The OF Blog: Interesting Scott Bakker interview

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Interesting Scott Bakker interview

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist has a new interview (the second of the past couple of months) with Scott Bakker, author of the Prince of Nothing fantasy series and the upcoming May 2008 psychothriller, Neuropath. Normally, I'd just have this be part of a series of links, but since a) I did provide one question for the interview, b) I'm name-checked in the interview (although I suppose I ought to kill Bakker for mentioning my last name, even if the reason behind my half-anonymity - teaching at a public school - no longer applies in full), and mostly importantly, c) Bakker has some interesting takes on matters that bears greater exploration, I'll 1) write a run-on sentence and 2) post some brief reactions to what he says in part of that interview.

If you embrace the form, strive to entertain above all else, there really is no limit as to the crazy cerebral contents you can give the reader. I take the success of The Prince of Nothing as proof positive of this. The problem is that most writers interested in arguing with readers go to university, where they’re taught that forms, particularly popular commercial forms, are the devil. So they generally go on to write cerebral fiction that violates or “plays” with generic conventions, and as result end up generally writing for people who share their education and values. All their talent is squandered on people who already share the vast bulk of their thoughts – they simply become high end entertainers. Intellectual buzz merchants.

The editorial bias against intelligent genre fiction, I would argue, is the result of a pretty understandable equivocation: it’s the violation of form, the beloved rules, that turns off popular audiences, but since it’s so regularly paired with cerebral content, the latter ends up taking the blame as well.

The situation is certainly more complicated than this: there’s definitely issues of vocabulary and comprehension that are going to impact the overall accessibility of any book, but I’m arguing that it’s primarily the form and not the content that selects for or against certain audiences. Like I said, if you look at a set of generic rules as an opportunity to communicate with people at large, rather than the corporate devil, you’d be amazed with what you can get away with.
What Bakker says here is similar to certain thoughts that I've been having for quite some time regarding genre/literary discussions. While I would quibble on some particulars (namely, this does sound a bit too monolithic of an opposition), I have noticed on a few forums where I am a regular that there are many readers who are concerned with issues of "accessibility," even if they couch it in other phrases, namely "entertaining" and "not full of mental masturbation." But yes, it is the "form" and the "presentation" that shapes much of the reticence that editors and genre/literary readers alike have in picking up tomes that risk containing elements that run counter to their preferred comfort zones.

But I cannot help but to take this a bit further and in directions away from that which Bakker was postulating. If there are certain "forms" that have to be met for certain editors/readers to consider picking up the book in question, then what does this say about the discernment of such people? Could one argue that in the very act of tacitly (or openly) agreeing that there is some sort of "divide," that the erstwhile arbiter of elegance has made choices that might be self-delusional or "wrong?" Some argue that SF is this, this, and this, while others note that it differs from "mainstream" or "literary" writing due to X, Y, and/or Z. Schemae have been constructed; impressive towers of argumentation have been built. Perhaps all on very shaky foundations.

Outside that, I have an evangelical bent. I believe in human stupidity (my own included!) so fervently that I want to shout it out to the world. Look at history. Hell, look at the evening news. We’re surrounded by evidence of our folly, and yet all we do is congratulate ourselves all the time. Our kids spend two decades being educated, and nowhere – nowhere – are they taught anything about themselves, about the cognitive shortcomings that will lead to their divorces and their addictions, to their prejudices and their self-serving delusions. They come out of university not only ignorant of their limitations, their weaknesses, but convinced that they’re tough-minded critical thinkers.

I actually have a bad habit, which I’m sure has alienated many an acquaintance. Whenever someone tells me they’re a critical thinker – and let’s face it, everyone but everyone thinks they’re a critical thinker – I always ask them “How so?” Usually the answer is that they don’t believe everything everyone tells them. They make fun of Mormons, distrust corporations, or disagree with Fox news or some such. But when I point out that no one believes everything everyone tells them, so that can’t be a criterion for being a critical thinker, they get freaked out.

You get lots of valuable procedural knowledge in school, as well as a smattering of dogma, but nowhere – not even in most philosophy programs – are you taught how to think critically. We are hardwired to bullshit ourselves, and that’s a bloody fact Jack. And what are you taught? What does our system drum into your head at every bloody turn?

To believe in yourself! Believe in yourself when all the research shows that you are in fact the least credible person in the room. Though it seems the other way around, we’re actually much better at critiquing the claims and predicting the behaviour of others than we are ourselves. Check out David Dunning’s Self-Insight if you don’t believe me.

