Did Hawkings get it wrong?

Posted on December 14, 2010


Peter: “Are there ‘experts’ that disagree with the great Stephen Hawkings?” The Believing Brain,

Jenny: ” There are always experts that disagree with other experts. Haven’t you noticed that in court lawyers for the prosecution and lawyers for the defense can always find experts with opposing opinions … with different models of  reality?

Professor Wiggly:” Jenny’s right. For instance there’s a historian named Michael Shermer who’s written  a book  (The Believing Brain) which claims that SCIENCE and its methods enables us to bypass or correct our incomplete and distorted perceptions  and models of reality. He claims that ‘ In the long run, we discard some models and keep others based on their validity, reliability, predictability, and perceived match to reality. Yes, even though there is no Archimedean point outside of our brains, I believe there is a real reality, and that we can come close to knowing it through the lens of science — despite the indelible imperfection of our brains, our models, and our theories. Such is the nature of science, which is what sets it apart from all other knowledge traditions.’

Peter: ” So Professor, which ‘expert’  do you side with – Hawkings or Shermer?”

Professor Wiggly: ” I like Shermer’s optimism, but as a historian of science  surprisingly he neglects to mention that ‘in the long run’  we find  radical revisions in the ‘reality’ science presents. He neglects to acknowledge the role that emotionally anchored assumptions play in the so-called reality that scientist present  (construct?) at any given time. He neglects to mention that science travels into the future on imaginary bridges supported by hit parade theories and models in which they cherry-pick supporting evidence and neglect or ignore negative evidence and inconsistencies. Maybe his book will address these questions in a convincing manner?”

Peter: ” I doubt it – according to you beliefs and theories which provide bridges into the future rest on emotionally anchored assumptions. And your assumptions seem to be pretty well anchored. One might even suggest that your biased.”

Professor Wiggly: ” I certainly hope so – otherwise I won’t know what to think.”

Posted in: Sciencing