Home > abortion, atheism, clarity, definition, libertarianism, science, translation > >Bypassing the argument thru definition

>Bypassing the argument thru definition

>Choosing one’s terms and labels may be an effective rhetorical technique; albeit frequently a dishonest one. Here are few examples that I find irritating.

Pro abortion as pro-choice

I have concerns with terms used on both sides of this debate, but this the more insidious. It is describing the issue in terms of freedom, but opponents to abortion are by no means anti-freedom. They see the issue as one of murder. I don’t hear “pro-choice” people advocating for the freedom of men to murder adults, or steal property. The pro-freedom position is reasonably described as libertarian. It is true many libertarians are “pro-choice” but this is not universal with some libertarians arguing against abortion. More relevant however is the position “pro-choice” people take otherwise, and this is commonly a socialist leaning position, hardly a paragon of choice or freedom. I would not be surprised to learn that opponents of abortion have a stronger commitment to choice outside the abortion debate.

I don’t particularly like the term “pro-life” either. The debate is about whether a fetus is living in a sense that confers the fetus natural rights. Although I hold this position, many abortion advocates disagree with it. As such they could argue they are pro-life and consistent by opposing capital punishment. I think it preferable to use accurate unloaded terms such as “pro-abortion” and “anti-abortion.”

Science as methodological naturalism

Science does not need to be defined this way and historically it was not. While it may seem somewhat reasonable on the surface, it fails on 2 counts. The meaning and reason for the term “methodological naturalism” is that one can not invoke the supernatural as an explanation, rather science seeks natural explanations for various phenomena. Given that operational science was invented by supernaturalists whose concept of God (immutable) gave them reason to think the world was orderly and thus amenable to repeated observation with an expectation of identical findings, it is uncertain why a definition using “naturalism” needs to be invoked centuries later.

It fails because it does not apply to historical science which has no such non-supernatural limitations yet historical science is considered part of the broader concept of science. And it fails because it contains a philosophical term: Naturalism has a range of claims which are not derived from science, nor does science intrinsically favour naturalism.

Such a term can lead to the claim that science has disproved God. But analysis of this claim will show it to be circular. God is excluded by definition, and any thesis sans God is deemed “scientifically” preferable, even if untrue.

Gender neutral as gender accurate translation

There is debate about how to best translate various Greek words into English in Bible translation. Does one translate masculine pronouns such as “he” inclusively or specifically? Does the Greek word anthropos mean “person” or “man” with generic connotations at times? I do not intend to discuss the merits of both arguments, just note that the inclusive school uses the term “gender accurate” to describe their theory. They argue that an inclusive view is intended by biblical authors, thus improved accuracy. One problem is that the term “accurate” is more synonymous with “precision” than “intention”. The other problem, of course, is that the debate is around which translation theory is the most accurate. Using a term as part of your definition, then claiming something is thus, by definition—often implicitly—resolves nothing.

Suggestion

The reason this annoys me is that the terms are deliberately chosen. Their inventors are not so much trying to frame the debate as circumvent it. I find it disingenuous.

This is not to suggest choosing various terms is intrinsically dishonest. If a different term brings clarity, or is neutral, or both, then it may be preferable.

Sometimes one should consider terms used by his opponents. While the adoption of labels from the opposition is not compulsory, they may sometimes be accurate. Another option is to use historical terms.

  1. 2009 September 21 at 02:32

    I’m an anti-abortion scientist who finds it generally pretty easy to tell whether a person is male or female. :)

  2. Ken
    2009 September 21 at 03:30

    Ah – trying to squeeze science into your creationist straight-jacket again. All this talk of “methodological naturalism”, “historicalscience”, etc. ignores and tries to apply a smoke screen to the practical reality.
    Neil deGrasse Tyson expressed it very well I think. rather than givign a dogmatic and algorithmic definition of the scientific method he said – the scientifc method is to do whatever it takes to avoid being fooled by reality (see Do whatever it takes…).
    And that’s how most working scientists approach their job.

  3. 2009 September 21 at 06:03

    You’re trying to squeeze science into a “no religion” straightjacket. :idunno:
    Science should be able to guide us no matter what is real about that which science does not comment on.

  4. 2009 September 21 at 12:36

    Ken, “methodological naturalism” is not a term I favour.
    My question is: if God intervened in the world in a way that we could observe the result, how could we discover this? And would this method of discovery be consistent with methodological naturalism?

  5. 2009 September 21 at 19:27

    And that’s how most working scientists approach their job.
    That would help to explain some of the fraud which is taking over scientific journals.

  6. 2009 September 21 at 21:00

    Calvinism does the same thing with the word “sovereignty” as well. (Then they completely unhistorically define Arminianism and Semi-Pelagianism) Let me think of other examples. “Universal Health Care” instead of “Governmentally Issued Health Insurance”. That’s all I can really think of right now.

  7. 2009 September 21 at 21:36

    LOL at Mike T – so true.
    Well said Bethyada. Whether it is intellectual laziness or calculated means to attempt to win the debate at any means it needs to be identified and stooden against.