Ignorance is invisible, and so long as we remain ignorant of our cognitive shortcomings we will be slaves to them, we will be condemned to repeat all the same mistakes over and over, only with toys and tools that grow ever more powerful.

I must admit that I have conflicting reactions to this. Part of me wants to dismiss this out of hand, all the time knowing that this is just avoidance on a meta level. Another part wants to argue, to probe this, to find holes in the argument. Then another part of me realizes that in referencing such "parts," I am trying to distance myself from the conflict by pretending there are two "real" and discernible "parts" to me. I suspect much of what Bakker is talking about here refers to the efficacy of doubt and how self-doubting can be employed as a sort of meta-cognitive "spell checker," making sure that certain errors can be identified more readily. Whether or not one chooses to "correct" those "errors" is an entirely different matter, one which I've known from personal experience with Bakker is something that interests him keenly, that being the fallacies of certainty and conviction. Personally, I'm more of a Functionalist and have been for over a decade (those of you reading this who are familiar with arguments regarding the Final Solution ought to be familiar with that application of the term. Just take it further and apply that view to matters of religion and other cultural artifacts.) I suspect that while Bakker's arguments on this point probably are closer to being "correct" (whatever that might mean) than that of most, I cannot help but to wonder if the application of those ideas might be so unsettling to many (such as myself, as I did have some nightmares in the form of imagining a devastating argument in my dreams after reading that book of his) as to inspire all sorts of irrational behavior. Is there a risk of Pandora's Box being opened anew?

There is much more to consider in that interview and while my comments above are just the musings of the moment, I can't help but to want to reject much of what Bakker has stated. Not because I have a more plausible model to present (and I don't trust in pre-fab models here to explain away his questions and tentative conclusions), but rather because the implications of what he notes is anathema to me. Not many people have managed to present arguments that inspire such a reaction, but even two years later, I still find myself on occasion trying to come to grips with the possibility that I'm flat-out wrong on views regarding life, the universe, and everything. But yet, there's that comforting possible self-delusion that seems to serve a nice function in my life, however, that is a topic for another time and place. Right now, I want to get sleepy before my brain chemistry changes for the worse.

23 comments:

Cheryl said...

I think this just goes to prove that you should come to ICFA. You would be so at home there.

Larry said...

I might go next year, as I'll have reached one year at my new place of work. Plus I used to live only 30 minutes from Ft. Lauderdale and I'd like to return to the area. So if I can swing it, I'll try for next year or for 2010. Fair enough?

Cheryl said...

You'd be very welcome, although we are in Orlando these days and will be until at least 2011.

Larry said...

Ah, even better for my budget then, although I'd still want to travel down to Miami if I'm anywhere in the Sunshine State again! But everything will depend upon how much I can save, since there are those pesky overdue bills I'm still paying off...

Scott Bakker said...

So just what are you disagreeing with, Larry? All of the cognitive psych stuff I mention is simply a matter of fact. The obvious conclusion to draw from this data is that we really have no basis to believe (by which I mean, exclusively commit ourselves to) any of our theoretical ramblings outside of science. But this doesn't mean we can't entertain various interpretations, or even say why we prefer one over the other, so long as we acknowledge that, all things being equal, we're very likely wrong.

What part of this doesn't sit well with you?

Larry said...

The short of it, Scott, I disagree with the implications of it. While I know what you've pointed out has been tested and proven, there's just that urge (self-preservation, self-delusional?) to pout, sulk, and to refuse to accept it.

I view it as being akin to my eating habits. I have had an aversion to certain fruits and vegetables for almost my entire life. I know it's silly, I know that eating them won't harm me and in fact would be good for me, but yet there's that gag reflex at the thought of confronting this phobia. I suspect something similar to that is at play here.

So while I'm getting comfortable (being comfortable is an entirely different matter, of course) with the idea that I'm "wrong" about meta-ideas (life, universe, everything), I still can't help but to question, to poke, to prod, and to wonder what can be done within that box. That and I'm a bit more optimistic about matters, even if I have no right to be. I suspect there's even more to learn. While likely it'll be more damning stuff to notions such as an independent soul, my brain has been programmed (not hardwired in this sense, since I'm thinking of things similar to dopamine and serontin here, which fluctuate and alter the "program" depending on those levels) to do that nasty, hurtful thing called hope.

Still have a lot more to work out in my head. I don't believe in many certainties, after all.

