Re: Data & Predictions (was: "The Fourth Turning" - A Must Read)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Sun, 16 Mar 1997 15:52:35 -0800 (PST)

> I understood your claim about evolution perfectly well. What I don't
> understand are the standards you are applying to Strauss & Howe's theory,
> which are either stricter than those you apply to the theory of evolution
> or else are standards which Strauss & Howe's theory can, if correct, pass.
> Of course it's much easier to attack creationism than to address my points.

When you put the question that way (which you haven't before), it has
a different answer: I apply precisely the same standard of proof to
S&H that I would to Darwin; but S&H do not. S&H publish a book full
of content-free musings without a single measurement or test or even
proposed tests. Their theories /might be/ quantifiable and testable,
if they wrote them that way, but they don't.

In all honesty, many important scientific books fail in the same
way. For example, Dennet's _Consciousness Explained_ and Ridley's
_Red Queen_ do indeed extrapolate a lot from scant evidence; but
there are large differences: (1) Both propose specific tests that
can be performed to confirm/falsify their theories, (2) Both men
have a reputation for honest, significant, rigorous science. (3)
Both works a very limited in scope, and do not even come remotely
close to making wild claims such as what 5 billion free wills may
do in coming decades. (4) Both list many alternative threories,
and give their solid reasons for why they have rejected them. In
short, they are men of scientific integrity, and they have earned
my trust. S&H have earned only publicity and sales.

Time is valuable. My time and mental resources can be spent on only
a finite number of books and other information sources. From all of
the available evidence I have of S&H's books, including discussions
here and the content of their web pages, I see no evidence that taking
the time to read the whole book would produce any benefit for me in
terms of increased knowledge or skills or even entertainment, because
everything I /have/ read is meaningless nonsense and carefully-picked
biased sample sets.

The time I spend excoriating new-agers in public forums might also
appear to have little benefit to me, but at least I enjoy it :-)

Lee Daniel Crocker <>