Re: [asa] Edward O. Wilson shares Dawkins' basic vie ws

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Fri Sep 29 2006 - 10:04:54 EDT

At 12:25 PM 9/27/2006, George Murphy wrote:

>Alas, poor Janice, ... the fact that her
>environmental claims (with a novelist as her main authority) .."

@ I see that you don't mind embarrassing
yourself in public. Informed, intellectually
honest, critical thinkers know - (based upon my
past posts here and elsewhere which are a matter
of public record) - that I don't cite a mere
"novelist" as my "main authority" for my environmental claims/views.

Among many of the scientists that I have cited as
the authorities whose opinions I esteem - is this
person, whose opinions you appear to believe you
can get others to dismiss if they are dumb enough
to believe your deliberate depiction of him as a mere "novelist":

Bio: CRICHTON, (John) Michael. American. Born in
Chicago, Illinois, October 23, 1942. Educated at
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
A.B. (summa cum laude) 1964 (Phi Beta Kappa).
Henry Russell Shaw Travelling Fellow, 1964-65.
Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at Cambridge
University, England, 1965. Graduated Harvard
Medical School, M.D. 1969; post-doctoral fellow
at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, La
Jolla, California 1969-1970. Visiting Writer,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.

And here are some more of the links to scientists
/ web sites that I have previously cited to back up my claims:

>George continues: ".... in glaring contrast
>to what has become the scientific consensus on
>that matter gives it considerable justification. ..."

@ This reflects my opinion of your opinion about "consensus":

[1] Conventional wisdom may be either true or
false. .. Conventional wisdom is also often seen
as an obstacle to introducing new theories,
explanations, and so as an obstacle that must be
overcome ...This is to say, that despite new
information to the contrary, Conventional Wisdom
has a property analogous to inertia, a momentum,
that opposes the introduction of contrary belief;
sometimes to the point of absurd denial of the
new information set by persons strongly holding
an outdated (conventional wisdom) view. This
inertia is due to conventional wisdom being made
of ideas that are convenient, appealing and
deeply assumed by the public, who hangs on to
them even as they grow outdated. The unavoidable
outcome is these ideas will eventually not match
reality at all, so conventional wisdom will be
violently shaken until it doesn't conflict
reality so blatantly.

[2] ...Consensus reality in science and
philosophy [snip] ... Reality enforcement. The
theory of reality enforcement holds that belief
in consensus reality ... is "enforced" or
promoted through various means including
sanctions applied against those who challenge it.

@ And since that is exactly what happens to any
scientist who dares to defy the "conventional
wisdom / consensus", most aren't willing to risk
their careers / reputations as one of the sheep
in the flock. (The opinions of fearful
conformists, who will always be in the majority,
won't be relied on by anyone with even an ounce of Wisdom).

There are some brave souls once and a while who
are willing to suffer their punishment, however, for speaking out:

"Researchers pound the global-warming drum
because they know there is [insert the "p"- word]
and, therefore, money behind it. . . I've been
critical of global warming and am persona non
grata." Dr. William Gray (Professor of
Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State
University, Fort Collins, Colorado and leading
expert of hurricane prediction ) (in an interview
for the Denver Rocky Mountain News, November 28,

>George continues: But of course the purpose of
>my post was simply to state the obvious, that
>the fact that a person is wrong about one thing
>doesn't mean that he/she is wrong about
>everything - whether that person be E.O. Wilson,
>Janice herself, or anyone else. ...

@ One's worldview and emotional maturity is a
good indicator of either stability or
instability. I wouldn't want to rely on the
opinions of unstable moral relativists - who by definition - lack Wisdom.

>At 05:13 PM 9/5/2006, George Murphy had
>written: "..... I think that the appeal he
>makes is reasonable. Wilson notes, the
>opposition to sound environmental policy from
>some on the religious [fill in the "r"-word]
>continues to be a problem - & that's especially
>the case since some people with those views are
>in positions to influence or make policy in the
>current administration. ~ Shalom George

@ As Steven M. Barr said, ".... *Edward O.
Wilson ..share[s] Dawkin's basic views ...".

