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[Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder

Yes! Some things are just "true like ice or fire" Robert Zimmerman (*Love
minus Zero-No Limit*).

On Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 11:38 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> There is such a thing as objective truth, David. The claim that asbestos
> kills, once established, is extremely robust. And it is not just a
> statistical correlation, microscopic examination of lung tissue can prove
> it. I sort of agree with what you say, David, but relativism is also
> relative. The test of objectivity is the "robustness" of the claim, its
> capacity to withstand sceptical criticism. Up to a point, the asbestos
> companies were able to use the tactics - just like the tobacco industry and
> the climate deniers - such as putting contrary information, supported by
> those posing as scientists, into the public domain to create the illusion
> of a "debate", and buying off or intimidating those who spoke the truth.
> But in the end the case against them became so strong that the only way the
> truth that asbestos kills can now be undermined is by some kind of "higher
> truth" which sublates the irrefutable truth of medical science. Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> David H Kirshner wrote:
>> Let's not write-off relativism too quickly. Asbestos "ACTUALLY KILLS,"
>> not because asbestos actually kills, but because we are entrenched in a
>> scientific ideology that maintains asbestos kills. Perhaps others on this
>> list are more sophisticated in their scientific knowledge than me, but I
>> have no personal knowledge of how or why asbestos kills, and I could easily
>> be persuaded otherwise (for example, it took about 30 seconds for me to
>> come to firmly believe that Pluto is not a planet, after all). My belief
>> that it does kill is mediated by social institutions that institute a
>> regime of truth to which I am subject.
>> The climate change debate highlights the political nature of our
>> knowledge. What is such a travesty in the oil industry-funded reports that
>> call into question the human contribution to global warming is not that
>> scientific knowledge is completely homogeneous, and that alternative
>> perspectives are illegitimate. Indeed, there may well be some legitimate
>> disagreement among scientists on this question. However, the scientist is
>> obligated not only to practice good science, but also to support the regime
>> of truth within which the scientific perspective remains dominant in our
>> culture. Within the institutions of science, there are established
>> mechanisms for achieving consensus on scientific matters. The obligation of
>> scientists is to operate within that system of dispute resolution. Going
>> "above the heads" of the scientific community to communicate their
>> non-normative scientific perspectives directly to the public does not
>> advance their work as scientists (i.e., does not advance a goal of
>> establishing a new scientific consensus on climate change), but it does
>> erode the regime of truth within which institutions of science have been
>> empowered. It provides sustenance and support to a wide range of discourse
>> communities (conspiracy theorists; religious fundamentalists) that operate
>> in ways that are antithetical to the rational processes of decision making
>> that science champions.
>> David
>> -


*Robert Lake  Ed.D.*Associate Professor
Social Foundations of Education
Dept. of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
Georgia Southern University
Secretary/Treasurer-AERA- Paulo Freire Special Interest Group
P. O. Box 8144
Phone: (912) 478-0355
Fax: (912) 478-5382
Statesboro, GA  30460