Monday, September 20, 2010

Squinting at Science III

Hm. Now my posts are being deleted because disagreeing is very trollish and I shouldn't write so much.

My final reply which he's now taken to deleting. Having posted a large criticism of my posts and deleting what seems like a reasonable reply.

It went with the rest of the implication that he was somehow just some guy. It’s a bit like saying Mr. Newton thinks X, but scientists today disagree. He was a college professor and a fantastic scientist. You seemed to use “Mr.” to reinforce the general accusation that he was somehow being unreasonable. It’s not disrespectful in general but you seem to have a tone of disrespect that you’re reinforcing thusly.

* “offers long comment full of content I certainly agree with, then implies I do not. Quite a waste of words on his part, and such strawmanning is not appropriate for someone claiming to have truth as his objective.”

Oh, how dare I post an explanation of various aspects of history of science, to establish the point I’m trying to make. You give a false impression in the above article as well as in your paper. To make this point requires explaining a lot.

* “claims I said my paper “gave a ‘history of science’” when I said no such thing. The title of my paper makes it clear it is on methodological naturalism, merely one theme within the history of science. I really dislike being misquoted and strawmanned.”

Really. You said, and I quote: “Tatarize, it seems you have read neither my previous articles posted on this site, nor my article published on the history of science…”

Your article published “on the history of science” did, though the main thesis was MN, have some history of science there. It was poorly done, but you did say it was on history of science and it had a brief rundown of what some people might fathom the history of science is (Rodney Stark for example gives pretty much that same flawed rundown).

* “most egregiously suggests that I think Mr. Hartsoeker contributed nothing to science. My point was clear. There is no reason for us today to revert to an immature approach to science that unparsimoniously invokes imaginative solutions that fall in line with religious dogma. I poke fun at Mr. Hartsoeker in the context of the history of science in the same way I poke fun at myself when I was 10 and thought I had telepathy.”

I objected to the implication that you reiterate here that there is some sort of immaturity here. There is not. The solution wasn’t Hartsoeker’s, and it isn’t unparsimonious. It is the best conclusion given the evidence they had at the time. The reality is of genetics and embryology is unparsimonious. It’s actually a counter-intuitive reality and speculating about tiny people inside gametes is the only thing that made sense at the time. The problem is it was too parsimonious, infinitely regressive, and wrong.

* (Continued) “Neither does Isaac Newton, in spite of his enormous contributions, escape a bit of scorn for dabbling in alchemy, though many of us in the context of his age would have done the same.

Actually by the time Newton was dabbling in Alchemy it was largely considered bankrupt. He was a bit late to say that he was just “doing what all the kids were doing”. He gets scorn for that because, though he was very scientific about it, it was rightly viewed as unscientific at the time he was doing it.

* “Making fun of our blunders in our shared humanity over the ages is a healthy way to keep ourselves on track today. I’m sure most of you understood my playful article in the context of my previous satirical posts. One reader did not.”

The message one should take away is that in the history of science you can go down rather large blind alleys whether it’s preformationism or Phlogiston, good science can be wrong and we should be vigilant of that fact. It may always look wrong to us in retrospect, but it didn’t seem wrong at the time.

It is not one man’s immature blunder, it was science at the time going down a spectacular blind alley just to figure out that it was wrong.
 Perhaps I'm the crazy one and disagreeing with the false impressions somebody gives really is somehow sinister.

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