So far so good from Michael Shermer, writing at Scientific American, as he quotes Michael D. Gordin in an excellent, pithy analysis:
“individual scientists (as distinct from the monolithic ‘scientific community’) designate a doctrine a ‘pseudoscience’ only when they perceive themselves to be threatened—not necessarily by the new ideas themselves, but by what those ideas represent about the authority of science, science’s access to resources, or some other broader social trend.[From What Is Pseudoscience?: Scientific American]
But after that it goes downhill:
I call creationism “pseudoscience” not because its proponents are doing bad science—they are not doing science at all—but because they threaten science education in America, they breach the wall separating church and state, and they confuse the public about the nature of evolutionary theory and how science is conducted.
I call Shermer, editor of some supposed magazine on skepticism, a lousy example of a skeptic. He has not applied sufficient critical analysis to claims that there is no creationist science (especially considering that he lumps Intelligent Design in with “creationism”); he has not taken a sufficiently evidence-oriented look at claims that “creationists” threaten science education; he has ignored the relevant evidence concerning “creationism” and church and state; and he is standing in the way of Intelligent Design’s skepticism toward evolutionary theory. All that in one sentence!
The Gordin book he quotes from sure sounds interesting, though!
“Engaging … exhilarating! … This might be the most surprising and refreshing book you’ll read this year.” — Lee Strobel
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