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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Apr > Apr 28

Re: Science Denial In The 21St Century

From: Gerald O'Connell <goc.nul>
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2012 17:02:32 +0100
Archived: Sat, 28 Apr 2012 13:16:12 -0400
Subject: Re: Science Denial In The 21St Century

>Source: ScienceNews.Org


>Tuesday, April 24th, 2012


Interesting piece. Well worth reading, especially where it
touches on the issue of belief systems.

Of course what it doesn't consider (and nor does the study to
which it refers) is the issue of endemic non-reflexivity. By
this I mean the blindness to itself of serious discourse: the
fact, in this instance,  that adherence to a version of science
is frequently a belief system all of its own. There is a
fascinating example of the kind of communications breakdown this
can lead to in the current thread on 'Ufology and psychiatry'.
The subtext to large parts of that thread is that the
protagonists adhere to differing versions of science as belief
system, and, in one case at least, are unprepared to admit that
other versions are equally valid. The parallels with religious
debate where infidels and heretics slug it out, never succeeding
in landing a logically meaningful punch, are all too evident

The twentieth century saw a consensus being built around a
spectrum from the 'hardest' of sciences (physics, until string
theorists threatened its pre-eminence - no doubt to be resolved
by a period of schismatic division, if you'll pardon the
tautology) at one end to the 'softest' of  social sciences at
the other, and then shading into pseudoscience beyond that.
Bauer (whose reflexive instincts are exemplary) is a highly
recommended author to read on this: his awareness having been
triggered as an academic chemist with an interest in the Loch
Ness Monster.

The placement of Ufology and its sceptical opponents in that
spectrum is a highly problematic one: there are serious
Ufologists who proceed as though they were first-class
physicists (some of them actually are, but, of course, that is
no guarantee that an individual will not leave his scientific
training and method behind when confronted by anomalous data!);
while there are scientifically qualified UFO sceptics who behave
as though they were agents of the Spanish Inquisition.

It is too much to ask that scientists, pseudoscientists and
Ufologists should always adhere to the highest standards of
critical objectivity in their work, but it is always worth
pausing to reflect on whether they actually adhere to the
standards that they purport to espouse.

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