That means, like Dawkins, he has a contempt for
Wisdom (God). And since he has rejected Wisdom
---- who other than a fool would think he could
possibly know how to legitimately define "Wise
stewardship of the environment", or know what
constitutes "sound environmental policy"?

>George continues: "....and thus her typical
>smirkily sarcastic remark about what I said is
>without value. ~ Shalom George

@ The reader who has not rejected Wisdom will
know what's valuable and what isn't. The
opinions of the others don't matter. :)

~ Janice

  * Stephen M. Barr (a theoretical particle
physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the
University of Delaware. He is the author of
Modern Physics and Ancient Faith (University of
Notre Dame Press).

January 18, 2006 Stephen Barr writes:

In his op-ed piece last Sunday in USA Today,
Edward O. Wilson makes a sweeping pronouncement:
“The two world views–science-based explanations
and faith-based religion–cannot be reconciled.” I
agree: one cannot reconcile them, because they do
not need to be reconciled. They do not need to be
reconciled, because they do not conflict. They do
not conflict, because no assertion made by one
contradicts any assertion made by the other. I am
speaking of my own “faith-based religion”,
Catholicism. If there were any accepted
science-based explanation that conflicted with
what my Church teaches, I think I would have
noticed it at some point during my thirty years
as a research scientist. Prof. Wilson’s
pronouncement comes out of the blue. There is
nothing in the rest of his op-ed piece–or indeed
in his other writings–that backs it up. Is it too
much to expect a scientist to stick to facts,
while extolling the virtues of sticking to facts?

Stephen Barr is a theoretical particle physicist
at the Bartol Research Institute of the
University of Delaware, and a member of the
editorial board of FIRST

January 17, 2006 Joseph Bottum writes:

Well, at least Edward O. Wilson is trying. ** In
op-ed Sunday morning in USA Today, Harvard’s
famed entomologist called for a ceasefire in the
evolution wars: “American civilization was born
of both religion and the science-based
Enlightenment. Science will go on expanding its
way, and religion will continue to evolve its
way. Our culture is strong in civility and common
sense. As always, we’ll work things out.”

The confidence of that last line isn’t quite
commensurate with the alarmism of the rest of the
op-ed. Nor is the praised civility fully on display.

Still, Wilson has an impulse that isn’t silly. He
seems to think the problem comes entirely from
the religious side, but that may be merely a side
effect of the fact that it is an audience of
scientists, or perhaps pro-science journalists, he’s trying to convince.

This claim of Wilson’s, however, seems curious:
“What then are we to do? Put the differences
aside, I say. Meet on common ground where we can
find it. An excellent example taking form is the
cooperation between science and religion, the two
most powerful forces in the world, to protect
Earth’s vanishing natural habitats and species­in
other words, the Creation, however we believe it came into existence.”

The capitalized word “Creation” does rather
suggest a Creator, but set that aside for a
moment. Where does he find the grounds for this
kind of ethical claim about the good of
environmentalism? It’s quite possibly true, but
the whole point of his article is that science
and religion are so utterly divided that they
cannot touch. And Wilson’s reason seems finally
to be a fact/value distinction. Maybe religious
types can get to an ethical claim out of that,
but the science types surely can’t. Unless, of
course, it’s not fact-laden science they hold,
but something like “scienticism”­a value-laden
system that sometimes masquerades as

** USA Today
Posted 1/15/2006 8:01 PM Updated 1/15/2006 8:02 PM

Let's accept the fault line between faith and science
By Edward O. Wilson [snip]

~ Janice

----- Original Message -----
>From: <>Janice Matchett
>To: <>George Murphy ;
>Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2006 11:28 AM
>Subject: Re: [asa] Edward O. Wilson shares Dawkins' basic vie ws
>At 11:10 AM 9/27/2006, George Murphy wrote:
>>... Janice Matchett, whose views on the environment are preposterous..."
>@ A subjective statement by one whose
>preposterous views on that subject align
>with Edward O'Chicken Little Wilson's. ~ Janice :)

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Received on Fri Sep 29 10:05:33 2006

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