Helps to Young Authors

Neutralizing success words, after the manner of the best authorities

(From David Stove, Popper and After, chapter 1)

How to rewrite the sentence: Cook discovered Cook Strait.

Cook `discovered' Cook Strait.

Among an infinity of equally impossible alternatives, one hypothesis which has been especially fruitful in suggesting problems for further research and critical discussion is the conjecture (first `confirmed' by the work of Cook) that a strait separates northern from southern New Zealand.

It would of course be a gross anachronism to call the flat-earth paradigm in geography mistaken. It is simply incommensurable with later paradigms: as is evident from the fact that, for example, problems of antipodean geography could not even be posed under it. Under the Magellanic paradigm, however, one of the problems posed, and solved in the negative, was that of whether New Zealand is a single land mass. That this problem was solved by Cook is, however, a vulgar error of whig historians, utterly discredited by recent historiography. Discovery of the Strait would have been impossible, or at least would not have been science, but for the presence of the Royal Society on board, in the person of Sir Joseph Banks. Much more research by my graduate students into the current sociology of the geographical profession will be needed, however, before it will be known whether, under present paradigms, the problem of the existence of Cook Strait remains solved, or has become unsolved again, or an un-problem.

Long before the constipated and boneheaded Cook, whose knowledge of the optics of his telescopes was minimal, rationally imposed, by means of tricks, jokes, and non-sequiturs, the myth of Cook Strait on the `educated' world, Maori scientists not only `knew' of the existence of the Strait but often crossed it by turning themselves into birds. Now, however, not only this ability but the very knowledge of the `existence' of the Strait has been lost forever. This is owing to the malignant influence exercised on education by authoritarian scientists and philosophers, especially the LSE critical rationalists, who have not accepted my criticisms and should be sacked. "No doubt this financial criticism of ideas will be more effective than [...] intellectual criticism and it should be used". (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. LVIII, 1978, p. 144).

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