Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blackford Contra Nisbet

I am not in the mood to add to this precious, precious blog's existing archive of anti-Nisbet vituperations, but as circumstances demand such an addition, it must be providence* that Russell Blackford has offered one that is more than adequate to the occasion. Blackford says, among other things:

You and I might not expect the NAS to take a stand on questions like that [whether any particular religions or sects make claims that are inconsistent with robust, well-corroborated scientific findings]. We might think that the compatibility of science with religion would be a matter of some legitimate controversy. If we thought like that - silly us - we might then think it inappropriate for bodies such as the NAS to adopt a position one way or the other. After all, we'd say, philosophers of religion disagree among themselves on this, as do individual scientists, so why is it appropriate for a professional body to take a stand? But we'd be wrong. Obviously the issue can be settled by sufficiently well-planned market research involving focus groups, surveys, etc. In this case, the research told the NAS that they should present material to the public that included "a prominent three page special color section that features testimonials from religious scientists, religious leaders and official church position statements, all endorsing the view that religion and evolution are compatible." Yay!

This is how to settle a philosophical debate!
Yes. Undoubtedly. Market research is, without question, the only way to settle questions of philosophy, science, aesthetics, morality, mathematics, or logic. Bien sur.

Or maybe not. Do read the whole thing.

* Mustn't it be providence? Obviously there's no way to address the question short of focus groups and other market research.

1 comment:

larryniven said...

Shit! Just think of all the posts I have to go back over now to make sure that they don't cite opinion polls of any sort. What a pain!