meta level (1)

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Olaf Simons 06/02/2014 17:55: At the end of last month I had felt that I should step into this debate creationism vs. evolution in order to see what I would say and with the aim to get beyond it. But I am not quite happy with where I got.

Is the discussion of strategies an option to get out of a debate?

Sören Koopmann 06/02/2014 17:55: I actually don’t want to engage in discussions on strategy at all. And I don’t know why I keep doing that. Somehow, my questions are all wrong.

Olaf Simons 06/02/2014 17:55: And yet I think that to discuss strategies is the only intelligent thing one can do here, and regret that I did something different with my previous posting.

Sören Koopmann 06/02/2014 17:56: I would like to evaluate the strategies of others, not set my own against theirs. But maybe that would be entertaining the illusion of a point outside of discourse, and my refusal would be just another strategic position. What do you regret exactly?

Olaf Simons 06/02/2014 17:57: To discuss strategies actually means that you leave the debate you are observing. The strategy debate is a different debate even if you are involved in a battle. The rules are different, and it tends to be subversive. You — normally — do not discuss your strategies in the very debate you are having with your opponents.

Sören Koopmann 06/02/2014 17:59: Maybe we should experiment with dialogue, even if it were merely a platonic enactment.

The analysis of a conspiracy theory offers an interesting – open – model of interaction to explore

Olaf Simons 06/02/2014 18:00: Well, I’ll join you with my hope to get out of the circle of thoughts I have already considered long ago. Thus far I feel the analysis of all this under the notion that people like Ken Ham are spreading a huge conspiracy theory is immensely useful. (I regret I have not read the secondary literature one should have read on conspiracy theories. You got some tips whom to read? throw them in!)

Sören Koopmann 06/02/2014 18:07: It would be interesting to look into the strategic position of Conspiracy Theory, because you will find it with Scientology and you will find it with creationists. Working differently, to be sure.

Olaf Simons 06/02/2014 18:09: If you discuss creationism as a form of conspiracy theory that is an option to frame it in a wide political and social context. And what is brilliant about this framing: it is open. We do not really know how conspiracy theories work. It makes the entire debate more difficult.

Sören Koopmann 06/02/2014 18:10: Later. Today, I am not really perceptive anymore. Here is my proposal: Let us record a semi-staged conversation and transcribe it or put it online.

Olaf Simons 06/02/2014 18:11: Well, a big question is for instance: Who is the owner of a conspiracy theory? Who organises, who controls it? Or should we assume conspiracy theories are based on grass root suspicions? If they are rather hierarchical structures (as in the case we are observing, a case where we can name the think tanks that produce the notion of this huge conspiracy), to what extent are they themselves threatened to be perceived as conspiracy (in a counter productive conspiracy theory)? We might say we know how conspiracies are organised — but do we know how a conspiracy theory is run. It is obvious that they need media in order to spread, yet media attention threatens to dispel them. They focus on a special clientele, people who are ready to believe that they are victims of the conspiracy. Why should we see that conspiracy theories are more easily bread in the US than elsewhere? It seems we have to. What happens if such a conspiracy theory is exported? (…into countries that fear the power of the US — you say: always easy because all US-conspiracy theories are anti-US-Government conspiracies anyway?) How does a particular conspiracy theory connect to others? To what extent can it use institutions such as churches and governments? To what extend does the conspiracy theory at the very same moment hijack the critical individual. The individual’s narrative of personal martyrdom is old, yet it merges here strangely with new narratives of the autonomous subject as they are bred by modern societies…


2 Replies to “meta level (1)”

  1. What troubles me about the creationism v. evolution discourse found herein is the assumption that Ken Ham somehow reflects those in the pews on Sunday mornings. The world according to Ham does not exist but for a few, on both sides I think, that want it to. Here’s my little reconciling faith and science story (Popper, Kuhn, Feyerabend…):

  2. Statistics speak their own language:

    …I heard of colleagues – historians – who got into trouble when they were hired by a religiously oriented university. They were asked to handle their evolutionist leanings as a private affair. Eventually they could not stand the pressure and left.

    I heard of school teachers who declined to teach evolution because they realised that this would bring creationist pupils into problems.

    46% creationist leanings is not nothing.

    Initiative after initiative brought forth with the aim to change school curricula in the US are not nothing either.

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