Re: Public perceptions of science: was Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Sep 09 2005 - 14:41:36 EDT

The concepts & methods used in any discipline must be adapted to the nature
of the phenomena to be studied: We don't study gravity by putting balls
through mazes or attempt to understand the psychology of rats by putting
them on inclined planes. & this is also true of theoretical concepts &
methods. I like physics in part because it is mathematical but that in no
way justifies a claim that only phenomena that can be described & predicted
with the kind of precision obtained by QED is a "science."

The same considerations apply, /mutatis mutandis/, to theology - a point
emphasized over & over & Thomas Torrance. I.e., the concepts & methods we
use to understand God & God''s relations with the world must be in accord
with what God has revealed of Godself. This is why natural theologies that
purport to be independent of revelation are misconceived.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Alexanian, Moorad" <>
To: "Michael Roberts" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Friday, September 09, 2005 1:49 PM
Subject: RE: Public perceptions of science: was Why Most Published Research
Findings Are False

> There is marked difference between geology and biology, the former deals
> with inanimate matter whereas the latter also includes living organisms.
> I consider the subject matter of science to be the physical aspect of
> the universe. So does the member of Congress Rep. Rush Holt in his
> article, "Intelligent Design: It's Not Even Wrong"
> <> . Therefore, it is
> up to biologists to show that it is possible for science to describe
> life, human rationality and consciousness by means of purely physical
> terms, no mean task.
> Moorad
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Michael Roberts
> Sent: Friday, September 09, 2005 1:18 PM
> To:; George Murphy
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: Public perceptions of science: was Why Most Published
> Research Findings Are False
> An excellent comment Chris, there are too many who think that geology
> and
> biology are less scientific than physics and chemistry. This is fuelled
> by
> the origins science and operational science.
> I n geology it is totally precise to say one rock is older than another
> especially when you can give no further details (yes I have been in that
> situation mapping in Precambrian). In fact a devotion with maths and
> giving
> things to n decimal places can be inaccurate, if we cannot measure with
> precision. I noted this as mathematical ideas were applied to structural
> geology in the 60s. The maths was detailed but they overlooked the
> geological features which were actually visible. I remember one such guy
> who
> argued that the strike of some Precambrian strata was 350degrees. He did
> not
> like it when I told him that it was 15 degrees and that this curved to
> 340
> deg as was clear when you flew overhead, looked at aerial photos or just
> measured dip and strike like a geologist in the 1820s.
> I have found that both YEC and ID suffer from this prejudice against
> geology
> and biology.
> Another major issue and this is why my friend described ID as devilish
> is
> that they fuel culture wars on and worse thrive on misrepresenting
> "evolution" as do Johnson and Wells, and create mayhem with their
> efforts on
> education trying to "teach the controversy" etc. Another factor is the
> lack
> of concern for the environment and an unwillingness to see the issues,
> which
> is not surprising if one cant accept the vast age of the earth. If ID
> was
> purely an attempt to understand science I wouldn't be bothered,
> especially
> those who are trying to find a plausible mechanism for an OE view
> without
> evolution. It is their politicking which makes me see something more
> sinister and dear Wells with Icons made be turn against ID
> Michael
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Chris Barden" <>
> To: "George Murphy" <>
> Cc: <>
> Sent: Friday, September 09, 2005 3:52 PM
> Subject: Re: Public perceptions of science: was Why Most Published
> Research
> Findings Are False
>>I think it's also worth noting is that the "scientific wing" of ID is
>> largely made up of physical scientists. There is a general prejudice
>> in the physics and chemistry community, at least among younger
>> scientists, that if biologists really wanted to "do science" they
>> would have been one of us. I know that when I toyed with ID, I
>> fancied most biologists to be willing to accept much less than
>> "scientific proof" when they came up with their notions. I believe my
>> comment at the time was something to the effect of "we can show our
>> answers are right to five decimal places, how come they can't be that
>> precise?" Couple this to the cursory background in evolution given to
>> most chemists and physicists (myself included), and you have a cadre
>> of ID proponents who are especially stubborn, because they believe
>> their workaday way of doing science is superior and couldn't possibly
>> be infused with anti-scientific philosophy.
>> Chris
>> On 9/9/05, George Murphy <> wrote:
>>> I agree with what's been said here so far &, in particular, think
> it's
>>> important to realize that the ID movement is part of a larger culture
>>> wars
>>> agenda. But there are other factors involved in the assault on good
>>> science. Some of this started in the 60s as part of the romanticism
>>> associated with the counter-culture, & the notion of some
> post-modernists
>>> that the scientific approach to understanding the physical world
> isn't
>>> any
>>> more valid that any other way also plays into it.
>>> Shalom
>>> George
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Robert Schneider" <>
>>> To: "Don Nield" <>; "Michael Roberts"
>>> <>
>>> Cc: <>
>>> Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 10:51 PM
>>> Subject: Re: Public perceptions of science: was Why Most Published
>>> Research
>>> Findings Are False
>>> >I agree, Don, that evangelistic atheists like Dawkins & Co. shoulder
>>> >some
>>> >responsibility for contributing to the distrust of science. They
> speak
>>> >to
>>> >a largely educated audience, and Dawkins often does so in the kind
> of
>>> >inflated rhetoric that makes for good copy to a press that thrives
> on
>>> >conflict. But at the same time they add more ammunition to the
> stores
>>> >of
>>> >the professional advocates of YEC and ID who use their words to make
> a
>>> >case
>>> >against mainstream science by not making the distinction between
> science
>>> >and scientism that you and I understand.
Received on Fri Sep 9 14:43:40 2005

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