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From: Usenet To: All Msg #84, Oct-07-93 04:11PM Subject: Re: Forrest Mims: Setting the record straight on SciAm (Part 1 Organization: MSU Dept. of Physics & Astronomy Subject: Re: Forrest Mims: Setting the record straight on SciAm (Part 1 of 1) From: hatcher@msupa.pa.msu.edu Message-ID: <292b8b$gnf@msuinfo.cl.msu.edu> Reply-To: hatcher@msupa.pa.msu.edu Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,talk.origins In article <291r9r$a50@organpipe.uug.arizona.edu>, sfm@manduca.neurobio.arizona.edu (Stephen Matheson) writes: >Personal to robert: > > We disagree on a lot of things, but we can agree to disagree, even > sharply, without personal insults. Below you'll find that I'm > critical of your arguments, your assumptions and your methods. > I think, though, that I've avoided insulting you in any personal > way, and indeed, I have no reason to believe that you are stupid, > dishonest, wicked or whatever. > >From article <28vfo9$o10@msuinfo.cl.msu.edu>, by hatcher@msupa.pa.msu.edu: >> [If I've included a lot of "insults" in this reply, let it >> be known that it mostly arose due to Stephen's very *selective* >> editing of my words, > >Pah. Should I have edited your words randomly? I edited such that the >points that I was addressing were apparent. If you have a specific >complaint, post it or email it and I'll make it right. Maybe random would have been better...beats the twisted way you selectively deleted key points of mine in order to make me look like I was harping on trivialities. As for "personal insults" I don't think I really included many of those...just an overall insulting tone. >> For Mr. Matheson I ask ONE this if he chooses to >> respond to this post...if you answer no other question at >> least answer this one: > >> Is the point of Mr. Mims's post to argue that he >> should indeed have been hired, or is it simply a >> vehicle for general grousing about Scientific American >> and Mr. Piel in particular? > >You call that a question? "Is it THIS or is it THAT?" >"Have you or have you not stopped beating your wife?" Another poster (Charles) claims that Mims' message was solely to respond to *specific* questions brought up in our previous Mims QandA. I could -almost- accept that if it weren't for Mims' misleading language ("fired" when he wasn't hired) and if the logical structure had been more coherent (ie. Mims sandwichs the discussion of his incompetence between two diatribes against SA). Now, I *know* I'm not the only one that got confused by this ("missing the point") as at least one other poster has apparently fallen into the same trap unaided by me... so if this is supposed to be some brilliant example of Mims' writing, then I think SA now how _another_ reason for not hiring him. >The answer to your question: >As far as I know, Mr. Mims's point is neither of the 2 options >you presented. According to his post, the point is to correct >various errors and misconceptions which arose during a previous >discussion. By obfustication? He ADDS to the misconceptions by claiming to have been "fired" when in fact he had never been hired. Hardly "correcting various errors". And what about that long discussion of the TOPS(?) gadget etc...how did that fit into correcting any misconceptions? No one questioned his title as stupendous gadget-guy, they questioned his SCIENCE ability. Nah, I still see it as mostly whining and trying to sell his side of the story about how evil Piel is and how he's been discriminated on for religious reasons. If this is supposedly some example of his clarity of thought, well, then we now know how he comes to hold creationist beliefs -- logic isn't his strong point. >> In article <28v3oe$ak6@organpipe.uug.arizona.edu>, >> sfm@manduca.neurobio.arizona.edu (Stephen Matheson) writes: >>>From article <28urgm$rpf@msuinfo.cl.msu.edu>, by hatcher@msupa.pa.msu.edu: >>>> In article <28tr10$sca@organpipe.uug.arizona.edu>, >>>> sfm@manduca.neurobio.arizona.edu (Stephen Matheson) writes: > >>>>>4. Jonathan Piel offered to buy and publish three of my columns >>>>>during a telephone call he placed to me on October 4, 1989: > >>>> Was this call recorded? > >>>Yep. > >> Okay, so now we know...was there some _reason_ Mims felt it >> necessary to record this call? > >Of course. They were discussing SA's refusal to hire him, on the >basis of his beliefs. Since there were, as you point out, no >written agreements made, he apparently deemed it important to have >a record of Piel's statements. Why not simply demand a written agreement? What Piel does or says while "making a decision" seems somehow irrelevant. What you've never waffled on a tough decision; said "yes" then thought some more and said "no"? Do people hold you to your first answer always as you final statement on any issue? Look at what Piel was saying (though since you've deleted it you'll have to look elsewhere). Paraphrased it looks like 1) what we've seen so far looks great 2) we'd really like to have you work for us 3) ...but it would be problematic. I really don't see any "Yes, you are definitely HIRED" statements in what was transcribed. >Since Piel flatly contradicted himself, not only breaking his word >but DENYING that he gave it, I'd say Mims was rather wise. Fine. Even if I were to accept your contention (which I *still* find confused...and I still would like to see a full transcript produced by an disinterested 3rd party), all it says is that Piel "went back on his word", or maybe he simply changed his mind. Is that some "crime"? Is that something that *must* be broadcast to the world? Or maybe Piel simply got confused and didn't really mean to say "yes", but rather though he was saying "I'll think about how to deal with this, and get back to you". Is it possible? Could we give Piel the benefit of the doubt since he's not here to defend himself? >>Or is it simply paranoia? >You have no shame. What's shameful about asking that question? I certainly don't record MY phone calls. >> Oh, and was it legal? > >Yep. Recording of phone conversations is only illegal when neither >participant knows they are being recorded. Actually, I think that depends on the state. >>>> Frankly I -can-NOT- consider him a disinterested >>>> party and simply accept his word of what was said based solely >>>> only his "word". > >>>Surely that's why he recorded the call. > >> He "knew" before the call was even made that future questions >> would arise from the conversation? This