Re: META: Crop Circles, etc.

Thu, 4 Sep 1997 18:50:50 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 9/4/97 1:32:46 PM, (Paul Hughes)

>Here I go again, taking the somewhat unpopular position on this list
>-- that CSICOP is not scientific. The scientific method consists of
>*objectively* examining evidence for its validity or falsity. CSICOP
>in all the years I have followed them, has yet to *scientifically*
>investigate anything. If they are so scientific, why do they go so
>far out of their way to disprove anything that does not fit into their
>dogma of fundamentalist materialism rather than objectively examine
>for what it is?

CSICOP goes out, collects extensive information, considers alternative
hypotheses, and frequently conducts research to verify them (e.g. Randi's
experiments). That's the very heart of science. They've just got a good
nose for what is bunk, and so they mostly investigate nonsense.

This claim of "fundamentalist materialist dogma" is a smokescreen thown up by
people whose pet ideas don't stand up to scrutiny. The components of CSICOP,
as scientists, frequently get their pet ideas ruthlessly ground to bit
against the hard truth - that's the nature of science. Those who aren't
scientists are enough involved in science to suffer this. Certainly I've had
many of my own beliefs ground up this way over the years. It's hard
sometimes, but that way lies truth and knowledge.

The Dogma of "fundamentalist materialism", insofar as it has one, is that
humans are literally incomprehensibly inventive, clever, resourceful, and
deceptive (both of themselves and others). I do mean literally
incomprehensible - there's nobody who can understand anything like the full
range of capacities of modern humanity. Anything that can get a human on the
moon, build microchips, eliminate smallpox, and alter the atmosphere can
certainly fake a couple lousy crop circles.