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More Silly Psychobabble About “Resistance to Science”


In this essay, psychologists Paul Bloom and Deena Weisberg assert:

The developmental data suggest that resistance to science will arise in children when scientific claims clash with early emerging, intuitive expectations. This resistance will persist through adulthood if the scientific claims are contested within a society, and will be especially strong if there is a non-scientific alternative that is rooted in common sense and championed by people who are taken as reliable and trustworthy.

I’m not quite sure what the “developmental data” are, but I do know something about science, and I am certainly not resistant to it, which is precisely why I am an intelligent-design proponent.

I use the hard sciences all day long in my work as (primarily) a software engineer in the aerospace research and development field. These sciences include: physics, mathematics, electrical and mechanical engineering, computational algorithms, detailed computer program design and debugging, and information processing. The end products of all this highly integrated science must work in the real world, and this is the only measure of success in my professional field. Vague, unsupported philosophical ruminations, like those of psychologists, don’t cut the mustard when it comes to real science and scientific endeavor.

It is precisely because of my knowledge of science, in a number of scientific disciplines, that I reject blind-watchmaker Darwinism and materialist explanations for all that we observe. Psychologists, especially the evolutionary kind, should become more familiar with real, hard science, before they make sweeping, unsupported claims about others’ motivations for rejecting their definition of “science.”

I posted a reply to your message mike1962 and then, the next day, a remark about it having been deleted along with yours. Then my remark was also deleted! See if this one sticks around. Borne
admins: I posted a reply to message #21, which seems to have been deleted. Was it something I said? mike1962
These ppl's arrogance make me angry, but I'm sure they made the Atheist fan club extremely happy. jpark320
The essay uses a favorite tactic of the American political left, telling us that those who disagree with them are holding a gun to the head of children and warning that the trigger will be pulled unless the Liberal position wins the day. It started with anti-nuclear commercials aimed at Barry Goldwater in the '60s ("nuclear weapons are not good for flowers and other living things"), was used recently in Moveon.org political ads to scare us out of implementing Social Security reforms, and was used repeatedly by both Bill and Hillary Clinton to defend all sorts of programs that needed to be implemented "for the children". About the time of the last presidential campaign, a girl of about 10 years' age, delivered a short speech attacking the Vice President of the United States. Since the Dem. party is generally the more natural home of materialists, it is not surprising to see academics employing this strategy. russ
I forgot: The logic of the children our learned psychologists mock is impeccable - Modus Ponens (denying the consequent to reject the antecedent in an implicaiton): P => not-Q But, Q So, not P. In short, evo mat on the evidence, strongly undermines morality [and mind] But both morality and mind are valid and sound. indeed, our minds are the things we are most immediately aware of, and it is through our minds that we access the world around us -- how we become aware and interact. Similarly, we are immediately aware that we have worth and that that worth should not be violated. So, evo mat -- which undermines both -- is logically self-defeating and must be wrong, however clever its proponents and however impressive the evidence they bring out to make it seem plausible: it undermines the very significance of evidence and logic itself. (Of course, Wells here has made a bit of a career out of showing that many of the icons involved are misleading or even in some cases deceptive . . .) So, maybe there is something to be said for "common sense" resisting "science" after all! (For more on this see Reppert's recent work on C S Lewis' dangerous idea. Plantinga,s work in this area too is worth a look or two.) GEM of TKI kairosfocus
H'mm: I see that in # 15, grendelkhan tried to turnabout the burden of proof on grounding morality relative to evolutionary matieralism [the last of the four big bangs I mentioned]. S/he [Grendel . . .?] did not interact in ht comment made, with my always linked, and its onward links, which would have laid out just why this is a commonplace observation among informed critics of materialistic worldviews. Several other commenters, however, took up some of the points and we will see what happens further. Oddly, though, Gil, this is not off-topic. By that I mean: 1] Morality is precisely a central example of where "Science" -- as evolutionary materialism likes to call itself -- cuts across the deliverances of common sense and the five senses. (To see this, observe just how often "science" has been/is trotted out to justify accepting a great many outrageous things, starting with eugenics and genocide, racism [evolutionarily "justified" versions], the dictatorship of the proletariat (so called), thee Schaeffer-Koop cluster: abortion on demand, infanticide, euthanasia, moral relativism in the name of "tolerance" etc.) 2] By contrast, we know intuitively, by immediate consciousness on the point of fairness, that certain things are right, and some are wrong, which is in fact a general consensus across cultures and times, one aptly summed up in the Pauline "love does no harm and so grounds moral law" principle [Rom 13:8 ff; Locke's discussion in his 2nd essay on Govt is very interesting, especially where he cites Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity on the way to grounding rights and liberties and resistance to tyranny. Echoes in the US DOI of 1776 and the grounding of rights in God's Creation order, are not coincidental.] 