certainly doesn't >> bode well for the workplace relationship. > >He had already been through the New York experience of being >jettisoned. It's clear that you know few, if any, of the basic >facts of the case. I've seen most of these "facts"...though you now have to admit that Mims' message has no logical order - the chronology is scattered about. That I got confused says something about Mims ability to structure a logical discussion. He's had several months now to work it all up, I would have hoped he could do better than that. >>>>> (Published in part in HARPER'S, March 1991.) > >>>> That it was "published" means nothing > >>>It means that you can go look it up. > >> Which still means nothing unless you believe the source. Frankly >> I have my doubts. > >I think you're off the deep end. All of Mims's claims are strictly >verifiable. Ultimately, the only way around these claims is to >doctor the tape. "Ultimately"? No need to "doctor" the tape, if you simply doctor the transcription and then no one questions the transcription. That's what I'm questioning...and you're avoiding. You claim that we must accept this transcription (published here and in Harpers) solely based on the word of ONE of the parties in dispute. Without some 3rd party verification of accuracy. Since I see no independent certification, I'll keep pointing out that all we have is Mims word that this is what is on the tape...along with *his* editing. And having previously seen your intellectual honesty in editing, my fear is that he is like you and "cheats" to make the other party look especially bad. >I think, BTW, that it was Harper's that made the >transcript. In any case, your "skepticism" looks like nothing more >than, well, paranoia. You "think", but can't verify? Oh, I thought *you* knew all the basic facts of the case....my mistake, you're bumbling along with the rest of us. Except I show some skeptism and you gulp down Mims' argument hook, line and sinker. >>>> ... only that Mims repeated >>>> this (HIS) story of the conversation to someone and they printed it. >>>> It says nothing about the truthfulness of what was asserted. > >>>The article is a transcript of the recorded call. According to Mims, >>>only the uhs and ums were edited out. > >> According to Mims? So we're back to hearsay, again. Well, yes. I call a spade a spade. It *is* hearsay. Is it some kind of crime to point that out? Just because Mims says so MUST we take his word? Why the undying devotion Stephen? Why the lack of questioning of motives (on one side)? Could it be that you are uninterested in investigating what went on, as it might contradict your first impressions? >Wrong. We're right where we've always been: with plain assertions, >specific and detailed and fully verifiable. Assertions <---> hearsay. And their not very specific or detailed, or even logical. As for "verifiable"...not until I know that a disinterested 3rd party confirms the transcript by hearing the tape. VerifiABLE != verifiED. Okay. So, Mims makes some assertions. Does that make them the "truth"? Or does it simply reflect what Mims believes is the "truth"? Or are you one of those radical subjectivists who thinks those two concepts are identical. >> Unless you can come up with some disinterested third party to verify >> that indeed (1) such a recording exists (2) that both individuals are >> correctly identified as Mims & Piel. > >I'm quite sure I *can* produce such evidence. No need, though: >your objections are neither reasonable nor, I suspect, sincere. Just have to cover all bases...maybe I have a too "legal" oriented mind....oohh, yuk, lawyers. >> Also I have questions about the "..."'s >> above. Were these truely pauses, or is it the result of selective >> editing? > >Hire a private eye. And a shrink. Why show I pay for Mims' shrink? As for a PI, are you saying that we MUST accept Mims' word as the "truth" until proven otherwise? Doesn't that sound a little biased? [snip ... if I cover ALL the point this will exceed 1000 lines] >> many of us DO question his qualifications. But I find it equally >> incorrect for Mims to state that SA *never* questioned his >> qualification...what do you think this is all about? > >Why do you "find it equally incorrect"? Do you have sources? No, I've got "skepticism". I'll take the neutral point that we know *neither* way until some proof/evidence is given. Hearsay usually doesn't count...especially coming from ONE of the individuals involved, and in a way that puts HIM in the best light. >Have you read the quotes from the folks who were part of the >decision at SA? As for what this is "all about", that's the >crux of the matter for Mims, and for me. He thinks it's about >discrimination -- unfair religious discrimination in the form >of inappropriately hiring based on personal belief. Ya, ya ... if it's all about "religious discrimination" then lets drop all the other extraneous crap and deal with that. [snip] >>>Mims has asserted from the beginning that you and the others who >>>keep repeating this nonsequitur are just wrong. > >> And all we have is his word that they didn't...not very objective >> is it. > >That's NOT "all we have". Not even close. Read his article again, >and read the news accounts which quote 2 associate editors at SA. Okay, so we now have his word and HIS word on what the 2 associate editors said. Since SA isn't here to correct any mistatements on Mims part then I'd say those two are equivalent. Or does he have signed avidavids(sp?) from those two? That someone has verified? Look, I've taken the devils advocate position and I'll stick to it...namely, all we've got here is what MIMS claims went on, and because he's taken up the position of the slighted party then his word is *not* an objective viewpoint. Why are you so blinded that you fail to see such a simple criticism? >> Look, you *have* to recognize that you are only hearing >> one side of the story from one of the players -- a little skepticism >> here in sci.skeptic should not be that surprising. > >Granted, with the note that not all my information comes from Mims. >Much of it comes from uninvolved newspaper reporters. Indeed, it seems From: Usenet To: All Msg #85, Oct-07-93 04:12PM Subject: 02/Re: Forrest Mims: Setting the record straight on SciAm (Part 1 >that Piel is the only one who hasn't been forthcoming. Your information? I thought the post was from Mims. Or are you sequestoring potentially critical information. If you dispute something I _suggest_ as