A Loathing of Falsification

From Uncommon Descent: Trying to subtly deflate Karl Popper’s falsification—again

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Here’s a recent attempt to cast doubt:

What makes something science, or pseudoscience? The distinction seems obvious, but attempts at a demarcation criterion – from Karl Popper’s ‘falsifiability’ to Irving Langmuir’s ‘pathological science’ – invariably fail, argues Michael D. Gordin. …

Here, I will focus on determining what counts as a “pseudoscience.” Since being scientific is arguably the highest status our culture can assign to a knowledge claim, the contested boundary between things that we consider science and those other things that look like sciences but just don’t quite make it is especially fraught. The name for the puzzle in this context is the “demarcation problem,” a term coined by philosopher Karl Popper, and his proposed solution — the “falsifiability” demarcation criterion — remains the most famous

. Michael D. Gordin, “Making sense of nonsense” at IAI.TV

Philosopher and photographer Laszlo Bencze comments,

Not a good article. It claims that the biggest problem with Popper’s thought is:

“whether it parses the sciences in the right ways. Indeed, this is a test we want any conceivable demarcation criterion to pass. We want our criterion to recognize as scientific those theories which are very generally accepted as hallmarks of contemporary science, like quantum physics, natural selection, and plate tectonics.”

Hmmm. What does “parsing sciences in the right way” mean? As the next sentence explains, it means no more than never discrediting anything that is “generally accepted” as science like “natural selection”.

Goodness gracious. This is exactly what Popper sought to debunk. His entire philosophy was founded upon not trusting authority—that which is generally accepted—and examining scientific theories critically on their own merits both logical and observational. So far from carrying us “beyond” Popper, this article asks us to regress.

The war on falsification is like the war on math. Causes with nonsense or destruction at their heart cannot succeed while such values remain in place.

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If you are among the Right Sort — the type who gets to define reality — then you don’t want any backtalk from anyone, or anything, that is outside your control.

Especially when you are a fraud, and what you are really up to is a confidence trick, to strip as many assets as you can – from money to freedom, authority to life itself – from the people you don’t like, to the people you do like.

An act that is essentially about politics and popularity, not upholding the truth and outing lies.

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