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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 20

Re: Defending The Indefensible - Olson

From: Jeff Olson <jlolson.nul>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 12:08:41 -0600
Fwd Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 09:51:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible - Olson


>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 23:31:06 -0000
>Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible

>>From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 18:53:45 -0000
>>Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible

>On the point of sending this Post I should apologise to the List
>for the length of it. On another day I wouldn't have devoted
>much time to this nonsense, but it's been a quiet and snowbound
>Sunday.

>>Martin Shough and Mike Good are at opposite ends of a see-saw
>>called 'the popular view of science' - and, for a couple of
>>reasons, I think Martin is sitting on the complacent, slightly
>>over-reverential end.

>Ray I don't think you have understood either the point of my
>argument or the original anti-science exhortation it was
>directed at. You are coming at us from your own familiar and
>unique position, and consequently only make contact with the
>issues raised insofar as they are an opportunity to voice it.
>You adopt a pose in which you are the reasonable, balanced voice
>at the fulcrum of your see-saw, the mature and real voice of
>science, with Mike Good and myself occupying somehow equivalent
>"popular" positions at the extremes. But to strike that pose I
>think you need, among other things, to understand Newton,
>quantum field theory and relativistic mass-energy conservation
>better than you do (see below).

<snip>

Though I see little need to add to Martin Shough's brilliant and
educational tomes, it seems to me that those who are questioning
the general efficacy of science in this discussion are, in a
nutshell, confusing the methodology of science with those who
practice it.

In confusing the methodology with the man, these science-
skeptics appear to be treating human fallibility as a strike
against the scientific method, since their criticism ostensibly
focuses not on the latter, but rather on the various inevitable
peccadilloes of the former. Yet the scientific method is no more
discredited by individual malpractice than mathematics is
invalidated by incorrect addition.

This isn't to say that the method itself is infallible or beyond
criticism, but rather than vague generalities about the
psychological foibles of scientists - which count just as much
against science skeptics as anyone else - this more fundamental
kind of critical analysis is, in my view, precisely what they
ought to be undertaking if they wish to make a case against
scientific procedure.


Best,

Jeff




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