Upcoming Hillsdale Talk, 11 April: Philosophy & Broken Science

Upcoming Hillsdale Talk, 11 April: Philosophy & Broken Science

I’ll be giving a talk at Hillsdale on April 11th. Festivities begin at 5 PM, and continue long into the night (maybe 9 or 10 PM).

Do me a favor, will you? Please pass this on to those who you think might have an interest. (I’ll remind us of this again once or twice before the event.)

This is part of Hillsdale’s Academy for Science and Freedom and the The Broken Science Initiative.

Those wishing to attend must RSVP at Hillsdale.edu/BrokenScience. According to the powers, “All events are complimentary”. So be prepared to be flattered.

Or maybe it was complementary. Whatever.

The topic is “Philosophy of Science”. Greg Glassman, who co-founded the Broken Science project with Emily Kaplan, will introduce events, then I will give a long, long speech. Hint: bring a pillow.

Schedule is:

  • 3 PM Registration Opens, Searle/Dow Center Lobbies
  • 5 PM Reception, Searle/Dow Center Lobbies
  • 6 PM Dinner, Searle Dining Room
  • 6:30 PM Talks, Searle Dining Room
  • 8 PM Hospitality, Searle Dining Room

I’m hoping the Hospitality part includes plenty of wine, since I get powerful thirsty shooting my mouth off.

According to our official bios:

Greg Glassman founded and wholly owned Crossfit Inc. until 2020. He is now revolutionizing science with The Broken Science Initiative, which seeks to educate citizens on what science is and what it is not.

William M Briggs is a writer, statistician, scientist and consultant. Previously, he worked as a Professor at the Cornell Medical School, a statistician at DoubleClick in its infancy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, and an electronic cryptologist with the US Air Force. Briggs is a collaborator on The Broken Science Initiative.

Philosophy of Science

My talk will be a working-man exploration of the philosophy of science and its (im)practical effects. I first demonstrate, calling on only those authorities who told us we must not question “The Science”, that science is indeed broken. And that even they say it is.

From there, after a brief digression on an argument that there is too much science, I show some (certainly not all) the reasons why science is broken because of bad philosophy.

I only touch on scientism. That needs a whole talk, and more than a whole talk. Scientism is, in fact, one of the main failings not only of bad science, but of bad culture. Scientism is not just the false belief that science can answer all questions. It’s much worse. It is the corrupting and horrible fallacy that transcendence can be dispensed with.

As fascinating as a lecture on how, therefore, scientism gives rise to gender theory, and the like, there is only limited time, and since this is an inaugural formal lecture of the BSI, we have to survey the land. So I chose to prove first that science is in a mangy state, philosophically. All areas of science, too. Not just medicine, sociology, climatology, and other fields in which it is obvious. But everywhere, including physics.

This is a mighty topic, the areas vast. I can do no more than provide a rough sketch. We not only need to demonstrate via example of the spread of the rot, but we require a full correct understanding of they very goals of science.

That requires a proper metaphysics. Requires. Metaphysics proceeds physics. What the right and proper metaphysics is needs not only one lecture, but a whole series of lectures. This cannot be done in forty five minutes. Best I can do is leave the listener with a sour ringing in their ears that something has gone wrong.

So I start easy. Bring up a few of the fallacies regular readers here are familiar with. Then move into more complicated ones. Explaining how models and theories work, again, would take a series of lectures. I can only wave my hands.

I should create quite a breeze by the end of the night.

I hope to see you there.

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  1. Bill_R

    Will there be slides or transcripts for those of us in the hinterland?

  2. Briggs


    The speech is written, so if isn’t made available elsewhere, I’ll do so here. I presume it will also be on video, which I’ll post.

  3. Hagfish Bagpipe

    ”This cannot be done in forty five minutes.”

    It’s a fine challenge. Getting to the root of the problem without digging too deep a hole, describing ill effects without boring and depressing the audience, suggesting solutions to give hope, and doing it all in an entertaining way that leaves the audience wanting more. No task for the novice. Fortunately, Briggs is no novice. I think he could do it in thirty minutes.

  4. Rudolph Harrier

    From from being immune to bad philosophy, Physics might have the worst of it of any discipline. Most problems with bad science really just come from bad SCIENCE, i.e. being sloppy with experimental design, fudging data, overfitting models, etc. To the extent that they have bad philosophy it’s usually a result of an intruding philosophy, such as biologists kowtowing to the idea that it is impossible to distinguish men and women.

    But physics routinely deals with metaphysical assumptions, whether those be in terms of causality, distinctions (or lack thereof) between ontology and epistemology, “symmetry conditions,” declaring some arbitrary parameters okay but others as requiring explanation, etc. These are the type of considerations which have been driving theoretically physics for at least 40 years.

    However physicists also have a hatred of philosopher. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a physicist mention philosophy except as an example of how to do things wrong. So because of this when physicists do philosophy, they can’t admit they are doing philosophy. And so they end up doing bad philosophy.

    In contrast if we go back to our biologist who buys into gender ideology, it would at least be possible for him to recognize that he is swallowing a bad bit of philosophy. Indeed he probably realizes that this is what he is doing, and only goes along with it due to fear of losing his job or his reputation. So if the cultural pressure were removed, he would quickly reject the gender ideology. The issues in physics are more foundational.

    On the flip side for a long time physics was better at resisting intruding ideology and focusing just on “physics” (where that included metaphysics by another name.) But most of the physics journals and organizations have made “climate change” a required article of faith, and it’s only a matter of time before they also begin policing based on gender ideology.

  5. Incitadus

    Gender philosophy and the science of it is an example of how plastic and malleable
    the human mind is. It also demonstrates a mastery of manipulation through mass
    media hitherto unseen in human history. The power of this psychological mastery
    to manipulate mass conscious and unconscious beliefs, a truly awesome force,
    has been enlisted to reduce mankind to penury. The old saying believe ‘none of what you
    hear and half of what you see’ will soon to be revised to ‘none of what you see’ as well.

    Consciousness itself was a great evolutionary leap it allowed man to delay his anger
    until an opportune moment to strike out and satisfy his revenge. This is the point were
    deception entered the human arsenal to wage an unseen war for profit and territory.
    Why would science be exempt from deception when property and profit are at stake?
    Within the obscurity of these forces lies its greatest power.

  6. Mens Bellator

    Sure wish it was virtual for those of us trapped elsewhere. Look forward to seeing a reprint or video.

  7. Uncle Mike

    Philosophy? — sort of. Sexually mutilating children is not bad science; it’s barbaric Satanic max-evil, a delusional sickness, a philosophic nuke bomb on humanity. The perps of such twisted horror are not scientists; they’re barking insane sub slime.

  8. DAA

    In response to Rudolph Harrier: yes, that is right – with the so called leaders of the community. I am a physicist and reject many of the idiocies of the discipline. That is why I prefer the old school to the new school. Since the 30’s I think it has been downhill, even if some results and excellent scientists did pop up occasionally. How far will I go before being evicted, only God knows.

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