  8. Ken
    2009 September 21 at 22:10

    Bethyda – “My question is: if God intervened in the world in a way that we could observe the result, how could we discover this?”
    If that occurs surely we would see the evidence and investigate it. As I pointed out working scientists don’t give a stuff about dogmatic terms like “methodological naturalism”. They do whatever it takes to avoid being fooled by reality. We love to have evidence and to investigate that evidence. it keeps us in jobs.
    It’s only the creationists who attempt to squeeze science into their own dogmatic frame. if they had confidence in their ideas they would be doing the work to find the evidence (and investigate it) of their gods interventions. Instead of whining and blaming the real workers because they can’t produce the evidence.
    And Mike T and Madeleine – it really is pathetic to talk about “scientific journal fraud” (without specific examples – perhaps you could provides some details of this alleged scientific journal fraud), ignoring the whole scientific ethos of honesty, just because you have a mythological barrow to push. People with evidence usually talk about it, not attempt to divert attention by dishonest and unsubstantiated assertions.

  9. 2009 September 22 at 04:17

    if God intervened in the world in a way that we could observe the result, how could we discover this? And would this method of discovery be consistent with methodological naturalism?

    I’m with Ken on this one. So called methodological naturalism is just an extension on the requirement that scientific hypotheses be testable. “God did it” is not testable, “God did it 6 000 years ago” is.
    Mike, I too would like an example of this fraud which is “taking over” scientific journals…

  10. 2009 September 22 at 05:40

    “Fooled by reality”. Interesting term.
    I guess it means that we must be careful to respond only according to real events and observations rather than to allow a theory to guide us into error.
    Is that a fair translation?

  11. Ken
    2009 September 22 at 05:52

    Grant – you would have to ask Tyson for his “translation” – but it makes sense to me as it is.
    Scientific theories, of course, are based on evidence and validated (continually) against reality. Theories can suggest new ideas for testing – and the results of those tests can be incorporated into the updated theory.
    If a theory produces the wrong predictions it’s an indication that it needs modification.
    Hope that answers your question, Grant.

  12. 2009 September 22 at 06:51

    I was just interested in why you were using the term. It’s not a challenge to a creationist that people can do their jobs, you know. :)

  13. 2009 September 22 at 10:46

    Ken If that occurs surely we would see the evidence and investigate it.
    That does not really address the question.
    As I pointed out working scientists don’t give a stuff about dogmatic terms like “methodological naturalism”.
    Then you won’t have a beef with my beef. :)
    It’s only the creationists who attempt to squeeze science into their own dogmatic frame. if they had confidence in their ideas they would be doing the work to find the evidence (and investigate it) of their gods interventions. Instead of whining and blaming the real workers because they can’t produce the evidence.
    Creationists were in the forefront of the invention of science: they have no problem with science. They are doing scientific research now. And we all have the same evidence, no disagreement there.
    And Mike T and Madeleine – it really is pathetic to talk about “scientific journal fraud” (without specific examples – perhaps you could provides some details of this alleged scientific journal fraud), ignoring the whole scientific ethos of honesty, just because you have a mythological barrow to push. People with evidence usually talk about it, not attempt to divert attention by dishonest and unsubstantiated assertions.
    Fraud is well documented, not insignificant, and considered a problem by a wide range of scientists.

  14. 2009 September 22 at 10:56

    david w I’m with Ken on this one. So called methodological naturalism is just an extension on the requirement that scientific hypotheses be testable. “God did it” is not testable, “God did it 6 000 years ago” is.
    But because God is not natural, anything he did do would be dismissed as a non-natural explanation.

  15. 2009 September 22 at 11:05

    Ken,
    Ah – trying to squeeze science into your creationist straight-jacket again. All this talk of “methodological naturalism”, “historicalscience”, etc. ignores and tries to apply a smoke screen to the practical reality.
    Ken simply dismissing an argument as a “smoke screen” is hardly a response. Bethyada has argued that (a) some people define science as so that methodological naturalism is essential to science and (b) this definition is mistaken because historically there are clear examples of science which do not fit it.
    Neither of these is a “creationist” smokescreen, regarding (a) many people do define science in a this way, and far from it being a “creationist smoke screen” the people who do so are opponents of creationism. The National Coaltion for Science Education (NSCE) for example defines science the way Bethyada mentions. The Overton decision which banned creationism in public schools did, drawing on the work of Michael Ruse, similar Robert Pennock in an article attacking creationism makes this claim. As does Nancy Pearcy. I could go on, Eugence Scott has argued this as have Barbara Forrest, John Moore, Leon Albert , Robert Pine, Jones and Leslie, Levin, Lweis, Mckown, Fezer, Schadewald, Sonteitor, Brix, Eldridge, Van Till, McMullan, Gingrich, Hasker in fact states in a defence of evolution that methodological naturalism is “methodologically is now espoused by virtually all scientists, “ so contrary to your repeated assertions, the claim that science is committed to methodological naturalism has been repeated advocated by the leading opponents of creationism. Hence this is hardly a “creationist smokescreen”
    Bethyada’s respond in (b) is also hardly a creationist smokescreen it’s a historical thesis which many people including many who are not creationists defend.
    I know some in the science community think they can defend a position by simply calling their opponents creationists, unfortunately that is not an argument, to argue for your position actually involves addressing the premises and providing reasons for rejecting them or reasons for thinking the inference form is invalid.

