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 Post subject: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:22 pm 
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Kerry Shirts recently started a thread on MD&D arguing that Mormonism and science are not "completely" compatible (http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/58445-is-mormonism-and-science-compatible-attn-bcspace/).

I've often found that nothing makes apologists howl more than claiming that Mormonism is somehow incompatible with science (or, more broadly speaking, "reason"). It is understandable in a way since no one likes to be called an idiot (and that is certainly what militant atheists like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al. do when speaking of believers). Kerry's thread follows a very familiar pattern:

First, intellectuals (for lack of a better word) argue for the superiority of the scientific method over faith. Here is Kerry's admittedly rough crack at it:

Kerry Shirts wrote:
Science is a method, not a person in the sky. Evolution and science is NOT about religion, it is about the changes of lifeforms through eons of time. Science won't discover god, because it has no need of that hypothesis. It isn't even looking. It is about understanding our material world, not some fairytale made up thing floating around in the sky somewhere. Science is grounded in observable reality, not tissues of non-evidential faith


The typical apologist's response is to invoke arguments from the philosophy of science to discredit empiricism generally, and Thomas Kuhn is consistently their all-time favorite source. Here is part of Kevin Christensen's response to Kerry (in which he included several citations to Kuhn):

Kevin Christense wrote:
For the record, science has absolutely caved in time and time again to the knowledge and findings of science. Just as religion has caved in time and time again to the findings of religion. The issue is always whether one's paradigm is based a on definition that includes self correction as a matter of course, rather than a paradigm for which any revisions, any repentence in thinking brings grounds for an epistomelogical and ontological crisis.


This is, as many of you know, just the Mormon variation of a very old debate regarding epistemology (specifically, confirmation bias and other dangers of empiricism). For Mormons, it essentially boils down to whether or not we should accept the methodology described in Alma 32 and Moroni 10 as a valid way to gain knowledge of truth. Apologists often argue that the scientific method also involves faith (meaning a hope for things that are not seen). In this view, scientists have a hypothesis (something unseen), that they test with experiments. Obviously, they want to prove their hypothesis, so the scientist's bias is to look for confirming evidence while downplaying any contrary evidence. Apologists usually point to this and argue that this is not really all that different from the mustard seed method set out in Alma 32. Given that, apologists argue that all scientific challenges to Mormonism (or believers in general) can be easily met by challenging the underlying assumptions of the scientist's theory. They also like to invoke Kuhn's famous "paradigm shift" argument to point out how many times science has supposedly "got it wrong." Many of the apologists on the thread make the argument more eloquently, but just for fun and familiarity I'll post Droopy's version of it here:

Droopy wrote:
Unfortunately, this is what can happen when science is wrenched and torn out of its proper sphere and deployed as a religion in its own right. Kerry is using the term KNOW, over and over again, in areas where the terms "believe," "theory," "hypothesis," and "evidence" would be much more appropriate. Kerry is grossly exaggerating what science is capable of doing, as well as what it has done - the many times its been dead wrong and had to be corrected, even against relentless hostility from academic and professional peers.


The apologist's basic underlying assumption is that all scientific paradigm shifts will eventually lead to real truth, and that when we are perfected in the afterlife we will be able to understand this truth, but in the meantime we are far too imperfect (i.e., stupid) to do so. In their minds, the key for this life is to stay humble and keep your mind flexible enough to deal with new scientific discoveries so that they don't cause a faith crisis. An easy example of this "flexibility" for Mormon apologists is the limited geography theory of the Book of Mormon.

