Re: [asa] Scientific stupidities part 1

From: dawson wayne <>
Date: Fri Mar 27 2009 - 08:13:03 EDT

Gregory commented:

> Glenn has rigged the discussion, of course, with retrodiction. He is giving
> example of ideas now accepted (by the scientific community, which at other
> times he spurns, as in peer review), which we now *know* to be accurate or
> true (POFE), which had to go through tough times and rejections in order to
> get there. All one can say is 'well, that's science!' Science is imperfect
> as human beings are imperfect, and this nonsense of hiding behind 'science
> is objective' or 'peer review is almost perfect' is already an eclipsed
> ideology, not itself a simple expression of rational thought. But I doubt
> many people here would suggest otherwise; ASA scientists and scholars do not
> accept peer review as equivalent to counsels of elders or 'the scientific
> community' as a new age magisterium. Perhaps Glenn would beg to differ with
> this...?

I have good reason to agree with Glenn that the establishment does not come
up clean when we consider the lives of some of the greatest people who
pushed the forefronts of scientific advances and how that establishment
treated them.

However, this final point gets to the dicey issue about new ideas. It can
be very difficult to tell the difference between a crack pot and someone who
has really stumbled on something significant. Both types will be passionate
about what they have found, both will have thought very carefully through
the reasoning behind what they have found, both will have confronted
opposition and be prepared with forceful opposing arguments, and both
results will be at odds with the current way of thinking.

Almost always, the intelligent thing to do when one approaches a field is to
assume that the work that has been done is correct and the existing models
are basically correct. One should not be in a hurry to propose something
far off the wall. However, sometimes that is what finally happens. It can
be very difficult to really know for sure whether the new idea is right,
when we have many other things to think about also. In this respect, a
strong reaction from the establishment to an idea that is out of the norm is
at least understandable.

I think it is also important to remember that in each situation, we can find
ourselves to be that "Pharisee", that useless and repressive dictator who
KNOWS the truth and pushes people around with it, rather than that
productive contributor to the advancement of science. Planck who wrote
(roughly) "the old generation has to die before a new idea is accepted" also
turned out to be as much the same kind of problem in his own old age.

So it is important to remember that we are a fallen people. There is no
simple recipe to doing what is right in this life. Just as the Pharisees
turned good habits and practices into something that sullied the good name
of the Lord, there is no simple way for us to know what is the truth when we
confront this world. Probably the best thing is to learn to be humble,
learn from God's merciful teaching, and remember that we are saved by Grace
through faith, not by works (part of learning to be humble). Anyone who has
found anything original, or somehow escaped being a "Pharisee" when
confronted with something original and right can appreciate that. Salvation
(even accepting a good idea when the rest of the establishment rejects it)
comes only as a gift from the Lord, not by our works and intellectual

by Grace we proceed,

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Received on Fri Mar 27 08:13:52 2009

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