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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Aug > Aug 15

Re: The van Gogh Fallacy

From: Richard Hall <hallrichard99.nul>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 16:28:09 +0000
Archived: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 08:22:04 -0400
Subject: Re: The van Gogh Fallacy

>From: Cathy Reason <CathyM.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 15:52:59 +0100
>Subject: Re: The van Gogh Fallacy

>>From: Gerald O'Connell <gac.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 11:27:37 +0100
>>Subject: The van Gogh Fallacy [was: Olson's Final Statement]

>>The individuals named are all distinguished by an adherence to
>>empirical rationalism

>I have no wish to get involved in this particular discussion, but
>"empirical rationalism" is a contradiction in terms.


I wondered where Cathy was. Guess she is still in lurking mode.

When I was formally studying philosophy, empiricism and
rationalism as schools of thought generally were taken to be
polar opposites, so I understabnd the point. But the word
'rational' has other meanings depending on context. I think
Gerald (whose spirited defense is appreciated) meant it as the
opposite of irrational.

By my own labeling I am strongly empirical in orientation; data
first and foremost. For many years I refused to speculate about
what it all meant; in fact I actualy gave very little thought to

After 10-15 years of data gathering I began to devote more time
to theorizing. I applied - or tried to - the standard
hypothetico-deductive system of science that I had learned. In
fact, I still am at a reduced rate due to burn-out, competing
interests, and the process of aging.

Rational thought, to me, means applying logic and techniques of
scientific analysis to a carefully developed body of data. As I
have written elsewhere, one of the many problems in the
pseudoscientific field of ufology is that individuals often
disgaree about what constitutes data. Some people - not me -
automatically include bigfoot, cattle mutilations, crop circles,
etc., in their database.

That's the general idea.

As Gerald importantly notes, scientists do need to do a better
job, but you don't throw out science for that reason. And I
definitely get the impression that there are some people on this
List who wouldn't recognize good science if it jumped up and bit
them in the butt.

- Dick

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