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Discuss the note to the TED community on the withdrawal of the TEDxWestHollywood license.

For discussion: http://blog.ted.com/2013/04/01/a-note-to-the-ted-community-on-the-withdrawal-of-the-tedxwesthollywood-license

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    Apr 8 2013: An insightful review by Steven Shapin of Michael Gordin's book "The Pseudoscience Wars" in the London Review:

    Catastrophism
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n21/steven-shapin/catastrophism

    Shapin writes:

    "Gordin sides with those – like Einstein and a number of modern sociologists and philosophers – who doubt that universal and context-independent criteria can be found reliably to distinguish the scientific from the pseudoscientific. But here is a suggestion about how one might do something, however imperfectly, however vulnerable to counter-instances and however apparently paradoxical, to get a practical grip on the difference between the genuine article and the fake. Whenever the accusation of pseudoscience is made, or wherever it is anticipated, its targets commonly respond by making elaborate displays of how scientific they really are. Pushing the weird and the implausible, they bang on about scientific method, about intellectual openness and egalitarianism, about the vital importance of seriously inspecting all counter-instances and anomalies, about the value of continual scepticism, about the necessity of replicating absolutely every claim, about the lurking subjectivity of everybody else. Call this hyperscience, a claim to scientific status that conflates the PR of science with its rather more messy, complicated and less than ideal everyday realities and that takes the PR far more seriously than do its stuck-in-the-mud orthodox opponents. Beware of hyperscience. It can be a sign that something isn’t kosher. A rule of thumb for sound inference has always been that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. But there’s a corollary: if it struts around the barnyard loudly protesting that it’s a duck, that it possesses the very essence of duckness, that it’s more authentically a duck than all those other orange-billed, web-footed, swimming fowl, then you’ve got a right to be suspicious: this duck may be a quack."
    • Apr 8 2013: In the same way an innocent person accused of a crime may protest their innocence - a sure sign of guilt if ever there was one. What was it you said about witches?
      • Apr 8 2013: Indeed. I can even play association fallacy game with it.

        "But there’s a corollary: if it struts around the barnyard loudly protesting that it’s a duck, that it possesses the very essence of duckness, that it’s more authentically a duck than all those other orange-billed, web-footed, swimming fowl, then you’ve got a right to be suspicious: this duck may be a quack." ~ Shapin

        "If she weighs the same as a duck... she's made of wood... and therefore... a witch!" ~ Monty Python and the Holy Grail

        http://youtu.be/zrzMhU_4m-g
    • Apr 8 2013: All these arguments by Hoopes present the same difficulty. All claims, no evidence.
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        Apr 8 2013: This isn't an argument of mine. It's a link to and excerpt of a book review by a reputable reviewer in a respected publication. I do think it constitutes evidence of relevant opinions on the issue of pseudoscience (and "hyperscience"), both the reviewer's and that of the book being reviewed. Note that it may also reflect the opinions of TED, since Gordin's book was recommended in the memo on science/pseudoscience to the TED community.
        • Apr 8 2013: It just looks like, the bit you cited looks like, a catch-22 argument. A sort of, look how Hoopes bristled when it was suggested his work was pseudoscience, a clear sign of guilt (and had Hoopes not bristled, that would have been a clear acceptance of guilt). Thus, someone with too many peer-reviewed publications, or someone with none, or anyone in between, is clearly a pseudoscientist.
        • Apr 8 2013: You are presenting these links to support your contention that the WestHollywood speakers are presenting pseudoscience. They are your argument, which is still without any substance.
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        Apr 8 2013: Craig, that's your own opinion. You are certainly entitled to it.

        It has become abundantly clear that nothing I can say will change the minds of you, Sandy, Steve, or Time Walker. I shall therefore cease to try.

        The purpose of my posts will no longer seek to try and change your opinions, but to let others who think as I do know that they are not alone. That has actually been my chief intention from the beginning of these discussions.

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