  16. 2009 September 22 at 11:16

    I’m with Ken on this one
    There is a surprise
    So called methodological naturalism is just an extension on the requirement that scientific hypotheses be testable. “God did it” is not testable, “God did it 6 000 years ago” is.
    Yes and this argument has been answered repeatedly in the literature and repeatedly by myself. You are correct the claim “God created” by itself in isolation is not testable, however as part of a broader theory it is. The problem is that its widely recognised that this is also true of scientific claims. Individual claims about electrons for example by themselves in isolation from any broader theory are untestable but as part of a broader theory they are, hence appeals to God are no more or less testable than numerous other claims which are clearly and uncontroversial part of science. As I noted Larry Laudan and Philip Quinn made this point decades ago in critical responses to Ruse.
    I would only add a further point, which is this you not that it’s a requirement that “scientific hypotheses be testable.” Even if one accepts that hypothesis which make reference to God are not testable in the requisite sense ( which I deny see above) this only shows that God cannot be part of a hypothesis. The problem is that critics of Methodological naturalism have suggested other ways theological claims could be involved in science, for example they could be included in as part of the back ground evidence against which hypothesises are tested.
    To contend that something cannot be included as background evidence unless its tested against background evidence is an untenable position. You need background evidence before you can test anything.

  17. Ken
    2009 September 23 at 00:23

    Matt – you confuse things when you leap in to defend bethyada’s position – he is a self avowed creationist – you aren’t (or claim not to be – that’s not clear to me). So enough of the “smoke screen” argument – it’s not appropriate.
    Commenting on your assertions, though:
    One gets oneself into problems when making dogmatic interpretations and in defining terms in one’s own way – not recognising how they are used.
    1: The fact remains that Tyson’s description is how scientists do approach their job. They do not have an algorithmic or dogmatic recipe to follow. So terms like “naturalism” and “methodological naturalism” do not come up in research – they just aren’t appropriate.
    If you disagree – give me supporting examples. Where are the “methodological materialist” rulebooks?
    2: These terms are of course used in legal and political disputation (these are the examples you use). And they are also used by those who attempt to distort, discredit and destroy science (Wedge strategists) – which in itself requires engagement with the terms. (The latter, of course, have their own ideologically motivated meanings for these words).
    I have often discussed philosophical definitions and their distortions at Open Parachute – you could check out a recent article The philosophy wars which is a review of the book Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present.
    3:In essence the underlying meaning of words like “materialist” is really about evidence. Whereas in science we rely on evidence as the source of our knowledge and validate that knowledge against reality those who attack this “materialism/naturalism” (such as the Discovery Institute) want to divorce knowledge from reality, from evidence. This is the “theistic science” they promote and their activity, for example, in attempting to rewrite State Education Board Science standards reveals this (I can provide a specific link here if you desire it).
    3: You points about electrons is confused. Probably because you lifted it from a source supporting the introduction of creationism in school science classes which had been written from a legal rather than scientific position. (Yes, I am familiar with the source – which you have quoted before). The motivation is of course ideological. You want to introduce your gods into science without any evidence – as “background knowledge.” I don’t find it at all convincing, or frankly even honest.
    4: You, the Discovery Institute and the Wedge ideologues are advocating that science should be changed, “naturalism” should be removed, “super-naturalism” made acceptable (whatever that means), etc. Well – go ahead and do it. No-one is stopping you. Put your ideas into

  18. Ken
    2009 September 23 at 00:30

    Whoops – Seems like you have a word limit. And I lost some really brilliant material! Please let me finish.
    4: Put your ideas into practice. Roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. Do some of this theistic science. Publish the results (before you leap in with your mantras of peer review – go ahead and use one of the “journal your friend Bill Dembski has initiated over the years. They just seem to peter out through lack of material).
    One would think that if you had any confidence in your ideas you would be doing this. You would be demonstrating how much more powerful your “theist science” is than the real stuff, instead of sitting back and whining about honest scientists who help to make you life more fulfilling.
    But this has already been done – hasn’t it. By he ancients and the mystics of the “dark ages.”

  19. Ken
    2009 September 23 at 00:34

    Continuing:
    5: If your “theistic science” had any credibility, was at all effective, it would be carried out by those who advocate it. Tell me how the DI’s research institute (forget its name for the moment – they really don’t produce any work so I keep forgetting it) is applying their “theistic science.” tell me how Axe and Behe are carrying out their science. Isn’t it the same old “methodological materialism” yoiu are winging about? Give me specific examples if you disagree.

  20. Ken
    2009 September 23 at 00:41

    6: I do follow these people (the Wedge proponents) so am familiar with the “research” they do. The only way their “research” differs is in that which all DI fellows are obligated to do – “re-interpretation research.” Yes they actually have a name for it!

    “Reinterpretation research”
    involves taking other people scientific achievements, recently published research, etc., and applying a creations/ID interpretation to it. To selectively reinterpret findings to support their theistic positions.
    You can see where these “findings” go – can’t you. Onto the internet quote mines that creationists love and use so much. Onto apologetics web sites, etc., etc.
    This may be fodder for those who do nothing but whine – but its not honest research, is it?

  21. 2009 September 23 at 06:08

    Can Matt or Bethyda provide a scientific theory that includes God and generates scientific hypotheses?