a possibility, then why not back it up with your evidence...don't wave around a piece of paper and claim it refutes my points. Document! Oh, and try to include enough context that we can be sure that your "documentation" isn't simply the newspaper quoting Mims, or we get back into that circular little reasoning issue. As for Piel not participating, I'd be surprised if the lawyers let him. His lack of direct involvement here shouldn't be taken as some indication of "unwillingness" or (as you hint at) "guilt". >> You assert >> that our speculation is "just wrong" and I ask on what basis you >> make that judgement, and you respond "because Mims says so"... >> it's just not all that convincing. > >That's certainly *not* how I respond. Not before, and not now. Ah, nice editing job. Other participants please make not of how Stephen has "removed" his words...the ones where he plainly states that what I'm speculating is "just wrong". And then has the gall to tell me that he didn't say that. Shesh, such intellectual integrity! As for the "because Mims says so" that was a paraphrase of your ENTIRE argument, because that's what it boils do to. If you have documentable evidence (other than that filtered through Mims) then present it. As one of the parties involved anything Mims says *must* be taken as potentially suspect. And hearsay related *by* Mims attempting to espress the opinions of others is equally as suspect. I'm no lawyer, but this is simply common sense. >>>His statements, >>>and the statements of others, including the 2 associate editors >>>at SA at the time, flatly contradict your baseless assertions. > >> I think a lot of *your* confusion here arises due to the >> differences between the technical and general usage of the >> word "qualifications". > >Nah. The statements of the editors make it clear that Mims >was well-qualified. Both of the associate editors mentioned >thought Mims should be hired. Well-qualified in what sense did they say? Prior or post relevation? And so what if they thought he should be hired, the decision wasn't theirs to make so it's irrelevant. >Nevertheless, I'll grant that in some sense, Mims was considered >unsuitable or undesireable -- that's trivially obvious. Fine, thus he's potentially UNqualified. And any assertions to the contrary (that they didn't question his qualifications) is thus simply Mims blowing hot air in an attempt to obscure the issue. Sort of like his mis-usage of the word "fire". >That's not >to say he wasn't qualified, any more than someone rejected employment >on the basis of skin color is unqualified. Skin color is irrelevant to most jobs (I gave an counter example previously where it isn't -- namely actors in specific cases). But Mims' SCIENTIFIC qualifications *are* relevant. And he was found lacking. And thus he was rejected as not meeting the necessary requirements of the job. >I can see, however, and >I will recognize the validity of, your contention that one *could >have* made reference to Mims's qualifications, given some specific >information about his scientific thinking. My point there is that >there is no indication that this occurred. And no indication that it didn't ... or what was the hubris about? [snip] >> Other considerations come into play....like is he UNscientific. >> And since the answer to that question is "yes", > >Oh? How so? Since you know precious little about this incident, >I wonder why you think Mims is "UNscientific", and what your >definition of such is. He rejected a SCIENTIFIC theory for non-scientific reasons. That consitutes a rejection of the scientific method as a means of dealing with scientific questions (and issues concerning the origin and evolution of life are -scientific- questions as they deal with physical objects in the universe). Thus by rejecting the scientific method he's unscientific and fails to meet the job requirements. I couldn't care less whether this rejection arose because he is uncomfortable with the idea of sharing a common ancestory with apes or because some high muckity-muck proclaimed to to be so by some twisted imagination contemplating the ancient (pre-scientific) ramblings of some philosophers turned cultists. Is reason (religion) for rejecting it IS NOT IMPORTANT, what is important is that he did. >> then they are in their rights not to hire hime. > >That was never in question. Mims told me himself that had they >not hired him because they were concerned about his ability to >do the job, he'd have no complaint. [Rough paraphrase, of course.] Fine. So what's the gripe? What *did* they say that set him off on this vendetta? Let's discuss that...of course Mims never mentions that in his message so don't get mad at me for not covering that ground. [snip] >> What of "intent"? Must one hire *every* person they bring in >> for an interview? As for "integrity" they were released from >> any such commitment when it became clear that Mims lacked >> scientific integrity for holding ANTI-scientific beliefs. > >Your views on integrity are rather interesting. Oh, so you're such a great mind reader that you know ALL my views on integrity. All I say is that on occassion OTHER considerations took on more importance then a simple verbal "ya, we'd *like* to hire you". >I don't share >them. I don't know anyone who does. If I did, I wouldn't trust >them. Oh. You never change you mind on ANYTHING...I mean to do so would certainly compromise your "integrity". What an upstanding young fellow you must be...a true unbending tree in the wind. Watch out some day you might snap. >BTW, if you have the inclination, feel free to post some details >of your understanding of how "it became clear that Mims lacked >scientific integrity for holding ANTI-scientific beliefs." I've stated them here...but you've blinded yourself to them because you're unwilling to admit that one can't simply reject the scientific method for *some* scientific questions. If one can simply pick and choose then what's to keep one from "believing" that the speed of light is infinite...oh, as "proof" I've got this translated ancient text that says so. See? Probably not, sadly. [snip...] >> It seems to me that SA doesn't wish to hire Mims. So why >> carry on years after the fact? > >I dare you to go to a civil proceeding at which a woman denied >tenure at a major university is suing to get her job back while >alleging sex discrimination, stand up during a break and say, >"It seems to me that the University doesn't wish to retain >the woman. So why carry on years after the fact?" Ah, but "sex" isn't relevant to the job there, that's why sex discrimination is illegal. Scientific integrity IS relevant to the job we're discussing here. Analogies work only as far as the correspondence goes when you exceed that (which you did with this attempt) then it's equivalent to "time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like banana" >> Sounds like it's time to >> move on, I certainly don't see anything that's going to change >> anyones minds here. > >Victims of discrimination are probably often tempted to give up >and go on with their lives. What discrimination? It's certainly not religious as it affects his ability to do the job as a scientist. As I previously argued, it makes no difference the SOURCE of his irrationality, only that he has it. [snip] >Regarding Mims being used by creationists: > >>>You say "not inconceivable". If you mean "not impossible", then >>>you're trivially correct. If you mean "a distinct possibility", >>>then IMO you're way out on a limb. [snip, irrelevant sniping back and forth] >Well, Mims had never written on evolution or creation, and in >his numerous (200 or something) publications, there was no >indication of his beliefs on the origin of species. Indeed, >it was only after Piel realized that Mims was a Christian that >he was asked questions about his beliefs on various issues, >including abortion and Darwinian evolution. Wait now! Just one minute! You're changing the story...and I thought you knew all the basic facts. I thought it was the unnamed woman editor that asked him about abortion. Now the blame lies at Piel's feet? This really looks like a personal vendetta against Piel if the focus keeps getting narrower and narrower. Back to the issue...so he hadn't written anything published. He held an opinion; I understood that that opinion was *known* to others who would have been in a position to embarrass SA by implying that their hiring a creationist scientifically santioned their twisted belief. As for asking him about abortion, we've covered that previously, namely they shouldn't have. But evolution IS a science question and they were within their rights to ask him about it. As for not asking until after they realized he was a Christian, this simply says that in general non-"christians" aren't so confused by the issue of evolution and that this was a possible area of contention. If it had been simply bias against Christians then they would have tossed him out on his butt as soon as they found that out. But they recognised that some of the Christian sects don't reject the scientific method, and thus they investigated further and found that HE did/does. >> Personally I'd say that the >> senario I wrote above is *very* likely. Look at all the >> creationist kooks who will stoop to all levels to attempt to >> gain credibiility. They use outright lying as their main tool >> for "creation science". I'd give it two months tops before we'd >> see the majority of the "creation science" newsletters with an >> item along the lines of "Mims believes in creationism; he works >> for Scientific American as a science writer; therefore creationism >> is good science". And that WOULD be an embarrasment to SA and >> hurt their reputation and probably even diminish sales with >> real scientists. I'd call it a quite reasonable business >> decision not to hire Mims. > >That's your opinion. It's quite respectable. I think it's somewhat >hysterical, It would be "hysterical" if I didn't see it happening around me. Creationist slime stoop to all sorts of dirty tricks to get their propaganda santioned. Lies, insinuation, legal threats, stealth school board candidates with hidden agendas, are ALL documentable means they've tried. It took NO wild extrapolation to create the senario I gave. >and I think SA would have shown courage and character >by dealing appropriately with the tempest in a teapot, had it >ever occurred. Tempest? You "know" that this would be a "minor" thing? Frankly, I don't think it would be, and neither did a *lot* of people in the last go round we had on this topic (to which Mims' post is a supposed "clarification"). And if SA chose to avoid even a minor tempest in a teapost it's still their right to bypass it. > Myself, I don't read "creation science" newsletters, >nor do I know anyone who does. And the prospect of the columnist >who writes The Amateur Scientist as weilding that kind of positional >influence I find to be absurd enough to be rather funny. Go read talk.origins some time .... >BTW, if these clowns are such profligate liars, why would they >wait for Mims to get the job? Why not just invent someone? They do. They create credentials for themselves and then use them to "back" their fantasies. But then there are skeptic groups like us here (sci.skeptic) who point out the the world that they ARE liars. So they look around for a "reputable" alternative because they hope their credibility will rise if they can find a proponent that's in the mainstream. Where have *you* been? >> But he wasn't hired yet was he? Your not hired until the paper- >> work is done....thus he wasn't "fired". No matter how often >> you repeat it the fact is Mims wasn't fired. > >You are correct, in the strictest sense. In principle, however, "Strictest sense"? What other sense is there? Humpty dumpty would be proud of you. I see this as Mims trying to put on the "white hat" when he's not entitled to be the good guy. False pretenses and outright lying piss me off. And I call it lying because he uses it repeated without ever qualifying it. >it is clear that Mims was the choice for the job, and that his >trip to NY was to accept the position. So he went...and they learned some more about him and decided From: Usenet To: All Msg #86, Oct-07-93 04:13PM Subject: 03/Re: Forrest Mims: Setting the record straight on SciAm (Part 1 that he in actuallity wasn't qualified. >I note, in my defense, >that there are few easy ways to say "not hired when they thought >they would at first", "not hired". To use "fired" is simply a lie. No excuses. We're supposed to be scientists here, so we can't simply say "oh, it was awkward so I used an incorrect term". >and that I refer as often as possible to >SA's "refusal to hire Mims". I agree that the use of the term >"fired" can be misleading (if unintentionally) and should be >avoided. But MIMS uses "fired" (without quote marks)...and that's misleading and false. And makes me question his motives, for I doubt that they were "unintentional", it's not like he's composing it on the fly...he's had plenty of time to prepare a coherent and CORRECT statement. [snip ... more sniping removed] >> You *have* to look >> at both sides of the equation and look for balance. If Mims >> had admitted earlier to holding UNscientific views then most >> of this heartrending "almost hired" stuff could have be avoided >> possibly. > >His views, whatever they are, have never been established as >"UNscientific", Only because you're a humpty dumpty that redefines words. If I beleived that the speed of light were infinite and must be so because it is so written in my revered ancient text and that no amount of evidence can convince me otherwise, would those view be "UNscientific"? >nor have they been established as relevant to >the writing of The Amateur Scientist. *********** I'd sure hope they have someone who understands the scientific method write the column. Mims obviously doesn't. Now if the column were "Amateur Gadgetry", then I'd say (1) his beliefs on evolution are irrelevant to writing such a column (2) they should hire him as he seems quite well suited (though the confusion sown in his message leads me to some doubts that I didn't have previously). Oh, with the previso(sp?) that the include the disclaimer previously posted by someone else so as to ward of my worry of a 3rd party embarrassment of SA. >Indeed, IMHO, they haven't >been established to sufficient extent to pass judgment on his >scientific thinking. And you know this how? Obviously they were satisfied sufficiently to pass judgement. And until Mims clarifies the issue, you simply look like a lackey yes-man that accepts Mims unquestioningly. And yes is see the IMHO...and in my IMHO you are so caught up in seeing "religious bias" that you overlook the question of his scientific integrity. [the woman editor issue ... ah, but the infallible Stephen previously in the reply he wrote her out of the picture ... sigh, consistency isn't Stephen's strong point] >>>>>7. At least one message questioned my ability to do science. My [snip...] >> Okay, so they DID have a valid business reason for not hiring him. >> QED, end of discussion. > >Shrug. You say it's `valid', and a `business reason'. You ignore >some pretty inexcusable behavior, and a smoking gun of religious >discrimination. No, smoking gun of SCIENTIFIC (vs UNscientific) discrimination. That's the problem when religion starts making pronouncements about *scientific* questions. If theologians would stick to their own field then we wouldn't have these conflicts, now would we? [this starts to bore me .... so I'll delete huge chunks...] >> Retaining the integrity towards their readership would seem >> more important than some vague promises towards a single >> individual. To do otherwise would undercut their entire >> purpose -- a scientific magazine must have scientific >> integrity. To have a recognized writer on the staff that >> simply rejects the scientific method at his leisure is a >> disservice to the readership. > >Although I doubt that your statements are fair characterizations >of Forrest Mims, your points are well-taken. What characterization of Mims do I have there? That he rejects the scientific method at his leisure? But by rejecting evolution on a non-scientific basis IS "at his leisure". [snip] >>>>>8. There have been several messages about the Rolex Award I >>>>>received in May which was advertised in the June issue of >>>>>SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. The award was for an international network >>>>>(Sun Photometer Atmospheric Network) that will use an advanced >>>>>version of the TOPS instrument developed for but rejected by >>>>>SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. The upper half of the instrument can be seen >>>>>in the photo in the ad and the entire instrument is shown in a 2- >>>>>page ad that was published in various international magazines. >>>> Again...this is COMPLETELY irrelevant. >> Again, I say ... so Rolex featured him in an ad. That ad >> was published in SA. What obligation does SA have to hire >> Mims due to this? > >None whatsoever. Why do you ask? Who cares? You're mercilessly >thrashing a completely pulverized strawman of your own making. So what's the point of Mims including this section? You don't know (obviously) and I speculated that he was trying to mislead the reader into beleiving that there was some commitment implied. >> Come on give some support or at least some >> -hint- for your line of reasoning. Of what import is the >> Rolex ad? > >Presumably it established Mims's work as excellent in the eyes >of certain scientific judges. Its relevance in terms of the ********** >Usenet article in question is specific to the previous discussions. Oh, Rolex is due to take over the awarding of Nobel prizes, too? I hardly think that they really looked that deeply into his science. This award was presented on the basis of a TECHNOLOGICAL achievement, which Mims is well qualified for. And if it had nothing to do with SA then why the reference? Looks to me like he's trying to confuse the issue and set up some connection is the reader's mind....all the things my high school English teacher warned me against doing. [deletia] >> All I was >> doing was pointing out Mims's (and apparently your own) biases. >> Neither of us will ever truly "know" because we can't get inside >> both participant's heads and examine all that went on. > >True. We can still give some consideration to the facts, can't we? What "facts", what we've got here are assertions by Mims, an certainly NON-objective participant. Oh, certainly some of the irrelevent issues can be verified independently (Rolex did run an ad...) but they have no bearing on what you claim was the "point": religious bias. >[deletia] > >>>>>My beliefs about abortion >>>>>and Darwinian evolution were strictly personal. > >>>> NO. On abortion I'd agree with you. But evolution is a >>>> scientific theory and if Mims rejects that based on religious >>>> bias > >>>Why do you assume that he rejects it based on "religious bias"? >>>Do you know if he has put forth an alternative theory? > >> I was sure that he had forthright stated that it was due to >> Christian beliefs that he held the creationist viewpoint. > >I've never seen any report that would corroborate that >statement. According to one interview I read, Mims formed his >opinion on evolution after examining fossils. Oh, and