Re: re. Social science as very limited

Robert G. Grimes (
Tue, 01 Sep 1998 16:16:59 -0400

Date: Tue, 01 Sep 1998 16:16:59 -0400
From: "Robert G. Grimes" <>
Subject: Re: re. Social science as very limited


Well, rereading my statements certainly makes it clear where one might take
offense. Since my own upbringing was in clinical psychology I thought I was
phrasing it sans being offensive. But, my reference was to the problem of
controlling variables, the application of mathematics (other than statistical
analysis of large numbers) and the relative lack of being able to design and
apply hard experimental approaches and data to people as compared to other
animals or materials. I had hopes that chaos mathematics would bring a great
contribution to these areas making the calculation and prediction of behavior
more reliable and accurate and, although I'm sure it has helped, I don't believe
that we are there yet. The very fact that different institutions classified
their courses in the science department or under the arts department was for a
long time the most obvious evidence of the distinctions (or perhaps the
prejudices) between subjects.

Still, I'm convinced that probably the more that I talk the worse my situation
will become and will simply accelerate the necessity of my making an abject
apology for wording my message in a manner that appeared to impugn or under
value your fields or to insinuate that it was not "scientific." Please
attribute that to my clumsiness of phrase and not with any intentions of selling
your specialities short.

As one who is frequently bombarded with cries of "What, a Behaviorist,"
delivered in a most insulting manner with which they appear to expect to cow and
shame me, I humbly ask your forgiveness:>)



Paul Marsden wrote:

> Bob Grimes wrote
> >I believe I understand your reaction and the desire to be scientific but
> >hesitate to remind you that the psycho/social/anthropological world is very
> >limited in its "scientific armament" except where dealing with historical
> >artifacts, dating, and more recently with linguistics and PET scan
> >technology, etc.
> Please explain this to me and the rest of my faculty of social SCIENCE -
> Perhaps we and our tools are very limited, do please elaborate. Owning a
> PET scanner doesn't make you a scientist nor does arcane symbolic language
> which is not grounded in empirical events.

Bob Grimes Jacksonville, Florida

Man is not in control, but the man who knows he is not in control is more in control...

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore....."

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