3] C S Lewis aptly summed up the force of this in his comment on the way in which we quarrel -- by appealing to a violated sense of fairness, which is as a rule accepted by both parties in quarrels. We dispute on facts and applications, not on core principle. 4] Enter, stage LEFT, the evo mat vision of nature red in tooth and claw as the engine of "progress", which renders morality relative at best. "Common sense" and "science" now clash, and we see all sorts of accusations and insinuations against those superstitious, mentally defective fundies who resist "science." [Never mind the distortion of the history of the rise and praxis of science that is implied.] 5] So, it comes down on this point, to the clash over the principle in the Psalms: "It is God who has made us,and not we ourselves." Mechanisms of creation are secondary -- the issue is whether we are an accident all the way from hydrogen to humans, on which basis we have no intrinsic value and so morality in the end collapses for want of value in the object of moral action. 6] And that is why Intelligent Design is so fiercely resisted even though it is empirically very well warranted indeed, within the scope of scientific methods, properly understood, as is the most outright Bible-thumping "fundamentalism." (Which, quite often BTW, was rooted in theistic evolution, back in the founding days of the response to modernism . . . the question was atheistic, a-teological evolution, not evolution!) 7] But if we are the creation of God in his image and so are endowed with dignity and rights to be respected, then that makes all the difference in the world! GEM of TKI PS: BTW, debating on morality is actually pretty far along. Evo Mat thinkers first need to ground the trustworthiness of mind relative to their system. Not to mention accounting for a fine tuned cosmos, and the origin and diversification of life based on information-rich technologies. kairosfocus
"In Darwin’s day it was thought that natural selection could imitate selective breeding, ad infinitum. We now know that genetic information is limited, and will not permit this infinite extrapolation." This is very good. I'd add... with the exception of intelligent agency to extend advances, like replacement organs today(bladders, etc.,) and in the future, who knows what? Kinda scary, kinda cool all at the same time how far science can advance. How far in the future is GenPet, or DupliPet? Pick your size, color, stripes, markings, even behaviorial tendency of animals? I'm guessing a reasoned, experienced, older, some might say; "eternal mentor" might have some good advice before science partakes of such creations. This mentor might teach us how creating life forms with brains as capable as our own must be kept seperated from us for own protection? Or chaos, catastrophe, and warfare can occur within our own living habitations? Michaels7
Back to the theme of this thread (rejecting "science," especially Darwinism): In Darwin's day it was thought that life was fundamentally based on a blob of Jell-O that could have easily arisen by mechanistic and stochastic processes. We now know that this was incredibly naive. Life is fundamentally based upon information, information-processing systems, and incredibly well-integrated, hideously-complex nano-technological machinery. In Darwin's day it was thought that natural selection could imitate selective breeding, ad infinitum. We now know that genetic information is limited, and will not permit this infinite extrapolation. In Darwin's day it was thought that the universe was infinitely old, and that probabilistic resources were unlimited. We now know that this is false. In Darwin's day it was thought that the fossil record would eventually reveal that microevolution became macroevolution, in keeping with his theory, but it never did. The testimony of the fossil record has been consistent and persistent: saltation, in terms of biological innovation. The entire Darwinian edifice is in a clear state of catastrophic collapse. It should be trashed, and ignorance admitted, at the very least. Those who suggest that any rejection of Darwinian "science" is based upon some childish adherence to "intuitive expectations" really ought to do some deeper thinking. GilDodgen
Paul Bloom and his counterpart at Harvard, Stephen Pinker, are simply infuriating beyond words! These arrogant cretins flaunt their superior, authoritative "scientific knowledge"--which is at times highly contestable--burning all bridges connecting it to rational testability by stipulating it as absolutely incontrovertable and axiomic. Unbelievable! crandaddy