on what "scientific basis" did he throw out all of evolution bases on his untutored examinations of a few fossils? This lame "excuse" has the hollow ring of a child trying to make excuses. [snip] >> But actually it doesn't matter why he rejects evolution as long >> as it isn't for scientific reasons. > >He says it was. Now what? He does? And give some reasoning? That he's willing to be swayed by other evidence? Or is this a case of "well, when I tried to measure the speed of light it looked instanteous, therefore the speed is infinite -- just like my good book says"? What a shining example of a scientist that would be, eh. "Now what?" can be answered by *futher* investigation of what his scientific "reasons" were...let others judge his ability to do science. That's how it works, or had you forgotten. Just because he *now* makes a claim that it was based on scientific reasoning doesn't mean that we can't ask him what it was. >> And since I haven't seen any *scientific* reasons proposed by Mims, > >You haven't looked. That's obvious from your apparent ignorance of >the case. Oh, I saw the "looked at fossils" bit but that doesn't qualify. I looked at measuring the speed of light by timing how long it took for the room to get dark when I turned off the light...but it was hardly "scientific". Unless you can actually GIVE those reasons all we have is your/his claim that that they were indeed scientific. And they are hardly comprehensive. THere -are- other reasons for believing in evolution then simply the morphology of some fossils. Radioactive dating, geology, etc....if he simply rejects all this other collaborating evidence then it hardly qualifies as "scientific". So jump down off your high horse and prove that I'm as ignorant as you claim. Okay, now I've spelled out to you what I considered so obvious the first time. >> then you should simply >> go ahead and replace "religious bias" in my statement with >> the phrase "UNscientific reasons". > >Fine. I note that you use the term "UNscientific"; do you mean >this to include "anti-scientific", or do you distinguish between >the two? That's another thread...and we hashed it out about the same time. Basically it tend to use UNscientific for the case of irrational beliefs, and ANTIscientific for the outright rejection of the scientific method for answering questions in what would properly be considered the scientific arena. I'll admit for the most part they're pretty much interchangable with only subtle nuances and I'm at times sloppy in my usage. >>>Why, if abortion and evolution are such obviously different issues, >>>did SA ask Mims about abortion? > >> They probably shouldn't have. > >But they did, and in the previous incarnations of this debate on >Usenet, few people have been willing to discuss this issue. >I'd say it's one of the key indications that something other than >good business practice was going on. And three+ times I've pointed out that they shouldn't have asked...what more do you want me to say on this issue? Why the continual harping -- I've agreed fully with you on this and you STILL won't let it drop. If others are "willing to discuss" it, let them...but I'm not one and until someone shows up who is I suggest we drop it. >> But did SA ask, or did an individual >> (without "authority") ask? Maybe (and this is speculation) >> they asked not because they cared one way or the other about >> his answer, but instead as a means of how determining how >> invasive his religious bias was and whether he could make >> rational arguments or whether certain areas were simply closed >> off due to dogma. > >How does asking someone about abortion accomplish anything of >the sort? Are you suggesting that holding a certain opinion >on a moral issue is an indicator of the ability to "make >rational arguments? No. But being able to coherently *defend* one's position is a measure of their ability to make rational arguments. I've done my bit participating in the "discussion" in one of the abortion groups (Don't Ask, Don't Tell) and I know that it's strengthen my ability to see both sides and support my arguments with coherent interlocking statements. And I'm not saying that they _should_ have done it at all, just _speculating_ that it isn't necessarily any indication of religious bias...oh, I forgot, SA gets none of the benefit of the doubt because that is all to be reserved for Mims. My mistake. >> You see one of those characteristic trademarks >> of being a "scientist" is being open to alternative ideas. > >Snicker. What, a snide remark from you? Well I'm not surprised since you too seem unable to see based your _conviction_ that is was simple religious bias (your words). I looked, found a reasonable alternative theory and put it forth in a devils advocate position. I've made my share of consessions along the way...it's YOU that always sticks by your guns. It could have been simple bias, and for all *anyone* knows it was, unless you are a psychic and can real Piel's mind. Now are you willing to concede that there are questions about Mims' ability to be scientifically objective? [deletia] > >>>Mims claims to have rejected Darwinian evolution on scientific >>>grounds. As far as I know, he has not advanced an alternative >>>theory based on unscientific premises. > >> These are self contradictory statements...to have some _scientific_ >> bais for rejecting a theory that has good solid evidence, one From: Usenet To: All Msg #87, Oct-07-93 04:14PM Subject: 04/Re: Forrest Mims: Setting the record straight on SciAm (Part 1 >> must at *least* propose an alternative theory that accounts >> for the same evidence. > >Well, I disagree, if only slightly: I would merely insist that one >be *willing* to propose an hypothesis, or at least acknowledge that >there *can be* a viable, alternative scientific hypothesis. And has Mims even done this? No? Or is simply running around saying "that's wrong, but it a scientific explaination *is* possible" sufficient? >Clearly, >however, there are times when the incorrectness of some of my >colleagues' hypotheses are quite clear, in the absence of a >coherent hypothesis on my part. I think in my original writings (here or elsewhere, prior to your editing :-( ) that I was more general than simply saying that he must have an alternative theory...I believe I also said that having contridictory evidence was also sufficient. So you reject your colleagues hypotheses outright because you "know" they are wrong....not very