Closeminded Sci |

(...what's 'horganism?')

(c)2000 William J. Beaty

In recent years, Dr. Marcello Truzzi has provided us with a weapon to use against the negative side of Skepticism: he coined the term "pseudoskeptic." We can use Pseudosckeptic to highlight the mistaken actions of a particular class of people who call themselves 'skeptic.' When such people find out about an idea or a claimed phenomenon which appears crazy at first glance, rather than taking an openminded position of nonbelief or true skepticism, instead they leap to a biased position of active disbelief. This is the behavior of a false or pseudo-skeptic.

On Pseudoskepticism, M. Truzzi
http://www commentaries/ pseudo.html
Recently 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 all of scientific progress is coming to an 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 SCIENCE.)

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.

http: // weird/skepquot. html

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