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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 15

Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs

From: RobIrving@aol.com
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 14:58:05 EDT
Fwd Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 16:37:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs

>From: Greg Sandow <gsandow@prodigy.net>
>To: "'UFO UpDates - Toronto'" <updates@globalserve.net>
>Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs
>Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 09:26:51 -0400


>No, Rob. When I don't know someone, I don't have a clue how
>they're going to answer any question.

Really. You apparently don't have a clue once they have answered
either. An example: You tell me...

>Having imagined that I invoked Kuhn's theories on scientific
>paradigms, you counter me with a shrug, saying that you
>personally don't think much of Kuhn's work. (And yes, you
>gave one quick reason, but hardly enough for any serious
>discussion of someone so well established.)

Which referred to the following exchange five days ago...

>>>It spreads new paradigms, and a more open attitude toward things

>>Perhaps the Kuhnian picture of scientific knowledge held back by a
>>blind adherence to existing paradigms is itself a myth? I've changed
>>my mind on that recently - broadened my world-view you could say
>>- having realised that there aren't that many examples to support it.

I don't think I'm exaggerating in describing your summary of my
'opinion' about Kuhn as, um... loose. In fact, to say I have
respect for his works would be an understatement. As I said to
you, I've recently questioned what I had come to accept from
studying it.  Questioning assumption is not a bad thing, in my
opinion, especially when it is ones own.

It may interest you to know that this year I wrote a long piece
on these very issues, only to withdraw it having found myself in
the unenviable position of disagreeing with my own conclusions.
Kuhn featured often and favourably. Basically I now wonder how
'Science' is supposed to react in the face all the beliefs and
notions pestering it for acceptance.

Asking for verifiable evidence doesn't seem to be too
unreasonable in the circumstances, even if it often seems unfair
to those claiming they have such evidence.

Hence the question in my earlier post, which you falsely
characterise. Also, contrary to what you say, this question was
certainly sufficient to initiate serious discussion. If you
didn't feel up to it there's not much I can do.

Instead, you answered by complaining...

>As I typed "paradigms," I thought to myself: "Hmmm...not really
>the word I want. Too fancy." And yo! [New York variant of lo!]
>Rob pounces on it. I wasn't thinking of Kuhn, or of science
>blinded by a belief in older world-views. In fact, I was just
>using a two-dollar word for "world view."

In fact, in your original post you were saying precisely what
you now claim not to be talking about; you wrote...

>>>Conventional scientific wisdom has long believed that mature
>>>animals (including humans)don't grow new brain cells. Now it
>>>turns out that this is wrong -- new brain cells do grow, after
>>>all. Deep in the story was a sad little tidbit. Someone had
>>>already proved that new brain cells grow, in research published
>>>more than a decade ago. But nobody believed him. Science KNEW
>>>that the growth of new brain cells was simply impossible.

If not as an example of "science blinded by belief in older
world-views", what was the point of mentioning it? It appears
that your arguments are becoming as loose as your use of the
word "proof".

Anyway, back to your latest message...

>So now, like an eager puppy, you're dashing off to find out for
>yourself. There's nothing wrong with replicating research; I
>said I might do it myself (though both of us ought to offer more
>than a single sample, if we want our inquiries to mean very
>much). But you at least ought to acknowledge that you're tilling
>a well-plowed field here, and that whatever answer you get from
>your theoretical physicist won't be entered on a blank dossier.
>You are not, in other  words, going to find some data on a
>subject that has never been investigated before. You're simply
>going to discover whether this physicst says the same thing as
>the other scientists whose views are already known.

Duly acknowledged. I hope you will accept however, that a
current overview would be as - perhaps more - interesting and
relevant as relying on decades-old attitudes for your 'informed'
opinion...  doing exactly as you decry others of doing, btw. 
It's possible times have changed since McDonald's day.


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