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Real, but subtle

June 25, 2020

Thomas Kuhn became more skeptical in the years after his famous book. Which led to some incorrect predictions. John Horgan correctly points out that the issue of whether HIV causes AIDS is thoroughly settled. More, I would point out that much of the skepticism around that in the early years never was rational, but was exactly the same kind of nonsense one sees now regarding Covid-19. I guess someone pressing Kuhn’s view could point to a variety of alternative medicine adherents and conspiracy theorists who would say otherwise still. But any realistic philosophy of science has to accommodate the fact that many people are irrational.

That we do sometimes reach definitive answers doesn’t mean we always do. The world is complex and much of it hard to scry. Since its onset, statistics have shown that Covid-19 affects men more than women. Perhaps that reflects some biology. Perhaps that reflects different behavior and underlying health. Perhaps we eventually will untangle that. Perhaps not.

I didn’t know June 25th was the Day of the Seafarer. But I’ll drink a whiskey to all my friends that make their living on the water!

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