scientific...but then again maybe that's why YOU are supporting Mims and I'm not. He's more your style. >For years, Peter Duesberg argued (I think he still does) that >HIV was not the causative agent in AIDS. As far as I know, he >never advanced a specific alternative hypothesis. Ah, but as far as I understand that controversy he at least makes the attempt at pointing out the *reason* for his disbelief...actual evidence that would support his argument that the theory is wrong. (I'm not saying that his "evidence" is accepted as valid, only that it isn't simply dismissing all theories put forth simply on his say so). I'm certainly no expert, but I had thought that indeed he *had* suggested alternative hypotheses. But that's irrelevant. >> And then to really distinguish the two >> one needs to show some evidence (new or old) that the new one >> accounts in a better manner. > >I agree, and that's why I reject "creation science". If Forrest Mims >has advanced ideas of "creation science", things (to me) would >be somewhat different. But he rejects the only alternative scientific explaination to a scientific question. Or are you going to claim that all those subject that come under evolution aren't about "science"? We're back to me having posit that the speed of light is not finite based on my experiments and my reading of my sacred text, even if I don't put forth an alternative. >> I'd be laughed out of town if I were to openly reject the >> theory of special relativity, but not advance an alternative >> nor provide new evidence. > >Nonsense. You'd need to give the evidence that you claim is >refuting. You need not advance your own hypothesis. But Mims hasn't done that either. We await. Either his evidence or an alternative hypothesis (that covers the current evidence). It's got to be one of the two...simply rejecting the only theory being kicked around is being a Luddite. >If someone hypothesizes that consciousness arises from the >presence of acetylcholine in the brain, I could provide >solid evidence against the hypothesis, but could not (or would >not) advance a theory of my own. Fine...and where's Mims' evidence that "evolution" is wrong. Stop beating a strawman...you know he doesn't have any (other than a claim about examining some fossils and for even that he never explained what about them convinced him). > >> evolution? If it's scientific let's hear it. If it's not >> then he no candidate for such a respected position. > >"Such a respected position"? The writer of The Amateur Scientist? >Just curious. Yes. It I and many DO hold it in respect...and we'd hate to see it cheapened by a scientific charletan (even if he is a good writer and toymaker). Curiousity answered? >Anyway, I agree that a discussion with Mr. Mims on the evidence >against Darwinian evolution would be interesting. I note that >such topics were in no way the subject of his last 2 articles >on Usenet, both posted by me. But they could form the basis of deciding whether he is unscientific and thus unqualified for the job. That he wishes to dance around and keep from supplying proof positive that he is unqualified shouldn't surprise anyone...even you. [snip...as we insult each other :-)] >> I'd certainly be open to the argument that the athiest is >> "unqualified" to write religous article for a church newsletter. > >But the only qualification that s/he would clearly lack is >the necessary belief system. And a scientist (in my belief) *must* have "faith" in the scientific method for answering science questions. Thus if Mims is willing to forgo using that method in one area (evolution) then he lacks the necessary belief system. It doesn't matter whether it is religion that leads him to reject the scientific method...only that he does. [snip. it gets tedious for Stephen to be so unwilling to view this from anything but an imaginary "religious bias" approach] >> (1) Mims wasn't fired! repeat this >> to yourself 100 times: "in order to be fired, one must first >> be hired". > >Groan. OK: If someone *refuses to hire* you because they don't >like the color of your skin, just find another place to work. >Now deal with it: your flippant dismissal of Mims's complaint >is based not on true cold-hearted, laissez-faire indifference, >but on your approval of SA's actions. It's not "flippant" to point out that Mims is telling a LIE. And that you keep repeating it. So use the term "not hired" and quit the nonsequitors. My dismissal of Mims's complaint is based on my evaluation that no convincing evidence has been put forward to suggest that it was indeed "religious bias" rather than a judgement about his scientific abilities (not to be confused with his gadgetry and writing). [Stephen get's confused and thinks he's in church...] >BINGO!!!!!!!!!! >> but because he's ANTI-scientific as demonstrated by his arbitrary >> rejection of a major theory of science. > >Says you. Says no one at Scientific American. I don't see SA saying anything here...you have some special insider information? Documentable by an objective 3rd party (other than Mims) of course! >Just had to throw in "arbitrary". Oh brother. Well, it's "arbitrary" until he gives some supporting evidence. And a vague claim about looking at some fossils hardly qualifies for a rejection of a major scientific theory supported by numerous experts in the subject. Until something more substantial comes along I'll stick to the default: arbitrary. >> Being anti-scientific is NOT an irrelevant criteria when >> considering a scientific writing job. > >Well, I agree. Good. And what do you call rejecting the scientific method? [deletia] >> You still haven't made a case describing what YOU (or Mims) >> expect SA to do. > >Hire and fire based on legitimate qualifications. Fine. From what I see Mims isn't a legitimate scientist. And I don't know diddly about his religious beleifs so don't cry "bias". But we have hear here about his beliefs concerning scientific questions...and until he can give some rational for those beliefs so at odds with 99+% of "scientists" then I think we can fairly say he's not qualified. I'm open to changing that position IF Mims can support -scientifically- his rejection of evolution (either by proposing an alternative theory that covers the current body of evidence, or by providing convincing evidence that would serve to falsify the "evolution" hypothesis). >And I "expect" >it in the sense that I will not subscribe to a publication that >does not adhere to this standard. I