Like the choice between competing political institutions, that between competing paradigms proves to be a choice between incompatible modes of community life. Because it has that character, the choice is not and cannot be determined merely by the evaluative procedures characteristic of normal science, for these depend in part upon a particular paradigm, and that paradigm is at issue. When paradigms enter, as they must, into a debate about paradigm choice, their role is necessarily circular. Each group uses its own paradigm to argue in that paradigm’s defense.
— T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
The book fascinated him, or more exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that was new, but that was part of the attraction….The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you already know.
— George Orwell, 1984
A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
— William Blake, Proverbs of Hell
Hey, slow down there, Paul — you gonna drink that entire bottle of postmodern epistemology? That relativism stuff can make you go loco.
Don’t worry: I’m cutting the hooch with ice and a juice chaser. I’m just trying to understand how these two people could have watched the same movie:
(1)…what is really on display in this film is a toxic mishmash of persecution fantasies, disconnected and inappropriate references to fallen communist regimes and their leaders and a very repugnant form of Holocaust denial from the monotone big mouth Ben Stein.
(2) Expelled is a masterpiece. Watch it. Tell your friends about it. And most of all, show it to your children.
These excerpts (from two online reviews, with many more available at the ARN Expelled page) reflect the remarkable polarization of opinion about Expelled emerging less than one week after the movie’s release. I haven’t named the reviewers cited above, because I’m interested in the reaction of readers here to the very striking differences in perception of the same 90+ minutes of footage.
Well, of course (1) hated the film. He’s a well-known [fill in the blank].
Right, (2) liked Expelled. No surprise there; he’s probably a [fill in the blank].
If reactions to Expelled track strongly with one’s prior philosophical and/or religious commitments, does that mean the movie succeeded, or failed, in making its central argument?
Over to you.