  22. 2009 September 23 at 10:21

    Matt – you confuse things when you leap in to defend bethyada’s position – he is a self avowed creationist – you aren’t (or claim not to be – that’s not clear to me). So enough of the “smoke screen” argument – it’s not appropriate.
    You can’t make statements like “smokescreen” without showing how it is a smokescreen. Interact with the post. You have already said you don’t care for the term “methodological naturalism” so your issue is not with what I am saying here. There are 2 other illustrations in the post and I even complain about a term my ideological allies use.
    You [Matt], the Discovery Institute and the Wedge ideologues are advocating that science should be changed, “naturalism” should be removed, “super-naturalism” made acceptable
    My point was that science never used to have the term naturalism. It is an unwarranted addition after the fact that suits philosophical-naturalists/ materialists. But we already had a perfectly good term with “natural philosophy.”
    “Reinterpretation research” involves taking other people scientific achievements, recently published research, etc., and applying a creations/ID interpretation to it. To selectively reinterpret findings to support their theistic positions.
    What is wrong with this? Dalton did it. Einstein did it. The fact that a person gathers data does not make his interpretation of the data correct. Scientists frequently challenge interpretations of data, even if they agree with the basic data.

  23. 2009 September 23 at 10:32

    Can Matt or Bethyda provide a scientific theory that includes God and generates scientific hypotheses?
    Yes.
    But my point is that if God built a house, or a pyramid, or a moon, one could never claim this with a definition of methodological naturalism. It can say that a Pharaoh built a pyramid because he is natural, but God cannot have because he is supernatural. This is artificial and arbitrary, and even inconsistent with historical science.
    (I don’t think God built the pyramids).

  24. 2009 September 23 at 10:47

    Matt to argue for your position actually involves addressing the premises and providing reasons for rejecting them or reasons for thinking the inference form is invalid.
    So true!

  25. 2009 September 23 at 23:24

    It can say that a Pharaoh built a pyramid because he is natural, but God cannot have because he is supernatural. This is artificial and arbitrary, and even inconsistent with historical science.
    The difference is artificial if there can be evidence for supernatural causation. How how we know if God made a house?

  26. 2009 September 26 at 10:01

    pro abortion and anti abortion – I like it, I am going to use it.

  27. 2009 September 27 at 12:02

    Since some examples of scientific fraud were requested:
    A href=”http://voxday.blogspot.com/2009/09/agw-biggest-science-fraud-yet.html”>AGW
    Prof guilty of fraud
    More Fraud
    And this: In what experts are calling one of the largest known cases of academic misconduct, a leading anesthesiology researcher has been accused of falsifying data and other fraud in potentially dozens of published studies.
    I could give more, but I think 4 links is the limit in comments before being flagged as spam

  28. Ken
    2009 September 27 at 22:53

    OK Erik – now what about expressing this as a percentage of all scientists?
    Then have a go at identifying fraud and criminality (eg sexual abuse) amongst the religious clergy. And expressing that as a percentage of all people in such positions. Have a read of the Baylor University research on sexual abuse by clergy. It’s got so bad that it requires special courses to train social workers in that area. And research to identify reasons for it.
    We have a fair idea what motivates individual scientists to perpetuate a fraud. It is rare, considered extremely unethical and treated as such. We don’t just move those extremely few scientists involved in fraud away from their job into another parish – do we?
    So Erik – you obviously have an ideological barrow to push. Be honest about it and keep away from such smelly red herrings.

  29. 2009 September 27 at 23:10

    Ken, you talk of yourself.
    Seriously, you asked for some information and it was given to you. So you then try to redirect to avoid having to face the information that was given to you. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe that sexual abuse was anywhere in the original post so I am not going to bother to address that at this time.
    Continuing on the topic at hand, A pooled weighted average of 1.97% (N = 7, 95%CI: 0.86–4.45) of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once –a serious form of misconduct by any standard– and up to 33.7% admitted other questionable research practices. In surveys asking about the behaviour of colleagues, admission rates were 14.12% (N = 12, 95% CI: 9.91–19.72) for falsification, and up to 72% for other questionable research practices.
    So Ken, would you like to address this or would you prefer to avoid the evidence you asked for and try to derail the conversation?

  30. Ken
    2009 September 28 at 02:01

    No Erik – you gave links. You could have at least discussed the specific issues raised (I didn’t bother going to the links being aware of the fallacious quote mining/linking that creationists indulge in – as I discussed – “reinterpretation research.”).
    Now – consider how we know that there have been (surprisingly small numbers) of scientific fraud? Yes, discovered by other scientists. It’s part of the scientific process.
    Unfortunately, the Catholic Church usually operates the other way – tries to hide the evidence of sexual misbehavior by its priests, often blaming the victim.
    So Erik. What about you addressing both these questions:
    1: Do you honestly think the amount of scientific fraud is significant enough for you to change your life style? Will you refuse to use any technology, fly on a plane, switch on your lights, as a result? If you say this influences you only as far as evolutionary science is concerned you are confirming mus suspicions of your prejudices aren’t you?
    2: Are you at all concerned about the fraud perpetrated by religious leaders? After all they say different things and can’t all be right though they claim divine revelation. And are you at all concerned on the apparent widespread unethical sexual behavior of priests and other clergy – and their church’s cover-ups?

  31. 2009 September 28 at 02:14

    Ken, you asked for examples of fraud implying there are none. Then minimised these by assuming 3 examples are all that exist, thus a tiny proportion. Then attempted to divert the topic to religious sexual abuse.
    The number of clergy involved in child abuse, while upsetting, is irrelevant.
    Accusing all who oppose you with other agendas and ulterior motives does not address the substance of their arguments.