"“Might makes right” and “morality by consensus” are two such “attempts.” Of course, I think what you mean to say is that naturalist attempts at *absolute* morality are futile." No I didn't mean that. Most people recognise that "might makes right" is not a moral system at all really, quite the opposite. "might makes right" is an essentially amoralist claim. As for the second one, "morality by consensus" fails the "no teleology" test as it assumes that goods as decided by consensus is itself a good, yet morality by consensus can't ground such a moral claim. So they have to appeal to something outside of the "morality by consensus" system in order to ground its foundational principle and they are not going to be able to do that without assuming that the desires of the group as a whole are a proper end to be strived for and hence a good. I stand by my claim, anything someone would recognise as a moral framework that they expect others to abide by will require teleology and is therefore incompatible with naturalism. Only the "might makes right" amoralist that you have suggested is workable in a naturalist framework. Jason Rennie
Am I mistaken, or didn't we Americans get a lot of our wizbang science and technology from a generation that was educated in what would be considered today to be a theocracy? I mean, they allowed Christian prayer in public schools at that time. They had all kinds of Ten Commandment things in courthouses. They put references to God on money and in our national pledge of allegiance. They even had a president that led the entire nation in prayer over the publicly-owned airwaves! And yet the children raised under such antiscientific, theocratic conditions invented things like lasers and unlocked the mysteries of things like DNA. They even got us to the moon! How in the world did they do all this with such a medieval public mindset? It's crazy, I tell ya, crazy. angryoldfatman
"Materialism is incapable of explaining the origin of morality? Supernaturalism is required to explain the origin of morality? Since when?" Actually naturalism is utterly incapable of grounding morality because any moral system is inherently telelogical. All moral systems propose a way the world ought to be and how deviation from that ought is undesirable. Yet Naturalism is commited explictly to denying any teleology in the world and there can be no "ought" to the way the world is in a naturalist metaphysic there is only how the world is. You simply cannot bridge from an is to an ought the way naturalism would require you too. So naturalistic attempts at morality are just exercises in self-delusion by the naturalist. But any attempt to find meaning or purpose in the world by the naturalist, or to invent their own, is likewise self-delusion so it shouldn't be surprising to discover that naturalists think they can invent moral systems. But i'm way past expecting critical thinking and analysis from naturalists on these sorts of things. Generally they fail to even grasp the nature of the problem. Jason Rennie
This "make up your own morality" philosophy reminds of this piece from Phillip Johnson: http://www.apologetics.org/nihilism.html Its worth the read: He is ruthless in exposing the weak rationalist position. bornagain77
grendel said, in part: Materialism is incapable of explaining the origin of morality? Supernaturalism is required to explain the origin of morality? Since when? Did you just make that up, and can you justify it with anything other than Bible quotes? Putting aside any commentary on the sarcasm for one moment ( and assuming you think that only science CAN answer such things!?!?), I think it is painfully obvious by now given the pychobabble offerings that I mentioned that there is no way to ground morality from a Darwinian point of view. The only thing you MIGHT be able to bet away with is that morality is social convention (which has no firm rules on right or wrong, but merely what is expected), or the avoidance of the unpleasant (which has no firm rules on right or wrong, but merely what is expected), or some other social constructs that evolved merely to make us feel better about ourselves. (which has no firm rules on right or wrong, but merely what is expected), so we are back to Square One on the board. Not all things unplesant, humiliating, disagreeable, painful or repulsive are necessarily evil. What science can only do is to defer to how humans actually react and handle things. That's it. And your term "supernaturalism" is off key. It is used merely for convenience, I hope, since I as a Christian don't actually think the term is useful but rather is a measure of our lack of knowledge about how things were done by God. Whom I think is also NOT supernatural but rather beyond our understanding. As I told someone before, any modern device, like Tv OR YOUR HANDY Ipod, might be seen as "supernatural" by ancient civilizations should you have the ability to go back in time. I think the reality is there are some things God inspired that are simply not comprehendable at this time. Perhaps later. But certainly trying to distill the issue of morals from a materialist explanation is doomed to failure because of several possible reasons, not the least of which this kind of thinking lends itself to ideological prejudice in all of us (thus the "science" studies at some universities that purport to show that conservatism or liberalism or whatnot, or faith itself is some kind of psychological derrangement!) and also it attempts to analyze behavior by a set of unknowns about the distant past. Third, it assumes what it tries to prove, namely that material brain is somehow ensconced with "morals" of some kind when in fact the more senisble explanation is that studies of this type generally lend to explanations that serve the purposes of the authors or justify their own belief systems, etc. It also suffers from a mechanistic type of reasoning that takes us back to the notion that morals are just survival mechanisms, when logic tells us that survival, qua survival, can take many easy forms and shortcuts that circumvent such inconveniences. Also, "social convention" is different for different culture, so then if THAT is what science says of morals we are still lost on who has the right formula. S Wakefield Tolbert
