Re: Culture of Science?

Stephen Barnard (
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 18:38:30 -0800

Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax wrote:
> alt.pagan has been removed from the newsgroup list at the request of
> some of the members of that group.
> Stephen Barnard wrote:
> >
> > Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax wrote:
> > >
> > > means to be human. Perhaps one reason why scientists find the so-called
> > > "Territorial Imperative" so compelling is that it resembles their
> > > culture very closely.
> >
> > I believe the "Territorial Imperative" is a phrase coined by Edward
> > Albey, who wasn't a scientist at all. He was a novelist who dabbled in
> > pop science. His writings aren't taken seriously by scientists, to say
> > the least. You seem to take them seriously, however.
> Do I? Eric? Mary Beth? Do I really take the "Territorial Imperative"
> seriously? I guess that makes me a sociobiologist! Gosh, I thought
> it was only Gerold and Bryant who believed in such things!

You must take it seriously if I'm to believe what you wrote. Do you take fascism
seriously? Do you take racism seriously? Note that I'm not asking you whether
you believe in these things.

> >
> > You are just about the most pathological nut-case of this particular
> > type that I've even run across.
> >
> This time Steve, you are now being accurately accused by me of failing
> to understand my real meaning. Let's do a basic lesson in reading com-
> prehension together and you will see what I mean.
> To do this, however, we are going to have to go beyond pulling a single
> sentence out of context. Let's go line by line from my original post:
> >Nice observation, Bill. I think a study of the Culture of Science could
> >be very interesting and lead us to some new understandings of what it
> >means to be human. Perhaps one reason why scientists find the so-called
> >"Territorial Imperative" so compelling is that it resembles their
> >culture very closely.
> Did I say that I believed this? Hmmmm. I look up and down and see no
> admission on my part that I believe in this hokum here. You sure put
> a lot of meaning in that isn't there.

I never wrote that you "believe" in the territorial imperative. That would be
absurd because you obviously don't. I wrote that you seem to take Ardrey's
writings (he coined the term) seriously. Big difference. Here's an example. I
don't believe in Christian theology, but I take it seriously because I know that a
great many intelligent and informed people *do* believe in it.

> >Observe how I got flamed by the Wonder from Washington
> >well beyond what I had actually said.
> A little sarcasm here, no?

More than sarcasm. Vicious sarcasm.

> >Her attacks, by her own admission,
> >were certainly not /rationally/ motivated. And yet they bear a peculiar
> >similarity to remarks I have seen made time and time again when a member
> >of the Scientific Establishment, particularly in that they both claim to
> >be "neutral" (or as Angeline put it, "not personal") and yet their utterances
> >are full of venom!
> The literary device being employed here is "irony". Did you learn about that
> in school?

A successful use of irony requires a degree of subtlety, which you lack.

> >From where did this culture spring? Here are a few of my hypotheses:
> Hypothesis = an idea to be tested and hastilly tossed out if decent
> evidence against it can be marshalled. This is just for some other
> stupid people out there.
> >* Class. Do Scientists come overwhelming from the Upper Middle and Upper
> >Classes? Again, this could explain many of the mythological baggage which
> >many scientists bear about the natures of their own intellects. Rather than
> >considering the superior value of the education and family upbringing they
> >had, they look hopefully to their own genes.
> >* Protestantism. (Yep, I'll blame this bugaboo just for the sake of
> >theoretical completeness!)
> Again, note the use of the humorous term "bugaboo".

Hilarious. You'd better stop or I'm liable to hurt myself. When someone feels
that they have to point out when they are being humorous then they aren't.

> >I don't give Protestantism the credit for
> >the Scientific Method, only for the the emotional baggage and superiority
> >complex that afflicts a fair number of scientists, at least the vocal
> >ones. Genetic explanations of intelligence sound a lot like good
> >old Calvinist predestination if you think about it.
> Again, note the sarcastic tone.
> >Perhaps you all have others.
> And as yet unaccepted invitation.
> >The point I would make about these things
> >is that they /are not/ Scientific Method. But they sure as hell sneak
> >in and wreak their havoc often enough for us to be aware of them.
> Very much in the tradition of Mark Twain. Ever read any of his stuff
> there, Steve?

Mark Twain wouldn't have given you the time of day. He hated pomposity.

> Periodically there are discussions about the necessity of emoticons
> in newsgroup postings. The argument against them is that a good writer
> can communicate his meaning adequately. But the problem is that a good
> writer also needs a good reader.

Before you break your arm patting yourself on the back, you should realize that
your writing sucks.

> Some, like Steve, need training wheels.

Maybe I can borrow your walker, instead.

> Regards,
> Joel
> --
> ___ ___
> /\ _|_ /\ Joel and Lynn NAzis-SEx
> / /\_|_/\ \
> / / /\|/\ \ \
> ----------o----------------------------------------------------------
> \ \ \/|\/ / / "If we try to flee from our human condition into
> \ \/_|_\/ / the computer, we only meet ourselves there."
> \/__|__\/ William Barrett

Steve Barnard