Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Scientists aren't intrinsically objective

One of the hallmarks of the Enlightenment worldview is a belief (an act of faith?) that science is the (only) path to true, objective knowledge, and scientists are likewise objective in their reporting of the facts they discover. For this mentality, science functions as a de facto religion, and scientists are the priests, prophets, and oracles of said religion. (NB: this is not a critique of science or scientists per se, but of a mentality which regards them erroneously.)

In fact, scientists are fallible human beings just like the rest of us, and they are no more impervious to allowing their biases and subjectivities to cloud their judgment and reasoning than anyone else.

Pat Lee and Robert George offer an example of this in their recent critique of a letter in the journal Science and the reasons for which the letter was hurriedly published. I encourage you to read it.

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