  32. 2009 September 28 at 03:28

    Ken,
    You asked for examples, I gave them to you. If you cannot be bothered to read them yourself, I really cannot help you. If I had instead just stated it you would have accused me of making it up and not having real evidence. I’ve been down this road many times before so I know how that one works
    Do you really consider 14% and 72% to be “surprisingly small numbers”? And I thought that I was the cynic!
    Catholic church… blah blah blah. One I am not Catholic, two its still off topic.
    As for question one, technology is NOT science which at its basic is the using of the scientific method. Technology which is built and improved upon by engineers is not science. Until of course, science fetishists want to trump up their numbers and usefulness to society. And as for planes, science still cannot explain why they fly. There are two competing (but opposite) theories (per the FAA) as to how it happens and the problem between deciding them is that they both work even tho they are incompatible. But I see no reason to change the way that I live. I place at least a passive trust in engineers every day when I way up in a house designed by one, eat food from a fridge designed by one, drive a car designed by one, work in a building after driving over a bridge and road designed by them.
    As for the fields of science that I have issues with they range but include psychology, geology, astrology (dark matter? 95% is probably the biggest fudge factor ever known to mankind!) medicine (AIDS vaccine? Would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath on that one) and then of course there is evolutionary biology (Soft tissue has now been confirmed in T-Rex fossils after 65million years?)
    Your question #2 is still off topic and as above I am not going to answer it on this thread.

  33. Ken
    2009 September 28 at 05:07

    Erick – your 14% and 72% – do you know what they even refer to. Or what about the mean figure of less than 2% (why not quote that – too small?) You need to discuss specific examples.
    If you look you will actually find genuine examples of fraud and their discovery – by scientists not theoilogians. It’s not as if they aren’t there – it’s just that you are not aware of the real frauds, are?
    The only specific case you (now) mention is “dark matter? 95%”. What is the issue here? What does the 95% refer to? And how is this a fraud? Come off it, we don’t yet know what “dark matter” is. How could it be a “fraud?” The name is only a placeholder. We certainly have a whole range of empirical measurements which lead us to think there is such material. It’s likely, though that we will have a much better understanding of this within the next 5 – 10 years. Then we will give it a name.
    So what is the fraud with “dark matter?” the empirical measurements? Do you have evidence that someone has fiddled the data? Justify your “fraud” charge with respect to “dark Matter” – your only real example.
    What specific bits of psychology, geology and medicine do you refer to. (We won’t take any responsibility for “astrology” That’s one from your side).
    OK you and Bethyda don’t like me mentioning religious fraud and sexual behavior (by non-Catholics and Catholics alike). It does actually concern me. I have a relative who was sexually abused by his priest as a child – and to rub it in the same priest had an affair with his wife and destroyed his marriage!
    But you ignored my question 1. If you do seriously think science is involved in such big time fraud then you would be avoid technology, medicine, doctors, and almost all of modern society. Do you fly in planes? drive a car?. etc. etc.
    You do?
    Well I can’t take you claims of fraud seriously, then, can I?
    (Just checked and shocked to see your claim “science still cannot explain” how planes fly!!!!
    Now – that is desperate and destroys any idea that you could possibly make judgments about scientific knowledge.
    I think you are just raving. hence your inability to provide specific examples.

  34. 2009 September 28 at 06:07

    flights two theories: Newtonian and Bernoulli. They are different.
    I didn’t use the 2% number because that is people reporting upon themselves as having falsified data or some other such thing. I think human nature as well as statistics show that self selection skews data.
    Dark Matter has been a fudge factor since 1933 but prominent since 1975. Please note that I didn’t call it a fraud, but used the term fudge factor. Quite simply dark matter cannot be seen or measured. Sounds almost… supernatural. (Note, I am not claiming that it is) I am not so confident as you that 5-10 more years will suffice, but to be fair it took science 50 years to believe that the speed of light is in fact finite so they still have another 15 years or so.
    Psychology is a very soft science and has been prone to political pressure. e.g. removal of homosexuality from the DSM for political reasons that were not backed by any research or study, but for political only reasons. Maybe they should have removed it, but regardless their reason for removing it was flawed.
    Geology – approx 7% of the earth has the strata in the “correct” evolutionary order, yet makes the assumption that the remaining 93% are the incorrect ones. Also it is completely unwilling to even look at anything other than uniformitarianism which can (and has) lead to wrong conclusions – see Eastern Washington Scablands
    Medicine – Spends $2 for marketing for every $1 for research. Also has been found guilty numerous times of pushing their drugs for unapproved uses – see recent multi-billion settlement
    Technology != science
    They are NOT the same. One is engineering, the other is a process built upon observation and testing theories. Planes are engineering. Note that while some observation certainly took place, flight was a trial and error process to get the mechanics right. Light bulbs? Not science, but brute force by Edison. Science really has a much smaller role in modern life than science fetishists like to believe.
    As for examples I gave 4 in my first post. One where a single scientist falsified data for at least 21 reports. Peer review is of course supposed to catch that, but that isn’t the entire reason for peer review. Its to ensure orthodoxy which is how his work got passed it.
    Oh, and aviation is something that I personally find quite interesting and have done more than my fair share of reading. There are the above two theories and if one is correct than the other is not. ie competing. That is not anywhere near desperate.
    What is desperate is your attempt to bring up a bad (second-hand) personal experience and try to use it to derail the conversation. It sucks that it happened, but evil does exist in this world. I wonder just how much that colors your worldview and how you see things?

  35. Ken
    2009 September 28 at 23:36

    Erik – Could you please present the details of the 2 different aerodynamic theories – specifically in which way they differ?

