Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Comments stuck in moderation

# 54. Anthony McCarthy Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
August 18th, 2009 at 10:46 am

— Oh, Robert Wright is definitely a big fan of evo psych. As usual McCarthy wants to pontificate without reading the book. Skeptic

I asked if Robert Wright was trying to assert what he wrote was science, I said I had only read about the book but hadn’t read it at the beginning of my comment. I didn’t try to hide that fact. His documentation that Coyne misrepresented what he said was pretty clear, Coyne misrepresented him just as the critics of Unscientific America have repeatedly misrepresented it. Those are the only things I said about his book. You will notice I put the only statement about it’s purporting to represent science in the form of a question.

– So according to McCarthy the best possible explanation for morality and religion is likely to be non-scientific and supernatural? Skeptic

“The best possible explanation for morality and religion,” I know I’ve never asserted anything about any “best possible explanation” for them, I’ve said that I didn’t even think you could come to a real definition of “religion”, never mind “morality” that could be universally inclusive. I doubt such an “explanation” would be complete, it would definitely be non-scientific at this point for that reason.

As to your assumption that I mean a supernatural explanation being the best, no. I tend to look at the results of moral assertions and religious ideas in real life to see what the results are before hazarding an opinion on them. I don’t have much faith at all in theories about things like that, I want to see the results. So, I guess the answer to that part of your assertion would be, clearly not.

I think it’s also typical of scientism that it asserts that we have to come up with some sciency sounding supposed explanation of everything and that huge swaths of alleged behavioral science exists to fill that anxious emotional need. It might be unfortunate that large parts of human experience and the actual universe are now without real scientific explanations about them and that large parts of life and the universe almost certainly never will. It might be unsatisfying or produce anxiety on the part of those who can’t deal with the reality that large parts of life are and will almost certainly be without reliable verification. But that’s just too bad because that’s the way it is. We are stuck with reality and the limits of human abilities and human institutions, including science, are real. I wonder how much the boundaries of uncertainty could be pushed back if the junk science was junked and those people concentrated on stuff that had actual, physical evidence they could make more reliable observations about.

Not that I think the addiction to baseless theorizing is reserved for scientists, I think that’s probably more to do with how people in academia get jobs, recognition and rewards than it does about science. John Kenneth Galbraith once pointed out that agronomists, economists who deal with concrete, physical reality were considered to be far less prestigious than the lofty and airy theorists who, I’d say, have produced mostly junk. These days a lot of those are pretending they’re biologists of the evo-psy kind.
# 55. Anthony McCarthy Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
August 18th, 2009 at 10:49 am

gillt, you’re the one who wants to challenge my point that there isn’t a single documented incident of pre-historic behavior in either hominids or the ancestors of chimpanzees. And you expect me to cringe when you come up with that cowardly dodge. You are a fraud.

There is not a single observed or reliably documented incident of behavior to back up any assertion made about it pretending that it is science. Not a single one. Everything that has been said about them is story telling and creation myth.
# 56. gillt Says:
August 18th, 2009 at 11:03 am

Shorter McCarthy: “Knowledge is merely opinion!”
# 57. Anthony McCarthy Says:
August 18th, 2009 at 11:39 am

No, sciencey creation myth is still creation myth. No matter how many letters those making it up have behind their names.
# 58. Anthony McCarthy Says:
August 18th, 2009 at 11:44 am

— The discussion of New Atheism has stifled other valuable discussion. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. Skeptic

New atheism’s discussions have stifled other valuable discussions, that’s not an opinion that’s a fact. That is why it’s been necessary to discuss the silly fad.
# 59. Sorbet Says:
August 18th, 2009 at 11:44 am

-Sciencey creation myth is still creation myth.

Yes, we all know that. And trust the infamous Kentucky creation museum to gratuitously expound upon that myth.
# 60. Sorbet Says:
August 18th, 2009 at 11:47 am

McCarthy; tightly shutting his eyes and convincing himself that it’s a “silly fad” that will go away. No actual reading up on science though.
# 61. Anthony McCarthy Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
August 18th, 2009 at 11:59 am

I’m still waiting for that example of Paleolithic or even Neolithic behavior which has been observed and documented in a way that could be passed off as science.

In lieu of that, provide an explanation of how a “behavior” that isn’t observed could be known to have happened, or how a “behavior” that never happened could be real. We’ll leave the matter of how to verify the meaning of such a “behavior” till after one of you can answer the more basic point.

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