jm + debate   3

Beard vs Taleb: Scientism and the Nature of Historical Inquiry
The most interesting aspect of this Twitter war is that it is representative of a malaise that has stricken a good chunk of academics (mostly scientists, with a peppering of philosophers) and an increasing portion of the general public: scientism.

I have co-edited an entire book, due out soon, on the topic, which features authors who are pro, con, and somewhere in the middle. Scientism is defined as the belief that the assumptions, methods of research, etc., of the natural sciences are the only ways to gather valuable knowledge or to answer meaningful questions. Everything else, to paraphrase Taleb, is bullshit.

Does Taleb engage in scientism? Indubitably. I have already mentioned above his generalization from what one particular historian (Beard) said to “historians” tout court. But there is more, from his Twitter feed: “there is this absence of intellectual rigor in humanities.” “Are historians idiots? Let’s be polite and say that they are in the majority no rocket scientists and operate under a structural bias. It looks like an empirically rigorous view of historiography is missing.”
history  science  scientism  nassim-taleb  argument  debate  proof  romans  britain  mary-beard 
august 2017 by jm
Same Old Stories From Sean Sherlock
Sherlock’s record is spotty at best when it comes to engagement. Setting aside the 80,680 people who were ignored by the minister, he was hostile and counter productive to debate from the beginning, going so far as to threaten to pull out of a public debate because a campaigner against the ['Irish SOPA'] SI would be in attendance. His habit of blocking people online who publicly ask him tough yet legitimate questions has earned him the nickname “Sherblock”.
sean-sherlock  sherblock  labour  ireland  politics  blocking  filtering  internet  freedom  copyright  emi  music  law  piracy  debate  twitter 
december 2013 by jm
"Whataboutery"
Great neologism from Mick Fealty:
Familiar to anyone who’s followed public debate on Northern Ireland. Some define it as the often multiple blaming and finger pointing that goes on between communities in conflict. Political differences are marked by powerful emotional (often tribal) reactions as opposed to creative conflict over policy and issues. It’s beginning to be known well beyond the bounds of Northern Ireland. [...]

Evasion may not be the intention but it is the obvious effect. It occurs when individuals are confronted with a difficult or uncomfortable question. The respondent retrenches his/her position and rejigs the question, being careful to pick open a sore point on the part of questioner’s ‘tribe’. He/she then fires the original query back at the inquirer.
words  etymology  whataboutery  argument  debate  northern-ireland  mick-fealty  slugger-otoole 
march 2013 by jm

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