  36. 2009 September 29 at 00:46

    Bernoulli’s Principle: To understand how lift is produced, we must examine a phenomenon discovered many years ago by the scientist Bernoulli and later called Bernoulli’s Principle: The pressure of a fluid (liquid or gas) decreases at points where the speed of the fluid increases. In other words, Bernoulli found that within the same fluid, in this case air, high speed flow is associated with low pressure, and low speed flow with high pressure. This principle was first used to explain changes in the pressure of fluid flowing within a pipe whose cross-sectional area varied. In the wide section of the gradually narrowing pipe, the fluid moves at low speed, producing high pressure. As the pipe narrows it must contain the same amount of fluid. In this narrow section, the fluid moves at high speed, producing low pressure.
    An important application of this phenomenon is made in giving lift to the wing of an airplane, an airfoil. The airfoil is designed to increase the velocity of the airflow above its surface, thereby decreasing pressure above the airfoil. Simultaneously, the impact of the air on the lower surface of the airfoil increases the pressure below. This combination of pressure decrease above and increase below produces lift.
    Those who advocate an approach to lift by Newton’s laws appeal to the clear existance of a strong downwash behind the wing of an aircraft in flight. The fact that the air is forced downward clearly implies that there will be an upward force on the airfoil as a Newton’s 3rd law reaction force. From the conservation of momentum viewpoint, the air is given a downward component of momentum behind the airfoil, and to conserve momentum, something must be given an equal upward momentum

  37. 2009 September 29 at 00:47

    Ken,
    Care to get on with responding to the clear evidence that you asked for regarding fraud in science? Or by continually redirecting are you ceding that point?

  38. Ken
    2009 September 29 at 01:13

    How does that conflict with Newton? Surely their theories explain different things – but both are used in aerodynamics. The are not in opposition to each other. I just find your explanation confusing because you don’t give any evidence of the theories producing different results when applied properly.
    But more specifically where is the fraud in the fact that both these theories are used in aerodynamics?
    Erik – the only specific example of fraud you have mentioned is “dark matter” which you now acknowledge is not fraud.
    I am sure that you can find specific examples – no problem, I could myself. After all those documented examples are documented because the fraud was revealed by scientific investigation.
    Technology is based on science – you use technology which exhibits a confidence in the underlying science. Your talk of fraud is ideologically motivated.
    You would not be using science based technology if you really believed science was based on fraud. You would be religion on magic, prayer, etc., instead. Presumably you don;’t do that. Consequently I cannot take your ideologically motivated raves against science seriously.

  39. 2009 September 29 at 01:40

    Ken your reading comprehension is horrendous. I have cited 5 total cases of fraud. You asked for examples, I gave them. I never claimed that dark matter is fraud, rather that was brought up in response to your asking what fields I have issues with. You asked, I answered and you fail to grok the answer. The problem lies with your not wanting to deal with someone who will not bow down to you simply because you think you hold the high ground. You have refused to even acknowledge that those examples were given and stated yourself that you had not even clicked the links. So tell me again who has the problem here?

    I am sure that you can find specific examples – no problem, I could myself.
    I did because you wrote the following: “And Mike T and Madeleine – it really is pathetic to talk about “scientific journal fraud” (without specific examples – perhaps you could provides some details of this alleged scientific journal fraud), ignoring the whole scientific ethos of honesty, just because you have a mythological barrow to push. People with evidence usually talk about it, not attempt to divert attention by dishonest and unsubstantiated assertions.”
    Now just who is it that is the pathetic barrow pusher? Who is it that has been attempting to divert attention by being dishonest and asserting that I am not answering your questions?
    Your responses Ken have shown that it is YOUR ideological ranting that cannot be taken serious by anyone. You project your failings upon others and then you retreat to logical fallacies as a direct result of your lacking the ability to hold a logical argument. Seriously Ken, this isn’t school. Your calling names and position with the “in” crowd doesn’t cut it.

  40. Mrs. Pilgrim
    2009 September 29 at 23:01

    Wow, how far a discussion has gone off the original topic–albeit very informatively so. I’m not complaining about the education I’m getting here.
    I believe that the term “pro-life” is often used because those on that side of the debate are arguably fighting for the life of the intended victim. But yes, to have an unemotional discussion about abortion, charged terms need to fall into obsolescence.
    In “methodological naturalism”…how pompous that comes off. “Science” refers to a body of knowledge; the “scientific method” refers to methods of observation and testing that are intended to increase said knowledge. Short terms are good; let’s not turn science into something mocked like “sanitation engineers” and “hospitality representatives”.
    Gender-neutralism in translation is a disaster–particularly where you start misinterpreting things like prophetic Scriptures. It’s born of political correctness and modern feminism, not an interest in accuracy. Anything else is intended to distract you from the fact that some chick got upset at irrationally feeling left out.

  41. Ken
    2009 September 29 at 23:05

    Erik – you gave links, not cases. The data was for a statistical survey, not an example. The only example you specifically mentions was “dark matter” – the rest have been snipes at scientific news and ideas. They show a willingness to label almost anything as “fraud” (aerodynamics, “dark matter, geology, medicine, etc., etc.
    (I didn’t pursue the links because the few that I investigated were obviously not fraud. They demonstrated an almost random use of links as “evidence.” If you had any confidence in the allegations you would have specifically discussed the examples – as you did by providing the figures from the statistical survey).
    The fact remains, though, reporting cases of fraud, cases identified by further scientific activity, is really silly. It’s an issue for scientists who must enforce an ethos of honesty – an ethos for which the general public respect that profession.
    Your whole approach has been to snipe at science. Presumably attempting to discredit the rational scientific endeavours of humanity. In an attempt to “justify” by default the ancient mythological ideas and superstitions which longer are relevant to modern society.
    Otherwise why the sniping?

