<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>
Some theories become sacred cows. With sacred-cow theories, scientists handle unexpected observations by making up additional stories to rescue the first story, the original theory. These are ad hoc rescuing hypotheses. It gets worse. They then claim these ad hoc rescuing hypotheses are additional predictions that “prove” the original story. Instead of questioning the original story, they think these additional just-so stories are additional proof. Over the years, the so-called “proof” keeps getting deeper. And yet, it’s all illusion. It’s all flimflam. It’s science by imagination.
While we see two complex thought processes, we can’t imagine the full complexity of the delusion. We see scientists making up ad hoc rescuing hypotheses (just-so stories) whenever they run into any scientific fact that conflicts with the sacred-cow theory. At the same time, we see scientists using their ability to make up stories to explain away the observations as proof for the sacred-cow story. They think their ability to make up a story or alibi is further proof of the sacred-cow theory. Of course, there’s considerable peer pressure on the scientist to back up the sacred-cow theory. Then, they use the fallacy of affirming the consequent as confirmation bias, and they end up even more committed to the sacred-cow theory. Scientists use many diverse thought processes to support sacred-cow theories. Often, the complexity and deceitfulness defy comprehension.
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