the results from thier quantum strangeness expeiments do you think they went home and told their kids that instead of getting hit by a car you could possibly pass right through it?

    [edit on 30-3-2010 by Wertdagf]



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 05:00 PM
    link   
    reply to post by Astyanax
     


    But science can be a religion, thus scientism or more specifically the New Atheist movement as envisioned by Harris, Dawkins and others. Or do you believe there is a magical field that prevents it from being so hm? Care to address the article or just spout off with what you believe to be fact on the subject?

    [edit on 30-3-2010 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 05:11 PM
    link   
    reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
     


    You are very wrong. They are only intelligent people using logic and that brings them to an inevitible conclusion. That i am right. If you live long enough youll know it too.

    I dont see these people as bad scientists for not listing in news headlines that they have discovered that at most theres a 50% chance the flying spagetti monster exists IF theres information that we cannot comprehend about this system.

    [edit on 30-3-2010 by Wertdagf]



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 05:25 PM
    link   
    reply to post by Wertdagf
     



    Especially because at no point did I say anything even close to warrent this statement:

    I dont see these people as bad scientists for not listing in news headlines that they have discovered that at most theres a 50% chance the flying spagetti monster exists IF theres information that we cannot comprehend about this system.


    Are you done hurting your cause with your inability to even grasp what people are saying beyond your own twisted view on it or do I get treated to more self righteous and down right silly absurdity?

    [edit on 30-3-2010 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 09:41 PM
    link   
    reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
     

    No, I don't care to address the article. It is much too long for me to even bother to read. If you're not aware that quoting external content at such extreme length is completely against the T&C - well, you are now.

    When you have summarized your understanding of the article in a single, concise post, I shall be happy to respond to that. Meanwhile, you would do well to treat those who support your thread by posting on it with a trifle more courtesy.

    Meanwhile, and for the second time of asking: anyone interested in taking up my (highly on-topic) challenge?


    Originally posted by Astyanax
    An interesting problem to contemplate, though, is how any consistent, working model of reality is to be established on the basis of unfalsifiable premises. Any takers?


    [edit on 30/3/10 by Astyanax]



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 10:00 PM
    link   
    As a society, we are so black and white, and we have been as long as history permits. Several hundred years ago, people used to see mental illness as demons possessing the body and cut holes in their skulls to "release" them (I believe the process was called 'trephoning.') That was wrong and ridiculous as were the witchcraft hunts back in the days where everything was explained by religion or spirituality alone.

    Now, look at the world today. We now believe EVERYTHING can be explained by science alone, when to me it in fact cannot. If you ask me, we are just as bad today as we were then. Everything is not separate, but it is one. It is just as goofy as "the psychological perspective" "biological perspective" "physiological perspective" and "nature vs. nurture." Somewhere along the line we decided to separate these issues. These issues are not separate but come together. Spirituality, science, and philosophy all work together. They are not separate. One day, I hope this can be discovered by all, but I realize we are far away from that happening. Science can be manipulated just like a religion can, and the straight belief that everything is explained by science and science only can be described a religion in itself.

    I don't know why we continue to think so linearly....



    [edit on 30-3-2010 by Subconsciously Correct]



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 10:02 PM
    link   
    reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
     


    I would be hesitant to compare good science to religion. The unifying element among all religions - as far as I can tell - is faith based beliefs, usually including a belief in a mystical (and causally relevant) aspect of reality. This is at odds with the scientific method. Entrenched beliefs in any particular scientific worldview - the paradigm du jour if you will - can become unscientific when scientists choose to ignore anomalous observations which are inconsistent with longstanding theories. But, that's bad science, and scientists - good scientists - are aware that such practice should be avoided. Good science is not like religion.

    And Asty, you know very well your challenge is impossible.
    Or at least, solving it would be substantially more than a footnote in history.



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 10:09 PM
    link   
    science is good for dealing with reality. It may not always be able to provide the "real" truth, about, say, the universe, as was discussed in a popular video that went viral (cited below). (edit: can't find the video.. Maybe somebody knows what I'm referring to and will post it; or perhaps you already know what I'm talking about)

    The fact of the matter is, if we can't measure it, it doesn't matter. Science measures, quantifies, and objectifies facts. It doesn't guess, speculate, or arbitrate "rules" and "moralities" about the world; it looks into the nature of the universe and mirrors to us what IS. Sometimes, that can be an incomplete picture, and this can be caused by a few different things -- inadequate measuring tools, for one, irreducible complexity, etc.

    But, it is, objectively, the best system we have to understand and manipulate the universe with. There is absolutely no arguing about that.

    [edit on 30-3-2010 by Kaytagg]



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 10:13 PM
    link   

    Originally posted by Kaytagg
    science is good for dealing with reality. It may not always be able to provide the "real" truth, about, say, the universe, as was discussed in a popular video that went viral (cited below).

    The fact of the matter is, if we can't measure it, it doesn't matter. Science measures, quantifies, and objectifies facts. It doesn't guess, speculate, or arbitrate "rules" and "moralities" about the world; it looks into the nature of the universe and mirrors to us what IS. Sometimes, that can be an incomplete picture, and this can be caused by a few different things -- inadequate measuring tools, for one, irreducible complexity, etc.

    But, it is, objectively, the best system we have to understand and manipulate the universe with. There is absolutely no arguing about that.


    I would like to see science alone decipher the Edgar Cayce readings and what caused him to so accurately predict the future, to speak languages in a trance state he did not know, and to fall asleep and have a book read by the next morning he woke up.

    I would like science alone to explain (and thoroughly...the research so far has not been very reliable) near-death experiences, OBE's, and all of those things that show several common symptoms. I would like to see science alone explain precognition (Such as the guy who wrote an entire book about the Titanic based on a dream he had, only to have the actual event happen several years later.)

    If science can explain these events all by itself, I'll be impressed.



    posted on Mar, 30 2010 @ 10:18 PM
    link   

    Originally posted by Subconsciously Correct

    Originally posted by Kaytagg
    science is good for dealing with reality. It may not always be able to provide the "real" truth, about, say, the universe, as was discussed in a popular video that went viral (cited below).

    The fact of the matter is, if we can't measure it, it doesn't matter. Science measures, quantifies, and objectifies facts. It doesn't guess, speculate, or arbitrate "rules" and "moralities" about the world; it looks into the nature of the universe and mirrors to us what IS. Sometimes, that can be an incomplete picture, and this can be caused by a few different things -- inadequate measuring tools, for one, irreducible complexity, etc.

    But, it is, objectively, the best system we have to understand and manipulate the universe with. There is absolutely no arguing about that.


    I would like to see science alone decipher the Edgar Cayce readings and what caused him to so accurately predict the future, to speak languages in a trance state he did not know, and to fall asleep and have a book read by the next morning he woke up.

    I would like science alone to explain (and thoroughly...the research so far has not been very reliable) near-death experiences, OBE's, and all of those things that show several common symptoms. I would like to see science alone explain precognition (Such as the guy who wrote an entire book about the Titanic based on a dream he had, only to have the actual event happen several years later.)

    If science can explain these events all by itself, I'll be impressed.


    You are being taken for a ride if you believe in that stuff... But to each his own. I can't convince you that the make believe stories that you read about on the internet aren't true.

    I guess I'm lucky in that my heroes as a kid were scientists. Yours obviously weren't, and now you're stuck believing in some super-nonsensical stuff which is laughable in its nature.



    new topics

    top topics



     
    15
    << 1    3  4  5 >>

    log in

    join