RE: The story-telling ape (was virus: Logic)

chardin (
Fri, 17 Oct 1997 17:18:06 CST+6CDT

>Brett wrote:
> List,
> Why must scientists base their beliefs on refutations of religion
> and visa versa? The memetic idea is a good one (that <fiath>
> encourages others to disregard logic). But, aren't either science
> or religion based on a philosophical perspective which is coherent
> enough to do what they do respectively (or even cooperate where that
> is possible) without attacking the other system. Aren't we lookeing
> for objective reality, or truth? Don't both systems attempt to do
> that?
> It would seem that a person who determines reality using faith must
> be in short supply of it to destroy another's faith/logic in order
> to boost their own supply (the same for scientists). If a logician
> or an adherent has to stoop to finding fault with others, then their
> own system is incomplete. I have never found any difficulty with
> using both faith and logic to confirm what my senses tell me. I
> have no doubt that good science is about explaining exactly what the
> faithful are looking for, an *understanding* of cause and effect.
> Although this seems like a critique of Chardin for trying to
> disprove science in order to bolster her faith (and it is that,
> too), there is an important question here as well. Is there, on
> some level, a basic difference in the view of reality that the
> two--science and religion--are trying to establish...I mean, is it
> somehow true that if there is a prime cause then science cannot
> function--or if there is not does science function any better?
Brett, your assumptions are all wrong. I am not using my argument
against science to bolster my religious beliefs. I can state and
restate it if I could only get someone to listen:

Science makes special claims for itself
Science says you should believe in me because I am tested and true
I am replication, I am peer-review. Someone just posted a notice to
the effect: "we accept science because it has been replicated"
Not true. David admitted almost no validation takes place. Because
scientists don't expect other scientists to lie, they tend to take
each other's word for it. This is why Randi says scientists are the
easiest to fool.

Did no one read my long quotes? Were they too long? The authors
pointed out that when Science makes special claims for itself, the
onus is on science to prove it. I am saying that when replication
has not taken place, blatant fraud lives happily through peer review,
then if we are seriously interested in learning the truth, we need to
submit science to the hard scrutinyy of reason that we would hold any
other descipline. This has nothing to do with my religion. This has
to do with the safety, for example, of some pills my doctor might
prescribe or a test that I might have to take. What does it mean
that the pill is safe because of "scientific" evidence. Does it
matter that XYX paid for the study of the pill and stands to make a
billion dollars if they get it on the market? Does it matter than
XYX also gave a huge grant to the institution that conducted the
study? Does it matter if Lucy is really a fossil who is
prehuman--I don't know what since Smith@Harvard says she is not ape--what she is?
Does it matter? Does it matter if her legs have been sawed? I'm
using Lucy as an example for the thousands of other examples that

For example, what about Kuru? Ever heard of Kuru? A physician won
the nobel prize because he said natives on an island ate the brains
of people infected with a virus which he caused Kuru. A picture of
natives cannabalizing appeared on the front of a prestigious medical
journal. Only one problem. Nativse from the area said cannabalism
never existed there. Anthropologists said they never heard of it
either. No more Kuru because the last of the natives died that had
it. Pressed by some of his collegues, he apparently had to admit
that the picture he used on the front cover was a bunch of natives
eating a pot roast--he did not have a picture of cannabalism actually
taking place. Do you think any widespread investigation has ever
looked into this? I saw an article the other day citing the Kuru
stuff just as thought it were all perfectly good science--and
compared to a lot of it, it probably is. But what are the
implications for this? What about mad cow disease? Viruses in
brains have been seen before--what about the Kuru case? I think it
is easy for error to get compounded upon error.

Do you think I am attacking your Holy Cow? No, I accept things for
which we have proof, but I want to the evidence to be good. Don't
give me a picture of natives eating post roast and tell me that are
feasting on the brain of a human beinsg. I feel very betrayed. But
what is even worse, is nothing is done. It is in the literature, it
is cited. Maybe I am the one who is crushed by the falliability of
this Holy Cow. Maybe I am projecting my hurt at the betrayal of
science to you guys, when in fact, I am the one disappointed.