Reading this piece today from 2012 on Larry Krauss’ “Something From Nothing”. I reviewed it myself and saw him talk on the topic at that time too. It was pretty disingenuous hype, even though much of the reality was acknowledged in the detail, if not the headings and headlines of his titles and talks. I missed the spat reported here, but see now it was eventually mediated by (my hero) Dan Dennett. I’ve posted previously on Dan’s ongoing attempts to educate the other atheist-scientist poster-boys – Dawkins, Harris, Pinker – on philosophical (ontological and epistemological) considerations beyond their narrow rationalist ken.
Talking of them as “poster boys” – in the light of latest Krauss allegations (anonymous and unconfirmed other than single BuzzFeed article, so unrepeated and unlinked for now – see first comment below) – I also posted previously on sexual chemistry (Pinker) and flirting (Krauss). Ultimately his wife (!) in the former case; incorrigible I said in the latter; but entirely mutual and consenting in both cases in my experience.
The Larry Krauss stuff does seem serious enough, which is sad. I’m no fan of Larry that’s clear, but sad none-the-less.
I see Sam Harris expressing the same sadness re Krauss in his own way:
“This is a very serious business. We have a colleague and a friend and a person with a very serious and much cherished scientific reputation under assault now.”
[talking in Phoenix Feb 23]
“I think we should be slow to destroy a person‘s reputation … ”
[tweeting in defence of the above statements.]
(Nowhere does Harris defend Krauss actions, whatever they were.) But what is interesting – appalling – to me is the “warfare” between the scientistic public intellectuals (Dawkins, Harris, Pinker, Krauss etc) and their critics. C J Werleman is one critic I have some time for, he gets the fault with their scientism. The same scientism I too am relentless in criticising – and providing constructive alternative epistemologies. But this warlike class of critics – I got the above from @danarel retweet by Werleman – are hateful people, and haters gonna hate, so I’m not including their links.
Everybody on whichever side is fighting whilst humming “we didn’t start the fire”. No disputing that the scientistic horsemen started their careers pouring scorn and hatred on the superstitions of their religious enemies with very little real claim to any enlightened high-ground other than, you know, because science. Choosing sides is the last thing anyone should do.
Time for (proper!) dialogue. Come in Jordan Peterson and the intellectual dark web. Equally sad that true intellectual dialogue has to create its own dark web and leave social and mainstream media to the numbskulls.