Legal Maneuvers

[From Bruce Abbott (950610.2105)]

Bill Powers (950609.1600 MDT)]

Bruce Abbott (950609.1145 EST) --
Rick Marken (950608.2130) --

The Judge Ito metaphor is appropriate to the argument between you and
Rick. In this system of determining truth, each side takes a position
and then looks selectively for all possible evidence to support it,
while also seeking to hide or suppress all evidence against it.

I see that the significance of my little parody has not been lost. I have
been feeling for some time now that I have been trying to argue science with
a lawyer, so I thought we'd just move into the courtroom. At least that
style of argumentation is appropriate there.

Although you are certain to disagree, I have throughout these exchanges
avoided (at least to the best of my ability) such behavior. If you think I
have been doing otherwise, please give examples where I have slipped up, so
that I can spot when I'm making these mistakes in the future and correct them.

This is not, of course, how science is supposed to work, although it
often does work this way.

Unfortunately true.

Probably the least important "scientific" argument of all goes like

"Thousands of brilliant people have believed in my position, including
Nobel Prize winners and other people of impeccable scientific
credentials. To say that this position is wrong is to say that all these
people have been wrong, all of this time. That is so unlikely that we
have to assume it can't be true. Do you really think that you can find
some flaw that these skilled scientists have not already considered and
dealt with? Are you saying you are right, and all these thousands and
thousands of scientists are wrong?"

This is not an argument _I_ ever offered (I'm well aware of its falshood)
and I don't recall Rick making it, so I'm puzzled: are you just offering an
example of invalid argument too often seen in "scientific" debate, or were
you suggesting that one of us has actually proposed such an argument? From
this end it's a bit ambiguous.