Anonymous said...

What if one or another of these 'Meta-ideas' comes from outside the human mind.

This is is clearly the view a large percentage of the world subscribes to.

Larry said...

Personally, I'm not adverse to that idea (I am a practicing Catholic), but I have to admit that it isn't something that has ever been scientifically "proven," and since science deals with provable, testable ideas, such things fall out of its preferred focus area.

However, when the brain can be tested, when it has been stimulated (say due to traumatic injury from an accident or intentional harm), there have been evidence of major personality shifts, delusions, and all sorts of things that used to be ascribed to spiritual contact. Much of Bakker's upcoming book, Neuropath, deals with this, in addition to the thriller elements of a serial killer/psychopath stalking a family. I read NP in electronic draft form back in February 2006 and I ought to be receiving a print galley/ARC in the coming weeks, so I'll say much more on it then.

Anonymous said...

I find what Scott argues very interesting, and agree to a certain degree, having studied and read a fair bit of critical psychology.
It interests me, however, Scott, that you ponder the fact of scientific findings. Is this just a manifestation of your own biases? After all, science is based on a particular set of premises, but are these mankind's best approximation of truth? Science as we know it is logical positivism, and derives from a western perspective.
A critical mind must also question the truth value of science.
I largely agree with what you say, but needed to mention that :o)

Michael Woods

Scott Bakker said...

Most everything in our heads comes from elsewhere: other heads! Drinking beer and smoking reefer can give you some kooky ideas sometimes. But usually we don't need any help - and we also have the rather convenient habit of thinking the ideas in our head are the ideas. When was the last time you saw a human pointing to another's head and say, "Now that's where the truth is!"? It's pretty rare, probably because we all have big heads. Some of our heads are so big that we think only God could have filled the bloody thing.

Are suggesting that cognitive psychology is wrong about how horrible we are at belief formation, Michael? No, because what is there to disagree with? For better or worse, science is the bar.

Sure, science is flawed like all other human institutions. I personally think it needs to be critiqued hard, because my fear is that it'll be the end of us. But when it comes to the claim-making game, it's pretty unique, wouldn't you say? For one, it's literally structured, procedurally and institutionally, to prevent our cognitive shortcomings from getting the best of us. It's a testament to just how short those shortcomings are that even with all the safeguards science offers we still regularly muck it up.

Logical positivism is a philosophical position that takes science as one of its bases (not vice versa, as you imply)- but what theoretical issues have philosophers ever resolved?

Anonymous said...

When things go into our heads, they necessarily go in through that set of filters which are our biases, beliefs, and so forth, so even if we did believe that somewhere else (in someone else) there is a truth, it is distorted before we can even repeat it back. Add to that the fact that no communication is 100% foolproof. How many times can you think that someone says they agree with you, they know what you are saying, but you know that they actually don’t, they just haven’t got it? Plenty, I’m sure.

I am currently completing a psych course, and have a budding research career, so I feel I’m in an interesting position. Many in the same would not question these things, let alone themselves. I know I could carry out a very successful research career without ever thinking about it all. But I won’t, it is important to me that I question the basis of the philosophies I conform to.
In answer to your question, no. I don’t believe cog psych is wrong about these things. Even given that I may have these beliefs simply because I have studied cognition, and I have done the research, and read the numbers that ‘prove’ it. Phenomenologically I can confidently say that in my own life I have personally experienced, and seen around me, these processes at work. And even more fascinating is when you can observe a change in someone’s beliefs over time as a result of the processes. But I still hold a corner of my mind which I won’t allow to believe (and would actually get a kick out of proving wrong) the research.

One problem with science is that it is practiced by humans. No matter how perfect our methods are, if they are carried out by inherently flawed and tractable minds, then how reliable can it really be? In my (admittedly limited) experience, not all scientists truly practice science. They go through the motions, they do most of the right things, but even they let slip the critical faculty. And I can understand that, because it isn’t easy, and when you have to get results, meet deadlines, publish papers, write grant proposals, how much mental effort is left to devote to critical thinking?

Another problem is that no matter how many times a study is repeated, no matter how many times a perfect correlation is demonstrated, at some level there is inference taking place. Whether we infer causality, or infer a theory, or infer an evolutionary explanation for a phenomenon, it is still a jump. And that is science, yes. We draw inferences from what we observe. There is, however, the “interpretive gap” between what is perceived and what is real.

