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Steve Fuller and the Hidden Agenda of Social Constructivism
Talk Reason ^ | 2/19/2006 | Norman Levitt

Posted on 02/20/2006 5:54:51 PM PST by jennyp

The recent, notorious confrontation, embodied in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, between Creationism (in the guise of "Intelligent Design Theory") and biological science was notable for many things, not least among them the dissolution of standard political categories. The decision itself confronted us the startling image of Judge J. Jones, a conservative Republican and a recent Bush appointee to boot, coming forth with an opinion that in its unquestioning deference to the "establishment" clause of the First Amendment, its pervasive concern for civil liberties, and its determination to maintain a materialist, naturalistic definition of science, seemed to have come straight out of a secular-humanist handbook. There were some assertions with which a hard-core monist might quibble, specifically, that there is no real conflict between science, evolu­tion­ary and otherwise, and religion as such. But these were minor diplomatic gestures, and did little to shield theocratic pretensions from the decision's thrust.

On top of that, the post-trial school board election that preceded the decision by a few weeks revealed the massive defection of a largely conservative and Republican community to the Democratic column and to an explicitly liberal view of church-state relations, clearly rejecting the theocratic bullying of the previous board. Moreover, the case itself had the effect of prying some prominent conservative thinkers away from their previously unquestioned allegiance to the Christian Right.

Yet the trial itself put on display a contrary anomaly, slight in its overall legal significance yet striking in its reversal of familiar dichotomies. That anomaly, to give it a personal name, was Professor Steve Fuller, an American academic now in the sociology program of the UK's University of Warwick, who provided an aggressive and cocksure rationale for the Dover Board's position and for the "Intelligent Design" program in general.

Philosopher turned sociologist

Fuller, who has a degree in philosophy of science, has long been a strident, insistent voice in the "science studies" movement that has insinuated itself into the European and American scholarly community. By the sole criterion of page counting, and leaving aside questions of accuracy, soundness, and irredundancy, he has been massively prolific. With entrepreneurial acumen, he early on founded his own journal, Social Epistemology, to tout the supremacy of his own doctrines. He has nimbly climbed the greasy pole of academic prestige, at least insofar as British redbricks and a field like sociology can generate it, rocketing upward on a ceaseless stream of words, most of them inflected by more than a hint of self-praise. As is almost inevitable in the prevailing climate, he positions himself on the supposed left of the political spectrum. Indeed, he has repeatedly resorted to "lefter than thou" rhetoric to bolster his claim to theoretical primacy. For instance, his book on Thomas Kuhn, probably the best known of his works, propounds the peculiar thesis that Kuhn's all-too-famous The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was at heart a Cold War scheme to lull western scientists into accepting their assigned role as accomplices of anti-Communist militarism. This is Fullerism at its slyest; the author simultaneously dethrones a figure who has been (rightly or wrongly) the philosophical demigod of left-wing science studies, while seizing the crown for himself.

In Fuller's mind, working scientists are in an important sense intellectually deformed. They constitute a narrow, cloistered, inbred hierarchy of myopic specialists largely blind to the "true" nature of science and oblivious to its future trajectory. Science, on this view, maintains its prestige, authority, and access to resources by playing the power game, bullying and intimidating the rest of society. It is "an arrested social movement in which the natural spread of knowledge is captured by a community that gains relative advantage by forcing other communities to rely on its expertise to get what they want." In other words, what we now think of as "science" does not truly comprehend nature, but rather constructs from its own idiosyncratic perspective a limited image of nature, while using the prerogatives of a privileged mandarinate to nullify or suppress all rival knowledge claims that impinge on its territory.

But fear not! Paladins (most notably, Steve Fuller!) have arisen from the socially oriented disciplines to overthrow this view of things. Specifically, Fuller regards himself as a leader in the movement to "open up" science by nurturing and canonizing ways of "doing science" that differ radically from practices currently endorsed by the professional scientific consensus. This is a theme that plays well on the academic left, since it explicitly includes such notions as "citizen science" and "people's science," projects that Fuller gives leave to confront and reject the findings of established science. There is an obvious nod to the epistemic relativism that is central to the postmodernist view of things, notwithstanding the fact that Fuller indignantly refuses the "postmodernist" label.

