Re: Polanyi on science (was Re: [asa] C.S. Lewis on ID)

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Mon Dec 01 2008 - 03:42:07 EST

"If I may speak for all scientists on this: " - Don Winterstein

If you'll forgive the tongue in cheek, Don, that's one of the least humble statements I've read in quite some time. -) This is exactly the point at issue in recognizing / admitting the diversity of the academy today, the interdisciplinarity, the melting or blending of sciences, the presence of physical scientists who turn to philosophy in their later years and of biologists who turn to social theory to impress a wider audience, the populizers of public understanding of science who sometimes turn toward ideology and/or worldview positions, rather than defending 'pure' science (chisti nauk) as if that fiction could still be maintained. It is simply *impossible* to 'speak for all scientists' in our epoch. As a young scholar, it is difficult to comprehend why anyone would use such language in their communication.  
Polayni was interested in freedom of academic expression and would not submit to dictatorial language of representation.
The 'we' of 'we scientists' is much more contentious today than it was fifty years ago. Likewise, what constitutes the 'intelligentsia' is another hot topic of debate and discussion.

--- On Mon, 12/1/08, Don Winterstein <> wrote:

From: Don Winterstein <>
Subject: Re: Polanyi on science (was Re: [asa] C.S. Lewis on ID)
To: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <>
Received: Monday, December 1, 2008, 9:28 AM

If I may speak for all scientists on this:  As scientists the only thing we're really concerned about is whether or not our results are consistent with theory or others' results.  We don't talk about either truth or proof--except in math.  Nor do we talk about confirmation, because we realize that an experimental result no matter how impressive never confirms a theory.  Consistency is where it's at.  If we're not consistent with others, then either we screwed up or they did or we need new theory. 
Don __________________________________________________________________ Instant Messaging, free SMS, sharing photos and more... Try the new Yahoo! Canada Messenger at

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Received on Mon Dec 1 03:42:46 2008

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