Annenberg Forum, Carswell Hall
Andrew Leslie, Salem College
Rachel Avon Whidden, Lake Forest College
Margaret D. Zulick, Wake Forest University
‘Analytic under Siege: Stealth Dialectics and Rhetorical Deligitimation of Scientific Argument in the Public Sphere’
Atilla Hallsby, University of Iowa
‘Narrativizing Science and Disaster: Story, Discourse, and Possible Worlds in the Supercollider’
Paper read by Liviu Gajora, Wake Forest University
Kelly Congdon, University of Richmond
‘From Expressivist Swords to Deliberative Ploughshares? Mixing the Language of Jesus and Genes and the Constitution of Controversy over Evolution’
1st speaker: Rachel Avon Whidden, Lake Forest College; Margaret D. Zulick, Wake Forest University
Analytic under Siege: Stealth: Dialectics and Rhetorical Deligitimation of Scientific Argument in Public Sphere
The idea that science should not have an agenda of its own leads to a deligitimation of science when the agendas are revealed.
Slide showing overlapping ground of Analytic, Dialectic and Rhetoric each with distinct functions relative to one another. Dialectic, in part to refine the analytic, Rhetoric shifts between the other two. The rhetorical voice allows analytical and dialectic to represent themselves in the public sphere.
Rhetoric is, according to Aristotle, the counter part of Dialectic. Science, the analytical, and ideology, the dialectic can be mediated through
MMR and autism, vested interest in claim that Wakefield put forth in the Lancet that there is a link between the two based upon a few parental claims. Wakefield was contracted by an attorney to investigate what Wakefield had already “determined”, that there was a link between the two. Wakefield was found guilty of multiple scientific misconduct 12 years latter. However, CNN reports and others insist that the scientific community is involved in a conspiracy–they do not want to open up the “can of worms.” Passions regarding anecdotal sufferings of parents.
Intelligent design, a dialectic, masquerades as an analytic.
Deliberate attempt to disprove existing science and to colonize the realm of science within the classroom.
Questions will follow all papers.
2nd speaker: Atilla Hallisby (paper presented by Liviu Gajora)
Narrativizing Science and Disaster: Story, Discourse, and Possible Worlds in the Supercollider
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) received attention early in its planning stage of dystopic (and apocalyptic) warnings, that did not occur according to predicted dates. Shortly after the LHC was started, it suffered a massive failure upon its maiden run requiring shut down and reconstruction of a significant portion of the LHC.
Logics provided by the technical community do not carry sufficient weight to dislodge the dystopic narrative or variants. Especially when some scientists discussed the possibility that the LHC might produce blackholes that could swallow the matter around them.
After the failure, the narrative surfaced that particles traveled back in time to destroy the LHC.
The distinction between the fictional and the non-fictional risks becoming purely phenomenological. Much like in Culler’s deconstruction of Russian Formalism notions of sjuzhet and fabula (corresponding to notions of story and plot), the fact that a story can be true is sometimes as important as the fact that the story is true (things found in the story actualy happened). Freud illustates a similar idea when saying that psycnoanalysis works to the same extent if the story the patient says actually happened or just thinks happened.
Scientific discourse cannot rely on facts, because there are none (the LHC provided neither the Higs-Boson particle, nor the end of the world), thus it is forced to rely on narratives that have an internal logic, even though their external logic cannot be verified. Within this framework, public (non-technical) fictional narratives can compete directly with the scientific narratives, because a causal relationship is impossible to support with real world evidence.
3rd speaker: Kelly Congdon, University of Richmond
From Expressivist Swords to Deliberative Ploughshares? Mixing the Language of Jesus and Genes and the Constitution of Controversy over Evolution
Argument as warfare, reduces to two sides and often induces apathy in those uncomfortable with argumentative methods.
Collective deliberation stands against the argumentation methodology so constitutive of our public debate.
Enter Francis Collins ‘The Language of God: A scientist presents evidence for belief’. Presidential honor, Christian accolades as single most influential contribution to Christian apologetics.
Sam Harris one of Dawkins’ followers on other extreme, critiques Collins: ‘Collins proves that a stellar career as a scientist is not guarantee of being a follower of scientific principles.
Claim that raising your children to be religious as child abuse.
To the public it appears that a choice must be made between either two, false dilemma.
Reviews of Harris’s book–ammunition to arm secularists.
Harris’s book will be read mostly by scientists.
Collins’ deliberative engagement of the subject is tha appeal of Colllins’ book.
Respectful and charitable listening across beliefs.
Rational and irrational polarization precludes a wide range of alternates. Leaving only a scorched earth methodology on each side.
Certain rhetors cordon off communities–those in the middle must choose or “run for your life.”
Fundamentalism a spongable style and system of tropes.
Panel now open for questions.