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Re: [humanism-174] Excellent and Informative Description of Science

From: Greg P.
Sent on: Sunday, December 2, 2012 12:48 PM
"It is true that these tenets were discovered and 
developed by a body of experts, who may be described as a 
body of authorities."

The significant factor that differentiates science from 
dogma is that while the tenets of science are discovered 
by experts, it's not merely the fact that they are experts 
that elevates those findings. It's the fact that those 
findings are supported by the results of independently 
repeatable experiments.

The claims made by Feishman and Ponds about cold fusion 
didn't go unchallenged simply because they were recognized 
experts. Furthermore, they ware challenged based on others 
not being able to duplicate their results. Try challenging 
religious dogma by means of a controlled experiment. Oh 
right, not possible.


On Sun, 2 Dec[masked]:24:04 -0500
  Randy Pelton <[address removed]> wrote:
> I am puzzled by this statement of yours:
> " "He also believes that morality is not absolute, this 
>gives credence to religion."
> How, exactly does Coel give credence to religion by 
>arguing that morality is not absolute? You must have a 
>very different understanding of religion from that of 
>myself and everyone else I know. At the very least, the 
>three large monotheistic religions - Christianity, Islam, 
>Judaism - claim moral absolutes.
> I did not deny the definition of dogma that you offered. 
>As I said before, I reject your contention that this 
>definition and therefore the term dogma applies to 
>science. Again, the system of science is not dogmatic. 
>You have not provided a convincing argument that science 
>is dogmatic. The definition you provided is not evidence 
>that science is dogmatic. Science, to repeat once again, 
>is not a collection of "established opinions." The 
>underlying, foundational tenets of science are not a set 
>of "established opinions." It is true that these tenets 
>were discovered and developed by a body of experts, who 
>may be described as a body of authorities. But these 
>tenets upon which the scientific enterprise is built are 
>not opinions. Since dogma is founded upon opinions and 
>science is not, science is not based on a dogma. As I 
>said before, the conclusions derived by science through 
>its examination of empirically-derived evidence, and 
>tenets upon which the entire
> enterprise rests, are provisional truths, based on 
>evidence, observation and testing. The standard of 
>evidence required for these conclusions is significantly 
>higher than the standard required for an "established 
>opinion." In fact, as I have said before, an opinion, 
>established or not, does not require evidence whereas 
>evidence is an indispensable component of science and 
>scientific conclusions.
> Randy
> ____________________­____________
> From: Mark R. Orel <[address removed]>
> To: [address removed] 
> Sent: Sunday, December 2,[masked]:18 AM
> Subject: Re: [humanism-174] Excellent and Informative 
>Description of Science
> Randy:  
> Thank you for the link.  This is the first I've seen 
> the word 'scientism'.   
> You can see my response below. 
> So is everythingscience?
> No it isn’t. Science entails an obligation to do the 
>best you can. It is acceptable to draw conclusions from 
>limited data if you have nothing more; and you can do 
>without rigorous controlled experiments if they are 
>impractical. But to be scientific you should be 
>continually seeking to do better, testing your 
>conclusions, and checking for biase
> If you have an emotional commitment to a desired answer, 
>then that in itself isn’t unscientific, but it is a 
>warning flag that you are highly prone to a biased 
>assessment and so to a false conclusion. If you think 
>that holding to the desired answer is more important than 
>the evidence for that answer then you’re being 
>unscientific. (F­ollowing is a personal comment from me, 
>Randy. I also think you are being dogmatic and are 
>infected by dogma if the statement above describes you.) 
>If your emotional commitment to a faith (perhaps a 
>religious faith) is clouding your judgement over the 
>evidence for that faith then you’re being unscientific. 
>And if you point airily at “other ways of knowing” as an 
>excuse to pretend that you don’t need to provide evidence 
>then you are being unscientific.   
> I agree, and Randy you are holding to a desired answer 
>that you 
> find more important than the evidence for that answer 
>when you 
> deny the definition of a word, like dogma.  You want it 
>to mean 
> something that it does not.  The system that is science 
>    dogmatic.  
> As far as definitions go, Coel's blog is simply defining 
>science as 
> knowledge.  Which I can agree to as the word comes from 
> Latin scientia, which means knowledge.  His definition 
> applies to philosophy, as philosophy comes from the 
> philosophia, which translates to love of wisdom.   He 
> science with a broad brush which I have no problem with, 
> will make for an interesting philosophical discussion.   
> I especially like the fact that he doesn't seem to 
>believe that
>    there 
> is an absolute truth.  That all reality is empirical.  
>He also
>    believes 
> that morality is not absolute, this gives credence to 
>    (This 
> comes for the remakes that follow the article, in which 
>    clarifies 
> his reasoning in discussion.) 
> M. Orel 
> On[masked]:57, Randy Pelton wrote:
> While reading one of Jerry Coyne's blog posts I found my 
>way to another blog post that I think to be one of the 
>best descriptions of science I have ever read. I highly 
>recommend this piece to all of you. 
>>Below is the post in its entirety. It is lengthy but, 
>>IMO, well worth the read. Above I have also provided the 
>>link to the original post. I recommend reading the entire 
>>essay. I have taken the liberty of bold-facing and 
>>italicizing some sections that I found of particular 
>>interest, importance or insight. 
>>I think all will benefit from reading and pondering this 
>>essay. There are a few who will, in my opinion, benefit 
>>more than others because of their repeated demonstration 
>>of a limited understanding of science and self-imposed 
>>restricted definition of it. I look forward to the 
>>discussion and debate that will follow.
>>What does “science” in “scientism” mean?
>>Posted on February
> 25, 2012 by Coel
> --
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> This message was sent by Mark R. Orel 
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