So now that I've laid out the typical apologetical argument, I'll call it for what it is: classic obfuscation (i.e, BS). It's far too easy for apologists to simply point out that scientists have confirmation bias issues because it is true, but what this argument ignores is that confirmation bias is bad because it makes people lazy. We do need to challenge key underlying biases, dogmas and assumptions, but apologists are usually not willing to do so. Apologists, for example, are fine with discarding the traditional hemispheric model of Book of Mormon geography for the limited geography hypothesis, but they are not willing to discard the notion that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God even though he clearly believed in the hemispheric model. Why will they never challenge that notion? Because they "know" Joseph Smith is a prophet because God told them so via the Holy Ghost, and that evidence is not subject to any scientific challenge. Again, it is far too easy (and lazy) to say that certain "fundamental" truths are simply off the table and not subject to challenge. It's BS because they are subject to challenge by evidence. I don't accept anyone claiming messages from God anymore (whether they be Pres. Monson or Tobin) because there are simply far too many people claiming the exact same thing.

I'm not a "greedy reductionist." Any one familiar with the history of science can see that it is not perfect by any means (just read up on the life of Albert Einstein to start). However, simply pointing out these problems to justify one's own set of unfalsifiable beliefs is not OK. Science has its issues, but I definitely prefer its epistemological problems over the problems of "Moroni 10" epistemology. Kerry definitely shows tendencies towards reductionism in his posts, but I thought his response to Droopy was pretty much spot on:

Kerry Shirts wrote:
The irony of you using science (your computer) to say science has not done as much as I have noted is indeed fascinating to me. Pray tell, do you drive a car too? Telephone, ipad or ipod? fax? In an office building? Watch television? Get information on the internet which the entire rest of the world does, and which science is literally getting rid of dictators which religion has failed to do? Wherein have I over exaggerated science accomplishments? The only reason we have an inkling of what the universe is really like is not because we read the Book of Abraham cosmology which bros Peterson, Hamblin, and Gee have shown was the ancient and incorrect geocentric view, (gee, why doesn't God ever just tell the facts correctly to man?) but because we use spectral lines in science, hence learning their chemical compositions on their surfaces, the space telescope, giving us a much clearer picture about reality than any vision ever recorded in antiquity or since. The mathematics to learn of the beginning, unfolding, and potential future of the universe, etc. The only reasons we know much about anything these days is not due to prayer, but to science. Not due to religion which keeps rehashing the ancient stuff that is so out of date none of us subscribe to the morality of those people, but to science which has opened up the entire world (literally) to knowledge. Pray tell what accomplishments have religion accomplished besides the wars, bloodshed, genocides and infantcides, and flying of airplanes into buildings recently? The comparison of accomplishment is so lopsided as to be astonishing. The only thing more astonishing is the people who obviously cannot see it for bias and fear of offending someone somewhere. I am simply giving credit where credit is obviously due.


Last edited by Cicero on Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:02 pm 
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My post above is already too long, but I couldn't resist adding this response from Wade Englund just because it is such a great example of his nauseating superiority complex:

Quote:
I would advise being patient with [Kerry Shirts]. The reasonable things you and others are saying are evidently creating tremors in his faith in scientism. And, while he is understandably holding on for dear life to his shaky fundamentalist paradigm, he seems willing to discuss things in such a way that put him at risk for experiencing an edifying paradigm shift. Think of him metaphorically like the black/white folks of Pleasantville who are being exposed for the first time to the concept color. It is bound to be dis-settling to some, and given Kerry's evident youthful style, one may expect some push-back if not also a heavy dose of know-it-all-ism.

Perhaps if we look carefully we may even see a little of own youthful selves in him, and have empathy if not pity. LOL

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:10 pm 
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Cis, did you happen to watch Kerry's video someone had posted to the thread?

Elphaba

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:07 pm 
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Elphaba wrote:
Cis, did you happen to watch Kerry's video someone had posted to the thread?

Elphaba


I think so if it is the same video that Kevin Graham linked to here: http://mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24722


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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:52 pm 
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Having been totally banned form the MADBoard, and having used up the 10 views as a non-registered guest, I can't follow the thread. From the excepts above, it appears that Kerry Shirts has finally started to use some reason and logic in looking at Mormon Apologetics overall. Wade's claiming that Shirts is being in a way "child-like" would seem to be a demonstration of the fact that Wade has learned nothing from DCP's being kicked to the curb.

