Category Archives: Pseudoscience

Easter Musings on “Scientism”

We have it on good authority (i.e., Bill Hicks) that in Australia, people celebrate Easter the same way we do here in the U.S. of A.: honoring the death and subsequent resurrection of one-third the Holy Trinity by telling children, ahem, “a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night.”

I think this is as good evidence as we need that we, as a species, are not wired properly, or are being operated far outside of spec. Savannah-optimized, indeed.

Be that as it may, it looks like Russell Blackford is taking an Easter break from the Blagnet, hopefully to eat a great deal of chocolate eggs in a place where philosophy is clear and analytic, far removed from quantum feminism and quantum post-relativistic biocentrism.

Some interesting discussion is going on at his “No Skyhooks” post about moral philosophy, but for my money, this line is even better:

I have learned that when you hear or see the word “scientism” these days you know you are dealing with some kind of irrationalist, or simply with a moron.

Having spent two or three subjective eternities in the wilds of the Net, I can only agree.

Continue reading Easter Musings on “Scientism”

Comments!

Visitors to Science After Sunclipse have recently left some good comments. I’d like to promote two of them to the top level and discuss a little. Replying to yesterday’s post “Michael Egnor, Reverse Engineering and Genetic Algorithms“, Matt from London said the following:

The trouble is that as far as the Egnors of this world are concerned, GAs — and indeed any artificial system that demonstrates the efficacy of variation+selection — is itself the product of design and therefore cannot possibly constitute evidence in favour of evolution. Whoever wrote the code *obviously* secretly included a complete design of the end product they were seeking. It stands to reason.

Not surprisingly, the TalkOrigins people have a lengthy page discussing genetic algorithms and what they mean. One classic creationist canard is that GAs don’t mean anything for biology and don’t prove evolution works because they have preordained goals. Like most creationist memes, this shows up all over the place; one significant example is young-earther Don Batten‘s essay for Answers in Genesis, “Genetic algorithms — do they show that evolution works?” Not to prolong the suspense, here is what TalkOrigins (in the person of Adam Marczyk) has to say about that:

Continue reading Comments!

Michael Egnor, Reverse Engineering and Genetic Algorithms

The story begins with Time magazine and Michael Lemonick, who wrote an entry for their Eye on Science blog which critizized the Discovery Institute’s silly propaganda piece, their list of “dissenters from Darwinism”. (The National Center for Science Education maintains a list of non-dissenters all of whom are named Steve which is longer than the DI’s list has ever managed to be.) PZ Myers explains what happened next, and how Michael Egnor advances onto the stage:

Now here’s the funny thing: the distinguished brain surgeon Dr Michael Egnor shows up in the comments and spouts the usual boilerplate claptrap we hear from these guys all the time: oh, he was a ‘Darwinist’ once upon a time, but then he was convinced by the complexity of the cell that ‘Darwinism’ had a problem. Sweet Jebus, but one thing that pisses me off is ninnies who equate complexity with design; random processes are excellent tools for making things extravagantly complex.

Michael Egnor has become the latest creationist darling, spewing the same sort of anti-scientific canards which have been refuted for years, if not decades. (Browse the TalkOrigins FAQ for a catalog of these memes. Usually, “frequently asked questions” are asked pretty frequently, but creationists do an astonishing job of asking them all the time and indeed almost never asking anything else!) Egnor‘s writing for the DI’s “Media Complaints Division” has irritated so many people in the reality-based community that the first two pages of Google hits on his name are, with two exceptions, scathing blog entries.

Anyway, Michael Egnor‘s latest ramble gave me an idea for a fun project to try; for details, read below the fold.

Continue reading Michael Egnor, Reverse Engineering and Genetic Algorithms

Quantum Feminism!

At the Richard Dawkins wobsite, we are presented with this lucid remark from Dawkins himself:

You can buy any number of books on ‘quantum healing’, not to mention quantum psychology, quantum responsibility, quantum morality, quantum aesthetics, quantum immortality and quantum theology. I haven’t found a book on quantum feminism, quantum financial management or Afro-quantum theory, but give it time.

A Devil’s Chaplain (p. 147)

Unfortunately, it looks like enough time has been given.

Connectivity has been called the genius of feminism by theorist Robin Morgan (53), and this genius is being realized in electronic spaces and texts in more complex ways than in any other medium to date. Connectivity’s key position in the quantum feminist universe is reaffirmed by VNS Matrix’s choice of the image of the matrix–the cosmic womb–as its symbol as much as by the OBN defining its local chapters as “nodes” that “collide, disintegrate, regenerate, engage, disembody, reform, collapse, renew, abandon, revise, revitalize and expand” (OBN FAQ 7). These structural and mechanical concerns are not accidental. Quantum feminisms do not inhabit a network; they are the network of feminist discourse in virtual space. In the archival text, this dynamic connectivity, interconnection and disconnection is both narratological structure and the means of navigation in space and time. The lurch and the jump of a browser’s deterritorialized journey through a hyperlinked text simultaneously problematizes connectivity, perspective and the nature of multidimensional space even as it explores them. The tendency is always to speak of and visualize the tangible rather than what lies in between joining one artifact, page, or space to the next. Carolyn Guyer dubs this no-place between screens a “buzz-daze state,” that is a feeling of dis/orientation in “being split among places” (n.p.). Luce Irigaray has asked, “What do we call a gap that is full?” (qtd in Joyce, 1995, 207) and in the webbed space of hyperlinked fiction the pregnant gaps between the nodes are at least as important as the textual nodes themselves. The nodes exist in conjunction with the dynamic space of the journey and cannot be discussed in isolation. This information gap can only be travelled through and never visited directly because it is the interpolation of space and nonspace. It is mnemonic space: the fleeting space between the moment of remembering and forgetting. This is not the white space of the printed page, but instead the full, noisy gap of the cyberspatial leap through sensual and perceptual space. These gaps are felt, not seen.

Continue reading Quantum Feminism!