This bizarre project is propped up by Fuller's dogma that one need not actually understand standard science to criticize it or to pose profoundly different alternatives. The specific content of standard science, its internal logic, the empirical results that buttress it, are not crucial elements in understanding "Science" as he maintains it should be understood. What, then, authorizes those who, like Fuller, do "social studies of science" to claim that supposedly superior understanding? "We study them [scientists] as people, not minor deities. We observe them in their workplaces, interpret their documents, and propose explanations for their activities that make sense of them, given other things we know about human beings." This, presumably, gives Fuller and friends the Archimedean leverage to condemn professional science as a hermetic cult and to toss aside its findings when ideology so dictates. "If a theory 'forced' one to assent to politically distasteful, depressing, and counterintuitive claims, then one could regard those consequences as in themselves good reasons to find the theory implausible," says feminist philosopher Sandra Harding; Fuller would doubtless agree, as evidenced by his sympathy for the War Against Darwin.

Anecdotal evidence

... [snip Fuller getting snookered by the Sokal affair] ...

The blind theory-maker

Going well beyond [the Sokal] incident, a search of Fuller's manifestos reveals that he knows little, if anything, about the content or logic of biology or physics. Mathematically, he seems to be quite illiterate. On the other hand, as the cited incident shows, he is easily gulled. To put it another way, he is not a very astute judge of human nature, at least when the human in question is a scientist representing himself through scientific (or fake-scientific) rhetoric. ...

... Fuller, however, made his own backhanded contribution to the outcome [of the Dover case]. Jones's opinion is a telling commentary on Fuller's tin ear for his own voice. Fuller's connection with the ID crowd is a rather old one. He signed on as a fellow-traveler as early as 1998, embracing Intelligent Design Theory as a ploy in his more general campaign to challenge the hegemony of standard science and to compel scientists to accept the legitimacy of "local knowledges" of the sort that fail when confronted with scientific standards of rigor. But despite his long familiarity with ID and its rationales, Fuller utterly failed to sway Judge Jones to take a more kindly view of the movement. ...

Needless to say, Fuller's sycophancy toward the ID movement has drawn considerable criticism, even from folks who are inclined, on the whole, to a favorable view of the "science studies" movement. The primary objection is that a supposed champion of the left is lending his services and his rhetorical skills to a deeply reactionary project. The ultimate aim of the ID movement is not only to replace secular science by a zombie simulacrum deferential to fundamentalist myth, but further to exploit that anticipated achievement in order, ultimately, to turn this country into a fundamentalist Christian commonwealth. This is perfectly clear to anyone who has paid attention to the pronouncements of ID godfather Phillip E. Johnson. Fuller's rather blithe defense is that he is trying to keep the ID movement from falling completely into the hands of the religious right. He advises his critics to "Mainstream these guys [ID advocates] now, so that they don't have to depend on the religious right for material support." This is rather like advocating support of the SS in order to prevent it from falling completely under the sway of the Nazis! Fuller is too feckless to perceive that ID belongs to the religious right, body and soul. ...

ID as alternative science

It's a good guess that Fuller first veered into the ID orbit because it provided him with a concrete and ongoing example of what he took to be serious "alternative science," science that rebels against the methodological constraints as well as the metaphysical assumptions of the orthodox variety. Crucially, it also provided him with a cast of "rebel angels", presumptive credentialed scientists who had taken arms in defense of the defiant new mode of "science". Thus, he repeatedly refers to the Discovery Institute's well-known legionnaires as serious working scientists, guided by a teleological metaphysics opposed to materialistic naturalism, but aboveboard and straightforward in their experimental and theoretical rigor. He ignores extensive and damning criticism of these purported scientists, assuming, that is, that it doesn't simply go right over his head. ... [snip examples of Dembski's refusal to define his mathematical terms consistently, etc.] ...

Fuller is blind to this entire risible history. For one thing, as a mathematical duffer, he lacks the intellectual resources even to follow the debate. But beyond that, he is wedded to the idea that ID involves serious, if philosophically unorthodox science, and ignores the obvious fact that Dembski is not a scientific inquirer at all, but rather a tractarian with a gimmick, using his credentials (rather meaningless by now) to promulgate a conventional religious dogma. Fuller tries to deny that Dembski is even a Creationist; but Creationists themselves, at least of the Old Earth variety, have no trouble embracing him as one of their own without any protest from Dembski. Mutatis mutandis, Fuller's attitude to the rest of the bloody crew -- Behe, Wells, Berlinski, et al -- is pretty much the same.