And yes, I agree, science is damn good at the claim-making game. Hell, science is great in general, it’s going to feed my family for the next 50-70 years, keeping me in a job, and stimulate my intellectual curiosity.

The greatest problem with teaching critical thinking is pointing out that it is not only about critiquing the findings, the output, the manifestations of whatever. We must also be able to critique on a deeper level. This, to me, is where science is open to attack. As I mentioned previously, we must think about the foundations upon which science is built. Are these shaky at all? One of its fundamental tenets is that the observable is real. Hard to argue with (but is that just because we are raised in this society?) like much of science is hard to argue with. Science is like the school bully and the smartest kid in school, and they are the same person. But is this true? There are plenty of cultures around the world that would claim that something intangible is as real as can be, and then laugh at you holding a rock in your hand and telling you the rock is not real. Seriously, most people can’t take that little step back and question their own beliefs to the point that they can say “well, maybe they have it right.”
Once again, this is very important to me, because my research career is going to focus on thought and human consciousness. Intangible concepts. Yet how do I reconcile this with the scientific lines within which I must colour? With difficulty, I’m sure.

And critical thinking is hard. I can see why it is not easily embraced, or taught, or practiced. It is a faculty that I am still developing, but actively trying to develop. I have opinions, views, beliefs, just like the next person (if anything I am probably more pigheaded about them than the average person). So I seek evidence to the contrary, I seek argument to the contrary. Even then, when I get it, when I can no longer argue my position, the evidence against me outweighs the for, it is hard to change. Physically hard. I want to rail against it, but I know its futile. I can almost feel neurons making connections. But the exciting thing is that the old connections don’t disappear or get replaced.
Anyway, what I am saying is its damn hard to think critically. It’s a big step that, like you said, is not taught.

I still believe that the philosophy comes before the practices. There is a semantic distinction between philosophy as a system of beliefs, and philosophy as the rational investigation of questions of human nature. I am talking about the former. So science is based on a particular philosophy. Logical positivism claims that the observable is objectively real, that science is neutral and unbiased, and uses rationalism.
Knowledge is a product of its cultural and historical heritage. And therein lies an explanation of why western science is founded on the philosophies it is.
So really, critical thinking must entail thought about the ontology and epistemology of the practices, not just its methods and output.
Unfortunately its much easier to provide society with answers than with question. Sorry to generalise, but people don’t want questions. Which makes it harder still for those of us who do, as if the questions themselves weren’t hard enough.

Is there a better place to continue this discussion?

Michael Woods

Larry said...

I think my issue with "science" as a measuring stick is not that it's "wrong" (far from it, truth be told), but that it is, as Michael mentions, wielded by flawed, fallible creatures. Looking at the word's etymology, "science" is just merely "knowledge" of the understood and the to-be-understood. It's what's done with that knowledge that is unsettling, which again is part of the sublayer to NP, no?

Michael, I don't have a dedicated forum feature for this blog, alas, but I did make a post here if you and Scott want to continue discussing this publicly and if you feel that this blog format is too constricting.

Scott Bakker said...

I pretty much agree with everything you say, Michael, down to your most seditious (given that you are a scientist!) suspicions. But the question I always ask critics of science is, "Sure, but compared to what? Philosopy? Religion?"

After ten years of studying philosophy with the intent of becoming a philosophy professor, and after spending many of those years actually conditioning my commitment to scientific claims on the basis of this or that story or What Science Is, I'm convinced no one knows what the hell they're talking about, especially when they start talking "foundations."

And this stands to reason. You can agree, as I tend to, that all "theory is laden" (of course it is), but as soon as you try to unpack of the "fundamentals" of this ladenness you're off to the interpretative races, and without any of the procedural or institutional resources that allows science to end their interpretative regresses. Once you factor our myriad cognitive biases into the equation, the situation quickly seems hopeless - to the point where it makes more sense to say science is something that we successfully do, and that the haze of controversial interpretation that surrounds it comes after the fact.

On a different note, as a matter of simple fact, you're wrong to assume that science is underwritten by logical positivism - there's a plethora of "conceptual creation stories" out there believed by many different science practioners. I would be very surprised if a even a small minority ascribed to logical positivism, as opposed to say, intstrumentalism or some other quasi-Quinean pragmatic understanding (Kuhn, Feyerbrand, etc.). Otherwise most scientists, I'm guessing, would simply be naive realists. Since logical positivism is something of a slow moving target, critics of science tend to gravitate toward it, and to give the false impression that it's actually the commonly held philosophical position in the sciences.