  42. 2009 September 29 at 23:22

    Ken,
    I gave links because you freaked out that Mike had not given them. Now you have a problem with links? And you didn’t read them so they are therefore random?
    data was for a statistical survey, not an example. The only example you specifically mentions was “dark matter” Again, Mr Unable-to comprehend-the-written-word, Dark Matter was never claimed to be a fraud. Please learn to read.
    Also, please learn to follow links rather than to continuously misrepresent them. One link was for researchers refusing to give out their data so that others might reproduce their work (essential component of science after all) another was for a professor found guilty of fraud and another was for a researcher who committed fraud on AT LEAST 21 papers. Those are specific examples, not statistics.
    The fact remains, though, reporting cases of fraud, cases identified by further scientific activity, is really silly. It wasn’t silly when you slandered others earlier.
    I don’t need to snipe at science. I can just show the world how the science fetishists such as yourself are really just socially autistic and have so few arguments that they just run and hide when someone wont just back down to their baseless claims or superiority. Since I started answering your objections to the others earlier all you have done is changed goalposts and tried to make this about religion when it is not nor has it been.
    You keep repeating that science is all self-correcting, but if scientists were as rigorous at rooting it out as you seem to believe, why is it that the data shows that 14% of colleagues are known to have falsified data and 72% committed misconduct? Should this not be a huge clarion call to the science community to step up and root this out? Of course that isn’t what we see, but the science fetishists want us to believe that it happens regularly.

  43. Ken
    2009 September 30 at 04:10

    Jumping from 1.98 to 14%!! You have to look at what those figures represent and not use them to fit into your own preconceived plan. That way we would have 100% of priests and clergy guilty of sexual molestation(because it crossed their minds) instead of the 5% claimed by the Vatican. (Although they also claim the %age is higher for protestants and Jews.
    It makes you happy to consider me an autistic fraud – go ahead. But in my scientific work I feel that I have contributed to humanity. Mind you – there are a few people who feel that my work hasn’t gone their way (commercially) and who would like to label me a fraud. (One of them has!).
    Might I suggest you may be in a similar class – but ideological rather than commercial. After all – this discussion arose because of a creationist attempt to misrepresent science.

  44. 2009 September 30 at 04:24

    Ken
    I am glad that you feel you have contributed to humanity. Congrats. I see you still want to bring religion into this. Why are you so hung up on it? Do you try to turn every conversation that isn’t going your way to religion?
    Oh, and I don’t think you are a fraud. Socially autistic? Yes. Fraud? No. It appears that you also have a reading comprehension problem.
    Bethyada wrote: It fails because it does not apply to historical science which has no such non-supernatural limitations yet historical science is considered part of the broader concept of science. And it fails because it contains a philosophical term: Naturalism has a range of claims which are not derived from science, nor does science intrinsically favour naturalism.
    There was no misrepresentation of science in that statement. Perhaps you just have an ideological axe to grind against creationists?

  45. Mrs. Pilgrim
    2009 September 30 at 21:04

    Ken. Ken! KEN! CALM DOWN AND READ!
    You said “Jumping from 1.98 to 14%!!” Balderdash. What he said was that scientists reported KNOWING that about 1 out of every 7 of their colleagues had falsified information. That, to my mind, is a lot more telling than less than 2% confessing to having committed fraud themselves–given that, being human, they don’t like to fess up to bad behavior.

  46. Ken
    2009 September 30 at 22:52

    Mrs Pilgrim – given the fact that scientists are human, with all the problems of the human ego, they will easily be subjective in their treatment of data. However, the social organisation of science works to filter a lot of this out and the long term self correcting does mean that frauds are eventually found out. If you believe that significant amount of fraud (or subjective imposition on science. gets through then you will not partake of any science-based technology. We know that is not the case as you are communicating here.
    My experience is that there is a very important ethos of honesty in science. I have seen plenty of examples of subjective and selective interpretation of data – and in review processes I have helped filter a lot of that out. it happens all the time and collectively we work to counter it.
    Of course there is no such ethos of honesty, or of review, in theology – is there?
    Erik – I don’t know how you missed this but this whole post was a theological attack on science. It is a religious perspective and needs to be dealt with as such. It is certainly not a scientific perspective or discussion.
    And the statement you quote is a complete misrepresentation of science. Not that this worries you because you partake in that activity yourself.
    And yes I do have an axe to grind against creationists – basically a moral one to do with honesty. Almost all scientists grind the same axe regarding creationism.

  47. 2009 October 1 at 01:30

    Well Ken, lets start off by filtering your statement. you say that this whole post was on religion.
    There were three separate sections labeled:
    Pro abortion as pro-choice
    Science as methodological naturalism
    Gender neutral as gender accurate translation
    So I see that you are already wrong altho you are unlikely to acknowledge that fact.
    Second, this post was about language and its use to stifle debate, hence the main post title “Bypassing the argument thru definition” Are you then making the claim that language is science? Or is this further evidence of a misrepresentation by you? Don’t worry tho, most scientists know that 72% of their colleagues have committed similar offenses.
    And as for your axe to grind with creationists, its not a moral one. Its a virulently anti-religious one that colors your perception and worldview and causes you to see bugi men where there are none.

