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

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Fri, 17 Oct 1997 17:00:32 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 17 Oct 1997, chardin wrote:

> 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.
> 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.
> Chardin


Your demand that science should live up to its own stated standards of
evidence and replicability is perfectly reasonable and commendable. I am
interested in what evidence the authors of _Betrayers of the Truth_ have
that lack of evidence for accepted scientific claims is commonplace (if
that's not too self-referential!), since such a situation would obviously
be cause for concern. I have added _Betrayers of the Truth_ to my list
of book recommendations from Church of Virus members, which take
precedence over recommendations from most other sources. In turn, I would
like to recommend that you read one or both of the following:

_Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark_ by Carl Sagan
_Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science_ by
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt

Both of these books deal with science, in both theory and practice, and
attacks on it from various (often mutually opposed) camps. Neither book
claims that scientific practice is perfect, but the authors of both do
evaluate the reasonableness of many of the criticisms levelled against
science, and they defend science as the best method for its purposes.
Once I've read _Betrayers_, I'd be interested in comparing the books with