Feyeraband as Provocation

Feyeraband likes provocative statements and below there are some quotes from the everything-list caused by myself using Feyeraband’s statement about Galileo. Well, if you would like to make discussion hot, quote Feyeraband.


05.01.2012 06:29 John Clark: “And so simulators join a long long long list of things that you say are not real. If X contradicts your philosophy you just declare that X is not real; that’s what the opponents of Galileo did, they insisted that everything rotated around the Earth but when they looked through Galileo’s telescope they could clearly see that Jupiter’s moons rotated around Jupiter NOT the Earth. So what was their response to this powerful evidence? You guessed it, things seen through a telescope were not “real”. ”

06.01.2012 10:23 Evgenii Rudnyi: “If to talk about Galileo, then it would also good to remember Feyerabend (for example Against method). Feyerabend has studied the way Galileo has made science a lot and his conclusion

“The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s doctrine. Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just, and revisionism can be legitimized solely for motives of political opportunism.”

 06.01.2012 17:08 John Clark: “I believe those remarks could be summarized more concisely if he had said ” I Paul Feyerabend am an idiot”. I love philosophy but hate philosophers because very little philosophy comes from professional philosophers, it comes from scientists and mathematicians. Every time I think I’m being too hard on philosophers somebody mentions a person like Feyerabend and I remember why I dislike them so much.”

06.01.2012 17:54 Evgenii Rudnyi: “This statement contradict to a normal scientific world view but it is based on historical facts. Hence it well might be that you have to read more about Galileo.

As for Feyerabend (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Feyerabend)

“Feyerabend became famous for his purportedly anarchistic view of science and his rejection of the existence of universal methodological rules.[1] He is an influential figure in the philosophy of science, and also in the sociology of scientific knowledge.”

His book Against method has been cited more than 6000 times according to Google Scholar


This does not mean that everybody has to agree with him but a statement about an idiot looks exaggerated.”

06.01.2012 20:44 Brent: ”

“In society at large the judgement of the scientist is received with the same reverence as the judgement of bishops and cardinals was accepted not too long ago.”  (Feyerabend’s quote from http://blog.rudnyi.ru/2012/01/feyerabend-against-science.html).

I guess Feyerbrand was looking the other way when scientist said microscopic animals caused disease, lightning was just electricity, condoms will prevent HIV, and cigarette smoking caused cancer. I wonder what he would make of the “reverence” with which warnings of global warming are being received. And it is still bishops and cardinals who are interviewed on television when there are questions of ethics and public policy.”

07.01.2012 09:30 Evgenii Rudnyi: “The Feyerbrand’s paper is not about that. Rather take Hugh Everett III, the creator of many-worlds interpretation. Wikipedia says

“Discouraged by the scorn[4] of other physicists for MWI, Everett ended his physics career after completing his Ph.D.”

In my view this is in agreement with Feyerbrand

“Heretics in science are still made to suffer from the most severe sanctions this relatively tolerant civilization has to offer.”

 On 06.01.2012 23:11 John Clark: “What do you suppose would have happened if Galileo asked the church to present its views as a theory or conjecture?! Actually Galileo was not tortured but he was shown the instruments for it, as the worlds greatest expert on mechanics at the time he certainly understood how such machines operated, as a result he publicly apologized for his scientific ideas and said in writing that the church was right, the Earth was the center of the universe after all. I certainly don’t hold this against Galileo, instead I look at it as yet another example of the man’s enormous intellect. Only 20 years before, another astronomer Giordano Bruno, said that space was infinite, the stars were like the sun only very far away and life probably filled the universe, but Bruno was not as smart as Galileo, he refused to recant his views. For the crime of telling the truth Bruno was burned alive in the center of Rome so all could see, according to custom green wood was used because it doesn’t burn as hot so it takes longer to kill. I imagine Feyerabend would say that the church’s verdict against Bruno was rational and just too.”

07.01.2012 09:59 Evgenii Rudnyi: “I am afraid, that what you are talking about is just an example of mass culture that enjoy widespread use in the modern highly educated society. Below there are some quotes from Wikipedia on Bruno “as the martyr for modern science”. As for Feyerabend, I believe this his quote is appropriate:

“Do not be misled by the fact that today hardly anyone gets killed for joining a scientific heresy. This has nothing to do with science. It has something to do with the general quality of our civilization. Heretics in science are still made to suffer from the most severe sanctions this relatively tolerant civilization has to offer.”

