Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Stephen Barnard (
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 07:26:18 -0800

Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax wrote:

[snipped lots of stuff for brevity]

> Bryant's standards of evidence are self-created and maintained.

And I suppose that yours are absolute and universal? Bryant's standards are
consistent with normal scientific standards.

> I myself
> see standards of evidence as a dialogue among many people, including outsiders
> who may, at first glance, appear not to know a thing about the subject matter.

In my short experience with you, you seem eager to attack the motives of anyone
who doesn't align himself precisely with your politics. Your mode of argument
includes techniques such as guilt by association and misattribution.

> Again, the point I must make is that standards are a community effort. And
> you can't demand predictability and be comfortable with uncertainty, too.

Science is done by a community. That community has standards. If you don't abide
by the standards then you're out. One of the standards is that *nothing* is ever
for certain. Some things come close, but ultimately everything can be questioned,
any time, by anybody. If you get a reputation for questioning nearly certain
things with no evidence to back it up, then you will be written off as a nut who
is wasting everyone's time, and you will be ignored.

> Not
> unless you accept as basic the chaotic nature of the universe.

"Accept as basic." I see. Is are you "certain" of this, or would you just like
to believe it because it fits your politics?

> I do see
> hopeful directions being taken by chaos theoreticians and others who
> are calling for the rethinking of classical explanations and intellectulizations
> of nature (e.g. Stephen Jay Gould's criticism of the "shoehorn".)

That's "wedge", not "shoehorn".

Gould is a brilliant guy, but he brings more of a political agenda to his writing
about science than just about anyone I can think of, short of Murray and
Herrenstein (The Bell Curve). Maybe this appeals to you because Gould's politics
aligns with yours. That's why The Bell Curve appeals to the likes of Rush
Limbaugh. Personally, I don't have much patience with either one of them.

Steve Barnard