Me? I don't know what the hell science is "fundamentally." All I know is, whatever theoretical knowledge is, it clearly seems to have the market cornered.

Larry said...

Scott, here's something I'm curious to hear your take on:

So much of the talk in your interviews and in NP deals with the neural "hardwiring," but could it be also in part that there's a "software" issue at play? I'm far from a staunch supporter of the Sapir-Whorf theory on cognitive/linguistic development, but what if (that damnable "if"!) part of the cognitive inability to grasp certain viewpoints is related closely to the "programming" we've undergone via acculturation and language acquisition? That is something that I'd like to hear you address in more detail, as that's a harder issue to tackle (I suspect) than that of metaphysical belief systems.

Scott Bakker said...

It's the million dollar question. What's clear is that the brain consists of numerous "inference systems," special purpose devices for things like keeping track of people, modeling external environments, avoiding contaminants, and so on. At the same time, the brain is extraodinarily plastic, to the point of being literally "rewired" by these very words as you read.

Acculturation is capable of working incredible changes within a neurophysiologically fixed framework of cognitive abilities (or disabilities as the case may be). For the longest time this framework eluded us (the shape of experience necessarily lies outside experience), and many assumed that the brain was a blank slate, a kind of universal all purpose mechanism that was almost entirely sculpted by our environments, social and otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Of course science is the best, that’s why we are using it. Philosophy and religion are also fundamentally flawed as makers/doers of knowledge. Mind you, there are probably more people that believe in religion’s knowledge than science’s knowledge. At the same time history shows (to me at least) some strong parallels between science and religion, but that’s another discussion.

The fact that science is our best approximation is the reason it is our current operative paradigm of knowledge creation. I would hesitate to compare it to other disciplines in that way, but the idea of thinking critically about it, and never letting our guard down completely, is that when science does get replaced, it will be with something new.
Here is where the discussion gets muddy in its complexity. The new method, or paradigm, will show itself to be better. It will not (cannot) be judged better by scientific standards. That is why it is impossible to imagine the next paradigm, (or a fourth dimension, or a new colour, for example), because we inherently try to imagine it within the context of our current paradigm. That is circular and will get us nowhere.
Much easier, I suppose to sit back and say, ‘well if it happens, it happens’. And I agree, you feel quite helpless, but at the same time, it may just be that the little things, the scepticism, the questioning, is what will result in this change. And tying back to some of your original statements, Scott, it is not taught, the critical faculty, it is rarely even understood, even in those who should bear such a responsibility. Is this complacency on our part? Seems that way.

“Since logical positivism is something of a slow moving target, critics of science tend to gravitate toward it, and to give the false impression that it's actually the commonly held philosophical position in the sciences.”

It makes more sense to me now, thinking that science just developed. There was certainly no meeting to lay down its rules. It all developed back to front, I guess. We have this need to explain, so we gave it a name, some basic tenets. Then others went a step further and said ‘this is why science is as it is’, whether the aim was to criticise it or not. Then they gave this a name (ie logical positivism).
Its like evolutionary explanations for behaviour. You can explain anything you want, but how the hell do we know? Its intuitively appealing, without a doubt. ‘We have certain tendencies because we were always running away from sabre-toothed tigers, and hunting and gathering, and sowing our seeds wherever possible.’ Yeah sounds good, but we have no idea that’s what we did, and certainly not why we do what we do now.

I always thought an underlying philosophy was not something that was explicitly ascribed to, rather it was inherent in the adoption of certain practices. I suppose now, having written that, that I for one have adopted scientific practices, but if anything, explicitly question logical positivism. So really, as you have pointed out, there is no direct relationship between practices and philosophies. And this is because the philosophies are applied to the practices in retrospect, not the other, ‘ideal’ way of practices deriving from a set of beliefs.

This discussion in itself shows the frailty of critical thinking as Scott has mentioned. We are suggested to do it, but if we were doing it, we could think critically, beyond even that. I have supposedly been taught to think critically, but only it seems with the idea of adopting the views of people that are labelled critical thinkers, critical psychologists, for example. Without this discussion I never would have thought about the assumptions in that way. This shows that even when they try to teach critical thinking, how much actually gets through?

