Blogging Rule #23: Linking Counts as Blogging

There’s a pretty interesting article over at Wired by Clive Thompson about the rhetorical ploys pseudoscience advocates use.

Why Science Will Triumph Only When Theory Becomes Law

Much of the article is dead on. Creationists, quantum healers, and other crackpots frequently abuse scientific verbiage to make their arguments. As if what something is named affects whether it’s in the least bit true. Well, in the real world, apparently it does. That’s how superficial we are, I guess.

I hesitate resorting to rhetorical tactics of that kind, however. Sure, most people don’t care about subtle nuances of science-speak. But they should. Commandeering political language won’t do anything but hurt the science. This is the frame of mind you have to have when you’re thinking about this stuff. You have to acknowledge the possibility of error, or else how would you ever find the errors? And, by the way, this is how you distinguish between actual science and pseudoscience in the first place. How many pseudoscientists do you know that acknowledge that their hypotheses might be wrong? They may entertain the idea for your benefit, but they almost never seriously consider it. I mean, just look over at ERV’s dealings with the HIV denier, Leonard Horowitz, or with Michael Behe. They fake modesty toward their hypotheses in order to appear genuine. I wouldn’t trade that advantage away so easily. Maybe that’s just me.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by djdawg on March 13, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    how do you know that ID’ers are faking modesty? maybe they are actually legitimate credentialed experts who happen to have a differing opinion than the majority. stop pretending that everyone who doesn’t believe in atheistic evolution just got out of sunday school in the south. the fact is that science will never know everything and everyone is equally capable of filling in the missing dots of human understanding with different theories.


  2. How do I know they’re faking modesty? Let’s see:

    They publish no research, and then expect equal time in classrooms.

    When confronted with this fact, they contrive a massive conspiracy story about academic persecution and suppression of the “evidences against evolution”.

    When that doesn’t work, they quote mine Einstein, Newton, and every other prominent scientist in history ever to give their ideas the appearance of credibility. And credibility, really, is what they’re interested in–not science. They create elaborate “institutes” with “fellows” and pretty websites and ID conferences–all the while doing, yes, that’s right, ZERO RESEARCH.

    These people must think awfully highly of themselves to have the balls to say and do all of those things.

    the fact is that science will never know everything and everyone is equally capable of filling in the missing dots of human understanding with different theories.

    True. It’s just that some people are wrong, and some people are right. And ID is wrong. Whatever the truth in biology is, evolution by natural selection will always be a part of it, just like gravity will always be a part of our physics. It’s that fundamental and that well-supported. Sorry.


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