Of blogs and science

Science aficionado Scott Hatfield raises a hypothesis and asks a question:

Vox likes to talk of scientistry, scientody, and other self-appointed neologisms, and the unmistakable impression I receive is that he resents the relative standing of science in the intellectual world and would like to see it taken down a peg. In this respect Vox Day, the ‘Christian Libertarian and Forensic Atheologist’, has more in common with the science envy displayed by post-modern readers in the sociology of science.

Resents? Science envy? By no means! After all, by one of the temporary definitions of science put forth by the science fetishists, I am myself a member of the secular priesthood, if a low-ranking one. And I hasten to point out that the aforementioned neologisms are merely my labels for the definitions of science provided for us by an atheist scientist, they’re not my definitions. I would like to see a reform of scientistry in defense of scientage and scientody; it’s precisely because I value the latter two that I tend to oppose the former.

In return, I should very much like to know Scott’s definition of science, if PZ’s is unsatisfactory.

I was getting ready to put this dog to bed when I came across a cute little note from fellow Molly winner Blake Stacey about the effects of a series of posts over at Pharyngula. Essentially, the owner of that blog (PZ Myers) was instrumental in marshaling his readership to investigate possible plagiarism and other sins in a peer-reviewed publication, as described here.

What makes this especially fascinating is that it shows that peer review is (of course!) not perfect, as it is done by human beings; at the same time, it shows that the larger role of the scientific community to ‘review’ the reviewers is well-served by the existence of a network of science bloggers! So, Vox, if you’re reading this, please acknowledge that science blogging, even if not science itself, contributes to an important part of the scientific method, which is peer review.

I will certainly do no such thing! I will, however, acknowledge that science blogging, while not science itself, contributes to an important part of the scientific PROFESSION, which is peer review. Ironically, Scott provides us with an illustration of why the distinctions between scientistry, scientody and scientage are so important. Peer review is nothing more than a form of professional group editing, as one commenter previously pointed out, peer review is no more science than a group of editors writing the daily unsigned editorial for the opinion page is news.

“Meta-science” is good, but in this case, “not-science” is better.

Mutating integral consciousnesses

I think my publisher was a bit taken aback when I let him know that not only was the journal of the Savitri Era Learning Forum interested in publishing an excerpt from TIA, but that I was entirely inclined to permit them to do so. He was sympathethic, however, when I pointed out that it would be hypocritical of me to openly declare that I am pro-crazy, then turn up my nose at the first Zen-science journal to come along. Besides, from my perspective, random gurus with German names living in India have at least as much intellectual credibility as any of the Unholy Trinity.

To the publisher’s eternal credit, he threw up his hands and said, “hey, why not,” and promptly granted permission. I love BenBella, I really do.

And let’s face it, how could you possibly be expected to resist a name like Koantum Matters?

Mailvox: a false hope

Another college atheist writes in defense of Sam Harris:

I read your book today. I too, was a Chrsitian, and a fairly conservative one. But I had some questions about it, and Sam Harris book turned me away from it. I found most of your attacks on Harris to be erronous. Except for when you talked about Harris glossing over the evils of Stalin and Mao (you’re dead right there) it sounded like you were distorting what Harris said, or at least what he meant. Also, I never read that Harris thoguht religion was worse than rape–did you make that up?

It’s very strange that this kid could see through the spurious nature of Harris’s No True Atheist defense of communism, yet not recognize the ridiculous nature of the Red State argument and other Harrisian fabrications. As for the hope that I’m dumb enough to simply fabricate quotes relating to a controversial subject, well, here’s the notorious statement right here:

Saltman: “Your analogy between organized religion and rape is pretty inflammatory. Is that intentional?”

Harris: I can be even more inflammatory than that. If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion. I think more people are dying as a result of our religious myths than as a result of any other ideology.

It’s sad that a child raised Christian would turn away from the faith of his fathers. But one despairs for the human race to know that anyone could do so on the basis of arguments made by Sam Harris. Mercury in the vaccines is the only plausible explanation.

UPDATE – Speaking of vaccine damage, another TIA reviewer is obviously quite reliable on the details in his review of the response to Clinton, Sam, and the crew:

Robert Beale, right wing blogger, video gamer and part-time Christian fantasy novelist is the literary equivalent of Ann Coulter, and his frequent invocation of the Holocaust, race, gender, class and other cultural hot buttons on his Vox Populi blog is an exercise in intellectual bomb throwing.

I particularly enjoyed the claim that I confuse correlation with causation, when I specifically point out that it is the very high level of correlation that suggests causation. The New Atheists, on the other hand, are permitted by their acolytes to assume causation without even demonstrating correlation in the first place.