Read The New Inquisition by Robert Anton Wilson Free Online
Book Title: The New Inquisition|
The author of the book: Robert Anton Wilson
Edition: New Falcon Publications
Date of issue: May 1st 1988
ISBN 13: 9781561840021
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.85 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.7
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The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and Citadel of Science, by Robert Anton Wilson, is according to Wikipedia, “a book about ontology, science, paranormal events, and epistemology.” It is supposed to tear down the dogmatism of traditional (the Citadel) science. Maybe it does, but the entire book undermines its own objective through a who’s who (what’s what?) of fallacious arguments. Wilson purports to challenge the scientific establishment, accusing it of dogmatically dismissing, and even suppressing out-of-the-norm theories. Unfortunately, Wilson attempts this with unsubstantiated anecdote after anecdote, as if the “they can’t all be wrong” argument is sufficient.
Unlike Quantum Psychology, which had moments of rational reasoning, The New Inquisition is more of a rant against CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal…now Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) and a select few of its fellows. Right in the Introduction, Wilson draws the line in the sand: "This book speaks of a New Inquisition, a New Idol and a New Agnosticism. By the New Inquisition I mean to designate certain habits of repression and intimidation that are becoming increasingly commonplace in the scientific community today. By New Idol I mean to designate the rigid beliefs that form the ideological superstructure of the New Inquisition. By the New Agnosticism I mean to designate an attitude of mind which has been elsewhere called “model agnosticism” and which applies the agnostic principle not just to the “God” concept, but to ideas of all sorts in all areas of thoughts and ideology."[and]"This book is deliberately polemical because I believe models, as tools, should be tested in that kind of combat which Nietzsche metaphorically called “war” and Marx called dialectical struggle."
Well. You’re right. Argument over. Let’s all go out and have a beer. Okay. I’m being unfair. Unfairly dismissive. The thing is, he has a point…to an extent. Blind faith dismissal of every new and out of the norm idea (I’m guilty of referring to them as “fringe”) doesn’t serve intellectual and scientific advancement well. But Martin Gardner, Wilson’s apparent arch nemesis, has more and better points (darn that subjectivity of mine slipping in there). Acceptance of every new and out of the norm idea without rigorous evidence or critical analysis not only doesn’t serve intellectual and scientific development, but it reverses progress made (that’s my assessment…I am pretty sure Gardner never said something close to those words, but that’s the sentiment). As Gardner notes in Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, scientists cannot be expected to stop what they are working on and write detailed refutations of every theory and pseudo-theory that comes along. The nature of science is self-policing. First the scientist is expected “to mass considerable evidence before his theory can be seriously entertained.” Then he (pardon the sexist “he” – those who know me know that I strive for generic applicability and political correctness, but he/she gets to be clumsy) must endure the skeptical analysis of his peers. And if the process reveals flaws or errors, the burden of proof is on that of the claimant. Not that of the detractors. Why is that so conveniently ignored by Wilson? If the theories he supports stood the test, then he wouldn’t have had anything to write about.
There are so many flaws in Wilson's arguments, flaws in his research, obvious cherry-picking of data (obvious if one researches the references), baldfaced hypocritical criticism of anyone who would criticize him or his pet pseudo-sciences that I finally gave up when my full review passed several pages. And for whatever reason, Wilson hates Catholics, Marxists and CSICOP...taking every opportunity to drip vitriol on anyone related to CSICOP (Gardner, Carl Sagan). I guess it is okay for him to be blindly dismissive, but not okay for skeptics who do honest analysis to dismiss his favorites.
Unlike Quantum Psychology, which had points of lucidity, The New Inquisition is an angry man's petulant diatribe chock full of nonsense.
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Read information about the authorRobert Anton Wilson became, at various times, an American novelist, essayist, philosopher, polymath, psychonaut, futurist, libertarian and self-described agnostic mystic. Recognized as an Episkopos, Pope, and Saint of Discordianism by Discordians who care to label him as such, Wilson helped publicize the group/religion/melee through his writings, interviews, and strolls.
He described his work as an "attempt to break down conditioned associations, to look at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth."
"My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything."
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