Perhaps Fuller lulls his conscience by dreaming up these lame excuses for ID, but the curious fact remains that he has thrown in his lot with a pack of full-bore, no-holds-barred, reactionaries who can prosper only at the expense of the political causes and ideals Fuller claims to uphold. Frankly, I think that for once he has made a bad career move. His unremitting hatred for the prestige and authority of conventional science has carried him over a brink that most of his science studies colleagues are too prudent even to approach.

The reactionary nostalgia of postmodernism

It might pay, at this point, to inquire a little more deeply into the question of motivations, that is to say, the motivations of those proponents of science studies who have, like Fuller, spent the past two decades or so beating the drums for epistemic relativism and cognitive pluralism, making social constructivist doctrine bear the weight of their argument. I want to explore the possibility that their deepest guiding impulses don't derive from an intellectual conversion to social constructivist theory, but rather from a profound and rather frantic discontent with the world-view science forces them to confront. Most of the visitors to this site have accepted that view to a great degree, regarding the knowledge of the natural world that science affords and the consistency of its knowable laws as adequate consolation for the eclipse of a vision of the universe as governed by divine purpose, moral equity, and ultimate justice. Most people in the world, however, are unenthusiastic about the trade-off. Where those who are most comfortable with science see it as "a candle in the dark," to use Carl Sagan's memorable phrase, they are far outnumbered by the mass of those who, at one level or another, harbor bitter feelings toward science for revealing just how pervasive and complete that darkness is.

The world of professional intellectuals is hardly immune from these resentments, even though religion as such, with its burden of highly arbitrary doctrine, is muted within its precincts, if not wholly absent. The desire to re-enchant the world, to shape a vision that brings the workings of the greater universe closer, once again, to the realm of human purposes and values, takes many forms. Some of these visions are ancient, some newly sprung from the human imagination. Often, they are rather inchoate, consisting of a generalized sense that some higher or deeper or kinder purpose lurks behind the world of direct appearances that science accesses. In the scholarly domain, these feelings often take the form, not of specific positive doctrine that clearly confronts science, but rather of ideological tenderheartedness toward the social phenomena -- sects, cults, ethnocentric tall-tales, unorthodox belief systems -- that actually mount such challenges.

I propose that such sentiments underlie much of the pugnacity toward science exhibited by science studies, radical cultural anthropology, feminist epistemology, and so forth. I think that the persistent popularity of the notion that science is a historically contingent social construct, a narrative not necessarily superior to other accounts of the world, a kind of cognitive imperialism devised by the western ruling caste to humble and demoralize subaltern cultures, stems not from the philosophical plausibility of social constructivism as such, but rather from the deep discontent with the death of teleology to which I have alluded. This unhappiness fastens upon the explicit doctrines of social constructivism, forging them into a cudgel with which the hegemony of orthodox science can be repeatedly belabored.

Something like this, I submit, lurks beneath the pompous and scatterbrained epistemological latitudinarianism that Steve Fuller offers in defense of Intelligent Design Theory. That in itself won't save him, I believe, from the disdain of most social constructivist colleagues. He is giving aid and comfort to too dire an enemy. His career is probably headed for some fairly rocky shoals. Nonetheless, he is merely extending to a nasty gang of right-wing religious nuts the logic that has led the science studies community and its hangers-on to speak up for tribal shamans, UFO cultists, and homeopathists.

Fuller's sentiments echo those of many other science studies luminaries. Collectively, these give the game away. Andrew Pickering notoriously tells the readers of Constructing Quarks that physics need not be taken seriously as a ground for one's world-view. Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch in The Golem slyly damn with faint praise, averring that science is above all a "craft". From this doctrine, we are to infer that scientific theories are merely variously clever intellectual gizmos cobbled together according to the guild's rules -- a very different thing from a body of reliable and universally valid knowledge. On his own hook, Collins rages against CSICOP and the Amazing Randi for their deadly accurate debunking of the paranormal. Meanwhile, Michel Callon and Bruno Latour boast that, "The field of science studies has been engaged in a moral struggle to strip science of its extravagant claim to authority." "We have challenged the assumption that there is only one way of doing things right, that there is only one way to investigate our social worlds or to investigate the earth and the universe where we live," claims Sharon Traweek likewise. "How can metaphysical life theories and explanations taken seriously by millions be ignored or excluded by a small group of powerful people called 'scientists'?" Andrew Ross chimes in.

