From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul> Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2012 12:38:31 +0100 Archived: Thu, 20 Sep 2012 07:48:53 -0400 Subject: Re: Separating The Pseudo From Science >From: Terry W. Colvin <fortean1.nul> >To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul> >Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2012 10:38:24 +0700 (GMT+07:00) >Subject: Separating The Pseudo From Science >[forteana] Separating The Pseudo From Science >Date: Sep 19, 2012 1:18 AM >Sounds like this guy's book will be interesting to Forteans from >a procedural perspective as well as for the content. >leslie >http://chronicle.com/article/Separating-the-Pseudo-From/134412/ >The Chronicle Review >September 17, 2012 >Separating the Pseudo From Science >By Michael D. Gordin >The term "pseudoscience" gets thrown around quite a bit these >days, most notably in debates about the dominant consensus on >anthropogenic climate change. Say "pseudoscience," and >immediately a bunch of doctrines leap to mind: astrology, >phrenology, eugenics, ufology, and so on. Do they have anything >in common? etc This piece about the "demarcation problem" is a victim of its own demarcation problem - the author fails to discriminate between the methodological process of science and what different people may want to define as the body of scientific knowledge/activity. Calling both of these things "science" interchangeably results in confused thinking. Thus he argues that falsifiability cannot identify "science" because Creationism is falsifiable, therefore we would have to say that Creationism is "science". This is of course a ludicrous piece of illogic, like saying that because you can put beer in the fridge therefore anything in the fridge must be beer. The correct conclusion is that creationism, like anything else, can be reasoned about scientifically to the extent that it makes its itself amenable to testing. The science is in the method, not the labelling of the social construct which is quite a different type of activity He adds "how would you know when a theory has been falsified? Suppose you are testing a particular claim using a mass spectrometer, and you get a disagreeing result. The theory might be falsified, or your mass spectrometer could be on the fritz." Well gosh, contradictory test results - I bet Popper never thought of that! Hmmm, how about you test the spectrometer? Redo the test? Publish and look for replication? The point is to be able to falsify a conjecture for practical purposes, which means showing that it is very unlikely to have any predictive utility as part of a future theory. Gordin wants a definition of science that will be able to lay down metaphysical certainties before he will grant that it has any real-world meaning. If ever the philosophical cart was before the horse, 'twas so here. Methinks the Professor of History should have stuck to history. Martin shough Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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