  48. Ken
    2009 October 1 at 02:02

    It is a moral one. Creationist tell lies about well known facts. And they slander honest scientific endeavour. Some things I, as a scientist, feel very passionate about

  49. 2009 October 1 at 03:19

    Ken,
    Let me paraphrase you “it really is pathetic to talk about “[Creationist lies]” (without specific examples – perhaps you could provides some details of this alleged [Creationist lying]),

  50. Ken
    2009 October 2 at 22:56

    There are too many to deal with, aren’t they. But in this article the treatment of “historical science” ( I have dealt with in “Historical science”), i have often discussed the fallacy behind the creationist naturalism/supernaturalism argument on Open Parachute, and have a look through my articles on intelligent design (http://openparachute.wordpress.com/?s=intelligent+design) for more examples.

  51. Mrs. Pilgrim
    2009 October 4 at 05:14

    Ken, your response gets a facepalm and a dissection.
    “Mrs Pilgrim – given the fact that scientists are human, with all the problems of the human ego, they will easily be subjective in their treatment of data.”
    Speaking of intellectual dishonesty, would you like to explain to me how you feel comfortable characterizing “fraudulent” as “subjective in their treatment of data”? See, to the rest of us, the former is known as “lying”; the latter is known as “weaseling and fudging”. Not the same.
    Furthermore, if you’re arguing that scientists are such delicate flowers that we can’t count on them to be 100% honest when their feelings might be hurt by the truth, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
    “However, the social organisation of science works to filter a lot of this out and the long term self correcting does mean that frauds are eventually found out.”
    I could go through a long list of those that didn’t get “found out”–including a report on secondhand smoke that got thrown out by the Supreme Court as being totally unreliable, but somehow still gets used in mainstream “scientific” work.
    “If you believe that significant amount of fraud (or subjective imposition on science. gets through then you will not partake of any science-based technology.”
    Balderdash. The Internet and computers are demonstrated to work–feats of engineering. You’re trying to attribute to me the argument that just because I think a group of ideological nutjobs have declared that humans are a very old and freakishly mutated species of bacterium, all persons who believe in electricity are also insane. That’s quite a leap–and totally illogical. Too bad it’s this “unscientific” Christian who sees that and not the “rational scientist”.
    “My experience is that there is a very important ethos of honesty in science. I have seen plenty of examples of subjective and selective interpretation of data – and in review processes I have helped filter a lot of that out. it happens all the time and collectively we work to counter it.”
    So in other words, because you’ve caught some people lying, that excuses lying? Or does it mean that because you’ve caught some liars, that all liars have been caught?
    “Of course there is no such ethos of honesty, or of review, in theology – is there?”
    There’s the very thing Erik was talking about: You can’t deal with the issue at hand, which is that the prevalence of intellectual dishonesty in the world of theoretical (and unprovable) sciences tends to preclude trust therein. Shall I assume that your delicate sensibilities have been injured, so you feel you need to engage in “I know you are, but what am I?” comebacks?

  52. Ken
    2009 October 4 at 21:24

    Ah, Mrs Pilgrim, I see where you are coming from:
    “ideological nutjobs have declared that humans are a very old and freakishly mutated species of bacterium”
    So to justify your own desire to “believe a myth despite all the overwhelming evidence denying it you have painted yourself into a corner. Now you have to declare that it’s not you that is wrong – really everyone else is a “nutjob.”
    So don’t “trust” science. No skin off my nose. It’s just no basis of credibility for you.

  53. 2009 October 5 at 05:19

    Ken,
    I invite you to check out my latest blog post which is on the latest fraud, that which foisted upon us Al Gore’s movie! A crime against humanity to be sure! Seems that it got thru peer review 8 times, and might not have been uncovered if it hadn’t accidentally been discovered on an FTP server.
    Also, that “overwhelming evidence” leaves me barely whelmed, if that. Its largely a bunch of story telling, with dishonest illustrations to convince others of things that aren’t there. This is, of course, regarding evolutionary biology. Most of the other fields of science are fairly solid.
    Oh, and since you have brought it up several times in the above posts, since you distrust religion so much, do you drink milk? That whole pasteurization thing is tainted by its religious roots after all. Oh, and stay away from that whole gravity thing. No telling just how many injuries and deaths have occurred from that!

  54. Mrs. Pilgrim
    2009 October 15 at 22:53

    Ken,
    Your response indicates that you really have no idea what you’re talking about, nor do you care to engage in a discussion. You read part of a person’s writings, then apply your own wishful thinking in order to arrive at the conclusion you came up with before you even got started. Bravo.
    I will try ONE MORE TIME to get you to start thinking logically, although I have so very little hope of success:
    My refusal to accept at face value the speculations of a small population of people whose ethics are highly questionable and whose reasoning skills leave a great deal to be desired DOES NOT mean that I “don’t trust science.” That’s a bit like saying that if you don’t agree with Obama’s policies, you’re a racist. Obama is not all blacks; evolutionists are not all scientists. LOGIC!
    Your highly selective and extremely biased treatment of my statements does precisely ZERO to encourage me to believe that you are in any way honest enough to screen out frauds on the part of your “peers.”

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: