Monday, March 08, 2010
Uh, oh. PZ noticed my argument with Larry.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, he assumed I was making an argument that "science can't explain love," which is far from the truth. The point was and is that individual scientists don't, in fact, scientifically investigate whether or not they love their family. PZ tries to assert that "dating" counts as "empiric investigation." One has to wonder how PZ would do the peer review article on cuddling. PZ then retreats to clear scientism by claiming that that all that is needed to count as "science" is "simple, rational, evidence-based thinking." In other words, no empiric investigation is necessary to count as "science." Armchair "scientists" welcomed.
He still misses the point. It is not that we can rationalize our emotions, the question is the source of our emotions. If they are not scientific in origin, then the question is whether anyone meets Larry's contention that, in order to be a "scientist," you must be "committed to science as a valid way of knowing." If we "know" we love, even before we rationalize it, then the "scientist" is every bit as irrational in that regard as the theist.
Since I caught the post early on, I left a few comments with the predictable results that I was automatically assumed to be a theist and was quickly insulted. I've long ago given up spitting into the hurricane that is PZ's blog but go over and view the coming storm to see how logical the inhabitants really are.
I imagine there's a theist somewhere arguing with an atheist going, "Are you suggesting that when I heard God's voice in my head I was just imagining things? That vision I had was just a fantasy?"
Of course, any lingering doubts could quite quickly be put to rest if PZ, like a good scientist, recorded his observations. I eagerly await his uploading of a .mp3 file of those long conversations and a video of that first kiss.
Good grief, by Myers' own newly lax standards, the kinds of "investigations" that quacks use to "prove" their therapies are scientific!
If anecdotal, unsystematic "investigation" now counts as "science," there's no stopping anyone from claiming the mantle of science.
If his commenters really were as analytic in every aspect of their lives as they like to think and actually checked out the original source, your blog would get a nice boost :-)
Please ... no!
I smell a cross-sectional study correlating a blog's professed rationalism with the heterodoxy of its commenters.
At first I thought you neglected your bete noir (conflation of science and philosophy), but then I stepped into the hurricane to see your comments. I guess science is really just kind of like lit crit after all:
There is a naive notion implicit in that statement that scientific scrutiny is somehow different from critical, rational examination. I'd argue the other way: no decent human being should live an unexamined life.
I guess that means we won't find any hits for "hypothesis testing" at Pharyngula.
Larry Moran's contention is that science is the "only" way of acquiring valid knowledge, not merely "a" was of doing so. Even religious folk such as myself recognize (and I rejoice in) the fact science is _a_ way of acquiring valid knowledge.
This imprecision between "a" and "the only" allows 'anti-accommodationists' to do a bait and switch, offering up the unobjectionable science is '_a_ way of acquiring valid knowledge' and then sliding over into saying you're not a 'scientist' if you don't consider science '_the_ only way of acquiring valid knowledge'. If you swallowed the original "a" version then you end up thinking indeed the Ken Miller's (for an example) of the world are non-scientists unless you spot the switch.
I have no reason to think Larry Moran is doing this intentionally. He might merely be reflecting an internal discomfort with the absolutism of the science as "the only" and works himself up to it or then again he might just be sloppy in his writing and it means nothing.
In any event, the difference between "a" and "the only" is critical and folk should be careful about it and not confuse them, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Yeah, in the old days I might have pursued it, but now there is too much noise over there.