[FoRK] Poll: I would rather my daughter married a Muslim than anAtheist

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com> on Fri Jun 22 00:10:29 PDT 2007

On 6/21/07, Russell Turpin <deafbox at hotmail.com> wrote:
> To the sociologist whose methods don't allow
> delving into the REASONING behind this, who keeps their hands off what
> the scientist would call the very substance, this then looks like a
> matter of status and cliques, etc.

  No, not at all;  I think you've got it all wrong.

  The sociologists are quite aware that science works, and they're
  also quite aware of the reasoning.

  There's hardly a science sociologist who keeps their hands off the
  substance, and doesn't get into the reasoning.

  That said, they DO have a keen eye on status & cliques, and quite
  rightly so.


  Look, take Kuhn for instance.  Structure of Scientific Revolution,
  or something.

  It turns out, there are a lot of times where scientists are in a crisis
  over what is real, and what is not, and which line of study is best,
  and so on.  And they argue with each other about what should go
  in the textbook, and what should be taught, and what's the line of
  research that should get funded, and so on.

  And the sociologists study this, and they look at how conflicts get
  worked out, and they look at how things converge, and so on, and
  they write about it.

  It's NOT an entirely rational process.  (Just as Evolution is not an
  entirely rational process.)

  Just as scientists have theories about how differentiation and
  speciation and all these other processes play out, sociologists have
  theories about how the different kinds of motions within the
  scientific world happen.  "What technology do people find interesting
  enough to fund?  What kinds of societies choose what kinds of
  problems to solve?  Why does society X work on Y, while society
  X2 work on Y2?  Why does this discovery get picked up quickly
  here, but not over there?  Which of these questions can be answered,
  and which cannot?  How do scientists resolve dilemmas in funding
  choices?"  ...and so on.

  These are all reasonable questions, and none represent the end
  of Western civilization or objective thought.  None require a jump
  over "the deep end."  Many of these require SOME sort of variant
  of the languaging of "Science is socially constructed," in that it's
  basically *people* who perform science.  None of this should be
  taken to mean, "Scientific conclusions are just things cabals of people
  made up and enforce over others."


  What happens is that somewhere along the line, some physicist
  gets a hold of some sociologists book that studies science, and
  reads some sentence like, "Science is a social construction," and
  then said physicist gets all nutters in their head, saying, "This is
  OUTRAGEOUS!  They think we just MAKE UP science?!"

  And no, that's not what the sociologist meant, but that's what the
  scientist THOUGHT the sociologist meant, and then goes on a tirade
  about it.

  When all the sociologist is REALLY saying, is just:  "Science is a
  process that humans practice and it's actually fairly complicated
  when you look at it in the details, and it's our business to go about
  studying those processes and explaining them."


  At some point, scientists have to talk with politicians and the public,
  and this is where the shit hits the fan.  People ask questions about
  the process, how it works, how it could work, how it should work,
  and those questions lead to still other questions, and...

  ...people who do this for a while tend to become experts, and find
  key questions, and when they study those questions, that whole
  field, it is called, "The sociology of Science," and such.


  It's not mysterious, it's not people saying "Science is made up,"
  and so on and so forth.  Those are all just misinterpretations of the
  works of sociologists that allow for moments of puffing up chests
  and talking about REAL science, like PHYSICS, vs. what those nutters

> >Nah; Science is no rock. It doesn't tell you right from wrong, it doesn't
> >tell you whether you should be a painter or a carpenter, ..
> David Hume figured this one out: you'll never tease a moral out of
> purely factual claims.

  Uh, yah.  I've been saying just that, throughout my threads here.
  Do a search on "lion kimbro" and "Hume" in this discussion list, and
  you'll see me making that point to others here.

  Glad you agree with me.

> >The **Vast Majority** of arguments *for* or *against* the  existence
> >of God are instances of what philosophers call "defeasible reasoning."
> The vast majority of religious arguments, including the ones that most
> believers give as explanation for their belief, are what philosophers
> call "crap."

  Wow!  That's a really profound argument you've given!

> >A note on the word "God" -- I'm referring to just about any principle
> >that people will serve. It could be "human life," it could be "Love," it
> >could be "survival instinct," it could be anything.
> Natural languages are wonderfully flexible, and that use of the word
> goes at least as far back as Biblical warnings against the god Mammon.
> Many of the pagan gods, of course, are reified principles, gods of
> Love and War, of Hearth and Commerce, of Fertility and Health. That
> said, most religious believers think their god is something more than
> mere principle, and that the assertion of their god's existence has
> some meaning more than the fact that people engage in the reified
> activity. Even Christians who say that their god is Love don't mean
> merely that love exists, but instead hold some magical notion that
> Love was embodied in a man who lived 2000 years ago, who was crucified,
> and who rose from the dead. If your gods are mere principles, then
> you're an atheist.

  I don't think your reasoning is sequiter here;
  If most of your Gods are principles, it does not rule out the
  existence of something deeper, underneath, that unifies all life.

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