None of this, needless to say, will lead science studies to join Steve Fuller in a passionate embrace of Phillip E. Johnson and company (although Harvard's Sheila Jasanoff once briefly flirted with the idea). But it does illuminate the primal source of Fuller's folly and the overall surliness of the practitioners of science studies, which, to speak brutally, consists of a subterranean desire to bring about a world in which superstition, in one form or another, has clawed its way back into respectability. For all its progressive posturing, "postmodernism," at bottom, reflects a deeply reactionary cast of mind. Steve Fuller's enthusiasm for the Intelligent Design movement, therefore, is not a contradiction so much as it is a consummation.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevo; crevolist; dover; evolution; intelligentdesign; postmodernism; science; scienceeducation
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When the IDers put postmodernist professor Steven Fuller on the stand in their defense in Dover, it seemed almost as incongruous as when the creationists on the Kansas Board of Education had their "hearings" over the summer and they invited the Turkish Muslim activist Mustafa Akyol to speak on ID's behalf.

But as many of us FREvos have argued, it really makes perfect sense when you look at creationism vs. evolution on a deeper level. This math professor, who doesn't sound like a conservative but certainly is anti-postmodernism, gets it too.

1 posted on 02/20/2006 5:54:54 PM PST by jennyp
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To: PatrickHenry

PING to all opponents of post-modernism, deconstructionism, and epistemological nihilism...


2 posted on 02/20/2006 5:56:39 PM PST by jennyp (WHAT I'M READING NOW: The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed.)
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To: jennyp
Evo/crevo fatigue. I'm sitting this one out.:
3 posted on 02/20/2006 5:59:02 PM PST by mlc9852
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To: VadeRetro; Junior; longshadow; RadioAstronomer; Doctor Stochastic; js1138; Shryke; RightWhale; ...
Evolution Ping

The List-O-Links
A conservative, pro-evolution science list, now with over 350 names.
See the list's explanation, then FReepmail to be added or dropped.
To assist beginners: But it's "just a theory", Evo-Troll's Toolkit,
and How to argue against a scientific theory.

4 posted on 02/20/2006 6:01:52 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: jennyp

Postmodernists, creationists, and militant Islamists - an odd combination if I have ever seen one.


5 posted on 02/20/2006 6:02:00 PM PST by indcons
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To: indcons

This is what is so weird...people allying with people who will end the end eat them.


6 posted on 02/20/2006 6:08:35 PM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: jennyp
Image hosting by Photobucket
7 posted on 02/20/2006 6:09:31 PM PST by satchmodog9 (Most people stand on the tracks and never even hear the train coming)
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To: PatrickHenry
"If a theory 'forced' one to assent to politically distasteful, depressing, and counterintuitive claims, then one could regard those consequences as in themselves good reasons to find the theory implausible," says feminist philosopher Sandra Harding; Fuller would doubtless agree, as evidenced by his sympathy for the War Against Darwin.

Having this conversation with another crap-for-brains right now on another thread. Science, when done right, is a systematic investigation of nature. Nature is out there and it isn't anything old silly you want it to be based on your convenience of the moment.

8 posted on 02/20/2006 6:09:39 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: VadeRetro
another crap-for-brains

LOL!!

Science, when done right, is a systematic investigation of nature.

Absolutely!

9 posted on 02/20/2006 6:19:42 PM PST by phantomworker ("Few is the number who think with their own minds and feel with their own hearts." -Albert Einstein)
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To: jennyp

So what is "Social Constructivism" in real world terms again?