Wade should be careful with the term "scientistic". It was a bit disconcerting to DCP when he labelled me as an "arrogant scientistic dogmatist" (or some such), whereupon I gladly accepted the label while pointing out the obvious advantages of such a worldview, as compared to one such as his based on unfounded belief and magic.

DCP then indicated that it would be impossible to have a meaningful discussion with an arrogant scientistic dogmatist. I replied that if having a meaningful discussion with him meant that I had to pretend to believe in demonstrably false assertions, bogus foundational truth claims and magic, then I would be happy to remain an arrogant scientistic dogmatist and get on with my work.

Kerry Shirts might do well to own the scientistic label too. In defending it, he might be able to show the Mopologists just how silly much of Mopologetics has become. (From the excerpt shown, he has made a pretty good start.)

DCP also claimed soon after that he was a rational empiricist. In response I told him that I could see no evidence that he was a rational empiricist and to claim that he was, given his posts on this board, was silly. If anything, his projected worldview is diametrically opposed to rational empiricism.

He offered no response to that and left the board soon thereafter. I assume he left because there were several other threads on which he had made ridiculous statements or was unwilling to come clean with regard to some unscholarly stunts he had pulled in his writings. Then came the Light Box fiasco.

Wade must have been paying attention when DCP looked up the term scientistic to be used (in his mind, at least) as ammunition against science.

Good job, Wade. Hope it works out for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:16 pm 
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With regard to Thomas Kuhn and his paradigm shifts, Mopologists fail to realize that Kuhn was talking about paradigm shifts in science. To believe that paradigm shifts in science will eventually make science compatible with religion is to defy logic.

Science is in business to find answers. Religion claims to already have them. If science and religion were ever (again) to be in agreement (which is highly unlikely), that agreement would be exceedingly fleeting, because science would continue to move forward and religion would remain static, except for slight changes from "thoughtful reading" of the scriptures.

In any case, science and religion have already gone through their period of mutual non-confrontation. It ended with Galileo.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:20 pm 
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Scientism is a term used almost exclusively as an insult. Accepting the label is misunderstanding what the label is meant to communicate, which is dogmatic worship of science and/or a mistaken belief that science is the only route to knowledge. People like DCP and Wade tend to improperly throw it out against sciency, skeptical sorts who use modern science to criticize their religion and its scientifically dubious implications. As if the only reason someone could find empirical claims of a religion to be scientifically dubious is to misunderstand the role of science in reasonable belief. It's, usually, a pure strawman argument. This is following the general fundamentalist Christian trend of doing the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:49 pm 
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I have seen other people invite religious fundamentalists, like Wade Englund, Droopy, and Daniel Peterson (he is one, despite his "rational empiricist" self-delusion) to give one or more examples of when scientific knowledge has changed in the face of religious dogma, instead of vice-versa.

Similarly, I would like to see a single, previously unknown objective fact that Mormon prophets have contributed to the world from revelations they have received.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:00 pm 
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Darth J wrote:
Similarly, I would like to see a single, previously unknown objective fact that Mormon prophets have contributed to the world from revelations they have received.


Well, there is all that stuff about Kolob and light.

DrW is spot on in noting that Kuhn was talking about paradigm shifts in science, and Kuhn was correct that there have been many. Scientists have their biases and dogmas too, and they certainly don't always live up to the ideals of the scientific method. But in its best and truest form, science is based upon an inherent skepticism to challenge those biases, while religion is most certainly not. I think Karl Popper put it quite well:

Karl Popper wrote:
The history of science, like the history of all human ideas, is a history of irresponsible dreams, of obstinacy, and of error. But science is one of the very few human activities — perhaps the only one — in which errors are systematically criticized and fairly often, in time, corrected. This is why we can say that, in science, we often learn from our mistakes, and why we can speak clearly and sensibly about making progress there.


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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:36 pm 
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Cicero wrote:
Darth J wrote:
Similarly, I would like to see a single, previously unknown objective fact that Mormon prophets have contributed to the world from revelations they have received.


Well, there is all that stuff about Kolob and light.

