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Old 03-25-2019, 01:38 PM   #76
Original Position
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

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One thing I find interesting (just my impression/opinion) is how leaving their religion doesn't necessarily change everything about how people think about the world, or even their own prior religion. For example in a lot of my own reading on that site I think people who used to hold to fundamentalist readings of the Bible tend to still hold to those same readings as ex-Christians, in a sense. Their understanding of hermeneutics hasn't really changed. What changed is that they used to think the Bible was true and now think it's false. But they are often skeptical that other readings or approaches to the text could even be legitimate. Many who deconverted from more conservative sects continue to have very negative opinions of more liberal sects; they think they are disingenuous in their approach to the Bible.
My general impression is that it isn't as hot as it used to be, but yeah, the conflict and dislike between liberal and fundamentalist/evangelical Christians is really strong. When I left Christianity, my evangelical father complimented me that at least I was being an honest atheist instead of turning to liberal Christianity.

Unfortunately, while I don't hold the evangelical view that only the "plain meaning" of the text is legitimate, my guess is that alternative hermeneutical approaches will probably continue to have declining relevance. They generally only work in strongly hierarchical or elitist religions, and the trend seems to be towards religious leadership that is more democratic and member-driven.
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Old 03-30-2019, 09:18 AM   #77
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

This saga will continue and get worse. Modern academia is filled to the brim with low hanging fruit that desperately need to elevate their prose to the level of science in someone's eyes. I do recommend the book Fashionable Nonsense written by, you guessed it, actual scientists. Most importantly study the back story to the book - the Sokal Affair. It'd be funny if it were not so sad.
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Old 03-30-2019, 09:44 AM   #78
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

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This saga will continue and get worse. Modern academia is filled to the brim with low hanging fruit that desperately need to elevate their prose to the level of science in someone's eyes. I do recommend the book Fashionable Nonsense written by, you guessed it, actual scientists. Most importantly study the back story to the book - the Sokal Affair. It'd be funny if it were not so sad.
Don't really get the connection here - well named's article has nothing to do with postmodernism. His terminology is all clearly defined and his conclusions are empirically based. You're really reaching.
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Old 03-30-2019, 10:20 AM   #79
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

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Don't really get the connection here - well named's article has nothing to do with postmodernism. His terminology is all clearly defined and his conclusions are empirically based. You're really reaching.
Postmodernism was simply the context of the expose. Clearly the book made a larger point.
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Old 03-30-2019, 10:39 AM   #80
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

Both the original Sokal hoax and the more recent Sokal-Squared publications are in Humanities journals, not social science journals. I don't know which journals Sokal originally might have tried and failed to get published in before landing on the one that did publish, but I do know the Sokal-Squared authors tried (and were rejected by) several sociology journals.

The idea that those publications reflect badly on sociology as a discipline is just confused about the actual facts.
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Old 03-30-2019, 10:57 AM   #81
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

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Both the original Sokal hoax and the more recent Sokal-Squared publications are in Humanities journals, not social science journals. I don't know which journals Sokal originally might have tried and failed to get published in before landing on the one that did publish, but I do know the Sokal-Squared authors tried (and were rejected by) several sociology journals.

The idea that those publications reflect badly on sociology as a discipline is just confused about the actual facts.
Perhaps you did not read my response to the same objection you just made.

I'll repeat for clarity and emphasis. Postmodernism was simply the context of the expose. Clearly the book made a larger point. I encourage people to read the book, and make a qualitative analysis of the situation. LOL
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Old 03-31-2019, 01:35 AM   #82
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

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Modern academia is filled to the brim with low hanging fruit that desperately need to elevate their prose to the level of science in someone's eyes.
The internet is filled to the brim with low hanging fruit that are desperately ignorant and want to feel smart, and so they speak unintelligibly about intelligent topics, pretending to be defending science when they are simply defending their own ignorance. Indeed, anti-intellectualism is the new intellectualism to these folks.

If you look back at history, you'll see that there is a distinct flight of Christians out of academia. This gave rise to the increasing number of young earth creationists, who most definitely don't have science on their side. Their sense of Scripture became warped and became an object of worship above and beyond the God that authored it, and the God that communicates his Truth through the universe he created. And they became academically unimportant as a result of their flawed approach to knowledge.

So I think that if Christians want to bash academia, they really only have themselves to blame for turning their back on the institutions of higher education.
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:15 PM   #83
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

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I'm not really sure what the issue is here. Regardless of whether or not qualitative sociology is *Science*, it is obviously still potentially useful and can add to the sum total of human knowledge. For instance, most history books would not qualify as science under pulvis's criteria, but they still seem both worthwhile and useful for learning about the world. Qualititative methods in the social sciences seem to me a clear improvement over just using anecdotes (they are usually paired with quantitative elements and address statistical concerns with representativeness and various biases). My view is that most sociology isn't really a science in the same way that physics or chemistry is because there is no consensus on a paradigm, but so what? Are we supposed to just not use rational and empirical methods to study societies? What are the better alternatives?
The point is that people who do research generally aspire to do science. People who claim these fields or research methods are not "scientific enough" are almost exclusively out to denigrate those fields.

