RE: virus:Logic

Gifford, Nate F (
Tue, 7 Oct 1997 13:38:45 -0400

chardin wrote:

I have a good friend who is an atheist who nonetheless looks to science,
in my opinion, >as a religion. He gives great credence to anything
published in scientific
This is not necessarily faith based. The journal articles report two
things: experimental results and a hypothesis for the results. The results
are credible as far as they are reproducible. Your friend must be a very
confused scientific theist if he believes every hypothesis ... as they can
be quite divergent ... see the Denning/Gould post from a couple of days

>Science has become so technical today and the jargon so
>alien to normal vocabular, that one might as well say the mass is
>given in Latin.
I find this objectionable since I am quite capable of reading and
understanding most (< 50%) of the journal articles in the local college
library. These results are based on helping two girlfriends <an engineer
and a chemist> do research for undergraduate papers.
>When you press him for particulars about a particular
>methodology in science,
What methodology do you mean ... or is he nebulous on the statistical
significance of results?
>he admits that he does not understand himself but has "faith" in those who
do >understand it, namely, the guys in white coats(the new priestly garb).
His basis for >doing this is that of "peer review."
At least this is a self-correcting criteria. Religions makes claims for
geologic time. What scientific beliefs have stood uncorrected for longer
then 50 years? 100 years? Since their inception? The proof of the
"truth" of the scientific method is immediately in front of you ... Your
Cathode Ray Tube, or Your Laser Printout, or even Your Dot Matrix printout
are all based on technology ... which is science for the less imaginative.
<As a technologist and I can put my group down.>
>There again, he puts faith in this method of keeping the boys/girls in
white honest. I, >on the other hand, as a skeptic and observer of the
system, see potential for "ole boys >club" and collusion or if you prefer
the ole "scratch-my-back-
>and-I'll-scratch yours-routine.
For how long? Would you care to give examples of this? AK Dewdney has a
book out on bad science that provides several examples of the scientific
method eventually crushing the type of science you describe above. I don't
contend that it doesn't happen ... just that the "truths" resulting from
science of this type don't last. Compare Dewdney's book to a history of
religion ... it seems to me that all religions seem to start with a
charismatic wacko and then get legitimized for political reasons.
>Granted, on the surface it does seem like the system ought to work and
many times it >no doubt does, yet it still leaves a lot of room for error.
I think it did work in the
>infamous Cold Fusion case, but that was a hard science issue that
>could be proved false or true by experimentation--rather quickly. In
>medical science, for example, I don't think it can work as well as
>there are too many variables and conducting human trials are more
>difficult. This leads to all the wild claims--salt is bad for you,
I don't believe that the claim is that salt is bad for you ... The claim is
that sodium at certain levels of intake raises a certain percentage of
people's blood pressure. I've seen this work for a friend with high blood
pressure at chinese restaurants. She always orders her food without MSG
... but sometimes the kitchen gives it to her anyway. When they do her
fingers noticeably swell.
>cholesterol values have meaning (good and bad),
Are you arguing that people with a percentage of "bad" cholesterol higher
then average have more heart problems?
>milk probably causes "hardening of the arteries." etc. etc. etc.
I haven't heard this ... but on the other hand exactly what nutrients do
you think you are getting from milk?
>The point I disliked about Dawkins article "Viruses of the
>Mind" was his continual thumping of the table to show that if only all
>these sick religious people would think critically, objectively, etc.
>as scientists, then the world would be better.
Yeah, I really want my kid to be taught that the stories in Genesis are as
valid an explanation for fossils as paleontology. Noone cares what sick
religious people think until they inflict their delusions on the population
in general.
>The truth of the matter is that scientists, as human creatures, fall
victum to all
>those same evils that afflict others, i.e., excessive ego, greed,
>power grab, etc.
Lets compare apples to apples here ... I contend that these evils are more
prevalent in the church. Exactly what benefits do churches provide the
people who don't attend the church? Compare that to science ... unless
you're an old-order Amish person I think science is benefiting you more
than religion is benefiting me.
>The publish or perish syndrome, the race for grants,
>the funding of the pharmaceutical industry, the desire for patent
>rights, all of these affect science so that "pure" science is
>difficult to find.
Promise Keepers, The Right To Lifers, Marriage For Gays, Tax Exemptions
For Church Businesses , The whole "Family Values" new-right agenda ... The
idea of a "pure" religion is impossible by definition....although Zen
probably comes closest. I recommend you empty your cup and read the
Dawkins article again.