RE: [asa] Expelled Explained (firing those you don't agree with)

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Mon Apr 14 2008 - 18:41:20 EDT

Geology is historical science, viz., the use of scientific, experimental results to analyze the geological history of the Earth. The adjective historical in historical sciences is not degrading but a correct description of what is the subject matter of geology.


I have not done a lot of thinking about human-social science but an analogy comes to mind. In forensic science, one uses experimental results in genetics, physics, chemistry, etc. However, what comes out of it, as new knowledge, would be "criminal profiling," which is somewhat like a scientific result but not quite so. I suppose similar results can come from the social sciences.




From: Gregory Arago []
Sent: Mon 4/14/2008 5:32 PM
To: Alexanian, Moorad; Dick Fischer; ASA
Subject: RE: [asa] Expelled Explained (firing those you don't agree with)

Along this line, if a journal were to publish a paper that pushed the envelope, say, for example challenging the legitimacy of neo-Darwinian evolution in human-social thought, where many anthropologists, psychologists, economists and sociologists accept it, then one would have to be willing to sacrifice their 'reputation' unless they felt the paper could actually contribute something positive to the field. For those versed in Kuhnian thought, this is the paper or text or gesture that breaks 'normal science' out of its status quo, i.e. the innovative transition toward a new 'scientific paradigm.' Does anyone really think TE/EC could function in some sense as a kind of innovative transition from one thing to another (like ID pretends to be, but generally does not convince) or is it rather 'accommodation personified'?
Siding here with Moorad's view, as well as McLuhan's that "You can't test anything in science or in any part of the world except on its own terms or you will get the wrong answers." (1970, 1999)
Thanks to Dave Siemens Jr. for the following insight about Moorad: "Indeed, I gather that Moorad wants to restrict the term ['science'] to physical phenomena that can be directly tested in a laboratory. This excludes geology, with its
historical element; psychology, with thoughts that cannot be directly
measured; etc. But most are not so restrictive."

This explains to me why Moorad disqualifies 'human-social science' as 'science' per se. I disagree with him, and would use both Feyerabend and Weber in defense of the 'science' of social-humanitarian scholarship. But it helps me to see Dave put it this way.

Glad to finally be speaking with ASA on SoS grounds.
p.s. this word 'accommodation' has several interesting uses: the verb 'to accommodate,' in physiology and psychology, as a means of lodging or housing, and, for those familiar with the Canadian context, as a sort of tribunal on 'reasonable accommodation' - fascinating stuff! 'Biblical accommodation' is meaningful in theology, but 'accommodation' caries alternative meanings as well!

"Alexanian, Moorad" <> wrote:

        I have written many purely scientific papers in very reputable journals. In addition, I have written papers where my Christian faith is quite apparent and which deals with the philosophy of science. Surely, only in a totalitarian state my philosophical work would be used against me in spite of the volume of my scientific work.


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Received on Mon Apr 14 18:43:48 2008

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