Now I know you often approach taxonomy / terminology of this type with the expressed notion that this not matter. I understand that view, but I do not agree with it. If we continuously allow people to deny us our words and symbolic meanings, then we would ultimately be left without a way to convey them.

Pulvis is guilty of little else than the typical conflation of science with STEM subjects, which is further confused with a method debate. Presumably because he thinks such fields only use empirical falsification and thus by extension anything calling itself science must do so. This is a problematic error, because there are plenty of important stem fields where you very can't do that. Astronomy / geology are classic examples where size and distance often makes that impossible and also the time perspective of the phenomena they study require us to use conjectural approaches. Other example could be research on epidemics, where falsification is very often impossible for safety reasons or ethical reasons.

There is of course also the added irony in that if we really were to define "science" as rigidly as people like Pulvis want, science would have enormous difficulties developing and refining itself over time. You could even argue that the birth of modern science would have been paradoxical in itself if we accepted such rigid rules to apply, since in itself represented a major shift in paradigms.

Last edited by tame_deuces; 04-01-2019 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:33 AM   #84
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

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This saga will continue and get worse. Modern academia is filled to the brim with low hanging fruit that desperately need to elevate their prose to the level of science in someone's eyes. I do recommend the book Fashionable Nonsense written by, you guessed it, actual scientists. Most importantly study the back story to the book - the Sokal Affair. It'd be funny if it were not so sad.
Clearly, an article published by a journal that "did not practice academic peer review" undermines the entirety of academia. Because "not peer reviewed" is totally the right standard to consider. The entirety of academic thought rests on maintaining that approach.

But at least it didn't happen in a more science-y journal...

https://www.vox.com/2014/11/21/72592...fic-paper-scam
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:27 AM   #85
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

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Clearly, an article published by a journal that "did not practice academic peer review" undermines the entirety of academia. Because "not peer reviewed" is totally the right standard to consider. The entirety of academic thought rests on maintaining that approach.

But at least it didn't happen in a more science-y journal...

https://www.vox.com/2014/11/21/72592...fic-paper-scam
I agree that Pulvis' argument is ham-fisted and fairly ignorant.

But I don't think we should go down some line of holding scientific journals as sacrosanct. There are legitimate issues with journals. Obviously as you point out, some of this is down to lack of peer review. But even in peer-reviewed journals there has been shown lack of proper editorial review.

There are also other issues, one major one being that proper peer review is often lacking: There is not much testing of papers and research done and published. The onus is often on attempting to do original research, leading to a lot of rehashing old models with a slight refurbish and sometimes outright design analyses to achieve results. A final peeve of mine is more and more reliance on pay-to-view journals and paywalls, academia doesn't thrive in such environments.

I think it is very important to "fess up" to those issues. I don't really think it is a new problem, more an age-old problem in a new frock. It's more that time tends to bury mediocre research so we don't see it anymore. Émile Durkheim's brilliant "Suicide" is a monumental achievement in sociology (and still a great work), but I bet a lot of more forgettable stuff was around at his time.

But I do not think it is really a problem unique to social science, but something all fields struggle with. STEM subjects might go out on weird tangential models where demonstrating perspective becomes more important than demonstrating relevance, medical science might spew out case studies where empirical research would have been better, social science might develop strange statistical frameworks where the models hold up, but their real world relevance is questionable.

For a professional sifting throw the material isn't that hard,and I am guessing that is true for all fields. You develop a pretty good "BS detector", but for laymen it can be tough. And especially dangerous is when journalists "fall for the bait", amplifying questionable papers with even more questionable headlines. We had an example on this very forum where a study supposedly demonstrated that religious children were less moral, but they had never bothered to ask themselves if religious children simply had different morals.

But the glaring flaw in Pulvis' argument (barring the weird fixation with "postmodernism" which is a weird objection against qualitative research following generally accepted method... one of the thing postmodernists generally despise the most) is that he doesn't demonstrate problems with the paper we are discussing in this thread. He is speaking from prejudice more than understanding.

Last edited by tame_deuces; 04-02-2019 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:45 AM   #86
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Re: The role of internet communities in ex-christian deconversion

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But I don't think we should go down some line of holding scientific journals as sacrosanct. There are legitimate issues with journals. Obviously as you point out, some of this is down to lack of peer review. But even in peer-reviewed journals there has been shown lack of proper editorial review.
Sure.

The discovery that H. pylori was the cause of ulcers instead of stomach acid was not immediately accepted even though the data was fairly clear because it ran up against the pre-existing beliefs of the peers.

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I think it is very important to "fess up" to those issues.
Sure. Any human endeavor is going to have difficulties and it is in no way perfect.
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