Epistemological fashions

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3 Comments

Filed under Language, Philosophy, Statistics

3 responses to “Epistemological fashions

  1. AMB

    Very interesting stuff.

    I followed your link back and started messing around with it a little myself. I found something of a contrapositive:

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=The+Bible+says%2C+Scientists+say&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

  2. Interesting results — but perhaps not totally incompatible with what I found. “God has revealed” and “studies have shown” both imply an acceptance of the authority in question and a belief in that which has been revealed/shown. Your phrases do not. “Studies have shown” is used to present something as a established fact, but “scientists say” often has overtones of “or so the Germans would have us believe.” (Who is more likely to say “Scientists say people evolved from lower animals,” a believer in evolution or a skeptic?) Religious believers and skeptics can both say “the Bible says,” but “God has revealed” implies a belief in actual revelation.

  3. Pingback: Some notes on the dark arts of rhetoric | Bugs to fearen babes withall

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