Philosophy has so much potential, at least it did for me when I was younger. To me it was supposed to be about grand ideas, the nature of existence, whatever. The more philosophy I read, the more I felt it is just arguing logic and semantics.
This parallels science, for me. At least in psychology, where I have done most of my reading. Most of the research seems to be looking at little ifs and buts, certainly broadening our knowledge of details, but really some of it seems so self-indulgent, so superfluous, you have to wonder what is going on. Where is the application? Where are the new ideas? Isn’t philosophy, and psychology, about people, how we are, who we are, what it is to be? Yet this seems to be frowned upon.

@ Larry: there may not be a causal relationship between our language and culture, and our ccognitive shortcomings, but certainly, I think it has to be considered. Just how much of an impact does it have? The problem is if you can’t articulate something, how can it be communicated? It’s a problem that can be seen cross-culturally. Peoples classify the world differently, and learning a new language is sometimes the best way to understand these other viewpoints. They are so hard to describe, that it often just ends up as ‘we see it this way because it just is, and to them, it just is this other way.’

To me, the million dollar question is how does, given this neuropsychological framework and the myriad influences that brain plasticity allows us to take on and rewire, our experience come together in this (for most of us) cognisant whole? We are conscious, thinking beings, with self-awareness. I am gape-jawed in wonder that given all the sensory input and calculations stirred around in my brain that I am not rendered completely incapable of coherent thought. It sheds some light on psychological disturbance for sure. As if we are so close to the threshold that a tiny little push will send us over the edge.

Michael Woods.

I also posted this in the wotmania thread Larry started. Lets just see how it goes

Larry said...

I'm reading this during a scant 30 minute lunch break, so I'll just merely note that I'll be responding at length, both here and over there, later this evening. I'm certainly enjoying being challenged to think here!

Scott Bakker said...

Your million dollar question, Michael, is what they call the "Hard Problem" in philosophy of mind. I'm not sure the word "hard" does justice to it, it's so mind boggling. In Neuropath I was actually able to work in something I cooked up for my dissertation, the "Blind Brain Hypothesis," an attempt to explain, not how the brain generates the mind, but why the Hard Problem is as hard as it is. Consciousness, it turns out, is a kind of illusion - something which is too crazy for me to believe.

Just a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine was telling me how the etymological roots for 'consciousness' and 'absurdity' were one and the same in ancient Greek.

Go figure.

Neth said...

hmm...it seems to me that the real question is how would Scott react to another author comparing his series to an artichoke?

Scott Bakker said...

From "The History and Legend of Artichokes" (italics my own).

"Ancient Greeks and Romans considered artichokes a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. In Ancient Greece, the artichoke was attributed to being effective in securing the birth of boys.

In 77 A.D., the Roman naturalist Caius Plinius Secundus, called Pliny the Elder (23–79 A.D.), called the choke "one of the earth’s monstrosities." Evidently he and his colleagues continued to enjoy eating them. Wealthy Romans enjoyed artichokes prepared in honey and vinegar, seasoned with cumin, so that the treat would be available year round."

Seems to sum up The Prince of Nothing pretty well. Especially the "seasoned with cumin" part.

Otherwise, you're a crazy bunch of bastards over there at ASoIaF...

Larry said...

I've been under the weather lately, so I've missed out on the latest developments, but PoN as a cumin-flavored artichoke...yes, that is oddly-appropriate, especially coming from an author who tries to work in fart jokes at the oddest times, no? ;)

I'll try to respond this evening to the more serious stuff.

Chad W. McGhie said...

SCOTT BAKKER FTW!

I'm a huge fan of your books, and don't listen to the douchebags who are obviously hating and/or jealous of your banks of wisdom.

I am a fellow writer myself to write to entertain = my thoughts exactly.

LOL at Drinking Beer and Smoking reefer.

Your defintely Canadian.

-Chad McGhie

Edmonton, Alberta

Callan S. said...

Way late to this party, but...

From what I understood, the philosophy of science at it's full extension is that science proves nothing. That if they run a test a million times and get result A, perhaps on the million and one time, result B would have happened. Science doesn't make claims (it's not even a person to make claims, as a side note), the practice of science is to provide tons and tons of evidence to consider. That's about the only thing that makes it different from religions, in that it doesn't tell the individual what to think, it just provides evidence.

I dunno who originally thought of that principle - pretty humble of them.

But anyway, unless my understanding of the passed on practice of science is wrong, isn't it being missrepresented here to say it makes claims?

Though I grant I've seen scientists on news reports saying things are proven by scientific methods, so they don't even take it at it's full philosophical extension.

 
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