Re: the original post and the "Dr. Science" post beginning: My gut
feeling is that when . . . .
Please help me to understand what is untrue and what is true.
Since this list serve is overwhelmingly populated by scientists whose
very activity consists of constructing tightly reasoned presentations
of linked data and theory, it is appropriate to argue here for a norm
that discourages logical fallacies, constructions used in
argumentation, often with an emotional appeal,
that are not logical, that is, do not present a tightly reasoned
sequence. Thus, during the recent brush fire on this list serve,
several have decried ad hominem remarks, one of the
traditional logical fallacies, often colloquialized as if you can't
logically counter the argument attack the messenger.
The post by "Dr Science" is a textbook example of the logical
fallacy of poisoning the well, often colloquialized as if
you don't want a presentation to be taken seriously descredit its
source. As such it is inappropriate in a scientific discourse or
a discourse about science. Truth is where we find it. Sometime it
comes from the mouths of babes, sometimes from the mouths of our
enemies, sometimes buried in a morass of lies, and sometimes it appears
from some other orifice of the body of someone characterized by that
orifice. "Dr Science" has shown the venom he has for some operatives
who have either put forth unacceptable (unscientific or untrue)
concepts or associated themselves with corporate capitalism or other
unsavory behaviors etc,. Now will he show the readers of the article
whose author he condemns what is untrue about it. I have not become
a supporter of sociobiology or of the author of the article by reading
it; but neither do i have significant disagreement with it.
RELATED COMMENTARY on psychology and sociobiology.
We should distinguish between application of
scientific method and science. A science of ** can be constructed if
** is guided by objective, natural laws, which enables a science of it
to have predictive power. Scientific method can be applied to any **.
Scientific method seeks truth by an inclusive description that accounts
for historical and current behavior and data associated with **. The
application of scientific method, no matter how thorough, cannot make
its subject into a science if the subject is not based on (virtually)
immutable, objective laws. Psychology is not on the whole a science,
although some sub-fields may deserve that claim, in particular
experimental investigations of human sensory perception. I believe (an
expression that shows that i have not done a thorough scientific
investigation) that psychologists suffer an inferiority complex because
it has so often been revealed that their theories and predictions of
human behavior do not stand the test of time and cross-cultural
application. Along came sociobiology, a new name with a prestigious
father and associated with an unquestioned science, biology. Ah ha,
the transition from psychology to sociobiology is an easy one. Ergo:
Psychologists become Sociobiologists. The transition is eased by the
fact that psycholgists are employed to use their understanding of
"human behavior" to market consumer products of capitalism, while
sociobiologists are employed to use their understanding of "the natural
evolved behavioral tendencies" of humans to justify (i. e. market)
imperialism's greatest outrages.
Because i never participated in a sociobiology study group, this
comment may very well repeat stuff y'all know.