10 posted on 02/20/2006 6:20:51 PM PST by phantomworker ("Few is the number who think with their own minds and feel with their own hearts." -Albert Einstein)
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To: jennyp

Something like this, I submit, lurks beneath the pompous and scatterbrained epistemological latitudinarianism that Steve Fuller offers in defense of Intelligent Design Theory. That in itself won't save him, I believe, from the disdain of most social constructivist colleagues. He is giving aid and comfort to too dire an enemy. His career is probably headed for some fairly rocky shoals. Nonetheless, he is merely extending to a nasty gang of right-wing religious nuts the logic that has led the science studies community and its hangers-on to speak up for tribal shamans, UFO cultists, and homeopathists.

Fuller doesn't have a clue, does he? The schmuck has no idea what would happen to him if his buddies achieved their ambitions.

11 posted on 02/20/2006 6:29:20 PM PST by ml1954 (NOT the disruptive troll seen frequently on CREVO threads)
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To: jennyp

This thread isn't getting the attention it deserves. But it's good that this article is posted.


12 posted on 02/20/2006 6:48:16 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: phantomworker
So what is "Social Constructivism" in real world terms again?

It's the notion that knowledge is "constructed" in the context of the society in which people live. Commonly used to denigrate scientists as people who construct knowledge to advance the agenda of the white male power structure. Or to put it another way, science does not objectively define reality; rather, scientists fudge the answers to serve the existing political and social institutions (yeah right).

Social constructivism is also used to justify the idiotic idea that there is no such thing as a right answer; children smply construct their own knowledge based on their own experiences. Silly stuff but a lot of NEA types love it.

I think this goofiness caught on because it facilitates the giving of degrees to people who cannot master statistics or logic. Keeps the money coming into the university coffers.

13 posted on 02/20/2006 7:15:28 PM PST by freespirited
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To: jennyp
from the article:

"This bizarre project is propped up by Fuller's dogma that one need not actually understand standard science to criticize it or to pose profoundly different alternatives." [emphasis added]

No wonder the anti-Evo truffle-heads embraced him!

14 posted on 02/20/2006 7:16:05 PM PST by longshadow (FReeper #405, entering his ninth year of ignoring nitwits, nutcases, and recycled newbies)
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To: freespirited
science does not objectively define reality; rather, scientists fudge the answers to serve the existing political and social institutions (yeah right).

Global warming fits the above fine.

15 posted on 02/20/2006 7:20:53 PM PST by razorback-bert
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To: PatrickHenry
This thread isn't getting the attention it deserves. But it's good that this article is posted.

Yes, I see it as a good reference, especially whenever a FreCreo starts complaining about "all those know-it-all high-priest scientist in their ivory temples who are forcing their silly ideas on all us normal folk."

16 posted on 02/20/2006 7:32:58 PM PST by jennyp (WHAT I'M READING NOW: The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed.)
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To: ml1954
...the pompous and scatterbrained epistemological latitudinarianism...

Reminds me of William F. Buckley

17 posted on 02/20/2006 7:34:59 PM PST by Virginia-American
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To: satchmodog9

He looked better in a BEARS uniform...


18 posted on 02/20/2006 7:35:02 PM PST by Captainpaintball (All it takes for evil to triumph is for good muslims to do nothing)
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To: razorback-bert
Global warming fits the above fine.

I would have thought it the use of science to *assault* existing political and social institutions.

The point is not that there is no one in science with an agenda. It's the idea that everyone gets together in support of some vast conspiracy to support the existing power structure that is so goofy.

19 posted on 02/20/2006 7:35:48 PM PST by freespirited
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To: Virginia-American

Reminds me of William F. Buckley.

I can almost hear him spitting that out on Firing Line.

20 posted on 02/20/2006 7:39:05 PM PST by ml1954 (NOT the disruptive troll seen frequently on CREVO threads)
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To: jennyp
Good article. Of course, the essential equilavence of creationism with postmoderndeconstructionism has been noted here on FR. (As is the old alliance between Harun Yahya and the creationist movement.)

For those who haven't had the pleasure: Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.

Other items on Sokal's web page are also amusing.

21 posted on 02/20/2006 7:41:20 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: indcons

Not so weird. They have the common goal of rejecting scientific inquiry as a means obtaining knowledge.


22 posted on 02/20/2006 7:42:44 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: razorback-bert

"Global warming fits the above fine."

Well the problem with global warming is more chronological. The planet is getting warmer or cooler depending when you start the clock.