DrW is spot on in noting that Kuhn was talking about paradigm shifts in science, and Kuhn was correct that there have been many. Scientists have their biases and dogmas too, and they certainly don't always live up to the ideals of the scientific method. But in its best and truest form, science is based upon an inherent skepticism to challenge those biases, while religion is most certainly not. I think Karl Popper put it quite well:

Karl Popper wrote:
The history of science, like the history of all human ideas, is a history of irresponsible dreams, of obstinacy, and of error. But science is one of the very few human activities — perhaps the only one — in which errors are systematically criticized and fairly often, in time, corrected. This is why we can say that, in science, we often learn from our mistakes, and why we can speak clearly and sensibly about making progress there.


I am always very careful about mentioning Karl (falsifiability) Popper by name in debates with creationists. Creationists have latched on to his unfortunate statement about evolution (as in survival of the fittest) as being an untestable scientific theory.

Creationists have misunderstood the statement and taken it completely out of context in terms of what Popper actually meant by as well as what he believed and stood for (much as they do when incorrectly claiming that Einstein believed in the Judeo-Christian God).

Popper wrote in 1976: I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme—a possible framework for testable scientific theories. (Popper, 1976, p. 168)

A nice discussion of the creationist hyperbole as it relates to this quote from Karl Popper can be found at the National Center for Science Education website at:

http://ncse.com/cej/6/2/what-did-karl-popper-really-say-evolution

This article is taken from a peer reviewed paper and is short and to the point. Folks interested in rebuttal of creationist nonsense would benefit from reading it, if they have not already done so.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:59 am 
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I wrote a post about this some time ago, and I like to link it when Kuhn crops up. I've dubbed the strategy "The Kuhnian Shift" and examined Kevin Christensen's use of Kuhn for his own apologetic purposes. Kevin does a lukewarm response on Runtu's blog, which you can get at on the second page of the thread.

The Kuhnian Shift.

I loved Tarski's summation of it, "Kuhn, therefore Nephi."

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:21 am 
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Stak: Thanks for the link. That was indeed an excellent post. As I have mentioned before, I have been out of the loop on this stuff for about the last 8 years, but I figured that this had probably already been discussed here since apologists have been using the Kuhnian Shift strategy for a LONG time. I also wasn't aware that Kuhn later rejected anti-realism.

DrW: Creationists like to cite Popper? WTF??? I really had no idea. I can't imagine how angry that would make him if he were still alive. Talk about taking a quote out of context.


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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:32 am 
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mfbukowski wrote:
WalkerW wrote:
The aforementioned findings in cognitive psychology and neuroscience remind me of Calvin's sensus divinitatis (sense of divinity). Philosopher Alvin Plantinga argues in Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford University Press, 2000) that sensus divinitatis is properly basic, much like the belief in the existence of other minds. Plantinga has also made a rather famous evolutionary argument against naturalism. To simplify it, assuming our brain is merely the product of random mutations and natural selection, there is no reason to assume that our cognitive faculties are reliable when forming beliefs. The truthfulness of these beliefs become irrelevant compared to their evolutionary advantage. If naturalism is true, the naturalist cannot justify trust in his own cognitive faculties. If theism is true (mainly of the Abrahamic sort), then one is created in the image of God with the capacity for true knowledge.

Go team! Right on! Power to the purple...... or something like that....


I lol’ed at this, because Plantinga is like the bizzaro-world Pragmatist. When Bukowski was over here last time telling me how much Quine represented his views, he is pretty much now endorsing an argument that rests on a rejection of evidentialism.

And then you have Kevin throwing Kuhn around like he is some heavy hitting Philosopher who forever changed the Philosophy of Science (he didn’t, he had a bigger impact on Sociology, and his narrative scheme of revolutions has far too many counter examples to hold).

What you got over there is a large group of name droppers who never bother to learn about a Philosopher and why he or she thought as they did, they just need that link or that blurb to make it sound like they’ve done some kind of heavy reading subject to justify their all too casual confidence.

In short....

