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Re: [humanism-174] My reply to an email my sister forwarded to me.....

From: Mark R. O.
Sent on: Monday, November 26, 2012 1:38 AM

1. That which is held as an established opinion;
esp., a definite and authoritative tenet, also a
code or formulation of such tenets, as by a
school of art or philosophy; as by pedagogical 

Just because something is authoritative does not mean that
it cannot be questioned. 

Science is a system, a system that has order.  This order has
rules.  If the rules fail the system fails then science fails and
all the theories you site become meaningless. 

How Should I Teach Nature of Science?

Research in science education over the past fifteen years has increasingly supported the idea that
nature of science must be explicitly taught in the classroom (Howe & Rudge, 2005; Khishfe &
Abd-el-khalick, 2002). This means that it should be something that a teacher plans to have
students to explicitly consider in concert with the learned facts, concepts, theories and laws. Research
also suggests that students should be reflective about how they consider nature of science (Howe &
Rudge, 2005). This means that students should be engaged in learning about nature of science by
reflecting themselves (i.e. not simply being told by the teacher) how aspects of one or more of the
problems about which they are learning potentially connect to some aspect of the nature of science.
In this way, explicit and reflective nature of science learning aligns with tenets of constructivist learning,
putting students in the role of having to take what they already know (or think they know) about science
and consider how their views about science change (hopefully a more informed nature of science perspective). The teacher's role here is critical. You must create situations where learners are required
to explicitly and reflectively address nature of science in tandem with the concepts or scientific problems
they are engaged in learning.

You are teaching the dogma of science or you are not

Randy, it is your choice, believe what you will.  Science is
or is not dogmatic.  Remember that even the dogmatism
of religion can be open to change.  That is what Vatican II
was all about.  You may or may not like what changed. 
But change did occur.  One last thing the most dogmatic
thing that exists is logic. 

Your opinion regarding postmodernism is yours to have. 

M. Orel

On[masked]:24, Randy Pelton wrote:
I accept that science has some tenets, or underlying assumptions. One is that natural phenomena have natural explanations. But this is not dogma. My comment focused on the first sentence in the definition you offered. It described dogma as "established opinion."  This science is not. It is my opinion that blue is the best of all colors. I offer you no evidence that this claim is true. Opinion's do not require evidence to justify holding them. Theories do. Even the underlying assumptions of science require empirical observations as support. We accept the tenet that natural phenomena require only natural explanations because this is what our experience of interacting with the material universe tells us. No supernatural explanation of any natural phenomenon has ever been confirmed or withstood testing. In fact, many supernatural explanations have fallen as victims of science. Look at how often religion has had to retreat from some supernatural explanation offered for natural phenomena. Sure, there are some phenomena not yet explained and religious people continue to provide us with supernatural explanations. But given the track record of science, I won't place any bets on these supernatural explanations. I'll place my money on science. The odds are far, far better.

You are right that science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions. This enterprise is not, however, dogmatic. Unlike religion and other genuine dogmas, if the underlying tenets of science were to be shown to be in error, then science would amend these tenets. To describe something as dogmatic is to imply an unyielding commitment to a view or conclusion. This is not science. One of its strengths, one often actually cited as a weakness by those who don't understand science, is that it has often corrected its own errors. No one still accepts the spontaneous generation theory of matter, nor the caloric theory, nor the phlogiston theory, nor the steady-state theory, nor the geocentric theory. This is so because science, the enterprise, eventually found the error of these ideas and gave us a more correct picture of the material universe. The tenets, however, are not held as opinion or dogma. They are accepted because they have worked; they have functioned in such a way as to reveal a clearer and clearer picture of how nature and the material universe work. If we were to find tomorrow a better set of tenets, that did a better job of uncovering nature and unraveling its apparent mysteries, science and scientists would reject the old and embrace the new. This is the antithesis of dogma.

It still puzzles me that you do not understand this. Until you can intellectualize this you will continue to be blind in your understanding of science.

I do not accept your claim that science has to be dogmatic or it fails. You appear to be implying that dogmatism is a requisite characteristic of any system to succeed. I will grant that dogmatism as a trait certainly gives staying power to an idea or system. This helps to explain the long lifespan of theology and God belief of all kind. But longevity is not an adequate measure of truth. Science has given us a far more accurate and credible portrait of nature than religion has in all its thousands of years.

Finally, make no mistake about it: I am NOT a post-modernist. I sincerely do like you Mark and think you to be an intelligent person. But know this: I have nothing but contempt for the post-modernist system of thought. I find it almost as objectionable and intellectually offensive as god-belief, and look upon it with nearly as much revulsion as I hold for the more virulent, fundamentalist brands of religious belief. I think post-modernism to be intellectual rubbish, a form of mental pablum and I sincerely look forward to the day it no longer infects nor plagues our culture, our academic institutions, and our intellectual lives. 


From: Mark R. Orel <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Sunday, November 25,[masked]:26 PM
Subject: Re: [humanism-174] My reply to an email my sister forwarded to me.....


That's funny I thought Science was a systematic
enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge
in the form of a testable explanations and predictions. 
You are siting the theories that came from
science.  Not the system that produced them. 
The system is dogmatic, it has to be or it fails. 

But if you see Science as having no tenants or
doctrine, which is the first definition of dogma,
then that is your reality, I always suspected that
you were a postmodernist at hart.  

Or what you said:

Of course, being a post-modernist, you would have us think otherwise. It suits your purposes, whatever they may be and whatever motivates them, to have us all believe that one viewpoint or one set of conclusions are no better, no nearer the truth, than another. If you persist in this lunacy then I will conclude it is because your mind has been thoroughly intellectually polluted and contaminated by post-modernism. 

Like assholes, everybody has one or more opinions. And opinions oftentimes, like assholes, are a source of shit. Please stop spreading your shit concerning this topic.

Your choice. 

M. Orel

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