Re: Constructivism,constructs, + Kellians

Gary Blanchard (
Wed, 12 Jun 1996 23:50:46 -0700

Dear Jonathan-

Thanks for your comments on my recent post about science and religion,
and where Prof. Kelly's work fits in. I appreciate that you gave this
your attention. However, upon a second reading of your note, I had a few
concerns I wanted to bring to your attention, and ask if you would
clarify for me.

> Gary recently stated that:
> "But where
> science differs from religion is that, in science, the paradigm or
> theory is, itself, up for scrutiny/investigation/validation."
> This often seems so, but does not always appear to be the case. There
> have indeed been "scientists" who have not genuinely placed their
> up for scrutiny, but have gone thru the motions. That is, they
> all evidence in such a way as to support their scientific theories.
[ME:I did not claim that all scientists 'genuinely place their theories
up for scrutiny....'

[What I said, as you quoted me above, is that 'the paradigm, or theory,is
itself up for scrutiny/investigation/validation.' Obviously it may take
a researcher with considerable sophistication and awareness to elicit the
unstated, underlying theory or paradigm, but it CAN be done, and then

[This is NEVER true of religious beliefs, so far as I know. Hence the
fundamental difference between science and religion. Can you cite a
single religious belief that can be, or better yet has been, tested
according to the basic few steps of scientific investigation? Just one?

[Obviously, too, you are correct that there have indeed been scientists
who interpret all evidence in such a way as to support their scientific
theories. That is, they fall in love with their conclusions, or
whatever. But that, too, does no damage to my claim, for the process of
science allows for that to be discovered.

[Look at the Great Fusion Energy Discovery in Utah a few years
grabbed great headlines, but the principal investigators never have
responded to their fellow scientists' request to come up with data,
procedures and results which substantiate their claims. They are now in
dishonor and exile, according to the latest reports I have seen.

[Finally, I note that you have supplied no evidence to disprove my claim,
only your general opinion. This, plus your follow-up comments about
religion, raises questions in my mind if you are speaking as a fellow
investigator, following the facts wherever they lead, or if you have more
of a personal orientation to this matter.

[I mean no disrespect; please do not take offense. I hope you can see
why I would raise that question, and I will welcome your response, if you
care to make one. I am just on the alert for what your underlying theory
or paradigm might be, to respond as you have. Presumably, my paradigm is
quite clear: classical current science methodology (short version).]

>You continue...
> On the other hand, religious persons may indeed scrutinize and doubt
> faith. This seems a common experience, and I'm sure others would be
> to share experiences in which they questioned their "faith" in
>something they
> believed.

[ME: To me, the process of peer investigators examining all aspects of
another's work, to independently authenticate and validate its findings,
seems completely different from whatever it is that one does to
'scrutinize and doubt their faith.' And the fact that it 'seems a common
experience,' whatever that is, doesn't change that; for one
thing I don't know, operationally, what is meant by the terms
you use. Can you enlighten me on this; perhaps give me an example or two?

>Finally, you add:
>It seems to be that being "religious" vs. being "scientific" is not
> necessarily the most effective way to distinguish between what I think
> are trying to get at. Perhaps a more useful way to divide this up
> would be to think of persons as either "dogmatic and righteous" vs.
> "open and selfreflective." Obviously this is a construction of my own
> to account for certain forms of experience, but I do believe it more
> effectively gets at what is being discussed in several recent posts.
>For me,
> it is less biased against those deemed "religious," and allows for less
> hero worship of those deemed "scientific."

[ME: Now that is interesting: who construed/constructed/said that I
intended or displayed a "bias against those deemed 'religious'" and "hero
worship of those deemed 'scientific?"

[My point was simply to locate the basis of Prof. Kelly's claims in one
field or the other. Where did this interpretation of 'bias' and 'hero
worship' emanate from? I think I know... but then again, I have learned
to reach for other types of exercise than jumping to conclusions.
Perhaps you would comment...did I trigger you into that reaction?

[I really am looking forward to hearing from you, Jonathan.

Thanks again. Sincerely, Gary

> Jonathan D. Raskin, Ph.D.
> Department of Psychology
> Tennessee State University
> 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
> Nashville, TN 37209-1561
> tel (615) 963-5158
> fax (615) 963-5140
> e-mail: raskinj@HARPO.TNSTATE.EDU