More Fuller Two

Back to Fuller. Same thread at Michael’s place. Notice a certain tension in the main post. Third para:

In particular, I am a little disturbed by the ease with which humanists and social scientists justify deference to scientific expertise, almost in a ‘good fences make good neighbours’ vain [he means vein] (Stanley Fish comes to mind in criticism, but analytic philosophy and sociology of science have their own versions of this argument). In this respect, ‘our’ side pulled its punches in the Science Wars when it refused to come out and say that the scientific establishment may not be the final word on what science is, let alone what it ought to be. I guess we just never got over the embarrassment of the Sokal Affair.

Never mind for now all there is to wonder at in that passage. Just consider these from para four and para seven:

You might want to read what I actually say – in print, in the trial, and in the written expert report I submitted before the trial…I should say that my status as an expert in the trial had nothing to do with the textbooks under scrutiny.

He seems happy enough about referring to his own putative expertise, but curls the lip at ‘deference’ (loaded word) to scientific expertise.

(Something else I noticed, just in passing – he certainly doesn’t write very well on the fly. Compare his comments with P Z Myers’s, for instance. Both were writing quickly, but one did it well and the other pretty badly. In fact often very badly – leaving out crucial words that are needed to make sense of what he is saying, for instance.)

Some other weird items.

Frankly, I think the public disposition of the Dover case is over-influenced by hatred of Bush and especially fear of the role of fundamentalist Christians in shaping the Bush agenda. (I have in mind here the propaganda campaign being waged on webpages associated with the ACLU: Don’t they have more important civil rights violations in the US to worry about?) I’m certainly no fan of Bush, and have never even voted for a Republican, but I don’t think that this trial is the right place to ‘send a message’ to Bush. Why not work instead toward getting an electable Democrat – perhaps even one that can relate to the vast numbers of religious folks in the US, as the liberal evangelist Jim Wallis (‘God’s Politics’) suggests?

Er? What’s he talking about? Why not who ‘work instead toward getting an electable Democrat’? Us? Instead of talking about what was wrong with his testimony at Dover? Because that’s not what we’re doing, we’re doing something else. What’s the point of asking why not do something completely different?

In fact, the scientists these days who most loudly flaunt their anti-Christian, atheist colours can’t escape smuggling some kind of theistically inspired thought, including James Watson’s desires to play God…But even evolution’s staunchest defenders have remarked on the strong iconic role that Darwin continues to play in this field, which is quite unusual in the natural sciences. An important reason is the politically correct lesson that his life teaches: the idea that science causes you to lose your faith. Newton, unfortunately, thought his theory confirmed his reading of the Bible. Not very politically correct.

Whaat? Politically correct? When did Bill O’Reilly enter the discussion, and why? Politically correct where, according to whom, in which circles?

In the next century, historians will marvel at the ease with which we assume that it’s psychologically credible to think that religious and scientific views can be so neatly separated from each other. This is just our old Catholic friend, the double truth doctrine, dressed up in political correctness.

Same again only more so.

And so on. As you’ll have seen if you read it – as some or perhaps all of you already have – it’s all like that – along with a thick frosting of ineffable condescension poured over everything, which is quite surreal given the quality of the comments from the opponents compared to his own. He gives the impression, on top of everything else, of being a thoroughly unpleasant character.

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