Intelligent Design

“Post-normal” science vs. science based on facts?

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British journalist Melanie Phillips has an interesting item on “post-normal” science:

The ‘post-normal’ science of climate change

From the horse’s mouth — climate change theory has nothing to do with the truth. In a remarkable column in today’s Guardian Mike Hulme, professor in the school of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia and the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research — a key figure in the promulgation of climate change theory but who a short while ago warned that exaggerated forecasts of global apocalypse were in danger of destroying the case altogether — writes that scientific truth is the wrong tool to establish the, er, truth of global warming. Instead, we need a perspective of what he calls ‘post-normal’ science:

Philosophers and practitioners of science have identified this particular mode of scientific activity as one that occurs where the stakes are high, uncertainties large and decisions urgent, and where values are embedded in the way science is done and spoken. It has been labelled ‘post-normal’ science…The danger of a ‘normal’ reading of science is that it assumes science can first find truth, then speak truth to power, and that truth-based policy will then follow.

The conflict, Phillips suggests, is between “scientists who believe in empirical observation and the truth, and ‘post-normal’ scientists who believe in ideology and lies.” Reminds me somehow of Darwinism. Can’t think why.

I think that “post-normal” is to science what “post-Christian” is to Christian: A failed attempt to accommodate materialism.

9 Replies to ““Post-normal” science vs. science based on facts?

  1. 1
    jb says:

    Is that a typo in the title?

  2. 2
    jerry says:

    My favorite quote about post-modernism is from Michael Sugrue who said “Post-modernism is an intellectual cul de sac.”

    Post-normal science is obviously the same thing only applied to science and lies never form any internally consistent doctrine. So the adherents are left wandering around continually making things up to fit their worldview. Sounds familiar doesn’t it.

    So now we see what we are really up against in climate change, Darwinism and probably a lot of other things. Melanie Phillip’s comment

    “So the true battleground has now been illuminated for us. The real fight is between scientists who believe in empirical observation and the truth, and ‘post-normal’ scientists who believe in ideology and lies.”

    Sounds like Dawkins, Shermer, NCSE, PZ Meyers, Panda’s Thumb etc as well as the global warming crowd. They should get along well with each other.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    eebrom says:

    Just mentioned to wifie recently that we are hearing new, progressively more astounding comments almost every day.

    I’m wondering if post-normal science is something like post-nasal drip — only, mucus from the mind infects the vocal cords.

    Who would have thought, 30 years ago, that soon, a man could, and would, marry a man? We laughed and made jokes then; now we are crying.

    Who, today, would think that data in science are superfluous? We laugh, and make we jokes. Couldn’t possibly happen.

    How long will it take before science rapes itself? Or, will it, like lawful sodomy, screw the rest of society during its post-normal orgy?

    Smelly times, these.

  5. 5
    Rude says:

    One wonders—did modernism have to evolve into postmodernism?

    Modernism, as I understand it, banished any mention of God (or design or ultimate purpose) from our knowledge yet still encouraged the study of objective “material” reality. It’s the science of chance and necessity sans teleology a la Jacques Monod, the two tiered track portrayed by Francis Schaeffer and Nancy Pearcey, the epistemological materialism identified by Phillip Johnson—why should this disintegrate into a postmodernism that rejects knowledge of any objective reality other than politics?

    It ought to be clear. Materialism cannot justify morality in nonutilitarian terms, and thus all that’s left is method, process, and power. And so Schaeffer’s two tiers are collapsing, on the one hand everything is being loaded into the upper tier of feelings and fantasy whereas, on the other hand, ID is not content to cordon off any aspect of reality. Perhaps the battle that is emerging is between these two, where even self proclaimed modernists such as Richard Dawkins are emerging as postmodernist politicos.

    Many traditionalists are puzzled when their critics have no interest in logical debate—when winning is all that matters—when establishing facts and apprehending truth are out the window. We shouldn’t be puzzled. The devolution of modernism into postmodernism is well advanced. We just have to hope that these nihilists don’t achieve absolute power because they are already corrupted absolutely.

  6. 6
    Michaels7 says:

    There are movies and then there is reality…

    Frostbite ends Bancroft-Arnesen trek

    A North Pole expedition meant to bring attention to global warming was called off after one of the explorers got frostbite.

    Then there was the cold — quite a bit colder, Atwood said, then Bancroft and Arnesen had expected. One night they measured the temperature inside their tent at 58 degrees below zero, and outside temperatures were exceeding 100 below zero at times, Atwood said.

    “My first reaction when they called to say there were calling it off was that they just sounded really, really cold,” Atwood said.

    She said Bancroft and Arnesen were applying hot water bottles to Arnesen’s foot every night, but had to wake up periodically because the bottles froze.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200.....lar_trek_1

    You just can’t make this stuff up. There may be problems. I love nature. I was once a member of Sierra Club. But one must deal with reality. I remain skeptical that we understand fully what is happening, let alone methods to make drastic changes.

    Still, eliminating Middle East oil dependency is a good thing. So, pope Gore Green-rich is helping in a way.

    I understand PETA has followed up on Gore’s proposals with the true way of eliminating CO2 greenhouse gases.

    Everyone become vegetarians.

  7. 7
    russ says:

    “Everyone become vegetarians.”

    Or cannibals. Some radicals view humans as the problem that the rest of nature is being forced to “put up with”.

  8. 8

    Some radicals view humans as the problem that the rest of nature is being forced to “put up with”.

    I wish they were just radicals out on the fringe of society, easily identifiable, refuttable, and properly ostracized, but they’re not.

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    Michaels7 says:

    Excellent…

    The conflict, Phillips suggests, is between “scientists who believe in empirical observation and the truth, and ‘post-normal’ scientists who believe in ideology and lies.” Reminds me somehow of Darwinism. Can’t think why.

    Zingerrrr! New York is expecting snow, Winter Storm Warning.

    I think that “post-normal” is to science what “post-Christian” is to Christian: A failed attempt to accommodate materialism.

    Another zingerrrr, or accomodate grant funding for more and more story telling.

    Parts of northeast may get as much as 12-18 inches of snow thru Saturday in the higher elevations, ahhh Maine… my first time skiing and busting my butt on skies.

    Cherry Blossom blooms are predicted for April 1-7th, in DC. 15 days behind the earliest bloom on record in 1990. Japan’s Cherry Blossoms bloomed early this year and they said it was due to the obvious global warming. Many people interviewed said yes, they felt the warming too. Oy veh….

    So, does that mean global warming came in Japan thru the east and has left in Washington thru the west? Since the blossoms are blooming later in DC, are we in for global cooling?

    A scare monger appeared on Fox several days ago hyping a book and talking about UN scientist all agree, yada, yada, and said the Cherry Blossoms started in January. I guess the Horticulturalist in Washington DC is clueless and missed it all. Oh well, millions will have missed the blooms in DC.

    Sigh, ya know its true if even Fox has joined the stampede in consensus science.

    Aye laddy, but still, a tad bit o’white stuff be floatin down gently in a Nor’Easter, cover ye pot of gold so old man winter does not snatch it away before spring arrives. Run, run in the snow laddy, it may be your last forever to come. For there is global warming that insures the sun will forever be in your face and the hot air of al Gore will forever be at ye back chasing ye for that gold.

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