23 posted on 02/20/2006 7:49:50 PM PST by Sunnyflorida ((Elections Matter)
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To: Captainpaintball

most do


24 posted on 02/20/2006 7:50:27 PM PST by satchmodog9 (Most people stand on the tracks and never even hear the train coming)
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To: jennyp

Okay, I'm in:

I have not read Fuller but based on this essay I would argue:

Fuller is right
Kuhn is right
Dover decision is wrong

When one observes the hyperbolic ad hominem of the pro-evolution community its hard not to have terribly anxious feelings about the underlying science.

I am increasingly convinced that it is impossible to understand the ramifications of this debate without reading Kuhn. Ultimately, science is a rhetorical enterprise that must persuade the public. Failing to do so, many who want to take science further than this rhetorical enterprise are resorting to desperate tactics.

Even the alchemists contributed substantial valuable knowledge to the field of science. They never proved lead could be turned to gold. No amount of fraud in the scientific community such as the cloning problems in Korea introduces a measure of rhetorical humility. It is a total shaming war.


Evolution is falsifiable.


25 posted on 02/20/2006 8:00:18 PM PST by lonestar67
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To: lonestar67

Ultimately, science is a rhetorical enterprise that must persuade the public.

That's a ridiculous statement.

26 posted on 02/20/2006 8:06:33 PM PST by ml1954 (NOT the disruptive troll seen frequently on CREVO threads)
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To: ml1954

Interesting response.

Of course this is true. The public is composed of human beings who ultimately must be persuaded as to the truth of science. Scientists regard their studies as "objective" meaning they exist independent of whether people believe the results or not. However, science is based upon empiricism-- which is best available evidence. It is not offering absolute proofs.

The recent film "Flight of the Dodo" [not sure I have the name right] I think accurately explores the truth of my statement. Scientists need to understand how to communicate their research but they are all to often weak in this capacity. The film--made by someone who does agree with evolution-- tries to comically prod the evolution science community to take a more effective approach to communicating their studies.


27 posted on 02/20/2006 8:12:00 PM PST by lonestar67
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To: satchmodog9
I'm just impressed (but not surprised) that someone else was thinking about that Steve Fuller!
28 posted on 02/20/2006 8:19:26 PM PST by Captainpaintball (All it takes for evil to triumph is for good muslims to do nothing)
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To: freespirited

Thank you! Now it rings a bell.

Remember 1984 and of course, Fahrenheit 451?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451


29 posted on 02/20/2006 8:27:41 PM PST by phantomworker ("Few is the number who think with their own minds and feel with their own hearts." -Albert Einstein)
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To: jennyp
...it seemed almost as incongruous as when the creationists on the Kansas Board of Education had their "hearings" over the summer and they invited the Turkish Muslim activist Mustafa Akyol to speak on ID's behalf.

Said Muslim acivist registered and posted on FR to respond to something I said about him . It was a very short discussion.

30 posted on 02/20/2006 8:48:51 PM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: js1138

Really? That's interesting. Do you remember the thread? Or his handle?


31 posted on 02/20/2006 8:51:39 PM PST by jennyp (WHAT I'M READING NOW: The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed.)
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To: jennyp

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/user-posts?id=231410


32 posted on 02/20/2006 8:55:03 PM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: jennyp

Note that I was relying on Panda's Thumb. Our creationist friends were busy defending their Muslim brothers.


33 posted on 02/20/2006 8:59:00 PM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Thanks for the ping!


34 posted on 02/20/2006 11:07:04 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: jennyp; Doctor Stochastic
Recent threads that also discuss the connection between creationism/ID and critical analysis, post-modernism, etc.:

The Left’s Intelligent Design Problem by Max Borders .
False Fear Epidemic over Critical Analysis of Evolution Spreads to Wisconsin.

35 posted on 02/21/2006 4:20:01 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry; jennyp
This thread isn't getting the attention it deserves.

I think you might have hit a little too close to home to the anti-science crowd with this one. I doubt they'll drink from this watering hole.

Nice article.

36 posted on 02/21/2006 6:15:05 AM PST by Quark2005 (Divination is NOT science.)
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To: freespirited
So what is "Social Constructivism" in real world terms again? ...science does not objectively define reality; rather, scientists fudge the answers to serve the existing political and social institutions (yeah right).

