Leading Horses to Water


Chuck Doswell

Posted:  13 August 2013  Posted:  whenever

As usual, the content here is my own personal opinion.  If you wish to add to the discusion of the topics herein, send them by email to cdoswell + earthlink.net (use the email link or cut and paste, replacing "_+_" with "@"  Don't waste your time or mine if you're unwilling to have your comments appear here under your real name.  If there are any glitches, please let me know so I can fix them!

This collection of essays began while I was participating on the American Heathen Internet radio show, hosted and produced by R.J. Evans. The show was mostly a collection of pre-recorded and live segments.  The first of my segments aired on 15 July 2011, the last on 21 April 2013.  The show went off the air at the end of 2012, so the last few of these essays were posted on the American Heathen website.   I've lost track of the show dates for a few of them. 

Anyway, it got started when RJ asked me to write a segment for the show on a quasi-regular basis focusing on my views about how science related to the show content, and to inform listeners about how science works.

Obviously, the segment title is based on the old proverb ... You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.  I've said this about my career, many times.  Each segment began with a prologue:

Ancient Greeks began the way of thinking originally known as natural philosophy but which we now call science.  Science emerged as we know it during the Renaissance, in an age dominated by fear, superstition, injustice, and brutality.  In other words, pretty much like the present.  These musings are aimed at explaining how science works, and how science can serve even nonscientists in their efforts to make sense of the world.  I can try to explain things but it’s up to you to decide whether or not you wish to drink from these waters.

and ended with an epilogue:

Science is not a religion but rather a tool for those who wish to think for themselves about the natural world.  Its primary characteristic is its willingness to entertain questions from those who wish to obtain believable answers.

This format was modeled after Ronald Bruce Meyer's show segment:  This Week in Freethought History.

At this point, the future of this collection is uncertain.  I may or may not add to it in the future.

Here is a listing of the segments, in chronological order

  1. What would it take to convince you?
  2. Science and, by inference, rationalism, under attack
  3. Moderates rationalizing the irrational
  4. Through the Wormhole?
  5. The pathetic inadequacy of the “god” myth
  6. Do science and religion overlap?
  7. Arguments with religious and political believers
  8. Standards for evidence in science and religion
  9. The Language of Science
  10. Why does god speak in parables and metaphors?
  11. Should there be limits to knowledge?
  12. The industry standard for science:  Peer review
  13. A specialist’s perspective
  14. Not Man Apart
  15. Government funding of science – how it works
  16. The role of disagreement in science
  17. Confirmation bias
  18. Thoughts on science and the spiritual life
  19. The Hidden Meaning in the Discovery of the Higgs boson
  20. Do Scientists Need to Have “Faith”?
  21. Mars Rovers
  22. Conspiracy Among Scientists?
  23. Learning Science by Soundbites?
  24. Science as a Career
  25. Entropy Arguments on Behalf of the Existence of a Creator
  26. How Does Science Relate to Public Policy?
  27. Science and Postmodernism
  28. Just What Are “Scientific Beliefs”?
  29. What Role Does Science Play in a Non-scientist’s Life?
  30. Science and Religion - Revisited
  31. What Am I Hoping to Accomplish Here?
  32. A Misplaced Equality
Simply click on the links to go to the segment.  Before I started LHTW, I had a few segments that were not as formalized. They're included here as a bonus: