Re: [asa] Altruism and ID

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Wed Jun 06 2007 - 13:15:26 EDT

Thanks Don. Game theorist, perhaps yes indeed. Interdisciplinary help for the life scientists!
  Actually I did very quickly read the article. Reminded me of a headline I read a few years back, something to the effect of 'Signs of love being found on a brain scan.' Just because it has 'Duke Medical' stamped on it doesn't make it scientific gospel!
  The difficulty with 'altruism' was raised here several months ago. I noted that August Comte coined the word. Also pointed to P. Sorokin's usage as opposed to the twists it has undergone in the hands of Travers, Dawkins, et crew.
  Pim seems to be a great fan of 'altruism' for a natural scientist. In a way that worries me. In another, it is doing exactly to social sciences what social scientists sometimes do to natural scientists - piggy-backing on their ideas without really digging into the content and form of their meanings.

Don Nield <> wrote:
  Gregory Arago wrote:
> From the obviously scientistic linked article "Activation of Brain
> Region Predicts Altruism":
> "C. Jill Stowe, a decision scientist in Duke's Fuqua School of
> Business, also participated in the research."
> What is a 'decision scientist'?! Is this 'rational choice' theory run
> astray into Business School?
> g.a.
I assume that here 'decision scientist' is a synonym for 'game theorist'
-- a mathematician who applies probability theory to the outcomes of
decision choices -- a branch of Operations Research. The connection
with a business school is obvious. The connection to "altruism" of the
"You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" variety is also obvious. I
would have to read the particular article in order to decide whether the
claims made in it go beyond the scientific and so are scientistic-- that
is *not* obvious to me from the title.

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Received on Wed Jun 6 13:15:57 2007

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