Interesting. In fact there was an article here on UC a while back that detailed the psycobabble of some who now claim the ultimate in absurdity (in my opinion) and one that takes the whole cake in utter silliness. We evolved to "see" (falsely) design parameters. see http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=951 If this is truly the case it is certainly counterintuitive to everything common to the phrase common sense, as design was not always seen with such a dark eye in past times, but quite sensible. Darwinists are desperate to explain away anything--and I mean anything--that casts doubt on the prevailing orthodoxy. This is one step too far, in that if they are correct and the world is seen through the lens of a majic show in the brain's function evolved to make sense of things, then surely the very logic of the underpinnings of science (and come to think of it, anything else that requires at least a cursory analysis) are also liable to be pure phooey and a deception to make us think something is obviously laid out plain jane when in fact it is not. We are back to the whole issue of materialist explanations for mind, which darwinists claim does not counter the notinos of free will and consciousness, but then the deception is belied by the very notion that other Darwinists have cooked up saying we can't be sure of what we merely THINK makes sense--it is all a Copperfield light show! S Wakefield Tolbert
Not ot mention, materialism runs into trouble with the four big bangs: cosmological, origin of life, origin and credibility of of mind, origin and validity of morality.
Materialism is incapable of explaining the origin of morality? Supernaturalism is required to explain the origin of morality? Since when? Did you just make that up, and can you justify it with anything other than Bible quotes? grendelkhan
The resistance is not to science but to materialist metaphysics. The two examples cited by the authors confirm this. They're puzzled that people resist believing that there's no immaterial soul and that purposeless mechanisms can fully explain all of life and the cosmos. Neither of those claims, however, is scientific. Neither lends itself to empirical analysis. So the question Bloom and Weisberg should have asked is why people resist accepting materialism. Had they asked this question, however, they wouldn't have had much of a paper. Dick
Isn't our perception of reality intuitive, in fact? jaredl
I would be willing to bet that developmental data also suggests that resistance to science will arise in children when scientific claims clash with reality. kdonk62
bornagain77: you ought to read Dr. Diane Komp's books, she's professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, and Attending Physician at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has written several books on the experiences of sick and/or dying children during her practice. Such as - "A Window to Heaven: When Children See Life in Death" You can read some short stories HERE Borne
This is the best part:
This resistance ... will be especially strong if there is a non-scientific alternative that is rooted in common sense
Hard to blame the kids when the "scientific" alternatives increasingly defy common sense. dacook
My lawyer once told me that in his 20 something years of experience, psychologists were the most messed up people he deals with in the courts. Most people know this. So many students of psy, looking for lucrative careers listening to others recount their problems, are in the business because they themselves are dysfunctional and so want to prove to themselves that they are not by "helping" others. A well known phenomenon. 75+$/hr. just buys you a pseudo-friend for an hour. Most of them will tell you it's someone else's fault to make you feel better. And that even though the strict Darwinists among them don't even believe in guilt and thus fault (except when wrong is done towards them as we witness in Avalos' case). Evolutionary psychology is one of the greatest farces of our society and has no business calling itself science. Borne
Not quite off-topic: How science actually works. I trust the parallels are obvious. jaredl
BornAgain: I was wondering how you would admit people could be undergoing Neo-Darwinian Evolution, until I realized by NDE you meant Near-Death Experience! :) SCheesman
The naïveté of these folks! I’m waiting for the survey that shows which group is overall more likely to believe in fairies and that the sun circles the earth—the one uncritical of Darwin or the one that would doubt him?
First, it is often assumed to be a particularly American problem, explained in terms of the strong religious beliefs of many American citizens and the anti-science leanings of the dominant political party.
Wonder which party that is?
The community of scientists has a legitimate claim to trustworthiness that other social institutions, such as religions and political movements, lack.
