(c)2000 William J. Beaty
On Pseudoskepticism, M. TruzziRecently I encountered another simple term which can help us to point out another way in which skeptics need to clean up their act:?the word "Horganism."
"Horganism" was coined by Dr. Philip Anderson in his 'Reference
Frame' column in
Physics Today magazine, Sept 1999. ? It refers to the common
belief that science is at its end, that therefore any revolutionary new
discoveries in science
are impossible. (Obviously it's inspired by John Horgan's position in his
book THE END OF
For example, if a skeptic argues that psychic powers are impossible on the
grounds that no known forces/energy can produce such phenomena, that's
Horganism.? Their argument contains the hidden assumption that there
cannot be such forces because science is at its end, and to discover such
forces at this late date is a revolution which simply cannot occur.
Dr. Anderson's words:
"Members of our profession [physicists] - and particularly those who have responsibility for hiring and for funding research - are infected with "Horganism;" the belief that the end of science (or at least of our science) is at hand, and all that is left to do is to grub away at Kuhnian "normal science" following the accepted paradigms.? They believe that there are no more scientific revolutions possible, and that we are now in pursuit of nothing but the next decimal place."So next time somebody argues (for example) that antigravity drives are impossible on the grounds that gravity can only cause attraction, you can dismiss their argument as pure "Horganism."? While it is certainly true that simple antigravity engines would require a revolution in physics, and perhaps simple antigravity engines are highly unlikely, but if a skeptic is convinced that *NO* such revolutions in physics are *POSSIBLE*, then that person has descended into Horganism.
Quotes Collection:? AGAINST EXCESSIVE SKEPTICISM