Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised

From: allenroy (
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 01:06:36 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Roberts: "Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised"

    Michael Roberts wrote:

    > George stay on the list to provide some sensible comments! And Allen Roy
    > please do not falsely accuse geologists of starting with the assumption of
    > old age. If you look at early geologists they began with assumptions of a
    > young age and then changed to old age as the evidence pointed that way.

    We need to remember that they were functioning under Baconian science which
    imagined the pure, objective dispassionately collection of observational--i.e.
    empirical--data. It was almost universally believed that perception was
    neutral, in the sense that genuinely honest and careful observation was
    unaffected by beliefs, presupposition, philosophical preferences, or similar
    factors. This neutrality guaranteed the objectivity and utter trustworthiness
    of empirical data, which constituted the secure foundation of science. (This
    comes from the article I posted previously by Del Ratzesch. Did you read it?
    Or are you just reacting to what I've said?)

    "But Kuhn has argued that perception itself is an active--not a
    passive--process, deeply colored by the broader conceptual matrices, or
    paradigms, to which one had prior allegiances. Furthermore, paradigms
    influenced not only perception, but also theory evaluation and acceptance,
    conceptual resources, normative judgments within science, and a host of other
    consequential matters. Paradigms were partially defined by, among other things,
    metaphysical commitments and values."

    So, even though the geologists of the 18th and 19th centuries thought they were
    making neutral empirical observation, they were actually interpreting the data
    according to their worldview. So, what you had was atheist geologists claiming
    neutral empirical evidence for an old earth, when in fact they were interpreting
    the data within their paradigm . And, religious scientists, being told that
    their religious views are not to be used when making empirical observation,
    accepted the "unbiased" and "neutral empirical evidence" of an old earth, likely
    not realizing that they were accepting data that had been interpreted within a
    paradigm that they would otherwise have nothing to do with.

    Thus the acceptance of an old earth by the early religious scientists was mostly
    due to a subtle deception built into Baconian science.


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