Re: [asa] Expelled and ID (ASA annual mtg.)

From: Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
Date: Wed Apr 23 2008 - 20:35:18 EDT

Dennis, You are espousing a perspective of 'science' that could have stood up perhaps fifty years ago, but not today. However, this does not mean you cannot 'do' science itself! It just means that you do not speak best for what 'science' is and is not. This is best left up to philosophers of (the) sciences, those who professionally study it.
   
  You write: "The notion that one’s science is skewed by one’s viewpoint seems to be an increasingly popular one – and a view I find confusing. Yes, an individual scientist might have a bias – but the data is the data – and the experiments are open to repeating by anyone who wishes."
   
  If you read Kuhn, Popper, Lakatos and Feyerabend you'd realise quickly the significance of how the 'doing of science' does indeed 'skew' the results and you would be, I guarantee this, less confused. 'Neutral science' ("the data is the data") is a fallacy because science is always done by someone, somewhere and at some time. Science is not 'done' in a (time, space/place, person-less) vacuum.
   
  Second, you write, "What truly counts in science is reproducibility and data, none of which is to be found in the Meyer paper."
   
  Though I am defending neither Meyer nor his paper (which I read and found wanting), the notion of 'just reproducabilty and data' has already been debunked. Such is a monolithic view of science that is outdated; there are many things that count as 'science' that are not reproducible and need rely on no data, e.g. theories themselves. You must remember that Meyer is a historian and philosopher of science and not a biologist. You are a biologist and speak like one.
   
  From a HPS point of view, there are merits to the paper that a 'biologist' might not accept as 'pure biology.' As a HPS contribution to knowledge, the notion of 'pure biology' is a fantasy anyway and one's attempt at 'objectivity' is just that, an attempt! (Note: Arago is lauding the attempts!!) So it might help if you try to step outside of your artificial boundaries to consider some context instead of applying sweeping statements about 'what science is' and 'what science isn't'.
   
  I wouldn't have published Meyer's paper in a biological journal, but then again, I'm not a biologist. Lol. We human-social scientists have already been through the Sokal hoax, part and parcel of the 'science wars.' This stuff, I'm sure Dennis is well-versed on. - G.A.

       
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Received on Wed Apr 23 20:36:28 2008

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