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Another view: Objectivity is a myth. Bring the social justice warriors into science!

What’s hot? What’s not?/Niklas Bildhauer, Wikimedia

From software engineer William A. Wilson at First Things:

My friends who work in scientific fields were aghast when they saw that the organizers of a planned “March for Science” had tweeted that “colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues [black power emoji][rainbow emoji].” Who can blame them for their horror? The impartial search for truth is having enough problems these days, what with the discovery that many prominent scientific results, over a broad swath of fields, are non-replicable and likely false.

In fact, the purported objectivity of scientific inquiry is a damaging myth, and the illiberal instincts of the Marchers for Science represent a corrective, though not a cure. Science has been ideologically captured since its birth, and “value-laden inquiry” is not a recent deviation but is rather fundamental to its successful practice. The successful conquest of the institutions of science by overtly politicized forces would change little on the ground, but it would help to update society’s perceptions so that they match the underlying reality. We should welcome the March for Science as it sets out to destroy the academy’s undeserved reputation for neutrality and to reveal science for what it has always been.

Which is why my progressive scientist friends are deluded if they think that those genuinely concerned about “colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice” can be dissuaded from attempting to capture not just the institutions of science, but its methods and research programs as well. Every instance of scientific inquiry, every study, rests on a vast submerged set of political, moral, and ultimately metaphysical assumptions. More.

Some of us would reflect that the problem is not the value-loadedness of science but the nature of the values loaded. There is a difference between the corruption of the rigorous values that built science and the proposed rejection of them in favour of the values that dominate the arts world today.

Because this article appeared in First Things, we may expect feedback in th form of a reply.

See also: Consciousness researcher: Objectivity is cultural discrimination


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