5/12/2005

(Spoof) Fictionology

The Onion | Scientology Losing Ground To New Fictionology As is often the case with The Onion ("America's Finest News Source"), this piece is an insightful take at a social trend. The basic idea is that of a "mythical belief system free from the cumbersome scientific method." The target is Scientology, but the idea is far-reaching. Interestingly enough, when I was describing the difference between science and belief systems (the only "belief" shared by scientists is that the scientific method can provide appropriate results), a student asked about Scientology which, unlike science, is in fact a belief system. One could include "Intelligent Design" as a similar system: based on beliefs but adopting some aspects of the scientific method. Lamarck, Buffon, and others have proposed similar ideas, with or without a base in belief. In fact, even Descartes's Discours de la méthode attempts to prove beliefs using a scientific method. At least, that's what I remember (I was 13 or 14 at the time I read it, for fun).

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