Thanks again for the great explanation. I am going to keep this in mind more often. I think this might be more prevalent than we realize.

37 posted on 02/21/2006 6:22:24 AM PST by phantomworker ("Few is the number who think with their own minds and feel with their own hearts." -Albert Einstein)
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To: Quark2005

One has already explicity bailed out. Creationist photophobia reappears.


38 posted on 02/21/2006 7:11:42 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: jennyp

WOW! What a post!


39 posted on 02/21/2006 7:50:53 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Quark2005
I think you might have hit a little too close to home to the anti-science crowd with this one. I doubt they'll drink from this watering hole.

With all due respect, it could also be a little too 'deep for shallow minds'. (Wish I had an emoticon to insert here.)

40 posted on 02/21/2006 8:12:39 AM PST by phantomworker ("Few is the number who think with their own minds and feel with their own hearts." -Albert Einstein)
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To: jennyp

I just submitted a paper for a conference that criticizes the academic left's techniques of defending ID in the classroom. I tried my best to hide my own actual political views, but I have a feeling I won't have many friends left after I present it.


41 posted on 02/21/2006 8:20:51 AM PST by RightWingAtheist (Creationism Is Not Conservative!)
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To: longshadow

Perfectly consistent, though. The left continually fails to actually study or try to understand economics, international relations, or public policy, yet continues to criticize them and offer so-called "alternatives".


42 posted on 02/21/2006 8:23:27 AM PST by RightWingAtheist (Creationism Is Not Conservative!)
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To: lonestar67

Evolution is indeed falsifiable, but nothing has been found that could possibly falsify it. Nothing short of finding real-life Shmoos would be enough to seriously damage it.


43 posted on 02/21/2006 8:25:16 AM PST by RightWingAtheist (Creationism Is Not Conservative!)
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To: ml1954
That's a ridiculous statement.

Yes and no. I don't have time now, as I have an aerobics class I need to get to, but if I have time, I will explain further later tonight. FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a rhetorical scholar, although my cognitivist worldview flies in the face of the constructivist one. So do my politics, needless to say.

44 posted on 02/21/2006 8:33:29 AM PST by RightWingAtheist (Creationism Is Not Conservative!)
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To: Doctor Stochastic

I've pretty much stayed out of the other thread. Just too nasty.

60 years ago our Creo friends would have been Democrats and followed WJB down the primrose path. Whether the Democrats left them or they left the Democrats is a tough question, but the philosophical underpinnings of Creos and the left are remarkably similar.

- The appeal to authority
- The "I have the answer for all problems and any who disagees is evil" stance.
- Those who are right have the right to force those who are not or at least threaten them.

Is this an inherent problem with most religions, and especially Christianity?


45 posted on 02/21/2006 8:38:11 AM PST by furball4paws (Awful Offal)
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To: jennyp

Much better than anything else that's cooking now.


46 posted on 02/21/2006 8:38:45 AM PST by furball4paws (Awful Offal)
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To: RightWingAtheist

I am excited to see that you are a rhetorical scholar. That is also my profession. I think your statement is basically fair. That is the statement I keep reminding my creationist friends to keep in mind because I do get a sense at times that evolution is being revered more as a creed than a disclosure of the scientific process. If one is indeed open to the prospects of a theory of evolutioin being falsified, then it remains in a defensible domain of science.

In certain practical rhetorical functions it may necessarily be a creed but it is those functions that creationists, IDers, or various theist stripes are justly complaining about.


47 posted on 02/21/2006 8:40:58 AM PST by lonestar67
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To: RightWingAtheist

It didn't used to be this way. When did reason and the Left part company?


48 posted on 02/21/2006 8:57:23 AM PST by furball4paws (Awful Offal)
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To: RightWingAtheist
...I have a feeling I won't have many friends left after I present it.

You will here.

49 posted on 02/21/2006 10:52:37 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: furball4paws; Doctor Stochastic

the creos and the left both also push for affirmative action, and put their feelings above observation and logic.

I wonder how much Soros et al give to the DI?


50 posted on 02/21/2006 10:54:34 AM PST by Virginia-American
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