1. christinathena says

    Excellent! :D I’ve never understood that idea “I’m a beginner, but I see an obvious flaw!!11!!1!!”

    I always figure that if there’s something that *seems* like a flaw, either A) I’m missing something obvious, B) the explanation I’m reading is poorly-written, or C) I’m reading something intended for people with more knowledge which, therefore, takes for granted certain basics that I haven’t learned.

    Whenever I learn more about a topic, one of those three explanations always turns out to be correct.

  2. RamblinDude says

    And what’s worse, if he posts his babblings on a blog and it gets sent around in a viral email with a few big words in bright red font, a lot of people will believe him and think that genuine science is a big government conspiracy.

  3. Brownian, OM says

    I’ve run into so many people who think like that that it’s scary.

    It is a pretty common way of thinking, but most of us grow out of it by the time we’re out of our teens.

  4. sqlrob says

    I misread that final sentence at first.

    “What do badly written vampires have to do with ‘overturning’ science?”

  5. Hypatia's Girl says

    I just want to step in and defend poor philosophers for a minute. Despite these yahoos, we are also the people who brought you logical fallacies, that has to count for something?!

  6. Jndala says

    I keep finding that many people believe in certain scientific theories like evolution and relativity although they couldn’t even be said to have a naive understanding of them and it strikes me that if my own concepts were so amazingly flawed, I literally couldn’t bring myself to accept them as valid. In that sense, I prefer when people spot something wrong and bring it up because that at least gives them a chance to learn it the right way around. On the other hand, it’s my experience that if you have a philosophy degree, you somehow become absolutely certain that you are incapable of having a naive understanding of something and thus can’t be moved to accept that you were wrong in the first place.

  7. Form&Function says

    Jndala, I agree with you to a point. After all, it’s my job to get my students to recognize the flaws in their understanding so they can expose them to the light of day and correct them. Of course, there’s a difference between verbalizing one’s interior models of the world and believing that the model you hold after only brief exposure to the field is somehow the correct one–despite what those with long experience and training in the field say.

    And, in the case of creationists, despite what just about every scrap of reality says.

  8. jomiku says

    The problem is that you’re not thinking like the DI people. They believe they’ve found something that sits apart from the mass of evolution evidence. They call it different things but they mean that somehow in some way God has called the shots. They try different things, most of them ludicrous of course – my particular favorite is the probability argument because it shows no understanding of the ordinary forms of calculation which occur in the universe all the time – but they believe. They cannot be swayed because the fault is in humans; we, meaning them, have not been able to uncover the smoking gun, the absolute proof, the true sign or whatever one needs to show that God did this thing.

    From a DI perspective, saying that relativity is wrong from a casual reading is just as silly as we think it is. But DI believes is they’re on a holy mission – you know, the Blue Brothers Mission from God – and that what they do, which certainly involves more effort than the cartoon, is one of the great ideas in human history because it will finally demonstrate belief in real terms.

  9. Sastra says

    The same people who think that an ordinary person with no real experience or education can spot a major flaw in a well-tested scientific theory are often the same people who will shrug off the most blatant contradictions and incoherencies in their own favored religious text or piece of spiritual dogma. Scientific experts are a closed-minded cabal of uninspired reactionaries defending a territory — but theologians have an almost superhuman capacity to conceive of the inconceivable, and should be trusted to have considered every alternative, and arrived comfortably at the unchanging truth, in a completely objective way.

    In both cases, we’re probably looking at those hypothetical “other ways of knowing” — the ones which cut right through the need to meet the objections of critics. That’s because the “other ways of knowing” really rest on being the “right sort of person.” With a pure and humble heart, you can understand everything worth understanding.

  10. Rob says

    Philosophy majors can be bad, but their smugness pales in comparison to that of my fellow law students. Though, a lot of law students majored in philosophy…

  11. eddie says

    Sorry, Hypatia’s Daughter @9, but that ‘no true scotsman’ is like a red rag to a bull.

    I can’t say it better than Sastra just did, or Jomiku and others, so I’ll confess that I sometimes have thoughts like this myself. I deal with them by being prepared to drop any idea in the face of contrary argument. This is where I think religious people, and indeed (some) philosophers, fall down.

  12. windy says

    Whenever I learn more about a topic, one of those three explanations always turns out to be correct.

    Er, theology? Homeopathy? Astrology?

  13. MadScientist says

    How do you know it is Stephen Meyer and not Rupert Sheldrake, Dinesh D’Souza, Deepak Chopra, the Balloon Embryology guy, or any other number of kooks who bill themselves as “the most innovative (insert profession here) of the 21st century”?

  14. Kel, OM says

    It is a pretty common way of thinking, but most of us grow out of it by the time we’re out of our teens.

    Most? You have a far more optimistic assessment of humanity than I…