Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Yes there are some deep and severe problems with the way Science is done.  I venture to say I could "see you and raise" having spent most of the last 35 years specifically working on the practicals of What, When, and Why of Knowledge -- call it Applied Epistemology -- in the sciences, mathematics, and technology with a whip-around the Humanities.

Very few people have the ability to grasp a subject and put both their perceived importance of that subject and the actual and relevant importance of that subject to "Reality."  One reoccurring epistemological dysfunction stems from a person's acknowledgment, in some way, of their tenuous, in terms of depth, and ambiguous, in terms of width, Knowledge leading to an strenuous effort to support their own psycho-epistemology concurrent with a same or greater effort to suppress The Other.  In this instance the luxury the "hard" sciences normally have by using empirical verification and validation techniques (experiments) goes away.  Remove this luxury and they are forced into unfamiliar problems accepted as par-for-the-course by the "soft" sciences.  One of which being a mammoth increase in Uncertainty in both premise and proof.  An Uncertainty they are neither trained nor equipped to handle.  Thus, reverting to "non-scientific" conflict resolution.

Also it is, or should be, accepted that any scientist or researcher acting, on some level, outside their expertise is "just another person" with all the conclusions and implications that implies.  

One can wish for people to not be people and not to do nasty people-like things.  Never going to happen.  Expecting otherwise is merely going to end in (various shades of) despair.  

So far I've been talking about people who have, at a minimum, a small degree of commitment to The Truth.  

Outside of the Sciences, were most people live, there are people who don't care about The Truth but who deeply care, and fight for, things like money, power, influence, domination, & etc.  People who do nasty people-like things because they like it, they want to, they derive something from it as well as people who do nasty people-like things not because they get something from it but because it is their nature to do nasty people-like things.

The two examples in this post do share certain Qualities.  However they share more, and deeper, dissimilarities.  One important difference is the first cares, to some degree, about Reason.  The second could give a flying-fart.  This difference is crucial enough, IMO, to segregate the first from the second.  This by no means implies "Scientists" nor the scientific process nor even the Enlightenment philosophies from whence both spring are immune to criticism.  Far from it.  But it does mean the critical stance one takes to "Science" needs to be very different from the stance one uses for the Nasty People.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Nov 21st, 2009 at 05:16:40 PM EST
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