From Wikipedia

06.01.2012 22:28 John Clark: “If one can not use the word “idiot” to refer to someone who says things like “The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo ” or ” Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just” then the word “idiot” should be removed from the English language because it would never be appropriate to use that word against anyone under any circumstances; but unfortunately it turns out that the word can be useful a appalling number of times in everyday life and even more often if the subject is philosophers.

It’s especially ironic to hear criticism of my criticism of Feyerabend’s criticism of Galileo when Feyerabend, being a idiot, believed that all criticisms were of equal value.”

07.01.2012 10:11 Evgenii Rudnyi: “You are free to express your opinion and I am free to express mine. Don’t you agree?

Otherwise in my view when we talk about history it would be good to follow historical events. I have read Against Method a long time ago but then my impression was that Feyerabend respects historical research. As usual, one can imagine different interpretations of historical events but while contrasting them I personally find the use of the word ‘Idiot’ inappropriate. This term is more appropriate for propaganda but not for science. If you believe that Feyerabend contradicts with historical research, it would be more meaningful instead of using propaganda to show his mistakes in history.”

07.01.2012 12:51 Bruno Marchal: “http://blog.rudnyi.ru/2012/01/feyerabend-against-science.html

I took a look, and I really think that Feyerabend confuses science and science-done-by-weak-human in search of food, position and power.”

07.01.2012 13:13 Evgenii Rudnyi: “I would agree in a sense that Feyerabend states that in the human society there is “science-done-by-weak-human in search of food, position and power” only. At least his empirical search has found nothing else. Could you please give examples of the first alternative that you mention?”

07.01.2012 17:21 John Clark: “Yes, and Feyerabend should be free to say anything that pops into his head no matter how silly, and I should be free to call him an idiot for doing so.

The problem is not historical research, I have no disagreement with any of the facts Feyerabend presents, I do however have a massive disagreement with his opinion regarding those facts, such as:

“The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself” or “its verdict against Galileo was rational and just”.

Frankly it just boggles my mind that well into the 21’st certury somebody could read those lines and NOT call their author a complete idiot.

Would “fool” be more appropriate, how about “moron”? Apparently you do think the word “idiot” should be removed from the English language, I disagree. I believe there is solid evidence that idiots do in fact exist and the language needs a word to describe someone who behaves idiotically and “idiot” is a excellent candidate for such a word. And off the top of my head I can’t think of a better example of an idiot than Feyerabend; assuming he was not just trying to be provocative and get attention, in which case he was not a idiot but only a hypocrite.”

07.01.2012 19:03 Evgenii Rudnyi: “The conclusion that Feyerabend made is based on his historical research. I personally have found his book quite logical, so I go not get what you are saying.

We have two opinions, one is yours and ones is Feyerabend’s. They are different, and I find it normal. Yet, if we talk about science then you have to explain with the historical facts why you believe that Feyerabend is idiot. So far from your side, there were just emotions, that is pure propaganda. If you have made a research on Galileo where you have shown the opposite, please make a link.

Brent has recently made a good statement:

“That’s why progress in knowledge relies on empirical evidence, not ratiocination.”

So it would be good to consider real historical events without ideology.”

07.01.2012 18:15 John Clark: “The “most severe sanctions” that Feyerabend is talking about is not getting tenure, that is to say not getting a well paid cushy job for the rest of your life where its almost impossible to get fired. How barbaric!

In any form of human activity there is a general consensus on if someone is doing a good job or not, and science is no exception. The scientific consensus, being composed of human beings, is not perfect and sometimes it gets it wrong, but the beauty of science is it’s self correcting and big errors usually don’t last for very long. Probably the longest was the consensus about Alfred Wegerner, he developed his theory of continental drift in 1912 but most scientists did not think he was right until the 1960s. But in defense of the scientific consensus until the 1960s the evidence for continental drift was not very good. As for those “most severe sanctions” Wegerner continued to make a living as a scientist and published books and papers until his death. I’d say that science treats its heretics a bit better than the way religion treats theirs.”

07.01.2012 19:16 Evgenii Rudnyi: “Let me give you another example from the recent history (I will not even touch the science in the atheistic Soviet Union under Stalin). So on this list people quite often refer to Alan Turing. From Wikipedia

“Turing’s homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution in 1952, when homosexual acts were still illegal in the United Kingdom. He accepted treatment with female hormones (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. He died in 1954, just over two weeks before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning.”

Who treated Turing with female hormones? The Church or the medical science?

Now the society is much more tolerant, I agree, but I am not sure if this could be ascribed to the science. Or you mean the sexual revolution was made by scientists?”

Comments are closed.