make no claim, one way or >another, regarding the legality of SA's actions. > >> Accept him despite his anti-science attitude? > >Nonsequitur. N/A. What he's taken an anti-science position...reject evolution without any (visible) rational reason. I don't know/care whether he hold this position for religious reasons or simply because he has something against being the "cousin" of an ape. >> You implied (last go through) that >> it was all simply anti-christian bias on the part of Piel, >> but you have YET to give any evidence for that. > >Wrong. Mims has provided the evidence, and I've repeated it, What evidence? I saw a report of Piel asking about "evolution" (a scientific question) and nothing saying that Piel asked about theology per se. Or are you asserting that Piel is biased against all Christians independent of their views on evolution? If so you better be able to support it. >but you are responding to an article designed to shed light >on specific details of how things happened, and dealing with >specific events that seem to indicate that Piel was less than >impeccably forthright. And neither is Mims forthright. But Mims is devious by misusing the language by using "fired" (which carries more emotional punch) for "not hired". Hardly an impeccable record...if Mims wants the "moral" high ground then he better have such a record. >> On the other hand, we've given *numerous* alternative reasons that he >> wasn't hired. > >And failed to show any evidence that any of them were applied. As Mims has failed to show any evidence that is was _specifically_ religous bias that prevented him from being hired. I've suggested an alternative....and we're left with "is too"/"is not" until you learn to read Piel's mind. [snip] >Your post was a mess. Why? Because you undertook a point-by-point >discussion of his most recent article, which was a specific response >to several specific issues raised in previous Usenet discussions, and That supposed "response" lacked cohesion, a list of WHAT "specific issues" he was responding to (ie what was the question raised wrt the Rolex ad), and intermixing of his dealing with SA out of chronological order, a deliberately misleading used of the word "fire". And you critize me for undertaking a "point-by-point" response where at least *I* left in some context. You're saying that he can take a scattershot approach but I must then respond ignoring his specific points? A mite unrealistic, perhaps? >you critiqued it as though it were a treatise on the reasons why >Mims felt he had been discriminated against, or as though it were That's how it read to me. If *I* were to respond to "specific issues" then *I* would leave in some context to indicate what the issue was, why it was important and so forth.... >designed, even slightly, to show that SA had an "obligation" to hire >Mims. So, insofar as your post was a response to Mims's post, you >missed the point. Badly. [deletia] >>>>>Why do I >>>>>want to write for SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN [...] >>>> Nice sentiments. >>>Even convictions. They matter to some people. >> I see no convictions in the paragraph above. >Look again. Or perhaps for the first time. Oh, nice petty shot...two points! >> Unless you say that my lust for a Nobel prize lead me into science >> and shaped my career, and thus someday I want one, is somehow >> a "conviction". > >Forrest Mims said: > And I want very much to see "The Amateur Scientist" provide the same > kind of constructive, hands-on science that Stong... > >Your comparison of that with "lust for a Nobel prize" is baffling, >to say the least. And I want very much to see the "Nobel Prise" provide the same kind of constructive competetive drive that my forefathers.... >> And leave off the insults: "They matter to some people". >> Ya, sure this is news to me! Boy, aren't you smart giving >> me such great insight. > >It was meant to be provocative, not insulting, but I apologize >for the transgression. I can tell that convictions matter to >you, and so I was trying to show how your lowering of Mims's >statements to mere "sentiment" could be seen as unfair. I didn't realize that "sentiment" has such negative connotations with you. I'll try to remember that in the futher. >[deletia; getting ugly, getting late] [and more] >> Pray tell, what IS the point of telling us that >> SA isn't printing every damn word that he sends to them? > >I think he just wanted to indicate that he isn't afraid to >have SA in on the debate, and that he has nothing to hide. Sending "corrections" to their articles is a debate? Since I'm sure SA's lawyer would faint at the idea of Piel getting into a public debate (since you two ARE claiming litigatable "religious bias" as the "point"), then why doesn't Mims debate us here...put forth his views on evolution and show us all how he scientifically rejects that theory. Now THAT would indicate having nothing to hide. Ya, ya, I know this technological wiz isn't network connected...hey, any skeptics From: Usenet To: All Msg #88, Oct-07-93 04:15PM Subject: 05/Re: Forrest Mims: Setting the record straight on SciAm (Part 1 or evolutionists out there willing to take up a collection fund to get him some kind of connection (at least temporarily, possibly via one of the commercial or freenet sites)? [snip] >> let me repeat that Mr. Matheson is a master of selective and >> UNattributed editing. Key sentances *have* been removed from my >> previous words. > >I'm not sure what "selective" editing is; I suspect that there >is no other kind. There is "selective" and "selective" ... I try to keep context but I see (or actually don't see) what I would consider key conditional clauses/supporting sentances missing from my arguments...all apparently slightly colored to make my argument look more like a strawman point of view. >My editing was for no other purpose than to >focus the debate and save bandwidth. I'm ready and willing to >correct any problems, and I've carefully included numerous >[deletia]'s in this response. And I have fewer/no problems with this go around... >Robert, if you have a specific complaint, let me know. Please >stop the accusations. I have no malicious intent, and I have >nothing to hide. I'll consider doing a big "difference", but now that' you've been made aware of this tendency there's little point. >Steve Matheson Program in Neuroscience University of Arizona >sfm@neurobio.arizona.edu -robert

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