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:47 am 
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Cicero wrote:
Stak: Thanks for the link. That was indeed an excellent post. As I have mentioned before, I have been out of the loop on this stuff for about the last 8 years, but I figured that this had probably already been discussed here since apologists have been using the Kuhnian Shift strategy for a LONG time. I also wasn't aware that Kuhn later rejected anti-realism.


Thanks. That is sort of the catch 22 of Mopologetics, when I was just getting into this, EA would link me all the time to previous threads where the same topic was discussed. They are always slow on the uptake over there and will reuse the same tactics over and over.

Kuhn got a lot of criticism over the years, and like a pro, he would admit error when he needed too and change his over all scheme.

As for Popper, well, dude was kind of a douche. Sometimes when I’m grumpy and I see his name, I wish Wittgenstein would have clocked him with that iron poker after all. In any case, with Popper, he was always quick off the line with ideas that tried to explain too much. He got turned off to the “grand narrative” approach in coffee shops in Vienna where he heard a lot about Freudian and Marxist views. I imagine he also came up against people who were trying to explain everything about human behavior and society in terms of “survival of the fittest”, and he had his typical knee-jerk reaction against that.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:49 am 
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WalkerW wrote:
Plantinga has also made a rather famous evolutionary argument against naturalism. To simplify it, assuming our brain is merely the product of random mutations and natural selection, there is no reason to assume that our cognitive faculties are reliable when forming beliefs. The truthfulness of these beliefs become irrelevant compared to their evolutionary advantage. If naturalism is true, the naturalist cannot justify trust in his own cognitive faculties.


Stak: Is that an accurate summary of Plantinga? I am not familiar with him. To me, that sounds like a bizarre amalgamation of Pragmatism and Dualism, but I certainly could be wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:23 am 
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Cicero wrote:
Stak: Is that an accurate summary of Plantinga? I am not familiar with him. To me, that sounds like a bizarre amalgamation of Pragmatism and Dualism, but I certainly could be wrong.


More or less, but there is so much background info needed for the argument to make sense. Plantinga made his bones in epistemology in a specific topic called ‘Justification’. When philosophers talk about justification, they are talking about the evidence and reasons you have for believing a certain proposition, have enough justification and you help qualify that belief as ‘Knowledge’.

The dominant belief about justification is ‘evidentialism‘, which can be understood along the lines of “you proportion your confidence in a proposition based on the evidence at hand”. Plantinga went against this, offered some novel arguments against evidentialism being insufficient for justification and offered up his own theory of justification called ‘proper warrant‘.

Proper warrant in general can be broken down into three broad tenets. A belief is justified if and only if:

1: The belief results from the proper function of the subject’s cognitive system in a proper environment.

2: The cognitive system itself is aimed at finding the truth.

3: The system on the whole produces true beliefs.

Now full accounts of the theory are far more detailed, but that is the bare bones of it.

So, if you assume Plantinga’s epistemology, he argues that unguided natural selection wouldn’t produce a cognitive system aimed at truth finding, it would most likely be aimed at survival. If a cognitive system is aimed at survival, it won’t have truth as it’s goal and therefore unreliable.

Now I’m skipping over a lot of boring details, but that is the gist of it. This kind of epistemology is very much anti-pragmatic because the utility of a belief doesn’t have concerns about beliefs being true, and there are lots of useful lies out there.

This quote is a bit off:
WalkerW wrote:
The aforementioned findings in cognitive psychology and neuroscience remind me of Calvin's sensus divinitatis (sense of divinity). Philosopher Alvin Plantinga argues in Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford University Press, 2000) that sensus divinitatis is properly basic, much like the belief in the existence of other minds.


