Obviously you're not getting the other side of the argument from this post, but I'm sure that he would appreciate me posting the link here (because of the many, many clicks it will get). Anyway, here's what I wrote, while sitting in the car waiting for the baby to wake up.
Morning again. I've had a brief read of some of the links you sent, and have a few observations. The first is that you are very negative about scientists and existing philosophers of science. I think you assume a bit more about how they think than is justified. In particular, there is a whole literature of the relationship between evidence and theory that explores the way an observation might interact with a theory. There's also the acknowledgement in the literature of the theory-ladenness of any observation. That seems to be your principle target, and although I agree with a decent proportion of that attack, I don't agree with the idea that science has disproved and should have discarded the idea of an objective reality. I do broadly agree that it's an axiom of scientific thought, which is why observer - dependent changes in quantum behaviour are so hard to reconcile. But there are consistently scientific ways to avoid that seeming centrality of the observer. As a related point, I think you are on to something about the idea of evolution. I have tried to describe it as neither a theory (because it doesn't do the legwork of a typical theory) nor scientific, because all the explanations it leads to are just so stories. But that in itself doesn't mean that it's a bad description (model might be a better word) of the way that life changes over time. It doesn't require any spookily metaphysical forces, though. Just random chance... Properly understood, I think it is very broadly analagous to the second law of thermodynamics, in that it isn't so much an explanatory tool as a sketch of the rules of the game. Indeed, it might be that the second law, added to an axiom describing self-copying replicators that can be less than perfectly accurate, leads to the theory of evolution as a logical consequence. But I have neither the skill nor the energy to investigate that claim. Lastly, for now at least, I'm not sure that the points you do make are sufficient for a revolution in thought from the ground up. Some of them are live discussions in Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Science, to which you can contribute but not necessarily expect people who have, like you, devoted their entire life energy to thinking and writing about the same problems, to abandon their modes of thought altogether. I get the point: that there is a category error at the very basis of those thought processes; but that thought is not established as unarguably true by the points you make. I hope this is of some value. As I say, I haven't read everything in detail, but I think I get the central point.
And since you're here reading, let's move from the more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in my (or his) philosophy, to a bit of These Matters. Alert readers may recognise the names of the two centurions. Prizes for figuring out where from, working on the principle that it won't be the original Caesar.
“Good morning, My Lady,” she says. “My father spoke very highly of your Grandfather. It is a pleasure to welcome you formally to this household.”
Jane Grey returns the look, lifting her chin. There is a hardness to her smile, which doesn't quite suit her young face, as she appraises Elizabeth showing off with her rich attire. “It is my great pleasure to be here,” Jane replies.
Elizabeth sits herself, forcing Jane to move her chair slightly to accommodate her at the desk. She looks over the work. “Caesar?” Elizabeth sneers. “Have we not moved on past this, gentlemen?”
Strelley closes his eyes for a little longer than he needs to. Grindal breathes in sharply. It is Grindal who replies, in his most soothingly diplomatic voice. “My Lady, it would be a shame to miss out on the thoughts of one of history's greatest leaders, would it not?” He looks between the two girls. “You are the daughter of a king, Jane is the great-granddaughter of a king. You must be educated not just in the language-”
Elizabeth raises a hand. “If it please Master Grindal, may we concentrate rather on the text?” She glances across at Jane to see the effect of her display of power. Jane sits, cool, impassively watching the exchange.
Elizabeth reads over the portion of text that Jane has already translated. Her own translation is rather quicker and more flowing than Jane's, but it is marred by the odd mistake from not concentrating carefully enough. As she comes to an end, she casts another superior look at her young cousin. Jane is nodding slightly, but her eyes remain indifferent. “You see,” Elizabeth says, “I do not think that Caesar is much of a stylist in his writing. Great commander he may have been, I think he was rather rough. Was he not?” She directs the question at Jane, but Grindal does not leave her a chance to answer.
“Let us rather discuss the text, as the lady herself requested,” he says, a little flustered by Elizabeth's showing off. Strelley watches him, an easy smile playing about his features. This sort of rancorous behaviour is obviously unfamiliar to Grindal, and Strelley seems to be enjoying his discomfort.
Jane Grey has the practised, studied intonation of one who sits carefully at her lessons and learns them well. Her translation is methodical, clear enough but lacking in expression. Elizabeth is more flamboyant, more confident in herself and able to find some fitting phrase for all but the most challenging of the Latin. It is Jane who reads the following phrase:
“Erant in ea legione fortissimi viri, centuriones, qui primis ordinibus appropinquarent, Titus Pullo et Lucius Vorenus. Hi perpetuas inter se controversias habebant, quinam anteferretur, omnibusque annis de locis summis simultatibus contendebant.”
She translates, “There were in that legion two very brave men, centurions who were approaching the first rank, Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus. These two always had... disputes? Disputes among themselves... And...” She tails off.
Elizabeth smiles as she steps in. “Over which should be preferred.” She waves a hand delicately, then sits back in her chair. “Should I continue? Every year they quarrelled over which should be... promoted... with great animosity.” She smiles at Strelley. “Was this section picked carefully, Master Strelley?”
Strelley returns a wry smile. “What does the lady mean?” Elizabeth does not pursue her line of questioning out loud, though, simply shaking her head slightly at Strelley and returning to the lesson.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought