[ExI] Alcock on Bem in Skeptical Inquirer.

John Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Tue Dec 7 16:48:32 UTC 2010

On Dec 6, 2010, at 7:58 PM, Damien Broderick wrote:

> John is surprisingly naive about science. I suspect that this is because he's an engineer, trained to apply what is known to be the case, to get the job done.

If part of the job includes figuring out what avenues are worth pursuing and which are likely to be a silly waste of time then I plead guilty. 

> If you start out with the absolute certainty that psi does not exist[...]

But I don't have absolute certainty that psi does not exist, I just have absolute certainty that psi is a
silly waste of time. In fact, not only am I absolutely certain I'm probably correct too.

> Well, confirming doesn't work either, as Popper showed.

Popper did some good stuff but I'm much less a fan than I once was. For most of his life Popper did not approve of Evolution; as late as 1976 Popper said “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program”. His opposition did a lot of harm too, to this day Bible thumpers use Popper quotations in their legal briefs to try to get creationism taught in the classroom.

To his credit in 1978 at the ripe old age of 76 Popper reversed his position and said “I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation”. So 119 years after the publication of "The Origin Of
Species", perhaps the greatest scientific book ever written, this philosopher of science came to the conclusion that maybe Darwin was on to something after all.

  John K Clark

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