This should be true but it isn’t—not when science has been politicized by money from government (=political) agencies and when every foul socio-political position has been baptized in the name of “Science”. Rude
One possible reason for resistance to science is that science is often wrong. Darwin was wrong about spontaneous generation. Freud was wrong about the blissful possibilities of psychoanalysis. Marx was wrong about the fate of capitalism. Another possible reason is that Big Science has an unfortunate habit of combining wrongness with arrogance. If one thinks one knows the answer to a Big Question and is scornful of those who do not fall in line, then one should not be surprised when confronted with a degree of resistance. Finally, it is possible that some people resist science because it is not particularly soulful. There are indeed two magisteriums, and the analytical nature of modern science prevents it from crossing over into the one that gives happiness--the realm of grace, not judgment. Perhaps the question should not be, "why do some people resist science," but "how did science become the idol of the age, that all men should bow down"? allanius
They are playing with a very sharp sword that cuts both ways. geoffrobinson
The truth is that children have a much higher incidence of positive afterlife experiences than s do (+90% to -20%). So it would seem children are much closer to the truth than we are. Since after life experiences are indeed validated as authentic experiences by Van Lommel and a number of other studies, the question now becomes, Why do children have a much higher incidence of positive after-life experiences when temporarily deceased than s do? I think the answer is fairly straight forward. I believe that they have not been corrupted by many of the materialistic lies saying that this world is all there is. Another interesting fact is that other drastically different cultures,Hindu, Chinese,Japanese etc etc.. have a majority of afterlife experinces that are negative when compared to our Judeo-Christian society. This is truly a very facinating phenomena. I've got a short study that I've done on this and will send it to anyone via request. bornagain7777@hotmail.com P.S. It is in Pdf. format bornagain77
Gil Sadly, these learned profs need to do accurate 101 level courses in history and phil of science, right after they have done a similarly accurate course in logic and critical thinking: 1] Genetic fallacy: how one acquires a belief is relevant to its epistemic credibility only if one can wholly account for the substance as well as the origins of a claim based on personal history or circumstances. So, first one must address the matter on the mmerits before resorting to psycholanalysing an imaginary "fundy" out there. Which brings us to . . . 2] Ad hominem: Attacking the person instead of dealing with the matter on the merits of fact and logic, is a fallacy of irrelevance. In turn this reflects . . . 3] Strawman misrepresentation: One should properly address an argument in its strong form, not a handy caricature one can knock over easily and pretend or imagine he has addressed the real issue. 4] Improper re-definition of science: In the excerpt this is not explicit but the subtext rooted in the context of the current disputes invites the inference that what is going on is the commonplace attempt to pretend or imagine that science must only think in terms of entities acceptable to evolutionary materialism, i.e the cascade from hydrogen to humans as imagined by today's materialists. However, this cannot properly account for the history of science as practised, and ends up in all sorts of trouble on ruling out in the teeth of empirical evidence, where one cannot go -- it censors science. Not ot mention, materialism runs into trouble with the four big bangs: cosmological, origin of life, origin and credibility of of mind, origin and validity of morality. 5] History: It so happens that modern science was not only founded and practised for centuries by design thinkers, but hat they were on the whole Judaeo-Christian thinkers, even in many cases Creationists. Names like Newton, Pascal and Maxwell come easily to mind, as could Galileo, Copernicus and many more. That I and many others today wish to practise in such a tradition should not lead to the sort of ill-informed prejudice we saw excerpted above. 6] Evidence: Design thinkers are working in the light of the fact that we observe certain characteristic r=traces left by agents when they act in the empirical world. Irreducible complexity of composite systems, and functionally specified, complex information beyond the Dembski upper probability bound for systems that store explicit or implicit information, are cases in point. So strong is the evidence that such FSCI is the product of agency -- in every observed case where we directly know the causal story, i.e 100% empirical support -- that it is only the institutional power of evolutionary materialist thinking that prevents its acceptance as an obvious inference. 6] "Psychoanalysing" atheists: Having in effect shown why the re is a problem above on the merits with the conclusion Bloom and Weisberg assert ever so confidently, we may now proceed properly to address the psychology involved in such claims as they make. Have they ever thought about whether their atheism is in effect teenager rebellion against authority figures writ large? [Cf Rom 1 for an interesting classical analysis on that . . . one cited with approval by no less a figure than John Locke, as he began his essay on Human Understanding . . . cf, section 5 of his intro] GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Common. Psychologists put their bread on table and pay their bills exactly by making claims about other's motivations. That's their job and we (or some of us) pay them for that. That they say to us what we wean to hear. Shazard

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