Plantinga actually argues that belief in God is properly basic, and that humans have a thing called a “sensus divinitatis” that is sort of like a spiritual detection organ, that allows us to perceive God, but the noetic effects of sin have damaged this organ.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:39 am 
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MrStakhanovite wrote:
...
As for Popper, well, dude was kind of a douche. Sometimes when I’m grumpy and I see his name, I wish Wittgenstein would have clocked him with that iron poker after all. In any case, with Popper, he was always quick off the line with ideas that tried to explain too much. He got turned off to the “grand narrative” approach in coffee shops in Vienna where he heard a lot about Freudian and Marxist views. I imagine he also came up against people who were trying to explain everything about human behavior and society in terms of “survival of the fittest”, and he had his typical knee-jerk reaction against that.


One does not have to agree with Popper's views to concede that his ideas were interesting, relevant to his time, and worthy of serious discussion.

When Mr S. slips into sophomoric mode as in the paragraph above, his ideas on a wide range of subjects suddenly seem less worthy of attention, which is a pity.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:50 am 
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lol @ Droopy qua ShawFanX

Quote:
We'll have to part company here, I'm afraid. Hitler, just for one example, didn't distort Nietzsche's philosophy so much as expand, interpret, and apply salient aspects of that philosophy in an idiosyncratic and specifically focused manner (just as Marx expanded, interpreted, and applied Hegel and as Du Boise expanded and interpreted Marx), but nothing he actually did is in anyway inconsistent with legitimate readings and understanding of Nietzsche core claims (and I have little interest in Nietzsche's personal perspectives regarding abuse of animals any more than for Pablo Escobar's building of schools, playgrounds, and soup kitchens for the peasants who grew his coca or for Marx' claims of his concern for the poor and downtrodden. My concern is with their ideas and their consequences).


This is one hell of a thread you got here Cicero, all the bad bois of MD&D come out to show how smart they are.

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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:03 am 
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Chap wrote:
One does not have to agree with Popper's views to concede that his ideas were interesting, relevant to his time, and worthy of serious discussion.

When Mr S. slips into sophomoric mode as in the paragraph above, his ideas on a wide range of subjects suddenly seem less worthy of attention, which is a pity.


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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:39 am 
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Cicero wrote:
Stak: Thanks for the link. That was indeed an excellent post. As I have mentioned before, I have been out of the loop on this stuff for about the last 8 years, but I figured that this had probably already been discussed here since apologists have been using the Kuhnian Shift strategy for a LONG time. I also wasn't aware that Kuhn later rejected anti-realism.

DrW: Creationists like to cite Popper? WTF??? I really had no idea. I can't imagine how angry that would make him if he were still alive. Talk about taking a quote out of context.

If I recall, someone over on the MADBoard even has Popper's statement as a signature line.

Anyway, here is a quick excerpt from the article I cited above. Later in the article (not quoted here) is a closer look at the story behind the quote by Popper. (Stak pretty much nailed it.)

Quote:
In a 1981 article in Science Digest, Duane Gish, the master debater among creationists, said:

There were no human witnesses to the origin of the Universe, the origin of life or the origin of a single living thing. These were unique, unrepeatable events of the past that cannot be observed in nature or repeated in the laboratory. Thus neither creation nor evolution qualifies as a scientific theory and each is equally religious. As the scientific philosopher Sir Karl Popper has stated, evolution is not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research program. [Asimov and Gish, p. 82]

The most direct rebuttal one can give to these charges is that Gish and other creationists really don't believe them! The underlying point of the above quotation is that evolution is unscientific because it is not falsifiable (testable), yet creationists are always producing arguments and "evidences" that they say refute evolution. Gish does it in the article quoted above. In spite of that obvious contradiction, the argument impresses laypeople and legislators. But it completely distorts what Popper calls the logic of scientific discovery.


As to Tarski's "Kuhn, therefore Nephi', it is truly a classic. I love it. (Too bad Nephi never really existed).

_________________
“But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong.”—Heber C Kimball, Journal of Discourses, Vol 6, Page 32


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 Post subject: Re: Apologists and Thomas Kuhn: A Love Story
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:11 am 
God

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:39 am
Posts: 6675
Popper also later disavowed his argument about natural selection and testability when biologists pointed out his error to him. Without reading it, I'm willing to bet the ncse article you linked points this out. Early Popper was just flat wrong about that.


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