End of the road

Carter Block
2 min readApr 23, 2021

Well, we’ve arrived at the finale, the last post. It definitely subverted my expectations over the course of the semester. Originally, when I learned about how the “topic” of our choice was going to be what we wrote most of our weekly blogs about, I thought about switching to a much more broad topic or one that was closer to my interests. I ended up not changing because I had gotten a lot of work just thrown at me near the beginning of the semester and was pretty overwhelmed, so I kinda forgot to think about altering it. Now that we’re (almost) at the end, I can say that I’m glad I didn’t change my topic.

My topic came hot off the heels of the January 6th “Insurrection” attempt by a bunch of dorks. It was along the lines of “Why do people purposely deny reality?” Which in retrospect is pretty easy to answer with “because it benefits them”, but they believed in their “truth” so fiercely that it confused me. Eventually working towards paper 1 sent me down the path of conspiracy theories, and that was where the fun began. It was actually a single paper that I read that really shot my interest through the roof. A concept it introduced me to was a “Degenerative Research Program”, and it’s probably the biggest takeaway I’ve gotten from this class. The definition is not that important, but the ideas have given me a lot of insight into both my thinking and others’.

To explain it one final time in writing, a Degenerative Research Program is an offshoot of the normal Scientific Research Program. Unlike in a typical and respected SRP, if the evidence does not support the hypothesis it is thrown out and more supporting evidence is sought out. This continues until the hypothesis is shown to be supported, regardless of how much contrary evidence exists. Rather than thinking about it like “the hypothesis is wrong” when contrary evidence exists, it’s more “the hypothesis isn’t right, yet”. DRPs always assume that they are right, they’re just struggling to prove that they actually are.

While I myself don’t follow any DRP that concerns major topics like vaccines, climate change, etc, I definitely have participated in smaller non consequence ones. Daily things like figuring out which way might be faster, or what thing I’m planning on doing and their benefits. It’s been pretty fun and interesting analyzing all a lot of my thoughts from the past with the definition of DRPs in mind. I’ve been using it a lot more while also making current decisions, because even though a lot of my DRP choices were small, I do want to avoid it as much as possible, because while it’s not awful it’s not good either.

I’m very glad that I stuck with this topic and ended up where I am, also pretty happy to write about it too.

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